Wednesday, March 21, 2012

THE END

This blog is now an archive. My new blog is here.

Yours,

Sam

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

BOOK TOUR UPDATES


My book tour dates are below. I posted everything in all caps to show HOW MUCH I STRONGLY DISLIKE BLOGSPOT. My new blog is still being built – once that is up, I’ll have everything listed in greater detail. In the meantime, I’ll keep these dates updated as info comes in. Thanks for your patience.

3/24/12 – LA @ FAMILY, 7PM
4/1/12 -  NYC @ GENERATION RECORDS, 4 PM
4/1/12 - BROOKLYN @ BOOK THUG NATION 7:30 / 9:30
4/2/12 – NYC @ ST. MARKS BOOKS 7PM
4/3/12 – PROVIDENCE, RI @ ARMAGEDDON SHOP PROVIDENCE, 5 PM
4/3/12 – PROVIDENCE, RI @ AS220, 9PM
4/4/12 – BOSTON, MA @ ARMAGEDDON SHOP BOSTON, 5PM
4/5/12 – PORTLAND, ME @ SPACE, 6:30
4/6/12 – WALLINGFORD, CT @ REDSCROLL RECORDS, 8PM
4/7/12 – HADLEY, MA @ GREY MATTER BOOKS, 4 PM
4/7/12 –EASTHAMPTON, MA @ FLYWHEEL ARTS COLLECTIVE, 8PM
4/8/12 – PHILADELPHIA, PA @ BRICKBAT, 5PM
4/8/12 – PHILADELPHIA, PA @ MOLLY’S, 7PM
4/9/12 – PITTSBURGH, PA @ CARNEGIE LIBRARY OF PITTSBURGH: 7PM
4/10/12 – CLEVELAND, OH @ ROTTEN MEAT GALLERY, 7PM
4/11/12 – DETROIT, MI @ TRUMBULL PLEX, 7PM
4/12/12 – CHICAGO, IL @  PERMANENT RECORDS, 6PM
4/13/12 – CINCINNATTI @  STATIC AGE, 8PM
4/14/12 – LOUISVILLE, KY @ TBA
4/15/12 - CHATTANOOGA, TN - LEO HANDMADE SHOP AND GALLERY, 4PM
4/15/12 - CHATTANOOGA , TN @ SLUGGO’S NORTH VEGAN CAFE, 8PM
4/16/12 – ATLANTA, GA @ GATO BIZCO, 8PM
4/18/12 – COLUMBIA, SC @  BLUETILE SKATE SHOP, 7 PM
4/19/12 – CHAPEL HILL, NC @  FLYLEAF BOOKS, 7 PM
4/20/12 - RICHMOND , VA @ CHOP SUEY BOOKS, 5 PM
4/20/12 - RICHMOND , VA @ STEADY SOUNDS, 7 PM
4/21/12 – BALTIMORE, MD @  ATOMIC BOOKS, 7-9 PM
4/22/12 – DC @ SMASH RECORDS, 6PM
4/27/12 – CLAREMONT, CA @ CLAREMONT FORUM
5/2/12 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ NEEDLES & PENS
5/2/12 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA @ SECRET ALLEY
5/3/12 – OAKLAND @ 1234 GO! RECORDS, 7:30
5/4/12 - HUMBOLDT, CA @ TBA
5/5/12 – PORTLAND, OR @ LAND GALLERY, 5 PM
5/5/12 - PORTLAND, OR @ READING FRENZY, 7 PM
5/6/12 – OLYMPIA, WA @ NORTHERN, 3 PM
5/6/12 – SEATTLE, WA @ VERMILLION, 9PM
5/8/12 – AUSTIN, TX @ END OF AN EAR RECORDS, 6 PM
5/8/12 – AUSTIN, TX @ ALAMO DRAFT HOUSE, 9:45 PM
5/10/12 – HOUSTON, TX @ DOMY BOOKS, 7PM
5/11/12 – NEW ORLEANS, LA @ MCKEOWN'S BOOKS, 5PM
5/11/12 – NEW ORLEANS, LA @ MUDLARK THEATER, 7PM
5/12/12 – LITTLE ROCK, AR @ TBA
5/13/12 – MEMPHIS, TN @ TBA
5/15/12 – ST. LOUIS @ APOP, 7PM
5/16/12 – MADISON, WI @ TBA
5/17/12 - MINNEAPOLIS, MN  @ TBA
5/18/12 – LINCOLN, NE @ CULTIVA COFFEE, 7PM
5/19/12 - KANSAS CITY, KS  @ TBA
5/20/12 – OKLHAMOMA CITY, OK @ TBA

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Problem: problems


THE ZONE OF UNEASE, Jan 28 – I have a new Vice column out regarding the phenomenon of god damned fucking shit that doesn’t fucking work right. This column was inspired by Blogger / Blogspot, which I would gleefully curb stomp into thousands of shards of plastic and circuits, if only it were a physical thing I could physically assault in the real, non-Tron world.

Apparently I’ve been a slow learner in figuring out how bad Blogspot has gotten. When I tell people of my coding woes they say things like oh yeah, that site sucks. The general tone reminds me of the night I was driving a large rental truck north from Virginia with all my possessions in the back and my two cats in carriers in the cab and my pal Neil woke from a long nap as we passed Philadelphia only to say, with obvious disappointment, oh you took THIS route 95. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THESE THINGS?!?

The good news is that I’ll have a snazzy new blog up sometime before I leave for my book tour in April. Speaking of which, the dates are slowly firming up. Thanks to every one who has been writing in. I’ll keep the dates below current. And Vice has also gone and printed 3 chapters from the new novel. If you’re worried that these will spoil the book for you, please keep in mind that there are still another 106 chapters that you have not yet read.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Help Needed For Tour

OK. Book tour time. In case I haven't promoted myself properly to your demographic, I have a new novel coming out on April 1. It's a really good book. To support this really good book, I'm doing a 7-week book tour. The cities are listed below. Any cities marked EVENT TBA are in the process of being booked. Any cities marked SEEKING EVENT are cities for which no shows are booked. It is with these cities that I need your help.

This is an 80+ show tour, meaning I'm attempting to do two events in each city; an early-to-mid afternoon book signing, and then a later spoken word set at a different venue. Here's what I'm looking for:

1. Good bookstores for readings. A good record store would work in a pinch as well.

2. Good venues for spoken shows. All kinds of venues would work for this, with a few important restrictions. I can't play with any loud bands, punk or otherwise. Punk shows are great things for which I am a bad fit. Likewise, I can't do any sets at bars. Bars are awesome if you are 22, or freshly divorced, or a serial killer. They are no good for what I'm doing.


Same goes for house shows. Your house is probably awesome, but I would still be worried about your roommate Paul killing me. Nothing personal.

That still leaves lots of options for events and venues. All-spoken shows can be good (I've done these with Erika Anderson, Sharon Cheslow, Jessica Hopper, and Kevin Seconds, among others). But I'm up for other suggestions. To be frank, the best possible show would be me opening for a barbershop quartet. See if you can get that to work.

I can be reached at:

2012tour AT unleashthewalrus DOT com


Please place your city name in the subject line. Thanks!

Here are the dates:

4/1 SU  — NYC
EVENT TBA

4/2 MO — Brooklyn 
EVENT TBA

4/3 TU — Providence, RI
EVENT TBA

4/4 WE — Portland, ME
SEEKING EVENT

4/5 TH  — Boston, MA
EVENT TBA

4/6 FR — Hartford, CT
SEEKING EVENT

4/7 SA — W. MA
EVENT TBA

4/8 SU — Philadelphia, PA
SEEKING EVENT

4/9 MO — Pittsburgh, PA
SEEKING EVENT

4/10 TU — Cleveland, OH
SEEKING EVENT

4/11 WE — Detroit / Ann Arbor, MI
SEEKING EVENT

4/12 TH — Chicago, IL
SEEKING EVENT

4/13 FR — Cincinnati, OH
EVENT TBA

4/14 SA — Louisville, KY
SEEKING EVENT

4/15 SU — Nashville, TN
SEEKING EVENT

4/16 MO — Atlanta, GA
SEEKING EVENT

4/18 WE — Columbia, SC
SEEKING EVENT

4/19 TH — Raleigh, NC
SEEKING EVENT

4/20 FR — Richmond, VA
EVENT TBA

4/21 SA — Baltimore, MD
EVENT TBA

4/22 SU — DC
SEEKING EVENT

4/26 TH — LA, CA
EVENT TBA

4/27 FR — Claremont, CA
EVENT TBA

5/2 WE — SF, CA
EVENT TBA

5/3 TH — Bay Area, CA
SEEKING EVENT

5/4 FR — Humboldt, CA
EVENT TBA

5/5 SA — Portland, OR
EVENT TBA

5/6 SU — Seattle / Olympia, WA
SEEKING EVENT

5/8 TU — Austin, TX
EVENT TBA

5/9 WE — Dallas, TX
SEEKING EVENT

5/10 TH — Houston, TX
EVENT TBA

5/11 FR — New Orleans, LA
SEEKING EVENT

5/12 SA — Little Rock, AR
SEEKING EVENT

5/13 SU — Memphis, TN
SEEKING EVENT

5/15 TU — St. Louis, MO
EVENT TBA

5/16 WE — Madison, WI
SEEKING EVENT

5/17 TH — Minneapolis, MN
SEEKING EVENT

5/18 FR — Omaha, NE
SEEKING EVENT

5/19 SA — Kansas City, KS
SEEKING EVENT

5/20 SU — OK City, OK
SEEKING EVENT

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Difficulties

Having some technical issues with this blog. In the meantime, please enjoy my groundbreaking Vice columns on Laundromats and cat hair and freaking out. Frowning face emoticon. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Missed Opportunities


REGRETS DEPT. - These are opportunities that I took pains to miss.



PUBLIC ENEMY (1987)

I'm not going to belabor this one. The Beastie Boys played my hometown arena, and instead of catching the second band, Public Enemy, I elected to interview Murphy's Law in their tour bus for my fanzine. I think I was feeling defensive, as every kid in my school was at this concert (meaning, every kid at my school was, technically, at a hardcore show), and I probably wanted to be able to brag I'd gotten "backstage".

This isn't a big deal. With the miracle of time machines, I'll have plenty of other opportunities to see Public Enemy on their first tour. I'm not worried about it.



PRESIDENT BUSH SMACKDOWN (1989)

I was visiting family in Maine one summer when the President's advance team came to town. They needed a quiet spot from which to drop Bush's cigarette boat into the Atlantic, far from the hounding media of Kennebunkport. Eventually a limo arrived and disgorged the leader of the free world. He was tall. His few security men seemed relaxed by the surroundings. I could've gotten in one good smack across the face. This was pre-Panama and Iraq, so one manly, pistol-crack loud smack - nothing worse - would have been the appropriate response.

Say I'd gotten 20 years in prison. Would I have missed so much?

"I'M IN HELMET" (1992)

In the early 1990's, I spent some time in Fun City, the Manhattan recording studio of Wharton Tiers. At the time, Tiers was known as the go-to guy for a large swath of the alternative scene that would break mainstream in just a few years. He was very personable and professional, and adept at dealing with band members who quarreled openly in his recording room, or in the control room, or on the sidewalk outside, long after the session had ended.

The studio was less of a city, however, than a low-ceilinged basement. Here is where the problem came in. Tiers lived in the building upstairs, and he took increasingly long "breaks", leaving all of us waiting, watching the clock tick away our paid minutes. What did he do up there? Eat leisurely meals? Take baths? Did he have a secret life with another band in another recording studio?

During these breaks, there wasn't much to do besides stare at the walls and wait for his return. One of the walls was worth staring at, holding dozens of master tapes for the city's indie elite: Prong, Pussy Galore, Sonic Youth, Swans, White Zombie. Again and again, I found my gaze returning to the master tapes for Helmet's "Strap It On".

I liked this album. It wasn't such a stretch picturing myself singing karaoke on this album. Specifically, it wasn't such a stretch picturing myself smuggling a blank 1" Ampex tape into Fun City, swapping reels during our unsupervised downtime, bringing the Helmet masters to any one of hundreds of competing studios, re-recording a new mix with my own vocals, replacing the tapes on my next visit, and producing a bootleg a few months later. I wouldn't have needed lyrics; Helmet's staccato riffs required nothing more than someone singing "I'm in Helmet" over and over. I'm in Helmet, I could almost hear myself croon. Helmet Helmet, I'm in Helmet. Helmet Helmet. I'm in Helmet!

I wish I'd done this. Instead,  I'd get depressed at my own cowardice and eat lots of junk food from the corner bodega. "You're always eating snacks," Tiers jovially told me during one session. In retaliation, I stole the studio's copy of Celebrity Sleuth magazine.



FARRAKHAN SPEECH (1996)

I spent my first two years in Richmond, Virginia, living in Jackson Ward, which was then a nearly all-black enclave of working families. Me and my roommates weren't greeted with any fresh baked cookies, but it was a safe, quiet neighborhood with exceptionally bright street lights. Whenever any of our parents would visit, they'd look around nervously and say, "how are race relations here?"

Nation Of Islam Muslims manned the intersection that formed the western gateway to this neighborhood. They sold copies of  their newspaper, The Final Call, to most drivers stopped at the light. If the driver was a young white male, they'd politely motion for us to roll the window down and then ask us if we'd seen the movie "Congo".

"Not yet," I'd lie to the crisply dressed Muslim man.

"Well, you should," he'd say with a smile, motioning me on when my light turned green.

When Minister Louis Farrakhan came to town, I biked down to the lecture hall. I'd been excited about seeing him speak in person, but when I arrived, I found myself the only bicycling, not-angry, non-black person at the event. I rode home in a cloud of intimidation and self-disgust. Later, a pasty Caucasian acquaintance told me it'd been "fun", despite the bomb threat. Later still, I boycotted the Marilyn Manson protesters at the same venue, to provide some racial balance to my inexplicable cop-out. The end.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Are you e-sperienced? (198?)


SIGNIFICANT DOCUMENTS, Jan 6 - This tidbit comes from the last page of issue 24 of Sick Teen, a midwest punk zine from the mid-1980’s. I was an avid reader of Sick Teen in high school and college, but I never managed to locate more than 5 copies. It was obscure. It was also hard to read - the sheer density of graphics and writing forced me to use a magnifying glass, even back when I had 20/20 vision. 


Here’s one of my favorite bits, enlarged:



Who thinks like this? Not me, evidently, although I've tried hard, over the years, to emulate this level of next-levelness. Enjoy.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New: Mugger Books

THE INTERNET, Jan 2 - My pal Anthony's new publishing house is now online. He's also got a Mugger Books blog and Twitter account. I am going to nag him to have both be interesting.


Also, the Amazon page is now up for my new novel, The Loom Of Ruin. Every copy you preorder helps it not be #297,818,761,300 in book sales. It also helps you be snooty to people at cocktail parties discussing my many novels twenty years from now. Win-win.

Sunday, January 1, 2012