Archives for category: Anna

I just read about Melissa Lohman Wild’s Viva Snail Mail project, which led me to her site, which led me to reading about her envelope decorating contest idea, which led me to dig out some envelopes Tess decorated when we were in college wrote lots and lots of letters. She was in Florence and I was in NYC:

More people, and also Con-Ed, AT&T, and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, should decorate their envelopes. If bills came with sparkly star stickers affixed, wouldn’t you be happier to pay?

“It was certainly conveyed to me by the people in charge at that time that talking the press is not welcome,” says John Hotchner, a former president for the American Philatelic Society, who was once on the CSAC.
from Snail Mail: It Takes Awhile to Get This Stamp of Approval WSJ

“Tell me,” said Don, “Was there anything you wanted to be before you became some rich dude’s bitch?”
“An artist,” I said.
“So you wanted to be some rich dude’s bitch all along.”

Don and Milo, Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask

From the New York Times review by Lydia Millet:
Sam Lipsyte’s third novel, “The Ask,” is a dark and jaded beast — the sort of book that, if it were an animal, would be a lumbering, hairy, crypto­zoological ape-man with a near-crippling case of elephantiasis.

A movie adaptation of The Ask is set to be produced by Jackie Kelman Bisbee and Lance Acord of Park Pictures.

Abe’s Penny’s Sarah Penello spoke with Jason Fulford, contributor to Abe’s Penny 3.5.

1. So you’re in Texas as you answer these questions. What are you there for, and what are you currently working on?
I’m on assignment this week for Architect magazine, photographing the Lake/Flato studio in San Antonio. My wife Tamara joined me, and we stayed a couple of extra days to indulge in my favorite BBQ (Smitty’s in Lockhart) and also a sprawling German-themed water slide park called Schlitterbahn.

2. Though you could be called a photographer by trade, your work really stretches beyond just photographs presented in a traditional way. What first inspired you to use photography as a jumping off point for other visual media?
My mother introduced me to photography when I was eleven. With a camera, I was able to communicate subtle and complex ideas in a very simple, straightforward way. I’ve since worked as a carpenter, welder, graphic designer and publisher. Over time, these various disciplines have overlapped, but the goal has remained the same.

3. Can you tell me about your press imprint, J&L? What first inspired you to get involved in publishing? And what is it like to work out of Scranton, PA?
Leanne Shapton and I met at Pratt Institute in the early 90s. We both had interests in art and printed matter, and eventually began to make books together as J&L in 2000. We started by publishing the work of artists we knew, and the project slowly expanded. At the moment, we are working on two new J&L projects: a book of photographs by Gregory Halpern, and a biography of Martin Kippenberger, written by his sister Susanne Kippenberger.

Scranton has been my home base since 1998. I’m very productive there. Scranton has it’s charms, and they come at you one at a time.

4. Would you consider books, and bookmaking, to be a purely 2D medium? Or because of the tactile element, do you consider them to be sculptural as well?
I consider them 3D for sure, and sometimes 4D.

5. How did you come to be involved with Abe’s Penny?
Well I first became a subscriber when my friend Gus Powell contributed photographs to an issue. Then Tamara and I had a correspondence through the mail with Anna and Tess. We exchanged offerings and bonded over our attachments to Pennsylvania. Later, they asked if I would contribute to the project.

6. Who are some of your favorite contemporary visual artists?
Here’s a short list off the top of my head, many omitted:
Living: Amy O’Neill, Hans-Peter Feldmann, David Reinfurt, Allen Ruppersburg, Kevin Roche, Michael Portnoy, Corin Hewitt, Shimabuku

Dead: Sol LeWitt, Marcel Broodthaers, Jack Goldstein, Stepanova, Ellsworth Kelly, Martin Kippenberger, Emmanuel Radnitzky, Ed Kienholz, Bruno Munari

7. Do you feel that photography must be narrative? In your opinion, what makes a photograph, or a series of images, truly “good”?
I believe that photography can be many things. It’s as malleable as language. You know, with language you have poetry, short stories, novels, non-fiction, essays, conversation, translation, letters, email, texts, advertisements, interviews, titles, names, nicknames, reviews, jokes, blurbs… I think photography has just as many categories. There are good, bad and mediocre versions of each.

Alexander – Truth from Alexander on Vimeo.

Breaking Bad fans probably recognize this single from last night’s (7/18/11) credits. Since we’re such fans of the written word, here are Alexander’s lyrics:


The House of Creatives is an artist retreat, a creative think tank, hosted by Seasick Mama located on Lake Harmony outside New York City. The house is stacked with all important amenities: food, wine, whiskey, and even a recording space. The invitation has been extended to all creative-thinkers, so every week there will be a rotation of the best artists working together be produce powerful and lucrative bodies of work.
During this time Seasick Mama will be working on two highly anticipated music videos, fall photo-shoots and editorials, digital marketing videos, dinner parties, and live performance. The possibilities for you are endless. This house is a backdrop for creativity. A gift from Seasick Mama to come collaborate and relax.
KarmaloopTV will be documenting the project.  KarmaloopTV features exclusive interviews with designers, brands, artists and musicians, as well as behind-the-scenes looks.

Abe’s Penny’s Sarah Penello called Dave Landsberger on July 7th, 2011. He’s in Chicago. She’s in Brooklyn. She said of the interview, “I swear everything out of his mouth is a golden quote.”

Dave Landsberger during "Poetry Ferrari"

So I found out on the internet that you’re a Chicago native, and a self-proclaimed “Miamian” as well.  Where do you currently reside, and which city do you do you identify with most?

I was born and raised in Chicago, and I live there now. I went to Graduate School at FIU, and taught there for a while, so I lived in Miami for about three years, and moved back to Chicago after I finished.

It’s a bit of cop-out to say I relate very strongly to both! I identify very strongly with my Chicago roots, I feel it’s the most “American” of the big cities. And I’m way too into sports, which Chicago is as well.

But Miami has an oddness to it. I love the Miami, the different layers there. They have the power of the Ocean.

But when people talk to me about my work, mostly they relate to whichever part speaks to them most. Miamians tell me I don’t sound like someone who’s not from there.

Did you hear about Abe’s Penny through their exhibit at the O, Miami poetry festival?

I was in New York in March for a reading at at Tea Lounge in Park Slope. It was related to “Ballerz 2k10: Poems about the NBA,” a chapbook I worked on with Erik Bloch, Mike Stutzman, P. Scott Cunningham. It’s about basketball in general, but mostly about the players.

Scott Cunningham had worked on Abe’s Penny before, and contributed, so I did a reading with him. Anna and Tess came up to me afterwards.

They actually had a copy of Scott’s [issue], and they explained to me what Abe’s Penny was all about, and I was like “This is f***ing cool!”

During your time at FIU, you taught some classes, but also worked for the New Times, and alternative free paper which is a franchise of Village Voice Media. What is your favorite job out of: New Times Blogger, FIU Professor, Poet? Do you have any other jobs?

Right now I teach at Harper College, and that’s how I make my living. Being a poet is much better of course, but it doesn’t pay anything! It’s much more rewarding to spend an afternoon sitting down with a High Life and just writing for three hours. The best thing about being a poet is that you can wear all these different hats: comedian, historian, etc. The poet doesn’t have to specialize.

The reason I believe the poet has lost so much stature in pop culture and modern culture is that all of those different hats have been distributed to people who specialize. So yeah, being a poet is the best. But it’s kind of more a hobby at this point, than a job.

What are you reading now, and what is your favorite book of all time?

I just finished reading a book called Spaceman Blues, Brian Francis Slattery. It’s my favorite kind of fiction, which is extremely literary genre fiction. Really well written, whimsical and brilliant. My first love, even before poetry, is comic books. Right now I’m reading Akira, the very famous Manga. I’m still completely flabberghasted at how brilliant an illustrator and story-teller that Katsuhiro Otomo is.

I don’t actually really read too much poetry… What I’m working on right now is a chapbook of love poems, and so I’m reading Pablo Neruda’s 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair and I’ve been reading it for 14 months now.

But my favorite book of poems is called Actual Air, by David Berman, who is much more famous for being the singer of the band, the Silver Jews. He struggled with being a junkie, and is currently studying to become a rabbi. So I can honestly say that’s my favorite book of poems. He’s such a dynamo, he actually got his MFA first, but nobody was paying attention to him, so he was like, “I’m gonna start a rock band!” He came out with a book of cartoons like a year ago called the Portable February. I read it, it’s a little incoherent, but I hope he comes out with more work in the future.

How do you think that poetry fits into the “real” world these days?

Very poorly! And I honestly believe that is the fault of the poets. Yeah… poorly. It’s something that’s entirely necessary to humans, but the level of competition for people’s attention is something that poets never had to deal with before. Most poets are kind of quiet… But I do feel that it’s the responsibility of poets to get poetry out there in ways that people haven’t seen or heard before.

Writers have each others backs, and that’s GREAT, but it’s like… a bunch of kids sitting around in their parents basement playing Dungeons and Dragons. Nobody wants to hear their stories.

A lot of poets are like, University Poets. And now, I think poets need to get out there, and start doing poetry in new ways. I’d love to see poetry on TV. I know it’s on the internet but everything’s on the internet.

I think it’d be really great to create some kind of poetry performance art, something that’s not just Museum and Gallery members sitting around sipping wine. Why shouldn’t poetry just be out there? Why is it always just in books and journals that you have to pay for?

If you’re just writing poetry for people with literature degrees, that’s fine, but it becomes a class issue at that point.

I want to keep reinforcing that in poetry, there is room for everybody. Not to discourage the MFA poets and the literature degree poets from continuing to do that, but I think that the poets who have the capacity to do other things need to get out there and do that. and bring their poetry to others in new ways.

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