Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The amazing thing about art is how broad the definition can be, and ultimately it is define by the observer and not the creator. There is photography, sculpture, painting, illustrations, pottery, and so on, but an exciting new outlet is that of original skateboard design. An artist that is advancing this medium into a art form, and still finding time to create other incredible pieces of art is Leanne Biank. Pennsylvania artist, Leanne Biank, has a BFA in Illustration from The University of Arts in Philadelphia and is currently a designer for Villanova University.
Recently, Leanne was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:
Orange Alert (OA): How would you define your style of painting?
Leanne Biank (LB): I guess if I had to call my style something I might say its a bit of a mix of tongue in cheek, whimsical, surrealism or something like that.
OA: In the current world of art, what is the distinction between art and
illustration, and how do you, (if you do) keep the two separate when you create?
LB: Well I actually went to school for illustration and to me "illustration" and "art" can easily be one in the same. As long as you are constantly putting yourself and your own ideas and thoughts on things into your work, the "illustration" you may have done for a cd cover could just as easily have hung in a gallery. Plus alot of the times galleries, that might show your "art," will give you a theme for the show, to give you something to work off of, which alot of the times is the same way that an illustration job might be done. I guess I could say that illustration is getting an idea across through an image, well I would hope that an artist would be doing the exact same thing with their "art."
OA: What is your typical starting point for a new piece, and how long does
it take you to complete that piece?
LB: My personal way of working out and starting a piece, is by doing a bit of research on whatever my idea might be, through books, Internet ect. Then I'll make out a pretty big list of any words that might come to my mind about that idea, after that I sketch out about 20 thumbnail ideas until I have something set. From there I just sketch and sketch in my book until my characters, backgrounds and ideas are solid enough to transfer to the wood that I will eventually turn into a painting. It usually takes me about a week or two to finish a painting because I also work two jobs I dont get to sit down every day and paint, unfortunately.
OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
LB: Some of my biggest artistic influences are titian, monet, Bernie fuchs, jeremy fish, jeff soto, joe sorren, blaine fontana.
OA: Do you listen to music when you paint? If yes, who are some your favorite musicians to listen to? Does their music impact your painting in anyway?
LB: I do listen to music when i paint, or sometimes ill watch a movie on my laptop or something, but usually ill listen to music. Lately i've been listening to; sufjan stevens, clap your hands and say yeah, the decemberists, iron and wine, explosions in the sky, modest mouse, me without you and the get up kids. their music definitely impacts my work for sure they put me in this certain mood that really gets me into what i'm doing, I tend to not think about anything else but what's in front of me and kind of zone out.
This spring Leanne will take part in the "Across the Sea" group show at the Fuel Gallery (Philly) on March 16th, the "Pick of the Harvest: Batch Four" show at Thinkspace Gallery (LA) on April 13th, and the "I Am an 8-Bit" show at 1988 Gallery (LA) on April 17th. For more information on Leanne Biank visit her website.
I recently discovered Pandora, and I can't get enough. I like it more then Last.fm because it takes specific qualities in the music of the artist that you enter and plays music by artists with those same qualities. Basically, they seem to give better recommendations then last.fm. Check it out!
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
1. Do Make Say Think - You, You're a History in Rust The Universe! (mp3)
2. Money Mark - Brand New by Tomorrow Color of yourBlue (mp3)
3. Dalek - Abandoned Language Bricks Crumble (mp3)
4. Portugal the Man - It's Complicated Being a Wizard (single) Ruby Magic (mp3)
5. Dr. Dog - We All Belong Alaska (mp3)
6. Dean & Britta - Back Numbers Words You Used to Say (mp3)
1. Stranger Than Fiction - Will Ferrell
2. A Good Year
3. The Return - Sarah Michelle Gellar
4. Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sunday, February 25, 2007
In the latest issue of “Foreign Policy”, Steven Weber, Naazeen Barma, Matthew Kroenig, and Ely Ratner have published an article entitled “How Globalization Went Bad”. They present their argument in three clear axioms:
