mildred pierce zine

Sabrina Chap! a teaser
September 29, 2010, 5:16 pm
Filed under: interview, music | Tags: , , ,

photo by Dave Sanders

In the works for MP4 is an interview with Sabrina Chap, musician, playwright, burlesque performer, writer, editor, all-around dynamo. She edited the anthology Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction (Seven Stories Press, 2008) — I’ve posted her responses to questions about the collection over on Montevidayo in three parts: one, two, and three.

Here’s a short excerpt of our interview about Oompa!, her debut CD (ERT Records, 2010):

I’ve been songwriting for years. Years. This is the first time I’ve been brave enough to say, “Fuck it. I think these songs are good enough. Let me put them down so I can get on with my life.” I’ve had people ask me for CDs ever since I started songwriting. First ten songs I had- people were like “Where’s your CD?” I was like, “They’re my first ten songs. They’re not very good.” (Though I’m not gonna lie: a few of them were pretty good). Still, I was getting people giving me their CDs for free left and right at every coffeehouse I went to, and I’d go home to listen to them and they’d suck. And then I’d throw them away and feel awful, because it was wasteful. In fact, that was why I wasn’t shy about making chapbooks and selling them when I was a spoken word artist. I though, “Fuck it — if someone doesn’t like it, they can just recycle it and I won’t have to be filling landfills.” You can’t recycle bad CDs. I’m really hard on myself, and I didn’t want to put out a bad one.

When I got into the studio with Oompa!, it really was because I was straight up proud of these songs. “Never Been a Bad Girl,” “Idiom,” and “ Little White House”: That’s good songwriting. I’ll argue it in court.

Saving the rest for the print issue — January 2011. And that one is firm.

The Schneiderman
September 20, 2010, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Hello! A great piece on Davis Schneiderman, interviewed in MP3 and also on this here blog, in the words of his collaborators (incl. moi) is over at The Kenyon Review, put together by William Walsh. Here’s an excerpt:

Small and wiry, Davis Schneiderman (imho) does not eat enough protein. To illustrate: Schneiderman told me, over drinks with Lidia Yuknavitch and Raymond Federman, that he would simply never eat any part of a baked chicken I offered to prepare for him. However, in the linguistic sense, Schneiderman is a keen appreciator of chicken. (And he) is a wonderfully energetic collaborator.   –Stacey Levine

One of Davis’s favorite words is “asymptotes.” Shrink infinitely toward the nothing. But that’s way too emo mascara-tears. Imagine an anatolian shepherd who’s snatched a pound of ground beef off the counter who, between bites, says, gleefully, bloodily, “Shrink infinitely toward the nothing.” Except Davis is vegan. –Carlos Hernandez

Davis’s new novel Drain is out now on Northwestern University Press.

Allyson Mellberg ‘An Unearthly Child’ Cinders Gallery
September 9, 2010, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Allyson Mellberg at Cinders Gallery this Friday

Every time I turn around, I find another personal connection to an artist doing sick, amazing work within the vein of comedy and/or the grotesque, and I kick myself that they are not in the issue of the zine that is coming out. Usually, it bums me out that I am not going to be giving an artist that I love exposure through the zine, but in Allyson’s case, that is not an issue, having just been featured in the most recent issue of  Juxtapoz!

This Friday September 10, 7-10, check out “An Unearthly Child,”  opening at Cinders Gallery in Brooklyn.  I would not call Allyson Mellberg’s work a melding of comedy and the grotesque as much as it is pure grotesque, although seeing the comedy in her deformed bodies and post-toxicity humanoids might help you keep your sanity a bit–they are, after all, products of a toxic world not unlike our own. Actually, this most recent work seems to doing some new stuff, in terms of color and playfulness. Nevertheless, her stuff will take you over the edge–with its craft, imaginative flair and heavy, otherworldly dread. Follow the links for some pictures. If you are in New York, come check it out!

