Saturday, March 31, 2007
1. Yea Big & Kid Static - The Chicago underground is about to blow up, and this duo is going to lead the charge. Check'em out, I hope to on May 18th at The House Cafe in Dekalb, IL
2. Fair to Midland - More quality music emerging from the farms of Texas, their full-length debut, Fables from a Mayfly, will be released June 12th. Check out: Vice Versa (mp3) and their myspace page.
3. Slaraffenland - Copenhagen, Denmark seems to be the land of gentle guitar drone and hushed harmonizing vocals... and I love it!! Look out for this bands May release "Private Cinema" on Hometapes & Rumkaret. Check Out: Polaroids (mp3)
1. Poor Behavior Linked to Time in Day Care by Benedict Carey - I'm shocked that children actually need to spend more time with their parents!
2. Income Gap is Widening, Data Shows by David Cay Johnston - The data is from 2005, but it is still pretty shocking. 48.5% of the income report in 2005 was collected by the top 10% of Americans.
3. Noo Journal Issue #6 was just released this week, and includes a great piece of flash fiction by Caleb Puckett, "Hat Trick".
1. Snapple's New "Out-of-the-Blue" Berry Tea - Still Made from the Best Stuff on Earth!
2. Dj Qbert for Intellectual Dummies - New DVD from Qbert just released this month.
1. Crush to Pulp Issue #2, April 2007, this issue's theme is "Identity". I submitted some stuff, but it didn't make the cut. Next months theme is: Memory.
1. Dinosaur Jr. on Jenny Jones - J blew the white trash right out of the building. This circa 1997 when the incredible Mike Johnson was in the band.
2. 3rd Bass is givin' you the Gas Face! Look out for MF Doom (he used be know as Zev Luv X), and Gilbert Godfrey in the finest role of his career.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Illinois "makes old loves new and the green grass grow", and that is not easy to do. However, these five men, Chris Archibald (Arch) (vocals/banjo), Martin Hoeger (bass), Andrew Lee (guitar), John Paul Kuyper (drums), and Kyle Goldbach (specialist), have actually managed to make green grass grow. The release of their first EP, What the Hell do I Know?, on Ace Fu records March 6th was exactly what the indie rock world needed to usher in spring and the green grass. This is straight up, whiskey-laced, indie-pop aggression from Bucks County, PA.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Jose recently answered a few our questions regarding art, hip-hop, and more.
Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your style of painting?
Jose Garibaldi (JG): I always suck as describing my work. I don't paint as much as I illustrate and draw cartoons, so I guess a lot of that carries over when I paint. I try to get a little more expressive when I paint, but still remain heavy on using characters. They usually involve a girl and some lovelorn male character.... Or ghosts and skulls.
OA: When you are on-stage creating a live piece, how does the music affect you and the piece?
JG: Music is very important in what I'm creating. Since I don't plan and don't really think about what to paint before I get up, I'm inspired by the vibe. When The Analog Addicts (Pickel, MTM, Daryl Diggs, J.Lee, Jamie, Asif) and The Comeups Soundsystem (Intel, Maker, Pickel) deejay, it's more of a party vibe, so my work is more on the fun side as I get loose while I paint. When I paint while someone like Tony Trimm is deejaying, it's more of a mellow tone, so I take my time and get a little more detailed. I've had bands that have asked me to paint while they play, but even though their music is good I just can't get into it and end up painting crap.... I usually stick to my set of deejays and artists.
OA: Of the musicians that you have worked with who was the most memorable and why?
JG: MF Doom at the Metro in 04 was pretty memorable, since that was my first big art show. I think I'd done only one small party prior, so when I was on stage at the Metro, I turned around to a sea of people watching me. That was a rush.
Z-trip at the Metro in 06 was probably my favorite. It was the right blend of deejays and mc's. Jean Grae, Pugslee Atomz, Dynamic Vibrations, the Comeups opening. Plus it was Revise and I painting some dope art. Z-trip is probably the greatest party dj. It turned into a big dance party at the end. Good times! (The picture below is from that Z-Trip show.)
