Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Sat There Smugly Laughing at How Clever I Was When I Wrote the Intro For this Book

So my friend and sometimes collaborator Anne Elizabeth Moore asked me to write the forward to her next edition of The Manifesti of Radical Literature (MRL), which is going into its next printing. She will be celebrating its release at Quimby's Bookstore here in Chicago on Fri, Nov 12th at 7pm with Illegal Signs organizer Rami Tabello, to talk about a variety of (critiques/analysis of) culture jammingy topics. So here's some info about the event, Rami Tabello, Anne's work, and then I'll paste in my introduction I wrote for the book.

Canada’s Illegal Ad Vigilante Rami Tabello with Anne Elizabeth Moore

at Quimby’s on Fri, Nov 12th, 7pm

“We fight illegal advertising using the rule of law,” Rami Tabello says when asked to describe the Toronto organization he founded to fight criminal billboards, Illegal Signs. It’s funded through donations and Tabello’s gambling take—a crazy support system for a group that spends a lot of time scrutinizing city bylaws and calling in complaints to the proper authorities. Tabello’s been called both “a fearless advocate for public space” and “annoying” by Toronto city residents and elected officials. He’ll present his work fighting—and beating—corporate criminals at Quimby’s in Chicago, a city with a massive illegal advertising problem of its own.

Rami Tabello is presented by Chicago author Anne Elizabeth Moore on the occasion of the re-release of the underground hit The Manifesti of Radical Literature (MRL)Out of print for over a year, MRL is an anarchist style guide for cultural producers, with chapters on such foundational political acts as throwing away one’s dictionary, creating one’s own system of punctuation, and refusing to abide by the language imposed upon us by corporate entities. Also, it is funny and of a pleasing form and light heft, perfect for spiriting away in one’s back pocket for an evening of street stenciling or shopdropping. The expanded second edition, features a new Introduction and Afterword  and improved jokes. Moore’s Unmarketable received favorable reviews in Forbes, the LA TimesAdvertising Age, and the Guardian, and was called “an anti-corporate manifesto with a difference” by Mother Jones and “sharp and valuable muckraking” by Time Out New York.

Come hear about the work of Illegal Signs, pick up a copy of MRL, and meet Tabello and Moore at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 12. Quimby's Bookstore is at 1854 W. North Ave, Chicago, 773-342-0910.
For more info:

My Introduction For Anne Elizabeth Moore’s
The Manifesti of Radical Literature, 2nd edition

The bookstore I manage in Chicago is a well-known purveyor of radical reading material, a store known by many to be the finest of its sort in many counties. I have come to recommend a variety of texts for exploration into contemporary anarchistic thinking. The first on the list is consistently The Manifesti of Radical Literature, which serves as an illuminating primer for critical examination of institutions such as the media. But the book is also a call to arms. Besides my many years of experience in disseminating radical literature, I am also a longtime writer, editor, and publisher of the format of "underground newspaper" or "small print run periodical" that one would call a zine (that which one pronounces to rhyme with spleen). In my account of independent media publishing and selling at this Chicago-based bookstore entitled UnParkable: Zines, Books, and Comics In Chicago's Wicker Park (My Kitchen Table, 2008), I provide an in-depth analysis of revolutionary bookstore culture. As the foremost expert in the field of subversive publishing and distribution, I can declare that there is no better tract of insurrectionary scripture to instruct revolutionary change as The Manifesti of Radical Literature. Shelved in the section labeled Books By People Who Publish Zines and Then Also Some Other Types of Books About How Screwed Up the World Is, it often sells better than its shelf mates Got Any Gum? and Move Over a Little You're Hogging the Whole Damn Seat. The Manifesti of Radical Literature continues into its next edition, still as relevant as ever, after all these three years, offering strategies for liberating oneself from a worldview defined by corporate, governmental and mainstream media, aging better into the twenty-first century than other political criticism such as texts like Howard Zinn's A People's History of My Foot Smelling or Christopher Hitchens' I'm a Charming British Guy1. Moore's text exemplifies this genre of firebrand literature necessary to inspire progressive thinking. It continues to facilitate cultural enlightenment, doing so outside the perimeters of the masculine majority, coincidentally with an empowering feminist voice. There is no doubt that The Manifesti of Radical Literature will continue to inspire direct action with wit and wisdom. And footnotes.2

Liz Mason, 2010

1 Or Noam Chomsky’s You Gotta Fight For Your Right to Political Party or Edward Said’s controversial journalism on the political imperialism, exile, and identity of Palatine, Illinois.

2 Like this one.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Stayed Up All Night Making This For You

So to download a mix I made, here's a link to it. This includes preposterously unrelated songs, like "Combination Pizza Hut Taco Bell," a Britney Spears "Womanizer" reggae track I found on a mashup website, a Naked Raygun song, a hilarious Breakin II trailer Joe taped off the DVD, a snippet from the Buffy musical episode...And then I put together some songs that feel kinda same-ish of that Sonic Youth-y angle. I feel like I’m doing what I did when I was a kid, making weird mixes of things taped off various places. Except now that’s considered post-modern and if you’re good enough at composing entire songs of short samples you end up in The New York Times Magazine and your name is Girl Talk. I enjoyed that one he put out a few years ago but then when I listened to his albums before that I didn’t like them as much, and I realized those first few must have been the sort of “practicing” that leads up to something awesome. I feel like lost of artists, writers, producers -- people often do that with work in general, I think. The guy who made Pi, Darren Aronofsky, he said his movie The Fountain was the real movie he had always wanted to make, like all his movies beforehand were leading him to make The Fountain -- I can see how that would happen. And also, The Fountain, awesome. Just a wonderful, beautiful, haunting, profound movie.

And then there's people who spend their whole life writing their first album and maybe a few months or years on the second, and that's why there's the sophomore slump, because maybe the second one is not as good. Or at least I have heard that that's a thing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Good Character Deserves Their Own Imagining

I had a dream with Britney Spears last night, She was on a boat, and her two little boys were with her. I was watching them from really far away, and noticing how the boys were getting older. THAT'S FREAKY, I'm like an inadvertant stalker. Also part of my dream last night was that I was both in and watching and commentating on a new Matrix movie. The only original people left in it were Keanu Reeves and someone else who I don't remember who it was. The agent was supposed to be in it but it wasn't the original guy, whatever his name is, the guy who played the main agent one, the guy who was an elf or whatever in the Lord of the Rings movie. What is this saying about me? Anyway, the agent was supposed to be him but in a different body. Didn't they do that for real between the first and the second Matric movie with the Oracle because the original died? I would love for there to be a movie on just the Oracle, even the second one, because she was just as good as the first and also perfectly imitated the tone etc of the first one. Sometimes I enjoy a particular character in something, a character who has a smaller part, but I want a whole thing about them. I can think of a couple off the top of my head: so the Oracle in the Matrix, Whoopie Goldberg's Guinin (sp?) in ST: The Next Generation, and Madame President in the reimagined Battlestar Gallactica. I bet I could think of more.

But then if you do that, do something based on that spinoff character you run the risk of diluting it to something less awesome. Spin-off TV hows are guilty of this often, although I hesitate to use those as examples to illustrate my point because I hardly think Frasier from Cheers or Kramer from Seinfeld are examples that I would want to watch for any length of time, even for a half a second.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tracking Britney's Brand

I have quite the fascination with Britney Spears, but not just with her personally. I am also fascinated with all the marketing around her. What makes me different than a lot of people who write about her is that I am actually a fan. Lots of people who write about her, especially from an academic angle, usually do so from the angle of her being somehow symbolic of the dumbing down of culture, how she represents things like superficiality, objectifying of women and youth, bla bla bla. I'm not saying I disagree with any, none or all of these arguments, but I will say that I am a fan, and I don't write about her from a perspective of maliciousness. Also, I have enjoyed each of her albums, some more so than others. I especially like her last 2 albums Blackout and Circus. And I do actually own the Britney Spears Barbie.

After a fascinating interview with award-winning filmmaker and lecturer Judy Hoffman, director of a documentary starring Britney Spears' called Stages: 3 Days In Mexico, I've been trying to find the executive producer of the film, Jim Forni. He ran NVU Productions, a celebrity-brand marketing services firm, who approached Judy Hoffman to do a Britney Spears documentary. I am interested in talking to him about the movie, since he might be the one who has the deleted scenes. So what the movie is, it's this hour long behind-the-scenes look at the end of Britney's Dream Within a Dream Tour in 2002, when she was turning 21. It's an oversized book but then it has the DVD of the documentary in the back. The idea was that she wanted something to give to her fans. As a birthday present I guess. (Is that like bringing your own treats on your birthday to school? How cute!)

Just to give you a feeling for how deep the branding goes, here's something I stumbled onto for everyone to see on the internet:

NVU Productions On Tour With Britney Spears; Creative and Brand Management Work Showcased. | Company Activities & Management > Product Management from

Forni's company NVU ran Britney's webdesign for a while, but now is run by a different company called BrandcastingUnlimited, which if you go to that website it will blow your mind because the only thing on the screen is this sort of almost dystopian Brave New World Big Brother Is Watching thing, all cryptic, where to even get any info at all you have to fill out this form, where you sort of almost have to apply first. Maybe they try to make people circumlocuate to get into their mainframe so that nobody hacks into "the architect" bla bla bla. As if we're really going to find out that there is no Britney, and there's just some robot, etc. etc. etc., which is probably what some peoples think already about Britney Spears now anyway, at least MEAN PEOPLE do. Here's screenshot to show you what I mean, and this is the only thing on their site for us proles who merely land on their home page, with no other links whatsoever:

I would love to chat with Forni about him running her site and her design, etc. I wonder if his company was running when Brit's website was strangely, well, less censored would be the best way to describe it? It looked like the picture below for a while, during some of her more troubled times a few years ago. Her main site (or sites, she's got more than one, as you might imagine) looks all slick again now, but I remember when it looked like this:

The juxtaposition of the "Down Boy" and then "Integrity" and then "Dignity" -- I have a whole mess of thoughts on that one that you probably do too. Anyway, I think that was up on her site right before Blackout came out. So I guess non of those made the cut. Did I vote? No, I did not.

Just as a sidetone: I am reminded of an ironic line in her song Circus which is "I'm runnin' this like a circus" which is interesting because it's almost like she's not really running it herself because of her contractual tour obligations to record companies (as Steve Dennis wrote about in his book Inside the Dream: Britney The Biography) and her father is actually co-conservator of her estate and most major decisions. In the book I just mentioned, a thorough yet compassionate overview of Brit's life, the author postulates that Brit's dad who was an alcoholic while Brit was growing up, is actually stepping into the father role that he neglected while Britney was growing up. I myself speculate that maybe it's good to have someone in your life who can help you make those type of decisions.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Always Get the Details Wrong

I just finished reading Kurt Loder's Bat Chain Puller. It kind of takes me forever to get through any book really because I have stacks all over the house, so I tend to read whatever is randomly at my fingertips wherever I am. A lot of reading I do at the kitchen table but that's usually magazines and newspapers, because I don't want to get food on my books. It's funny that I would be so particular about that considering I'm really hard on my books. I fold them this way and that, maneuver them into weird positions if I'm reading laying down on my side, and sometimes I even mark them up. In fact, often when I lend a book to somebody I forget entirely and then when they present it back to me, I'm often like "You can keep it or pass it along to someone else." It's just that there are so many books in the world that I want to get to it's rare that I would want to read the same book twice. There are few books I will go back to, unless it's for research or something. Let me see, what books have I read more than once? OK, so Fargo Rock City. Jane Eyre. The Tao of Pooh. Any of the HH's Guide to the Galaxy books. And I kind of do the same thing with movies; like it's rare that I'd see something more than once, which is why I prefer renting or Netflixing or whatever instead of buying DVDs. In terms of movies, a lot of it depends on what Joe (my husband) will be watching that he has on while I'm doing something else and I get pulled in to watching because he watches things more than once, and for me, it's like Hey, moving pictures!

Anyway, this version of Bat Chain Puller was all fucked up because the cover was bound to the book upside-down so every time I opened the book I was all disconcerted and felt like it was the first time I ever read manga or something, all like Hey! It starts at the opposite cover! Or like maybe I was reading some Hebraic text or whatever. It was an interesting book, published in 2002. For some reason I had gotten it into my head that Kurt Loder died. I don't know where I learned that. He did in fact, not die. Where do I get my information? He's like, in his 60s and still writes about culture...Oh! Wait! Call off the dogs! I just did a little web research and it was Ken Ober, the host of Remote Control that died! How could I possibly have confused the two? Ober was the host on Remote Control, the game show on MTV. And they found him dead in his home at the age of 52. Undisclosed causes. Which we all know what that means. Attacked by killer wiener dogs eating cheesecake.

OK! So the book. Some delightfully salacious yet informative with the journalistic slant as one would expect from someone who writes about music for a variety of publications and websites. Poor Kurt Loder! He's a smart writer and I wonder if maybe people judge him for his involvement with MTV.

