Monthly Archives: May 2015

Green Day Puts on Benefit Concert for AK Press

Anarchist publisher AK Press has been fighting to get back on its feet since a crushing fire last month that’s pushed the independent, radical press to ask for help. Now, they’ve got American punk rock band Green Day on their side.

Photo courtesy of rock985.com

Photo courtesy of rock985.com

In a historic turn of events, Green Day returned to 924 Gilman Street, an all-ages, collectively organized music club in Berkeley, CA, where Green Day got their start in the early nineties. They’ve been formally banned since 1994 (albeit, they stole the stage for an impromptu show in 2001), but 924 Gilman welcomed the trio back on May 17 for a benefit concert for AK Press, 1984 Printing, and individuals displaced by the March fire. And it’s getting a lot of attention from Rolling Stone, SPIN, NME, San Francisco Magazine, and Contra Costa Times.

The A.V. Club story on the show said that the benefit for AK Press showed, “that even though Green Day may have ostracized from the scene that bred it, it still cares about the people in that scene. It’s true what they say: Every time a holier-than-thou punk kid sings along to ‘Basket Case,’ a rock band gets its cred back.”index

With Green Day, a lot of community support, and a fire in their bellies, AK Press is on its way back to fully functioning. According to the East Bay Express coverage of the event, “[During the show] AK Press handed out its latest book catalog. The introduction reads, ‘With support like this, it will make more than a fire to stop us.'”

To support AK Press, go to their crowdfunding page.

For the complete setlist from the Gilman show, see the KQED article.

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Bitter Lemon Press on the Booklist Reader’s Wanted List

Remember mystery books? The intrigue of unsolved, bloody murders. The goosebumps you get when the hero cop turns an innocent corner, to get jumped by the greed-warped villain. On May 15, the Booklist Reader featured Bitter Lemon Press, one publisher that keeps churning out the mysteries like they’re addicted. bitterlemonThe Booklist Reader featured Bitter Lemon Press in their Small-Press Lineup, complete with a brief history on Bitter Lemon Press from founders, brothers François and Frederic von Hurter, and accomplice Laurence Colchester. According to the founders, Bitter Lemon Press was founded while the three were “sitting in the shade of a large oak tree one summer in the Cevennes region of France, we decided it was time to do something together, different and probably not very profitable.”fallout Now, Bitter Lemon Press is coming up on 11 years, and launching exciting new titles all the time. Just released last May, Fallout by New Zealander Paul Thomas follows the dangerous political intrigue of Tito Ihaka, the unkempt, overweight Maori cop. Coming up this June, Tin Sky by Ben Pastor continues the Ukrainian/Russian tale of Major Martin Bora as he flees further from Stalingrad. For more mystery (and bitter lemons), check out the website.

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Third Man Books Declared Publisher of the Month by Rough Trade

Between a poetry/prose/vinyl collection, and the work of crowd-favorite lyrical poet Janaka Stucky called The Truth Is We Are Perfect, Third Man Books has a lot going for it.

Rough Trade Bookstore

Rough Trade Bookstore

Now, independent English bookstore Rough Trade is promoting Third Man Books as its publisher of the month, which includes taking the exclusive rights to selling the first two titles by Third Man Books for a short time.

Third Man Books is a new venture of Third Man Records, founded by Jack White of The White Stripes. Whether it’s music or books, the mantra is motion:

Where your turntable’s not dead.
Where your page still turns.

thirdmanbooks

In celebration of the collaboration, Third Man Books will be heading over to London on May 29 to host an event featuring readings, performances, and special guest speakers with Rough Trade East.

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Coffee House Press and the American Swedish Institute Create the Laureate Lounge

How did the likes of  Rabindrinath Tagore, Toni Morrisson, and Alice Munro function in life as they were creating masterpieces that propelled them toward Nobel Laureate awards? What were their habits? Were they normal? Coffee House Press‘s own Chris Fischbach has been asking those sorts of questions as he collaborates with  independent curator Sarah Schultz for the Laureate Lounge—a project of the American Swedish Institute.laureate_lounge

On May 6, Minneapolis online literary community Hazel & Wren completed part 1 of a 2-part interview with Fischbach and Schultz. They chatted about the details of the Laureate Lounge— “an inventive space inspired by the real and imagined habits of Nobel Laureates,” and selecting four brilliant writers (Rachel Jendrzejewski, Janaki Ranpura, Sun Yung Shin, and Andy Sturdevant) to create writing exercises for visitors to the Lounge.