Saturday, February 24, 2007
1. Aleks & The Drummer - This classical, electro, looping, dark chicago duo has big things planned for 2007.
2. Essie Jain - Gracefully beautiful and her music is good as well. Check out Haze (mp3)
3. All The Creatures of the Sea - Instrumental electronic folk with plenty of Chicago soul!
1. Merger Would End Satellite Radio’s Rivalry - It would end a rivalry, but what would it create?
2. Moral Waivers and the Military - As the number of troops increases the quality decreases.
3. THE2NDHAND Installment #23 - It features an exciting story by Tobias Carroll "Spencer Hangs over Newark".
1. Storyville Coffee
1. Skybox - Arco Iris - More great chicago music for free here.
1. Blades of Glory Trailer - Jon Heder and Will Ferrell, Sweet!
2. The Decemberists - O Velencia (Director's Cut) 9 minutes with a surprise ending.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Sam Wisternoff, a.k.a Sj Esau, is a lo-fi bedroom musician that has recently signed to Anticon Records, and will be re-releasing his masterpiece "Wrong Faced Cat Feed Collapse" on March 13th 2007. He is currently in the studio recording new sounds to be released through Anticon. This Bristol native creates music that keeps you guessing as to what you might hear next. His songs can quickly transistion between hushed, graceful, echoing to agressive, electronic, and choatic. The records is filled with a wide range of instruments, from electronic noise to violins and flutes, and it really adds to the complexity of the sound.
Cat Track (he has no balls) (mp3)
Thursday, February 22, 2007
"Elegies entangle the arc of a hard whistle
echoing along the dirty halls of this dimly lit terminal,
and our eyes are annihilated by blood,
teeth crushed by the vinyl lining the length of the hall,
as we waver in and out of chaotic queue,"
Recently, Caleb was kind enough to answer a few of our questions:
As far as short fiction goes, my primary lineage consists of Hawthorne, Dostoyevsky, Kafka and a number of the Magic Realists (starting with Rulfo) who are heirs to this verve of exploration. Again, the visionary intensity of these writers is of great value to me, and I appreciate the focus each has on life’s nearly inexplicable mysteries as they apply to the (de)formation of identity, chiefly when such involves the emotional makeup of society’s ostensible castoffs. All of the artists mentioned above have a wonderful faculty for symbolic construction and, though their sense of diction differs greatly, have an absolute mastery of language in all its atmospheric metaphysical tonalities. Their works have that nice mixture of streaming abundance and stark nothingness that engenders a living texture, a sense of being beyond the scope of typical literary reportage.
Lastly, I must say that the older I get the more I appreciate humorous works of art. Angst has such a prominent place in literature that it often seems to completely overshadow its less brooding brother. The laughs (however innocent or cynical) one can find in James Tate’s poetry or in Flann O’Brien’s writing can do wonders for the weary at heart and help realign the head a bit. Work operating in that capacity certainly appeals to me as much as the well advertised heavy mode does.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Robert Hardgrave, a.k.a. Farmerbob, loves metal bands, drinking coffee, and oh yeah painting incredible works of art. He has lived in Seattle for the last fourteen years, and there is no better place to live for a coffee drinker. He creates intricate, winding, adventurous pieces that draw you in immediately. While you try to figure out if what you are looking at is just a design or something deeper, eyes and fingers begin to appear. With each viewing a different detail is found adding to the beauty of the piece, and allowing to viewer to add his or her own interpretation as to what the image may be.
Recently, Farmerbob was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about his name, his work, and his love of coffee. Here is what we found out:
Orange Alert (OA): Where does the name Farmerbob come from?
Robert Hardgrave (RH): When I first launched the farmerbobsfarm site I wanted a way to be memorable. Also at that point I was drawing lots of chickens, cows and pigs. I moved through that sort of work pretty quickly, but everyone was referring to me as farmerbob already so I just kept it. It has served me well.
OA: How would you define your work? RH: Organic, calligraphic, autobiographical. My work portrays the two sides to life with a slight bias towards the dark side of things.
OA: What is your typical starting point for a new piece, and how long does it take you to complete that piece?
RH: Generally I begin a piece with no specific intentions. I just build up the color, then the lines, until something I can recognize appears. Painting and drawing to me are mostly about the rhythm of my hand and the movement of the brush. I do however have a sort of vocabulary that is repeated throughout the work. It is just varied upon itself over and over again. The amount of detail really determines the length it takes to complete a painting. Typically I would say between 20 to 25 hours for a 24" x 24" piece.
OA: Do you listen to music when you paint? If yes, who are some your favorite musicians to listen to? Does their music impact your painting in anyway?
RH: Definitely. I am an avid metal enthusiast. Some of my current favorites are 1349, Amon Amarth, Belphegor, Melechesh and Keep of Kalessin. Basically this sort of music aids in the rhythm I was referring to in the previous question. It has a driving beat and there is plenty of variance to keep me interested.
OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
RH: People who are working hard at doing their thing. I really prefer work that is original and raw yet retains some sort of character/narrative elements. I enjoy work that is immediate and not overworked. I am going to refrain from mentioning anyone because there are so many people's work I enjoy.
OA: Bonus question: As a fellow coffee drinker (I consume about 10 cups per day), what is your favorite type of coffee, and how many cups a day do you drink?
RH: Good question. I by no means ingest that much coffee per day. You are a nut!!! For me 2 cups usually, 3 if I am feeling really indulgent. I frequent this place near my studio that serves Stumptown coffee. It is really good and sort of chocolaty. The same reason I enjoy Cafe Vita at home. When I order a coffee it is usually two shots of espresso with just a little bit of hot water and of course sugar and cream.
On February 17th, Robert was involved in the inaugural show "Elevation" at the Limited Addiction Gallery in Denver, CO. For the rest of 2007, he will be involved in the two Artdorks show in June, a solo show at The Autopsy Gallery in Melbourne, Australia, and a solo show at BLK/MRKT in LA in December. For more on Farmerbob visit his website or his flickr page.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
1. El-p - Flyentology ft. Trent Reznor (single available on itunes) (mp3)
2. One AM Radio - This too will Pass
2. The Besnard Lakes - Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse (mp3)
3. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone 4. Joakim - Monsters & Silly Songs
5. Aqueduct - Or Give Me Death
6. Pink Mountaintops - Single Life/My Best Friend
7. The Rakes - Remixes EP
8. Calla - Strength in Numbers
9. Bobby Conn - King For a Day
10. Jill Cunniff - City Beach
11. Dolorean - You Can't Win
12. Richard Swift - Dressed Up For the Let Down
13. Eluvium - Copia
14. Minus the Bear - Interpretaciones Del Oso
15. Trans Am - Sex Change
16. Black Lips - Valientes Del Mundo Neuva
17. K-os - Atlantis: Hymns for Disco (US release, This was one of my favorite releases of 2006)
18. The Frames - Cost (US release)
19. The Young Knives - Voices of Animals and Men (US Release) (mp3)
As always you can find mp3's for all of these artists over at the hype machine.
For Your Consideration
Man of the Year
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Voltaire said, "I may not agree with what you say, but to your death I will defend your right to say it."
Hardaway has the right to say what he said, but where does this hatred stem from? What are the roots of discrimination, and why does each new generation continue this hatred while creating new categories hate? Is it fear, is it cultural differences, is it just plain old-fashioned stupidity? I'm not saying Hardaway is stupid, but if he does know that the United States is in the world then maybe he is stupid, and maybe that is why he has this hatred. Talk amongst yourselves...
Saturday, February 17, 2007
1. The Kaiser Chiefs AOL Interface Podcast, it features acoustic version of three of their new songs. You can download it here.
2. The Beep Seals - They've got the nu-surf sound down, but could someone tell them to change the font color on their myspace page!
3. Sol.iLLaquists of Sound - Smooth positive hip-hop, also check out their myspace page.
4. The Nudie Suits - New Zealand indie-pop meets American Bluegrass.
1.A Cool $25 Million for a Climate Backup Plan by John Tierney - Leave it Al Gore and Richard Branson.
2. What WB Yeats' 'Second Coming' Really Says About the Iraq War by Adam Cohen - Here is the link to the actual poem. It is interesting, but I don't think Yeats was predicting the future!
