The Rumpus Book Club chats with Steve Stern about his new novel The Pinch, about what it means for Jews to be "people of the book," and how fiction and history can be entwined in entertaining and challenging ways. ...more
"Five Easy Pieces" is a Rumpus exclusive excerpt from the forthcoming 52 Men, with autobiographical portraits based on based on Lou Reed, Michael Stipe, Jonathan Franzen, Jay Carney, and Carter Vanderbilt Cooper. ...more
In Street Messages, German photographer Nicholas Ganz compiles photographs of messages in public spaces, illustrating the literary side of the global street art movement—he calls it “a new, modern form of poetry.” Slate provides a sampling of some of the powerful images from the book.
Such is the paradox of comics: they’re the medium of the marginalized, yet they remain wildly popular. Perhaps that’s because in some way, at some point, everyone will feel marginalized and need a seat at the table in the cafeteria away from the jocks. Even the jocks.
Jabeen Akhtar looks back to the publication of the first American comic book in 1933, and traces how we historically have viewed comic books, from a once-widely-accepted theory analyzing Superman as a “Nazi dream child,” to Mad Magazine’s sexually perverse version of Archie, to Burka Avenger.
When literary magazines publish “Women’s Issues,” they can run the danger of making women into a theme. As if fiction by and about women is a curiosity, something to enjoy for a moment, in one issue a year, before returning to your regularly scheduled old white men programming. The title itself can imply that the pages therein are devoted to, well, women’s issues (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but women don’t only write about women’s issues), sending grown men running for the hills for fear of reading about menstruation (their loss). But sometimes, a women’s issue comes along that takes those stereotypical “women’s issues” and completely turns them on their heads. I’m talking about Gigantic’s Women’s Issue, which went live this Tuesday.
Aquarium Drunkard has highlighted some incredible recent vault releases from the jazz masters, including archival footage that definitely merits a listen. From Miles Davis there’s a Bootleg Series spanning live performances from 1955–1975: four CDs of unreleased material of Davis at Newport Jazz Festivals over the years. Resonance Records is putting out an early pre-fame ’50s recording of Wes Montgomery live in Indianapolis that inspired Pete Townshend to write “you can almost taste the smoke in the air” in the liner notes. Finally, the Conny Plank Session shows Duke Ellington late in his career working with a pre-krautrock Plank (NOTE: Groenland Records, which released the album, is having some virus issues with their website—check out the record here instead). Listen to some songs off each record and read more on Aquarium Drunkard.
Saturday 8/1: The 2014–2015 Young Chicago Authors Teaching Artists present (In)visible, an evening of new works by Fatimah Asghar, Jasmine Barber, Britteney Kapri, Reginald Eldridge Jr., Dianna Harris, Tim Henderson, and Jamila Woods. Poetry Foundation, 6 p.m.
Everywhere she went, she brought Sign. In my mind, it was an act of rebellion as much as it was an act of preservation. The schools told her that she would need to learn English in order to get by; instead, she taught other people her language. I couldn’t think of a stronger, more stubborn, more glorious thing to do.
The Old Soak is a hauntingly one-note character, and one wonders exactly what about his alcoholism made him such a bankable franchise. Imagine the pitch meetings that followed: “He’s a lush, see? He wants to booze it up, but he can’t, because of that cursed eighteenth amendment!” Yuks ensue, contracts are signed, and everyone has a glass of whiskey.
The Paris Review looks back at humorist Don Marquis’s “The Old Soak,” an alcoholic character that isn’t as funny as he was intended to be.
We have a new Monthly Book Report coming out on Monday! If you haven’t already subscribed, today is the day. You don’t want to miss our roundup of the stellar fiction, nonfiction, and poetry reviews that went up on the site this past month—plus, we throw in a Rumpus Original Fiction story for good measure. Sign up now!
Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh‘s Lou Barlow is releasing his first solo record in six years, Brace the Wave, on September 4 via Joyful Noise. A full track list is available from Consequence of Sound, along with some advance knowledge of the record’s sound, such as that Brace the Wave was recorded with Justin Pizzoferrato (Pixies, Speedy Ortiz, J Mascis) in less than a week, and that a press release has announced that “a number of songs ‘employ his early methods of tuning his ukulele down low’… while others are ‘traditional-style folk’ numbers.” September and October tour dates are up, mostly coastal stops with a few European shows. Watch the album’s trailer after the jump.