prurient anarchic omnibus
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book and interviews the author, j/j hastain, July 2011
"Perhaps it's easiest to describe it as a surreal, abstract memoir mixed with observation and cultural commentary. Autobiography and memoir spring to mind, because it's clear that hastain's imprint is on every single page of prose and photography. You can't write lines like those found in the book's wonderful preface without some deeply personal history behind every single word."
The BATS Will Destroy You!
Khakjaan Wessington reviews Red in Tooth and Claw, June 2011
"Denouncing politicians is safe. So is denouncing God. Even if God is real, we've already established that science pwns it; it's not like the God-postulate is ever going to talk back. And don't get me started on how tacky all Devil-related anything is... and if we just denounce humanity, well, we all become poo-scented, ex-villagers fairly quickly, don't we?"
Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?
Rady Ananda considers the film, May 2011
"The UNEP report lists eight reasons for colony collapse disorder: Habitat destruction, invasive species (like the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor), air pollution, electromagnetic pollution, pesticides and other chemical pollution, industrial transport (where a million bees die each year), colony splitting, and diet. The report does not mention genetically engineered crops as a contributing factor to bee decline..."
Renegades on Main Street
Michael Parker reviews Life by Keith Richards and A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russell, January 2011
"rank was, like Keith Richards, an Old World outsider who created something bold and new out of what was considered by many the common detritus of American culture. But Thaddeus Russell makes a compelling case for the lives and actions of just such human detritus (slaves, drunkards, pirates, prostitutes, homosexuals, unwanted Irish and Italian and Jewish immigrants) as providing the propulsion for the forward movement of liberty throughout our history."
A Film Too Far: The Battle of the Strait of Hormuz
Jim Chaffee reviews the movie, October 2010
"Finally Hollywood has made the definitive war epoch of our time. A film that puts into proper perspective the US role as a military superpower in the late 20th century. More, it presages the US mission as peacekeeper and maintainer of order in the 21st century. We refer to the heroic actions of the US Navy in the Persian Gulf, in the Strait of Hormuz, on 3 July 1988."
One of Us: John Waters as Friend, Freak, and Fan
Michael Parker reviews Role Models by John Waters, October 2010
'Anyone familiar with Waters' early work knows of his obsession with Charles Manson and his cult following, an obsession he now admits to "...using... in a joking, smart-ass way in my earlier films without the slightest feeling for the victims' families or the lives of the brainwashed Manson killer kids who were also victims in this sad and terrible case,"'
Ghost and Ganga: A Jazz Odyssey
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book and interviews the author, Kirpal Gordon, May 2010
"All three stories...feature two characters who have likely been waiting for a writer like this to come along for years. Imagining Ghost and Ganga haunting a thousand different songs is not unreasonable. At times they don't even feel like new characters. It sometimes seems as though they were around long before their stories were finally put into print."
The Tupperware Blitzkrieg
Kane X. Faucher reviews the book by Anthony Metivier, April 2010
"Despite the vehement crackle that corrects the flaccid errors of more tired pens and their offerings, there is in Metivier's maniacal text a hurdy-gurdy undertone which peaks and swells with episodes involving the intentionally preposterously named characters of Mr. Enlargement, Dr Gravity, Dr Fuse Less, Dr Umbilico, that make up an entire ensemble that alternates between the lucid and the absurd."
The Book of Hopes and Dreams
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book and interviews the editor, Dee Sunshine, February 2010
"Ninety poems in all, and the possibilities for what's going to appeal to you and why are endless. They speak of a world that isn't necessarily all about war. It's true that each poem is flatly against war and the tragedies it so casually leaves in its wake. But it's fascinating how many of the poems don't necessarily take a direct approach to the writers' opinions on the subject."
Fear of Merging: A Christmas Tale
Jim Chaffee reviews Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, December 2009
'On the metal deck beside the young woman lay a wide-eyed porcelain doll dressed in baby girl doll clothes. When I lifted it by the arms I saw it wasn't a doll, but an infant with an empty head. As I stared into the cup that had held a tiny brain, I swear I could see the back of its eye sockets. Carrying it to the DOA shack, as I exited the chopper pad an onlooker said something like "If that's the worse thing you'll see..."'