JG: On stage, I just get into it once the music starts. I'll lay down a wash and try to build towards something (hopefully) good. Many times I switch directions because I'll get an idea while I'm painting. Sometimes the drips and random nature of the wash will create a shape that resembles, for example, a face or a character. I'll work with it. With live art, I usually do a couple pieces, sometimes only one big piece. My homies Dave Crosland, Jim Mahfood and Mike Huddleston always blow me away. I'll finish one piece to find they've already rocked four...
I don't paint as much when I'm home. I'll do the occasional gallery piece. My illustration work is drawn out, scanned and colored in Photoshop. At times I'll paint the backgrounds for these images. When I do work on a painted piece, I'm more careful. I work it out as a sketch, draw it then transfer it. It's more laid back at home, so I take my time, a few days maybe. The art is much tighter than the live stuff....
OA: What’s next for Jose Garibaldi (i.e. exhibitions, performances, etc.)?
JG: I have a lot planned for this year. Live art wise, I'm painting in St. Louis on March 30th, Chicago on April 1st and 5th. People can always keep up with when and where I'm painting (and where I'm getting into trouble) on myspace at www.myspace.com/joseg .I also keep a blog there where I post sketches and new drawings. As we do every year, this summer we'll have the big live art jam during the Wizard World convention.
Hopefully I'll have everything together for some t-shirts from http://www.formulawerks.com/ . That's another one of my crews.
I have two pages in an upcoming issue of Mad Magazine. Don't know when that's coming out exactly, but I'll get the word out as soon as I find out.
I'm working on setting up a collaborative art (gallery) show with extremely dope artist Mike Huddleston, for this summer (I hope).
The project I'm most excited about is the one I'm currently working on. It's going to be an online magazine featuring my comics, illustrations, paintings and character designs. I'm still not set on a title for it, but it will contain short stories ( Deeds, Beastman, Wild Hunch, Scam!) along with the serialization of my graphic novel, Teen Heaven. All my stuff under one cover.
Folks can also check out my website http://www.littlebrownheart.com/ to see what I'm up to.
Bonus Questions: (The painting above is a collaborative piece with Revise CMW for 10/20 Impaired Visions show in Milwaukee, WI 2006 and is available for purchase)
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
JG: I'm a cheap dude. When I drink beer, it's PBR. When I drink coffee, it's Folgers Classic Roast. I slam a glass of it everyday before I go to work. I don't go to coffee spots much, but when I do it's either Filter on Milwaukee Ave, or Marshall McGearty's right up the street from there.
OA: What is the last album you purchased?
JG: Trying to remember... On wax, it might be Patrice Rushen- Straight From The Heart. On CD- probably Chromeo- Ce Soir On Danse, a dope as mix of obscure 80's funk/club jams.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
1. Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob (US Release) (Deluxe Edition w/ DVD) (mp3)
2. Kate Havnevik - Melankton (mp3)
3. Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future (mp3)
4. Let's Go Sailing - The Chaos in Order (mp3)
5. Laura Veirs - Saltbreakers (mp3)
6. Mika - Life in Cartoon Motion (find mp3's here)
7. J Rawls & Declaime - It's the Dank & Jammy Show (mp3) *sample
8. Grant Lee Phillips - Strangelet (find mp3's here)
FYI: You can stream the entire album from Kaiser Chiefs, Klaxons, & the amazing Kate Havnevik over at Spinner.
Children of Men
Color Me Kubrick
National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj
The Pursuit of Happyness
Monday, March 26, 2007
After checking out some up and coming features, I'm eyeing four right now...
Check out the trailers here.
ETA: May 4th
I'm a fan of the Marvel Comic movies. I think it's the old school truth, justice and the American Way ideals of the 50's. That, and the action.
With this film, I'm looking forward to seeing Venom, Sandman, Green Goblin and the mystery 4th villain guessed to be Mysterio. It'll be interesting to see how that many villains in one movie shake things up. I've always hoped they would start bringing in some more heroes like the Punisher or Blade to help Spider-Man out. Who knows what they'll do.
Pirates of the Caribbean : At Worlds End
Check out the trailer here.
ETA: May 25th
I just want to see it because the 2nd movie was just a hanger. It didn't resolve much of anything.
Fantastic Four : Rise of the Silver Surfer
Check out the teaser here.
