As many as you know I love to read. I consider books to be one of my best friends because they can show you new things and keep you up way past your bedtime. Also my birthday is next month in October so this list is also for those who would like to get me something but have no idea what to get me. What better gift to give than the gift of reading. This list is also for those who want to start a new read but do not know what to get. Here are five recommendations:
Maryland Monster Movie Memories: Baltimore-Washington Area Horror Hosts and More! by John Carter Stell- Being from the area I felt like this was a must wish list item. Even though I was not part of the horror movie host area. I am a fond admirer of it and would like to learn more about the hosts that were in the area.
Knock Offs Totally Unauthorized Action Figures by Brian Heiler: I am huge fan of bootleg and interesting action figures. So when I learned there was a book about it I knew I had to add this to this list!
Alice A Novel by Blake Butler: I was walking through a book store one afternoon and read the back of the book and it caught my attention. It reminds me a bit of an Ira Levin (who is one of my favorite authors) novel.
See you at San Diego: An Oral History of Comic-Con, Fandom, and the Triumph of Geek Culture by Stan Sakai and Jeff Smith. I always wanted to go Comic-Con but until then I can live vicariously through this book.
This week I interviewed a great book store called Atomic Books !
Why is the book store called Atomic Books?
“When the store name was decided on in 1992, the word “Atomic” was an ironic reference to the mid-century, Atomic/Nuclear-era of America where conformity was stressed and fear of anti-communism dominated, and the possibility of the world ending in a nuclear holocaust was an ever-present reality – a shadow we grew up under. The word “Atomic” was meant to signal the sort of underground/counter-cultural nature of the publications we carried that were pushing back against that sort of mainstream conformity and other forms of cultural colonialism and corporate sanitization of the arts. It also applied to a sort of tongue-in-cheek appreciation of a mid-century aesthetic.
Decades later, outside of that context, we get the occasional customer who asks, “What’s an ‘Atomic Book?'”
Usually, I respond, “It’s like an e-book, but more powerful.”
2. What kind of items do you sell in the store? Is there a popular section in the store? If so, what is it?
“We carry fiction – Beats and crime being what we’re really best at. We carry non-fiction – and our categories vary from Psychokillers to Conspiracies to Outer Limits to Strange Science to Occult. We carry artbooks – lowbrow, tattoo and street art are what we’re mostly into.
We carry a wide array of comics and graphic novels, with our specialty being literary, underground and alternative. But we have some superhero and manga too.
But mostly we’re known for carrying zines and mini-comics (self-published periodicals).
Our aesthetic has always been counter-cultural, alternative, underground, transgressive, and experimental. Our tag line is “Literary finds for mutated minds” if that helps give a better idea of what one might expect.”
“Our book club has been going on for nearly 20 years, give or take. Basically it started with my partner Rachel Whang and I deciding that we’d like to get together with people and either get them to read some of our favorite books or get us all to read books we’ve been meaning to read.
Each year, Rachel and I decide on a topic. This usually involves lists we make throughout the year. We narrow those lists down to a couple of topics or themes, (we’ve done Cult Classics, Post-Apocalypse, Series Firsts, From Page to Screen, Short Stories, Music, etc.) and we then begin to populate it with books. Typically, whichever list looks the most fun is the one we go with. This year, our theme of Cults has been especially popular. When we select books, we typically choose a variety of fiction, non-fiction and comics.
We’re currently meeting the last Tuesday of the month in Eightbar, the bar in the back of our store. During COVID, we were meeting online, but we’re back to in person meetings now.”
4. If you have to pick a fall reading book list for the upcoming season: What four books would you pick and why?
“Here is a list of 10 in no particular order:
Liberation Day – George Saunders I love short stories, and Saunders is a master.
The Passenger/Stella Maris – Cormac McCarthy When a writer of McCarthy’s stature drops two new novels in as many months, well, it demands attention.
Weasels In The Attic – Hiroko Oyamada I loved Hiroko’s previous book, The Hole. So I’m interested in this fictional look at gender roles and marriage in Japan.
