"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Kafka Covers

I am digging the new Kafka covers that will come out shortly.  i got the images from the great blog:

Christian Marclay Roulette TV Excerpt

Here's an example of his 'sound' work.

Christian Marclay: Festival Issues 1-3

Christian Marclay is one of my favorite artists - because he speaks in a language that is important to me. Music. Turntablist, visual artist, and conceptual artist. And a performer. He recently had a retrospective that took place at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and this here is the catalog - well, a highly conceptual version of a catalog. 
During the run of the show, they put out three journals or magazines that organically commented on the exhibition as it was happening. What we have here are critical commentary, as well as thoughts from the performers who worked with Marclay, either in the past or for this particular exhibition. Also visual documentation of the performances as well as the artwork. 
All three issues are in a slipcase and it's a wonderful documentation on the world of Christian Marclay

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Georges Simenon's "The Strangers In The House"

Not my favorite Simenon book, but still it's interesting and quite good. Reading the plot line is actually better than the book for some reason. And again it could have been a mood thing at the time of the reading of this book. Nevertheless Georges Simenon's work is pretty amazing. He has this cold or cool overlook of everything. He really doesn't judge his characters, which is great. 

January 29, 2011, 

I just re-read the book and my overall thoughts are the same, but what impresses me about Simenon''s writing is how he portrays a very strange and sort of scary world. The novel takes place in France during the Occupation, yet there is no mention of it. And the main character is someone who pretty much dropped out of his culture. Once a successful and important lawyer he became a reclusive drunk in his big home. What set it off was his wife running off with someone else many years back - yet I suspect that wasn't the reason for his drinking and his disgust for the culture around him (Occupation?) 

In fact he pretty much ignores the world around him - including things that go bump into his household. A murder takes place upstairs from his room, and he wasn't even aware that people were holding meetings, and leaving off stolen loot on his property. And even worse, his daughter was involved in the gang as well. 

Perhaps this is sort of a symbol of the Occupation itself, where there were some who just buried their head into their lives and totally ignore their surroundings (?) The crime and narrative is not that interesting to me, but of course what is not being said directly is what's interesting about the novel. Not my favorite Simenon, but nevertheless an interesting book, in context with the world at the time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spencer Kansa's "Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron

First of all Cameron was an excellent friend of my Dad and Mom. And second, its weird for me to read a biography on a family friend. But saying that, this is overall a good introduction to Cameron and her work. She was (or still is) a fascinating character - and as a big part of the Jack Parsons story it's an essential read for anyone interested in Magick or the the cult world. 
The beauty of Cameron's life and work is that she had one foot in the Occult, and the other in the arts. I think both worlds were equal footing for her. The big drag about this book is the actual printing of images and photos. They're terrible. Probably due to some printing mistake and no money to fix it - but nevertheless an important book to have in your library. 
I think also that there will be other biographies coming out on her, because she is just too interesting to be an obscure figure. There are certain people not interviewed for this book that makes it interesting in a 'hmm' way. No Kenneth Anger interview, no one from the OTO, nor from her estate as far as I know. The publishers were not allowed to print any of her artwork (which could be a blessing considering the printing of the book) - but alas, Kansa did a good job in research and the book is totally readable and super interesting. Get it before it disappears!

Tosh Talks Jan.18.2011

"Tosh Talks" about Marc Bolan, Mick Rock and David Bowie

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mark Paytress' "Bolan: The Rise and Fall of a 20th Century Superstar"