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book by Vernon Frazer and interviews the author, September 2009
"At the beginning of Emblematic Moon, Vernon checks to make sure you're safely strapped in for what's coming. He also checks to see that you're still in one piece when it's all over. Beyond that, his concentration is almost viciously pointed at telling a story, and telling it without even a moment of compromise or hesitation. It's the only sound way to approach the art of creating ingenious new territory."
Data That Doesn't Numb the Mind, But Excites: The Art of Ellie Harrison
by Alakananda Mookerjee, June 2009
"Faced with the worst economic meltdown in the last 60 years or so, people worldwide have tightened their purse strings and are hesitant to spend money. Harrison is no economist, of course, but could she be encouraging consumers to consume again, through her unique, hard-to-miss piece of geeky art? Or is she perhaps, making at attempt at demystifying the workings of the capitalistic economy by breaking it down into an easy-to-understand visual delight?"
Over the Rainbow
by Stephen Lendman, June 2009
"In 1891, Baum moved to Chicago where he associated with reform elements. He saw the fallout of the 1893 depression, sided with working class people, consistently voted Democrat, then later marched in "torch-like parades" for William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 election. Yet he wasn't a political activist despite his sympathies with populist causes."
Why I Hate Twilight and My Life Sux: or Bite This, a (sort of) rebuttal of the Bitch article "Bite Me"
by Anne McMillen, June 2009
"This is a disemboweled woman being attacked for the crime of what...ignorance? Of living the American Dream of squirting out a couple of pups and then turning one of her possibly only pleasures—her escape into vampire fingerbang masturbation fantasies—into a 3000 page bonanza (or excuse me, I mean writing the next Great American Novel)?"
Embracing Confusion's Alchemy: Rejecting the Seduction of Pseudo-Understanding
by Andrew P., May 2009
'High Strangeness, a book by Laura Knight-Jadczyk, paints a dire future for humankind as literal "food" for a reptilian alien race that has bred us for this gastronomic purpose, in much the same way as humans breed cattle for food. In this calamitous time of transition, centred around the year 2012, according to Knight-Jadczyk we will come to realize this terrible truth, and up to 94% of the human race will be "recycled" to make way for a new race.'
My Godawful Life
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book by "Sunny McCreary" and interviews the author, Michael Kelly, May 2009
"Even as the book sends us hurtling into various horror stories, we never forget what Kelly is mocking. Horror stories like Sunny's experiences as an underage hooker, his career in rhino-themed pornography, his time as a child soldier, his unending cycle of addiction (helium, necrophilia and a dull-by-comparison bout of alcoholism), the death of his dog, the cannibalization of his best friend and several more."
Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book by Bret Hart and interviews the author, April 2009
"Bret Hart didn't play a prison guard, an insane dentist, a demonic undertaker or any one of the strange personas that have made up the business as people know it today. Bret Hart seemed to be playing Bret Hart, a stand-up guy who believed in himself, fought for justice and truly appeared to live and breathe his profession. His was an everyman kind of persona who wasn't too far removed from your friend at work or the hometown hero who made good on a much larger stage."
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book by A. R. Lamb and interviews the author, January 2009
"For all the weirdness of Mieke's Ladder, there remains an effort to keep the characters human. They are real people and not just performers in an abstract work of art. Lamb's own affection for these walking wounded lends further weight to the time he spends show psychological processes, rather than before and after pictures. It's within this we find some of the book's most stunning imagery and revelations."
When Spencer Met Hannibal: Recreational Cannibalism in the New American Century
by Jonathan Penton, December 2008
"It is the styleless, the stuttering, and the slovenly that Tom Bradley, expatriate, has championed with Lemur. And since it goes without saying that the ultimate American ambition is to become a newsworthy serial killer, it is only natural that he should choose this milieu for his heroic call to the average."
CPR for Dummies
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book by Mickey Z. and interviews the author, October 2008
"A book or film or song must be entertaining enough to get people to pay attention, while still leaving enough room to throw down some strong social/political opinions and get people to pay attention. If anything, it's just had to get a little smarter, a little more ambitious in trying to make its point."
