Call for Feature Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Thursday, Jun 13, 2013
Charles Yu creates a world so strange in 'Sorry. Please. Thank You. Stories.' that it just might be real.

A blurb on the jacket of Charles Yu’s short story collection Sorry. Please. Thank you. Stories. compares the young author to Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams, and while I can see why Yu might call to mind Vonnegut (less so, Adams), I found myself thinking more of the French postmodernist philosopher Jean Baudrillard than either of these two science fiction writers.


Why Baudrillard?


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Tuesday, May 28, 2013
“Surrealism led to feminism and after that nothing was ever the same.”

In Wonderland: Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists was the first international exhibition of art created by female surrealists in Mexico and the United States. The exhibit was organized in 2012 by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in cohort with the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City. Its corresponding book explores the work of over 40 artists, female photographers, painters, sculptors, and multimedia artists and a filmmaker.


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Monday, Nov 12, 2012
This story takes the California dream and tears it apart, only to reassemble it into a dangerous patchwork totem, where the taboo and the sacred jostle for space.

I have a great respect for collectors. Hoarders even. There’s something reverential about taxonomies (boxes, toys, little glass dachshunds, paper clips)—a mesmeric quality to so much like with like. Like walking through a cemetery.


Memoirists are similar. Like collectors, they acknowledge that before something can be remembered it has to be dismembered, de-limbed, cut off or separated from—so as to remember—itself. It is in such a spirit of re-collection that Sea Monkeys, the new ‘memory book’ from cult novelist, Kris Saknussemm (Zanesville, Enigmatic Pilot), proceeds.


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Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012
by Claire Shefchik
Although it reads at times as a kind of existential travelogue, the book is firmly rooted in the Los Angeles port city of San Pedro, where bassist Mike Watt grew up and still lives.

The stereotype of the rock bassist is that he’s an underappreciated second banana. But Mike Watt, who burst onto the scene in the late ‘70s with LA punk pioneers the Minutemen and whose artistic energy hasn’t flagged since, has never been content to let his instrument do the talking. This is lucky for us, because as On and Off Bass demonstrates through its lush, contemplative photography, prose and verse, Watt has plenty more that deserves to be heard.


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Monday, Oct 15, 2012
The Waste Land as an iPad app demonstrates how we might re-imagine the book, but it also illustrates how editorial choices can limit value.

The Guardian recently documented a June trek of 25 people through the city of London, on (TS Eliot’s The Waste Land 2012 – a multimedia walk, (Henry Eliot, 30 July 2012). That a poem written in the early 20th Century remains resonant with people who live nearly a century later offers a testament to its often misunderstood and always daunting language, allusion and structure.


But being citizens of the 21st Century, we need not rely solely on the manuscript and printed commentary to bring the poem to us. With new devices like Apple’s iPad, the very idea of the book as a book has been reconsidered. The Waste Land, a cooperative work between Touch Press, Faber and Faber, BBC Arena and other collaborators, releases the text of the poem through the lens of the iPad. From its earliest incarnations, The Waste Land was as much a initiator of non-fiction as it was a poem. As Eliot sought to pad out his poem for book publication, he included a series of notes, which have become famous in their own right. The scholarship and commentary on the poem continues with the Touch Press treatment, which migrates much of its new insights from print to video.


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