Friday, December 17, 2010

Small Press Holiday Recommendations: From the Film Sector

Today’s small press recommendations come from two talented, offbeat film writers. Masha Tupitsyn writes about film in a way that blends literature and cultural criticism, fiction and non, meditation and desire. In her book of linked stories, Beauty Talk and Monsters (Semiotexte), women narrators confuse life and cinema in a delirious and delicious way, reminiscent of Kathy Acker. In her co-edited anthology, Life As We Show It: Writing on Film (City Lights), she showcases an array of today’s most exciting writers of literary fiction, poetry, and essays (including Wayne Koestenbaum, Dodie Bellamy, Veronica Gonzalez, and Lynn Tillman) who are inspired by film and the experience of watching. Masha’s forthcoming book looks equally compelling; inspired in part by Chris Marker’s spare film scripts, it’s called LACONIA: 1200 Tweets on Film (ZerO Books [UK], April 2011). Masha recommends four small press titles today.

Mike White comes from an entirely different end of the film writing continuum. A longtime video store clerk in Detroit, Mike has edited the film zine Cashiers du Cinemart since 1994. Cashiers offers a twist on the fanboy/fanzine POV, especially in some of Mike’s early, entertaining rants against Quentin Tarantino. Fifteen issues later, Mike White and friends have covered a wide swath of underground, foreign, genre, and indie films in weird, hilarious, and obsessive prose. Recently, a Best-Of compilation of the zine was released under the title Impossibly Funky (mentioned previously on this blog when cover artist Jim Rugg recommended books). I got to meet Mike when his book tour passed thru Pittsburgh; he gave a book talk rather than a reading, which I really enjoyed--his film-geek knowledge and kaleidoscopic logic was much closer to his zine’s style than any straight reading would have been. Mike was kind enough to include mini reviews with his small press picks.


1. American Romances: Essays, Rebecca Brown (City Lights, 2009)
2. The Encyclopedia Project Vol. II (F-K) (Encyclomedia, 2010)
3. Bad Reputation: Performances, Essays, Interviews, Penny Arcade (Semiotexte, 2010)
4. Coma, Pierre Guyotat [translated by Noura Wedell] (Semiotexte, 2010)

Recommended by
Masha Tupitsyn, author of LACONIA: 1200 Tweets on Film (ZerO Books, 2011)


1. The Hanging Gardens of Split Rock, Mike Faloon (Gorsky Press)
This collection of short stories and personal essays by Mike Faloon ("Zisk", "Go Metric") plays host to characters who, though well-intentioned, often set their sites on goals that may not be the best for them... or those around them. Hanging Gardens kicks off with a series of stories about a small town in upstate New York. From there Faloon tells tales of his youth, from a sociopath who he went to camp with to a hilarious recollection of a high school job. Finding a favorite piece amongst all the gems in Faloon's work is tough but I couldn't stop laughing as I read his riff on Progressive Rock. Set it to music and you've got a ready-made piece for "This American Life." Faloon's stories are heartfelt and his writing is tight without a wasted word.

2. Shock Cinema #39 (
One of the first movie zines I ever found, Shock Cinema never failed to bring to light myriad rare and seemingly lost movies. Art house messes, wrong-headed TV movies, tripped-out documentaries, and a good dose of Jerry Lewis made Shock Cinema a must-read. The bad news? Watching all of the movies covered in Shock Cinema would take a lifetime. The good news? Shock Cinema still comes out on a regular basis with a sheaf of new movie reviews and interviews of cult celebrities. The latest issue features reviews with actors Luke Askew, Nigel Davenport, actress Marlene Clark, and director Michael Schultz among others. On top of that, Shock Cinema head honcho Steve Puchalski and his regular contributors review well over three dozen movies; new, old, and all interesting in their own way.

3. Paracinema #10 (
Print is dead? Tell that to Christine and Dylan, the folks behind Paracinema. When all looked lost for new independent magazines, they threw caution to the wind and birthed the best movie magazine around. Giving serious consideration to cult films without pedantic prattling or fanboy gushing, Paracinema boasts the strongest writing about film in America today.
*Full disclosure: That last remark doesn't take into account Paracinema's ill-advised decision to include two pieces that I've written for them. Apart from my stuff, they're amazing!

Recommended by
Mike White, editor of Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection (BearManor Media)


Speaking of Mike Faloon, congratulations to Lynn Alexander, who won a copy of The Hanging Gardens of Split Rock in the last book giveaway on this blog.

Stay tuned for more small press picks and guest reviews.

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