ETA : June 15th
Again, Marvel Comics. Except this one has Jessica Alba too.
The Simpsons Movie
Check out the trailer here.
ETA : July 27th
The greatest show on television better meet the hype. I'm praying it's not like the last 3-4 years of the tv version.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
What does this mean? As I search the internet for answers, I see a variety of studies for and against the consumption of coffee using phrases like antioxidant, heart disease, diabetes, moderate, and so on... Why can't I bring myself to open any of them? I don't want to know that something that I enjoy can be harmful to me. Maybe I should be writing about addiction and not just coffee. I open a site called CAFFEINE!, and read that the minimum lethal dose of caffeine is 3,200mgs. That would mean that I consume roughly 1/3 of the minimum lethal dose each day. In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, Hugo Chavez said he consumes 26 cups of coffee each day, which is roughly 2,795mgs of caffeine! (I just took another gulp of coffee) Also on the CAFFEINE! site, I found a list of symptoms associated a caffeine overdose, and here are my favorites:
rambling flow of thought and speech
Now I've tried many times to achieve a rambling flow of thought, and it has only been after the right amount of consumption that I am able to achieve the desired results. At least now I have validation for my efforts. Again, what does this mean, basically I need to cut back if I don't want to agitate my psychomotor.
In the comments section, use the useful tool to calculate your daily intake, list your mgs, your excuses, and talk amongst yourselves...
Saturday, March 24, 2007
1. V8 - Chicago abstract underground hip-hop master, to release the "Trouble Man" lp this year featuring Shortrock, Ira, & k-the-i???.
2. Kixly - Beautiful drones and chimes from tijuana. "Dream Noise"
3. Pien Feith - She just released her debut EP last month on Badmintone Records.
1. Britain Proposes Allowing Schools to Forbid Full-Face Muslim Veils by Alan Cowell - Tony Blair views the Niqab as a sign of separation.
2. Cram Magazine - "CRAM is devoted to the author who writes intelligent, engaging articles and just wants a place to publish". Great outlet, covering a very diverse range of topics.
3. Parazit Issue #2 - Just released and full of amazing Russian graffiti and street art.
1. Rock the Bells Festival: They full line-up will be annouced on Monday the 26th, but with Rage Against the Machine & Wu-Tang Clan already confirmed who wouldn't wish to attend this fest?
2. Johnny Cupcakes "Make Cupcakes Not War" T-Shirt: $38.99
1. Wallspankers Issue #3: The growing community of sticker artists are giving you 250 free b&w stickers here. Now start printing and sticking!
1. Attack of the Show at G4 Tv - This is the future of television.
2. Juice Crew vs BDP: This is a great way to wrap-up what has been a hip-hop heavy week at Orange Alert.
Friday, March 23, 2007
At one time I would have classified Wax Tailor's music as downtempo, but with this release, Hope & Sorrow (5/07 Lab-oratoire Records) he really moves beyond that genre into more of a soul or funk sound. The beats still creep with a smooth limp, but it's the added elements (horn, guitar, flute, etc) that really make this record shine. Another added element too many of these songs is the amazing guests he has managed rope in this project from the jazzy rhymes of Voice on"The Games You Play", to the power vocals on "The Way We Never Lived" by Sharon Jones. I would not say that Wax Tailor is redefining hip-hop, but he is taking it in another direction. It is a direction that is more positive, and more laidback then many others in the game today.
The Tune (mp3)
The Games You Play ft. Voice (mp3)
Hope & Sorrow Tailer (mp3)
Que Sera (mp3) (from Tales of Forgotten Melodies)
To Preorder Hope & Sorrow go here.
For more information on Wax Tailor visit his website or go to his myspace page where you can stream the entire album.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
What does it mean to be a "writer"? So many imagines flash before me, from stacks of dusty books, roll top desks, and quill pens to black turtle necks and soul patches of the beats. In contrast, today's writer is very different from the writer's of past generations, the publishing world itself is extremely different then it was even 15 or 20 years ago. Everything is so open, rapid, and vitally diverse in nature that it draws a wide range of writer and reader. Today's writer could still use a quill or bang on a bongo, but more likely they carry a laptop (or a notebook because paper was created specifically for the writer), and sneaked off for a quite minute or two after the children are asleep or boss is not looking. Yet, it is in those small moments of solitude that this generation's legacy is being crafted.
