Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Count Agranoff's Holiday Capitalism lite shopping guide

The worst part of the holiday season is the hyper-capitalism of Christmas. Personally I do give or receive gifts during the holidays, but over the last two years something weird happened. I have had books for sale, and honestly I really need people to think of my books (Vegan Revolution...With Zombies and Hunting The Moon Tribe by the
way) as gifts. So I started to think that while I want to promote these items are gifts I wanted to promote other products, stores and organizations that deserve our support.

Holiday capitalism sucks, but their are ways to get gifts more ethically. Non-profits, independent artists,Writers DIY musicians, and local vegan restaurants. It is all based on my opinions and taste but
I hope you find some ideas. I tried to focus on stuff you can do from anywhere online, but I admit this is focused on places in my own country not England and Europe.

Non-Profits: How about a shirt from a local or national farm sanctuary? How about a Sea Shepard Tote-bag? Merch from a non-profit is double gift because it supports the organization is a cool gift.
How about a donation. I would suggest out to pasture Sanctuary here in Portland or Peaceful Prairie in Colorado.

Gift card to a Vegan Restaurant: One the the best tools for vegan outreach( and helping animals) is a great 100% vegan restaurant. Here in Portland we have several that you can get gift cards for. Here in
town I suggest gift cards from Blosoming Lotus, Portabello, Red and Black cafe or Sip Juice cart. Sip is great because they sell amazing healthy green smoothies, they are health game changers so I think that is great gift. But if they hold on to it until summer if you don't want healthy because you can get a vegan milkshake at Sip.

Not in Portland? Try the Loving Hut who has locations in 15 states, or chains like Native Foods and Veggie Grill are growing. You can also use Happycow.net (Worldwide guide to veg- friendly eateries) to look up local restaurants in your area.

DIY Music labels: I'm talking real DIY as in one person doing the label our of they home. I am a Straight Edge hardcore kid so my only example is Kurt and Catalyst records, a label coming up on it's 20th anniversary. Don't like straight edge hardcore? That's ok Kurt makes really cool Meat is Murder shirts, Veganism is Compassion shirts. You can do a gift card if you have a friend who likes Catalyst stuff.

Cool stores and Vegan stores:
I want to highlight a couple cool stores who have really cool gifts or would be a great place to get gift certificates.

Food Fight: Portland's only entirely vegan grocery store is an amazing place. Run by activists this store collects all kinds of vegan odds and ends under one roof. From rare cheeses to candy bars, cool T-shirts and tote bags to Animal Rights books. We often get online and send friends and family care packages. (Yes this is the real store I wrote about in Vegan Revolution...With Zombies – it's real)

Herbivore clothing: Portland based(also in the vegan mini-mall) celebrates cruelty-free culture and fashion with all vegan belts, wallets, clothing, and accessories as well as the biggest collection of vegan cookbooks I've ever seen. Check out their shirts buy one for somebody you love. If you really love them get a hoodie.

Dark Delicacies :So for horror nerds I have a big treat for you. My favorite bookstore in the world is in LA. Dark Delicacies is the horror nerds paradise, the best selection of new and used horror fiction on the planet. They host signings all the time so you can also bet a number of the books are signed. They also sell horror shirts, posters, movies and much, much more. Come to think of it getting me a gift card to Dark Del is great idea. Really great.

Authors you should support. Buy these authors with your gift cards after the holidays or buy them for friends who like this type of thing. I'm a horror and bizarro fiction fan so I have listed some authors who are some of my favorites. Check them out! I also listed some other favorites. The quotes are from reviews on my blog. Now some of these authors are hard to find besides ordering on Amazon. I understand why supporting amazon is hard for some. If you feel that way write down the info of the book including the ISBN and your local bookstore should be able to order the books. Just realize that amazon pays out well to the independent artists. Amazon has also leveled the playing field making a situation where odd books (like say The Vegan Revolution...with Zombies could exist). So don't totally hate on Amazon.

Lisa Morton- three time Bram Stoker winning author and one of my favorite short story authors. On her first novel The Castle of Los Angles: "Lisa Morton takes a familiar riff, tuned slightly to her
pitch and the result is a near perfect traditional horror novel."

Jeremy C. Shipp - (A vegan author) On his novel Cursed: "A first rate surrealist who is assured enough in his craft to throw out the rules completely. It takes amazing skill to weave a horror tale the way he has without the benefit of a standard structure. Disturbing and funny all at the same time, this is a first rate piece of bizarro as literature."

Cody Goodfellow
- When in a short lived and entertaining writers group together in San Diego, but he has become one of my favorite authors. about his short story collection I said "More than Lovecraft on acid, this is Lovecraft after a smack bender in Tijuana, one where he wakes up handcuffed to bed and covered in someone else's blood. Goodfellow's fiction has the otherworldly-ness of Lovecraft, the sarcasm of Joe R. Lansdale, the mojo of a Motley Crue tell-all and best of all it's wrapped together with prose that would satisfy fans of high literature in horror.”

Gina Ranalli - She is vegan feminist horror and bizarro writer. Her range is crazy from dystopia satire (Motherpuncher), Wall of Kiss (absurdist humor) to straight horror. on her masterpiece House of
Fallen Trees. "HOFT shows mastery of pace and deep knowledge of genre that Gina has never had chance to show off in her many bizarro books. A Creepy story with strong characters and a little early
Stephen King influence."

Forrest Armstrong
- on His novel Deadheart Shelters: "A surreal novel filled with poetic prose that is disturbing and beautiful all at once. This story of an escaped slave is like a journey on a spiral staircase
into another world, Armstrong creates a surreal landscape that is vivid, and the prose itself has to be savored like fine chocolate that slowly melts in your mouth."

Edward R. Morris- Ed is one of the most genius weird fiction spinners currently spinning. I am in a local writers group with him, and we hope to write a novel together someday soon. On the first book of his Blackguard series (Fathers and Sons):"Morris is a gifted writer that never wastes a word. This brilliant work blurs the many sub-genres of speculative fiction in to a potent cocktail. A work of high literature that explores characters forced into the chaos of an all to possible future. A punk touch on a gritty style makes this novel a MUST-read. Portlanders take note this novel is very much about the rose city."

Isa Chandra Moskowitz- Giving a vegan cook book can encourage people to experiment, and easy has some of the best around. She is also opening a vegan restaurant in Nebraska. Her site www.theppk.com

Other great small press authors I enjoy include(sorry if I missed alot of you awesome authors)

Horror: Greg Gifune (Lord of Chaos),Bryon Morrigan (The Desert),David J. Bell (the Condemned),James Chambers (Resurrection House), Robert Devereaux (Slaughterhouse high),Peter Clines (Ex-Heroes), Garret Cook (Archelon Ranch), R.Fredrick Hamilton (Should Have Killed the Kid), James Newman (Midnight Rain), and Jason Brock(Bleeding Edge Anthology)

Bizarro: Carlton Mellick( The Faggiest Vampire), Cameron Piecre (Lost in Cat Brain Land), Mykle Hansen (Help a Bear is Eating Me), D.Harlan Wilson (Dr. Idenity), Bradley Sands (Rico Slade will fucking Kill You), Duncan Barlow (Supercell Anemia), Jeff Burk (Shatnerquake),
Douglas Lain (Fall Into Time), and Jordan Krall (Fistful of Feet),

Independent Press: and last is a list of a few of my favorite small, independent and DIY publishers.

Kurodahan Press: A Japanese press that does English language translations of Science Fiction and horror from Japan.
Swallowdown: Portland based DIY Horror Lit, Bizarro crime fiction.
Eraserhead: My publisher - totally DIY punk Lit, weird bizarro fiction, with Sci-fi (Forbidden Planet), YA (Spunk Goblin) and Horror Sub (Deadite) imprints.
Raw Dog Screaming: High class bizarro lit publisher.
Dark Regions: Great indie horror publisher.

Ok sounds good huh. Buy some cool stuff.

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