July 27, 2006

Rock and Roll Rock, Rock and Roll, Rock and Roll Rock...


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I just listed a few new shows/appearances. In addition to the rock and roll show on the flier above, we've got:

Thursday, August 17. A reading/singing/signing at Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704. 510 649 1320.

and

Friday October 6. Litquake Festival thing. This event features "musicians reading from books that inspired them." The thinking is that I can kill all the birds with the following stone: singing and playing "Somebody's Song," which is a Dorothy Parker poem I set to "music" that ended up on the album Love is Dead. And maybe something else. We'll see.


There are other things in the works, so watch this space.

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Happy Birthday, Aimee


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July 21, 2006

Sneaky Slimely Talk


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On the "radio":

Listen to AOL's Book Maven Bethanne Patrick interview me for AOL Books web-radio by clicking here. If that link doesn't work for you, go to the Book Maven blog and click on over from there. (For some reason, there is an attack on Ann Coulter in the comments, which is only noteworthy because it supplied the title for this post.)

I was also recently interviewed on the Living Writers show on WCBN in Ann Arbor.

On "TV":

When I was in New York, I did an interview in the baking, sweltering Brooklyn sun, to be interspersed with the video programming on Steven's Untitled Rock Show on the Fuse channel. They were really nice people and the interview was fun, even though I was sweating like a pig throughout. (Honestly, I don't see how people can live like that. It was approximately a gazillion degrees in the shade.) Check out the gritty realism on (if I have this right) July 24th at 7pmEST/4pmPST.

In "print":

Here are the links to the KD stuff in Harp magazine that I mentioned earlier: a review; and a Q & A.

Lastly, I don't think I got around to linking to the Bookslut interview, so here it is.

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The Drunker You Get, The Better I Read


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That's Andrew Krucoff, the man who helped me and King Dork dominate the internets in the release week and following. He organized a party at the Gawker office before my show at the Sidewalk Cafe. Even though it was very last-minute, lots of people showed up in the end:

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Krucoff's post-mortem post has photos some of the people on the guest list. (Web-presario Nick Denton was hosting another book party at another venue, a party that actually ended in fisticuffs amongst the obliterati.)

As for Gawker, here's a picture of where the magic happens. (When we came in, there were still people gawkering, but I was too shy to take a picture then):

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My show at the Sidewalk was probably the best acoustic set I've ever done. Larry reports here; Jim Testa (who played a set after me) here. And Domi has the set list.

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July 19, 2006

Reading Room


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July 18, 2006

Over the Weekend, Lane Smith and I Shot BB Guns at Cards from His Extensive Collection of Vintage Card Targets


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July 13, 2006

Lost in the Pages

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Thanks to everyone who braved the monsoon to come out to Coliseum Books for my reading last night. I had a good time. I asked for requests for passages to read, as I have been doing lately. And, as often happens, I had a lot of trouble locating the requested passages. The audience was amazingly patient while they watched me standing at that podium pawing through the pages of my own book mumbling things like "hmmm," and "wait, is that before or after the ball-spotting incident," or "what the hell am I doing up here?" My editor Krista Marino stepped in to search for the Sex Alliance Against Society passage while I played some songs. In fact, she wasn't able to locate it. But I'm pretty sure it's in there, somewhere. I need to make an index or something. But I'm thinking for the future, if you are interested in requesting a particular part, there's way more chance of it happening if you tell me the page number. Why? Because I'm retarded. That's why.

So I'll see you all at the Sidewalk Cafe tonight, all of you who come. Jim Testa is going to play a set after me as it turns out.

UPDATE: Rachel emailed to say she had found the S. A. A. S. part: p. 133.

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Clicking the Night Away

I suppose it's a chain of association that could only happen in the age of the internets: cultural-political journalist Reihan Salam discovers the Kinks through reading King Dork, which was recommended to him by someone who noticed the title on the "what customers ultimately buy" section of the Amazon page for Ramesh Ponnuru's "culture of life" polemic The Party of Death. (How on earth my book ended up there, allegedly purchased by 43% of those who bought something after looking at the Party of Death page - if I have that right - remains a mystery.)

In a sort of virtual, internetty way, Reihan Salam and I go way back. I've enjoyed his writing in the New Republic and on the American Scene blog for years. (His name will also be familiar to readers of Andrew Sullivan's blog, as he's the letters editor.) So it's kind of cool to discover that he has read and liked my book. And that he's listening to the Kinks, because everybody probably should be. (I doubt "Come Dancing" is on too many A-lists out there, but it is a fine song. I mean, everything can't be "Waterloo Sunset.")

As Reihan says, if there is a an all-powerful, Destiny-controlling Being who set this whole thing up, He must have a lot of Time on His hands.

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July 09, 2006

the equivalent of rauncy music you'd rather your kids not hear

There is a little essay of mine in the current issue of SPIN about my memories of this Clash show.

And there is a Q & A in the latest Harp.

(Neither of those are on line, unless my methods for determining whether things are on line or not have gone awry.)

Here's a sweet review of King Dork in Las Vegas Citylife, by Tod Goldberg.

Finally, this just might end up being my favorite Amazon reader review of King Dork. (It's currently at the top of the reviews page. At first I thought it might be someone pulling my leg, but after reading the other reviews, I'd say it's at least mostly for real. Or is it?)

UPDATE: I just noticed that Betty Burks's bizarro review of King Dork has been removed. There's still plenty of ultra-weirdness in her 1000 + other reviews on her Amazon profile page, if you like that kind of thing.

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Meat the Author


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New York City is perhaps not quite at its best in the summer, but soul-sapping heat and peculiar smells aside, so far so good over here. I dropped in on a handful of bookshops in Manhattan to say hi and "sign stock," and all the bookshop people were, as usual, surprisingly friendly and gracious about the whole thing. A couple of them had even read the book, which is nice. I mean, that doesn't always happen. One of those who had read it was a buyer at this great children's- thru-YA bookstore called Books of Wonder. If you are interested in Frank L. Baum, it is definitely the place to go. Plus, they have cupcakes and such. (Anyone in NY who is interested: I noticed a couple of first editions among the ones I signed. I only mention it because people have asked where to get them. While supplies last, in New York, that is where. Here's how to tell if it's a first edition: at the bottom of the copyright info. page at the front there is a kind of "count-down" from ten. If it goes all the way to "1," that's a first edition.) A girl at one of the Barnes & Nobles actually carded me to make sure I wasn't just some guy getting his kicks by signing somebody's else's book.

I had a fun time in (or should that be on?) Long Island at the Village Book Shoppe and at this Irish bar afterwards with Lorraine and her entourage of hip librarians. The heat was rough though. I was pretty wilted by the end.

And yet: onward.

(Don't forget about Coliseum Books on Wednesday the 12th and the Sidewalk Cafe on Thurs. the 13th. Details here.)

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Are You Ready for the Summer?


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July 06, 2006

Showses


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So as I mentioned before, I am doing a few booky events in New York next week:

Saturday, July 8th, at The Village Bookshop, 7 North Village Avenue, Rockville Center, New York. 516 764-1395. 7PM.

Wednesday, July 12th at Coliseum Books, 11 West 42nd Street, New York. 6:30 PM.

Thursday July 13th at the Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Avenue A & 6th St. 11 PM.


I'm also doing some stuff in LA a bit later:

A signing-appearance-playing thing Book Soup on Saturday July 22, 2:30PM. 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood, CA 90069.

And on Sunday July 23 (at noon) I'll be presenting a songwriting workshop for kids at the Hammer Museum at UCLA, presented by 826LA. If you are 8 to 13 years old and in the area, you can sign up for it...

Finally, there's an in-store at Amoeba Music on Sunday July 23. 6400 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA. 3PM.

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Seeing the Slash

In Hollywood, as I've recently learned, people use the phrase "see the movie." As in "can you see the movie in this?" Or great character, but I'm not sure I can "see the movie." JB says he's on board and can totally "see the movie..."