3. Wag Magazine - This mag collects some really interesting art and literature, and I always enjoy turn pages with my mouse.
1. Bonnaroo Festival Tickets - The Decemberists, Lily Allen, The Black Keys, Aesop Rock, Spoon ... Oh Yeah!
2. Yellowbird T-Shirt Project - Great causes, but it is still $25.
1. Free music from Stones Throw! First it was Chrome Children 2 (music from Adult Swim) last month, then they dub February J Dilla month and give us "Thank You J Dilla Act 2" mixed by J-Rocc, and finally on V-Day Peanut Butter Wolf gave us his "Valentine's Day Mixtape". Thank you, Stones Throw!
1. The DL - Ever since AOL launch the music blog "Spinner" I've been addicted to their segment called The DL. I especially enjoy any of the episodes that Sara Schaefer is in, she makes the DL a must see.
2. DJ Zebra's mini-documentary of his expirence at Bootie 2005 (I found this here)
Friday, February 16, 2007
Reinvent: Create anew and make over.
Ramble John Krohn, aka RJD2, was born May 27, 1976 in Eugene Oregon, but he was raised in Columbus, OH. To date he has release two full length album on El-p's Def Jux label, "Dead Ringer" (2002) and "Since We Last Spoke" (2004). He has also releases various mixtapes and remixes over the years, and this is not including his work has half of Soul Position (whose 2006 release "Things Go Better with RJ and AL" made my top 25). To say the least, Rj had both feet firmly planted in hip-hop culture.
Then in September of last year, RJ talked to Pitchfork, and said that he had gone "rap free in 2006", and that he was always meant to make pop music. He had also left Def Jux, and sign a long-term deal with XL Recordings (home of Be Your Own Pet, Dizzee Rascal, The Racounters, M.I.A, Thom Yorke, Ratatat, Tapes n' Tapes, etc) earlier in the year. You could tell that things were changing, but what would the result of all of this change be? The result is RJD2's third full-length album and first on XL, "The Third Hand" to be release on 3/6/07. Upon first listen, I felt that he completely reinvented himself, but after going back through "Since We Last Spoke" you get a sense that this is more of a natural progression or maturation. Especially if you listen to "Making Days Longer" from "Since We Last Spoke". Yes he sings on most of the tracks, he plays all of the instruments and I think there may be only one or two samples on the entire record. However, there is something more honest, more sincere in this record then in his previous releases. This may be the result of him playing all of the instruments, or he singing his personal lyrics, basically he has created an extension of himself. He didn't simply reproduce music that had already been created. Not lessen the world of hip-hop, but they have yet to really produce something this meaningful.
Moby has done something very similar to what RJ is now doing. He stepped out from behind the computer/turntable, and began to create a more organic vocal style of pop music. Frankly, it is some of the worst music he has ever created. However, unlike Moby, RJ can sing very well, and he is able to add just the right element from his previous style to make it work.
DJ Shadow and RJD2 have been on similar paths at times, and both have produced high quality instrumental hip-hop. However, DJ Shadow on his latest release went deep (too deep) into the realm of Rap and really lost the qualities that had drawn so many fans to him. RJ has gone in the opposite direction, and we have yet to see or hear what his fans will do.
What do you think of RJ's new sound? (leave a comment...)
Get It (mp3)
Have Mercy (mp3)
Preorder "The Third Hand" Here
Bonus: (find more RJ mp3's here)
RJD2 - 1976 (mp3)
Soul Position - Hand Me Downs (mp3)
The Go! Team - Huddle Formation (RJD2 Remix) (mp3)
Michael: A boss is like a teacher. And I am like the cool teacher. Like Mr. Handell. Mr. Handell would hang out with us. And he would tell us awesome jokes. And he actually hooked up with one of the students. Um, and then like twelve other kids came forward. It was in all the papers. Really ruined eighth grade for us.
Angela: Poop is raining from the ceilings. Poop!
Michael: You cannot learn from books. Replace these pages with life lessons. And then you will have a book that is worth its weight in gold. I know these are expensive. But the lesson is priceless.