One man beginning to contribute his own chapter to this legacy is Trevor Johnson. Trevor is currently living in Texas with his wife and daughter, and while obtaining his BA in English he is also working full-time. He writes whenever he can (at lunch, on breaks, or on the couch in the middle of night), but he has managed to publish two great short stories, Break and Visage, and recently talked about what we might expect from him in the near future.
Orange Alert (OA): Who are some of your biggest literary influences?
Trevor Johnson (TJ): When I started writing consistently three years ago, I was really into Bukowski. The previous year (I was living in Nashville then) a girl I was seeing had his novel Women and I read it. I thought it was great, though at the time I didn’t consciously appreciate the simple, straightforward manner he used. I spent my twenties in scenes right out of a Bukowski story, and when I moved back to Texas to finish school I began reading everything he had written. Then I started writing my own stuff.
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Hemingway, who also wrote in a terse, economic style. The Old Man and the Sea is very well written. I just read Camus’ The Stranger, and was impressed by his clarity and similar economy of words. Other writers whose concepts or style has made an impression on me are Ayn Rand, John Kennedy Toole, Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Franz Kafka, and some others. I also like Chuck Palahniuk and Stephen King; I get lots of ideas from them.
I work at a postal facility as a data conversion operator, and I’m able to listen to music or whatever while I work. I usually listen to audio books though. I must have listened to over a hundred last year. I’ll give any book a chance, a s long as it’s not romance or heavy sci-fi, and I get ideas from these also. I keep a little notepad on my console and jot everything down when the supervisors aren’t looking. I have dozens of these little notebooks filled with story ideas, concepts, scenes, character sketches, whatever. It’s a good job for me, as a writer.
OA: How has the internet (blogs, lit mags, publishers, etc.) affected you as a writer?
TJ: For me, the internet serves as an all-you-can-read buffet of short fiction. I have a Sidekick smart phone, and the web browser is amazing. It’s like a tiny laptop and loads full web pages; it does everything but play videos. I keep folders of bookmarked pages for blogs, literary magazines, and literary news sites. Whenever I have a little free time during the day I read fiction or google things related to stories I’m working on. I also have a blog, but with limited time I only post once or twice a week.
On my phone, I have thirty-five bookmarked lit mags in a folder, though I haven’t gotten a chance to check them all out; there are several sites that I read extensively. This folder didn’t exist before I published Visage, and when I’m ready to submit something new I’ll have plenty of places to choose from.
OA: What was the inspiration behind the story Visage? In it you use quite a bit of religious imagery, will that be a continuing theme in you future work?
TJ: I wrote Visage after reading about a grilled cheese sandwich that had an image of the Virgin Mary toasted into the bread. It sold for $28,000 on Ebay. It’s ridiculous. Now a guy has a fish stick with a visage of Christ seared into it, and he’s looking to cash in. People will see what they want to see. Who’s to say it’s not Jesus but actually Willie Nelson? How much would an image of Willie fetch?
The theme I wanted to explore in Visage was this spiritual emphasis put on something totally coincidental. There are other examples of these coincidences, like a brain tumor that mysteriously disappears. To me, this is just something that science hasn’t unraveled yet, and the term “miracle” is used as a placeholder until we can discover the reasons through advances in science. It’s worth noting that everyone has a breaking point, which has been developed by every experience that shaped them through childhood, adolescence, etc. When a person reaches their breaking point, religion can be a powerful method of coping with whatever they are dealing with. It’s very understandable.
I have to note here that I’m an agnostic, basically because I haven’t witnessed anything that sways me one way or the other. The idea of a benign god watching over us is romantic and comforting, and the devoutly religious person does the world a lot of good. But morally, it’s all common sense in the end, except that religion is a sort of support group with tithes or donations and personal time necessary for inclusion. Sleeping in on Sunday is nice too.
As far as future “Jesus fiction,” as I refer to it with friends, I have two definite projects that will deal with Jesus and religious issues.
OA: Do you listening to music while you write? If yes, who are a few of your favorite artists? Who do you listen to when you are not writing?