Chris Fischbach

Chris Fischbach, Publisher of Coffee House Press

In the words of Hazel & Wren, “Arts organizations are moving from traditional (and sometimes elitist) modes of art presentation to more collaborative, grass-roots, and innovative ways of engagement. One of the organizations I admire that is addressing this shift in a very successful and intriguing way is Coffee House Press.”

The interview honed in on why Fischbach (and Coffee House Press) is involved with so many community events. They’re a publisher after all, not an event sponsor. Fisbach’s intention is to show that “literature is something that can be experienced in ways other than just reading. That reading isn’t necessarily a passive experience, but that it’s always participatory—this exhibit enacts that literally.”

As Coffee House Press continues to publish incredible literature, the independent house is also intentionally creating programming that, in Fischbach’s words, “connects writers and readers. It’s about creating different kinds of spaces for both writers and readers to encounter, enact, absorb, create literature. To demystify it.” coffeehouselogoWith projects like the Laureate Lounge, Coffee House Press continues to innovate the idea of what publishing means—starting a conversation around the books.

The Laureate Lounge runs through May 24.

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Comics Alternative Profiles Koyama Press

On April 29, Koyama Press got one hour and 23 minutes of love from the Two Guys podcast at Comics Alternative.

LOGO2Derek and Andy , “two guys with PhDs talking about comics,” briefly explained the unique beginnings of Koyama Press: founder Annie Koyama had no background in publishing or comics.

Diary Comics by Dustin Harbin

Diary Comics by Dustin Harbin

One day, she suffered a brain aneurism, and during a long gig at the hospital, played the stock market. By the time recovery came, she had deep enough pockets to start a press for her newfound love: comic books. Since 2007, Annie has been publishing comics, graphics, art books, and zines out of Toronto.

The Comics Alternative Podcast highlighted the spring releases of Koyama Press, including Alex Schubert’s Blobby Boys 2, Ginette Lapalme’s Confetti, A. Degen’s Mighty Star and the Castle of the Cancatervater, and Dustin Harbin’s Diary Comics.

Confetti by Ginette Lapalme

Confetti by Ginette Lapalme

 

Derek and Andy discussed in great detail the comic art from Confetti, uncovering the visual themes of food with faces, cats, dogs, butts, and bodily “leakage.” In Andy’s words, “Poop, pee, melting skin, something like intestines–there’s a lot of leakage in this one.”

According to the Two Guys, Koyama’s spring collection is quite the eclectic bunch, from the Blobby Boys without a moral compass, to a butt with eyeballs, you’ll see just about everything comical.

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Uncivilized Books’s “Borb” Is Our Sleeper of the Week!

Borb

  • “When we talk about something ‘being human’ or a ‘universal experience,’ what we hope to mean is that there are things . . . that bind us through basic empathy . . . The fundamental achievement of Jason Little’s Borb is the manner in which he harnesses that attention, underpinning the trials and tribulations of his main character with equal amounts of mirth and despair.”—The A.V. Club, April 14, 2015
  • “What makes Little’s approach and execution so impactful is the way it subverts the wacky expectations of the medium. . . . There are walls a reader has to break down to find this overweight, lumbering amputee relatable and sympathetic. Little’s considerable sincerity and skills make those walls cardboard-thin.”—Chicago Tribune, April 9, 2015
  • “A brief, picaresque story of the titular Borb, a down-on-his-luck homeless man whose fiction is as hard-fought and tragic as the reality that millions of people face every single day.”—This Is Infamous, April 6, 2015
  • “Beautifully drawn. . . . There is no way this book will not get a reaction out of you. It is an early contender for book of the year.”—Mental Floss, April 2, 2015
  • “Jason Little’s illustrations capture Borb’s life in all its dismal glory. He says so much about addiction and homelessness, and ultimately how hard it is to get out of that downward spiral, which too few ever do.”—Jason Kennedy, Boswell Book Company, March 7, 2014
  • “Little’s elegant linework, minimal dialogue, and unwavering focus on the man’s day-to-day struggles are powerful, giving us a gruesome, slapstick view of society’s underbelly.”—Publishers Weekly, February 23, 2015

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