Michael: There are four kinds of business. Tourism. Food service. Railroads. And sales. And hospitals/manufacturing. And air travel.
Dwight: If a vampire bat was in the U.S., it would make sense for it to come to a “-sylvania.” Like Penn-sylvania. Now that doesn’t mean that Jim is going to become a vampire. Only that he carries the vampiric germ.
Michael: We can’t overestimate the value of computers. Yes, they are great for playing games and forwarding funny emails. But real business is done on paper, okay?
Dwight: I don’t have a lot of experience with vampires. But I have hunted werewolves. I shot one once, but by the time I got to it, it had turned back into my neighbor’s dog.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Pennsylvania author, G. Emil Reutter, had a very productive 2006, and it hasn't gone unnoticed. During the last year he published four books, "Stirring Within/Tales from Mount Carmel" (1/06), "The Jonesville Collection" (4/06), "Asphalt Road" (12/06), and "Plain Speak/Sweet Speak" (with Phil Primeau). The concept behind "Plain Speak/Sweet Speak" is what initially sparked my interest, and in the forward of the book, Phil Primeau explains it like this: "This chapbook demonstrates not only the versatility of language, but also the necessity of subtextual examination. It allows reflection on cultural and linguistic patterns and forces the reader to consider the flexibility of the written unit." If you look at it in terms of music, the first half of the book is the original material written by Reutter, and the second half the remix by Primeau. Reutter has also had several other poems and stories published through various website including "Neighborhood" (Word Riot), "Shopping" (Wilderness House Review), "The Tale of Virgil Oakes" (Dead Mule), and many more that you can find in the portfolio section of his website.
G. Emil Reutter (GER): I am a bit eclectic when it comes to literature. I enjoy the works of Hemingway and Thomas to Justin Barrett, Debbie Kirk and slightly cringing even Joe Massey. I find the more one is exposed to the more one grows. A poet from Western New York, Vincent Quatroche has released several discs that are simply amazing and have impacted me. The whole concept of Plain Speak/Sweet Speak with Phil Primeau exposed me to a different form of my own work as viewed by Primeau. All in all I would have to say Dylan Thomas was a major influence.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
JT: "The Horrifying Tale of the Tremendous Journey of Dingle Doppleganger" Mon. Feb. 19th • 7-10pm Maxwell's Hoboken, NJ
Also check out Josh Taylor at deviantART and myspace.
They got me through my teenage years, and now they are back! There will be more on Dinosaur Jr. in the months to come, be warned now, but this is the first track off their 5/1/07 Fat Possum release "Beyond". Break out the air guitar, this one ROCKS!
Dinosaur Jr. - Almost Ready (mp3)
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The week, we feature a Republican US Presidential candidate, Duncan Hunter.
HUNTER, Duncan Lee, a Representative from California; born in Riverside, Riverside County, Calif., May 31, 1948; graduated from Rubidoux High School, Riverside, Calif., 1966; B.S., Western State University, San Diego, Calif., 1968; J.D., Western State University, San Diego, Calif., 1976; United States Army Airborne, 1969-1971; lawyer, private practice; elected as a Republican to the Ninety-seventh and to the thirteen succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1981-present); chair, Committee on Armed Services (One Hundred Eighth and One Hundred Ninth Congress).
Here is the best site I have found for comparing candidates with your own political philosophy. I will be referencing this site for every candidate that we go through.
