Emily Gould's Blog, page 32
January 25, 2013
Sad to say ABC has pulled #Apt23 and will not be airing the 8 remaining episodes any time soon. Translation: we’ve basically been cancelled.
This is absolutely my reaction. This show was such a pure pleasure, getting better every episode! GIVE ME THOSE 8 EPISODES.
Last night I went to see Barbara Browning, Kate Zambreno and Matthias Viegener read and converse at McNally Jackson. Barbara read the part from I’m Trying To Reach You where the narrator describes John Cage and Merce Cunningham’s relationship and Cage’s death, and also Merce Cunningham’s relationship with one of his longtime dancers and his compassion towards her when it was time for her to stop dancing. The passage ends with the words “People often know when they don’t say enough.” Barbara cried a little bit and it was very moving.
After everyone read they had a conversation that began with a suggestion that they start out by talking about “form and formlessness” in their work. Uh oh. But the conversation, though super duper formless, wasn’t boring. I did have just one moment of writhing in my seat, though, and this was when they talked briefly about “bloggy writing.” This started to be an interesting conversation but was curtailed somehow. The panelists talked about the affectations of bloggy writing they find irritating: faux-chattiness, “Hey guys,” phony intimacy. Barbara and Kate said they liked “bloggish” writing but Kate said she hated the words bloggy, blog. All the panelists praised the merits of compression, which Matthias funnily misheard at one point as “confession.” (I’m sorry if I’m misstating any of this or compressing it too much, btw, but I have ten minutes to write this before I leave for work.)
ISN’T BLOGGING A FORM OF PERFORMANCE? I wanted to shout, but it wasn’t Q&A time yet. CAN BLOGGING BE A FORM OF DURATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART? ISN’T ONE OF THE WEIRDEST AND COOLEST THINGS ABOUT BEING ALIVE RIGHT NOW HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE USING WORDS AND IMAGES TO PERFORM AN IDENTITY ONLINE? ISN’T THERE A REAL INTIMACY TRAPPED IN FAKE INTIMACY THAT IS SOMETIMES MORE INTERESTING THAN OVERT INTIMACY?
But even I know that it is rude to ask yes/no questions/non-questions during a q&a so I didn’t do this. I’d like this panel to reconvene and discuss only my pet themes, please.
January 24, 2013
We are so proud and excited to announce that in February, Emily Books will make Meghan Daum’s My Misspent Youth available for the first time as an ebook. These essays — about debt, about leaving New York, about online dating, about adulthood, about carpet — are some of our favorites of all time. And soon, you’ll be able to read them on your phone (iPad, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc).
We usually keep our picks secret until they’re in subscribers’ mailboxes, but this time we’re announcing early to give you time to mark your calendars for Emily Books’s first L.A. event!
On February 20th, join Emily and Meghan at M Bar, where Emily will ask Meghan questions and then Meghan will read and then you’ll ask Meghan questions and then we’ll all drink. Also please be nice to Emily, this is only her 2nd visit to L.A. of her lifetime.
RSVP HERE! (login via FB or create a profile)
Everything about this is thrilling. Also, please send me your L.A. tips/tricks/treats
January 23, 2013
We love good events. And, even more, we love helping readers and authors produce good events. It’s fair to say that we’re obsessed with solving the mystery of what makes an event really darn great — or beyond awful.
With that in mind, we’re wondering: what’s the best event you’ve ever been to? What made it so awesome?
I have been to a WHOLE LOT of literary events. I was hoping I would be able to set my ego aside and come up with a #1 favorite event that I wasn’t involved in, in any way, but alas, no dice. Though I can think of many, many events I’ve enjoyed as an audience member and a couple I’ve enjoyed as a participant, there’s only one event that springs to mind where I’ve had an amazing time as both.
Melissa Febos and Rebecca Keith have been hosting MIXER for over 5 years, and from what I can tell they aim to be true to their name, “mixing” very renowned and experienced writers and performers with exciting new voices. The venue, Cake Shop, more typically hosts bands, and watching someone read on a dark, glamorous spotlit stage there always makes me wonder why more bookstores don’t aim for this kind of ambiance. Red spotlights make anyone look like a rockstar. Put Philip Roth in that context, he’d look like Lou Reed. And I think it makes the audience respond in a more uninhibited, “WOOO!” type way, too. Oh, and they also close out the set with a band, typically, and they pick great bands.
