Let It Bleed by Nicole Nesca

UNDERGROUND RIFFS PART TWO
A Review by New Pop Lit

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“–throwing my arms around the world, Buddha, Christ and anyone else who has an ideology a purpose and a yarn and a barn to sell twisting into shapes and people and things wandering and wondering into the shadows of the new day–“

THIS is the second publication we’re reviewing from Screamin’ Skull Press. There’s more reality, more humanity, in the two modest volumes than in scores of books of conglomerate-produced “literary” works.

“I think of all the books I want to read and that I want to write. I think of all the original music in my head and the paintings I have yet to create.”

This comes at the end of one of Nicole Nesca‘s prose poems. It’s the credo of the writer. Of any artist.

LET IT BLEED is a writer bleeding emotion, history, and imagination onto the page. Nicole does this in chapter after chapter, a many-hued mix of poetry, prose and stories bleeding into one another, sublimated to her intelligence and her voice. It’s appropriate for Nesca to mention paintings– these are word paintings. When you read them you see the emotion– the artistic blood– dripping from the sentences, as if she opened a vein and out flowed creativity.

“I raze myself every couple of weeks to allow the pain, the happiness and the beauty of life to melt into a pot to ponder to create to sell to be as the gentle reminder that one day I too will be old and unable to do things that foolish people do my eyes sting–“

Paintings set to rhythm, combining all things words are able to be:
-Be visual. These works are visual.
-Be musical. The words flow rhythmically into the ear like a cool jazz cadence.
-Be real. They’re real. Hyperreal.

Do we have a favorite from this collection? Yes! “Absinthe,” and “Johnny,” and “What would Hemingway say?” and “Nephew,” and “Should we all ‘let it be’?” and “Red, White and Very Blue,” and. . . .

Reading this slim volume is like late night listening to a just-released album of new jazz or new rock, discovering that writing can still come alive, be direct, be relevant, be today.
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Check out their site here. An exciting lit happening.

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(Photo of Nicole Nesca.)

 

 

 

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Last Stop to Saskatoon by Tony Nesca

UNDERGROUND RIFFS PART ONE
A Review by New Pop Lit

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“my radio playing 1970’s rock and roll on
rain-soaked afternoon
with my bottle of Rye
ice rattling in the glass
blue smoke thick in the room
and the airwaves carrying thoughts of
death and internet madness”

OCCASIONALLY we receive DIY zines or books and are pulled against our will back to our underground roots.

Bonfire

LAST STOP TO SASKATOON is a 2018 “Howl” at a time with reasons for howling. Maybe the only response to the crazy chaotic age, when we’re bombarded with crisis 24/7 by media, is to find, as Tony Nesca does, an outlet in art. A time for crafting fiery words and making combustible art. Many are doing it outside the gaze of the “Big 5” New York-centered conglomerate publishing scene. Outside, beneath, and behind the machine.

“in the name of freedom hunting all that
speak slurred thoughts of
nothing voices in the
barroom living-space and
in Italy they drink espresso at night
and dance the morning till noon skip
dreary workday on the sand
spread-eagled happy”

It’s in such writings that you find today’s reality. Where you find true voices full of pain and outcry, of naked humanity.

Nesca is part of Screamin’ Skull Press, a two-person indie publishing project cranking out slim books of such words. Check out their website here, order a few of their books, find out what’s happening. (We’ll be reviewing another of theirs next week.)

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(Photo of Tony Nesca.)

Interview with a Filmmaker

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TODAY we feature an interview with movie maker Pat O’Sullivan, best known for his 2012 film Space Werewolf. O’Sullivan has been getting buzz for his upcoming project, the film version of the Kitty Glitter book Jason vs. Katy Perry. We reviewed the oeuvre of Kitty Glitter in our previous post.  Now, a movie version of one of K.G.’s books! The world of art moves quickly.
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NEW POP LIT:  “How long have you been making movies?”

PAT O’SULLIVAN:  “I’ve been making movies on VHS and 16mm as far back as the 90’s. I took a break for about ten years to play in several bands around Chicago, and then got back into film a little over five years ago when digital cameras became more prevalent. I never stopped writing though. I was still writing screenplays and writing about movies for CHUD.com.”

NPL:  “Who’s you favorite all-time movie director?”

PAT:  “Favorite all-time director? Alex Cox is definitely towards the top of that list. I love the ‘anything can happen’ style of Repo Man and Straight to Hell. Coming up in the 90’s though it’s hard not to feel like you owe a debt to the likes of Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino as well. For the sake of argument let’s just go with Alex Cox for now.”

NPL:  “How did you hear about Kitty Glitter?

PAT:  “Random ad on Twitter. I had no idea who they actually were when I optioned the rights to Jason vs Katy Perry. That’s the beauty of the internet. You read someone’s Literotica story and it can be Stephen King using a pen name for all you know. It’s wild. So many of us artists are so concerned with pushing our own ‘brand’ we don’t realize the power and freedom in the anonymity of it.”