Kane X. Faucher reviews the book by Matina Stamatakis, September 2008
"There is, in nearly every one of the images, a fidelity to the use of text to provide these textures, streaming and coalescing everything from Chinese pictographic marks to gangland tagging. It is not just the marks that provide for the viewer vivid texture, but the surfaces upon which these marks are made."
Disaster Statism: A Review of Naomi Klein's Book The Shock Doctrine
by Hogeye Bill, July 2008
"Klein makes a big deal out of Milton Friedman's assertion that reforms are best made during crises. This is puzzling, since virtually every reformer/revolutionary, from Tom Paine to Margaret Sanger to Karl Marx, has said the same thing—that you need to strike while the iron is hot. Klein tries to construe the crisis can be opportunity idea as unique to Friedman and evidence of evil intent. It is neither."
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book by Ray Succre and interviews the author, June 2008
"Walking, talking metaphors have invaded the narrator's fragile world and taken up the task of controlling not only his surroundings but also the direction his life is taking. One takes up residency in his oven, turning the apartment into a brutally hot steam room and forcing the narrator to join him inside the oven to dictate poetry that will be sent to the major literary magazines for consideration. Another comes to appear to him in his refrigerator..."
Worker of the World: Reflections on Utah Phillips
by Gabriel Ricard, June 2008
"I came into the music and stories of Utah Phillips the way a lot of people my age did. It was around 2005, and I was very much into Ani Difranco. I don't listen to her a whole lot anymore, but at the time, her music was very important to what I was trying to accomplish as a writer. Her albums in constant rotation he was a very necessary and useful influence for where I wound up going next."
Lessons from the River Kwai
by Iftekhar Sayeed, May 2008
"Yet great art rarely concerns itself with reality, but with the ego's self-transcendence in reaching out to other egos. The Iliad is not so much about Ilium, as Achilles. The ego was Homer's theme. Art, one may say, is a Cartesian rejection of the world's reality trying to reach the world. Or, to be relevant in our vocabulary, art bridges the distance between selves."
Science in Contemporary Fiction: Variations on a Theme by Richard Powers
by James Chaffee, May 2008
"I understand that few readers will make these objections. That is what worries me, that Powers reinforces for these readers the mythological one-dimensional viewpoint of how physics works or mathematics works, along with the one-dimensional nerds who create this work. And nothing could be farther from the truth."
The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press
Gabriel Ricard reviews the DVD by Wayne Ewing and interviews the director, January 2008
"Thankfully though, there are people like documentary filmmaker Wayne Ewing. Even before Katrina, Ewing and others like him have remained committed to making sure the average out-of-towner learns and never forgets that New Orleans is as artistically important as New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, and all the others."
A Victim of Imperialism
Iftekhar Sayeed discusses Heart of Darkness, January 2008
'"Those who read me," wrote Conrad about himself, "know my conviction that the world, the temporal world, rests on a few very simple ideas; so simple that they must be as old as the hills. It rests, notably among others, on the idea of Fidelity." And, like the Polonaise, we find a Chopinesque dedication to the fact that 'Poland is not so much a state as a state of mind'...'
The Portable Obituary
Gabriel Ricard reviews the book by Michael Largo and interviews the author, October 2007
"The thing that surprised me the most about Anna Nicole Smith's death earlier this year was not the fact that she died, but rather, the furious mass of conversation that occurred in the wake of her passing. People who wouldn't have been anywhere near a television that was playing her famously awful reality show were suddenly engaged in the serious discussion of the where, when, why, and how of her death."
Two tracks from Pandemonium by Barry Wallenstein
with a review by Kirpal Gordon, June 2007
"No question, the band is fun, nutty, capable, but the first thing a listener is confronted with in Pandemonium, Barry Wallenstein's latest CD from Cadence Records, is the voice of the poet. No stranger to wrapping his well-crafted lyrics around what a little moonlight and a jazz ensemble can do, Wallenstein is a most distinctive word slinger. Play one line of verse from any of the nineteen poems on the CD and you know it's he."
