Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's All About Wheels


The Charm City Roller Girls are having a fundraiser this Sat - a Car Wash at the Mojo Room!

Afterglow

His first post-Best-Of-Baltimore karaoke, Keyboard Man hosts a special Karaoke TONIGHT, at Molly's.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Joss And Neil Need A Chaperone?

From Time Magazine?

I just called around...could it possibly be true that Serenity isn't even playing Baltimore this weekend??

Lone Surfer Tour

Hey kids, Davy Rothbart of Found Magazine is back for another delightful night of reading, sharing found items and music with Peter Rothbart (Booty Don't Stop)! This Sunday, October 2nd, 7pm!

Monday, September 26, 2005

A History of Violence

The first five people to comment on this post get a free pass, good for two people, to an advance screening for A History of Violence, at Muvico Egyptian 24, tomorrow night at 7:30pm. The movie is loosely based on the comic.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Funny Pages

The NYT Magazine (bugmenot) has a new section called The Funny Pages. Comics (Chris Ware!), humor essays(Neal Pollack!) and crime serials(Elmore Leonard!). Awesome!

It almost makes me want to subscribe. I'm on the edge here.

Ignatz Winners

The winners for the Ignatz Awards were announced last night.

Friday, September 23, 2005

This Weekend Is Simply Nuts

This weekend:
SPX
Baltimore Book Festival
High Zero Festival
Mobtown Greaseball
Morphius Anniversary Shows at the Talking Head
Anti-War March in DC!
National Book Festival (Did you see this kick ass letter from Sharon Olds to Laura Bush?)

And it's Benn's Bday today! He's 37!

bennsnewmonkeyfriend

Maybe he'll win this for his bday. He's still the current high bidder, but that won't last for long.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Banned Books Week 2005

Banned Books Week starts this Saturday.

The Top 10 banned books of 2004:

The Chocolate War
Fallen Angels
Arming America
Captain Underpants
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
What My Mother Doesn't Know
In the Night Kitchen
King & King
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Of Mice and Men

Yeessh. Not that I want to get the whole store banned but these people really need to get out more.

SPX

SPX starts tomorrow! Are you going? We'll be there on Saturday wandering around.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

We Love Katamari


Yeah, it's got nothing to do with books.

We just love IT, that's all.

Right Back Atcha!

Aw, we got some love over at Bookslut and the Book Standard.

Anti-Porn Squad

Bush has got some time on his hands it seems. Getting rid of porn has become a Top Priority.

I wouldn't worry about it. Terrorism and helping out NoLa were top priorities, too.

That XXX is a great book, btw, and actually not pornographic.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

BOB

Aw, Keyboard Man got Best Karaoke in Baltimore.

We got Best Independent Bookstore.

Benn got Best Blog in the Reader's Poll.


And this is nice, too.

And people keep saying to us that we won't lose anything to the new B&N. If even the "alt weekly" is excited about it...I guess people need a place to go where they don't have to care about using books as coasters.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Wild West Tech

Our very own James Taylor, sideshow historian and author of Shocked & Amazed, will be on the History Channel tomorrow night, Tuesday, September 20, 8pm ET/PT, on "Freak Shows II"

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pretty


Finally, Acme Novelty Library, the book!

Hampden Is What Dreams Are Made Of

I don't know about you, but I don't want to work at Chili's.

I don't know anyone who has dreams of working at Chili's. I'm sure that someone will point out to me that someone has. A dead end job is better than no job. But I think you'll find that a lot more people have dreams of opening up their own small business. Perhaps a bookstore. A record store. A cafe, a boutique...

Because these are dreams - working for yourself, or with a small group of like minded people. It's more than a job, more than just making a living. It's about carving out a niche, expressing yourself. It's not easy running your own business and it becomes less and less of a viable option when rents go up, chains take over and people just don't give a shit about where their money goes just to have that "kick-ass queso skillet".

Yes, big formula chain businesses have advantages. But dreams aren't one of them.

I really hope it doesn't rain tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

Letter to the City Paper:

Barely weeks after City Hall went into the hotel business, the selective socialists ring in again, this time in Hampden, hon ("Life on a Different Avenue," Mobtown Beat, Aug. 31). The recent effort by Mr. Atomic Books to curb chain-style development in "his" neighborhood completely misses all of Hampden's social and economic issues by a city mile.

I can assure Benn Ray and Rachel Whang that efforts to develop the Avenue and the Rotunda have been in the works for the last seven years. The no-chain-store policy has been Hampden's default position, because no chain store would come, given the crime and income levels in the area. To understand the effects of such a policy, look at Hampden today. Tawdry signage, bad retail, decay, and vacancy. Go to the Avenue on any Friday or Saturday night and you'll see tattooed-pierced-drunken-screaming-bottle-smashing-brawling chaos, dark storefronts, and litter. It's kind of cute during the day, though. There's a flamingo and all.

Now, with a smattering of pioneers gentrifying (overused word) the area, prosperity looms. Unless some misguided souls derail the process under the guise that there is some significant culture here to be preserved, like an aboriginal tribe in the rain forest.

Chain stores bring jobs (with management positions) and stability to vacant tenant spaces the whole country over. They bring better-lit sidewalks and heightened security. They survive in this world because they offer good products at fair prices and people like them. People like them so much, they travel great distances to be in their general vicinity, which benefits the entire business community and creates local employment and a greater tax base.

Character happens, it is not legislated into being. To compare Hampden to some boutique San Francisco community with nutty California laws is just plain silly. The Rotunda is a beautiful historic site that is perfectly suited, like the Power Plant, for big development such as a Barnes and Noble (stiff competition for little Atomic, eh, Mr. Ray?). With Outbacks and Bennigans come Ray Lewis Full Moon Bar-B-Ques and Babalu Grills. Do those fit the vision? If there was a Chili's in Hampden, I, for one, would be out there twice a week visiting your little freak show and spending my downtown bucks freely. They have a kick-ass queso skillet.

Really, though, I'm much too busy waiting for the "shock troops of gentrification" to redo the "arts district" to care about what happens in Hampden. I never did get the whole beehive-pointy-eyeglass thing anyway.

Gotta go, there's a junkie at my door. Did I mention we're buying a whole hotel?

Mike Peters
Locust Point

Why Is It Sunny NOW?

Let's think about fun stuff. Like what does the winner of Hampden Idol get at Hampdenfest this Saturday? Besides the title, and the admiration and love of the people?

Well, some of the best things Hampden has to offer, of course:

An office breakfast for 10 from Common Ground
Free month membership to Meadow Mill Athletic Club
$70 gift certificate for a massage with Jenny Ehrhardt at Bikram Yoga
$50 gift certificate from Oh! Said Rose
$50 gift certificate from Ma Petite Shoe
$50 gift certificate from Cafe Hon (and a tshirt, mug, bumper sticker & tote bag)
Gardening kit from Baltimore Garden Co.
Gift basket of hot sauces and salsas from Whiskey Island Pirate
Set of 5 giant Tiki Mugs from In Watermelon Sugar
Pecker on DVD, signed by John Waters from Atomic Books

And more gifts and certificates from Avenue Antiques, Breathe Books, Lynn's Bear in Mind, Milagro, Minas, Mud & Metal, Shine, Sturgis Antiques and Village Flower Mart.

Over $650 in prizes!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ophelia, You're Breaking My Heart

You're shakin' my confidence daily.

Hey, New Yawkers!

Emily Flake is having a book signing at the Magnet Theater on September 20th, 8:30pm.

There will be booze, and possibly a performance. And then more booze.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hurricane Season

It's that time of the year when outdoor festivals are plentiful here in Baltimore and we watch the weather with dread and anxiety.

Luckily, our local weather blog at the Sun, kept up by Frank Roylance, is endlessly fascinating (does that make me a weather dork?). What a season it's been already!

Ophelia is the 15th named storm of the season. There are just six more names on the list: Phillippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince and Wilma. After that, the National Hurricane Center will have to turn to the Greek alphabet: Tropical Storms Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and so on. It's never happened before.

Remember Hampdenfest morning last year?

howthefestivalstarted

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Hey, It's September 11th


from Editor B.

At Hampdenfest this Saturday, local creole restuarant, Ethel & Ramone's, will have a booth with their fabulous food. But also, they'll have an additional booth of just gumbo and 100% of the money will be given to NoLa restaurant workers (that they know peronsally) who are now out of jobs.

Crazy Things

1. Hamdpen Idol site.


2. almostthattime

Xmas cards! You think it's too early? People have already started buying them so get 'em before they're gone. Dame Darcy, Mark Ryden, the Clayton Bros, etc. Dude, I'm totally not rushing you.


3. Ninja Attack!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday Review - Back to School

Benn read Toothpaste For Dinner by Drew:
"Ah... cubicle humor. It can be funny when it's subversive. And sometimes the subversion can be perverted as a form of affirmation, like Drew Cary or Dilbert. Here we have cubicle dwellers in the office and out, crudely drawn, with endearing lopsided heads that are more often cute and surreal than subversive. These are comics that are more often funny than affirming, they're not a searing indictment of Industrial Park America, but they're also not something Industrial Park America will co-opt and use as a comfort blanket when lost in the cold, endless, prefabricated, grey mazes of the suburban working class."

50 Rock Novels

Who knew there were so many?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Skating Must Go On


It's hard to not just get paralyzed by all the bad news, but life must go on...

Something else to dream about instead of the horrors down South - Maggie's got new skates! She's part of the new Charm City Rollergirls. That's right! Baltimore's starting a Roller Derby League. It's the future!

Is It The Letter K?

First Koen, then Katrina (annihilated 2 whole bookstores in Mississippi), and now Kepler's.

From Publisher's Weekly:

Kepler's Books and Magazines in Menlo Park, Calif., one of Northern California's oldest and most venerated stores, has unexpectedly closed after what turns out to be several years of financial struggle. The closure was reportedly announced at a staff meeting yesterday morning with owner Clark Kepler, where he said the store would be filing for bankruptcy today.

Refugees

We may be hosting some friends from NoLa in the coming months. But there are many people homeless right now and soon to be wandering.

It's still all completely overwhelming and the scope of the need is hard to grasp.

Another email from Kyle Bravo lists people heard from and safe, and this:

As for Hot Iron Press more than likely we will cease to function for quite some time, if not for good. It is almost certain that our house/studio and all of our equipment, presses, type, paper, tools, all of our artwork, and everything else we own are underwater, if the building is even still standing at all. Unfortunately, all of the distro stuff, artist's books, zines, etc, were also all left behind and are most likely destroyed as well.

The last couple days have been a blur of anxiety, sleeplessness, and national news coverage. I'm just now starting to shake off the initial shock of the whole thing and start to think about what we're going to do next. Jenny and I don't plan to stay in Alexandria for long. We're looking to hopefully leave within the next few days, but we have no idea where to go. Despite our house being inaccessible and probably destroyed we still have a mortgage to pay and only a very small amount of savings, so wherever we go we'll need to find work ASAP. If anyone has any leads for any jobs anywhere please let us know. At this point we're open to any ideas. We're willing to relocate anywhere, at least temporarily - Baton Rouge, Athens, Richmond, Texas, Boston, Philly, the moon? If anyone has an extra room or needs 2 refugee roommates let us know. The one catch we also have a dog.


UPDATE: If you've been having trouble donating to the Red Cross at the national site (I've tried for days), I called the local Red Cross and you can donate to the local site. It all ends up going to the same place.

UPDATE 2: Sorry about the bad link! It's replaced, but if you're interested in Poppy Z Brite's LJ (which is what the bad link was, ha!) I'll leave it up, too!