Posts Tagged ‘McSweeney’s’

Binky Brown

Published April 26, 2010 by Molly

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“Justin Green—he’s out of his mind,” said R. Crumb.

“I could see that the work came from a permanently damaged brain,” said Kurt Vonnegut.

“Comics wouldn’t be what they are today without this book, and this new edition places it in its proper place in the comics literary canon. Thank God for Binky Brown. And thank God for Justin Green,” said Chris Ware.

If that’s not a triptych of compelling blurbs, we don’t know what is. Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary is Justin Green’s groundbreaking 1972 graphic novel, newly released in a 9″ x 12″ deluxe hardcover edition by McSweeney’s. Regarded as the first cartoonist to pen highly personal autobiographical comics, Green produced a book as tortured and loony as anything you’ve ever seen. Kudos to the publisher for greenlighting this extra-large edition, which brings Green’s work to life in a new way. Don’t skip the introduction by Art Spiegelman, either: it’s a keeper.

The Believer Film Issue

Published March 18, 2010 by Molly

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It’s that magical time of year again! The Believer’s annual film issue has hit newsstands, and this time it includes an interview with Harmony Korine (”Goldfish swallowers, pygmies—to me, that’s the greatest thing in life”), an essay on seven unproduced screenplays by famous intellectuals, an interview with Charlyne Yi, a dispatch about Iranian cinema (”Watching Shrek in Tehran”—you can read that one online here) and, best of all, a DVD featuring six short films by Karpo Godina, a Yugoslavian filmmaker whose early short films are collected on DVD for the first time here.

Plus more! So much more. Scope out the table of contents here, get stoked, and buy yourself a copy or two.

The Rumpus

Published March 4, 2010 by Molly

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Holy ketchup! Can’t believe we’ve waited so long before sharing The Rumpus with y’all. First things first: the name! Yes, it connotes images of wild Max rumpus’ing with the Wild Things, and maybe that is intentional. Maybe not. In any case, it’s an appropriate moniker for an internet magazine devoted to assembling and evaluating the most piquant arts and culture available to the world.

The San Francisco-based joint was founded by Stephen Elliott as a solution, partly, to what he thought was a certain blandness spreading among internet publications. “The Internet was supposed to diversify content,” Elliott said in a 2009 interview, “and it did as far as blogs and very specific pages. But for magazines it’s had the opposite effect. All the major online magazines are focusing on the exact same stories.”

“We try to introduce people to art they might not have heard of,” Elliott sez in the same interview. “Our target audience is smart temps. We update at least 10 times a day. Our original features and interviews tend to be around 1,500 words, intelligent content you can read while your boss is focusing on something else.”

The Rumpuscovers everything: books, comics, art, film, and other stuff relevant to keeping us on our toes. It is frankly wonderful, to be frank.

Books You Might Not Have Read Yet: Fever Chart

Published February 26, 2010 by Molly

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Super dark and fast-paced, Fever Chart is Bill Cotter’s debut novel published (with typically brilliant design niceties) by McSweeney’s. The hero of the novel is Jerome Coe, an off-kilter narrator who jettisons a mental hospital in order to find his merry way through New Orleans, encountering scenes of beauty and grotesquerie as he reveals, piece by piece, the reasons why he might have ended up institutionalized to begin with.

The plot is thick, the sentences are punchy, and the author is a man who previously found employment as a debt collector, toilet scrubber, door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen and book restorer. Imagine the wealth of those experiences distilled into a careening single novel, and you have Fever Chart pretty much pegged. If it didn’t sound so foolish, you could probably classify it as “zany realism”… or something along those lines.

Wholphin #9

Published December 16, 2009 by Graham

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Still trying to find the perfect holiday gift? Why not give Wholphin #9 to that special someone in your life? The latest issue of McSweeney’s always-impressive DVD magazine has something for everyone! Highlights include an electrifying Elmore Leonard adaptation directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (featuring amazing papercraft set design by Cat Solen), a scene from the most awkward acting class of all time, and a French animation about the bizarre side effects of getting hit by an asteroid.

But wait, I’m burying the lede: Wholphin #9 includes not one but three never-released short films directed by Spike! Marcel Dzama animates a glimpse at what really went on behind the scenes of Where the Wild Things Are, Sonny Gerasimowicz portrays Maurice Sendak’s viciously self-doubting inner demon, and Catherine Keener aides Spike in the dramatic reenactment of a distinctly Sendakian childhood memory from the 1939 World’s Fair. These tiny treasures will whet your appetite for the sumptuous special features that are sure to supplement the impending home video release of Where the Wild Things Are!

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McSweeney’s San Francisco Panorama

Published December 7, 2009 by Molly

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San Francisco is a town of many pleasant associations. To start, there’s sourdough bread, Pier 7, 826 Valencia, the Embarcadero, fog, Keith Hufnagel, Barry McGee, burritos, bridges, hills, bookstores, FTC, Amoeba, and so forth. The list goes on.

That’s why it’s particularly exciting that Issue 33 of McSweeney’s Quarterly comes to us in the form of a faux Sunday-edition sized San Francisco newspaper, the fictionally titled San Francisco Panorama (above, a sample page). The issue features news dispatches, sports and arts coverage, comics from Chris Ware, Dan Clowes and Art Spiegelman, three pull-out posters, a books section, a weekend guide and more. The best part? It will be sold on the streets of San Francisco. For those unlucky enough to live elsewhere, copies can be scored online.

The Believer Art Issue

Published November 16, 2009 by Molly

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Getting the new Believer each month supplies the exact excitement of ripping open a freshly-developed pack of film. It is always surprising and there are always good things (and new things) waiting inside.

The November/December issue (the magazine’s sixty-seventh) is the annual Art Issue, featuring interviews with Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Peter Blegvad and Andrea Zittel plus a conversation betwixt Jerry Moriarty and Chris Ware. Comics and an essay on “The Disappearance of Ford Beckman” round out the table of contents. Bonus: a giant fold-out poster by Moriarty comes free with every issue.

Though the magazine normally feels like a throwback luxury—that thick paper! those brilliant colors! that cartoony typeface!—is, in this case, more like a collectible than just another issue. Sure, parts are available online to whet your appetite, but this issue is best experienced in person.

Avi Davis in The Believer

Published October 15, 2009 by Molly

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Armchair travel! There’s nothing better. New York-based writer Avi Davis has a glorious piece in this month’s issue of The Believer describing his time in Sighişoara, a dime-sized Romanian town known for its medieval architecture and vampire lore.

In Sighişoara Davis eats tripe soup, meets a contentious local in a Cannibal Corpse t-shirt, discusses the origins of Dracula and tries to untangle the curious place of vampire mythology in Romanian history. Like most articles you’ll find in The Believer, the piece is detailed, well-argued and generally gripping. Sneak a peak online or, better yet, pick up the real-life magazine for its interview with Agnès Varda, Top Ten by Greil Marcus and a s study of the ideal Cuban cigar experience. Vámanos amigos.

Dave Eggers: The Wild Things

Published September 21, 2009 by Molly

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The Wild Things is a book by Dave Eggers adapted from Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and based on the screenplay by Eggers and Spike. Got that? Cool.

In typical McSweeney’s fashion, The Wild Things is as much a tactile and visual experience as a literary one. A title silhouette of wolf-suited Max against a burgundy jungle background gives the volume a treasure-box feel, like something you might store beneath your pillow between chapters.

The novel is a cross between a children’s book and a book for adults, and the idea of a novelization originally belonged to Sendak, who suggested it to Eggers. Fittingly, the book is a pleasure to read: tender, colorful, and as richly imagined a work as you’d expect from Eggers. Or Sendak. Or––in this case, in some ways––both!

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Reviews of New Food

Published July 3, 2009 by Molly

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The McSweeney’s website is, depending on your inclinations, a limitless trove of fun things to read or an intimidating morass of text. The insistently lo-fi layout makes navigation a challenge requiring focus and determination, but at least the rewards are plentiful.

One section to plunder is McSweeney’s Reviews of New Food. The section consists of dozens of reader-submitted pintsize reviews, all compiled on a single page in center-spaced paragraphs that go down more smoothly than a strawberry milkshake.

Among the foods reviewed are cilantro, Jolly Time Kettle Corn, Beanit Butter, Swiss Chard, Elway’s Comeback Crunch, Low-Carb Doritos, Viactive (caramel flavor), Gorp and Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses (”The shape of a gnome’s hat, wrapped in crinkled foil…depending on ambient lighting, the orange may seem to be the exaggerated peachy flesh tone of a crayon or the cartoonish pallor of a woozy Oompa-Loompa.”)

Read ‘em all and then submit your own.