Wednesday, February 29, 2012


N@B Double Header retired, but once more into the breech. Gettin up in a couple hours to catch a train to Chicago, which I gotta say, I'm pretty excited about. Never traveled that way and I look forward to hours of uninterrupted reading - taking The Reconstructionist by Nick ArvinThe Bitch by Les Edgerton and a brand new novella by Roger SmithIshmael Toffee. Awesome. I'm headed up for The Wrong Kind of Reading, which, if you're in Chicago you really ought to get out to. Forget Margaret Atwood, come check out Nikki Dolson, Seth Harwood, David James Keaton, John Weagly and ghosts of N@B past Kyle Minor, Pinckney Benedict and Anthony Neil Smith at The Galway Arms downtown. Beware the spectators though. I expect they'll be an unruly bunch you shouldn't piss off for the very likely possibility of having your asinine ass immortalized in a nasty slice of pulp faction from the likes of Nik Korpon, Richard Thomas, Kent Gowran, Jason Stuart, Alec Cizak among others. Know what might be worse? Blurting out something regrettable and finding it's been preserved for future generations on the Booked Podcast... Yeah, Robb Olson and Livius Nedin will be around taking notes like they did last night - and I'm a bit nervous about what might make it onto a program. Y'know, once it's on the internet, it's permanent right, Greg Bardsley?

So, yeah... what might they have captured last night's N@B? Must fight my way backward through the oat soda times seven fog. Firstly, the evening's reading order was determined by our author's parents before they were even born. Alphabetical by middle initial was the way we went with our lowly lone middle-initial-unknown participant Gordon Highland who kicked off the proceedings by playing a troubling voice message he'd received from someone speaking in cagey, not terribly obscuring, masking language about some terrible things they'd just done on his behalf, before launching into a hilarious account of a sexual predator working a scam revolving around the work of Stephenie Meyer (read it for yourself). Next, Caleb J. Ross read a twisted domestic drama about a prized lip collection. It was that kind of evening. What is more disturbing than the dissolution of a marriage with revenge lip snatching? How about the delivered notes on a screenplay being along the lines of 'can it be more like Rain Man, but with a kid and a western?' Kevin Lynn Helmick read from his latest, briefly available novel Heartland Gothic (another Trestle Press casualty) and I dunno 'bout Scott Phillips, but my own testicles retreated steadily with the progression from Philistine to royal Hollywood asshat of the year in the tone and content of the (please) fictional notes. Mark W. Tiedemann read N@B's first straight up science fiction piece, a disturbing short story about a prison system in a galaxy far, not too far away. The evening had bonus feature: Nic Young had made the journey all the way from Cape Town, South Africa just to attend N@B. That's it. All. The only reason he came to our fair shores. In my typically, smug and entitled American way I demanded that he read his short (really short) story My German Daughter from the Warmed and Bound anthology. He did. I mean, how could he not?

Now a quick run of fucking kick ass fucking shit, motherfuckers. Really, what the hell is in the water? These magazines look ossum! 
John Kenyon has a heavy duty lineup for Grift magazine's first issue. Where do you go from there?

Johnny Shaw's put together a hot list of contributors for his men's adventure throwback 'zine Blood & Tacos including N@B alum Cameron Ashley and Matthew C. Funk.
Steve Weddle, you crazy bastard, you started all this didn't you? You know who hates you? My neighbors, that's who. I had break into their house and steal the boombox outta the bathroom and hoc it for cash to pay for all these. And I think their Shotgun Messiah tape was still inside.
Finally, okay it's a book, not a magazine, but David Cranmer, you shame me. I really wish I had stories in every one of these publications. Beat to a Pulp: Round Two looks baaaaadaaaaaass.

At Ransom Notes, I'm digging Chris F. Holm'Dead Harvest. Gave me a big ol' Secret Dead Men boner. Didja like Stephen Blackmoore's City of the Lost? You'd dig this big time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Noir at the Bar Ain't Noise Pollution

For those about to read, we salute you: Kevin Lynn Helmick, Gordon Highland, Caleb J. Ross and Mark W. Tiedemann. 7pm at Meshuggah Cafe tonight, live without a net, and yur best shot at immortality as Livius Nedin and Robb Olson of the Booked Podcast will be on hand to document the incriminating evidence for your teachers and parents and the whole damn world to hear.

Just be there.

I'll be hanging with the Booked boys again on Thursday in their backyard where we'll be attending an event at the Galway Arms. You wanna go? I hear Seth Harwood's been added to the already impressive lineup of ne'er do wells that include Anthony Neil Smith, David James Keaton, Kyle Minor and Pinckney Benedict. Fuck that noise says you? Just come hang out. Hell the wallflowers will be foul-mouthed tat-magnets Kent Gowran and Nik Korpon. I have no idea if Josh Converse has tattoos, but I'll report back on that next week. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

On To His Long Home

The news of William Gay's death this week hit me hard. His books have haunted my waking and sleeping hours alike for the last few years. I think I first knew his name through the first Surreal South anthology edited by Laura Benedict and Pinckney Benedict. His story, The Paperhanger (also included in his book of short stories I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down) remains one of the most terrifying I've ever read and I gobbled up his novels in quick succession. Like everybody else, I've been waiting for his novel The Lost Country for three(?) years now, and hoped that there'd be a chance to go see him do some publicity appearance for it upon its release. Guess not. I'll be writing more about William and his work at Ransom Notes Tuesday.

Of course Tuesday is also N@B (7pm at Meshuggah Cafe 6269 Delmar, St. Louis, MO. 63130) with guests Gordon Highland and Caleb J. Ross from Kansas City, Kevin Lynn Helmick from Chicago and representing the River City Mark W. Tiedemann. This'll be one to remember. Not your average audacity even by N@B standards. I believe you will be certifiably crazy if you do attend. So, I expect to see you there. And please, everybody keep their clothes on this time.

At Ransom Notes a couple days ago I wrote about Manuel Vazquez Montalban whose Pepe Carvalho books have been reprinted recently by Melville House. His leftist leanings got him a government room under Francisco Franco in the early 1960s. I'm reading Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner right now, and it's got me wondering how he would've been treated in my country during the same period.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Huh? Wha? What do want from me? Details? From N@B last night? Riiiiiiight. They're... hazy. That's right, motherfucker, they're hazy. Back off. I seem to recall that Jason Makansi set the tone for the evening with, Trophy Wife, a story about calculated risk and sex, which, come to think of it, is kinda always the way it is, right? Anyhow, his descriptions of nipples and erections became something of a theme 'cause Robert Randisi followed with a couple passages from The Bottom of Every Bottle, one of which held the evening's refrain 'pink tipped perky tits' everybody say it five times fast. The fancy-pants sound system literally blew up just as Sonia Coney stepped to the mic, but I kinda thought it might and came prepared. I waved away the smoke calmly and plugged in a spare amplifier. Duct tape and snot hold this show to the road yall. Anyhow, Sonia made eeeeeverybody squirm with a chapter from her (as yet unpublished, but it's under submission, kids) novel that featured absolutely the best/worst name for a gay strip club I've ever heard. Ever. Let's just say that Sonia and Orson Wells are forever linked in my mind from here on. Benjamin Whitmer put the final fence post cross the skull of good taste with an excerpt from Satan is Real where in Charlie Louvin recounts his and Ira's childhood penchant for fucking with their overbearing father by ruining the things he valued - in this case, a prize bitch he wanted to breed. The story contained sex, maiming and slaughter and we all had a good laugh. 'Course the image of young Charlie deciding to get spendy and shoot the puppies in an expensive act of mercy rather than brain them as instructed hasn't shook. Probably won't. Remember the opening of Tom Franklin's Hell at the Breech? Even more stuck in my brain than that scene.

Rod Norman brought a copy of the latest issue of Crime Spree magazine with him (cover story on N@B alum Hilary Davidson yo) and pointed out that it contained that cool muthafucka Tim Hennessey's interview w/ Scott Phillips and myself. I took a gander and barely remembered any of it either. Hazy is the word of the day. But man, it were funny. 'Specially the bits where Scott's looking for an urgent care clinic and Kyle Minor steps up to answer questions for him. Yeah, gettin my own copy soon and I'll read it again.

Great time shootin shit later. I'm a broad side of the barn shit shooter, myself, but Scott and Ben got into some great banter about boom-town Denver days as they've both got late nineteenth century Colorado books brewin in their considerably sharp brainbits. I could listen to that level of back and forth a long time. Ben posted his own recap of the event right here and I'm gonna reprint this quote about Scott's The Adjustment (which he read in the airport today): "It's the funniest, darkest, most brilliant noir novel I've read since Jim Thompson." Holy crap.

