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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

J LHLS Archives: March 2004

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

FanBoy Planet has some great reviews of stuff I missed at APE 2004! How could I miss this stuff! Now I have to get it!

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 05:46 PM PST [Link]

2004 Alternative Press Expo Swag Review: Boy Trouble, No. 5, 10th Anniversary

Is there really any other kind of trouble? Dan Savage loved this collection, so you can just ignore the rest of this review. However, for those of you who choose to read on, only in one comic was there any serious sex, so this is by no means a porn fest. The rest of the stories were about wanting sex, but not getting it, which is another kind of trouble. The stories are well-told, often in only a page or two, and the drawing is perfect for these stories. Lots and lots of sequential artists and writers, too many to mention here. Get a copy; you'll be glad you did!
Boy Trouble, No. 5, my copy says $8.95, I suppose there's tax and shipping, and David Kelly had the most obvious copies for sale.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 05:37 PM PST [Link]

2004 Alternative Press Expo Swag Review: Deadly Artisans

"A select group of top tier Government Officials meet in secrecy and decide what criminals are beyond due process." From the introduction.

Hm, I guess I watched too much "Dragnet" in my youth because I don't believe anyone is beyond due process. We have due process and habeas corpus (or had, US citizens Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi are still locked up without charges and have been for over a year) because sometimes the cops and/or feds grab the wrong person. It happens a lot and due process usually keeps the error rate in the reasonable zone, if you can get a lawyer who doesn't fall asleep at your trial.

But, oh okay! It's just a comic book with buffed-up, super-powered, homicidal main characters and lots of violence against (alleged) bad guys who futilely beg for their lives and forget to load their guns before they are slashed to bits in the name of Truth, Justice and the American way. Hey, who am I to rain on anyone's parade?
Deadly Artisans

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 05:36 PM PST [Link]

Monday, March 1, 2004

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
by Walter Isaacson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 0684807610

And

The Stone Cold Truth
by Stone Cold Steve Austin
Publisher: WWE
ISBN: 0743477200

Reviewed by Kitty Johnson

You know, if it weren't for on-line porn, I wouldn't read fiction at all. My tastes (if we can use that word) run to the earthy, gritty truth of existence, i.e. not that stuff people make up out of their heads. However, I admit that I sometimes leaven my high-porn diet with a biography or two, but I never lose sight of the gritty earthiness of it all.

For one thing, biographies have indices, and indices are very good for gauging porn-levels. There I'll be with a copy of Hammurabai: That Babylonian Bad Boy, and I've got my nose in the index looking up "Hammurabai and sex" or (even more fun) "Hammurabi and sexual prowess" or (this is me being totally frolicsome) "Hammurabai and sexual failures." (Then after I look up "sex", I always look up "Elvis" figuring that any book worth reading will acknowledge the King.)

Uh-oh, looks like there's no Elvis in Walter Isaacson's best-selling Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (Simon and Schuster 2003). But are you really surprised? Still, Isaacson is placid and fair, and, although Franklin's autobiography itself was much livelier, that ought to count for something. Besides we need this biography; the story of Ben Franklin is the closest we come to defining success in America. Poor boy works hard, makes good, and impresses the world. (Hey, maybe there IS some Elvis in Isaacson after all.)

On the other hand, The Stone Cold Truth, wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin's autobiography (Pocket Books, 2003), looks pretty sexy and Elvis-y, but there is no index (you have to leaf through its pages looking for fun in the old fashioned way). It's very easy to be snooty about Stone Cold's glee over the new Wal-Mart that's opened just ten miles from his home (p. 272), but Stone Cold also manages to include some touching little pensees on success as he lurches from the cradle to television to Branson to the grave. But Monsieur Stone Cold's oeuvre is also intellectually stimulating. See, wrestling, like everything else, is divided into good and evil. But, instead of the old Guelph/Ghibelline, breath mint/candy mint paradigm, wrestling has babyfaces versus heels. Say, Stone Cold knows his Miltonic binaries: "when you're a heel, you can do absolutely anything. As a babyface, there are a lot of parameters and boundaries you can't cross." Tell it to Aristotle, brother!

Stone Cold's pathologically casual writing has little in common with Isaacson's burnished-textbook style, but the slow-cooked truth is that these two books form a interesting chain of commentary about the American dream, which is nice when it succeeds but just spectacular when it fails.

If this sort of discourse interests you, you might want to look at a couple of other recent, but out-of-print biographies, Nick Tosches's irritatingly brilliant biography of Dean Martin, Dino, and the flat-out brilliant Leading with my Heart by Virginia Clinton Kelley, mother of our Zeus-like former president (out of print, and yet Elizabeth Wurtzel lives! What is God thinking of!) Kelley and Tosches are, unsurprisingly, so saturated with Elvis and sex that their prose just oozes right off the page . Virginia with her four husbands and her lawsuits! Dean with his Percodans and divorces! At the heart of all these life stories is America, that very strange promised land that Ben Franklin thought he had reached when he died in 1790, but, despite saved pennies and all the earliness to bed in the world, no one has found since.

Posted by Kitty Johnson @ 08:06 PM PST [Link]

Sunday, February 29, 2004

2004 Alternative Press Expo Swag Review: When I Was Brave and Sour Pussy

This is one of those clever 2 in 1 preview books where you read the first comic and then flip it over and read the other one. Well, I thought it was clever. When I Was Brave is by Kelli Nelson is a painful high school reminiscence done in her usual heavy, but still amazingly clean line (see Dream Project, June 1, 2000). Going against the grain is always tough, but even tougher when going against wrong-headed authority as well. The story is deftly told and very sad. Robyn Chapman's Sour Pussy is about a girl making a zine called Sour Pussy. Oh, damn, I gave away the ending, oh well. There are some interesting drawings on Robyn's site, Unpopular Comics. If Edvard Munch had drawn comics, they might have looked similar to these.
When I Was Brave and Sour Pussy for more of their work, I don't know if you can buy this preview.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:22 PM PST [Link]

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