TJ: Most of the time, I don’t listen to music when I write. I write when I get a chance, and because it’s not as often as I’d like, I write in longhand in a notebook. Sometimes I use a laptop to create outlines or notes over a story, and I’ll open up I-tunes. I like to listen to ambient or mostly instrumental music with low-key vocals. I like Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works, Mogwai, Khonnor, and some others I can’t remember right now. A couple of friends have recently told me about two primarily instrumental bands: Explosions in the Sky, and Air. I haven’t had time to check either out yet.
When I’m not writing, I listen to Bright Eyes, Minus the Bear, Elliott Smith, The Decemberists, Yo La Tengo, Dredg, Deftones, and some others. Since I’ve been reading fiction daily and writing whenever I can, I don’t have time to look for new music. I’ve bookmarked this blog on my phone, and I think I’ll find music I’m into listed here.
OA: How has having a family affected your writing in style, content, and/or frequency?
TJ: Between my wife, my daughter, and trying to finish school, I don’t find much time to write. When I first started writing regularly, I would write for two or three hours in the dead of the night, every night. Now I write for two or three hours every week, sporadically, with fifteen minutes here, a half hour there. The best part about writing longhand in a notebook is that I can keep it nearby and pick it up from time to time; but the writing suffers, and there are times when I’ll write a few sentences and throw the notebook across the room. Consistency is important, and though I don’t write everyday, I’ll occasionally write everyday for a short span of time and get a little accomplished. Eventually I’ll finish a story and the rewriting is much easier.
I write for myself first, so content and style aren’t affected by anyone or anything. My wife was raised as a Christian, and we don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye, but she knows I’m not setting out to intentionally hurt anyone. Sometimes I’m only trying to make a subtle point, or to deal with an issue I have by writing about it. I respect the beliefs of others, and if anything I’m just trying to get people to think for themselves. I do not chase down Jehovah Witnesses in the street and knock them from their bikes.
OA: What is next for Trevor Johnson?
TJ: I just shelved a novella I’m thirty pages into so that I could write a story set during the Civil War and send it out, and then I planned to get back to the novella. I’ve set a goal of one hundred pages for the novella, and I want to have something in the submission process while I’m working on such a big project. The short story is still untitled, and it’s about a runaway slave fighting for the Union. The novella, Jesus de Cristo, is farcical, with Jesus playing a major character.
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite kind of coffee, and what is your favorite coffee place?
TJ: I’m not huge on coffee. I only like it when it’s really cold out. I like white mocha with extra an espresso shot from Starbucks. If I need energy, I drink energy drinks like Rockstar and Monster. With a family and school and an erratic job (sometimes we work up to fifty hours a week—rain, sleet, or snow), I usually need energy drinks throughout the day.
For information on Trevor Johnson you can visit his blog.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
OA: I’ve read that you create a piece a day, typically how long does it take you to complete a piece, and what is your basic starting point for a new piece?
OA: Do you listen to music while you paint? If yes, who are some of your favorite while painting and who are your favorites in general?
MF: Music is very important for me while I work. Depends on my mood, some days i will listen to "Stars of The Lid" all day on repeat.
OA: I see that you have recently designed the cover for Tom Whalen’s new book “Dolls”, how did that relationship come about and where their any limitations or specification related to that type of work?
MF: Actually the piece for Tom's new book was chosen from an older painting i had done. It wasn't made specifically for the book, but Tom felt it worked well with his title, and so did I.
OA: What is next Matthew Feyld?
MF: Most likely breakfast
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee, and what is your favorite place to drink coffee?
MF: I actually don't drink coffee, but my girlfriend does. We go to Tim Hortons, and she gets a coffee, and I get a hot chocolate.
OA: What is last album you purchased?
MF: David Bazan "Fewer Moving Parts"
Matthew Feyld, Saskatoon based artist, is a lad who grew up with a birth defect that made his head swell unbelievably. this happened at the worst times possible... during show and tell... at the science fair... on his first date... it happened from stress. he found that keeping calm helped his head stay normal and drawing, painting, scribbling was his cure. his work is almost voodoo to keep his swollen head from reappearing. it recreates his greatest fears. beady eyed monsters with giant balloon heads fighting off the world in tights.