I spent some time after my first MIXER experience trying to suss out the ingredients in Melissa and Rebecca’s special sauce. You’d have to ask them (note to self: do that) but I suspect that part of what makes MIXER great is that Melissa and Rebecca are dedicated readers who put a lot of time and effort into curating a list of readers whose themes and styles complement each other. The genuine enthusiasm they have for what they’re doing is infectious. They also take care of their readers, making sure they know what to do when and what to expect, getting them drink tickets, hanging out and soothing their nerves. The audience knows the organizers have great taste and trusts them, and thus is a great audience. And here’s the best part: while the audience gives veterans of the page and stage due respect, they also don’t all leave the room at once to get another drink the moment a newbie takes the stage. That is rare as hen’s teeth, reading-series-wise. Being able to pull that off on a monthly basis can only be explained via magic. Perhaps the organizers are witches.
If you prefer ranting to raving, which was the worst event you’ve had the misfortune of attending? Why did it disappoint you?
Because I’ve worked in publishing and had to attend many command-performance reading events, this is like a million-way tie for me — so much so that the bad events kinda blur together. A unifying factor that many bad events have in common is when a reader — or, god, READERS — vastly overestimates the audience’s stamina/interest and reads for a long time. This is even worse when poetry is involved.
I feel like if I single out any one event I will be doing a blind item and will get in trouble, so I will limit myself to saying a more general thing about performance. If you are about to do a lot of speaking engagements/readings and have zero performance background, take just one improv class. ”But the author’s job is to write!” you say. “Just to sit behind a desk and write. The crass work of sharing my work with the world is a burden I must face, but would rather not.” I think this is a totally valid way to feel, and if that’s you, you can figure out a different way of doing author events (your favorite performer reads in your stead! A playwright friend rejiggers a scene from your book as a one-act! a panel discussion about the issues your book raises!) that work around it. But if you DON’T feel that way — if you want to personally connect with an audience and feel like that would be a great way of sharing your work — you have nothing to lose by learning some techniques that will make you great at it.
One last thing. I once went to a reading (okay, I’m doing the blind item now) and left with a bad taste in my mouth. ”Why did I hate his reading so much?” I asked a comedian friend who’d been there too. ”Oh, it’s because he violated the first rule of comedy,” she said. ”Never mock someone less powerful than you. He mistook himself for the powerless person in that story, but actually, by telling that story in front of that big crowd, he’d already become the powerful person. But his self-concept hadn’t caught up with that yet. It’s an easy mistake to make.”
January 22, 2013
This month’s backlist special is here! For the remainder of January, take 30% off Sempre Susan by Sigrid Nunez with the code SUSAN at checkout.
But wait — there’s more! If you’d also like to own a physical copy of this book, in addition to the ebook, we have a limited quantity available. Add one to your order for only $1 (plus shipping.)
Here’s Emily chatting with Sigrid Nunez about the year she spent living with Susan Sontag on Cooking the Books, and here’s the excerpt from the book that T magazine ran. This book is a must-read if you’ve ever had a difficult but life-altering relationship with a mentor, or wondered what it would be like to have one.
If you haven’t read this book yet, you’re in for a treat.*
*joke that only makes sense if you’ve already read the book
January 20, 2013
January 18, 2013
FUCK no. Appalling. Everything single thing about this is wrong.
January 16, 2013
Stills from Chris Kraus’ Gravity & Grace (1996). Especially notable in the first half, beyond the exquisite oddity of the UFO cult plotting, are some of the typographic overlay effects that comment on and impose themselves over the action.
Showing one last time, Friday, January 18 at 7:30, but watch for more Chris Kraus with a shorts program in February and more to come soon!
whoa, this looks wonderful. I can’t wait!
Oops. I just meant, if you’re on a budget, it could make sense to prioritize your new-book purchases so that you’re supporting the careers of authors who are still alive. But supporting innovative publishers is just as important.
January 14, 2013
Yesterday Val and I were talking about the merits of Philly (where she lives), a discussion that segued neatly into a conversation about a record that her husband Aaron recently picked up at one of Philly’s many used record shops. Everyone knows The Angels’ hit “My Boyfriend’s Back” and I guess you would expect, as Val promised, that all their other songs would pretty much be “Further Adventures of My Boyfriend (Who Is Back).” But like … how much of an SNL sketch is this album? It has songs called ”Has Anybody Seen My Boyfriend?” and “(You Can’t Take) My Boyfriend’s Woody.”
Ok, now I’m listening to “(You Can’t Take) My Boyfriend’s Woody” and I think They Knew. ”It don’t look like much, but when he pops that clutch, he’ll make you think you’re in reverse.”