Marc Bolan and T.Rex were very much part of my teen years. Marc Bolan represented a foreign force (from the U.K.) that made one realize that there was something "out" out there. I dug the catchy aspect of his idiotic lyrics, but when sung by him, was pure poetry on (almost) highest level. But then David Bowie came on the scene and totally tore the T.Rex need out of my life. But many years later I have come back to the sound of T.Rex and realize what a remarkable and eccentric talent he was. 
Mark Paytress wrote a really good biography on the man, the music world at the time, and why Marc Bolan and T.Rex are important. In the U.K. he ruled the country, but only for two years or so. After that he was struggling to get his crown back. But David Bowie pretty much took the crown and not only that, he was not going to give up the jewel hat. Bowie was at the time (and still is) very much a genius and an exceptional songwriter on top of that. Bolan, had his brilliance and his moment, but couldn't really repeat that moment. But the beauty of Bolan's work is not the grand gesture, but the small paint strokes that he made with respect to his music and records. Especially the Tony Visconti produced recordings. Which are brilliant. Both Visconti and Bolan added textures to rather minimal rocking tracks. But there is also the melodies - and Bolan I think is really strong in that department. And a classic T.Rex track had that Sun records sound, but it sounds like it was recorded on the planet Saturn. 
The Bolan story is a sad one. The typical rock n' roll drugs, drink, and dry up of talent. And of course the tragic car accident. But the classic T.Rex (Marc Bolan) record is one to marvel at, because it is a moment or a series of moments that are perfect.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Morgan Cross-Blogging!

One of our most voracious customers has started a blog! She is amazing. Her blog is amazing.


Among the books she reviews, we have in stock Jaimy Gordon's Lord of Misrule, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, and more.

That is all.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mad Men Cross-Blogging

Thanks to Stiletto City writer Kastle Waserman for covering our Mad Men event this season! We still have autographed copies of Dyna Moe's book in the store. Come in and take a look - and, if you're like me, keep counting down 'til Season 5.

From http://stilettocity.com/2010/12/05/happy-retro-holidays/ ...

And how could I love vintage and not love Mad Men? I consume each episode like candy, soaking up the fashions, the art direction and, since I currently work in advertising, a little history on the culture and the business. So I got pretty excited when I learned, upon watching the behind the scenes DVD of season 3, about an illustrator named Dyna Moe who is responsible for the images used in the Mad Men Yourself feature on the web, as well as episode drawings that have become viral hits. With the release of a new book, “Mad Men, The Illustrated World,” she did a presentation at Book Soup about the inspiration of her drawings that began with a Christmas card request from Rich Sommer (aka Harry Crane) and took us on a journey through ’50s and ’60s era advertising illustrations that influenced her own, plus how the Mad Men Yourself icons went from fun expressions to total bizarro as can only be told in Moe’s dry, sarcastic sense of humor that had people laughing out loud.

Chris Welch's "Peter Grant: The Man Who Led Zeppelin"

The two words together Peter and Grant brought fear to concert promoters in rock n' roll. Peter Grant was the manager of Led Zeppelin. His story is interesting because he came from the rough and tough 1950's British pop culture world. Grant was a wrestler who had an interest in showbiz. Rock n' Roll showbiz to be exact. 
He was Gene Vincent's road manager in the early 60's and that had to be an extremely difficult job. And Grant's support for his artists meant sometimes he had the side of toughness to do what's best for them - which includes throwing Gene Vincent on stage -drunk or in miserable pain (due to a severe damage to one of his legs in a motorcycle accident) and make sure he's on stage when the curtain comes up. 
Although Chris Welch's book is a good biography, it is not an excellent one. I think due that there is a big narrative here that is not being fully covered. The 1970's Led Zeppelin years was one of great decadence but with also a great side of ugly violence. Why Grant, who always had a violent streak decided to go over the line to real physical violence is unknown. 
What is more clear is Grant is one of the major figures where artists got their fair share of the loot that was produced in the recordings and concerts. He was the first one to demand that concert promoters instead of the usual 60/40 arrangement, he made sure his band gets 90 and the venue gets 10. At the time it was unheard of, but due to the power of the Zeppelin and Grant's border-line sense of violence, the concert promoters thought of the deal differently. 
Of course in all narrations, the story gets darker, and its interesting how the 1970's played into all of that. The Stones were going through the same thing as well at the time. But Welch's book really dosen't go into that. And my major complaint about the book is that it didn't pull us up as readers to see the bigger picture of what was happening that decade. Pop culture, by its nature, is alway a part of the bigger picture. 
But this is an interesting book on an interesting man in rather interesting (dark) times in Rock N' Roll.