This is going to be Matthew's year, he is currently being shown at the Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, SK Jan 19-March25), and in February he was involved in the New Voices showing at Phantom Galleries in Los Angeles. However, look at what he has on the horizon:
Strange Brew, BLVD Gallery, Seattle, WA (Sept 14-Oct 14)
Sans titre, Galerie Rouje, Québec, Québec (May 10 – June 7)
Picks Of The Harvest, Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (April 13 - April 27) Masks, Fun and Fluo Vampires, Oeil de Poisson Quebec, Quebec (March 22-May5)
For more information and to view addition pieces you can find Matthew Feyld on Flickr, Fotolog, or his new blog, and you can contact him directly here.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
1. Powerhouse Sound - Oslo/Chicago: Breaks (mp3)
2. El-p - I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (mp3)
Monday, March 19, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
1. The Smile Rays - Very polished, big beats and smooth rhymes from this Jacksonville, FL trio. Check Out: By Design (mp3) (check the classic 3rd Bass "Green Eggs & Swine" beat in background.)
2. Lee Bob - I'm not usually one for the cowboy hat, but Lee Bob is different. He has got soul! Check out: Air Stream (mp3), and visit his myspace as well.
3. Ecstatic Sunshine - Dueling guitars creating odd sounds. Check out: Little Big Dipper (mp3)
1. The Next Big Health care Battle - This article deals with state healthcare programs vs tax relief to purchase your own healthcare.
2. Ain't it Strange by Patti Smith - Patti's thoughts on being inducted into the Rock 'n Roll HOF.
3. Retconning VII: Be-bop, Cool, and Hard Bop. This is the most recent addition to a series of articles on CMG that is going back through various musical genres. Next month is post-punk!
1. Crush to Pulp - Issue #1 was released this month. Wonderful articles, stories, artwork, and more. This issues theme was "beauty", and you can visit their website for more information.
2. Klitorik - Issue #4. Their website is stark white plain and unenviting, the zine is an amazing collection of photography. Don't be fooled, enjoy the zine!
1. Toothpaste for Dinner Bad Poetry T-Shirt: $16
2. Converse All-Star Product Democracy Shoes: $52
1. The new video for the soon to be release solo debut from Evidence (of Dilated Peoples): "Mr. Slow Flow."
1. With Spring Training underway I've been watching this:
Friday, March 16, 2007
If you are one those people (and I know there is at least one you of) who like your rockstars to be pretty and perfected, then you better look away. However, if like music that is creative, aggressive, electronic, and completely insane then look no further, I give you Dan Deacon.
He recently was asked to play on a local NBC newscast, check it out:
Thursday, March 15, 2007
"All I ever wanted was to pick apart the day, put the pieces back together my way." - Aesop Rock from Daylight
Now that we, as a society, are nearly thirty years into hip-hop as a genre and culture, we can finally look back with depth and understanding to evaluate the various effects it has had on the people involved. We are beginning to see individuals, who have been raised in and around this culture, move into the spotlight as artists, executives, teachers, parents, Politian's, writers... Basically, hip-hop has become an essential part of every aspect of American culture and the global culture, while adding interesting words, sounds, and concepts at every turn.
One writer focusing his time and understanding on the culture of hip-hop is Mickey Hess. He is the author of the novel "Big Wheel at the Cracker Factory" and several other collections. His shorter work frequently appears on THE2NDHAND.com and McSweeney's. Recently, he was kind enough to answer a few of our questions on hip-hop and his future.
Orange Alert (OA): You recently published a piece of cut-up fiction on the2ndhand.com entitled “HOP-ALONG THE ENTHUSIAST, WHOSE DAD BOUGHT US SIMILAR PANTS”, Can you describe you process for creating this type of fiction as opposed to flash fiction?
Mickey Hess (MH): It’s actually closer to Dali’s paranoiac-critical method than Burroughs’ and Gyson’s cut-ups. Dali would put himself into a sort of trance by staring at something so intensely for so long that it started to look like something else. From the bedroom window of his house in Cadaques, you can see these cliffs that show up as faces in some of his paintings. I spend most of my time staring at words, so sometimes I stare at them long enough that they start to look like other words. It’s all about the shapes of the letters.