The Epic of Gilgamesh
by Iftekhar Sayeed, June 2007
"Homer, by rendering anarchy romantic, rendered death beautiful; Gilgamesh, by assuming government, achieved the reverse. Both affirm life. The Greek affirms life through the Other, as togetherness, the Mesopotamian through the Third, the state, as separateness."
The Bearing Well of All Calamities
Mary Jo Malo reviews PASSIO by Geraldine Green, May 2007
"Every person, plant, bird, tree, creature, and the multitude of other natural gems Green encounters are connected by subjectively experienced correspondences. She carries them inside her web of reality and explains them so carefully to the reader. Each phrase is an earthly metaphor with a rich history, and Geraldine Green has the fantastic ability to end each poem with a single line that leaves you suspended in a nearly timeless contemplation."
Doom 3: Immersion Beyond the Cinematic
by Jim Andrews, January 2007
"The new narrative matter in Doom 3 includes cinematic scenes where characters speak and the interactivity is suspended briefly. In these scenes, we hear and see a handful of characters much as in a film. Also, we occassionally pick up some unfortunate corpse's PDA. We can read their email and listen to audio logs. Their email sometimes has numeric codes in it that lets us pick up medicine, weapons (you consume more medicine and fire more weapons in this game than you are likely to in a lifetime)..."
(GV6) The Odyssey: Poets, Passion, & Poetry
Gabriel Ricard reviews the DVD, January 2007
"One of the things I'm always hearing about is how poetry is no longer viable or useful in the creative world. Unless, obviously, you can turn it into a pop song and make enough money to buy some land in Tokyo. But other than that, the general opinion for poetry and where it's headed is not an optimistic one. Fifty years ago, if your luck held out, you actually had a shot at making some decent money on poetry and poetry alone."
Perchance to Dream
Mary Jo Malo reviews Eating & Drinking by Sam Silva, September 2006
"The cover of Eating & Drinking by Sam Silva immediately captured my attention. For me it seems a depiction of the elementals: the blue sky as Air; purifying flames as Fire; a weightless stone as Earth floating in a glass of Water, the universal transforming solvent. The alchemist's vessel/ philosopher's stone/ human being is itself the fifth element which contains the other four. Life, its own wisdom, cannot be separated."
"Quotation...Admiration...Outline My Route!"
Personal Notes on the We Jam Econo DVD
by Mike Wood, August 2006
"I, thought of as a quiet geek who was probably listening to Bach while masturbating at night, was suddenly a worse threat; I had NEWS, news that there was something out there heavier, louder, more radical than Ozzie or Led Zep. The few kids I let borrow the Motorhead returned it speechless, about it and, now, about me. Aha; music was a way to speak up for myself, even if I couldn't."
The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu
Louise Landes Levi reviews the book by Debra DeSalvo, August 2006
"Occasionally one picks up a book that vibrates in one's hands. One reads its contents and the vibration continues. The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu by Debra DeSalvo is literally ALIVE with the personalities, histories and music it describes."
All Pain, No Gain: A Secondary Education:
Unnecessary Roughness by Shin Yu Pai
Mary Jo Malo reviews the book, June 2006
"Many believe the nature of art is to disturb and provoke, so in this regard Unnecessary Roughness succeeds. My own quandary is this. Is it absurd and/or meaningful to criticize poetry for bias? We can hardly expect poetry not to express a subjective point of view."
Love Isn't a Collaboration:
When I Met You by Elya Finn
Mary Jo Malo reviews the CD, March 2006
"I hear a bittersweet mélange of words and music, a mixture whose separate ingredients are no longer recognizable because they blend to make a whole new thing. I hear jazzy piano riffs, folk, rock, pop and a little bossa nova. There are plaintive minor keys that remind me of a suffering Russia. Painfully honest lyrics about love are never easy to listen to."
My Ghost in the Bush of Lies
Aryan Kaganof reviews the book, December 2005
'Whilst studying at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, he was forced to go into hiding for planting a word bomb. In prison he recognised chunks and phrases of theory, philosophy, prose, his own dreams. Some he did not recognise. "I suppose that's more rubbish from the rubbish".'