Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Breaking Even

I've gotten this question a few times in the last few weeks: "How many copies do you need to sell before you break even?"

I really don't know how to answer that.

When do I go back to spending money to start counting a debit for Impossibly Funky? Do I only include book expenses or should I count the zine, too? If I just count the book I'm looking at things like:

  • Legitimate studio-approved publicity materials
  • Ads in magazines
  • Bookmarks
  • Postcards + Postcard Mailing
  • Mailing books
  • Hotels for book tour
  • Gas for book tour
  • Review copies
  • Books for sale
Maybe you're picturing the end of Back to the Future when George McFly gets a box of books in the mail. You're pretty sure that his publisher sent those as freebies. That's about right. I got a few freebies from my publisher but the rest come at a cost.

I'm not complaining. It can be the way of the world with smaller publishers. We're moving towards more of a print on demand (POD) structure where there isn't a huge print run of books at the initial outset. That still happens for real authors, yes, but for me it's one book at a time at a cost of about $13.00 US. If you're not good at math that's more than half of the cover price ($24.95). When stores buy my books or pay me on consignment for anything less than 52%, I lose money. (A 60/40 split in my favor is a rarity).

When I sell books away from stores I charge $20 which means that my profit is $7 per book. I'm not going to get rich from that.

Yes, I did get a nice outlay of cash from friends, family, and fans via my IndieGoGo project over the summer. That was just about $5,000. Just about every drop of that got sucked up via the postcard printing and via magazine ads. That doesn't begin to touch the scores of books I sent out for review. Thus, if I'm breaking balls about sending review copies out and not actually getting reviewed, you may know why. Each non-reviewing magazine, newspaper, blog, podcast, etc. costs me $16 (book + shipping). And that's also why I'm not so hot on sending out freebies.

I never answered the question, nor do I really want to know. But I hope I made it clear that the math is fuzzy at best (and devastating at worst).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Impossibly Funky - The Perfect Holiday Gift

For your cyber-Monday shopping, don't forget to pick up a copy (or twelve) of Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection for the film fan(s) in your life.

Pick up the book either at your favorite local indie store or via corporate behemoth Amazon.com. It's the perfect holiday gift! Order now and get it in time for Hanukkah!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dancing on the Pirate

What does it say about me that I was expecting to be punched in the nose or maybe even shot when I arrived at my 20 year class reunion? That I'm paranoid? Yes. That I pissed off a lot of people? That too.

I managed to walk away unscathed but maybe that's because of the low attendance. I think we only had 200 people in my class and a little over a tenth of that showed up. Even out of my core group of friends fewer attended than didn't. At one point a few of us started throwing out names of people who didn't show; "Where's Dave Rygell?" "Where's Becky Gurshaw?" "Where's Bill Kish?" "Where's Mark Zdunczyk?" "Where's Garold Vallie?" "Where's Chris McGraw?"

I really wasn't too surprised when I found myself sitting with Jeff Dunlap and Steve Chesney. I knew that the old cliques would still be in place twenty years later. It made sense, of course, as Dunlap and Chesney were the only guys there I still hang out with. Likewise, our table had a few guests during the evening like Stephanie Kaufman and Brett McCartney -- two other folks I talked to intermittently after high school.

Luckily, I didn't blank on anyone's name when they'd come up to shake my hand. I'd always remember them at the last second between saying "Hey...." and their name. There were a few folks I didn't manage to talk to all night. I wasn't avoiding anyone; some I just didn't seek out while a few of them I didn't recognize either by sight or by name. I didn't go outside of the folks in my little circle of friends, in band, or in my classes.

Having only attended Andrea's class reunion, I wasn't sure what to expect out of mine but imagined things like awards for "most distance traveled", "biggest breeder", "just paroled", "most talent squandered", "biggest belly", "most hair lost", etc (I'd be a shoe in for the latter two). But, no. It was a lot of mingling, some drinking, pizza, cake, and reminiscences. A very... interesting... night.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday? Black Shampoo!

Looking for a holiday gift for your loved one? Why not buy 'em a copy of Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection. It's certainly a gift they'll never forget!

Try to buy it from your local indie bookstore or from corporate behemoth Amazon.com.

Print is Dead! Long Live Print!

As I've been touring around telling the story of Cashiers du Cinemart in order to explain Impossibly Funky, I've been touting the zines that gave me inspiration. Factsheet Five, the catalog of zines, showed me the big bold world out there. Moreover, movie zines Shock Cinema, Asian Eye, and Teenage Rampage, really lit the fire under my butt.

Asian Eye and Teenage Rampage ceased publication after two remarkable issues. Teenage Rampage scribe Rich Osmond came aboard at Cashiers du Cinemart while Asian Eye honcho Colin Geddes has gone on to be a big shot at the Toronto International Film Festival. And Shock Cinema?

Shock Cinema keeps going strong. The 39th(!) issue has just come out and, as always, it's a winner. Here's a summary of what's in the latest from the Shock Cinema website:

The latest issue features interviews with Actor Luke Askew (Easy Rider, The Green Berets, Rolling Thunder, Big Love), Actor Nigel Davenport (A Man For All Seasons, Play Dirty, No Blade of Grass), Actress Marlene Clark (Ganja & Hess, Slaughter, The Beast Must Die), Director Michael Schultz (Car Wash, Cooley High, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), Producer/Production Manager Paul Lewis (Easy Rider, The Last Movie, Targets). There are also dozens of informative film, DVD and book reviews, covering such titles as Zero Mostel, Joey Heatherton and Bobby Sherman in the Yellowstone TV-special Old Faithful; Rene Cardona Sr.'s bizarre superhero-romp The Incredible Professor Zovek; Celine Lomez in Denys Arcand's Gina; Lena Headey and Ian Hart in Peter Cattaneo's Loved Up; the Norwegian sci-fi mini-series Stowaway [Blindpassasjer]; Connie Stevens and Mark Damon in The Party Crashers; David Johansen in Mark Eisenstein's God Is On The Other Side; Andrzej Kondratiuk's Polish superhero-fantasy The Hydroriddle; Joe Don Baker and Tyne Daly in Speedtrap; Victor Dashuk's Long Knives Night and Reporting From A Rabbit Hutch; Ferd and Beverly Sebastian's On the Air Live With Captain Midnight; Jokes My Folks Never Told Me; Peter Lawford in the Eurotrash melodrama Walls of Sin; Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult's concert film Black + Blue; a pair of J.G. Ballard adaptations, Home and Low-Flying Aircraft [Aparelho Voador a Baixa Altitude]; Sweden: Heaven and Hell; Jay Cynik's Punch; Bob Moricz's A Palace of Stains and Bumps; It Came From Kuchar; Vittorio Gassman and Catherine Deneuve in Dino Risi's Lost Soul; Richard Roundtree, Roy Thinnes and Nigel Davenport in Charley-One-Eye; Michel Deville's paranoia-fueled sci-fi outing Dossier 51; The Canyons Of His Mind: Vivian Stanshall; Mary Jane Carpenter in Bert I. Gordon's How To Succeed With Sex; Peter Ustinov and John Astin in the comedy-misfireViva Max; Victor Argo in The Electric Chair; Elizabeth Campbell in Albert Zugsmith's The Chinese Room; Death By Popcorn: The Tragedy Of The Winnipeg Jets; Joel Schumacher's Amateur Night At The Dixie Bar And Grill; Nick Philips' sexploitation trio Oddo, Scyla and How I Got My Mink; David Petersen in Zale R. Dalen's Deadly Business [a.k.a. Skip Tracer]; Andre Perkowski's A Belly Full of Anger and Nova Express; Nicky Henson in Psychomania; JoAnna Cameron in B.S. I Love You; Andy Griffith and Sam Bottoms in the made-for-TV survival tale Savages; Shelby McIntyre's Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner; The Execution of Gary Glitter; Blanche Baker in Jersey Justice; Lynn Lowry in Radley Metzger's Score; George Peppard in "P.J."; Lucio Fulci's City of the Living Dead; and many more...

Pick up your copy or subscription today at the Shock Cinema website. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

End on a High Note!

I expected a pretty good turn-out for the Washington Psychotronic Film Society screening of Phantom of the Paradise but nothing as great as the reception I got.

Carl, John and Jonathan at WPFS made me feel completely at home. They helped me get set up and put me at ease in the neat space in the back room at The Passenger. The audience had obviously been primed by the WPFS head honcho, Dr. Schlock. As soon as I set up my table with book, zines, DVDs, etc, I had a line of people waiting to buy stuff. I think I did better here than I did at either the Burton Theater or Vault of Midnight (my two best events for sales).

We had a great turn out and even a few local celebs came out (such as Antonello Giallo, Alvin Ecarma, and C.W. Prather). Author Shawna Kenney even made a cameo appearance. I signed a copy of Impossibly Funky for her while she did the same for her I Was a Teenage Dominatrix.

Mike White and Shawna Kenney

By the end of the night, everyone had a song from Phantom of the Paradise in their heart and a copy of Impossibly Funky in their hand.

The book tour definitely ended on a high note. I had a wonderful time seeing old friends and new. I want to thank everyone again for all the help and support. I had a blast and hope you did too!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Revenge of Print

My brain is on fire. On Friday night Benn Ray told me about the effort that Atomic Books and Quimby's are making for a 2011 "revenge of print." Here's what's on the Atomic blog:

We're tired of all the END OF PAPER, the END OF PUBLISHING AS WE KNOW IT stories. We've been hearing and reading about it ever since we've been open (which is going on almost 20 years now). So for 2011, we've decided to throw a challenge out there. If you've ever made a zine or mini comic MAKE ONE MORE ISSUE. Come on, you've got one more in you! Maybe you were thinking in the back of your head you'd do another issue one day. Now is the time.

Could the world handle one more issue of Cashiers du Cinemart? I know my bank account couldn't unless I took things all the way back to the beginning... if not the typewriter, at least the Xerox machine aesthetic. I'll probably be blogging about this for a while, mulling things over and asking for contributions (articles, not money). Thoughts? Opinions?

Whirlwind - The Tour Continues

I've been remiss on my blogging duties the last few days. A lack of wifi connectivity has been partially at fault but, moreover, it's been a lack of time (and sleep) that's kept me away from the keyboard.

The old MicroCineFest gang did a lot of eating and hanging out, hitting up the Golden West Cafe, book shopping at Normals and grabbing a pizza at Joe Squared before heading over to The Windup Space for a MicroCineFest screening of shorts and John Paizs's Crime Wave.

Between the movie and the music (Mr. Moccasin, Michael Holt, and The Jennifers), Andrea and I cracked open the cake -- a very sad thing but there was no way we could transport this around with us everywhere and it wouldn't likely make the trip back to Detroit very well. Instead, we shared the delicious pumpkin cinnamon treat with everyone at The Windup Space.

I nearly fainted from fanboy fervor when I sold Mink Stole a copy of my book. Seeing Desperate Living in college opened up a whole world of new thoughts about movies. I need to get over myself as I'm supposed to have breakfast with her and her band (in which pals Scott Brown and Skizz Cyzyk are members) on Wednesday morning before we head back to Detroit.

For a different take on these Baltimore events, I implore you to read Tom Warner's post on BaltimoreOrLess, Psyched to Get Miked.

I hated saying goodbye to Mike Faloon before heading down to Richmond, VA for an event at Gallery 5, a firehouse turned art space just off the main drag. Chop Suey Books and the James River Film Society co-sponsored the event. It really couldn't have been better.

The night opened with the music of BearKat -- a quartet of eclectic musicians that played a strong set of songs. I've yet to pop in their CD but if it's half as good as their live show, I'm in for a treat. Having seen on BearKat's website that the lead singer is a ukulele aficionado, it was only natural that Skizz do a set of songs as well. One man, one uke, no mic, but plenty of moxy, Skizz tore through a quick set of great songs.

I got up an proceeded to make a fool of myself, as usual. I foolishly decided to read a shorter piece so as to not subject the poor people of Richmond to too much prattling. Unfortunately, I stumbled over my words quite a few times. Some pieces are meant for reading to oneself rather than aloud to a crowd.

Who Do You Think You're Fooling? and Cockfighter played to an audience that wasn't prepared for what they endured. I still think folks had a good time (as evidenced by this write up of the event: All Kinds of Hot at Gallery 5).

As with most events this tour, I met up with old friends and new. My college roommate and longtime friend Matt Clark came out to the event from up the road a piece while the guys from Bad Movie Podcast hauled ass all the way from Raleigh, NC. Big thanks to them and to everyone else for showing up!

We didn't get in from Richmond until late. Waaaaay late. Despite this, we got up early and took Jay Edwards to the airport after grabbing some breakfast. Stomach full and head foggy, I crashed for a few hours before rallying everyone for a trip up to Harrisburg for the Moviate screening of Black Shampoo.

Skizz, Jen, Andrea and I met up with Dan Krovich, my pal Melanie, and two of the Moviate fellas -- Caleb Smith and Michael Robinson -- for some Indian cuisine. We adjourned back to the Mantis Gallery (right next door to Midtown Scholar for the movie.

We got a nice turnout of folks and just about everyone stuck around after the lights came back up for a phone-in Q&A with Greydon Clark. I had brought along some Black Shampoo DVDs and those sold like hotcakes both before and after the show. The books? Not so much. But Caleb, Michael, and their Moviate co-conspirator Jim Hollenbaugh picked up copies. Hopefully more Harrisburg people won't be able to get Black Shampoo out of their mind and pick up copies of the book as well. One can hope.

This evening we're off to Washington D.C. for the Washington Psychotronic Film Society screening of Phantom of the Paradise. It'll be great seeing WPFS honcho Carl Cephas again! I can't even remember the last time I did one of these WPFS events but I recall it being a blast.

Tuesday 11/23 in Washington DC!

The karma's so think that you'll need an aqua lung to breath tonight at The Passenger in Washington D.C. when the Washington Psychotronic Film Society presents a special screening of Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise in conjunction with my appearance at their weekly movie event!

The event starts at 7PM at The Passenger, 1021 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday 11/22 in Harrisburg!

Monday, November 22, 8:00pm - 11:00pm
1306 N 3rd St
Harrisburg, PA

He's bad, he's mean, he's a lovin' machine.
But when he's mad, he's mean, he's a *killing* machine.

We're talking about Mr. Jonathan, of course, owner/operator of Mr. Jonathan's salon, the hottest spot on the Sunset Strip. He's got the touch the ladies love so much. He's a Lothario who finds love working at his reception desk. But when the mob comes calling, all hell breaks loose in a fury of chain saws, pool cues, and curling irons. Blood and shampoo will flow...

Mike White, author of Impossibly Funky and Black Shampoo fanatic, will be hosting the event and shilling copies of his book. He'll talk about interviewing the cast and crew of Black Shampoo and why he finds this particular blaxploitation flick a cut above the rest.

Moviate will also show a selection of trailers and short films that tie into Impossibly Funky including Mike White's controversial short film Who Do You Think You're Fooling.

Tickets are $5 at the door.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday 11/21 in Richmond!

Tonight (11/21) in Richmond, VA -- a night of hot film, hot words, hot music, and hot dogs. Presented by Chop Suey books and the James River Film Society, tonight's event takes place at Gallery5. It's me reading from and signing copies of Impossibly Funky along with musicians Skizz Cyzyk and BearKat and a screening of Monte Hellman's Cockfighter. And, if you're peckish, there'll be a hot dog cart for your eating pleasure!

C'mon out. Event starts at 6PM at Gallery 5 - 200 W. Marshall St., Richmond, VA

Saturday, November 20, 2010

MicroCineFest presents John Paizs's CRIME WAVE

What:Microcinefest Screening
Including John Paizs's CRIME WAVE
Where: The Windup Space, 12 W. North Avenue,
Baltimore, MD 21201
When:7pm-9pm, November 20, 2010
How Much:FREE!
RSVP on Facebook

For ten years, starting in 1997, MicroCineFest was "thee underground film festival in Baltimore, hon." On November 20, members of the MicroCineFest staff, jury, and alum gather to present a selection of short films culled from the MicroCineFest archive, followed by a festival favorite feature film, John Paizs's CRIME WAVE. Never distributed theatrically, long out-of-print on VHS, and not available on DVD, this is a rare opportunity to see this 1986 Canadian cult film about a quiet man who befriends his landlords' young daughter while attempting to write the script to the greatest colour crime movie ever. It's an unusual comedy about writers block.

If you want to know more about CRIME WAVE, follow these instructions:

  • Attend the previous night's (November 19) book signing at Atomic Books
  • At the book signing, buy a copy of Mike White's book, Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection
  • Read the chapter "Tragically Obscure: John Paizs's (The Big) Crimewave" by Skizz Cyzyk
  • Come to the Windup Space on Saturday to see CRIME WAVE for yourself

AND... Stick around after the show for a performance by Michael Holt, The Jennifers, and Mr. Moccasin. More information about that here.

Saturday 11/20 in Baltimore!

What:Microcinefest Screening - Including John Paizs's CRIME WAVE
Where: The Windup Space, 12 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201
When:7pm-9pm, November 20, 2010
How Much:FREE!
RSVP on Facebook

For ten years, starting in 1997, MicroCineFest was "thee underground film festival in Baltimore, hon." On November 20, members of the MicroCineFest staff, jury, and alum gather to present a selection of short films culled from the MicroCineFest archive, followed by a festival favorite feature film, John Paizs's CRIME WAVE. Never distributed theatrically, long out-of-print on VHS, and not available on DVD, this is a rare opportunity to see this 1986 Canadian cult film about a quiet man who befriends his landlords' young daughter while attempting to write the script to the greatest colour crime movie ever. It's an unusual comedy about writers block.

If you want to know more about CRIME WAVE, follow these instructions:

  • Attend the previous night's (November 19) book signing at Atomic Books
  • At the book signing, buy a copy of Mike White's book, Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection
  • Read the chapter "Tragically Obscure: John Paizs's (The Big) Crimewave" by Skizz Cyzyk
  • Come to the Windup Space on Saturday to see CRIME WAVE for yourself

AND... Stick around after the show for a performance by Michael Holt, The Jennifers, and Mr. Moccasin. More information about that here.

Charmed in the City

Do you remember that short movie that they used to play all the time back in the early days of HBO? The making of documentary about their promo video in which the audience got to see the care that went into a relatively simple truck across a miniature city set that went up into the air to reveal the steel HBO logo?

Regardless... that's a little how I felt tonight when I walked into Atomic Books in Baltimore to find a three dimensional rendition of the cover for Impossibly Funky all made in gum paste, fondant, and cake. I immediately thought, "Oh my gosh, how nice of Benn and Rachel to have Charm City Cakes make me a gala treat!" Nope. Andrea was the culprit. She'd been secretly working with the Charm City folks to make the Atomic event one I'd never forget.

I was gobsmacked. I still am. I nearly lost it, seeing the whole marquee that Jim Rugg designed with little gumpaste approximations of Luis De Jesus, Ann-Margret, Christopher Lambert, etc in an edible tableau. I teared up.

I already knew that Baltimore was going to be a great time. I love this city. I have a lot of great friends here who are also incredibly supportive. They came out in droves. The audience for A Night of Mikes consisted mostly of familiar faces. And, hey, no one tried to impress me with their film knowledge and the leave without buying a book!

After Benn Ray introduced us, Mike Faloon (Go Metric) and I said a few words. People reading a free city paper might have thought they were going to get an aria as we were listed as "singing" rather than "signing"...

No one broke into song (though Josh Slates did recall just how awful the end credit theme to Loose Cannons really is and may have hummed it to himself. Instead, Mike Faloon took the floor and did a story from his wonderful book, The Hanging Gardens of Split Rock. Hearing him read the stump speech of a less-than-reputable politician made for a great juxtaposition if you know how sweet Mike really is.

I got up afterward and did my schtick, talking about the magazine, rambling on incoherently, and often fumbling over my own words. And that was before I even started to read a piece from the book.

I finally delivered on a bunch of books that people had ordered via IndieGoGo from my summer push for advertising dollars, tricking them into coming out to the Atomic gig, but even managed to sell quite a few copies.

I had expected great things out of this Atomic Books gig and my expectations were completely blown out of the water.

Addendum: And how weird was it to be sitting at the pub after the gig and hear the local Baltimore news that "Ace of Cakes" has been canceled on the Food Network?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday 11/19 in Baltimore!

Tonight (11/19) is a Night of Mikes at Atomic Books in Baltimore! Join Mike Faloon (Hanging Gardens of Split Rock and me at one of the best book stores in the country. We'll be swapping stories about being zinesters in an internet world along with selling, reading from, and signing our books.

Atomic Books - 3620 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Tour Day 2: The Riddle of Steel

Apparently, you can't be in New Jersey and not talk about Kevin Smith. It might be a law somewhere. He was the topic of conversation before the event got underway at The Raconteur book shop, movie rental place, screening place on the main drag in Metuchen, NJ.

Day two of the book tour was another ass-kicker, though I'm hoping that the rest of the days start mellowing out. It wasn't so bad in terms of the gigs. Oh, no. It was just all the driving and getting up in the pre-dawn hours to haul ass to the Pennsylvanian capital, Harrisburg, and then the rest of the way across the state and into New Jersey.

You couldn't talk about two more different spaces than Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg and The Raconteur in Metuchen. Midtown is a huge, sprawling space with tons of natural light and a grand coffee bar. There's an upstairs reading area that's lined with shelves of film books. Meanwhile, the Raconteur is one of those places where you're sure to butt brush a few dozen books off the shelves/piles around. There's no coffee bar but owner/operator Alex is sure to offer you a plastic cup of wine if you're at the place for an event. And then there's Rosie, the former leader dog that patrols the place. Two very different atmospheres but both wonderful in their own ways.

As I've said before, it's meeting people that is really making this trip a blast. At Midtown, Moviate coordinator (more on this Monday when there's a whole Moviate screening planned of Black Shampoo with a post-screening Q&A with Greydon Clark) Caleb Smith stopped by to wish me luck. Also joining me was former MicroCineFest alum Dan Krovich, Cashiers du Cinemart alum Mike Sullivan, and AisleSeat.com scribe Mike McGranaghan. I've been chatting with Mike McGranaghan for a while on Twitter but had never met and I've been corresponding with Mike Sullivan for years. The Mikes, Dan and I bullshitted for movies around a table full of Impossibly Funkys for almost two hours. Two ladies came up and asked me about the book. One, a former Flat Rock resident, even purchased a copy. Score!

After packing the car back up, Andrea and I kept heading east to Edison, New Jersey.

I didn't meet any long-time "virtual" friends in Metuchen (save maybe for Alex whom I'd been bugging for months) but did hook up with an old real life pal, my good buddy Leon Chase (of Uncle Leon & The Alibis) drove down from Brooklyn to read from his piece, "All the Good Guys and the Bad Guys that I've Been" from Impossibly Funky. He also gave me a great deal of (im)moral support. He, Andrea and I had some amazing pizza before diving into The Raconteur for a little talk about the book and some reading. There's going to be YouTube footage of this floating around sometime soon... beware.

It wasn't a bad turn out at all. I had hoped to see a lot more people from New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York at the event. Leon tried to explain to me that even though it was only a 30 minute train ride from Penn Station that New Jersey could be considered only slightly less distant than, say, the moon to most New Yorkers. On the bright side, I managed to sell three books (w00t!).

True to my observation of yesterday, the guy who wanted to talk to me the most and impress me with his knowledge of movies, didn't buy a copy. Sonova... I need a good way to get rid of these folks (I'd say "guys" but the Oak Park person was a woman who wanted to impress me with how great her son is). If I was a better film nerd I'd destroy them with some cutting cinematic slur ("You, sah, wouldn't know a pan from a tilt!") but my momma done raised me better. So, if you're at one of these events and see my time being taken up by someone without a copy of my book in their hands (preferably with a receipt sticking out of the top of it), feel free to interrupt the conversation.