So, everybody make sure to make it to N@B next Tuesday, February 28th with Mark W. Tiedemann, Kevin Lynn Helmick, Caleb J. Ross and Gordon Highland - it's gonna get weird. Kevin, Caleb, Gordon and Mark, you're up. And if you're attending AWP in Chicago next week, be sure to check out the event The Wrong Kind of Reading on Thursday night March 1st with Pinckney Benedict, David James Keaton, Kyle Minor, Anthony Neil Smith and a bunch more. Looks like I'll be emceeing that one, so I look forward to seeing you there.

Monday, February 20, 2012

You Really 'Like' Me?

Wanna do your Uncle Jed a big ol' favor? Paul von Stoetzel's short film Viscosity is entered in a contest and it needs your vote... for the trailer. Here's the page I'd like ya to visit and clicky the 'Like' tab for Paul's trailer. Yeah, it's a short film, but Paul's put together a pretty great little trailer for it and if it garners more 'likes' than all the other trailers we'll have us a time. I'm told this 'like'-ing is a thing. All the kids do it.

And I'm not done, not by a sight. Today over at the Crime Factory blog, Cameron Ashley dropped the news that Crime Factory Publishing is a go. That's right, books and eBooks branded by the great and powerful Oz. Further, he announced that they'll be publishing a novella in 2012 by my very own self titled Fierce Bitches, and that friends is why the Mayans gave up.

You know who aint give up? Benjamin Whitmer, that's who. That hard ass has been itchy to do the N@B thing for well over a year now and tomorrow night he'll realize that goal. He'll stand before the semi-literate sloshed of St. Louis and kill a dog. Said he'd do it in every book he wrote back in the interview we had us in 2010. Here, go read it. See? He said he would. My main question for him will be 'how did you get Charlie Louvin to do it? Now, I like dogs, but I do resent their hides for the precious sacred cows they are in film and literature. I do regularly cheer on canine slaughter when it's depicted in fictions (or rather the brass on the film maker or author that portrays it in their work). For instance, A Fish Called Wanda? Loved it. Bravo, Charles Crichton. And Lucky McKee? Loved Red, sir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, what's become of you? Amores Perros was so electrifying,  but you've become nearly as unintentionally self-parodying as M. Night Shamalamdingdong. Why? No more dog killings, that's why. Put a bitch down, sir. For all of us.

Regardless your doggy style you should be at Meshuggah Cafe in the University City Loop tomorrow night at 7pm for Whitmer, Robert Randisi, Jason Makansi and Sonia Coney. I'm gonna predict another Frank Bill slash Matthew McBride slash Malachi Stone lightening in a bottle N@B debut from Sonia. You won't believe the shit she says.

Then come back next week on February 28th, same Bat-Time same Bat-Channel, to hear what Kevin Lynn Helmick, Caleb J. Ross, Mark W. Tiedemann and Gordon Highland (who has no middle name) have got in store for us. What? You won't be there? Well for once, we've got you covered. Or rather Robb Olson and Livius Nedin of the Booked Podcast do. They're making the trek from Chicagoland to document the evening's proceedings for posterity. They've been shining the blacklight on some edgy, subterranean writing from their pods and I applaud them for that. Check out this episode where Nik Korpon edumicates your ignoranus on Hardboiled. Who's he name-check for contemporary writers in that field? Hmmm, HBW pal Kent Gowran and N@B dog slayer Ben Whitmer.

Couple days later, Ima follow Kevin, Gordon, Caleb, Robb and Livius to Chicago for The Wrong Kind of Reading with N@B alum Anthony Neil Smith, Kyle Minor and Pinckney Benedict as well as HBW pals Gowran, Korpon and David James Keaton. Gonna be a blastenahaff. While I'm up there I'm hoping to drop in on Julian Grant and check out a ruff cut of Fuckload of Scotch Tape while he scrambles to have it festival circuit ready.

Speaking of Hardboiled, over at Ransom Notes I'm on about the latest last from the master himself, Donald Westlake. The Comedy is Finished is new after thirty-five years this week from Hard Case Crime.

