Ben Tanzer is everywhere.
And now he is here for the most recent in what has clearly become an occasional series of interviews. That’s right, this Chicago man-about-town and publishing champion submitted to the grueling e-mail mindslog known to you as The Big Other interview.
Davis: Answer a banal question you might imagine a novice interviewer might ask?
Ben: I am wearing pants. Drinking coffee. Listening to The Avett Brothers. And wearing pants. It’s not even like I think of that as a requirement of this interview or any interview. Especially as I sit here at my kitchen table with the heat pouring over me like a wave of steamy goodness. But for the record. Pants on. Completely.
Davis: You seem to publish a book every three months or so, and not one of these is a Green Lantern, if you catch my meaning…
Ben: 2011 was a really good year for me in terms of writing. Having had a series of things come out over the course of the year, I felt self-conscious about it, though I’m proud of all the work. I’m thrilled that there’s interest from publishers and readers, but there’s some discomfort, too. Some of it is about how the release of the work is staggered. You write and write and you don’t know when things will actually pop. I suppose it’s like Ryan Gosling having three movies out this year. And no, I’m not really comparing myself to Ryan Gosling. For example, he’s Canadian, so right there you have that..
Um, well, this is embarrassing: if you checked this post this morning between 9 am – 9:26, you would have found an incomplete entry: devoid of this snappy opening, and truncated, it the main text, from its full form.
Could it be that #AuthorFail has had its first fail? Would this then equal success.
I feel miserable, I mean happy…I mean, well, something else.
As Jean Francois Lyotard notes in The Inhuman, the sun will burn out one day. Thus, all human activity is under the sign of this eventual catastrophe (no, I don’t think he considers widespread space colonization). I wonder if the sun will fail in its great and final task, to burn into nothing.
When you look into the sky today, enjoy the steaming ball of ambivalence–before that, enjoy this serious failure of a column from Laura Goldstein.
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 BoingBoing.net, and its blog is followed by almost ten thousand unique monthly visitors.
For questions or more information, please contact executive director Jason Pettus at email@example.com, or visit the CCLaP event page.
# # #
So now there’s a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe standing by Tribune Tower, on Michigan Ave:
Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune, 15 July 2011.
Describing it, the Chicago Tribune writes:
Marilyn Monroe, as a 26-foot-tall statue in her famous subway-grate stance from “The Seven Year Itch” pose [sic]. Dubbed Forever Marilyn, the sculpture by New Jersey-based artist Seward Johnson will live in Pioneer Court through what will be a rather chilly winters for the bare-legged, exposed-panties icon. It’s scheduled to depart in the spring.
The Tribune gets it wrong, however.
For a year or so now I’ve been noticing GrubHub ads:
…deliberately crude post-South Park pieces reminiscent of Tao Lin’s visual art. (GrubHub’s website continues the aesthetic; see, for instance, the About Us page. And it’s a good thing they made these new ones—their original, older ads were pretty boring.) Two-dimensional revels, they seem all surface.
But there’s more going on, I’d argue, in these pictures. Let’s start with the most obvious one: