Friday, July 23, 2010

Oh, Internet

If you only knew what I was up to.

Yes, I realize I still owe you the third part, the conclusion, of my man-cave adventure.  Yes, I realize I've not consistently posted on Thursdays.  Yes, I realize I'm waffling.  But I'm not.  I swear.  Good things are afoot.  Just things I can't really completely talk about yet because they haven't solidified sufficiently.  Exciting things.  Book things.  Writing things.  Editing things.  Other things.

For now you'll just have to put up with my vagueness and hope and trust that eventually I'll lay it on you, and it'll have been worth the wait.  I did want to take a moment and say thanks to Jason Behrends for inviting me to read at the Whistler for his Orange Alert reading series.  I read a portion of The Damnation of Memory that got a very positive reaction which I found touchingly affirming.  Thank you to everyone who came out, especially my wife Beth, who has to sometimes move the earth a little bit to extract herself from her own chaotic pile of stresses and tasks in order to spend time seeing what it is I do.  I was happy to have you there.

I promise the secrets will unfold.  Stay tuned.

Slut Lullabies, a review

Smart, funny, and haltingly good. "How to Marry a WASP" and "What You See" are easily two of the best short stories I've read in the last ten years, and I read a lot of short fiction. Never, ever once, does Frangello take the easy postmodern "men-are-evil" third-wave feminist line in any of these stories, and yet they all teem with the sorts of prickly moral ambiguity that is always ready-made bait for such thematic undertones. That sort of thing, the mean, intellectual laziness of it, no matter how talented a writer is, always makes my heart sink. I've read a few other authors that have written work that danced around the edges of this, but never as consistently and as well as Slut Lullabies. It's like strawberry ice cream after eating two decades of nothing but vanilla, and as a guy that had to come of age in the middle of possibly the worst time in cultural history to be a young man, work like this is very hopeful and exciting to me. No one will be happier than I am to see the postmodern, deconstructionist nonsense that passed for social theory ten years ago finally get retired, and when it happens it's going to be because of people like Gina that are thinking in color instead of just black and white. I can see how a book like this would be positioned as funny, "thinking girl's" literature, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it didn't resonate with "thinking men" as well, and I plan to recommend it to as many of them as I can. There are parts of this book for just about everyone, and yet I came away from it still feeling weeks later like I had read something special that spoke very specifically to my interests and sensibility. A grand slam for Frangello and the sort of piece that any author would love to have written.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New music

Playlist updated with some new tunes for the hot summer.  Just started listening to the Black Keys and I'm feeling like this is another classic example of a band that pretty much everyone on earth already knows about but me.  Just the same, they rock.  Can't quite bring myself to take down Lisa Hannigan yet.  Also discovered Boyce Avenue, who are slightly boy-band-ish but have a fun gimmick of recording soulful accoustic versions of awful recent pop songs like "Umbrella" and "Bleeding in Love".  It does give you a different perspective on the songs, and I always dig that.

Friday, July 09, 2010

What To Wear During an Orange Alert? Reading series

I will be reading at the Orange Alert reading series on Sunday, July 18th at 6:00 PM at the Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago's Logan Square.  Orange Alert's Jason Behrends does a fantastic job with this reading series and I was honored to be invited to read.  Also reading are Goldie Goldbloom, Joseph G. Peterson, and fellow Chicago writer Jason Fisk.  It's a very cool venue and the company last time was terrific afterward, so if you're available that night and want to hear some great readings and hang out with some authors afterward, I encourage you to stop by.

Oh, and by the way: I'll be reading from my upcoming novel The Damnation of Memory, slated for release in a few short months from Silverthought Press.

Red Ivy Afternoon gets some love from This Blog Will Change Your Life

...just enough thrills and violence to make for a wholly enjoyable, and yet just different enough read to know you've encountered a book where the author is trying to do something a step removed from what we usually read, yet still create a world you can embrace.
Read the entire post here:
http://bentanzer.blogspot.com/2010/07/this-book-will-change-your-life-red-ivy.html

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I miss you already, Grandma

EVANS MILLS, N.Y. — Laura Louise Baker Thompson, 77, of 8130 Schell Ave., passed away Saturday, July 3, at the Samaritan Keep Home, Watertown, where she had been a resident for about two months while battling cancer.


Born Feb. 2, 1933, in Copenhagen, the daughter of Milton and Mary Smith Baker, she was the youngest of four children. Her siblings were Leon Durham, Jessie Jones, and Robert Baker.

She was married to the love of her life, Robert James Thompson, on July 4, 1949, in Dexter. The couple lived in several areas of New York State due to her husband’s career as an operating engineer and mechanic on many construction sites.They settled in Calcium in 1963 where they enjoyed a very happy marriage until Bob passed away suddenly on May 3, 1982. She remained a widow for the remainder of her life.

She attended Watertown High School and was an honor student. She also graduated from Chrishelle’s School of Cosmetology, and opened Laura’s Beauty Salon, adjacent to her home in Calcium in 1970 which remained in business for almost 40 years. Many of her customers became cherished, lifelong friends.

Mrs. Thompson loved her family and loved to be around people. She enjoyed food and cooking, and was known for making outstanding pies. Laura was very artistic, loved painting, making jewelry, crocheting, and was an avid crafter.

She was a musician from childhood who played piano and organ, by ear and without the benefit of reading music. She used her musical talents to entertain and to provide music for many Jefferson County civic groups. In her teen years, she was a member of a Country and Western band with family members and friends.

She was a seventh degree member of Pine Grove Grange, a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Amaranth, Home Bureau, The North Side Improvement League, and was the President of the Resident’s Association of Milltown Housing.

Surviving are a son and his wife, Robert and Ruth Thompson, Mountain Home, Ark.; a daughter and her husband, Robin and Mark Brand, Indian Lake; a son, Randy Thompson and his partner Cheri Geller, Syracuse; a grandson, Mark Robert Brand and his wife Beth of Evanston, Illinois' a granddaughter, Brooke Ruzycky and her husband Walter, Evans Mills; a granddaughter, Tracy Berner and her husband Ben of Fulton; great-grandsons Allesandro and Kaden Berner , John Brand, and Gabriel Ruzycky; a brother Robert Baker and his wife Helen, Black River, and a large extended family of sister and brothers-in- law, and many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews and many, many friends. Two of her nieces were like daughters to her; Trudy Felt and her husband Morris of Depauville, and her niece Terra House and her partner Dani Reed of Three Mile Bay.

Johnson Funeral Home, Dexter, has been entrusted with arrangements.

The calling hours are 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 7. The funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, July 8, at Calcium Community Church, Route 342, Calcium. Burial will be in Sanford Corners Cemetery, Calcium. A reception for the family and friends will be held at the church following the burial.

Donations in Laura’s name may be made to the Calcium Community Church, Calcium, New York 13616 and the Evans Mills Ambulance Squad, Noble Street, Evans Mills, NY 13637.

The family wishes to thank the staff of the Samaritan Keep Home for the loving care Laura received, and to her many family members and friends who supported her through her long battle with cancer.