That is all.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sexploitation and Globalization

Just two days until the first of two cock-kicking N@B events in February. Thazzright, Tuesday, February 21 it's Robert Randisi, Sonia Coney, Jason Makansi and Benjamin Whitmer, and if you ain't seen Whitmer's name kickin 'round bookish spots lately, my friend don't raise your hand, you've been looking at the wrong shit. His collaboration with Charlie Louvin on the country music legend's memoirs Satan is Real is having plenty of good attention from the hoity and the toity, (here it is in The New York Times Book Review) as well as from plenty folks you can trust. Then, with but a week to rest up it's N@B again February 28th, this time with Mark W. Tiedemann, Gordon Highland, Kevin Lynn Helmick and Caleb J. Ross who will go out of their way to creep you out without actually dangling genitalia through the dangerous lack of crotch in their pants.

"An ass two drinks away from an awkward breakfast, but a voice as sexy as a rape whistle and a face to match." How bout that gem from Erik Lundy's story Shootout at the K-Y Corral in the latest issue of Plots With Guns? Sheeiit. Go read that story, it's full of great lines like that one. Someday he will disgrace us with his presence at a N@B event. That piece reminded me a bit of Anthony Neil Smith's story Cramp from Sex, Thugs & Rock and Roll about a stick-up team robbing porno stores in desolate off the highway locales. I lose count of those iniquity dens  when I drive across Missouri. It seems like every twenty miles there's a warehouse-sized ' adult super store' perched on the horizon, promising the largest selection of... whatever. Really, they all have the largest selection. Or at least they used to. Last week I took a cross-MO trip and noticed that a few of these landmarks are beginning to disappear. The internet and globalization stickin it to the independents again, I guess. 

Ah well, if those places stir any kind of nostalgic reminiscing in you, you'll wanna look for Paul von Stoetzel's new short film Viscosity, and I'll be sure to let you know when and where you can. After all, it's based on my very own short story of the same name from Out of the Gutter's 'Sexploitation' issue. The pics on this post are stills from the set of that production, and I can't wait to see the finished product. 

Speaking of creepy sex stories, remember that story of bondage and torture from D*CKED? No, the other one. The one Hilary Davidson read last September at N@B? Yeah, well she's got a brannew book out - The Next One to Fall - and at Ransom Notes I'm talking 'bout why I like Hilary. Also, at Ransom Notes, I looked at the similarities in Elmore Leonard's latest Raylan and the new season of Justified. And shit, did you see this photo of Brad Pitt as George V. Higgins' Jackie Cogan in Andrew Dominik's adaptation of Cogan's Trade? Man, I can't wait. Really dug Dominik's Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and of course dig the hell out of Higgins. Over at Ransom Notes I covered this one, plus four more of my most anticipated book-to-film projects of 2012. Yeah, Matthew Jones' Boot Tracks made that list too, and this week I'm checking out the film Deepwater from another Jones novel... I'll squeeze it in between N@B events and before I head to Chicago for The Wrong Kind of Reading with N@B alum Neil Smith, Kyle Minor and Pinckney Benedict, as well as a bunch more of my favorite degenerate literates.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Scooby Don't

Over at Ransom Notes I'm gettin jiggy widda new Josh Bazell follow up to Beat the Reaper - Wild Thing - which upon review looks like a mash-up of old TV shows (The Love Boat, MacGyver, Gilligan's Island and most of all Scooby-Doo) more than a crime novel. Not kidding. It's more than a bit like Fred and Velma's super-horny Great Lakes adventure, filled with the elements that made Reaper such a tangy treat - medical horror, sick and slick violence, shadow history - plus a few new ones - future-casting, speculative social theory, celebrity cameos - and while the book don't work everywhere (it's a little difficult to fawn over posturing on the deluded justifications and hypocritical shortcomings of people coming from a former killer for hire) it does succeed in the most important area - it keeps you turning pages. Dunno if the Beat the Reaper television project is gonna deliver, but I'm certainly interested. Last week at Ransom Notes, I ran off a bunch of my conspiracy favorites, sparked by Alan Glynn's Bloodland.

Speaking of wild things, I found a copy of Jonathan Demme's Something Wild at the library the other day. Been a long time since I'd seen it, and I'm happy to report it held up really well. One of those rare pictures that straddles genres and works well in all of them - romantic comedy, road trip, psycho-ex thriller - I remember it keeping me off balance as a teenaged viewer, I'm glad it turned out to be a good film. One thing I hadn't picked up on the first time around were all the cameos from The Feelies, John Waters, John Sayles and the like. 

