SITE UPDATE


New art books, fiction, comics, zines, records, and print. Paper Rad, Brinkman, Hooeyman amongst others. Take a look.
Personally, I highly recommend the Anders Nilsen comic/print (see above. you cant read it here, but it'll knock your socks off when you do), and the WUNDEGROUND book. For pure bizarreness, the FUTURE FRIENDS photobook is the one to beat.

posted by sammy at 9:23 AM
1 comments

Warning! Personal Plug!



I try not use this blog to promote my own projects, but feel like anyone reading this might be interested maybe.
This Saturday night is the opening of a Kramers Ergot exhibit at Macalester College in Minneapolis. We've never had a Kramers Ergot show before, and this one is as comprensive as can be with contributions from almost every contributor published (except for the ones who either hate me or I couldn't make it).
If you come out you'll see art from: Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Chris Cilla, C.F., Dan Zettwoch, Dave Kiersh, J. Bradley Johnson, David Heatley, Mat Brinkman, David Lasky, Genevieve Elverum, Lief Goldberg, Helge Reumann, Jerry Moriarty, James McShane, Anders Nilsen, Kevin Huizenga, Jason T. Miles, Sammy Harkham, Jeffrey Brown, Lauren Weinstein, Jordan Crane, Marc Bell, Mark Burrier, John Hankiewicz, Zack Soto, Sara Varon, Jim Drain, Matthew Thurber, Ron Rege jr, Shary Boyle, Mat Tait, Souther Salazar, Martin Cendreda, David Brook, Bald Eagles, Stefan Gruber, Tom Gauld, Vanessa Davis, Tobias Schalken, and Paper Rad.
So if your in the area, come by. It should be a interesting show. Matthew Thruber is going to perform and there might be some other things going on as well.
Here is more bare bones info.
and what the fuck, who doesn't want to see this in the flesh:



posted by sammy at 11:39 AM
9 comments

Street Trash


In the sea of 80's humor gore it's rare to find a film as watch-able as Street Trash. At 102 minutes, many would expect a grueling exercise in viewing, but a multifaceted plot filled with outrageous characters makes this movie go by in a giggly flash. Mobsters, bums, winos, Vietnam vets, and hard ass street cops collide to paint a poignant portrait of mid 80s lower Manhattan. Human trash piled on every street corner just waiting to be taken advantage of, or to take advantage. That's exactly what happens when local liquor store owner Ed goes rooting in the basement for anything he can sell to make a buck. After smashing through a wall he finds a case of Tenafly Viper, a vintage liqueur 40 years expired. Always an entrepreneur, Ed dusts it off and starts selling the stuff a dollar a bottle, and the local wino population can't get enough. The only problem is, after one drink the Viper melts your whole body from the inside out.

So the premise is set, and the opening sequence sets it's hooks right in when the first bums gets his bottle, plops down on a toilet in an abandoned building and takes a sip. Hyper-color puss oozes out of every pore until the poor guy is nothing but a face floating in a toilet full of his own melted body. Now things start to get complicated. Fred and Kevin are two teenaged runaways who live in a pile of tires inside a junkyard that is curiously occupied by an entire gang of bums and drunks. Their self appointed leader is Bronson, an insane Vietnam vet with a half dead girlfriend. The owner of the junkyard, Frank, wants nothing more than to fuck his secretary Wendy, but she's too busy playing mom to young Kevin. When piles of melted person start turning up, barrel chested Bill is brought in by the local PD to find some answers. Things take an even uglier turn when Fred finds a puking beauty in an alley and brings her back to the pile of tires for a little fun. Turns out she's the girlfriend of a local mob boss, and now he wants revenge.

Convoluted, maybe, but the cast of outrageous characters turns in an above average performance for this grade of film. What really makes Street Trash rise to the top are the special effects. Every time someone cracks open a fresh bottle of Viper, we're treated to an absolutely disgusting neon cavalcade of goo and slime, gurgled screams of terror and pain. The "horror" is so outrageous it's not even remotely realistic, more or less scary, but that's what gives this film it's appeal. Every situation and every character is so over the top it's hilarious. An almost unsettling rape scene turns into a grave of severed penis keep-away. Bronson's character is fleshed out with Vietnam flashbacks. The Mafia leader ultimately turns his rage onto a wise-cracking doorman with plenty of "New York attitude". Street Trash might be better categorized as a comedy with goreish overtones.

This 2 disc set comes loaded with special features: the original 16mm film that inspired the feature; a 2 hour documentary, The Meltdown Memoirs, about the history and making of the film; audio commentaries by the director and producer; and plenty more. Another notable feature is the crystal clear transfer. The movie is spotless and the color is vivid. Street Trash definitely surpasses any reputation it has built and stands alongside Basket Case as a hilarious, gory portrait of New York's gritty underside.

posted by Mike at 5:26 PM
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Site Additions


The site store still has a long way to go in being an accurate representive of whats in the physical space. For one, some of the best stuff comes in very low supply with no chance of reprint, like the 2 CD set, Rare Youth, with C.F. covers for example, but don't put online because it'll be gone too quickly.
But slowly slowly the online shop gets better. just added in:
Books: 4 Willeford novels, Bone House vol 4, new Jim Shepard collection, Supercock, new David Shrigley, Shock! Horror!, and the comic adaptation of Donald Goines' Daddy Cool.
Clothes: Shoboshobo hand made sweaters!
Recordings: Soiled Mattress and the Springs (take note all you Matthew Thurber fans), and the new Lucky Dragons, two records we really love.