Hop-Along was me staring at a boring paragraph I wrote. I usually do this technique with writing I don’t like, but I’ve also used F Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise. Stuff like that. My friend Josh actually came up with it in high school.
OA: Who are some of your biggest literary influences?
MH: "I am influenced by every moment of my waking hour" – Lenny Bruce.
OA: How has the internet affected you as an author?
MH: Some of my favorite stories of the past couple years were online, like Monica Drake’s "See You Later, Fry-O-Lator." I like reading things online. I don’t have the book fetish that some people do. I think most books are ugly, and heavy when it comes time to move.
Having my writing on The2ndhand and McSweeney’s has been great for me. I get a lot of emails from people who’ve seen my stories.
OA: I enjoyed your piece “Non-Sequiturs in the Lyrics of Greg Nice”, and I have noticed that a lot of your work has focused on hip-hop, and hip-hop culture. When you have rappers who could be or are published writers (i.e. Saul Williams, Aesop Rock, and Mr. Lif), are these separate interests or is there a correlation between modern literature and hip-hop?
MH: Hip Hop is much more focused on language and story than a lot of other types of music. Look at the level of sensory detail Ghostface builds in a song like "Beauty Jackson," these key adjectives for smells and colors and shapes that makes his songs very literary. Another thing about hip hop is that it really preserves regional and local dialect and slang – it really values the distinctive ways that people talk (Lil Wayne and E-40 are good examples). I don’t see that going on in a lot of places. Hip hop really emphasizes creating your own voice and style, which is something literature could learn from.
Nas and his album Hip Hop is Dead has everybody whining that today’s hip hop is only about fancy cars and shiny bracelets, but it makes them, and Nas, sound like grumpy old farts idealizing the past. They’re only listening to the hip hop they hear flipping through the radio on their way to work.
There’s better hip hop coming out today than ever before, both underground and mainstream, and its just as political, inventive, and important as it ever was. If Nas hates commercialism, let him release his album as free mp3s like Public Enemy did a few years ago. Instead of asking "where are they now" and listing all the forgotten rappers, why doesn’t he put MC Ren or Redhead Kingpin on his album instead of Snoop and Kanye? As far as Greg Nice – his lyrics are as surrealist as my nonsense writing.
OA: What is next for Mickey Hess?
MH: I have a new nonsense zine called Beachcomber’s Abduction, a book called Icons of Hip Hop coming out in June, and one called Is Hip Hop Dead? coming out on Praeger sometime next year. I also have a new collection of stories called Someone Has Plagiarized Faulkner (on gorsky press). It has some nonsense stuff, some stories that bring Nobel laureates like Faulkner and Hemingway and Knut Hamsun to hang out with hip hop stars, and some more straightforward stories about my childhood, my wife, and my iguana.
OA: Top 5 Hip-hop acts of all-time:
- Wu-Tang Clan
- Beastie Boys
- De La Soul
- A Tribe Called Quest
- I would have said DOOM for a while, but his recent stuff is less
impressive. Lately Lil Wayne has been claiming he’s the best rapper
alive, and I’m inclined to believe him.
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and your favorite coffee place?
MH: Atomic Saucer in Louisville, KY.
If you would like more information on how to purchase Mickey's upcoming zine or other publications, you can contact him here.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Photography is an area of the art world that can occasionally be discounted or overlooked, but it is the immediacy and, in many cases, the honesty of photography that keep it a vital medium. When compared to painting or sculpture, the immediacy comes to the forefront because you are able to capture a moment in time quickly and accurately. However, it is the human element, the perspective that which the photo is taken, that makes each photo uniquely artistic. One of my favorite new photographers, who recently has created an amazing, clean and beautiful (much like his work) website, is Dominick Mastrangelo.
Recently, Dominick was kind enough to answer a few of our questions on subject matter, world travel, and as always music.
Orange Alert (OA): Define your style of photography.
Dominick Mastrangelo (DM): My style is firmly in the traditional black and white, analog camp - primarily urban landscape and environmental portraiture. Lots of geometry, symmetry, repetition. I don't rely on any heroic photoshop techniques. Generally what you see with my work is what you get. On more than one occasion I've heard my work referred to as "cinematic." I like that description.