Prepare for B-K-T
August 31, 2010, 2:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

What is cooking in the Mildred Pierce lab, you might ask? Whither comedy and the grotesque (the theme of our forthcoming issue)? When will the issue come out, And when will Mildred finally address the contemporary gap in Hitler Studies? (also, why am I writing like Peter from Sejayno narrating Cezanno? Has anyone in Baltimore cyberspace written a review of that performance?) We are excited to be putting the finishing touches on so many amazing projects, so don’t sleep. MP4 is coming. Mildred Pierce is excited, for example, to be shining up the rims on a new piece by experimental performance guru and writer John Berndt. What is in store, you might wonder. John’s piece concerns performance, trauma and madness, but that is so the tip of the iceberg.  Below, a video of Klaus Kinsky performing as Jesus, which I went out and found after reading a description in John’s piece.  You.are.not.ready.for.B.K.T…More to come soon, we love ya!

coming alive
August 4, 2010, 2:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

dear folks,

here’s the latest with MP and MP4.

we are HARD / AT / WORK, and scrambling. john’s checked out of baltimore and into nyc, so there is moving hassle to deal with, plus all of his autres projets. i’m finishing up other projects as well, and voraciously starting new ones: check out the new collective blog Montevidayo of which i am a part. but, in the midst, we’re continuing to bring on more talented and amazing people for the fourth issue (including PIPPI ZORNOZA!), and are, yes, getting moving on edits and layout. this one’s gonna be thick.

did we mention that EDIE FAKE is designing our cover? i’ve seen a mock-up; it’s astounding. he’s getting that in shape presently in addition to prepping for an installation over at Archie’s (Chicago) wednesday for the next Queer Social Club (<–you should go!).

in short, we’ve got tricks up our sleeve and a lot else in the works. KIT,


p.s. there were a few MP3s at Printers Ball, any takers? i’ve got maybe five left in chicago – hit me up if you want one.

Issue Four contribs

We welcome aboard the following writers, artists, and interviewees to the slow cruise ship that is MP#4:

James Tadd Adcox, Marc Baez, Max Eisenberg, Carrie Fucile, Bonnie Kaserman, Joyce Kuechler, Vicky Lim, Leeyanne Moore, Ed Choy Moorman, Dan Moseley, Ellen Nielsen, Jimmy Joe Roche, Sean Samoheyl, James Solitaire, Jennifer Tidwell.

Glad to have you! The rollout may be slow but it is sure.

Conditions for an Anti-Oppression Joke (via Bitch)
May 15, 2010, 1:37 am
Filed under: comedy | Tags: , , , , , ,

Rachel McCarthy James (RJM) over at the Bitch blog TelevIsm has a great post up on how comedy can expose and work against oppression. Here’s a brief cut from her introduction:

Conditions for an Anti-Oppression Joke

IF a character on a television reflects or reinforces the kyriarchy through problematic/loaded language or actions.

AND the action/language is critiqued or rebutted by another character

AND said rebuttal/critique is framed as reasonable and valid

THEN the joke constitutes critique of kyriarchy in society.

These are, of course, not the only kind of jokes that can be critical of the kyriarchy. This applies to jokes on shows like The Office that are not rhetorically anti-oppression the way that shows like, say, Treme or The Boondocks are.

She then moves to an analysis of a scene from The Office to demonstrate how this can work. Really nicely broken down and useful criteria for thinking about comedy and oppression. Dig.

Hunx, Peaches, Xiu Xiu & queer camp as Rabelaisian revival
April 26, 2010, 12:42 pm
Filed under: comedy, grotesque, music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Swiped this vid from Young Creature. Behold Hunx & His Punx engaging in communal binging! Behold the eroticization of food/eating as well as the funny irony of the song’s sentiment in light of Hunx’s delivery both vocally and performatively! Voila la comedie grotesque!

(Interestingly, there is a thing called a hunkypunk, a regional term (Somerset, England) for a grotesque carving of a squatting animal, not unlike the sheelanagig (see PJ Harvey’s “Sheelanagig” for an explication of this image in rock). Look at these…

a 'hunkypunk'

a 'sheela na gig'


One wonders, is the comedic grotesque definitive of queer camp? I’m thinking Peaches, I’m thinking Xiu Xiu — both of whose videos tend to deliver their music with crassness and winks.