posted by sammy at 7:30 PM
3 comments

Comics Comics #2


Now in the zine section, the super excellent (and super huge) COMICS COMICS #2. This thing is just great from cover to cover with a really wonderful range of articles, strips, reviews and interviews.

posted by sammy at 11:29 PM
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Charles Willeford


Barely acknowledged while alive, most of his books are out of print today. The ones that are available, to my mind, barely scratch the surface of his genius. It seems like every few years a young, eager editor gets the rights, releases a couple, they do horribly, and thats that till the next young editor comes along and tries again. In print now, in some of the butt-ugliest designed covers EVER, is Willeford's early novel Wild Wives, the truly great series of Hoke Mosely detective books: Miami Blues, The Way We Die Now, Sideswipe, and New Hope For The Dead and the great The Shark Infested Custard, which was only first published after he died.
Willeford's early work feels more pulpy and has dated somewhat, but still retains a lot of humor unlike guys like Goodis or Thompson. Both those guys have humor in their books, but it's more relegated to a supporting character or certain scenes, whereas in early Willeford, there's an air of absurdity running throughout the whole thing from the plots down to the characters. my favorite of these is probably The Woman Chaser. About a used car salesman who moves down to L.A. to make movies (sort of. its still a crime novel don't forget).
Willeford started out as a poet, and like many writers, had literary aspirations, but could only get published in the pulps writing crime fiction. Inspiring is the fact that he was only published late in life, in his early forties, after a career in the military. In an early essay he talked about how he recommends a military life for writers as long as they never get promoted from a low level position: you do a minimum of work, have time for writing, and you are constantly meeting people and having interesting experiences. Some of this is covered in his autobiographies I was Looking For A Street and Something About A Soldier. The former about growing up in foster homes around Los angeles and being a 13 year old hobo during the depression, and the latter about being joining the army at 16 and life stationed in the Philippines between the world wars. Both excellent novels full of slutty girls, frustrated soldiers, and menial work.
His later work is written in a style of casual observation and clear prose, something only attainable from years and years of writing. Nothing feels forced or fake. It all reads like autobiography, no matter what the subject matter or how far fetched. The guy wrote four detective novels (the above mentioned Hoke Mosely series) that spent as much time on the petty bureaucracy of the Miami police department as it did on the plot, and Willeford did no research whatsoever into being a police officer. All Fake. It's regional writing. it is very much about a milieu of particular place, specifically Miami in the late seventies, early eighties, where Willeford made his home. I have never been to the Florida of the early eighties, but feel like I know the place, it's politics, it's racial and class struggles, it's breakfast menus.
In this way he reminds me very much, in concerns, as a worldly Charles Bukowski. Willeford has that same understated tragedy and focus of the tangible.
In the late seventies, his novel Cockfighter was turned into a movie by Monte Hellman, starring Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, and Willeford as well. He kept a journal during filming released in a low print run years later, and its full of great gossip and asides about cockfighting and Georgia, were the filming took place. Like how Monte Hellman and his girlfriend Lauri Bird ate off a shared plate with no cutlery, as that was the 'in' thing to do in france at the time, and how Cockfighter was the only Roger Corman produced picture to ever lose money.
Success never came to Willeford. He made his living teaching writing and as a critic reviewing crime novels for the local paper. In the last years of his life, he developed a fanbase due to the Hoke Mosely books. It seems like slowly, as years pass, his name grows larger. There is even a biography that came out a couple years ago by Don Herron, it's not great or anything, but it's nice that it exists.
On almost every Willeford book is the following quote by Elmore Leonard "No one writes a better crime novel then Charles Willeford". Leonard is the poor man's Willeford, and I say that as a Leonard fan. You read Leonard after plowing through a stack of Willeford and don't want it to end, but know it must, so you substitute it for a measly copy. So if you're a Leonard fan wake up already.
So dont be discouraged by the new ugly covers, start with The Shark Infested Custard, then read the Hoke Mosely series, then go to Ebay for the two memoirs. After that, it wont matter what you pick up, it's all great.

posted by sammy at 3:29 PM
8 comments

book of 2006 maybe


UPDATE: I was wrong, this book is silkscreened, NOT offset. I assumed it was offset because Goldberg has done offset before. Does this new information negate the below post sort of, but not really. The book is still a shining beacon of greatness.
One of the coolest books of 2006 recently arrived in the store is by Leif Goldberg, called Wildlife Refuse. A small paperback of a story told in comics and more looser modes of drawing/text combinations. It's offest printed but it feels like a mini comic, in its warmness and feeling of craft. Maybe it's because Goldberg printed, bound, and trimmed it himself. Some of the color is blindingly bright, making it looks like nothing else, sticking out in a sea of printed matter. I forget that offset mass produced books can be art objects as much as limited edition silkscreened ones. If I am not mistaken, Goldberg often draws and creates the color directly on the plates, creating a book that is not work forced into an existing format, but the form itself a piece of the work. Its an incredibly inspiring book that will make almost everything else on your shelf look retarded.
We decided not to put them online so if your outisde of LA, try the Buenaventura Press site (buenaventurapress.com) in a few weeks.
also arrived is the Goldberg calendar for 2007. which is also completely nuts.

posted by sammy at 9:56 PM
3 comments