Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Classy Ass

This sign was posted in a neighbor's yard about two blocks from my house. Reminded me just how few words are required to speak volumes. Of course, the fact that I made my wife drive back home so we could collect the camera, swing back around, get out of the car and trespass in order to get this peachy pic speaks a lot too. So, here's where I live.

February 28th N@B reader Kevin Lynn Helmick's latest - Heartland Gothic - was just released from Trestle Press, so you've got a few weeks to tenderize your sensibilities before he smacks your smug mug, but good at the live event. And shit, as long as we're putting the 'goo' in 'good taste' you could drop a buck on Jason Makansi's short story Trophy Wife and perhaps he'll sign your Kindle on February 21st while that asshat trying to get Robert Randisi's scrawl on 75 Gunsmith books holds up the proceedings.

Over at Ransom Notes today I'm lamenting my slipping down the list of January shit I've not read yet - one of them being N@B (Los Angeles) alum Robert Ward's latest The Best Bad Dream and it's making me wonder if he's penning any memoirs? Cause I'd be all over those like white on the GOP. Last week, at Ransom Notes, I looked at a few franchise film casting moves that went both ways. Never know what's gonna work, is all I took away from that piece. Well, that and I found out that the Tom Cruise as Lee Child's Jack Reacher adaptation One Shot is directed by Christopher McQuarrie and co-written by McQuarrie and Josh Olson (A History of Violence). Shit, I guess I'll be seeing that one after all. Say whatcha wanna about the source material or star, I'll give McQarrie a fair shake on anything after Way of the Gun... Check out this sweet-ass George Pelecanos essay on the John Flynn's The Outfit from Richard Stark's novel, that one and the Jim Brown as Parker vehicle The Split top my got-to-find-them movies from books to catch up on. This year, we've got some hot shit book to film adaptations to looksee like Lee Daniel's take on Pete Dexter'The PaperboyOliver Stone's Savages from Don Winslow's book, (dunno what happened to the Michael Mann-manned Winter of Frankie Machine movie - oh well, can't wait to check out the Mann/David Milch project Luck on HBO), and oh, what's that other one... Oh yeah, Julian Grant's Fuckload of Scotch Tape - I'm looking forward to that one. And did I see that Jame Franco is directing the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Child of God? Okay. I've been intending to revisit Billy Bob Thornton's All the Pretty Horses - I just re-read the book and seem to recall that there was a director's cut floating around out there supposed to have another hour or so attached. I'd give that a shot.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin and Alan

  Night number 2 of our February N@B double header features Caleb J. Ross, the sicko at the center of the latest Booked Podcast. Robb and Livius give a whole hour to Ross's books I Didn't Mean To Be Kevin and As a Machine in Parts. Get your mitts on a copy and get that sucker vandalized by the author Feb. 28th! 
You know another podcast that caught my ear this week? The Other People podcast hosted by Brad Listi interviewed Alan Heathcock who confesses for the record (about fifteen minutes in) that he regretted he didn't make it to St. Louis in 2011 for Noir at the Bar. Y'know what, Al? Me too. So, c'mon, don't be sorry like Heathcock, get your ass to Meshuggah Cafe in St. Louis for a N@B event whenever the hell they happen.

And a big heartfelt congratulations to N@B star Matthew McBride whose Frank Sinatra in a Blender will be released (in print!) by New Pulp Press later in 2012. That's fuckin sweet, dude. Y'know what else is? Eddie Vega and Cort McMeel's Bare Knuckle Press have plans to publish not one, not two, but three Scott Wolven novellas electronically with a print omnibus to follow. If that's not a hot cuppa for your worn, chapped soul, you're reading the wrong damn blog.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Wrong Kind of Write

Oky-doke kiddos, here's the official lineup for the N@B double header coming your way late in February. Two nights of walking on the dark side in St. Louis. First up, February 21st, Robert Randisi has been added to the the lineup alongside Benjamin Whitmer, Sonia Coney and Jason Makansi, so that's fantastic. How many people do you know who've read over five hundred books, let alone written that many, let alone published that many? Sure, somebody in the near future will probably take a big ol' dump all over the internets with their self-published titles and get up into the hundreds like that, but Randisi has done it the hard way, the ultimate pulp writer kids. That cat goes through keyboards faster than I go through underwear, and tossing 'em when he's worn the letters off the keys. Take that, James Patterson.

