Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Very First Crush Was on April.

April Haines. Mrs. Levinson and Miss Kropko's 3rd grade class, Cyrus J. Morris Elementary School, 1985-86. I'll never forget her. Blonde hair, freckled cheeks. Or, wait, was it "Haynes"?


Hoo boy, April's been a big month, kiddies. For openers, I had a short story, an article and a niece all come out in the space of a day. Three's the magic number, as De La Soul tells us.

About a year and a half ago, my hetero life-mate Cameron Ashley wrote me and said we oughtta collaborate on a tribute story to Lee Marvin, our surrogate father. We went back and forth for a few months, each writing a few pages at a time, until we got this monster, "Luke Nineteen Twenty-Seven." It's a wild west ride through Smashley's and my hive-mind, and I'm proud and pleased as punch of the story and of my name right there, next to one of my best friends', on the site that really started it all for me. It's a bit on the long side, but I think you'll find it worthwhile. Also, dig the layout of the whole issue: that's me on the "cover" being strangled by Lee Child. Also, you'll find photos of some of my other buddies being assaulted by our crime-writing superiors, like Cameron getting the sexiest chokehold ever from Christa Faust.

About three years ago, I read a little book called I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski. In those pages, I was exposed to Dudeism, the religion dedicated to taking it easy. Since I'm a follower and not a leader, I joined up right away, taking my certificate of ordination in the Church of the Latter-Day Dude and hanging it in my work station. It was mostly a lark, y'know. Kicks. But after a rough few years, I found that some actual spiritual guidance might be just what I need. Sure, I still have the X-Men, and my allegiance to my dark lord Satan is as steadfast as ever. But after much thought, much soul-searching, much bowling and many White Russians, I realized that the path of Jeffrey Lebowski was the righteous path, the mellow path, the path that hates the fucking Eagles as much as I do. Over at Gestalt Mash is this essay, "Takin' 'er Easy for All Us Sinners," outlining the gospel of the Dude. Enjoy, my brother shamuses.

And oh yeah, new baby. My little sister, Tracy, finally got married last year to her long-time beau Adam (fun fact: Adam is the eldest son of basketball legend, Bill Walton), and they wasted no time in getting in the family way. The kid was supposed to get here last Friday, but she only just showed up today: Avery Rose Walton.
My list of candidates for nicknames for her are so far: Tex Avery, Fred A-very, Rose Nylund, and Smushface.

What else is going on in the world? Ah, yes: exploitation. Once I began accepting submissions for Let's Kill Everybody!, John Carpenter's 1978 film Halloween was high on the list of requested assignments. At first, I was selfish enough to wanna keep this honey for myself. But after it became clear I wasn't gonna get around to it anytime soon, I put it back on first-come, first-serve status, and good ol' Matthew C. Funk, everybody's favorite Orange County cupcake, snapped it right up. So after you read it here, despair not. I know some of the kids were a bit disappointed that Funkster beat 'em to the punch, so here's what your uncle Jimmy's gonna do: submissions for the LEE! quartet are still wide open, and if someone's done a film to which you feel you could add a new spin on, by all means, take that bessie to market. This is to say, if you wanna do Halloween, then make like Joe Don Baker and go ahead on.

But I digress. My other special guest stars this month include Eric Beetner, co-author of One Too Many Blows to the Head and its brand-new sequel, Borrowed Trouble. When Beets sent me this write-up of one of my faves, Steven Soderbergh's The Limey for Let's Fight Everybody!, my immediate internal response was, "Man, this is too short." But as I read it and re-read it, I realized Eric had absolutely nailed the essence of the film and its inherent study of revenge in a simple, precise manner--a manner I rarely exhibit, for certain. So then, naturally, my internal response was one of envy and cold fury. I'm kidding, of course--Eric's a sweetheart. Go buy his shit. Speaking of buying his shit, Pete Risley (whose Rabid Child I talked up last month and which should still be number one on your list of things-to-do-today-already) sent me this little number on Red Roses of Passion for Let's Fuck Everybody! Now I dunno if you noticed, but my grasp on the scope of sexploitation films is not all that firm (har). So it's not only a pleasure to further expose (har har) you to such great writers as Pete, but it's a distinct load off my editorial shoulders that such great writers as Pete are able to supply my site(s) with the insight I sorely lack. And now I place that load onto you (but, y'know. In a good way).

The book reviews over at the Pop Matters this month have taken on a nice(?) polarity. First up is this real stinkburger, AC/DC in the Studio. When my editor over at PM sends 'round the list of books available, my eyes always drool at the massive selection. Of course, I want them all, but I restrict myself to one book at a time. On a particular list a couple months back were more than a few real eye-droolers, but this AC/DC book caught my attention first, and so I figured it must be kismet (or the alphabetical order of the titles. Either way). To say I was sorely disappointed would be the understatement of this sentence. I like to think I kept the review itself objective, but between you and me and the fencepost, I really wanted to rip into this one, and not kindly and scholarly. It's there if you read between the lines, of course, especially if you read between my index and ring fingers.

Happily, my other book review at the PM was a sheer delight. Nathan Larson made a name for himself in the NYC punk scene of the early '80s (though I sheepishly admit here that his work of that time was unbeknownst to me until just lately), and then went on to a fine career scoring music for many feature films. No grass growing under this fella's feet, however, as he now has his first novel published, and I am a lucky sum'bitch that I got to read it even before it was released for mass consumption. Go read my review of The Dewey Decimal System, and if that doesn't entice you to read the book itself, well. You suck. It's about that simple.

Oh, sugars, that's all quite a bit, isn't it? Just a couple last little things before I'm off to beddy-byes: first, my most recent contribution to Rejected by Covered is actually my first attempt at drawing since high school, this little reinterpretation I did of Two-Fisted Tales #18 before I even knew Covered or any of its satellite sites existed (hell, they may not even have existed then). And then second, that perennial sweetface Chris Rhatigan had a couple nice words for me and certified lunatic, Matt McBride, over at his bloggy-house, Death by Killing.

And there is plenty more where all of that came from, you gang of beautifuls, you. Your time's about up to submit to my guest-edited issue of Black Heart, which means you'll have a faceful of noir soon enough, courtesy of myself, the lovely Laura Roberts, and the army of worthy writers we are to unleash on your unworthy selves. Plus I'm gonna be appearing in at least three (3)(!) anthologies this coming year, so more updates on those as they occur. And then of course, there's the series of stand-up comedian profiles I'm putting together for G-Mash as well as the next in my Punisher essays for that site, more book reviews, more flash-fiction, more writery words than you can shake a stick at.

But now, bed.

Well, some comics and then bed.

Good night, my angels. Sleep well.