Recently, I've returned to dabbling with photo-based mixed media and alternative processes which I find is a nice change of pace. I make the occasional polaroid picture as well. But I'm never away from traditional black and white photography for very long.
OA: What do you look for when choosing a subject?
DM:I don't think I'm looking for any one thing specifically. I do tend to be drawn to abandoned things - buildings, train stations, grain silos... In Fort Worth they are knocking buildings down at an alarming rate. I think as a photographer I have a responsibility to document all this before it's gone forever. I feel especially gutted when a building is brought down before I have a chance to make a picture.
I think there's something deceptively powerful about repetition and the way simple lines converge and interact with each other. That's probably what I look for most. I think some contemporary art and artists spend too much time trying to figure out how clever they can be. Often to the point of absurdity. I think simple can be just as effective.
DM: Harry Callahan, Roy DeCarava, Cindy Sherman's "Film Stills," Man Ray, Edward Weston. Diane Arbus's sprawling Revelations exhibition at the MFA Houston really floored me in a way I wasn't expecting. As did the Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibit that just closed at the Fort Worth Modern. The irony that most of their work has nothing to do with architecture, save for maybe some of Callahan's and Weston's work, is not lost on me. I find it quite funny really.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention photographers Peter Feresten and Richard Doherty. They are not only brilliant photographers but were my professors at Tarrant County College in Hurst, Texas. My friend Mark Penland who runs the lab there has been a big influence as well. Their instruction and photographic philosophy laid the groundwork for who I am as a photographer.
Lastly, I'm very much inspired/influenced by films with good cinematography and art direction.
OA: If you could photograph any place in the world where would it be and why?
DM: Of the cities I've visited it would be Barcelona. Hands down. Fantastic architecture and a bustling city by the sea. It reminds me a lot of Chicago which I love photographing whenever I'm home for a visit. There are so many places in Europe I've yet to photograph. Prague is probably the next place I'd like to make pictures.
OA: As a music fan, is there any time when music affects your photography?
DM: When doesn't it! Music and film both, really. I'm always listening to music or humming something to myself. In the studio, driving around looking for things to photograph, scanning images... I'm constantly trying to find ways to meld music and photography. I'm particularly drawn to Danny Clinch and his beautiful images for each song of the Afghan Whigs' record, "Black Love".
I've never been overtly conceptual in my work so music helps in that regard.
A perfectly phrased lyric, a pulsating bass line, a simple melody - I'll latch onto something that I hear and try to work it out in my head.
Eventually, I think it comes out in my photographs. If only recognizable to me.
OA: What are you currently listening to?
DM: Silversun Pickups, Long Winters, Beirut, Tokyo Police Club, centro-matic, Jens Lekman and Loney, Dear. The new Shins and Arcade Fire records have been in heavy rotation as well. Singer-songwriter-guitar virtuoso St. Vincent (also a member of Polyphonic Spree.) Oh, and I can't forget Midlake. A truly wonderful band from Denton, Texas.
OA: Coffee? Yes or No, If yes, where is your favorite place and what is your drink?
DM: Yes, please - with cream and sugar. Though I should point out I'm not one of those people who craves it within minutes of rolling out of bed. My favorite place for a cup of Joe is probably Ol' South pancake house in Fort Worth. Even better if it's at 2 a.m. The Spiral Diner here in the Fort is good as well. I also enjoy various espresso drinks. Lattes mostly.
OA: Last good book you read?
DM: "How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization" by Franklin Foer. I love that he takes such a politically and economically charged idea such as globalization and reworks it in the context of soccer. It's so obvious yet nobody's really made that leap - tying the two together. The anecdotes and the writing are first rate. But being a life-long soccer fan and Liverpool FC supporter for eight years now it was always going to be an easy sell.
Over the past six years, Dominick has exhibited his work in several shows and galleries in Fort Worth. In 2006, Dominick received first prize for two-dimensional work in the Texas Wesleyan University juried exhibition Here I Am at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. He was also selected to the 2002 Art in the Metroplex regional juried exhibition. For more on Dominick, and information on how to purchase prints visit his website.