I have quite a thirst for beer tonight. I'm wondering if anyone in Baltimore will be able to help out with that tomorrow...

Thursday 11/18 in Metuchen, NJ!

Tonight (11/18) at The Raconteur in Metuchen, NJ join me and co-author Leon Chase for an Impossibly Funky evening. The event begins at 8PM.

The Raconteur - 431 Main Street, Metuchen, NJ 08840

Thursday 11/18 in Harrisburg!

As I drive through Pennsylvania I'll be stopping at Harrisburg's hip bookstore, Midtown Scholar, to sign some books and press some flesh. I'll be there from noon to 1PM. Here's hoping you'll spend part of your lunchtime with me at 1302 North Third Street, Harrisburg PA 17102

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Striking Distance

The thing I like the most about this book tour is meeting the people that I've only met virtually via email, twitter, or facebook. Tonight I finally shook hands with Jim Rugg, the man behind the cover art of Impossibly Funky. The author of such works as Street Angel and Afrodisiac (which I can't recommend enough), Jim was great to chat with and it was an honor sitting next to him at Lili's Coffee Shop in Polish Hill.

It was a great turnout at the event thanks in no small part to another "virtual friend," Karen Lillis, a mover and a shaker in the Pittsburgh scene. Karen helped coordinate setting up the event with Bill at Copacetic Comics (just up the stairs from the coffee shop -- a great synergistic space). Jim, Karen, and Bill put out the word and there was a great turnout at the event. Even my friend Lau and cousin Danielle showed up!

I didn't read from the book this time. Instead, I filibustered. I started talking about the history of Cashiers du Cinemart, stopping occasionally for a breath and less often to pass the mic to Jim. Yes, I was a mic hog. Worse, I was a manic mic hog. While giving Jim maybe a scant five minutes, I jawed on for close to ninety minutes -- blathering about distribution systems, decrying binary movie reviewers (sorry, Thumbs), and railing against the fall of Western Civilization (Skyline may be one of the seals being broken...).

I sold a few books, signed a few others, and managed to lose a bit of the crowd as we moved from Lili's back up the stairs to Copacetic. Five copies sold (one more than was predicted in Guerrilla Marketing for Writers ).

Observation: The person that comes up to you and talks to you the most at your book signing will leave without buying a copy of your book.

Here are some photos from the event courtesy of Karen. Look at how patient Jim is as I pontificate...

Next... up early in the morning to hit Harrisburg at noon and Metuchen at 8. Will be great seeing Leon in New Jersey and hope to get a few folks out at lunchtime in Harrisburg.

Wednesday 11/17 in Pittsburgh!

The first stop on the bulk of the book tour (a week solid on the road) takes place in the Polish Hill area of Pittsburgh at Copacetic Comics - (3138 Dobson Street - 3rd floor). I'll be there at 7PM with Jim Rugg, the artist responsible for the cover art of Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection.

Jim's books will be on sale at the event and I highly recommend them. I just got done reading Afrodisiac again and it's classic. For more of Jim's stuff check out his blog.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fit to Print

I've been keeping track of all the places where review, interviews, blog posts and all in another blog post but I had to call out some the pieces that have all come out today. Two interview/articles in the Baltimore and Richmond alt-weeklies.

First up is an interview with Lee Gardner from the Baltimore City Paper. I was also pleased as punch to talk to Don Harrison over at Richmond's Style Weekly. Oddly, I get into discussions about Monte Hellman.

Over at the James River Film Journal, I've got a little write-up about five films I consider guilty pleasures. No Hellman on that list, but Morris Day makes an appearance.

Finally, Best Worst Movie comes out today on DVD. It's one of the best things that I've seen this year and I can't recommend it enough. I did a little write up of it over at the ultra-cool Mondo-Video.com. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Sun Always Shines in Ann Arbor

If Sleazemania taught me anything, it's that a two hour block of previews gets boring after about an hour, no matter how inherently interesting the material may be. Despite my love for all of the previews that I put together, even I got a little antsy. Regardless, it was free entertainment and you can't get much for nothing these days.

Vault of Midnight has been a fixture in Ann Arbor for years. It's probably one of the coolest stores I've ever been in and puts most comic shops to shame. That's just one of the reasons I was so happy to have a book event there.

After swinging by Pizza Bob's for a couple of subs with Justin from Mondo Video, we stopped by Vault of Midnight where owners Curtis and Liz helped us set up for the event. Soon, a lot of familiar faces started coming through the door.

Thanks to some great word of mouth, promotions by Curtis & Liz, an awesome article in AnnArbor.com, and some great friends, I had a wonderful turnout. At one point I counted twenty-five heads in the room -- and that didn't even count mine.

I did a little spiel about the history of the zine, talking a little about my time at U of M, and then read a bit before turning off the lights and turning on the DVD of previews, shorts, and music videos. For shits & giggles I had put a couple video projects on the disc (my A-Team and Porno Person pieces) and got a nice response. I also got some great feedback when the lights came back up. It was terrific being back in my old stomping grounds. I had hoped some of my old film professors might have come out for the event but I can't have everything, right?

On the eve of my big road trip/tour around the East, I can only hope that every event is as successful as this one.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Impossibly Funky Comes from Detroit to Conquer the World!

Book TourFor fourteen years Detroit author/editor Mike White toiled nights and weekends on his movie zine Cashiers du Cinemart. Starting as a scrappy xerox and stapled publication, the zine mutated over time to a magazine with international distribution, long after the siren song of the internet wooed most small publishers to its cheap epublishing. Now, the best of Cashiers du Cinemart has been collected into one volume, 2010's Impossibly Funky, a treasure trove of articles about film and popular culture.

White will be appearing with various guest stars in a Midwest tour in Autumn 2010, reading, signing copies of his first book, and doing occasional movie/shorts screenings.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday 11/12 in Ann Arbor!

