Chicago Publisher ‘CCLaP’ Holds Quadruple Book Release Party

This looks to be fun!

The Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, or CCLaP, is proud to announce their latest local live event, a large-scale party to celebrate the release of their first four paper books this summer. An electronic publisher since 2007, CCLaP has been quietly releasing new special-edition, handmade “Hypermodern” paper editions of its four titles throughout the summer; and on August 10th the group will be gathering at the popular Beauty Bar in the Bucktown neighborhood for drinks, free food, and a half-hour reading from all four featured authors, as well as a few surprise guests. Beauty Bar is located at 1444 West Chicago Avenue, and the free event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m., the reading itself from 8:00 to 8:30. All four books will be for sale individually for $20 apiece; or for one night only, attendees can purchase all four in a bundle for only $50.

Books and performers being featured that night include the novella Too Young to Fall Asleep by Sally Weigel, about a Radiohead-listening “emo” high-school student who volunteers for the Iraq War (originally published in 2009); 99 Problems by Ben Tanzer, essays about the mental intersection between running and writing (originally published in 2010); Life After Sleep by Mark R. Brand, a day-after-tomorrow tale concerning a device that allows people to only need two hours of sleep a night (originally published this past winter); and Salt Creek Anthology by Jason Fisk, a collection of linked “micro-stories” regarding four trashy couples in the far Chicago suburbs (published this summer). CCLaP’s “Hypermodern” series is an attempt to create special collector-worthy editions of all the center’s electronic books, reasonably priced yet expertly made; they feature handmade hardbound covers, including a color photo of the ebook’s original cover adhered to the front, external Coptic stitching, whimsical decorative endpapers, a special signature/provenance page for collectors, and a full Colophon in the back listing all materials used. CCLaP itself has been open online since 2007, and with a handful of local live events held in varying venues across the city each year; the center also produces a semi-weekly podcast, sells general giftstore-style merchandise, and publishes over 150 book reviews a year at its popular website. Among other accolades, it’s been featured twice at respected arts guide, and its blog is followed by almost ten thousand unique monthly visitors.

For questions or more information, please contact executive director Jason Pettus at, or visit the CCLaP event page.

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Down With Tanzer: An Interview

Ben Tanzer is the author of the novels, Lucky Man and Most Likely You Go Your Way, the story collection Repetition Patterns, a MLP mini chap, I Am Richard Simmons, and many more chunks of goodness. His next novel, You Can Make Him Like You will be published by Artistically Declined Press. But before people cry nepotism this interview is actually about his new essay collection, 99 Problems (CCLAP), which explores the connections between his writing and his uber healthy hobby of running. There’s probably no nicer person than Tanzer, certainly one of the kindest, most supportive writers I’ve met out there in the ether and his enthusiasm is always contagious, because, you know, he’s CHANGING YOUR LIFE.

RWB: First, I have to know the origins of the title. Clearly it’s a Jay-Z reference, but how did you come to 99 Problems as the title of this project?

BT: Whenever I’m writing some song inevitably seems to have the right vibe for what I’m trying, hoping to capture. So this song has some obvious elements to it that work here, as both running and writing are rife with problems for me. Running is always a struggle on some level, physically, mentally, emotionally, time-wise, whatever, but I still have to run, there’s no choice, and apparently when there is no choice, there are problems. Of course, trying to get a story untangled has its own types of problems. But like running, I’m in it, and like running, it’s not a choice, so that’s a problem. Finally though, and maybe mostly even, the song is tight, sparse, minimalist, profane, funny and slamming, and I always want to write like that, but especially here, stripped down to muscle and pain, but still laughing, still creating, still punching and still having fun.

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