5. What is your best memory or event you have of the book store?
“We’ve been fortunate to have a number of great memories/events with the shop. But at the top of my list of favorites are always the John Waters signings. John’s fans are so great, they’re so excited, they’re so fun, and John is so great and he really enjoys meeting and interacting with them. There is so much wonderful positivity that it almost feels like it can’t be contained. Rarely do so many people, standing in line for so long, have such a good time. But they do at John Waters signings.”
6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“This year, the store is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Somehow, we’ve become Baltimore’s oldest independent bookstore. So we have a number of limited edition totes and t-shirts we’ve been releasing that we’ve designed with artist friends of the store from over those 30 years. And the response to those has been overwhelming.
We have a string of events we’re hosting coming up I’m super-excited for:
October 2 – Old Line Plate: Stories and Recipes from Maryland Kara Mae Harris – Kara has this amazing Maryland food history website. She’s self-published a book based on her site. So she’s doing a talk and, hopefully, bringing some pie.
October 4 – Well Of Souls by Kristina Gaddy – we’re hosting this event at the Pratt Library. I’m very excited to see Kristina talk about her book.
October 8 – Michael DeForge & Sadie Dupuis – comic book artist DeForge and musician and poet Dupuis return to the Atomic Books to talk comics and read poetry in our bar, Eightbar.”
If you would more information about Atomic Books. The following contact information is below:
“Hi. My name is Trayce Gigi Field and I am a native Los Angelino. I am a high energy person and am super passionate about life. I come from a multicultural background that helps me see the world through a broad perspective. Love and be loved is my favorite mantra.”
2. What made you interested in becoming a Costume Designer/ stylist?
“My interest in becoming a Costume Designer started with wanting to know when the actors would get their clothes. I guess you can say I found out! I went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angles, there I was able to better understand design. I started as a Costume PA on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and worked my way up to being a Costume Designer.”
3. Who are your top 3 favorite designers and why?
“My top three fashion designers are – Alexander McQueen, for his beautifully cut pieces. Such precision and structure. His Fashion shows were works of art that he masterfully pulled off with a flavor for decadence and the unusual. Jean Paul Gaultier, for his unconventional designs and the Fifth Element Costume Design . I have always felt Jean Paul understood the female body and used corsets and such to highlight a women physique. Karl Lagerfeld is probably my favorite designer of all time. More for his presence in fashion then his designs – although I do love his designs I have always been more intrigued in the way Karl lived in the world. The uniform he wore everyday, the gloves, his dogs, and my favorite quote (all the kids will disagree) “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants.” I am sure he is rolling over in his grave with the sweatpants trend that is everywhere right now.”
4. Can you talk a little bit about your time on “A league of their Own.”? What inspiration did you have on the costume designs for the show? Was there a favorite outfit(s) you made/style that was on the series and why?
“Designing ALOTO was such a fantastic experience. I love anything vintage and the 40s are a beautiful era for clothing.
We had over 2000 pages of reference and we poured over each one to take in and memorize what the look, fit, and feel of the clothes were. So many different styles and silhouettes. We took into account demographics and status, so we really understood how to authentically dress various people. I have so many favorites.”
Custom designs for Clance and Greta were so fun to create.
The various baseball teams were exciting too. I really am passionate about Bertie’s clothes. Getting them just right was so important to me. “
5. What is a random fact about yourself that not a lot of people know about you?
“I laugh like a dolphin in front of my friends love to tease me about it!”
6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“I was recently written in Fashionista.com and The Hollywood Reporter for my work on the show. I am just wrapping a new Series titled Poker Face – starring Natasha Lyonne and directed by Rian Johnson. Its such a cool series!”
If you would like more information. The following contact information is below:
Hollywood Cemetery is located in Richmond, Virginia. It is a cemetery known for having some historic and/or famous people’s final resting place. However there is one statue that I am going to cover today. The Cast Iron Dog:
This statue of a dog is directly facing the grave of two year old Florence Bernadine Rees. There are many stories of why this particular statue is here either watching over or guarding Florence’s grave. Florence past away of scarlet fever around February of 1862 and her father was heartbroken over this. While she was still alive they would stroll by stores and she would always want to stop and want to go into the store they had the cast iron dog. She would want to play with it and it always brought her joy in her short life.