I'm excited to visit Ann Arbor tonight for a stop on the Impossibly Funky book tour! I'll be at Vault of Midnight on Main Street, talking about Cashiers du Cinemart, signing books, and showing a block of previews/short films/music videos -- enough oddball material to warm any cinephile's heart. Ann Arbor, my home from 1990-1994 and my place of work for a few years longer than that, is one of my favorite places.

Vault of Midnight, 219 S. Main St in Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

How Can YOU Help?

I don't consider myself an artist. I don't even consider myself a writer. I will cede, though, that I feel a certain camaraderie with right-brained people. I definitely hang out with a lot of creative people and, in that community, I often find a sense of support where people will really go out of their way to champion projects of those around them.


A friend will come out with a new CD so I'll buy a copy (even if it's not necessarily my cup of tea). An acquaintance will have an art show so I'll attend it or (if unable to make it), post the details of it on my blog, facebook, whatever. I may not do enough but I do try to make an effort.

Thus, it's just bizarre for me to be around a group that just doesn't make an effort at all.


I've had a stack of books sitting next to me at work for over a month now. Despite how much I despise when other people do it, I went ahead and sent out a note to my office saying that I had books for sale with information about the project. After that I got two guys from another department who picked up copies (and seem to be genuinely enjoying them). I also guilted my boss into picking up another. But how about the guys I go out to lunch with every Friday? The ones that I've bullshitted with for a few thousand hours over the last five years? Have they even come over to flip through a copy and give me a Kevin Costner "neat" appraisal before gingerly putting it down and keeping the $20 in their pockets? Nope. It's like the elephant in the room.

I don't mean to kvetch... but I will. It just disconcerts me to run in such widely disparate circles.

That isn't to say that I don't feel like folks have been supporting my efforts. Quite the contrary. I've gotten a wonderful response from a lot of people including a number that I never expected. But, that's a delightful surprise. The other folks are a disappointment.

What I'd love (other than major book sales) is for folks to spread the word. "It don't cost nuthin'." A tweet, a facebook post, a blog post, a phone call, printing up and posting a flier, a "hey, you know what looks great?", a billboard campaign, ya know... nothing big.

Want to give me a hand? Spread the word? Here are some links that would be great to spread around:

Link to Book Infohttp://bit.ly/bIt33l
Link to Amazonhttp://amzn.to/d8wAIX
Link to Indieboundhttp://www.indiebound.org/book/9781593935474
Link to Tour Dateshttp://bit.ly/avzXaP
Link to Reviewshttp://bit.ly/ah9134

Tweet 'em, post the pages to facebook, stumble upon them, digg them, whatever. The idea is to get the word out, far and wide. Your help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Skulls and Goats of My Affection

I'm sitting in a hotel room. A weak lamp lights my keyboard. A bottle of beer sits at the ready. If only I was in a huddled in some fleabag dump clacking away on a typewriter. That might play better for a tale of Noircon 2010...

Artwork by Jeff Wong - www.jeffwong.comThis was my third time hitting the Society Hill Playhouse for a weekend of dark detective fun (Goodiscon in 2007 and Noircon 2008). Each time it seems that I speak with a few more people. Perhaps this core group provided a foundation or that I've been forced to come out of my candy-colored shell with the book events I've been doing lately but this third time around I really felt a strong sense of camaraderie with this eclectic and talented group of people.

Day One
As I already wrote, things started off with a bang for me on Wednesday night's Brickbat Books signing. On Thursday night Noircon proper began with a screening of Larry Withers's David Goodis: To a Pulp. My face burned in embarrassment every time I was on screen. I appreciated seeing the movie with an audience, though, and feel like I got a lot more out of it this time around. I have been hesitant to write a full review because of my involvement with this project (conflict of interest) but think my role is small enough (and the documentary important enough) to forgive.

Day Two
The first full day of Noircon started off with a bang. A discussion of pornography and noir hosted by Reed Coleman with Jay Gertzman and Christ Faust set the tone for the entire event, mixing intellectual discourse with seat of the pants commentary. Coleman engaged the panel while challenging the audience. From the back of the cabaret David Corbett kept everyone honest and helped foster an attitude of free expression. He wasn't afraid to call bullshit when needed, as often was when talks became mired in semantic masturbation. By day two anyone who asked for a definition of noir got a response that might make a sailor blush.

In the afternoon Laura Lippman did a wonderful job of getting fellow author (and David Goodis award winner George Pelecanos to open up. Later, Ed Pettit and Robert Polito presented an hour of noir poetry with Pettit providing a stunning interpretation of Joseph Moncure March's "The Set-Up" - a poem about boxing that rippled with a hardboiled beat which informed Robert Wise's film of the same name.

That night I hooked up again with Chris Cummins for a couple beers and a meal fit for a king -- corndogs and tater tots -- at Sugar Mom's before I headed down to South Philadelphia. On the bus to Grindcore House where I finally met Joseph Gervasi (of Bizarre Videos and Exhumed Films) I started getting a series of texts from folks at Mummer's Museum where the Noircon Awards were underway. Their pleas and the promise of an open bar wooed me away from Joseph's documentary screening. I'm a weak man when endless, free gin & tonics are involved.

From the Mummer's Museum folks started trickling over to the bar at the downtown Double Tree which was soon taken over by a slew of Noircon attendees. As I guzzled more gin I bent poor Duane Swierczynski's ear about Brian De Palma for far too long. After he disappeared (running for his life, no doubt), I hitched a ride back to my hotel where I passed out, cursing that the next day's 9:15 AM presentation sounded too interesting to sleep through.

It was.

Day Three
Joan M. Schenkar presented a slide show of Patricia Highsmith pictures (and charts) she'd unearthed during her years of research for The Talented Miss Highsmith. This lead perfectly into the subsequent panel on Highsmith's Ripley in film. Tracing the life of a fictional character depicted in multiple films from several countries over many decades hits my sweet spot. Presenters Richard Edwards and Thomas Kaufman got me where I lived.

The afternoon had its ups, its downs, its laughter, and tears through a few presentations that included a moving tribute to Busted Flush Press honcho David Thompson.

Though program guide promised us much more Megan Abbott -- a fellow Michigander and one of my favorite people -- she was only able to attend one panel before heading back to NYC. A shame. But, the panel that replaced her in the afternoon -- a discussion by former private investigator David Corbett and former reporter Wallace Stroby provided purple prose about colorful characters.