NPL:  “Why does the world need the film Jason vs. Katy Perry?”

PAT:  “I don’t think any of us are pompous enough to think the world needs this film. Simply put, it does not. I do know that there’s value in telling stories and making people laugh, taking people on a journey. This film is a very, very unique vision, one I’m lucky enough to merely be the conduit of. Is Jason vs Katy Perry a summoning song for cultural entropy? A message to the kids to kill your idols? An excuse to watch attractive women run around the woods topless and covered in blood? It’s all these things and none of these things. It’s just this anomaly that exists, that some nutball wrote it and an even bigger nutball came along and said ‘Let’s make a movie out of it.'”
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Pat O'Sullivan

(Photo of Pat O’Sullivan.)

Kitty Glitter: Pop Writer

(ADULT CONTENT INCLUDED.)

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A Review by Karl Wenclas

There are many kinds of pop writing, among them Noir Pop, Fun Pop, Romantic Pop, Trash Pop, Speed Pop, and Beat Pop. There’s also Extreme Pop (a variation of Trash Pop) of which the master is a mysterious individual named Kitty Glitter who’s been making waves across the internet. (See this interview at Jezebel magazine.) Obtaining fans but also receiving some of the worst (and best) ratings and most outraged reader comments ever seen at Amazon.

We’re not advocates of Extreme Pop, but we are extreme advocates of Pop writing. Kitty Glitter’s version of it is striking. Not the writing so much as the presentation of the writing– and the promotion of the presentation. Warholesque. As with Andy Warhol, the P.T. Barnum promotion itself is the art.

Is this person on to something? Satirizing American pop culture icons from Katy Perry to Star Trek– yet at the same time celebrating them. Everything about the Kitty Glitter oeuvre catches the pop culture vibe. Each of us could present our own examples to celebrate. To me, the essence of pop culture is Joan Jett and The Runaways singing “Cherry Bomb.” Kitty Glitter is out to capture that essence.

the wetclits colorThe show is outrageous. The breaking of all bounds, tastes, identities, trademarks, copyrights– pushing the limits of speech– so all that’s left is a love of cheezy pop culture. The public’s love of it.

I’ve read a draft version of Kitty’s upcoming e-book novel The Wet Clits, which may have already been released. The Kitty Glitter books are being produced fast and furiously, perhaps to feed the burgeoning public demand for them.
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His name was Pussy Burner and he rolled up onto the scene on a motorcycle that was burning fuel like it was Hell.

Clitney was the first to notice him. She noticed his hot body and giant muscles. She noticed the Judge Dredd helmet he wore that covered the top part of his face, a helmet with an insignia that looked like a twat with a swastika cut into it.

***
There’s a line between outrageousness and offensiveness. Does Kitty Glitter cross it?
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“Arr!” Monster of Frankenstein said, “I am the most famous story ever, but to be real, monster is your friend. Please take care of yourself and start making music again.”

“Whatevs,” Clitney said, “I can’t make music without a band.”

“Use four track!” Monster of Frankenstein said as he used his giant green fists to smash Clitney’s TV to pieces.

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Much of it is impossibly silly.
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“I’m not scared of you,” Green Kitty said as he pulled out a switchblade, “I’m gonna cut your butt off for what you did to my sister.”

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We at New Pop Lit believe, Elon Musk style, in breaking down literature into its constituent parts and putting them back together in a new way. Kitty Glitter has some of the Pop elements down– simplicity; superficiality; humor; cliche’. But the Glitzter also makes aesthetic mistakes. More plot hooks, more consistent and defined characters might correct them.

Then again, critiquing the writing is beside the point.

The writing has flair. Amid the omnipresent obscenity, Pop flair. In a crude sense, even style.

Wayward experiment or glimpse at the literary future?

PEE

(Possible upcoming Kitty Glitter book.)

 

Miserable Adventure Stories by Alex Bernstein

A Review by New Pop Lit

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“Fleeing from an Earth overrun by personal fitness trainers, Mark Savage and his pal, Dani, wander the stars in their two-person rocket, Charlemagne! Their destination: Somewhere Other Than Earth!
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POP FICTION– that long overlooked entity, has been making a comeback. Overlooked for decades with the dominance of writing programs scorning pop stories while presuming only the “literary” is acceptable– never consulting the end result of their training: the reader. Pop is making a comeback with the rise of DIY and micropress publishing. Under new rules with fewer gatekeepers, or new ones, the first necessity for writing is to compete.

WHAT’S a pop story?

In the tradition of O. Henry, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Zane Grey, a pop story can be humorous, heartwarming, romantic, involving, exciting, or simply entertaining. Or all of these things.