Here's another variation on the same idea that I just came across:

I never really slash characters of my own initiative unless they're fighting each other in that sweaty-angry-grrr sort of way (video games have WARPED MY SOUL)-- but in the case of Frank Portman's King Dork, I can totally see it (the Tom/Sam, I mean). See myself writing it, that is. I mean, it's like slashing Dead Poets Society or like, A Separate Peace or whatever, 'cause it has these two best friends and they're both teenage guys & they're cute and oh-so-hetero, etc, except, um-- y'know, takes place in the 90s, so it's just easier somehow ^^;;

Anyway! Um. You guys-- at least someone-- would have to read it and tell me if they see the slash. Or would want to see it. (From me.) Or. Something like that. Yeah. Um. :> And of course (because I need to get my Coolness Mojo back), it would have to be dirty dirty awkward!boysex pr0n :D >:D I mean, I would write it right now! ...Except no one's gonna read it...


Not sure what "H/D-hugging" is...

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July 03, 2006

Silence and Decency

I didn't have time to do a whole lot of sight-seeing in Milan, but we did manage to fit in some of it.

This sign was at the entrance to the cathedral at Como, a nice lakeside town near the Swiss border:


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Marta was actually refused entry because of her "indecently" exposed shoulders. Quite a few women were able to get around the no halter tops rule by draping fabric over their shoulders like shawls or capes. One lady in a tank top managed to get in by draping another tank top over her shoulders. We didn't have any extra tank tops so Marta had to wait outside. I found the whole thing to be bizarre and fairly comical, but everyone took it in stride. It is the rule in all churches, they said.

I was left wondering where the rule comes from. We sure don't have it in American Catholic churches. (Or at least, not in the free 'n' easy California churches with which I'm familiar.) Or maybe we do have the rule, but the arm of the Vatican isn't quite long enough to put up all those signs and enforce them all the way over here. And our church officials, for better or worse, have a adopted a "whatever floats your boat" attitude.

At any rate, that boat won't float in Italy. The rule is not only imposed by churches but is also enforced by the state. When I visited the Duomo (Milan's beautiful, amazing, enormous Gothic cathedral - the second largest in Europe, I understand) women with halters and tank tops were being turned away at the doors by police with machine guns.

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Odds 'n' Sods


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(a) My book was in the "Must List" issue of Entertainment Weekly. (I had to miss this party because I was in Milan, so I didn't catch Xtina's hot and steamy set. Nor was I there to observe the playful Robert Downey Jr. I was invited, though, honest.)

(b) I am profiled in this week's Publishers Weekly Flying Starts feature, along with my pal Dana Reinhardt, Frances Hardinge, Sara Varon, Catherine Murdock, and Charlie Price. "Far from a flop" - Publishers Weekly. That's a mercy.

(c) I have yet to see it, but People Magazine apparently included the King Dork audio book on its summer reading list in the July 10th issue.

(d) Speaking of summer reading lists, would you believe Pitchfork media included King Dork in theirs? They did, to my surprise, and to the surprise of quite a few others, to judge from the expressions of astonishment in my inbox.

(e) As I mentioned earlier, the King Dork cover story in the SF Bay Guardian a couple of weeks ago wasn't on-line because of some sfbg web troubles. I thought it was gone forever, but Kayley (whose email to me was quoted in the piece) managed to find a link. (And speaking of King Dorkiness, here's a photoblog of an instrument-less band practice. The tradition lives on.)

(f) Here's a feature in the San Mateo Times, the closest thing to a hometown paper for where I grew up.

(g) A while back when I was up in Portland, I was on the Portland State radio station. You can relive the magic here, if you like.

(h) And finally, today's San Francisco Chronicle has King Dork at #9 on the Bay Area Fiction Best-sellers list ("compiled each Tuesday from a telephone survey of booksellers whose reports are weighted according to store volume...") This means that technically you can call it a "best-selling novel" and quickly flash a copy of the Chronicle as documentation if called on it. But I have also heard that they're cracking down on that sort of thing, so use your judgment. When in doubt, say something like "good-selling," or "fine-selling," or even merely "selling." If you want to keep out of trouble that is.