The day's program over, Richard Edwards, Christa Faust, her dog Butch, and I walked over to the Double Tree where I resumed my position at the bar for a marathon bullshit session. A revolving cast of characters joined and departed but most of my attention went to Richard and Christa as we discussed important things like comic books, belly button fetishists, Stormbringer and Star Wars. After a while something bizarre happened where Richard and I transformed. Two mild-mannered men sitting in a hotel bar suddenly hulked out into two wild-eyed raging fanboys who locked horns in a wild discussion of George Lucas, his career, his mentors, and his impact on history. This took us on some wild tangents, through moments in our lives better left untold, and left us spent, tipsy, and dazed some five hours later. I collapsed off of my bar stool and called for a taxi.

It's odd. I don't drink that much when I'm in my neck of the woods. I suppose that's because I don't go out too often, much less to bars where I hang out with a bunch of writers and/or film geeks. I usually save my writer/film geek discussions for Baltimore... as well as my drinking. But this Noircon was a gin-fueled barrage of "Did you ever read...?" and "Have you ever seen...?" up the banks of the Schuylkill and down the Delaware.

Day Four
The folks showing up on the final day of Noircon often did with a hungover and haggard look about them. We had made it. We ran the race and managed to cross the finish line. And, for that, we got the brass ring. Or, at least, the bottle of J&B. I picked mine up in the Russian Roulette raffle where you lost if your number was drawn first... or something like that. By the end, no one knew what the fuck was going on as our MC, the affable Charles Benoit, pulled numbers out of a bag and people were showered with gifts of booze and books.

One of the final panels before the doors of history closed on yet another successful Noircon included the guy with whom I was mistaken for most this year, David White (only because of our surnames, he's far more handsome than I am) and one of my heroes, the erudite Howard A. Rodman (who was accidentally rechristened as "Howard A. White" for the panel). Tying the Fantomas crime fiction to the various media in which the character has been adapted and portrayed throughout 99 years scratched that same itch that Edwards and Kaufman had with their Ripley discussion. They done me right.

Though I came with luggage leaden with a score of books that I sold at Brickbat, delivered to people who preordered Impossibly Funky via IndieGoGo, or put on consignment with Farley's Bookshop (the official dealer of the show... and we were willing junkies), I left Philadelphia dangerously close to breaking the 50 pound barrier with the airlines again. I'm smuggling back the used books I picked up near my hotel, the books I won in the raffle, and those I bought from Farley's. It's tough to talk books with so many talented authors for four or five days straight and not pick up some titles, especially those of the people you've been talking to.

The only post-Noircon activity I could make was like taking an alcoholic to the bar... it was a trip to a bookstore (Robin's Bookstore for a discussion of the recently released Akashic collection, Philadelphia Noir (or "nwah" if you will). The audience bolstered by a cadre of authors and Noircon participants, the event seemed a huge success and ended just in time to hitch a ride to the airport for the trip back to a world in which your first question to a stranger isn't often, "And what did you write?"

Huge thanks to everyone I talked to, met, and bothered at Noircon 2010, especially Deen Kogan and, man among men, Lou Boxer. Brilliant.

Fetisch Film Fest Winners 2010

A kinky German cousin to the NYC phenomenon (that's on tour across the U.S.), Cinekink, here are the winners of this year's Fetisch Film Festival:

    Directed by Michael Simmons
    Erotic mystery-thriller in lingerie, inspired by David Lynch and Eric Kroll.
    Elektra Harris
    Jacob Breen
    Directed by Caeser Pink
    Directed by Saara Aila Waasner
    Documentary about two prostitutes and a dominatrix
    Directed by Sini Anderson
    Ex-Dominatrix visits the places of her past
    Lady Gaga
    Directed by Francis Lawrence
    The Other World Kingdom (OWK)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The 10 Non-Cult Movies Most Worthy of Rabid Cult Fanbases

Speaking of movies that more people should see, Chris Cummins turned me on to this piece he wrote for Topless Robot The 10 Non-Cult Movies Most Worthy of Rabid Cult Fanbases. I gotta say that I'm not doing too well on this list. I still need to see the following:

  • Penn & Teller Get Killed
  • Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century
  • Kicking and Screaming
  • Nothing Lasts Forever (I've had a copy for years but haven't watched it)
  • Breaking Glass
That's, what, 40% unseen and 60% seen? That's a bad average, man. I'm failing this list. I promise I'll watch these, Chris, and soon!

Fine to Be in Detroit

It's a great time to be a movie fan in Detroit. November's schedule at the Burton Theater is one of the best yet. There's something great happening each weekend. Personally, I'm going to brave hell or high water to get down to see Double Take and am bummed that I'll be missing Monsters.

December promises to be just as good with Crispin Glover presenting What is It? and It is Fine! Everything is Fine! the weekend of December 10. And, guess what, if you want to know more about those flicks you can read what Glover has to say about them in Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection. The interview with Glover is one of the pieces that are exclusive to the book.

David Goodis: To a Pulp

Tonight Noircon will host a screening of Larry Withers's documentary David Goodis: To a Pulp. It's a terrific flick that explores the life of David Goodis through a relationship in Withers's life. I'm not just saying that it's great because I'm in it. Even if I'd ended up on the cutting room floor, I'd still be singing the film's praises.

The event takes place at 7PM at The Society Hill Playhouse (507 S. 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147). If you're not able to make it out, the film is available for sale on DVD.

Lots of Brotherly Love

Photo by John WebberTucked away just south of South street on 4th street, Brickbat Books inhabits a narrow but deep space where the shelves are lined with literary ephemera as pedestrian as... well, it's really not pedestrian at all. After introducing myself to Patrick (who I had bothered via email for so many months now), I immediately sought out the "pulp" section where I was greeted with both detective and sci-fi fiction that fit in this wonderful category. Seeing a Robert Heinlein sit a few cubbyholes away from a David Goodis made me smile. In my short time of browsing I found quite a few treasures that I had to quickly put down for fear of making a purchase. I wanted to walk out of Brickbat with a little cash in my pocket and without a stack of books.

Luckily, Chris Cummins saved me from the temptation. When he introduced himself I was a bit taken aback. Chris wrote for Cashiers du Cinemart for years (since way back in Issue 10) with writing so polished that I had assumed he was far older. No, he explained, he's just a bit anal retentive and a perfectionist about his writing. I could completely understand.

Chris and I pulled up a couple of chairs and shot the shit for a while before folks started trickling in. Chris's friend Dom Chacon, Sharyn Pak and Larry Withers (director of David Goodis: To a Pulp), John Weber, Edward Pettit, and Duane Swierczynski were first on the scene with many others to follow. We mingled for a good while before I finally decided to get the show on the road.

With my typical manic behavior I started prattling about the early days of Cashiers du Cinemart and how it evolved from the shitty little zine I wrote in my parents' basement to the shitty big magazine I had professionally printed. I turned the "stage" over to Chris who proceeded to talk a bit about the history of Gremlins and read a bit out of the absolutely insane novelization by George Gipe. Mind-blowing.

Taking a cue from Chris, I proceeded to read my "Theater Daze" piece which I had massaged to a ten minute length. I feel I need to do a bit more massaging on this and fear for the published version which you can really tell I wrote in Issue 6. This is one of the pieces that I didn't change much before it went into the book (not part of the 13.2% new stuff). It's rough around the edges (to say the least) but I hope it's a quaint remembrance of things past.

Looking up at one point (I need to make better eye contact at these things), it looked like there were about twenty people in the store (might have been less, but I'm sticking with 20 as my final count). This was a much better turnout that I had anticipated. I got a lot of support from my fellow Noircon participants and there were quite a few unfamiliar faces in the crowd as well.

We did a little Q&A after the reading where Chris turned me on Breaking Glass as a flick he'd like to see get more notice. I've been fairly lucky in this regard as I can point to Impossibly Funky as a platform for a whole sheaf of flicks that I think deserve more attention. And here's hoping I can bring more attention to other movies that really need further appreciation.

Big thanks to everyone for coming out to the event and, especially, to Brickbat Books for having it. It was a blast!

Noircon 2010 Schedule

Thursday, November 4th, 2010 [Society Hill Playhouse]
7:00 PMDAVID GOODIS: TO A PULP - Larry Withers with Jared Case
Friday, November 5th, 2010 [Society Hill Playhouse]
8:30 AMRegistration
9:00 AM - 10:00 AMPORNOGRAPHY IN NOIR FICTION - Reed F. Coleman, Jay Gertzman ad Christa Faust
10:00 AM - 10:15 AMBREAK
10:15 AM - 11:15 AMPHILADELPHIA NOIRPANEL (Akashic Books) - Meredith Anthony, Keith Gilman, Dennis Tafoya, Jim Zervanos, Duane Swierczynski, CarlinRomano
11:20 AM - 12:30 PMJOHNNY TEMPLE - Johnny Temple with Tim McLoughlin
12:30 PM - 1:45 PMIACW LUNCHEON FOR William HEFFERNAN - With Cullen Gallagher
1:50 PM - 3:00 PMGEORGE PELECANOS - George Pelecanos with Laura Lippman
3:00 PM - 3:15 PM BREAK
3:15 PM - 4:30 PMDARK PASSAGE: Noir Poetry - Daniel Hoffman, Robert Polito, and Ed Pettit
4:35 PM - 4:40 PMBREAK
4:40 PM - 5:40 PMWRITERS ON NOIR - Vicki Hendricks, Daniel Woodrell, Reed Farrel Coleman, William Heffernan, Seth Harwood with Cameron Ashley (Crime Factory)
7:00 PM - 9:00 PMAwards Dinner at the Mummers Museum
Tim McLoughlin (Johnny Temple) and Sarah Weinman (George Pelecanos)
Saturday, November 6th, 2010 [Society Hill Playhouse]
9:00 AM - 9:15AMRegistration
9:15 AM - 10:30 AMLADY IN THE DARK: As Noir As It Gets - Joan Schenkar
10:30 AM - 10:45 AMBREAK
10:45 AM - 11:45 AMPATRICIA HIGHSMITH AT THE MOVIES - Rich Edwards and Thomas Kaufman
11:45 AM - 12:00 PMBREAK
12:00 PM - 1:15 PMTHROUGH A REARVIEW DARKLY: A Revisionist History of Noir - Megan Abbott and Anthony Neil Smith
1:15 PM - 2:00 PMLUNCH on your own
2:15 PM - 3:15 PMSORTING OUT THE SYNDICATE - Goombahs, Gonifs, and the Italian - Jewish Mob - John Buntin
3:20 PM - 4:30 PMDAMN NEAR DEAD 2: LIVE NOIR OR DIE TRYING! (Busted Flush Press) - Patti Abbott, Scott Cupp, Christa Faust, Scott Phillips, S.J. Rozan and Reed F. Coleman
6:30 PM - 9:00 PMNOIR - GAY BINGO to Benefit the AIDS FUND at the Double Tree
Sunday, November 7th, 2010 [Society Hill Playhouse]
9:30 AM - 10:30 AMREALITY AND NOIR - The Everyday Quality of Evil - Richard Sand and Wallace Stroby
10:30 AM - 10:40 AMBREAK
10:45 AM - 11:40 AMFANTOMAS AT 99 - The Lord of Terror - Howard A. Rodman and David White
12:00 PM - 1:15 PMLAST CALL - with William Boyle, William Lashner, Lawrence Light, and Jon McGoran
(Lunch will be provided along with LCP)

During the festivities copies of Impossibly Funky will be available via Farley's Bookshop who will be on sight for the event.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Tonight in Philadelphia!

Tonight (11/3) in Philadelphia, folks can come out to Brickbat Books for an Impossibly Funky book event! I'll be joined by co-author Chris Cummins at one of the hippest bookstores in the city of Brotherly Love.

Brickbat Books - 709 South Fourth St (between Bainbridge & Monroe St), Philadelphia, PA 19147 at 7PM