(See vids & read more after the jump…)

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Meghan Eckman at SXSW, Mildred Pierce Parks for Free
March 15, 2010, 1:22 pm
Filed under: art, interview

Mildred Pierce fanatics will remember filmmaker Meghan Eckman from her appearance in the pages of Issue #3, talking about music, filmmaking, and the BIG PICTURE–as in, what is this thing called life, and how does one present the proverbial slice of it, filmically? And then do it with enough consistency to be considered an artist at it?

At the time of Mildred Pierce Issue 3,

Illustration from Mildred Pierce 3 by Erik Carter

Eckman was in the process of filming a documentary about Charlottesville, Virginia’s storied “Corner Parking Lot,” where, at the time, I was an employee. I remember being somewhat skeptical of how the concept could come across on film, but she pressed on, determined that the story of the parking lot reach the masses.

And lo and behold, not only has The Parking Lot Movie been completed, it just premiered as an official selection at this year’s SXSW Film Festival!! To boot,  Eckman and the film were featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.  I think that I, John B, one half of Mildred PIerce editorial board, am mentioned in the radio piece (although my voice does NOT ‘appear’ in the final edit as implied) and may even be featured in The Parking Lot Movie itself! I say “may” half joking because I haven’t seen any of the film yet! I am excited for the Virginia premiere on March 27th.  Congratulations to Meghan Eckman and The Parking Lot Movie–we knew her when. Read on after the jump for the full issue 3 interview, wherein Eckman talks noise music,  movies, 9-11,  and freedom!

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Starving Artist Interview #6: Brandon Holmquest
February 23, 2010, 1:43 am
Filed under: interview | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

In MP3, Brandon Holmquest was interviewed about Calque, the translation journal he edits with Steve Dolph; he also generously contributed some translations of Nadaist Manifestos for the issue. His literary activities since include a translation of Manuel Maples Arce’s City: Bolshevik Superpoem in 5 Cantos forthcoming very soon from Ugly Duckling Presse; and a book of his own poems, The Sorrows of Young Worthless, right behind it on Truck Press. (And hey, hey, what’s that you say? Brandon will soon be joining us on this here blog.)

BEHOLD: Holmquest on hunger, theft, cigarettes.

Brandon Holmquest

If/when (now or in the past) you have used the term “starving artist”** in relation to yourself, how literal are we talking in terms of actual starving? What would you count as part of the territory that comes with being a “starving artist” and what would you disallow?

I myself have never used the term in a self-referential way. It has occasionally been put forth by someone else, usually in jest. This is one of those terms that don’t get used that much anymore, however accurate they may be, like “bohemian” for example. I have used the snooty, Joycean term “inanition aficionado” on at least one occasion, but again I was joking.

That said, we are talking about some actual starving. I was on what I called the one-meal-a-day plan for years. When I came to Philly the first time this morphed into the one-hoagie-a-day plan. I would eat one substantial thing in the middle of my nocturnal day, and supplement that with something like bread and olive oil as necessary.

None of this ever seemed like that big a deal to me, though. Having been homeless a couple times as a teenager, a whole hoagie everyday was material wealth to me. In the homeless days I used to cadge pizzas out of dumpsters and day-old donuts from delivery guys. Or just go hungry.

What would you say is your general level of starving as a starving artist? By that I mean, when you look around you, or think about starving artists in history, how would you place yourself in a kind of spectrum?

I wouldn’t place myself very high on the historical continuum, cause you’d have to be an idiot to starve to death in this country, an idiot or a suicidal germophobe. Khlebnikov died of hunger, so he’s a ten, and I suppose John Updike or some talentless New York hack like him would be a zero. I have known very few people who I’d classify as starving artists in my own life. The overwhelming majority, all but a handful of people, have had at least some money. I think a five might be as high as a contemporary American could even get, in the worst-case scenario.

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