Tag Archives: Review

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Kindle Edition of THE MONDO VIXEN MASSACRE: Order Now

The Kindle edition of THE MONDO VIXEN MASSACRE is now available for purchase in the Amazon store. If you are a fan of bizarro fiction, like over-the-top violence and action and a lot of sexy fun, you’ll love the book. Your eyes are getting heavy. Yes, you will love the book. Look deep into my eyes. You. Will. Love. The. Book. Money well spent.

Thank You /// Noise

I would like to thank everyone who has purchased a copy of my debut novella, THE MONDO VIXEN MASSACRE. The reception to the book’s unique style and content has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s been invigorating to speak with writers and readers who like the book. I’ve met many interesting people through this publication process and the journey is just beginning.

If you have purchased a copy of the book, I encourage you to help spread the word by writing a review or a blog post about your thoughts of the book. Every review helps and I wholeheartedly appreciate the gesture. In return for your effort, I am happy to offer you high-quality audio files of improvisational/noise music that I’ve created throughout the years, most or all of which is now out-of-print. Chances are, if you like the book, you will like the sounds.

Also, if you know of any good blogs that might be interested in a promotional copy of the book (maybe, you yourself) or if you are interested in becoming a part of my upcoming blog-tour, please get in touch.

At the end of the day, I set out to write a book that would satisfy readers. Of course, I understand not everyone will enjoy the book, and that is fine, but please know that behind the crazy story and absurd situations in the book’s universe, there is a lot of heart.

Thank you!

 

A Ship Sails to the Edge of the Sea: On Brian Oliu’s LEVEL END

You read LEVEL END by Brian Oliu: the end, point of change, point of loss–the loss of love, memory-blur, or like the way a house sounds when it is emptied of what it possessed before you awoke, alone. It is in and through spaces such as water, sand, foreign lands, or a children’s song park where you slip into the labyrinth. Yes, this is the end. It is here where you confront final bosses, save points where hearts help, but fade, too. The music is always changes when you enter. The levels that you have completed, the missions and journeys along the way, are told in the context of this level end, this final boss or save point–the most crucial spot for reflection, for it is here where you could die or lose. In these zones of confrontation, a pixel-tapestry of story (it’s all story) emerges, a mind in recollection, “re-membering” a life into something other than it was or a life as it is recalled–skewed, blurred, beautified, something solid yet watery, fleshy and transparent. You will not hold this in your hand, for how can you palm a labyrinth without balance? This is not a platform from where you move jumping across grassy fields, down chutes, up gold staircases to rescue princesses, squash foes, and gain life for more power. The platform has morphed into a network of mind-tunnels sewn loose enough for you to catch glimpses and trails of Oliu who hides himself under the shadow of a final boss. But do not come too close, for as you approach and try to grasp the treasures, you will fall into yet another tunnel of dead flowers, jeweled sugar, a garden. For, although you won’t know it until you reach the end–this level end–there is a magic in these lyric essays that outlasts the slim number of pages you receive. A text is deceptive when you must put it down for fear of losing yourself in the puzzle it presents. Approach with caution and caution is given. You may want to rest, you may need a hard bed for the night or an inn to rest for lack of a church. Heal your wounds. Here is where things burrow up from the ground, where women made of feathers dance with self-seeing eyes or brothers who control weather. If you are like me, it will not be enough for you to read this only once. There are lives within these pages that give the reader more life and that, when it comes through a book, is magic and do not think of dogs or how dogs die in water as if Oliu is only speaking of dogs, which he may be, but he may be speaking of how children die or of how things and girls and people go away and die and the words we use in the sense-making of such loss are never enough, too much to say. It is better to be silent. It is better to know that when you enter the room where the final boss awaits your coming, the music will change. I tell you this so you will know that what you are entering into when you enter into LEVEL END is more consequential, more beautiful than a peaceful end. It is an experiment in attempting to give weight to a complicated mind, a mind that feels the ways in which things fade, die, drown. When you were living in Japan, you came across a word in the Japanese language called “yugen.” It is an odd word that denotes the way one sees a ship sail to the edge of the sea where the sky meets that sea and that ship grows smaller and smaller to a speck and then gone. It is the feeling of wandering into a woods and not knowing whether or not you will return–you will not. It is something to be treasured.