So when she past away her father bought the dog to be put near her grave. Because if it brought her so much joy and companionship during her short time on this earth. It should be with her in the after life. Her father actually saved this iron cast dog because shortly after Florence’s death all types of iron were being given to the Confederate Army to be repurpose into guns and other weapons for the war.
People who have heard of the story of this particular gravesite would visit and leave little trinkets for Florence as well as the dog. There had been some reports by some visitors of hearing growling, or barking at night near the grave. Some even claim that they feel like the dog’s eyes are watching them while they are paying their respects to Florence.
Do you have any interesting gravesites with unique stories? If so comment below!!!
Tell me a little about yourself. “My name is Glen Kalliope Rodman (he/him) and I’m the editor & co-founder of Shapeless Press. My dear friend Amalia Vavala (@amaliavavala) is the other half of the team: she’s our entire graphic design and production department, and Liz Taylor to my Monty Clift. I’m a writer, a New Yorker and a trans man. If you see a five-foot-tall guy in a Stetson bopping around the New York metro area, it’s probably me. My background is in academia and education, so naturally I’m broke. I studied in, then taught for the Narrative Medicine master’s program at Columbia. I write about media and narrative (especially science fiction and horror) from an intersectional Trans Studies perspective. I’m also a cat sitter, so feel free to hit me up at @thatcatguynyc if you need someone reliable to take care of your cat!”
2. How did you start Shapeless Press? “Shapeless Press began with my own frustrations as a trans writer trying to publish. Most publications are by cis people, for cis people. When trans voices are filtered through cis platforms, we are expected to make trans experiences accessible to cis readers. This means trans writers have to spend time and energy explaining basic stuff, making ourselves simpler, more “palatable”. We have to be educators and activists as well as writers and artists. In the zines we publish at Shapeless Press, we aim to create a space for gender expansive people to publish art and writing for other gender expansive people. No apologies, no explanations, no Trans 101. Trans people are a vastly diverse continuum with a multitude of experiences and perspectives. At Shapeless Press, we hope to give our collaborators the opportunity to publish without considering the cis reader at all.”
3. Who was the first author you collaborated with on Shapeless Press? “The generous contributors of our first collection, SEEN/UNSEEN, who believed in the project enough to trust me with their work! These folks were willing to contribute pieces without pay or even a proof of concept. I’m honored and awed by the trust our collaborators have given us, a micropress with a shoestring budget. It motivates me to do right by everyone I work with. I want to give a special thanks to Andy Lindquist ( @quindlisting), who was one of the first collaborators I approached. Andy is an up-and-coming indie cartoonist whose work just completely blows me away and it’s a privilege to get to work with him at this early stage in both of our careers. Keep an eye on this guy, he’s going places.”
4. What themes or characteristics do you look for when adding someone to your roster?
“We seek to platform all trans/nonbinary/gender expansive creatives! We are especially seeking to platform more BIPOC in general. (If this describes you and you’d like to work with us, please send me an email!) We will not publish hate speech or bigotry, and individual publications may have content parameters or themes, but we’re interested in creatives working in any printable medium. My aim is to publish a proliferation of voices and to showcase the vast array of diverse talent in the trans community, and I don’t want to be another gatekeeper.”
What themes or genre(s) do you write and do you have a favorite or personal piece of yours? Why is it your favorite or most personal piece? “My favorite piece is always the one I’m currently working on. I’ve been an academic/educational writer for most of my career, and I’m afraid that shows in my writing voice no matter the genre. One of my personal passions is science fiction, and I particularly love writing about how it engages with gender. It was a science fiction story that inspired the name of the press – a Robert Sheckley story from 1953 called “Keep Your Shape.” I read it and thought it so perfectly expressed what I wanted the press to be about, this kind of utopian vision of choosing your shape as liberatory, and conversely, the idea that the state has a vested interest in policing shape so it can continue to function. Anyway, my favorite published piece of my own is a column I wrote for the journal Synapsis, “Trans Futures: Speculative Fiction as Gender Liberation.” If you want to read my case for why science fiction can be important for trans folks, you can check it out at the link in my bio.”
