THE2NDHAND coeditor Jacob Knabb, along with the great people at Make Magazine and Knabb’s cohorts at ACM (Another Chicago Magazine), will be hosting “Make it Another Afterparty” during the AWP conference in Denver on April 9, 8-midnight at The Great Room, 901 W. 7th Ave., 80204. If you’re lucky, THE2NDHAND’s So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel host, the janitor Harold Ray, may make an appearance with or without the crew he’ll have on hand at upcoming Nerves of Steel events. The next one, Sunday, April 18, 8 p.m., at Whistler in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, will feature my old friend and fellow scribbler Brian Costello, creator of the Book Cellar series Second City/Third Person, devoted to Chicago tales told in the third person and reacting quite nicely to the paucity of such perspective in our selfish times. (The next SC/TP event is happening April 10.)
Also reading are Mairead Case, Literago.org editor and author of THE2NDHAND’s latest minisheet, No. 33.2, and Alexis Thomas, Windy City Story Slam finalist and the writer behind this story of fallen love and octopi.
Ray may well introduce a few of his barroom pals to you, too. Here’s a quick detail of two of them:
NAME: The Sansei Samurai
BIO: The Sansei Samurai is a third-generation Japanese warrior descended from the Yamanashi forests of Mount Fuji. He was raised by a Polish chambermaid in Chicago’s Lakeview and educated in the school of Mushin (Mind of no mind). He has so perfected the state of “no-mindness” that his words are not words; his movements are sitting still; his conscious is subconscious.
MOTTO: “Sword and Zen are the same.”
NAME: B.R. Whipsmill
BIO: In 1859, Kentuckian B.R. Whipsmill cofounded Le Nuage de Mourir, a transcendental experiment in communal education and agriculture. Whipsmill chaired the departments of French and Time Machines. Exposure to water from the farm’s contaminated cistern sent Whipsmill’s mental health into a viscous downward spiral, ultimately leading to his disappearance into the Appalachian hills and, possibly, the future. Sources close to Whipsmill indicate that he might not actually speak French.
Look for them in the dark corners of the bar, perhaps, or hiding in the bathroom.
For his part, Whipsmill made this unsolicited proclamation about the Nerves of Steel series (please do not confuse the future dweller’s pronouncements as those of THE2NDHAND or any of its associates): “Because, thus far, the Nerves of Steel series has failed to realize established financial expectations, we will be enlisting certain celebrity personages in an effort to both expand and monetize hitherto unforeseen avenues of STEELabilistic synergy within our target demographic. With this in mind, references to Toni Braxton during, before, or after officially sanctioned Nerves of Steel events, while not necessarily required, are definitely encouraged.”
That doesn’t mean we don’t like Toni Braxton, but of course, but has anybody seen that new Erykah Badu video?
Also, prior to the AWP event, April 8, Nashville-based Keyhole Mag, our partners in the Brick Reading Series (next shot: April 23), put on a big event at the Mercury Cafe in Denver, with readers Matt Bell, Amelia
Gray, Elena Passarello, Kevin Sampsell, Matthew Simmons and Rachel
Welcome to my world — the last time anybody wanted to interview me about the history of THE2NDHAND before this fall must have been a couple years ago now. And the last – a back-and-forth, emailed affair conducted by Jun Teshima of the Hametuha arts mag in Japan – I can’t even read. I can’t thus promise I was anything like eloquent or sage in my talk in the off chance you get your hands on a copy of the latest edition of Hametuha, but it’s worth a look for the simple joy of seeing Rob Funderburk’s illustrations for Al Burian’s 2006 “Zangara” broadsheet (THE2NDHAND no. 19), about the would-be assassin of FDR who ended up killing Chicago mayor Anton Cermak instead, surrounded by wonderfully complex Japanese characters. The folks at Hametuha were quite taken by Burian’s story (it’s long been a favorite of mine among the work we’ve published as well), so they translated and republished it in their latest edition, devoted to zines from around the world. Above find the cover and a spread from Burian’s piece, the latter with those likely familiar illustrations.
Also, just launched on our part is a new series of mini-broadsheets that is taking further the grand something of an experiment in distribution models that is THE2NDHAND. The physical format is scaled down from our typical 11-by-17-inch sheets to the more standard desktop-printer-compatible 8.5-by-11. As with the others, we’re doing our own runs for select Chicago and Nashville distribution, but we encourage all interested out there to join in the fun — printing double-sided and dropping copies in reading-friendly spaces, from neighborhood bars and coffeeshops to their bathrooms. Online reading via laptop, desktop or mobile phone will be easier as well, in the smaller format.
Which is to say nothing of the excellent story leading the first installment in the series, THE2NDHAND no. 33.1, THE2NDHAND coeditor C.T. Ballentine‘s distillation of a 2007 book project he undertook on tour with Chicago band 1997 (whose nicely allusively titled “Notes From Underground” record came out recently on Victory).
And the date is set for the launch of our coproduction with the folks at Nashville’s Keyhole magazine and press, doing some great stuff lately particularly in the books arena: Friday, Mar. 12 will see the first installment in the Brick Reading Series at the East Nashville Portland Brew (1921 Eastland Avenue, 37206). I’ll be hosting, and am happy to report that, in addition to individual readings, I’ll be collaborating with the participants — Atlanta’s Lydia Ship, Louisville’s Jason Jordan, and Nashville’s own Eric Durchholz — in a Pitchfork Battalion-style collabo on the theme “Building With Brick.” Appropriate, eh? Click on the logo here for the site and full details.
Work in progress:
I postponed my first day fishing for work on 14th Street in favor of sleeping in, such as I could (considering that by 10 a.m. the late-summer Alabama sun was overhead and scorching the pates of the hairless, heating up my little-big cavern of a home here again to near unbearable proportions). Plus, it’d be much less hot out the day next, and I spent the day wandering from Black Hat Books to the grocery store to a taqueria I discovered nearby where no one seemed to mind that all you ever ordered the two hours you sat there and scarfed down free tortilla chips and salsa was a single beer.
King wasn’t around all day long, but the volunteers working the counter past noon told me right when they said he’d been in by sundown. A punk band from New Orleans called Monocle was warming up when I strolled over from my second $3 visit to the taqueria of the day and found King out front of the place arguing with a city cop out in the street, next to one of three orange cones said cop had used to block off the roadway in front of Black Hat, one of just a couple surface routes over the freight tracks and into the downtown business district. “Fucking city bullshit,” King was saying. He’d removed his Lennon-esque glasses and was waving them around like a maniac, smoldering cigarette in his other hand that he jabbed at the cop to emphasize his vulgarity.
The cop was none too pleased. “Deal with it,” he said, then made like to walk away. The second he turned his back King picked up the cone that had stood between them, then walking deliberately to the next one, parked in the center of the middle of this three-lane one-way street. He’d grabbed the last cone before the cop even noticed anything was amiss, then the two waddled at King’s lead down to the end of the block, where King deposited the cones, turning around and doing his best to pretend the cop didn’t exist.