Three times a year, Eight-Stone Press publishes the award-winning Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!, a submission-based literary zine dedicated to collecting the tales of those on whom Mobtown has left her indelible mark. Polished, professional essays; barroom sermons delivered from the sanctity of a favorite stool; the poet's fleeting sentiment, captured in both word and snapshot. A two-time Utne Independent Press Award Nominee, Smile, Hon has also been dubbed "Best Zine" by Baltimore Magazine (2008) and Baltimore City Paper (2004).
Yes, John Cafferty is the poor man's Springsteen. And yes, the ensuing quarter-century has basically confirmed that Michael Pare can't act for shit. But I grew up not far from Tony Mart in Somers Point, NJ, where parts of Eddie and the Cruisers were set. I loved the movie, and the soundtrack was one of the first albums I ever bought (that's right, Smut Girl - album ;)...
Billing itself as "the only online Directory of and for all of the Arts and Artists in the Baltimore area, BALTIMORE ARTS DIRECTORY AND FORUM is offering free online listings to local artists. For more information, e-mail Davis Morton at email@example.com.
Barry Gifford has published The Imagination of the Heart (Seven Stories Press), the final chapter in his ongoing saga of Sailor Ripley & Lula Pace Fortune.
I find Gifford's writing to be extraordinarily cinematic, telling many stories through short, punchy, dialogue-laden chapters (and in the process offering heavy nods to classic pulp novels, film noir and the dark underbelly of American culture); not surprisingly, a few of his works have been translated to screen, most notably the 1990 David Lynch film Wild at Heart, based on the Gifford novel of the same name and starring Nicolas Cage (before he started doing silly shit like stealing cars and setting his skull on fire) and Laura Dern as Sailor and Lula, respectively...
Louis Fowler calls the debut issue of locally-produced zombie zine Rigor Mortis "a great primer" in the genre, especially "for those of you just getting into zombies and the living dead." Read his complete review at Bookgasm.
Premiering in January 2009, Rigor Mortis is the brainchild (braaaaiiiinnnnss!!!) of Baltimore-based zinester Davida Gypsy Breier and includes zombie-related essays, book and movie reviews, and page after page of original artwork by artist Bojan. Supplementing the hard copy is the Rigor Mortisblog.
This is a "feature", of sorts, that began on Facebook. Over the course of several weeks, it seemed that every time Friday rolled around, I was in that Zevon frame of mind and invariably posted some video of his. AJ Michel later dubbed it "Fridays with Warren".
Today's selection is "Splendid Isolation", here featured in live performance on David Letterman. Zevon was a frequent guest on Letterman's show (if memory serves correctly, I believe the two had been roommates at some point way back when), and he'd often sub for Paul Schaeffer whenever he was out of town. In October 2002, having been diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma, Zevon gave his last public performance on Letterman; in the ensuing interview, Zevon offered his now oft-quoted summation of life: to "enjoy every sandwich." He died in September the following year.
I was fortunate enough to see him live no less than a half-dozen times. I really miss his shows - as much for his banter between songs as the music itself. One time, while performing on stage at the Theater of Living Arts on South Street in Philadelphia, he remarked that he'd been in the music business for 30-odd years.
"How many folks out there playing now will be around in, say, 10 years," he posited, then, after a protracted pause, added, "Take Alanis..."
At this, a handful of people in the audience groaned; Morissette was all over the radio dial in those days.
"Nah," Zevon added dryly. "She'll still be playing. Ten years from now, she'll be up here on stage, and some drunk guy will be down in front yelling, 'Hey, Alanis, do the one where you give the guy the blow job.'"
Special thanks to The Baltimore Sun's Nancy Johnston for the shout-out on The Sun's "Read Street" blog concerning the launch of the ESP blog. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make the "Read Street" tweet-up last night at The Windup Space due to a prior work-related engagement. Next time!
I first discovered The Lost Patrol (TLP) in summer 2007, while undergoing treatment for cancer; somehow, for me, their music provided the perfect soundtrack for chemotherapy (which I mean in the best possible way). It was thus with great excitement that I met the fall 2008 release of their seventh studio album, MIDNIGHT MATINEE, which, when The Mobtown Shank's Benn Ray invited me to compile a year-end favorites list, easily made my Top Five:
Were David Lynch to direct a spaghetti western featuring a climactic showdown between Carl Sagan and Carlos Castaneda, The Lost Patrol might provide the perfect soundtrack. Hailing from the greater New York City area, the band’s unique sound reflects a seemingly bottomless well of influences ranging from Morricone to Dick Dale to Joy Division. Guitarist Stephen Masucci’s reverb-drenched Mosrite along with the boundless desert skies of Michael Williams’ 12-string guitar provide a most complimentary backdrop for the otherwordly vocals of Mollie Israel (who replaces the band’s longtime lead singer, Danielle Kimak Stauss). While Israel’s voice occasionally belies her youth, her impressively solid debut nonetheless suggests the promise of even better things to come. Choice tracks: “On the Run”; “Homecoming”; “Colors Turn Grey”; “Jukebox on the Moon”.
Now, TLP have introduced a brand-new band t-shirt, available through their website. Also, look for them July 25, 2009, when they play the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Now if people would only stop slinging feces at me from every direction - which reminds me of an encounter I once had on Greene Street...
The intersection of Greene and West Fayette Streets is rife with material, particularly given its close proximity to a) the VA hospital; b) a methadone clinic; c) "World Famous" Lexington Market, the vicinity of which is favored by some entrepreneurial spirits for re-sale of their dose of methadone; and d) the University of Maryland School of Law, just to make things interesting.
One day, while walking south on Greene Street, I encountered a lively chap deeply engaged in conversation with himself.
"You might be my friend," he announced to no one apparent, "but you are definitely NOT my friend!"
Remembering my manners, I hung back a few paces, so as not to interrupt the conversation. "You might be my friend," he repeated, though this time with greater urgency, "but you are DEFINITELY NOT my friend!"
As we neared the light at Baltimore Street, the man threw his arms in the air. "What is it?" he declared as he stopped at the curb. "Monkey shit is what it is. It's all monkey shit!"
Indeed, I nodded inwardly, as I came to a standstill alongside him. "No!" he announced, shifting tack. "It's, it's APE shit! APE SHIT is what it is!" And with that, he abruptly turned to face me, and, staring me straight in the eye, posited, "And what kinda job that sound like to you - scrapin' together a coupla' poundsa' APE SHIT?!"
But alas, before I could find out how much the job paid, he had bounded off into the cross traffic of Baltimore Street.
Last night, I finished dropping in the copy for the forthcoming issue of Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! Simply waiting on a few contributors to confirm their bylines/bios, proof a hard copy, and the issue should drop fairly close to my intended pub date of on or about the first of June. Thanks to all of the contributors and readers for their patience and understanding.
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and the Baltimore Songwriters Association invite you to join them on Saturday, May 30th from 4-8 PM, for a unique concert and charity walk in beautiful Federal Hill Park. The ‘Take Steps- Be Heard- Sing Out’ concert will features five extremely talented, locally-based songwriter- musicians (Karter Jaymes, Woody Lissauer, Susan Souza, sahffi, Eddie Emokpae) and one band (“The Starvation Army Band”). Concert is open, and free, to all participants of the CCFA Walk. This event promises to be extremely family-friendly, and fun. It features, also, a Moonbounce and ‘Dancing Shrubs’ (courtesy of Ambush Theater) in the Park.
Washington, D.C., garage-punk legends The Slickee Boys, covering Neil Sedaka's "I Go Ape"...
Each December, they do a reunion show at The Ottobar in Baltimore. I've gone the last few years with Hungover Gourmet Dan Taylor. They're grayer and paunchier, but the Slickees still fucking rock. Well worth your time.
That's right, ladies and gents - our collective OCD (and well-nigh schizophrenic proclivity to refer to ourselves in the third-person, plural no less) has driven we here at Eight-Stone Press to create this blog for the purposes of a) catering to the whims of my - that is, our - inner marketing whore, b) promoting the creative efforts of those guilty by association, and c) promoting all things with which we are intrigued, captivated, smitten, or of which we simply entertain dirty, dirty thoughts.