6. Do you have any favorite authors or collaborators that you read or often work with? “How could I pick a favorite! I’ll use this space to promote some of them, though. Atlas A Lee-Reid (@aleereid) has contributed to multiple Shapeless Press projects. They make these gorgeous, ruminative slice-of-life comics about art, gender and embodiment. AJ Thursday ( @ajthursday ) wrote a piece for PLAY about Elvis impersonators that I’m very proud to have published. She has this distinctive, confident writing voice and a million fascinating stories to tell. Wow Quisqueya is a wonderful painter and poet, and they were generous enough to contribute an original painting to PLAY that I love. charlie jasper is a repeat collaborator and friend of the press who’s not only contributed poetry but has also given me a lot of good advice. The PRPL PPL genrequeer multimedia collective has been a constant source of support, inspiration, and labor. Shapeless Press would not exist without them.”
7. Do you have any exciting news or upcoming events that you would like to share?
“You can pick up a copy of our most recent zine, PLAY: Trans & Nonbinary Creatives on the Opposite of Work, at Bluestockings Bookstore, or for free on our website: https://www.prplppl.website/shapeless-press , where you can also read our previous collection SEEN/UNSEEN. We’ll also be at ZineFest on November 13th if you’re in New York! Follow us @shapeless.press for information on upcoming projects, contributor spotlights, and guidelines for submission. We are always looking for more collaborators. Again, we especially want to platform more BIPOC creatives. If you’re interested in working with Shapeless Press, don’t be shycomrade! Send me an email at email@example.com or dm me at captainafab.
If you would like more information. The following contact information is below:
Banned book week is coming up! It runs from September 18-24, 2022. What is banned book week? It is a yearly celebration in the US that is a week long that highlights books that have been challenged or ban to be a public and school libraries. Here are a couple of books that at one point that have been banned or challenged either once or many times:
All American Boys: A Novel (2015) by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely – Banned due to discussions of drugs, alcohol and anti police views.
Books challenged our minds as well as expanding our point of view. I am a lover or books and this is one of my favorite weeks. Because it celebrates our freedom to read any kind of material and express expression in word form.
“I’m from a very small town in Northern California. I was always artistic and although it felt like I was raised by wolves, my parents were super supportive of my artistic talents. My mom would nick reams of dot matrix printer paper from work (dating myself with that printer reference) and I would draw, paint, and make banners relentlessly. My parents didn’t bat an eye at the stacks of big breasted mermaids I drew after becoming obsessed with The Little Mermaid, and if they did, I never knew. I took as many art classes as I could throughout high school. I worked my way into advanced painting classes, won some awards, and smoked a lot of pot. I figured art school would be my next stop but found myself at community college instead. There I fell in love with the study of film and art became my hobby. I still made things, mainly for friends and certainly for every boy I ever liked. I eventually graduated with a BA in Cinema Studies from San Francisco State University. I bounced around some and got married, all the while creating and making art…until I got a career. My career in the Los Angeles floral industry ended up being a creative one and successful as well. But with a creative career, I had no energy left for my own art projects. Once I became a mother I decided to give up my career, change it all up and move to Montana. I became a stay-at-home mom. Between my career and motherhood I probably didn’t make any art for nearly 10 years. Long story short, I figured out that the stay-at-home life wasn’t for me. I mean, It is for some people, just not me. Something was missing and I wasn’t doing so hot in life. Then it finally clicked. I got sober which led to the discovery that I was bipolar. But through all that I found art again. Once I had that figured out, I was unstoppable. I was a creative person once again but with a new medium all my own. Today, I manage a vintage clothing store and have found a balance between work, motherhood, and creativity.”
2. How did you come up with the name Box 39?
“I love sourcing old and weird objects for my work. Mainly thrifting and antiquing or just plain finding. Before I knew what to call the art project I was creating I found a collection of postcards from the early 1900s in a small Montana antique shop. The collection belonged to Mollie Jermaine of Oregon and the cards were all addressed to PO Box 39. Her correspondence was fascinating and I found it so remarkable that she’d kept everything and that it stayed intact after all these years. I had discovered the memories of someone who lived 100+ years ago! I decided to use Mollie’s stories to tell my own. I wanted to give them a new life and what a way to start my collection of found objects. I decided to call my art endeavor Box 39 because that’s where my story started and I wanted to “fill” Box 39 back up with memories. Mollie’s postcards were the makings of some of earlier works and still show up in my work today.”