This is a list of Hunter's stance on certain big name topics:
Military Border Patrols
Voucher Programs for School
Voluntary Prayer in Schools
Building new oil refineries
Reduction of the Marriage Tax
Mandatory 3 strikes laws
Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition; a pro-family voting record
Free trade w/ Australia (Voted no for all other free trade agreements)
Expanding and supporting free trade
Withdrawl from the WTO
Restricting US funds to the UN for reform
Gov't is too big, too intrusive and too easy with money
Limiting frivolous lawsuits
Guns, gun sellers and gun manufacturers (can not sue the sellers and manufacturers)
Limiting medical malpractice suits
Reimportation of prescription medication
Pro-Military voting record
Permit commercial airline pilots to carry guns
Requiring the reporting of illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment
100% voting record by FAIR; indicating a voting record restricting immigration
End off shore tax havens and promote small business
Raise 401k amounts and make pension plans more portable
Privatized Social Security
Eliminate the marriage penalty
Eliminating the Estate Tax (Death Tax)
Permanent Tax Cuts
Allowing Telephone Monopolies to offer Internet access
War on Terrorism
Faith Based Organizations
Abortion as a women's right
Medical Marajuana in DC
Funds to the IMF for 3rd world debt reduction
Normal trade relations with China
Physician added suicide
Immigration visas for skilled workers
Strengthening Social Security Lockbox
Internet Gambling w/ credit cards
Limiting political campaign funds
Replacing coal and oil w/ alternative fuels
Monday, February 12, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
1. RF & Lili De La Mora - Angelic and graceful, this duo is preparing to go on tour with Joanna Newsom, and release their debut album on Odd Shaped Case this spring. Big things coming, keep watching!
2. The Water Island - Tim Fite and Danielle Stech Homsy make beautiful music together. There is rumor of an album that is sold at Tim Fite concerts, but I haven't seen yet.
2. Let's Go Sailing - Their debut album, The Chaos in Order, will be released on March 27th. Shana Levy has an amazing voice!
Female vocals all around this week on the Watch list, but three very incredible women.
1. Texas is First to Require Cancer Shot for Schoolgirls by Ralph Blumenthal. I am not a proponent of vaccines, in fact I am strongly opposed to them, but I haven't decided on this on yet. Anytime I see the word "require" I take pause.
2. Toggle Magazine - Jeremy Pruitt and Jacklamotta started a magazine a few years back, and it never really took off, but you can still download the three issues from their website.
3. Free Will: Now You Have it, Now You Don't by Dennis Overbye. This topic has always interested me, and this is a great article. Is it free will, predestination, and simply randomness?
1. Z-Trip Mixtape Academy T-Shirt - $20 (More of a Wish list item)
1. Folgers Gourmet Selections Free Sample
1. The new Grizzly Bear video for Knife which premiered on Stereogum on the 8th.
2. The trailer for Rob Swift's new movie "As the Tables Turn"
Friday, February 09, 2007
Jim: Hey Dwight, do you want an Altoid?
Dwight: Why are all these people here? There’s too many people on this earth. We need a new plague. Who are all these people?Dwight: The Schrutes have their own traditions. We usually marry standing in our own graves. Makes the funerals very romantic. But the weddings are a bleak affair.
Kevin: No, this is not our first wedding. This is the third wedding that Scrantonicity has played. We also played our bassist’s wedding, and our guitarist’s wedding.
Michael: My name is Michael Scott. Webster’s Dictionary defines wedding as “the fusing of two metals with a hot torch.” Well you know something? I think you guys are two metals … gold metals. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Michael Scott, Phyllis’ boss. To quote from The Princess Bride, mare-widge!
Michael: Phyllis and Bob, their celebrity couple name would be … Phylob. You look at her, and she’s kind of matronly today. But back in high school, I swear, her nickname was “Easy Rider.”
Thursday, February 08, 2007
To have your words speak for themselves, and let your stories paint your biography is really the goal of any writer. Does that make them mysterious or paint a false image, I don't know, but it does create persona regardless of what you choose to say about yourself. Case in point, every time I've read the work of Spencer Dew it has been followed by one sentence, "Spencer Dew lives in Chicago". That biography left my mind to wander back through his words to create an image of who I thought he may be, but I wanted more. I was able to find a short interview he did with SmokeLong Quarterly over two years ago, that talked about his experience in the Middle East and his take on how a novel is born (“But what ultimately propels any novel is good poetry, clarity and convulsion of imagery, and that element should be able to stand alone in short work, radically condensed. So I think the egg of the idea is the same for any length of work, and often, for me, a single piece will expand and contract and morph around until it settles in a mature shape.”). This was helpful, but I want more, so here is more with Spencer Dew:
Orange Alert (OA): Tell me about yourself, and how you discovered your gift for writing.
Spencer Dew (SD): I don't know how to write bios, I think. Like, I always say that I live in Chicago and then just list some places that have published things, which is more like an index or some kind of, what, linking thing, nodes on a network, and not a "biography" in the sense of a narrative of, yeah, upbringing and schooling and which wars I fought in or whatnot. Is that enough of an answer or do I need to, like, give you actual biographical facts? Or how about this: "Spencer Dew doesn't want to be overly mysterious, but he really dreads coming across like an ass." Or: "Spencer Dew lives in Chicago and regrets ever opening his mouth." Does that answer the "gift of writing" question, too?
OA: Who are your biggest literary influences?
SD: This is more a question to gnaw on... Anne Sexton says you have to hide your influences. That's probably fair. But there's also, like, a list of authors and texts that you just want to hand out on the El platforms, etc. Kenneth Patchen, Joy Williams, Steinke's "Suicide Blonde," Aragon's "Paris Peasant," Breton's "Nadja," Lyn Hejinian, Kathy Acker. I read "The Bell Jar" and "The Sun Also Rises" every year. They keep working. Lots of stuff. I'm really bad at remembering. Maybe also I'd say that the secret (and Sexton probably was implying this, too) is a rage toward absolute variety, to just, like, expose yourself to whatever you normally wouldn't, to take those risks, sit down with medical textbooks or hardware guides. One of the best things I read recently was this, like, recruitment pamphlet for one of the big brokerage firms, introducing prospective employees to the pace of worklife there, etc. A gorgeous little book, with lines like: "No time for a three-martini lunch in this business; food is only fuel." So true. And yet so false.
OA: How would you define creativity?
SD: I really wouldn't, which is the smartass answer, which them makes me really anxious and beady with self-loathing, as hinted at in the answer to question A. I don't know. It's interesting to look at, like, juxtapositions and such, and interesting to follow that as a kind of practice, into creative thinking, unexpected parallels. But that's a cheap answer, too, and only half of the truth. Know your history. That's an aphorism or instruction or whatever, but if anything is key to creativity, really, that has to be it.
OA: Do you listen to music while you write? Who are your favorite groups or musicians while writing and in general?
SD: Sometimes I listen to music when I write, yes. Or, like, even more than that, sometimes I write with music in mind, a specific phrase or, more usually, a specific beat or series of bars... I'll take an opening bass line and really work out from there. That's what I think about doing, as I do it, working out a tone and some images and a scene to match a musical line. Tangled up with that is the fact that I get fixated on individual songs, and play one song over and over and over. Often, otherwise, it's distracting, music and writing at the same time, but by the fortieth repetition of "Pilgrim" it's kind of a tonal drone, distilled to pure essence of feeling, with a beat, and the words blur away and you can write your own words to that sound, that pulse, that emotion. Sheesh. This is proof that I am no music writer.
OA: I’ve heard you are working on a novel, is there anything you can tell us about the concept and when it might be available for purchase?
SD: have a novel I'm shopping around, about nostalgia and college and Ohio and kids locked on tragically banal trajectories, rejecting all hope of change. Cheery stuff, but it cracks me up. There's a llama in it, and lots of squirrels, because I like squirrels. I like cats, too. I don't have any feelings toward llamas, except that they are scenic. I'm also finishing a novel about vigilantes in Chicago, or about a really lonely and unhappy guy who believes that he is in league with vigilantes in Chicago, the comic book kind, with butchery at various tourist sites and, you know, trained cougars... The project I'm starting is a bit more refined, if that's the word. It's about relationships.
Spencer does live in Chicago and he is a PhD. student at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is currently writing a dissertation on the ethical/political motivations for Kathy Acker's literary techniques.
Here is a comprehensive list of where Spencer has been published, and here are a few of my personal favorites:
White Sale (from Cerebral Catalyst)
The Heart of it All (from No Media Kings)
Dogs of Goya, Velasquez, and Cervantes (from Wandering Army)
Thirteen Ways of Looking at Pregnancy Test (from Juked)
He is also a weekly contributor to Thieves Jargon.
(Photo by Jeremy Biles)
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Monday, February 05, 2007
Enjoy "Future Listening 2" (artwork by Leanne Biank)