And just about the time that hangover is wearing off, it'll be time to tie one on all over again. February 28 Caleb J. Ross and Gordon Highland will be joined by Mark W. Tiedemann and Kevin Lynn Helmick for some serious transgression and boundary crossing. Man, we can't even see good taste from over here. Ross and Highland are passing through St. Louis from Kansas City on their way to Chicago for the AWP, and I just may get up there my own self. 

I'm not an academic, so why the hell would I bother? Well maybe for some of this shits - 

Looka that! N@B alum Anthony Neil Smith, Kyle Minor and Pinckney Benedict joined by David James Keaton, John Weagly, Nikki Dolson, Robin Becker and Sean O'Kane. Yeah, that sounds like a reason to make a trip. Looks like the place to be on March 1st is The Galway Arms. 

Oh man, while I'm hypothetically up there I'd love to run into folks like Kent Gowran, Richard Thomas, Nik Korpon, Elizabeth White, Josh Converse, Jason Stuart, Thomas Pluck, plus Livius Nedin and Robb Olson from the Booked Podcast and all the other like-minded perverts on the attending list on the Face Book. Sounds like a blast. 

Of course if I'm in Chicagoland, I'll have to drop in on Julian Grant and take a gander at the Fuckload of Scotch Tape rough cut. Yeah, I think that seals it. I've gotta get to Chi-town.

Later this Spring or Summer N@B is hoping to host Jake Hinkson whose debut Hell On Church Street is pretty fuckin great. Really, just a sweet-ass book that I'm officially jealous over. Do yourself a favor and put down that bloated best-seller you're chipping away at and order you a copy of this refuse-to-blink, yeah-it-just-went-there story of a con-man in an Arkansas Baptist Church. You'll finish it in one or two sittings, I bet and if it leaves you desperate for more of that southern-fried bad religion, order you a copy of Heath Lowrance's The Bastard Hand or Jesus Angel Garcia's Badbadbad. Hmmm, we already had Garcia at a N@B event, maybe we can seduce Lowrance down from Detroit for one when Hinkson comes through? That would be a helluva good lineup I believe. For more thoughts on Hinkson's book check out what I had to say at Ransom Notes. But don't take my word for it, go check out these reviews of Hell On Church Street, John Rector's Already Gone, Reed Farrel Coleman's Hurt Machine and Alan Glyn's Bloodland at the Los Angeles Review of Books by Cullen Gallagher - 'cause he knows his shit. Speaking of Senor Coleman, I see he'll be in St. Louis in April along with Sara J. Henry and N@B alum Duane Swierczynski and Frank Bill. Guess I'll be there too. Shit, that's a healthy lineup.

Today at Ransom Notes, I'm getting a little Nordic in my diet. Checking out Quentin Bates' books and briefly mentioning that a couple weeks ago, I read a Jo Nesbo book to my kids. They loved it and I guess we'll be going for the next one in the series soon.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Noir at the Bar is Real

Over at Ransom Notes last week I posted on Daniel O'Malley's debut, The Rook, which reminded me of Charles Stross's The Atrocity Archives big time, but I enjoyed both enough to have them peacefully co-exist, but today at Ransom Notes I'm enjoying the slightly less speculative history of a mob hit man in the latest from RJ Ellory, A Quiet Vendetta and another New Orleans post/Katrina missing persons bit Storm Damage by Ed Kovacs. I just picked up Cathi Unsworth's Bad Penny Blues, Dan Chaon's Stay Awake, Joe R. Lansdale's Edge of Dark Water and Sean Doolittle's Lake Country - so it's been a kick-ass week for bookery in St. Louis. Really looking forward to more January sweetness from Ryan David Jahn's The Dispatcher and George Pelecanos's What it Was which you can take a gander at in the new issue of Playboy with some kick-ass artwork (or you can sample both online right here by 'liking' the page on Facebook.)

Have you checked out the five minute sequence from Steven Soderbergh's latest Haywire? You can access it, like I did, through them handsome fellas over at The Criminal Complex. Now, I'm pretty pumped for it. Looks badass. That Gina Carano has the physicality for it (we'll see about the acting, hard to tell how that'll go over just from this clip - better, I suspect than Sasha Grey in The Girlfriend Experience - and hey, it's already the single best Channing Tatum performance ever), and she's supported by a deep bench, so yeah, count me in.