Anyway, there were a few pieces that I found particularly entertaining, like the Don Johnson one. I don't think it was supposed to be funny but I think maybe looking back at it (that particular piece was written in 1986) some of it seems ludicrous. Like listening to Don Johnson talk (notice how every time I refer to him I can't just say "Don," I have to say, "Don Johnson") about his experience making his music while his Miami Vice co-star Philip Michael "Tubbs" Thomas' reggae-ish album (Living the Book of My Life) flopped. Don Johnson had more than one album! Did you know that? I didn't know that. And he also has a suite of offices (or at least he did in 1986) devoted to making him famous, run by women that he called his Hen Squad. And Keitch Richards! There was a piece about him too. Surprisingly articulate, I must say. I didn't expect that! And! There was a piece about Cyndi Lauper which was interesting because I had just listened to a Celebrity I-Tunes Podcast with her (now that's another whole topic, that podcast!). She seemed much less Brooklyn-y She's So Unusual-ish, and mature. Wasn't she on MTV's The Surreal Life though? Isn't that pretty much admitting defeat when you go on one of those shows? Like you're admitting that you're a "washed up" star? (What does "washed up" really mean though?) I guess you're pretty much admitting that your career is over when you go onto one of those shows, no? I feel bad for Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Gos 'cause she went on it. No Joan of Arc no! Come back to us! With your sexy fetish gear and all! And you're being all cute and like a smart Winona Ryder! Come back, come back!

Anyway, so Cyndi Lauper. I-Tunes podcast and piece in this book. So on the podcast she was all talking about all the research she did for her newest album, which is like this blues album. And she had a lot to say about who she talked to, records she bought, her vision of what she wanted with each of the songs. She goes to record stores and still buys vinyl because she likes the way it feels. Like so much smarter than all the other celebrity podcasts, and much longer, because she had a lot to say. That Cyndi Lauper, I admire her smart and goofy. She's older and smarter now. Do you think she regrets having gone on that show? Wait a minute. It might not have been The Surreal Life she was on but the Apprentice. Oops. Or maybe both? I have noticed that some people, celebrity or not, are reality show horrors. They'll go on any reality show. I myself have been part of 2 already. One was Starting Over which I wrote about in my zine (so does this admit my career is over? What career? I made one appearance, and when I talk about going on a reality show is admitting your career is over, I was specifically talking about celebrities, not um, me). The other reality show experience was that the cinematographer from our wedding was a former Wild Chicago host and he asked us if he could use some of our wedding footage on some show like America's Craziest Weddings or something like that. (Sidenote: One time he had some offer from some other show, like America's Worst Weddings for some footage from our wedding. And we turned that down. Then they offered us $100. And I still said no. They could have offered us a million dollars and I think I would still turn that down. Well. Maybe a million dollars...No! I would still turn that down.)

Anyway, good book. I skipped the Sean Connery piece though. He's boring.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hot Topic Britney Apparel

Ugliest Britney Spears merch ever, Hot Topic! You should totally stick to what you're good at: goth tutus and albums of pop punk bands covering 80s songs!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gun Moll Gangster Britney Spears Halloween Costume on eBay

I have found my Halloween costume! I thought for sure I was going to buy a bunch of Candie's By Britney Spears clothes at Kohl's and then use a sampler to take snippets of what she says on her on-line trailers for it ("I love this outfit!" "You want a piece of me?" etc.). But this beats everything: Gun Moll Gangster Britney Spears Halloween Costume 8-10 - eBay (item 140466826270 end time Oct-21-10 19:57:02 PDT)

Why is a little girl wearing this?!

I'm assuming it's supposed to be Brit's outfit from the "Me Against the Music" video, which somebody did a weirdo picture of that I pulled from Google Images, which is this:

I have seen some other kinda Britney-ish Halloween stuff out there, and also on her official website they now have a thing where they show something she's worn for a performance or a video and then they list everything she was wearing and where you can get it (Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, etc,).

Also, today I met with the director Judy Hoffman, who directed the documentary of Britney called "Stages: 3 Day In Mexico." She showed me stuff from the time she was filming. She had all these laminated backstage passes, that sometimes they would change the passes so that it might be a different one everyday. I met with Judy a few weeks ago and paid one of those transcription services to transcribe the first interview and that process is expensive. It's like $1.75 per minute. I need an intern. Or a grant. Or a rich patron to fund me. Well, I guess I shouldn't complain because some really wndeful people already crowd funded my Britney Spears 101 project that I was all set to go to print but then Britney-related stuff kept happening and then the next thing I know it's going on a million months past the date that the thing should have been out by now but then awesome Britney stuff keeps happening, like she put out the Candie's clothing line, then I met this director --  if I don't get this zine/book out soon and get I'm afraid everybody will think I took their money and skipped town. AND! I can't believe I didn't do this when her Circus tour came to Chicago; Britney Spears Parking Lot!! Why the fuck did I not go down to the parking lot and interview and take pictures of people and do the fucking Heavy Metal Parking Lot treatment? I didn't think of it until when I walked into the TV room and Joe was watching that?! I'm kicking myself.

Names For The Cats

I am constantly coming up with new names for the cats, and periodically when the Post-It on the fridge gets full I have to go document them somewhere. In the past I've done it in issues of Caboose, but this seems like a good place to put them for now. We have 2 black cats from the same litter. They're like 9 years old or so, one male, one female. The male is uh, a portlier gentleman named Tamago. His sister is more slender. Her name is Oshinko. I highly doubt they know that those are their real names since we rarely ever use those names. Sometimes the following names are interchangeable, and sometimes they're not. All you really need to know is that you can usually figure out which names are for which cat by that information. Actually, like anybody really cares which of them goes by which name? The important thing is that I think they're clever and/or funny. The fact that any of these names get used at all is ludicrous. But I love them all. In fact, right at this moment, Joe and Tamago are meowing at each other, except Joe's meow is "I love you" and then Tamago meows back. They're having what I call a "love off." I think John and Yoko should have had that instead of a love in, which sounds less exciting. And I much prefer the hair of my cats than the hair of John Lennon.

Pounce de Leon
Mr. Squeakypants
Silly Goose
Fat Man
Little Man
Prom Date
Silly Goosta
Chunky Charlie
Chicken Leg
Floppy Jaloppy
Ed Rooney Bible Institute (He's a Righteous Dude)
Spike Lee Joint Checking Account
Captain Fatapuss
Captain Fatypuss
The Sensual Santa
Mr. Pudge
Chunk & Chunk Incorporated
Big Man Funnybelly
Cousin Chunky
"I Am J. Wellington Whimpy, And I Suggest We All Have a Hamburger On the House."
Wilfred Brimly
Little Pillow
Mr. Kitty
Doody Platter
Rolo Cholo
Dark Mister
Little Chum
Toucan of Kitty
Count Fatula
Tawny Kit-TEN
Tootsie Starring Dustin Hoffman
No Pudge
Lil' Pudge
Plus Pudge
Pudge XL
XL Pudge
Pudgin' In the Corner
Little Porpoise
Pelican Nuzzlin'

Reviewing this list makes me realize that really, I'm just into naming things. Almost all of these could be band names.

Friday, October 15, 2010

13 Coffees In 18 Days Is Not That Much

So?! Is all I have to say. I drink at least 3 cups of coffee a day. In fact, I am such a caffeine hound that I can drink cold coffee left in the coffee maker left over from hours before, and then on my way to work stop at any number of three (3) coffee places surrounding where I work. Sometimes I get a red eye (or eye opener, as some places call it) that has espresso in the coffee. And then I'll even drink caffeinated diet soda and coffee in the same meal. So 13 drinks over 18 days is not that much. So there, Mirror UK. Get stuffed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pug Party

Today I went to the Pug Party at Vella's at Clybourne and Courtland. Such little cuties. My favorite was when I got some footage of 3 dogs standing next to each other with their tongues out making tons of noise. And then also I love talking to pug owners because they're really into the breed. And they dress up their doggies too, in funny outfits. I saw a pug lobster, a pug leprechaun, 2 pug inmates, and varying degrees of things that make their dogs look like hookers. One day I will get a pug. Fawn or black? I don't know. 27 of each! I'm still loading them up to my Flickr site, but some of them are here.

If I had a pug, I would order this item for it:

Britney Spears has 2 dogs I think. One is named London (perhaps named after where her maternal grandmother was raised?) and one named Bit Bit. Or something like that.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Britney Spears new Tattoo: Three butterflies on neck - National Celebrity Headlines |

I hear also that Britney's "emancipation" from under the conservatorship of her father is coming up. Perhaps the butterfly thing is supposed to symbolize that? She's got this thing about butterflies. For one, here's an image that's part of the "Britney Jean Spears Dingbats " font that I think is the letter N, and I think this is a tattoo she already has:

I find this interesting. They haven't posted a picture of her new tattoo yet.