“’The people of the book’ is the cliché. What happens to a people when books disappear?”

Joshua_Cohen_BBF_2010_ShankboneI did a pair of interviews with Joshua Cohen about his novel Book of Numbers. For Los Angeles Review of Books we talked about computer code, puns, the “enkitschment” of the Holocaust, and his novel’s often uncomfortable engagement with race. At The Rumpus, I spoke with him about his job translating product copy for porn CD-ROMs while living in Eastern Europe. For Flavorwire, I wrote a listicleBook of Numbers explained, if not through animated GIFs, at least adjacent to them.


Short story “The Overseer” in The Literary Review

Unknown In “The Overseer”, globalized markets deliver a comeuppance to Vic Graburn, director of the films The Leverage Point and A Man Above. How is art designed for export–whether it’s Transformers 3 or trinkets sold to tourists–deformed by the needs of the market? How do intellectual property and de-industrialization intersect? Shameless cultural ventriloquism is also involved. An earlier version of this story appeared in The Fanzine as “In the Blink of An All-Seeing Eye” a few years back complete with “illustrations” I made for Junc Gallery’s “Zine Show” exhibit, which included Ron Rege Jr., Sammy Harkham, John Porcellino, and Souther Salazar. “The Overseer” is one of a series of stories about intellectual property, international trade, and masculinity.

TLR previously published a raunchy 8,000 monster of a story of mine called > < in their Winter 2013 issue.

Two Intros for The Believer’s The Organist Podcast

I wrote a pair of super short intros for McSweeney’s The Believer’s The Organist podcast (affiliated with LA’s public radio station KCRW) One is about a series prospective business texts that leads an episode in which whole chapters of Tao Lin’s novel Taipei are rapped. The other is about binaural recording and Arthur Rimbaud which begins an episode about director Mike Mills’ documentary on the children of Silicon Valley.Unknown-2

Like Trenton, But Without the Thrills

Camden Joy_croppedI’ve got an essay about poster artist / rock novelist / baseball historian / narco-troubador Camden Joy / Tom Adelman up over at the Los Angeles Review of Books. “I always thought of Camden Joy as something that would carry you through the darkest times.” A portion of this essay was presented as a talk at the 2013 Midwest Modern Language Association conference. My co-panelists included Adam Wilson, Trinie Dalton, and David. N. Meyer. The panel was moderated by Prof. Samuel Cohen (University of Missouri). Tom Adelman served as keynote speaker for the conference.

A Story Called > <

TLRI’ve got a raunchy 8,000-word monster of a story in the current issue of The Literary Review. “Even though we hadn’t spoken in months, my older brother had called me up to help him move out of the collective farm where he’d spent the last 3½ years of his life. Since I’d last seen him, he’d grown a beatnik soul patch on his lower lip and a Hitler mustache on the upper: inversions of each other.” TLR’s a great journal that’s included Percival Everett, Adam Wilson, and in the current issue Charles Simic. Print and e-book.

Plummeting Appliances, Dying Verbs, Enslaved Automatons, and Other Objects

Louis Chude-Sokei_cropped
Photograph by Diego Sierralto

This reading, which included Joshua Cohen, Louis Chude-Sokei, Jim Krusoe, Joanna Ruocco, and Matthew Derby, was held at 601 Artspace and coincided with their exhibit The Unspecific Index, which contained largely photographic works dealing with post-human ontology. There were works by John Baldessari, love letters from Buckminster Fuller, and a photographic piece by George Christoph Lichtnberg that Louis and I are examining in the photo above. Louis read a great piece on Joice Heth, a sometimes slave owned/employed by P.T. Barnum and exhibited variously as George Washington’s 100+ year-old wet nurse or as an android, depending on Barnum’s interpretation of the audience’s whims. This piece later appeared in McSweeney’s The Believer. All five writers’ talks can be watched here. Additional information about the event and photographs can be viewed here.