Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Special Thanks (no. 2)

October always marks a season of change. This time around proves no exception, and we welcome it openly: the new, the unusual, the unexpected.

We recently contacted artist Josh Pearson about showcasing his book, Alphabhetto, a beautifully-illustrated tome featuring a colorful alphabet of creatures and objects. In the process, we discovered Josh's manifold talents extend into design, fabrication and installation as Creative Director of Creative Arts Unlimited Inc.

A book-maker who also builds traveling exhibits? The synchronicity was almost too perfect.

One look at the bus, and Josh was bursting with great ideas for fixtures and displays. He took us in a surprising direction, recommending autopoles for the interior -- a sort of vertical tension rod system that supports a variety of presentation pieces.

A few weeks later, Josh and brother Mike Pearson (Creative Arts' Installation Captain) laid in the first set of Bluebird shelves.

How did we become so lucky in our friends? These two join a long list of supporters who have donated time, effort and expertise to the Bluebird Books project. Their thorough attention to detail made for a stable and attractive installation. Our gratitude is nigh-inexpressible.

Get your first peek at the shelves (and what's stocked on them) when we go on the road in mid-November to support our upcoming Kickstarter campaign. Follow us on Twitter for breaking news on where Bluebird will soon be perched.

Stay tuned for further news, as the wheels keep turning.

Annotations (no. 1)

"Camus wrote like a man who had just finished a large dinner of steak and french fries, salad, and had topped it with a bottle of good French wine. Humanity may have been suffering but not him. A wise man, perhaps, but Henry preferred somebody who screamed when they burned."

(Charles Bukowski, Hot Water Music, 1983 Black Sparrow Press)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hot Stacks

It was a fruitful evening at my secret new book-hunting spot. There wasn't much time to shop, but something drew me in for a quickie, an irresistible magnetic pull toward a 15-minute grab-and-go with the headphones on. Not surprisingly, most of the fruit landing in my heavy-handed basket turned out to be of a plump and juicy variety. Tonight's reading list follows the photograph.

Treasures laid carefully in a crate, I flew off to meet a lady. In dim light we pulled off these waxy, paper leaves. They fluttered to the floor like careless-shed clothes. Tape peeled up slowly to reveal a smooth blue skin beneath. She asked if she could touch it.

Yes, of course.

Joyce Carol Oates (2001, The Ecco Press)
The prolific author-poet spins tales of transgression with her usual chilling understatement and precision.

Couplings and Groupings
Megan Terry (1972, Pantheon Books)
These interviews conducted in the early 1970s delve into the changing nature of modern relationships, monogamy and sex roles.

Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes
John Pierson (1995, Hyperion)
A revealing look at a decade of independent cinema (mid-1980s to '90s) penned by a risk-taking insider.

C'est comme ca
Jean-Paul Valette and Rebecca M. Valette (1978, D.C. Heath and Company)
It's a French textbook with pop illustrations. French is the hottest of the romance languages. Hands down.

The Book of Aphrodesiacs
Dr. Raymond Stark (1980, Stein and Day)
Potency, enhancement, contraception, fertility ... Dr. Stark explores sex from the herbalist perspective in this concise encyclopedic-style index. Incidentally, the good doctor also penned The Psychedelic's Handbook.

perv, a love story
Jerry Stahl (1999, William Morrow and Company)
The Permanent Midnight author follows his gritty memoir with this nakedly wicked young outsider story, getting props on the dust jacket from Mark Mothersbaugh, Lydia Lunch, and Hubert Selby, Jr. If a book makes Selby laugh, you know it's twisted.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Required Reading (no. 4)

Good things are happening. Weird things are happening. 
Things are happening.

Last Friday, we attended Book As Art: Beyond The Limits, an exhibition at MOSI advancing the book as a contemporary art form, sponsored by the inspirational USF-SOLIS (Student Organization of Library Information Science) under guidance of Cleo Moore

Attendance felt mandatory after reading this compelling sentence on their press release: 
"If you are inspired in any way by the physical presence of the book, as a vehicle for transmitting information, as a personal object or as a multiplicity of ideas, you will no doubt be moved by the visual power of word and image presented."

Vehicle, you say?

The show presented book illustrations, text collage, poetry and various paper works, fabric arts and deconstructed / reconstructed books. Plus a book sale (extreme restraint was exercised), banned book readings (cool) and adorable craft table. After careful observation, we can report that alphabet stamps do consistently appear to cause smiles.

In the gallery area, we were instantly lured in by Claudia Ryan's haunting, circular litany "I am a secret," a prose poem printed on simple white wall panels. But Sabrina Hughes' "Stories in Black and White" revealed a surprise with multifaceted charm. 

Each cross-stitched square, meticulously executed and pinned to the wall, was wrought into a QR code -- those blotchy, smart-phone-scan-able barcodes you see cropping up everywhere. Scan these tiny wall tapestries, and your digital device registers a simple line of text: the first line from a famous book. The resulting clever blend of media -- tediously handmade object providing instant delivery of information -- seemed an appropriate statement in the conversation about the future of words in a digital world.

We look forward to talking with the SOLIS folks again soon.
And also cannot stop looking at this art, captured on a quiet night in Ybor City.
The owls are not what they seem: