Haunted House: Blue Ghost Blues — review by Mark McCawley

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Haunted House:

Blue Ghost Blues

 

review by Mark McCawley

 
 
Haunted House Blue Ghost BluesArtist: Haunted House

Album: Blue Ghost Blues

Label: Northern Spy

Release Date: September 13, 2011
 
 
Comprised of underground cult avant blues guitarist Loren Connors, his life partner and vocalist/lyricist Suzanne Langille, guitarist Andrew Burnes (of the band San Agustin from Atlanta, Georgia) and Daf player Neel Murgai — Haunted House briefly reunited again in 2010 to record Blue Ghost Blues with New York’s Northern Spy label. After performing at Brooklyn’s Issue Project Room on April 6, 2011, they reconvened a couple days later in the same old factory building where they laid down the tracks for Blue Ghost Blues — the follow-up to their 1999 Erstwhile release Up In Flames — at Seizure’s Palace Recording.
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Bonny Finberg — in conversation with Mark McCawley

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Bonny Finberg

in conversation with

Mark McCawley

 
 

"Beginning Kali's Day @ Bhadgaon Guesthouse, Bhaktapur, Nepal, 1997", photo by Bonny Finberg

“Beginning Kali’s Day @ Bhadgaon Guesthouse, Bhaktapur, Nepal, 1997″, photo by Bonny Finberg

Mark McCawley: Any writer of transgressive, erotic, surreal writing is bound to be influenced in some fashion by the works and accomplishments of the late Kathy Acker. That said, how did it feel to win the 2014 Acker Award for Fiction (New York)?

Bonny Finberg: While Acker’s influence is probably felt by a generation of writers who came of age in the ‘80s and 90s, there have been many who were considered transgressive, erotic and surreal in their work before Kathy Acker came on the scene. In fact, one of her greatest influences, I believe, was William Burroughs. Considering that Acker and I were born in approximately the same year, we probably had similar influences. We came of age during a time when breaking rules and boundaries, literary, social, political, etc. was almost the norm. For many of us, writers like Burroughs and Kerouac held much influence, the power of using language in a way that the plastic arts had been experimenting with even earlier. Of course Gertrude Stein, another influence of mine, had broken real ground in this way, well before any of these guys had learned how to hold a pen. And, there would be no Kerouac, in my opinion, without Joyce. Read more

Stealing Cherries by Marina Rubin — review by Mark McCawley

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Stealing CherriesStealing Cherries
By Marina Rubin
Manic D Press, October 22, 2013
ISBN 978-1-933149-80-6
$14.95 US pbk | $9.06 US Kindle
96 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Fiction

 
review by Mark McCawley
 

“we waited, in our city of Vinnitsa, pronounced in russian almost like Venice, waited for him every night on the bench in the park to hear his heart-tearing seven-string guitar and every morning in our marilyn bikinis we watched his breaststroke as he crossed the river. i would not dare to love him, he was loved by too many, i was there for my friends, the talk of training bras, mascara stolen from mothers and sisters. walking home one night i heard someone whisper my name. it was Ruslan sitting on top of a tree, stealing cherries. he said he loved me for a long time with all his heart in this entire city of Venice, he loved only me and Luda Vishnevska, whose last name meant black cherry.”

~Marina Rubin, “Confessions of Love”, p.91

 
 
In 1989, when most of the stories in Stealing Cherries takes place, Marina Rubin and her family were refuseniks — Soviet-era Jews from Vinnitsa, Ukraine seeking political asylum in the United States from Soviet state-sanctioned anti-Semitism.
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Prince Picnic by Clint Burnham

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Prince Picnic
 
 
I told my father, I said, I am going to be a musician. He say magician no good. I say, why you magician no good?
 
Magician be gay. Woman be gay. Man be gay. Everything be gay.
 
He say you will I say how you think that. I am disappointed in you. What do you think you raised? How did you raise? You raised me. How can you think magic will make me not your son? Read more

Savage 1986 – 2011 by Nathaniel G. Moore — review by Mark McCawley

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savageSavage 1986-2011
by Nathaniel G. Moore
Anvil Press
ISBN 978-1-927380-55-0
$20 CAN / $20 US
5.5 x 8 | 280 pp

 
 

Despite all the investigation, there is still much unrest in the family. May as well try and enjoy the time we still have on earth. Well, I feel so much sometimes I guess I just get a bit clouded, a bit off-colour. You know that colour? A trout in a blender or that big dumb fat sparrow hopping around on its twig leg that a part of you wants to crush, and it’s plump and juicy, and you want it to dance alive in your semi-closed mouth, then set it free.

Our house (161 Glenvale Boulevard) in north Leaside was built in 1960, and our family of four moved in one crisp weekend in March 1981. During the first week, select relatives visited and photographs were taken of Holly and me discovering the “secret” wood-panel door in the basement beside what would be my eventual bedroom (1985-1994) which led to a small pantry, bunker or bomb shelter under the stairs. The tiny passageway connected to the workshop.

Each and every Sunday we all agreed the roast beef was beautiful; its heart-red and pink cross section caused Dad to make sex noises in between throat clears. “Oh Diane, orgasm,” Dad would groan, rubbing his grey or brown sweater, overacting the pleasure of each sloppy bite with his prop tongue.

The story is disconcerting. It deals with time, madness and perception of what a family is or isn’t. It’s a study of desire, of memory, death and rebirth, set in a world coming apart.

(Prologue – You Know You’re Right: December 2012, p.11-12)

 
 
Nathaniel G. Moore’s Savage 1986 – 2011 (Anvil Press, 2013) is an ambitious, complex, suburban post-realist novel disguised as memoir that uses elements of autobiography, diary entries, interviews, interview fragments and confessional to chronicle the middle-class implosion of the novel’s protagonist Nate’s nuclear family — bracketed from when he first saw Randy Savage in person at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in July 1986, until the wrestler’s sudden death in May 2011 — paralleling Nate’s own search for identity and his eventual mental, emotional, and psychic deterioration.
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