While I'm on about Sayles and Demme, I'll mention catching up with Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Control the other night, and while I can't cop to loving it, I can say that knowing it was Jarmusch going in, I was able to enjoy it well enough. Seems like he and Sayles, David Lynch and oh, Hal Hartley could do this kind of thing - take an idea, a question, a philosophy - and make a feature-length film solely about it, ponderous or playful and that was okay. I'd be up for watching them in the right mood. Dunno if I've lost patience or what, but nowadays when I sit down to watch or read a crime-inflected piece, I generally intend to get my genre rocks off but good, and I'll thank you not to distract me with mumbo-jumbo... Though it does strike me that it may make a compelling half of a double header with Stephen FrearsThe Hit - another philosophical killer flick, though The Hit leaves most of the posturing to Terrence Stamp in the mark role than John Hurt or Tim Roth in the roles of the killers... 'Course, we could come full circle and view Robert Siodmak's The Killers.

Don Siegel's The Killers is my preferred adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway short piece and bears little resemblance to either the story or the previous film. If you've not seen it, by gawd seek it out. Features Lee Marvin, Clu Gulager, John Cassavetes, Angie Dickinson and Ronald Reagan in his only onscreen turn as the heavy. It was originally shot to be the first made for television feature film, but the network passed on it - too violent. And man if you think noir on film should stay in black and white, you got another thing coming. This one is garishly technicolor - just splashed with blood and bright sunshine to contrast with the dark themes (James Foley's adaptation of Jim Thompson's After Dark My Sweet is another fine example of that), and Marvin has one of the all-time greatest death scenes in movies. Watch this one and John Boorman's Point Blank back to back for your Marvin boner.

WTF with N@B - we're getting a reputation as responsible, civic-minded citizens? Don't believe me? Check out this piece about the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance... or just skip ahead to this quote: "But local readers also pushed several local titles into the top of all, Noir at the Bar, a collection of crime stories edited by Jedidiah Ayres and Scott Phillips, who donated the profits to local indie Subterranean Books." Thanks Aimee Levitt, but please don't ruin our standing with friends in low places - we're selfish bastards at our core.

How selfish and low, you ask? So much so that N@B alum Jane Bradley is in St. Louis in a futile attempt to have me make good on the bar tab I ran up on her account during the event she read at in August. Hey, Jesus Angel Garcia had at least half of what I did, and I'm pretty sure David Cirillo and Matt Kindt hopped that gravy train too. She's using a cover story, though: attending a conference on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Sure, Jane, I'll be sleeping with one eye open. Seriously, me no school, but her novel You Believers was one of my favorites of 2011, and this week I'm going to give away a copy of that one, (perhaps I can get it signed for you). Just leave a comment on this post - about anything - and I'll draw the winner's name on Sunday. Please note that my email address can be found by clicking on my profile located on the right hand side of your screen - if you win, make sure to send me an address to send your book to.

So hey, Robb Olson, Livius Nedin, don't listen to any of that backwash about bar tabs. C'mon down to the most dangerous city in 'merica on February 28th for our N@B throw-down with Caleb J. Ross, Mark W. Tiedemann and Gordon Highland, and open up your wallets in good faith. While you're here, you can ask Kevin Lynn Helmick about his experience with Trestle Press who just published his latest, Heartland Gothic. Yous twos been kickin ass with the Booked Podcast and I know that's a topic of interest for ya.

Of course if you wanted to hang out all week you could come on out February 21st for the opportunity to ask Benjamin Whitmer whether he believes that Satan is Real or ask real-life pulp hero Robert J. Randisi what's at The Bottom of Every BottleJason Makansi will field questions about publishing (Blank Slate Press - who published ghost of N@B 2011 Fred Venturini's debut The Samaritan) and Sonia Coney will hold forth on all the possibilities betwixt hot dogs and donuts.

Went to the Late Nite Grindhouse screening of David Cronenberg's The Brood at the Hi Pointe Theatre the other night. That was pretty sweet. Them dudes at Destroy the Brain do the midnight movie thing right with old movie trailers before the feature and a $6 ticket. I was pleased to see so many folks show up. March 2nd & 3rd Late Nite Grindhouse will screen Lucio Fulci's House by the Cemetery at midnight.

Over at the Crime Factory blog Ray Banks expounds on Adrian McKinty's question - Why are most crime novels bad? I've got the new McKinty book The Cold Cold Ground, and I'm thinkin it looks pretty good. The Nerd of Noir liked it, that's a good sign. Check out his review at Spinetingler.

Lastly, Paul von Stoetzel is set to roll on his adaptation of my short story Viscosity, and I'm damn happy 'bout that. Looking forward to it, and good luck Paul.