Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Time Out New York: Notes From Underground

In the latest issue of Time Out New York, Michael Miller has written a piece on "underground" book publishing in New York. He mentions Two Dollar Radio (the opening paragraph doesn't, but it's a good intro).

"These days, small publishers don’t draw enough attention to spark book-banning fervors à la Ulysses or Naked Lunch. They do not, like roving illegal loft parties, get raided by the police. But there’s still a rogue jolt of underground sensibility running through a handful of New York City’s independent purveyors of contemporary lit. What distinguishes them is the very thing that keeps them out of the spotlight: Run by people with uncompromising tastes, they put authorial freedom before profit and leave controversies to mainstream attention-mongers like Judith Regan."

" this point in time, the word underground is becoming an increasingly elastic category, one that’s expanding to include former big-house authors. Take relative newcomer Two Dollar Radio, the Brooklyn-based “movement” started by Eric Obenauf in 2005. So far, it has done small runs—around 1,000 copies—of books like high-rise window washer Ivor Hanson’s memoir Life on the Ledge. But in early 2008, TDR will print 5,000 copies of The Drop Edge of Yonder, the new novel by old-school counterculture chronicler Rudolph Wurlitzer, who was once published by Knopf. As mainstream presses become more gentrified, yesterday’s Random House scribes could become today’s underground staples. And that’s a good thing. We should be happy that authors like Wurlitzer, Lutz and Lemus—all of whom were at one point with major publishers—have found homes for their challenging work."