Saturday, February 27, 2010

Gazelles Talk Like Girls, BTW

Kieran O'Hare used to draw a strip called Unnihilistic when Noise was an ill-formed editorial-type thang, before it morphed into the blog you behold today.

He's a pretty great artist. He started his own blog, and has a trailer for his new short film, called 80 Billion Guys, screening as part of the FilmShop's show tonight at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Here's the trailer:

And a short called Three Tigers and Another Tiger:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Henry Miller: Asleep + Awake

Unlike most email bulletins, I consistently look forward to opening the one sent from Arthur Magazine. There's never any shortage of relevent and amusing content.

From the latest bulletin there are new reviews from Byron Cooley and Thurston Moore, quality music recommendations for beach-fire singalongs, and the following documentary of Henry Miller giving a tour of his bathroom:

Monday, February 15, 2010

HELP: We Need a Name!

We're putting together a music concert and social to take place in May that will benefit literacy, specifically Girls Write Now, a truly worthwhile organization servicing teenage girls in New York City. We need help coming up with a name for the event!!!

In the past, we've called the show 'Rock for Literacy' (lame) and 'Get Lit' (amusing, but...). So, please, write in with any ideas and suggestions. Ideally, to avoid the mental image of lighters and communal sing-alongs, I'd like to keep the word "benefit" out of the fray.

Pertinent details are being ironed out now, and we hope to have more information on the event - such as a specific date, location, and bands - available by the end of this week.

Also, anyone who may be interested in sponsoring the event can drop an email for more specifics to Brian Obenauf at brian [at]

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Does Love Sound So Boring?

It very well could be the phase I'm at in life, but I cannot imagine a book summation sounding any less appealing than the lead review for this Sunday's New York Times Book Review:

"In Cathleen Schine's novel, two sophisticated Manhattan sisters, one wildly emotional, one smartly sensible, come to the aid of their beloved aging mother."

The book is The Three Weissmans of Westport, a novel by Cathleen Schine. It is within possibility that the book is amazing. Although it is hard not to imagine that someone was searching for a decent novel about love to coincide with Valentine's day, and I'm wondering: is that necessary?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

How Do You Follow Up Tut-Tut, Now Shake Ya Butt?

Japanther's last album, Tut Tut, Now Shake Ya' Butt has pretty much become a mainstay in the Two Dollar Radio radio. Our little girl, Rio, likes to dance around screaming "Tut Tut, Now Shake Ya' Butt." Apparently a new album is out March 2, with another title Rio should go ape for, Rock 'n' Roll Ice Cream.

The First Card is Written

I recently finished reading a book that received a mountain of praise last year, Hans Fallada's Every Man Dies Alone. It tells the story of Otto and Anna Quangel, a common, quiet, hard-working German couple who, following the death of their son in battle, confront the Nazi Party by writing postcards with political slogans and leaving them in public spaces.

What was particularly dizzying about the book was the rampant deceit practiced by one neighbor upon another:
"The air was thick with betrayal. No one could trust anyone else, and in that dismal atmosphere the men seemed to grow ever duller, devolving into mechanical extensions of the machines they serviced."

(This reminded me of a piece that Xiaoda Xiao wrote for the Huffington Post in which he blamed the government for the everyday persecution and antagonism amongst the population in Mao's China.)

The subject matter and the knowledge that the Quangels are based upon a real couple executed by the Gestapo lend a heavy gravity to the work, and the most moving passages are between the Quangels behind closed doors:
"...whether their act was big or small, no one could risk more than his life. Each according to his strength and abilities, but the main thing was, you fought back."

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Love Must be Reinvented

We went to a wedding last summer in Denver and had some time to kill before our return flight home. Since we were outlandishly hungover, we decided to check out a movie. The only thing playing in theatres, literally, was the Terminator with Christian Bale. Last year, the best movie I saw in theatres was The Hurt Locker, and I thought it was good but not great. I think I've pretty much given up on new movies even being slightly impressive. And I think, as a society at large, our standards have been generally lowered.
Since the beginning of the new year, I've made a point to watch older films I haven't seen before, and I feel like I've seen some really stellar ones. Following, are some that I would highly recommend:

Forthcoming: The Orange Eats Creeps (9/2010)

“A ‘vampire’ novel as CĂ©line might have written, with dashes of Blake and Burroughs: hallucinatory, poetic, passionate, excessive, sexually charged, hardcore in all the best senses of the word. Twilight this is not.”
—Steve Erickson

It’s the ’90s Pacific Northwest refracted through a dark mirror, where meth and madness hash it out in the woods. . . A band of hobo vampire junkies roam the blighted landscape—trashing supermarket breakrooms, praying to the altar of Poison Idea and GG Allin at basement rock shows, crashing senior center pancake breakfasts—locked in the thrall of Robitussin trips and their own wild dreams.

A girl with drug-induced ESP and an eerie connection to Patty Reed (a young member of the Donner Party who credited her survival to her relationship with a hidden wooden doll), searches for her disappeared foster sister along “The Highway That Eats People,” stalked by a conflation of Twin Peaks’ “Bob” and the Green River Killer, known as Dactyl.

With a scathing voice and penetrating delivery, Grace Krilanovich’s The Orange Eats Creeps is one of the most ferocious debut novels in memory.

Grace Krilanovich has been a MacDowell colony fellow, and a finalist for the Starcherone Prize. Her first book, The Orange Eats Creeps, is the only novel to be excerpted twice in Black Clock.
If you are affiliated with a media review outlet and would like to receive an advance reader's copy of The Orange Eats Creeps, please contract Brian Obenauf at brian [at]

Forthcoming: The Visiting Suit: Stories From My Prison Life (11/2010)

“A masterful storyteller.” —Bookforum

“Xiaoda Xiao has made a stark and unforgettable contribution to the literature of imprisonment and survival.” —Scott Spencer

“When it comes to prison literature, China remains a great enigma. Whereas the Soviet Union gave us Alexander Solzhenitsyn, China has, of yet, produced no such comparable international voice in the modern age. Xiaoda Xiao’s The Cave Man is . . . a small start . . . a compelling look at Mao’s forced labor prisons.”
Los Angeles Times

When Xiaoda Xiao was twenty years old, he tore a poster of Chairman Mao while inebriated. Several months later, Xiao was arrested in order to fulfill an absurd quota, and, without trial, declared a counterrevolutionary. He was sent to a labor prison on an island in Taihu Lake, where he worked in a stone quarry.

The Visiting Suit chronicles Xiao’s arrest through his release from the labor prison five years later.

The book, told in stories—which have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, DoubleTake, Confrontation, and Antaeus—focus equally on Xiao’s fellow inmates (a local theatre director, a veterinarian, a university professor), and capture their mutual everyday struggle to survive their sentences with dignity intact.

The cruelties inflicted upon the Chinese population by the government are ongoing, and The Visiting Suit provides a unique and important glimpse behind the curtain.

Xiaoda Xiao is the author of The Cave Man, a novel.
If you are affiliated with a media review outlet and would like to receive an advance reader's copy of The Visiting Suit, please contract Brian Obenauf at brian [at]

Forthcoming: The Correspondence Artist (2011)

The Correspondence Artist is smart, funny, sexy, knowledgeable, subtle, disturbing, light-hearted, obsessive, and tragic: a comedy that, I surmise, is wholly confessional and wholly imaginary. Readers are urged not to resent a wit superior to their own, since it is deployed entirely for their particular entertainment.”
—Harry Mathews

Vivian, a writer, is carrying on a relationship with an internationally acclaimed artist. There are those who stand to profit—and suffer—from the revelation of her paramour’s identity, so in the service of telling her tale she creates a series of fictional lovers.

There is Tzipi, a 68-year-old Nobel-winning female Israeli writer; Binh, a twenty-something Vietnamese video artist; Santuxto, a poetic Basque separatist; and Djeli, a dreadlocked Malian world-music star.

Largely through Vivian’s email correspondence, she divulges the story of their relationship, from their first meeting to their jumpy spam filter, which arrests the more explicit notes that result in Vivian captive in a tiger cage in a Berlin hotel/being chased by a Medusa-like woman on a Greek Island/imprisoned by a splinter cell of Basque separatists/in an African hospital with a bout of Dengue Fever.

Barbara Browning’s captivating wit and passionate intelligence make The Correspondence Artist a love story like none other.

Barbara Browning has a PhD from Yale in Comparative Literature. She teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. She’s also a poet and a dancer. She lives with her son in Greenwich Village.
If you are affiliated with a media review outlet and would like to receive an advance reader's copy of The Correspondence Artist, please contract Brian Obenauf at brian [at]