Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm reading at an event for Try Vegan Week!

Cari and I are reading at a fundraiser event for Try Vegan Week Portland. May 4th 7PM. At the Red and Black Cafe.

Featuring four Vegan authors from the northwest!

Gina Ranalli Author of 13 thorns and Suicide Girls in the Afterlife

“There are some very funny—and sacrilegious—moments (and) the author has serious things to say. But that doesn’t stop a lot of it from being irreverent and tongue-in-cheek…it’s certainly a fascinating—and for this reader, successful—experiment.” Charles De Lint on suicide girls

Kristopher Young author of Click

Click was September 2007’s Book Club Selection on Chuck Palahniuk’s official website, The Cult. “…a rare and amazing literary feat… highly personal and gut-wrenchingly real, yet surreal, dream-like and convincingly fantastic. The novel is both intuitive and masterful in execution…”
-Jody Franklin, editor, Mungbeing magazine

David Agranoff author of Screams from a Dying world

"Screams from a Dying World by David Agranoff is a moving reading experience rich with descriptive prose that makes each story come alive and a subtle message that will leave you looking at the world in a whole new way. This is a welcomed addition to the horror genre." – Horrorworld

Cari Beltane Co-author of the Gutter Limits

"Imagine if Satan made a Rubik’s cube... Beltane’s stories are intricately crafted puzzles made to mystify and horrify; filled with shock, splatter and poetry. She’s either bringing art back to horror, or horror back to art." -Paul Stuart, Publisher Punk Horror press.

Sunday May 4th at the Red and Black Café( 12th and Oak) 7 PM

Also Papa G's Grand opening!
Papa G's vegan organic deli will have their official grand opening Earth Day Tuesday April 22. We will offer free samples of all kinds of food as well as house made bakery goods and organic fruit. 3pm - 6pm.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Book review: The Dragon's Nine Sons

The Dragon’s Nine Sons by Chris Roberson

Solaris Books, 432 pages

It is rare that I go into a book or movie blind. I often know a great deal of the plot or stuff about the author and while we like to tell ourselves that doesn’t effect how we read the book, the reality is it effects how we judge the book. In this day in age it’s also likely for me to have met or hung around the author at a convention or on a message board. I try to build my TBR pile based on principles of brief recommendations and respect for the author. In the case of John Shirley’s Wetbones (my favorite modern horror novel) a lack of pre-knowledge was crucial in my enjoyment.

So it was strange that The Dragons Nine Sons found it on my TBR. Complete chance that I was at the library looking for HellBlazer comics and stopped to look at the Sci-Fi new arrivals. The book looked so new and the lay-out sleek, so I picked it up. So I started to read the back and discovered that it took place on mars during an epic battle between the Chinese and Aztec empires sometime in the future.

Yep, you read that right. As a Kungfu movie and Science fiction geek this alternate timeline novel seemed perfect for me. In the detailed and researched back history of this novel Europe was beaten to global travel and China had only one other superpower to deal with Mexica. You get a interesting timeline as a bonus feature in the back of the book, that alone is a interesting read.

I’m not sure this novel is for everyone, but I would have to give it a big thumbs up. I found myself deeply involved as the plot unfolded, it became clear to me that Roberson was paying loving tribute by re-casting the dirty dozen (or Eastern condors) in his universe. The novel could be simply dismissed as Dirty Dozen in space, but this is not fair. That could be said about battle beyond the stars and Seven Samurai and still I think that is a perfectly respectable way to re-tell the new myths.

Roberson keeps the action moving, and the pages fly by. It has a really cinematic feel which is funny because Hollywood would never touch something like this. The characters area dynamic mix of good and bad you would expect from this story. The best testament I can give this novel was as they reached the objective of the suicide Mission I found myself wishing the characters to get out of danger, you see I wanted them back for sequels.

Was it flawless? No. Some of the flashbacks transitioned so clunky that it reminded me of 80’s sitcoms when the actors stare up and rub their chins as the image squiggled into a past episode. Those flashbacks gave me a little eye rolling but I suppose an argument could be made that it added to the cinematic nature of the piece.

This was a fantastic work of epic science fiction with an original setting that could be mined for many novels, at this point I intended to follow them. If I were Roberson’s agent I would be mailing copies of these books to Chinese publishers and production companies. I could see this as movie directed by Ringo Lam staring Andy Lau, and Simon Yam. Damn I want to see that movie. I hope some day it happens.

For a list of tales in this universe check out this page:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Talisman song online!

Photo is of me singing for my old band Stand Alone in 1990.

Talisman is a death metal project I did with my friend Rat. Vegan Straight Edge death metal in the vein of Day of suffering. We did one song in the mid 90's with some friends in Syracuse. Rat and I decided recently to keep the spirit alive. Check out.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Reviews: Sounds Like, Southland Tales

I’m on a roll with horror director Brad Anderson. If you’ve seen the Machinist and didn’t think it was that great then I know you didn’t seen it in the theater. It was an engrossing experience, bleak and horrifying on the big screen and I shocked when people evn argue that it is not a horror film.

I was excited when I saw that he had directed ‘Sounds Like’ an episode of the show The masters of horror. I have been mostly disappointed by these episodes outside of Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns, Coscarelli’s Lansdale adaptation and Dante’s Homecoming. Dante’s one was funny so I’m not sure that counts. Miike’s Imprint was disturbing but was ruined by the English language.

Anderson’s Sounds Like was the best offering yet, again he shows his skill at making the audience uncomfortable. It was a great little horror film,well acted, written, directed and like I said disturbing. A + for Brad Anderson can’t wait to see what he does next.

The other film we watched that same night was Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko follow-up “Southland Tales”. While this was being filmed there was a lot of geek buzz generated based on the cult status of his first film and the strange casting that included Justin Timberlake, The rock, Buffy, Connor Mccloud, Dan from Night Court and about half a dozen SNL veterans. This should have been a clue that Kelly was making a satire but the movie was released like a wet fart.

Not the film’s fault. It’s a strange hybrid destined to be misunderstood by most viewers and panned by critics who would object to it’s non-traditional pacing. Take one part Phillip K. Dick, one part David Lynch and a dash of Pink Floyd’s the wall and you have Southland Tales. Kelly manages to spin a Sci-Fi plot around a satire that manages to get a lot of targets. Left wing radicals, Right wing politicians, pop-culture of every kind and most of all the patriot act.

In an alternative 2007 the America that survived a dirty bomb attack is the home to a movie that manages to be interesting and boring at the same time. Everyone did a wonderful job expect maybe director Richard Kelly. Maybe the movie is brilliant and I don’t get it, but Kelly breaks every screen writing rule there is. This should be a good thing, original and inspired but if he didn’t have DD in his past this would be rejected everywhere.

Does that make it bad? No, But do I care about the characters? A few. Is the pacing there no, there are moments that drag, all that sad I going to give this movie a skeptical thumbs up. My biggest problem with this movie is my fear that Kelly’s career might be like a balloon. Donnie Darko filled it up with air and southland Tales may have popped it. Hope not.