Interview with Amelia Gray at The Nervous Breakdown

In addition to doing book reviews at The Nervous Breakdown, I’ll also be doing interviews. My first is with one of my favorite authors, Amelia Gray. I hate to even limit her by calling her a small press darling (in the vein of Parker Posey, indie film darling) as she is a voice to be reckoned with, and I’m sure the small presses will only hold on to her for as long as they can, until the bigger presses come calling. Harper Perennial, are you paying attention?

Instead of doing the standard interview, asking about her latest projects and what her process is, I went over her first two books, AM/PM (Featherproof) and Museum of the Weird (FC2), reminisced about the times I’ve seen her read live at various AWPs and other outings, and generally prompted her with whatever authors, presses, and eccentricities I could think of.

Visit her at her site, or Five Things (her reading series in Austin), or hell, just Google her. She’s everywhere. Be sure to catch her live, it’s always worth it.

So, go check out the review up at The Nervous Breakdown, pick up copies of AM/PM and Museum of the Weird, and track her at Twitter and her blog. She’s one of the most compelling voices out there right now – hilarious, disturbing, emotional, surreal, heartbreaking, grounded, alluring and smart.

SCORCH ATLAS by Blake Butler release party with Featherproof Books

by Blake Butler

by Blake Butler

So last night I fought traffic for an hour and a half to just barely get down to the SCORCH ATLAS book release by Blake Butler and Featherproof Books on time.

It was at No Coast Collective @1500 W. 17th St, Chicago so if you’re in the Pilsen area, check them out. I love Pilsen, they have a great arts fair in the fall. Lots of great books, posters, and music, tons of handmade stuff, very cool. Reminds me a bit of Quimby’s in Wicker Park.

Zach Dodson is the co-publisher/CD at Featherproof, he mcd the event, nice guy, I got to chat with him a bit about Featherproof and what they’re doing. I’ll send them my novel(s) when they open up again. He mentioned they’d like to get into some noir, so that’s cool.

Kathryn Regina started us off with some excellent poetry, a bit of the surreal and magical realism, involving a woman eating a car, eating pennies, good stuff. We chatted a bit before the show, very nice, quiet. So I knew her work would be some strange stuff. It’s always the quiet ones.

Sam Pink was next. Very funny, cool stuff. He’s a big guy with a shaved head, but really nice. Put a nice dent in the case of PBR, him and BB. He read off the back of a movie box, Lionheart I think, JVCD…duh. His work is really funny and strange. His book I AM GOING TO CLONE MYSELF THEN KILL THE CLONE AND EAT IT looks great, go buy it.

Sam Pink CLONE

Amelia Gray flew up from Austin to read. She might have been my favorite of the evening. She read a new story, I canNOT remember the title, about hand jobs and a Chevy IROC, a guy named Carl (two actually) it was hilarious and dirty, good stuff. Had a nice chat with her after, bought a copy of AM/PM. Go get it. Yes Nik, she remembers you from Baltimore. She has a weakness for guys named Nik.

AM/PM

Blake Butler read some wild stuff. I didn’t know he was so dark! He read an excerpt from SCORCH ATLAS of course, which I bought. Something about a baby with mold dying and then a new baby a GIANT baby in the attic, it was very surreal. I liked it a lot, very tactile and rich. Got to talk with him before about his books deal and the state of various presses and the industry. Very nice guy.

Sorry I had to hop in the car back to the burbs right after, as Tiger Bones was sounding really good, lots of bass.

Great time, lots of fantastic writing. I’ll see most of these guys again tonight at the Quickies! FUNdraiser where I’ll be reading as well, at the Innertown Pub @ 1935 W. Thomas in Wicker Park. If you’re in Chicago, come on by.

LINKS to authors and presses over there on the blogroll.