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A List of Ten: On Cinema at the Cinema

1. For Tim Heidecker: cinephile supreme, Gregg Turkington: perpetual guest/loyal #movie friend. Connoisseurs of not only fine cinema, but all cinema. Two who honor film with bags of popcorn, sodas, or champagne at the Oscars.

2. Because the seas of knowledge have twisted into an edited helix, a tangled reel of pure film-joy (ThingX). The empty theater where friendship creates impressions. The unending trail of film–upset words.

3. Turkington: To be possessed by The Hobbit, to fall in love with a classic.

4. Because forgetting titles, lines, botching names, arguments over Star Trek, disagreeing and then bumbling the rating systems are all more human, more beautiful than any polished review in this, the age of the raw.

5. Cinema for life. Cinema is life.

6. We inhale Hollywood on cinema at the cinema: you will find us seated. You will find us spooling ourselves in film until the dim comes.

7. Heidecker: the world is watching at the cinema.

8. Because bubbling up from beneath, spreading laughter from unpredictable angles, from how social media infiltrates the media landscape: podcast, video, Twitter and beyond. These are the reasons we watch.

9. Turkington: “Film Buff”

10. The sheer immensity of output, audio file, web clip, a mashing of movie-landscapes to leaves us confused, giggling silly and full of wonder. Yes, this is cinema.

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The On Cinema Podcast

On Cinema at the Cinema

Tim Heidecker

Gregg Turkington

On-Cinema

Meat Screams: An Attempt at Johannes Gorannson’s Haute Surveillance

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prettypuke.com

“The sound the body makes is akin to the sound toys make when they burn.” I sent a letter to Rudolf Eb.er, infested as I was by his Hate Operation and cut-up, assemblage, shrieks, psycho-acoustic shamanism. He wore meat on his face, a white shirt and black necktie: screaming meat. There were sealed vomit tubs in the closet, an unfinished painting by the bedroom. We listened to a live recording from Taipei, smoked Japanese to death. Pictures of unknown bodies. Pictures of the insides of bodies. My autopsies went unanswered–that defenestration from Austria, somewhere in Osaka (not the Overlook or the Shining Mansion on the Hill).

“This novel is written like a fashion show dedicated to the rioted body.” For a noise act in Tokyo, I took a cheap white shirt, a shirt and smeared it–dirtied it red, made it better. The photographs that were taken on the were tinted in the screams and shrieks, moans and anti-language of the foreigner. It yellowed and hardened until it turned fashion. Lesson: sometimes the body can be tearing apart a fish with contact mics, a folk loop.  

“The erotics of writing reminds me of the needle on a record player.” A needle scrapes vinyl, a radio broadcast in a foreign language. There are blurred faces, the way a woman undresses in a hotel room, you are always woman. David Lynch practices Transcendental Meditation. I have heard that in Iowa or Indiana there are people who float, people who meditate until they float as if the body, numbed by transcendence, becomes lighter, becomes Nothing. The final scene of Takashi Miike’s Audition is the slow torture of a producer who is needled numb and sawed to a state of anti-levitation. I remember being fascinated by this scene. Years later I would buy Inland Empire at Walmart.

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“Language is like candy. It rots my teeth. It makes me spazzy.” E.M. Cioran quipped something like: “Writing in a foreign language is like writing a love letter with a dictionary.” I was a mute foreigner, unpredictable as outsider. One who knows how to screw a fork. There are areas in Tokyo, in Seoul, in Beijing where foreigners are allowed to be foreign, allowed to tongue foreign, act foreign: needles, erotics, vomit. These are the areas where we grind chains in underground cabarets, McDonalds drunk with military officers, a man who said, “as an American, it is my duty to protect you.”

“I want us all to wear kimonos. And sharp words.” The kimono as corset, how it flattened the breasts, restricted the gait in a way that made women walk slow, walk in hare-steps, small steps like floating worlds. This was a point of sexual interest for men. I received the male version of a kimono, the yukata, from a friend in Kyoto whose Japanese was too much the birth of who I would become.

“In B-movies the human body becomes more beautiful and less a subject.” Even a gaze, a transformation. Sherilyn Fenn losing her limbs in front of the Warlock’s mansion. I will keep you here to look how things look from where I see them. You can see them, too.

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“You were in the house, on your knees, in a state of wild terror.” It is a rocking chair and the way the face comes stubbled. Maybe it’s Isabella, my meat grinder, white stripped to the neck, covering neck, but this is not Japan–it’s Berlin. She shrieks in a tunnel, murders detectives in the apartment and all for the monster, all for the lack of her being able to feel.

“Go to Los Angeles, go to Los Angeles.” A friend of mine speaks of the feeling of Los Angeles as everything. I watched Mulholland Drive in Kichijoji. They brought concert-sized speakers to the theater. As the sedan crashed over a Los Angeles skyline, I heard American noise. I caught a slice as if I were other and America from where I was sitting was a fiery wreck of charred bodies, sexual blood, and a beautiful starlet wandering dazed down the hill back into the filthy light.

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On Dan Magers and Jim Wynorski

Dan Magers is a poet whose work I hope to read more of soon. He co-founded and edits Sink Review. His collection, “Party Knife” is on my spring reading list and I’m itching to savor it, to use that knife as gift, as inspiration. This evening I read his poem, “Frat House Massacre,” published in Spooky Boyfriend #4. Since the poem is relatively short and the link has been provided, I will present the poem to you here as it appears in Spooky Boyfriend:

FRAT HOUSE MASSACRE

The abandoned house they pack their buddies in
is perfect, being miles away from cops.
Outside, nothing moves that isn’t blown
by wind. The skinny blondes are represented.
Psychology class created cat fight goes:
“I ain’t talking to a professional,
I’m talking to a slut!” So speaketh Jean.
Inside nothing moves that isn’t blown….

Whoever’s left is in the woods, pursued
while Joey’s drowsy on the floor, last thoughts
about the wonderful times with Conor, Phil,
Ron Forty, Jeff Dog, on the balcony,
where we watched that idiot with the hair,
and kitschy, kitschy Kathy—make us laugh!

Having not read much of his other work, I cannot comment on this piece in the context of what he has already written, so with that in mind, I would like to open up the poem in a way that speaks only to my reading of this single poem.

By the title (the “hook” that drew me in) I conjure images or horror, B-movies, and exploitation films, the most famous being The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, yet Magers does not speak of this “massacre” in gory detail or of any kind of traumatic event as it might be presented were this piece focused on a horror-event or meant to shock or frighten. I do not think this piece is meant to frighten. An event: Something does occur in the piece, some gathering or happening, which I can only speculate is the “massacre,” but our gaze as reader is not there–not slaughtered on the floor at the house in the woods. Our gaze moves inside to the aftermath of something (a party?), to how friendship bubbles slits of memories. Names of friends are listed, spoken by Joey who is currently relishing his “last thoughts,” the thoughts of others, perhaps others from the frat house, and laughter. Yes, this house in the woods is most likely the frat house as per the title.

A fragment of Jean’s speech is spoken, presented formally–antiquated: “So speaketh Jean.” And the others? Have they died? Were they massacred? Forgotten? Were this a traditional slasher, we would be given the details of the killer, but we are not. Not tonight. Not at this party.

The words, “nothing moves that isn’t blown” is repeated twice in the piece. Is Magers speaking of the wind in the second passage, too? Is he speaking of a sexual act of some sort? Is this some kind of drug reference that I don’t understand? Coupled with the “frat house” title and the exploitation genre (if this, indeed, does pay some homage to the genre in some way), I want to read this second line in multiple ways, but I want to feel the wind, be chopped by this wind. I want this all to be metaphor.

The voice shifts at the end of the poem from a third-person POV to a first-person memory as if to conjure the way friendships blur–this move into the interior gives strength to how this poem resonates within me. I feel a quick snapshot quality to the ending (but it is the most potent for me, too), a whimsical detachment, perhaps even in the face of death or, again, how friends change. Simultaneously, I feel something has vanished and it is this vanishing that is lingering within me after reading the poem and writing this piece. That, and the kitsch. That word, “kitsch,” reminds me of a film that also places friends in a house far away from police–Cheerleader Massacre directed by the great Jim Wynorski.

This last winter, steeped in research for an unfinished novella, I partook in a feast of B-movies by Wynorski. The Cheerleader Massacre–much different from Magers’s Frat House Massacre–is a fine piece of Wynorskian exploitation rife with debauchery, a broken down vehicle, a maniacal prowler on the loose, and, of course, cheerleaders. Now, in reflection, I can’t help but think of this poem by Magers up against that cheerleader gorefest, especially in the line, “The skinny blondes are represented.” Yes, they most certainly are. I realize these two pieces of art are worlds apart, but in bridging that gap between poetry and sleaze, I wonder what forms would emerge? I’m sure there are poems out there bridging this gap in more intricate ways than I am able.

Magers’s poem, in my opinion, is the kind of poem that calls for careful reflection, calls for questions. Of course, we can enjoy it quickly, perhaps, if we are competent enough, catch a glimmer of where he is pointing us (as demonstrated by my thought-trail here tonight), but I think this poem is one that could be thought in different ways and my interpretation is not the end all of how this poem is meaningful. I’m quite sure I’m missing something vital, something that would tie the piece together. Or, maybe he doesn’t want it to be tied. There is a beauty in that, too.

Lady into Fox by David Garnett: Thoughts for Consideration

David Garnett

David Garnett’s 1922 novel, reprinted by McSweeney’s, Lady into Fox is the tale of a one Mr. Tebrick, who, upon out walking with his wife one day, finds to his surprise, that she has transformed into an animal, a fox. From this, we follow Mr. Tebrick as he struggles to preserve (keep) the humanity of his wife, in spite of her beastly transformation. At first, he insists on her being clothed, eating cooked meat and holds on to the “human” image of her. Sadly, day-by-day, his image of her changes as her personality gradually slips away. She becomes more and more “animal-like” with each passing day.

Through this touchingly dark novel, we see Mr. Tebrick, himself, losing touch will other people and with his former life. His love for his wife, even in “fox” form, is deep and enduring, although, perhaps harmful to himself. Nonetheless, in this act of clinging to her – in her animality – he loses touch with the social world, with the world of other people. Does he do this for love or out of sheer confusion?

In his struggling acceptance of her as she struggles to break free of his controlling grip, he becomes obsessed with her, fearing for her life amidst the elements. He is not willing to fully accept her as being a “fox.” Finally, and without giving away much of the story, we find him living his life through her, unable to give up his love or hope, unwilling to wholly accept this strange transformation that has so altered his life.

Through the frame of this story, I think about the idea of love and change. Sometimes the one we love, changes, or we ourselves greatly change. When this change occurs, do we accept the other person in their newness or do we see them through the past image that we have of them? What do we give up in trying to cling to a love that has fallen out of our hands? Sometimes, perhaps, the line between love and obsession becomes blurred when we try to form the loved one to fit our image of how we think that they should be. Or, is it more worthy to love and continue loving despite a great change in appearance or personality? What would you do if the one that you loved suddenly, and without warning, transformed before your very eyes into a wholly different form? How would you approach and live through that love?