Friday, August 31, 2012

Mikita Brottman & J.R. Angelella - Tomorrow Night!

The Atomic Fiction Series presents...
authors Mikita Brottman and J.R. Angelella

Saturday, September 1
7PM. Atomic Books.
Hampden, Baltimore

Both authors will be reading, discussing and signing copies of their books.

This event is part of the Atomic Fiction Series, with hosts Kathy Flann & Benn Ray.

THIRTEEN GIRLS is a casebook of murder that plumbs the annals of violent crime, delivering thirteen bracing stories about its emotional fallout using fictionalized narrative.
"Thirteen Girls manages the improbable feat of conjuring up the full horror and emotional devastation of serial homicide by focusing exclusively on the aftermath of the crimes and those left to deal with the consequences: family members, police officers, witnesses, survivors. Known for her brilliant, provocative cultural criticism, Mikita Brottman has produced a stunning work of crime fiction--a genuine tour de force." --Harold Schechter, author of The Serial Killer Files
In  ZOMBIE: A NOVEL, Jeremy navigates his all-boys Catholic high school with a code cobbled together from Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Planet Terror, Zombieland and Dawn of the Dead.
"If you want to know how teenagers feel and what they say when adults aren’t around, Zombie–a funny and very authentic, well-written first novel by J. R. Angelella–should definitely be the next book you read." —John Waters

Adult beverages will be served.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Baltozine Roundup: Dan Deacon, Animal Collective, and more

The Baltozine Roundup is a regular feature wherein we take a look at what national periodicals are saying about Baltimore-area arts, events, people, and places. Be sure to pick up the magazines to read the full articles.

Under The Radar #42 features a cover interview with Dan Deacon by Matt Fink as part of their "Protest Issue".
"'When I first started touring, I was this loud, garish, weirdo dude,' Deacon says excitedly from his Baltimore apartment. 'I'm sure most people would still say that I'm this ridiculous asshole, but it's different now. Obviously, it should be. Spiderman of the Rings came out five years ago. If I hadn't aged in those five years, something would be horribly creepy and wrong.' ... "
The magazine also gives his new album, America, a rating of 8.5 out of 10.
"...Deacon stretches the borders of his songcraft to the limit and it's a joy to hear a showman pushing every part of an orchestra like an overheating laptop. ..." -Kyle Lemmon
Also, Animal Collective's new album, Centipede Hz gets a rating of 8.5 out of 10.
"... The follow-up to Merriweather, Centipede Hz is something of a visceral, dark yin to Merriweather's lithe, DayGlo yang, with martial drumming, more conventionally structured melodies, and the feeling that the band had the time of their lives bashing out these tunes in their practice space. ..." -John Everhart
Filter #49 gives Animal Collective's Centipede Hz 86%.
"The further afield of traditional instrumentation Animal Collective get, the tighter they rein in their compositional excesses. Hearing them play pop music is like hearing the French speak English: their tongues are carved in ways too nuanced by their native language to form all of the words correctly. And yet, we still hear what they have to say." -Marty Sartini Garner
Mojo #226 gives Deacon's America 4 out of 5 stars, saying:
"This, the follow-up to 2009's player-piano-based Bromst, finds the electronic music maverick, contemporary classical experimenter and soundtrack composer moving still further from the cartoonish party aesthetic of 2007's breakthrough Spiderman of the Rings. ... America is an explicit political statement inspired by coast-to-coast travels across the land and by ambiguous experiences as a Yankee touring Europe for the first time. ... While traces of Deacon's former giddiness punctuate America, there's an ambitiously hefty, almost John Dos Passos-like engagement with the with the ambiguities of the Land of the Free. ..." -David Sheppard
Filter Good Music Guide #40 also features a review of Dan Deacon's new record. They score it at 85%.
"The Dan Deacon machine returns from Bromst-land (relatively) leaner, (relatively) focused and (absolutely) teeming with sound. ...  a deep, heartbreaking longing emerges from under the weight of all those shifting grains, like a lost first tooth found in a bag of rice." -Marty Sartini Garner
Maximum Rocknroll #352 reviews Xerography Debt #31, edited by local zinester Davida Gypsy Breier.
"This review zine covers a fair variety of subjects, including some actual punk shit and some close-enough. ...this is a good place to hear about new-to-you zines. ... " -Jeff Mason
And finally, the current issue of CMYK (#53) has several series of judged showcases, two of which feature work by area artists Alexis Somers and Sean Kittinger.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Order Signed Dan Clowes!

We know that not everyone can attend our signing with Alvin Buenaventura and Daniel Clowes on Friday, September 14, but we still want to make sure people have an opportunity to get their favorite books signed.

Pre-order Dan Clowes books now. Orders must be received by September 13. Books will ship after signing on September 14.

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist

Caricature - Nine Stories

David Boring

The Death-Ray

Ghost World

Ghost World (Special Edition)

Ice Haven

Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron

Mister Wonderful: A Love Story


Monday, August 13, 2012

Atomic Flashback: Fighting Corporate America

As part of our 20 year celebration, we'll be reprinting articles from Atomic Books Catalogs from the 1990s. 

by Rod Lott

Corporations are often perceived - and rightfully so - as cold and uncaring entities of pure, unadulterated evil, preying upon the lifeblood of collective America. While this has merit, it is a little known secret that in their book, in terms of importance, image comes in at a close second to profits.

Which is why, provided you assume the identity of a slightly senile senior citizen (which may be redundant) and take pen in hand, you can have a little fun with them, and get payback! If a mega-company feels in any way, shape or form that its crystal-clear image has been tarnished or threatened, they'll try to smooth things over with you via a kind form letter and a bribe here and there.

Since Oct. 5, 1991, I've been periodically digging out my withered Smith-Corona and banged out some perfectly strange correspondence to CEOs all across this fine land of ours. My pseudonym: a not-all-there grandpa by the name of Robert C. Clipson.

But it's best just to show you some examples.

When Baskin-Robbins introduced a special flavor to promote the feel-good baseball flick A League Of Their Own, Mr. Clipson had this to ask the ice-cream company's president: "I know the ice cream has a dominant chocolate taste to it, but I am very perplexed and disturbed by something I was told by the boy at the theater, so here goes: does it taste like Geena Davis?

"I asked your employee who made my cone and she said she didn't know. This scares me, to think that an ice cream flavor was designed to taste like a Hollywood celebrity. I know this may sound like a strange question, but as a long-faithful customer, I must know the truth. Plus, with all these new diseases running around, it's better to be safe than sorry."

Their reply? "It was disturbing to hear that an employee made a misleading comment about our promotional flavor. Baskin-Robbins would never purport to create a flavor that tastes like any human being. Not only would it be an impossible feat, it would be in very poor taste to even make such a claim."

In this case, the fact that they sent an explanation was overshadowed by what came tucked within said reply: a coupon for a free two-scoop sundae, which leads me to believe the company was thinking that if they dangled a frozen treat under Mr. Clipson's nose, he would not spread such a dastardly rumor.

Back in 1994, Mr. Clipson had this request to ask of the Kellogg's corporation: "My granddaughter Mary will be turning 5 soon. Her favorite cartoon character is Tony the Tiger because Frosted Flakes  is her favorite cereal. I am planning to throw her one humdinger of a birthday party with her and all her little friends and I know she would be thrilled if Tony the Tiger could be there, too. Is he available for private parties? I could give you $50. The party will be at my home around 2.

"Her favorite Tony the Tiger commercial is where he rides down the street on a skateboard. She just laughs and laughs. I have to admit it is a silly premise - tigers can't skate, can they? - but one well executed. In fact, I was hoping he could duplicate this stunt at the party. We have a steep driveway so this shouldn't be a problem. I will even position myself at the curb to watch for cars as I do when Mary rides her Big Wheel."

Tony never showed, of course, but he did send a nice, full-color autographed picture (if a paw print indeed counts as an autograph) of himself, as well as this reply: "How lucky can a tiger be? I just found out you are a fan of mine and it makes me feel just GR-R-EAT!"

Feeling creative, Mr. Clipson drafted a book proposal to the publishing giant of Bantam/Doubleday/Dell. He wished to write a "true-to-life account of my friendship with a squirrel I first noticed in my backyard some 4 years ago. I knew he was my friend and here to stay, so I named him 'Nutty', partly because he likes to eat nuts and partly because he is just plum nutty!

"The book would detail our many adventures together. It all began when I was sitting on the back porch in a lawn chair with a lemonade. Darned if I didn't look away but for a second and Nutty was drinking my lemonade! Another time I remember fondly is when he nearly bit me because I was teasing him with cashews."

The folks at Bantam said "no", of course, but it's nice just to know that Bob's letter most likely had them all scratching their heads for weeks.

Bob's other run-in with a squirrel resulted in this post-Grand Canyon trip letter to M&M/Mars: "One day Mary forgot to close the tent all the way shut. While we were out walking, some squirrels (I don't know exactly how many there were) got into our tent and took away my Snickers Munch bar I had bought for me to enjoy in my chair that afternoon. Actually, they left the wrapper and just took the bar! Don't ask me how they did it, I don't know. All I know is that squirrels are crafty and they took my candy bar!

"I don't know if your policy covers thievery by God's little creatures, but if so I am returning the wrapper (minus the unused portion, which was taken by squirrels) in hopes that I might receive a replacement."

For this ingenious ploy, Bob received coupons for three damn candy bars, even though only one was stolen by that pack of squirrels.

My - er, Mr. Clipson's - coup de grace thus far involved the fine Tex-Mex flavorings of the El Chico restaurant chain. After a meal there, I picked up a kids' coloring book and, with a slight modification, fired off this missive:

"Imagine my horror when our waiter brought young Mary her sheet to color! It was the donkey one, she had colored this so many times before but this time someone on your staff had added offensive and naughty parts to the donkey and then brought it to our granddaughter."

The near-instant result? An extremely apologetic and embarrassed letter ... oh, and three free dinners. That's about $25 bucks worth of food for five minutes' work of creative genius.