3. What was the first miniature diorama you made?
“During my stint as a stay-at-home mom I was desperate for a hobby or something to do with myself. I found a miniature kit at the craft store, I think it was a little tiny greenhouse or something similar. I thought little stuff was cute and maybe this could occupy some of my time. Being a retired florist I went to make the flowers first. I made about three and thought I could make more accurate flowers diverting from the kit. I made some poppies, some daffodils, and roses. After that I put the kit away and went rogue. I thought to myself: what would be cooler than the little vase provided in the kit?
Then I had an idea; I had seen vintage matchbooks at the antique store and I thought it’d be cool if the matches were replaced with little flowers. I figured I could make tiny floral arrangements just like I made when I was a florist. I got out the tacky glue and started gluing away. The pieces started to take a personal turn. I was feeling anxious and uncertain about life at the time and decided I needed to listen to my gut. The first matchbook I posted was advertising caskets (I loved the morbidity of it). I used the poppy, made some grass, and a field of red flags. It felt as though I had found a place for my feelings and all of a sudden I felt reassured about myself. I knew I was seeing metaphorical red flags in real life and now I had found a place to put them. From there I was off to the races.”
4. Can you talk a little about the themes in your art: “Tiny people making out?”
“Whatever I’m thinking or feeling ends up in my art. Through my work I can give those thoughts, feelings, and memories a safe little place to live. I don’t have to process them or figure anything out; they can just be. So sometimes my sexual self or frustrations find their way into a matchbook or two…or three. Besides, I think it’s fun and cheeky.
5. Do you do custom orders? If so, can you talk a little bit about the process of ordering one?
“The custom pieces I have made have been from admirers of my art who give me carte blanche. I do usually get a little direction: It’s for so-and-so, it’s our anniversary (or some other occasion), I’d like a matchbook or diorama. Occasionally I get someone who has an object they’d like me to incorporate or utilize as a vessel. I don’t even know what I’m going to make until inspiration hits. If clients are cool with that, then I’m all for it and all it’d take is a DM to get the ball rolling.”
Also what are some popular pieces on your esty store and why do you think they are so popular?
“To be honest, I don’t do great on etsy. I have made some sales on etsy but I seem to do better at my shows. I don’t think the etsy audience, or any one really, is searching for “tiny makeout scenes on a matchbook.” But, out of all of my sales, etsy included, I’d have to say the matchbooks are the most popular. I think because they are a unique canvas. Vintage matchbooks are just plain cool on their own anyhow. Whenever someone recognizes me from my work they always ask, “ you make the matchbooks, right?”
6. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“I’m really excited about my next show. It’s going to be a collaborative effort with Sarahjess Hurt of a @apaper_knife_studio this October at Heist Art Gallery in Red Lodge, MT. Sarahjess is a talented jeweler. She makes the tiny wearable receptacles and I fill them with my found objects or tiny handmade paper flowers. It’s been fun working with another artist and discovering the ways we’re inspiring each other. I can’t wait to see the show come together!”
This week’s movie of the day is Resurrection from 1982. Starring Ellen Burstyn, Sam Shepard and directed by Daniel Petrie.
This movie is about Edna Mae who brought a car as a birthday gift for her husband. As her and her husband are driving back from his job to celebrate his birthday. They got in an awful car accident which left her husband dead and herself horribly injury but survives. While she is struggling to live she begins to experience an out of body experience. Where she momentarily gets stuck between the afterlife and the living world.
As Edna tries to move on with her life from the accident. She moves back with her dad and goes back to her childhood home where she finds out that she extraordinary powers to make people feel physically better from their injuries. Here she is trying to describe her experience to her grandmother.
Some of the townspeople’s celebrate her healing powers while others feel like it’s a gift from a darker evil source.
Here is a clip of all of the healing that Edna Mae is able to do throughout the movie:
Although added frustration comes from the townspeople who say that Edna’s ability to heal was a gift from Gods. However Edna is not sure where her ability stems from but she never admits that it is sourced from God or the devil.
Some facts about the movie: Ellen Burstyn was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her role in this movie.
Most of the film was film in Texas.
There was a novelization based on the screenplay of the movie and written by George Gipe in 1980.
If you would like to watch this movie. The following links are below: