I just added a few pieces to the collection of completed works. Some are not new but I’ve recently tweaked the colors or mounted them on something. I added a bird to the fender of Satan’s car on the one called Hard Times for the Devil because I found a little fingerprint smudge in the varnish that I had not noticed before, and the little hell bird makes a nice tacky addition. Moose Malloy Seeks Velma is an old favorite that was originally made with art pens but I added a lot of acrylic highlights and I love it even more now. I’ve still got some unfinished pieces that I’ll add soon. I’m new to this online marketing stuff so if any viewers have any constructive comments, I would welcome them. Cheers
Monthly Archives: December 2010
I have a new short story called “Moral Hazard” in the new Texas anthology titled Lone Star Noir, which was published by Akashic in November this year. It’s a great collection of stories, featuring authors from all over the state, including, in addition to the previously mentioned me, Joe Lansdale, George Weir, the late James Crumley, Sarah Cortez, Tim Tingle, Claudia Smith, Ito Romo, Luis Alberto Urrea, David Corbett, Dean James, Milton Burton, Lisa Sandlin, Bill Crider, and Bobby Byrd. We did a number of book signings, and I played a few songs at most of them, in lieu of reading my story. I think the story I like best is the one by Bobby Byrd, who edited the anthology, with the help of his son, Johnny Byrd. I got to hear an excerpt from Bobby’s story, “The Dead Man’s Wife,” several times, and each time I liked it better. Bobby is one hell of a writer, a poet and essayist. He and Johnny are the publishers of El Paso-based Cinco Puntos Press.
We had a nice turnout at BookPeople here in Austin, and the signing at the Twig in San Antonio happened to coincide with a research trip I made there to look up the location of a topless go-go bar there from the early 1970s called “The Sidewinder A-Go-Go.” It’s not a real happening location right now, as you can see from the photo. Of all the Texas cities that have blighted sections, San Antonio seems to go the distance.
As you may know, Akashic has published quite a few books in its noir series, with settings ranging from Brooklyn to Haiti, Havana, Chicago, Istanbul, etc. So it’s nice they finally got around to Texas. It was a circuitous route, actually, because the first couple of editors who tackled the job for Akashic fell by the wayside for various reasons. I think we lucked out when the Byrds stepped forward to do it.
The book got some nice reviews, starting with Kirkus. OK, that one’s not exactly a rave, but Kirkus is an industry rag and it’s good to get even a lukewarm nod from them. The subtitle: “Noir and Texas link 14 previously unpublished stories—two first-rate, the rest not bad…”
If you ask me, the reviewer probably read two stories, skimmed a couple more, and turned in the review for the paycheck. How do I know? Let’s just say I know some book reviewers.
The Dallas review was better.
Noir fans love their stories dark and gritty. They relish harsh tales told from troubled viewpoints: crime victims, suspects, witnesses, serial killers.
Lone Star Noir’s 14 hard-boiled short stories take readers into life’s ragged edges, along grim roads that lead “to the tail end of everything,” to places where “a plain bare bulb swings overhead, casting a dizzying light,” and into the company of Texans who understand “guns and dope and greed and hatred and delusion … .”
Edited by Bobby Byrd and Johnny Byrd, co-publishers of El Paso-based Cinco Puntos Press, Lone Star Noir cuts the state into three regions: Gulf Coast Texas, Back Roads Texas and Big City Texas, each with its own sinister settings.
The stories are new, and most of the 15 writers have Texas roots or now live in the state that, in Bobby Byrd’s view, “bleeds noir fiction.”
A cautionary note: The raw language and murderous actions in Lone Star Noir definitely are not for the easily offended nor the faint of heart.
Noir fiction brings you face-to-face with people you likely would never want to be nor meet. It reminds how humanity’s darkest possibilities float just beneath everyday life’s thin surface.
In “Bottomed Out,” Dean James’ gruesome tale set in Dallas, a company’s German troubleshooter not only gets a manager fired but frames him for another employee’s murder.
In Lisa Sandlin’s short story, “Phelan’s First Case,” a rookie Beaumont private detective tries to solve a missing-person mystery in the gloomy Big Thicket. Meanwhile, another mystery that could get somebody killed is unfolding back at his office.
Jessica Powers’ narrative, “Preacher’s Kid,” takes the reader inside the mind of a West Texas preacher who tries and fails to stop his son from drinking and suddenly has to confront a much deeper and more painful truth about his family.
Akashic Books started its original noir anthology series in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Since then, about 40 story collections have been published, ranging from Chicago Noir to Paris Noir and Wall Street Noir. More are forthcoming, including Cape Cod Noir and Pittsburgh Noir.
According to Bobby Byrd, many people who have never been to Texas arrive here expecting to see J.R. Ewing or Larry McMurtry characters lurking behind every oil derrick and cattle herd.
“The real Texas,” he insists, “hides out in towns and cities like you’ll find in Lone Star Noir.”
Other solid reviews came in from Houston Houston, the Austin Statesman and the Austin Chronicle. The most intelligent and informed review by far, however, was by Joe Gross for the Austin Statesman. Joe points out that Jim Thompson spent his formative years here and wrote quote a few of his pulp fiction classics here, including “The Killer inside Me” and “Pop 1280.”
There were also a couple of good notices for my art show, “Colorful Women,” which opened on December 3rd at Yard Dog on South Congress Avenue here in Austin. Famous keyboardist and Austin resident Ian McLagan’s showing, “Painting from Pain,” opened the following week, which was nice, because it gave us both some extra exposure. Again, Joe Gross at the Statesman wrote it up nicely. See his story here.
I like the ending:
‘I have no pretensions of grandeur, but people seem to dig it,’ Sublett says. ‘People do seem to get my stuff, but occasionally I do get, “Why all the boobs?” I just love women. Not in a womanizing way, but I’m womankind’s biggest fan. I love the form. I’m sure I’ll move on at some point.’ (Note: It is impossible to tell if he is kidding.)
Like McLagan, he sees creative connections between music and drawing. ‘When you’re playing music, you don’t have to think. You get into that blank space grooving along,’ Sublett said. ‘I find it the same when I’m working on my pictures. When I just get into the line, it reminds me of just getting into a musical groove. You keep going and you don’t want to stop. You feel like you can’t do any wrong and something else is taking over and you want with that.
‘Then again,’ Sublett adds, “it might all be (expletive).”
You can see all the art from “Colorful Women” and much more at the Gallery/Store at this site. You can even buy some for your own.
I hope you have a great holiday and a great new year. It was a rough year, but you made a damn good finish. Keep fightin’, Big Daddy-O.
The President of the United States. His story is an embodiment of the American Dream. Despite a contentious and surreal year in which the bad guys came out with all their guns and money, I’m still thankful that’s he’s the leader of the so-called free world. Dark times may be around the corner, but I’m still optimistic and idealistic.
Anyway, Merry Christmas to the whole Obama family, from your favorite six-foot-two, left-wing bass playing crime fiction writing artist in Austin, Texas.
Well, the right wingers are outdoing themselves with even more foolishness than ever, but it’s the year end and it’s time for all the scum to float to the top. Maybe next year will surprise us and all these Tea Party kooks and 21st Century John Birchers will find a new hobby, anything other than trying to drag us back to the Stone Age, or the Civil War, or whatever their favorite playtime fantasy may be. And maybe Rick Perry, that secession-loving governor of the last place state of Texas, will get a buzz cut. Or a brain.
In the interim, I’m working on upgrading this site with a new art listing that includes not only prices for my art but where you can see it exhibited, and with much improved scans on this site.
Also I’ve been busy finishing up several big projects that kept me traveling and writing and playing for the whole year. The Waco book, titled “We Were Not Orphans: Stories from the Waco State Home,” will be published by UT Press in February 2011. I’m credited as “editor of oral histories,” which is close enough, though not nearly the whole story. Sherry Matthews, credited as author, shepherded this project, conceived it and fought for it and deserves the lion’s share of credit. Robert Draper contributed a forward. It’s one hell of a book. Keep an eye out for it.
The Lubbock book continues. This is my project with attorney Broadus Spivey. We’re now incorporating readers’ comments into the polished draft and hope to shop it to publishers in January 2011.
The Jesse Sublett anthology, titled “En Vie Un Noir (A Life in Noir)” will be published in France by 13e Note Editions May 2011. Looking forward to that one. The photo at the top of my blog was taken by Italian photographer Jean Luc Bertini for the book. Jean Luc has shot Norman Mailer, Jim Harrison, and many other great writers, too.
The “Lone Star Noir” anthology was published by Akashic in November 2011, and we got a number of good reviews from Austin, Houston, Dallas, etc. It’s a great collection. My story is called “Moral Hazard” and it’s a pretty good one, I think. Bargain price for so many good stories from so many really good Texas writers. Read the Kirkus review here. I think my favorite story is the one by Bobby Byrd, who also edited the collection. Bobby Byrd, you rock, daddy-o.
I want to thank everyone for coming out to the opening for my art show, “Colorful Women,” at Yard Dog on December 3. It was a great night.
Hope everyone out there who deserves it has a great Xmas & New Year. Even you naughty types.
That’s all the news for now. I’ll be back soon. Cheers.
The art opening at Yard Dog was fabulous and I am super thrilled that so many friends came out and said they loved my art. My “Colorful Women” show will be up for the next two weeks, which means you’ll have until about December 17 to get down there and have a look if you missed it last night. Be aware that these make dandy Xmas presents. Many of them are small enough (4″ x 6″ ) to make great stocking stuffers!
Prepare to have a “Psychotic Reaction” on LUCKY LOUNGE, THURSDAY DEC. 9
It’s early, it’s free, it’s sponsored by a brewery, and it’s garage rock tribute night, so what’s not to like??
I’ll be playing the middle slot between the SOULPHONICS and the UGLY BEATS, two great Austin bands, and the show is a MAL THURSDAY’S TEXAS TYME MACHINE production. Mal Thursday does great Texas garage rock podcasts which you should check out, seriously, and if this gig is a success, hopefully he’ll have a residency show at the Lucky Lounge, so come out if you feel like being at a cool gig with some great music during the hardy party season.
Check out this review of the new Ugly Beats CD, “Motor!” Check out Episode #30 of the Mal Thursday Show for a lengthy interview with the leader of the Skunks (which happens to be me) and lots of great music.
And a whole bunch of scans of my art can be found on my semi regular art blogs, but I really recommend seeing my Colorful Women in the flesh, so to speak, so head down to SoCo and check it out… as if anybody ever really needs a good excuse to go down South Congress these days…