Of course, not every letter received acknowledgment. My favorite unnoticed mail came in the form of an invitation to Mary Kate and Ashely Olson, those impish (but Satanic) twins from Full House. (Although they are not technically a corporation, those pug-nosed bitches reap millions, so I'm including them here anyway.)

Bob invited the snot-nosed pair to his granddaughter's party, much like he had Tony the Tiger: "I will furnish all the party refreshments but I would ask that you bring your own bedrolls, as this affair will be a sleepover. We will eat cake, drink punch or red pop (I have not yet decided which) and play pin the tail on the donkey. I might even tell some knock-knock jokes.

"I am willing to pay you $50 but only half that if only one of you can come. It doesn't matter which since you look exactly alike. Either way we would like you to sing a song and perform a dance for me.

"I am sorry to hear your program has been canceled. I think it is Bob Saget's fault. He is to blame for your job being taken away and tell him that I will beat the living daylights out of him if I am ever to meet him in public."

Not a word from them. For this slight, I vow to beat the living daylights out of both of them if I am ever to meet them in public.

No matter, though. Bob's had quite a successful ratio, many of which have come with freebies. My take thus far? Aside from the aforementioned goodies, a half-gallon of ice cream, 15 cents, loads of autographed pictures, a stack of nutritional pamphlets, a recipe book from Peter Pan (including some entree called "Pork Sate") and a color snapshot of Socks the White House cat.

And to think that Bob had asked for one of Chelsea.

ROD LOTT was responsible for the long-running zine HITCH and now writes for Bookgasm.

As printed in Atomic Books Catalog 2, Spring 1996.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Atomic Flashback: Atomic's Fringe Top 10 In Wired

As part of our 20 year celebration, we'll be reprinting articles from Atomic Books Catalogs from the 1990s. 
Top 10 bestselling fringe publications (from the Atomic Books WWW catalog)

1. Splosh! The Wet and Messy Fun Mag
Fetish magazine for fans of "sloppy" sex. Anyone for Spaghetti Os in the undies?

2. Answer Me! The First Three
Three-issue compendium of malice and mayhem from hatemeisters Jim and Debbie Goad.

3. The Anarchist Cookbook, by William Powell
A skyrocketing bestseller, thanks to senators and broadcasters who have waved it around on television.

4. Crackpot, by John Waters
A collection of essays by sleaze guru and filmmaker John Waters. Signed by the author.

5. Nudist Magazines of the 50s & 60s, by Ed Lange
Gimme that ol' time nudity. Reprints from old nudist mags. Back then, they airbrushed over genitals so the models looked like ET.

6. James Taylor's Shocked & Amazed - On & Off The Midway
Interviews with albino sword-swallower "Lady Sandra" Reed and Ward Hall, "King of Sideshows." Freaks & geeks galore.

7. Encyclopedia Of Unusual Sex Practices, by Brenda Love 
Everything you ever wanted to know, from aphrodisiacs to zoophilia.

8. 50 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time, by Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen
Fifty of the most far-reaching, reason-defying, paranoia-generating conspiracy theories.

9. Re/Search Guide To Bodily Fluids, by Paul Spinrad
A look into bodily fluids and excreta. Gross-out fun.

10. Annie Sprinkle's Post-Modern Pin-Ups: Pleasure Activist Playing Cards
The '90s feminist version of '50s girlie playing cards.

by Gareth Branwyn, from Wired, 1995, as reprinted in Atomic Books Catalog 2, Spring 1996.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

BaltoZine RoundUp: Dope Body, Will Laren & More

The Baltozine Roundup is a regular feature wherein we take a look at what national periodicals are saying about Baltimore-area arts, events, people, and places. Be sure to pick up the magazines to read the full articles.

Dope Body has a profile in Ghettoblaster #32, written by Andrew R. Fetter.
"To outsiders, music that originates in Baltimore, MD often gets lumped into the music that comes out of the D.C.-area. David Jacober, drummer for Baltimore-based noise rock band Dope Body, says the distinction between the two areas is very clear. 'Baltimore and D.C. are worlds apart from each other. There's a lot more open space in Baltimore to create. Plus D.C. kind of sucks to live in because it's a lot more expensive. There's not as much opportunity for much of an art scene, since artists don't have a lot of money.' ..."

Monster Children #35 has an interview with Baltimore cartoonist (and former Atomic Books intern), Will Laren.
"... I just draw things I find funny. Occasionally I'll do something that will deal more in satire than gross-out humor but I've never gone and tried to do a comic about something. I can't really think that way. I really hate when people shoehorn issues into their work. ... If you don't know a lot about something, you shouldn't try to comment on it. And I'm super ignorant, so I have no business commenting on anything. ..."

The new issue of Razorcake (#69) has a review of Sick Sick Birds' Gates of Home LP:
"What if The Cure were from Baltimore? What if Robert Smith sang almost-short-story songs about isolation, the ethereality of cultural status? What if songs were jotted down with a marker, waiting for a bus instead of melancholic bubbles of smoke? ..." -Todd