From the monthly archives: January 2011
 People having fun (in theory)

Saturday evening, January 22, 2011, there occurred a launch party for Slake Issue 2 “Crossing Over.” Slake is a literary magazine but it’s as big as a book if not bigger, certainly bigger than my books tend to be because I am a very slow writer. And it has art and things inside of it, too.

The party was at a place called Track 16 at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, which is partly part of Los Angeles. How you get there is you drive off the freeway and onto a brief, dark road that dead ends in a parking lot where you are surrounded by art galleries and other exotic plants.

I mention this mainly because I had to read in front of an estimated crowd of 700 citizens, only about thirty of whom could hear, through the inadequate PA system, over the clatter of hooves (many people were wearing horseshoes, I think this might be a new thing). There was free food, there was cheap food, there were free drinks, there were cheap drinks. Somebody played music over the PA system after several of us read what we had written in Issue 2 (“Crossing Over.”) People seemed to enjoy themselves but how can you really tell without a statistically significant poll?

There will be more events in connection with the launch of this new issue. I encourage you to attend.

 

A small item of business: I’ve mentioned the new-ish and so-far great LA-based lit-mag Slake before. (Q: How many hyphens will fit in an American sentence? A: Too many.) Their second issue is about to appear like worms after a heavy rain, to celebrate which fact they’re having a launch party. A bunch of contributors to Issue 2 will be reading, including me, and I’m told there will be food, drink, and art, not necessarily in that order. Los Angeles area readers can and should note details and RSVP here. The event is this Saturday, which is why I’m posting it now. Also because they asked.

There will be an audiobook version of The Failure, details TBA.

There will be French and Italian editions of The Failure, translated by persons of great skill and published by persons of questionable taste, forthcoming this year. Again, details TBA.

That is all. For now. God bless you!

 

Some of the better things I read, saw, or listened to last year, many of which were not released in 2010, which I know is not the point of a year-end list. Sorry. This list, moreover, is not the product of a great deal of reflection. These are off the top of my head looking around my room at what’s spilled on the floor or stuffed into bookcases. I should have provided hyperlinks, but I didn’t. Almost everything here is easily traceable via Google.

Movies:
The Tree of Life (trailer) (Terrence Malick)
Enter the Void (credits sequence) (Gaspar Noé)
Histoire(s) du Cinéma (J-L Godard)
Film Socialisme (J-L Godard)
Che Parts One and Two (Steven Soderbergh)
Les plages d’Agnès (Agnès Varda)
The Red Shoes (restored version) (Powell & Pressburger)

Books:

(I’m leaving out books for which I wrote blurbs, probably wrong-headedly).

Fiction
Jean Echenoz, L’occupation des sols
Maurice Blanchot, L’arrêt de mort
Blake Butler, Scorch Atlas
Grace Krilanovich, The Orange Eats Creeps
Mark Gluth, The Late Work of Margaret Kroftis
Justin Taylor, Everything Here Is The Best Thing Ever
Vladimir Nabokov, The Original of Laura
Kate Zambreno, O Fallen Angel
Joshua Cohen, Witz
I started Bolaño’s Savage Detectives but did not finish it, which is certainly not his fault. I really like his writing.

Non-Fiction
Comité invisible, L’insurrection qui vient
That Carl Jung Red Book thing. Best illustrated manuscript since the Book of Kells. Have not actually read a word.
Dennis Cooper, Smothered in Hugs

Music:
Robert Pollard, Moses On a Snail (GBV Inc.)
Unholy Two, $cum of the Earth (Columbus Discount)
Tyvek, Nothing Fits (In The Red)
Matador at 21 live stream because I’m both agoraphobic and busy.
I spent a lot of time with The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968 for complicated reasons.
Saw the Scott Walker documentary finally. Wish I hadn’t. It’s not that the doc was bad or that SW was in any way disappointing, it’s more that some things are better left to the imagination. This and The Day The Clown Cried come immediately to mind.
Guided By Voices reunion show at the Wiltern in LA. Old people rule. Except Brett Favre.

 

As part of a series by and through which Akashic authors review books by other Akashic authors, I was asked to review the reissue of Matthew Stokoe’s 1997 novel. Or, as Akashic puts it: The long-awaited reissue of Stokoe’s brutal debut novel.

The review may be found here. You can (and should) buy the book at the same place, I’m pretty sure.