Soooo, you've cleared your calendars for Tuesday, February 28's N@B with Gordon Highland (Major Inversions) and Caleb J. Ross, (Stranger Will) right? Well, it just got sweeter. Mark W. Tiedemann, the author of speculative and horror fiction (Diva, Remains) is joining the lineup and he won't raise the bar, he'll drop it on your head. Now you need to go ahead and clear the Tuesday before as well, because February 21st, N@B will host Benjamin Whitmer whose Satan is Real: The Ballad of Louvin Brothers is catching some mighty fine reviews and attention, and whose Pike pretty much blotted out the sun around here in 2010, and somebody I'm pretty confident you're gonna get to know soon, Sonia Coney will shock and offend you (me anyhow) for no extra fee. Yeah, February is chock-full of ooey-gooiness which more than likely will be found to contain human DNA. More names to drop for those events soon.

In N@B charter news, it seems them L.A. boys have rounded up another sweet-ass event with Robert Ward, Aaron Phillip Clark, AJ Hayes and Stephen Blackmoore for January 22. Man, wish I could be there. They're racking up a great track record betwixt Blackmoore, Aldo Calcagno and Eric Beetner (whose Dig Two Graves sounds like some uber-righteous hardboiled nasty right up my very own alley), and I'd love to visit one of their throwdowns, so we'll see, maybe I can swing a trip to Los Angeles some time this year...

Paul Von Stoetzel is moving forward with his short film adaptation of my short story Viscosity and I've now seen a script, so it feels like it's gonna happen soon. Anybody who's read Viscosity knows that the piece is nothing but dialogue and unattributed at that, and I don't know if that makes things easier or harder from a directorial standpoint, but it does mean that there's serious leaning on the actors. So, looking forward to this one and interested to hear the actors' performances.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The End Begins Big

Hey lookit, kids: Crime Factory is back like they mean it. Tom Piccirilli, Johnny Shaw, Benjamin Whitmer, The Black Nerd, Ray Banks, Andrew Nette, Kenneth Loosli, Chris Benton, Paul D. Brazill, Chris Deal and dirty ol' N@B bastards like Daniel B. O'Shea, Matthew C. Funk and a previously unpublished interview with Scott Phillips. Plus Frank Wheeler Jr. gives the Noir at the Bar anthology an attentive read with detailed comments on contributions by Matthew McBride, Cameron Ashley, O'Shea, Dennis Tafoya, Kyle Minor, Pinckney Benedict, Sean Doolittle and in a first and most likely last, my own: Tenks, Franks. Wowzer. In case you can't follow the link on your CF download you can use THIS ONE to Subterranean Books - the ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD to get a copy of the book.

Y'know who else reviews books? Donald Ray Pollock. Take a gander at his thoughts on The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell and tell me that ain't sweet. Now compare thems to my comments today at Ransom Notes where I'm all about Stephen Blackmoore's debut City of the Lost and you'll see clearly how short the stick is Blackmoore drew in that little match-up. But, don't hold my inferiorities against Stevie's horror/crime zombie pulp-up, cause it's a lotta fun.

Speaking of all things zombie, Rob Zombie is in production (or maybe post by now) on his latest film The Lords of Salem which I'm assuming is inspired by his song of the same name or at least by the same muse. And shit, if the movie is as scary as the video, it's gonna kick ass. Great cast of course - Zombie regulars Sheri Moon and Sid Haig are joined by classic creepies Clint Howard, Lisa Marie, Udo Kier, Michael Berryman, Billy Drago and Dee Wallace. I'm also excited to see Maria Conchita Alonso in a prominent role (I wrote a song once called Maria Conchita Alonso - Yes I did - she'd caught my eye early on appearing in a bunch of my favorites from my time spent in the eighties - The Running Man, Extreme Prejudice, Colors, Fear City and that batshit Nic Cage flick Vampire's Kiss). Anyhow, the song's video runs on a parallel track to what I envision as a novel length adaptation of my story The Adversary from Surreal South '11 - not quite the same, but similar enough to make me wanna drop everything and write it.

And while we're on movie stuffs and gnarly graphics go check out some of Julian Grant's tests for the visual style of Fuckload of Scotch Tape at the FLOST Facebook Page. He's even dabbling with publishing a promotional graphic novel which would look something about like this.

Swell. Can't wait to be able to announce where you can see this beast.

Finally, mark up your brand new calendars for Tuesday, February 28 'cause it's time for N@B. There, I said it. Lineup is still filling out, but we've got Caleb J. Ross and Gordon Highland locked in.