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July 02, 2006

With Warm Water Cuddling My Head


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Last week I went to the wedding of Beppe and Sara in Milan, Italy.

Beppe first saw my band when we opened for Green Day on an Italian tour c. 1995 and he has been a big fan ever since. He's a terrific guy, too. His friends all chipped in to fly me out there to play a song for the wedding as a surprise present. I don't know how that many people managed to keep it secret for so long, but as it turned out, it was a total surprise to the bride and groom. I walked up to his table with a guitar at the wedding lunch and played "You Today," his favorite song. Many of the guests were familiar with the song, though not the English lyrics, so a lot of them were humming along in English-y Italian sing-song syllables. Then I did "King Dork." Beppe sang the second verse and we both sang the end together. Then there was lots of eating and drinking. A really fun time.

Later that night we went over to Beppe's new apartment and played more songs and drank champagne. When the rain stopped, we headed out to the Milano streets. This happened to be the occasion of the "White Night," which is a kind of summer celebration where everyone is supposed to go the city center and go wild and act crazy till the next morning. I mean wild and crazy in the Italian fashion, which means that the wildness and craziness was quite a bit more stylish and warm-hearted than it might have been if they held a "White Night" in, say, London or Chicago. They set off fireworks at the castle (Castello Sforzesco ) which we viewed through and above the Peace Arch, which commemorates (if I have this right) Napoleon's victory/liberation of the city. (He was crowned with what is known as the Iron Crown of Lombardy, by the way: great band name.) Then we proceeded to the castle through an impressively blinding cloud of gunsmoke, which put me in mind of Napoleon and his Iron Crown also, somehow.

There was a big rock concert in the city's central square featuring two evidently huge Italian pop stars I had never heard of. I'm afraid I can't remember their names. Everyone was going nuts for the songs, including one in particular which Marta explained was about a guy who wanted to stay in the bathtub all day. She wasn't fond of the song and refused to join in the crazy dancing that everyone else was doing, despite continual attempts to pull her in. (I don't know if you've ever seen Italians dancing to pop music in a city square at 3 AM: it is a weird combination of jumping about, shouting the lyrics, waving and flailing arms, and yet it also includes certain traditional moves like the one where several people link arms and prance in circles around each other.) Anyhow, Marta just shook her head and wouldn't budge. The line, she clearly believed, had to be drawn somewhere. A woman of principle. I was intrigued, and I kept bugging her with questions about "the bathtub song," so she finally translated the lyrics for me. Here's a snip:

I want to stay in the bathtub for the whole day, with warm water cuddling my head

a foot hanging outside getting a little cold,
and get out of there when dinner is already on the table ...

I'll go back in time with my friends in front of the school,
but without entering, just hanging out outside

No one will fail any exam,
we'll just all be together in the same bathtub


Eventually the bathtub turns into a swimming pool, and there are around 120 friends swimming in it, drinking cappuccinos. Is this possible? Or merely a utopian dream? The singer leaves the question unanswered.

I imagine Marta was right about where to draw the line. I have never heard anything quite like it, though, that's for sure. (I wasn't dancing either by the way. We were the only two, I think.)

At any rate, congratulations to Beppe and Sara, and thanks to Marta, Pippo, Gabo, Matteo, Gippi and everytbody else. It was great to be included in the fun.

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July 01, 2006

Semi-Official Alterna-Catcher


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Synchronize Your TIVOs


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Like it says up there, my buddy Lane Smith is going to be appearing on the CBS Early Show on the 4th of July, talking about his latest, John, Paul, George, & Ben.

I imagine there will be some wig action and perhaps some extra-large underwear. And I'm not sure how reliable this information is, but the word on the street is that the show may use my song "John, Paul, George & Ben" in some capacity in the broadcast. Either way, you should check Lane out. It's on between 7 and 9 AM.

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