Latest Blog Posts

Over the decades, much has been lost from the world of newspaper comics. With the reduction in size came a reduction in scope, grandeur, and ambition.

In the ‘30s, the comic pages were littered with gag strips, adventures, and a wonderful screwball hybrid of the two. The most popular was Sidney Smith’s The Gumps, now shamefully forgotten. Others were Wash Tubbs (later Captain Easy) and Thimble Theater (later Popeye).

And then there was Mickey. Walt Disney started the daily strip in 1930 and turned it over to one Floyd Gottfredson as a two-week replacement. He stayed with the strip 45 years.

I don’t want to have to be what you expect of me. I want to be what I want to be. I feel I’ve done that and I’ll continue to do that by making my own choices.—Sasha Grey

For those of you who do not recognize her name, you may recognize her face. Sasha Grey has been featured in music videos from the Roots (“Birthday Girl”) and the Smashing Pumpkins (“Superchrist”), has starred in HBO’s Entourage as Vincent Chase’s girlfriend and she’s appeared in American Apparel ads. Grey also played a high class call girl in The Girlfriend Experience, an experimental film by director Steven Soderbergh who selected Grey as the lead because she was someone forging a new path in the adult film business. Though she has moved on from the adult industry (only making it official very recently), fans of that period of her life may find her latest release engaging because it pulls from those experiences. But Grey doesn’t transition into Hollywood naively thinking it is a vast improvement. She urges mainstream media to “send a positive image. Don’t just give the image of sex. Talk about it.”

To open Shade Rupe’s Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realms at random is to drop into a vortex. It’s 500 pages of double-columned interviews, conducted over a 20-year period, with artists in some way “trangressive”, pioneering or peculiar.

These include filmmakers such as Alejandro Jodorowsky, who discusses his Paris happenings with the Panic group and his fateful encounter with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Other directors include William Lustig (Maniac), Gaspar Noé (Irreversible), Jim Vanbebber (The Manson Family), and Buddy Giovanazzo (Combat Shock). There are also performers (Udo Kier, Divine, the recently deceased Tura Satana) as well as various writers, illustrators, musicians and performance artists.

Check out Zamora the Torture King, who says “You’ve got your body and then this mysterious area inside, and these sensations that can happen that you’re not normally coming in contact with.”  Indeed, this is a book that’s littered with not-safe-for-work photos.

by Kerrie Mills

25 Feb 2011


Yes, that really is a woman in a suitcase but no, it's not our Guinness-afflicted author.

A while back I was reading an article on the potential of celebrity children to feel frankly a little silly about being named, say, Peaches Honeybloom Geldof, once they come of age and start wanting careers of their own.

Besides real sympathy, the whole thing—as things are wont to do to me at the oddest moments—triggered off nostalgic flashbacks to my boon companion of rainy afternoons past: the Guinness Book of World Records. Now, I’m not talking about the post-millennium “Guinness World Records’; in fact, leafing through these new ‘relevant’ editions, all foil-gilt covers and colourblocked gossip (“Most Successful Plastic Surgery!”) makes me kind of sad.

The Guinness book of my preteen-hood was a fat Bantam Books paperback, densely packed with doggedly businesslike prose (“The claims of M. Michael Lotito to have eaten a bicycle must, however, be regarded as apocryphal.”) The combination of kaleidoscopic detail and determination to make sense of it was just endlessly charming to me. I can’t really recommend a better way to inspire wholesale fascination with the human experience.

In 1948, in occupied Tokyo, a man walked into a branch of the Teikoku Bank and informed the workers present that he was a public health official there to inoculate them against an outbreak of dysentery. He dispensed a series of two liquid medicines to each of the 16 workers in attendance. Very soon after, the bank employees collapsed in writhing agony. The man gathered up some (but not all) the cash laying out on the desks and escaped. Twelve people died, and while a murderer was imprisoned, many believe that justice was never really done.

This is the case that David Peace tackles in his latest novel, 2009’s Occupied City, the second in a projected trilogy of novels set in postwar Japan (2007’s Tokyo Year Zero was the predecessor), out this month in paperback. But just as his Red Riding Quartet burrowed deep into the archival history of historical murders and corruption in England’s bleak northlands only to go spinning off into their own dark orbit of depressive madness, this novel uses the Teikoku case as a springboard for Peace’s explorations of human brutality.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

We are continuing to experience some technical difficulties. We hope to have them resolved by Monday

// Announcements

"Exciting developments are around the corner for PopMatters.

READ the article