MISERABLE ADVENTURE STORIES is a variegated collection of pop fiction by one of the best practitioners of the pop story, Alex Bernstein. Three of the stories aren’t miserable, they’re masterful. (One has appeared at our site.) Masterful examples of the pop genre. We won’t tell you which ones they are. You’ll have to discover that yourself.

The other pieces are a mixed lot, ranging from groan-style bad jokes, to hyper-imaginative bizarro sci-fi scenarios, to laugh-out-loud good jokes, such as “Hamlet (Epilogue).” The commonality: They’re all entertaining.

Interested in reading as reading? Buy this publication!

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Miserable Adventure Stories is available here.

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(A photo of Alex Bernstein.)

Debudaderrah by Robin Wyatt Dunn

A Review by New Pop Lit

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“Come with me, brother, as we descend from Orbit onto Debudaderrah, that second and better Earth–“

What is this? A sci-fi novel? A poem? A dream? An “anarchic government of the mind,” to use a phrase from the book?

DEBUDADERRAH is about a journey to what might be a planet in a distant point of the universe- or a place in the narrator’s head. Speculative fiction at its most speculative, using former modes of sci-fi plotting as a foundation for wanderings literary and physical. As always with work by Robin Dunn, at the base of it all is his home city.

“What is a city like Los Angeles but another planet–“

Robin Dunn is one of the most talented writers in America– yes, for sheer imagination and wordplay– akin to a musical virtuoso who can play any genre, any style, jazz to blues to boogie to Debussy and Chopin. The trick for someone with the kind of ability which seems to come easy is harnessing it. Focusing the talent to sharpen the effect.

Dunn creates effects. Little literary explosions of insights on where we’re headed as a species and a civilization. Or where we exist, on a line between the illusion of material existence and the imaginations of the brain. The mind merging with robots– or with the universe.

“My name is Roberto, come from a planet called Earth, but this is not true. I am an alien, come from another dimension. And a robot, made by you–“

The novel-poem Debudaderrah is a puzzle. It’s not up to me, the reviewer, but you, the reader, to solve it. The key to the conundrum is in this sentence from the book:

“Picasso can occupy ten-dimensional spaces and so can I.”

Dunn has created the literary version of a Picasso painting, of several depths and dimensions, asking the reader to jump into it. To take the poetic trip. Every reader will find there a different experience.

***

Debudaderrah is available at several outlets, including here.

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(Photo of Robin Wyatt Dunn.)

Temporium by Kelly Cherry

A Review by New Pop Lit

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“First on the agenda today is the topic of mystery.”

This is how award-winning writer Kelly Cherry opens her collection of Fictions, Temporium: Before the Beginning to After the End.

The theme of the book is the mystery of time. Cherry takes on a subject more appropriate for a physicist or philosopher than a literary writer, but it works. She makes real to our imagination a philosopher’s questions and wonders. They’re parables, of a kind.

An early piece, “Eternity Dies,” ponders the loneliness of God, and posits the notion that God created the universe to end his loneliness.

“His thinking that thought was the First Cause. Thus even the First Cause was caused, but it was also uncaused, because it was not caused by anything that existed. It was caused before existence existed, by his thinking of his loneliness.”

This is written with a sense of humor. Kelly Cherry is playing with physics and philosophy, with God, and with us.

In “A Maiden and Her Swain” a young couple lives in the Dark Ages as if there were no time, yet time moves forward and they find they’ve aged. The tale is a reflection on the swiftness of aging– of ourselves and our civilization– but it’s also a dream. It carries the timelessness of a dream.

These are all dreams– the kind of afternoon nap dream one has beyond plot and time; a temporary plunge into eternity. You awake with a sense of melancholy, of existential loneliness. Panic. The realization that our lives are impossibly brief– we’d like to live forever in this world but forever can happen only in our dreams. Or beyond this world of matter and onrushing time. A feeling of monumental sadness. This is the feeling Kelly Cherry captures in these fictions; these stories.

Though Kelly Cherry writes in no way like Ernest Hemingway, the book is structured like his early collection, In Our Time, with short interpolations between the longer pieces.

“SIX WORDS
Dead husband taught wife to shoot.”

Wry inserts like that one.

None of the few-score pieces is longer than a few pages. Nearly all are thought-provoking or amusing. A few stand above the rest.

“Aegea,” about a space ark; “Murray the Short Order Cook”; “He Wasn’t There Again Today”; and “Reunion” are my favorites.

One striking thing about the stories is the more surreal they are, the more real they seem. They’re speculations– amid them is an awful lot of truth and life.

They’re experimental pieces, experimental not just in style, but in ideas and theme. Part essay, part poetry, part story. Or: no review can adequately capture the feeling and meaning conveyed by this book. Plunge into it yourself and read it.

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Temporium is available at Press 53.

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(Photo of Kelly Cherry.)