Book Write-Up: The Autograph of Steve Industry (By: Ben Hersey)

Release: 2016
Publisher: Magic Helicopter Press

I like textbooks. I don’t like fiction. I like deep shit. When I looked at the back of this book, which – let me stop right there. Holding onto this book feels so nice. The cover is something to be grasped. The back cover says it is FICTION. And as I said, I don’t do well with fiction. I would like to ask that the publishers revise that. I did a full reading of The Autograph and it felt more like almost non-fiction. Comedy, too. Before even digging in: “Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons – living or dead – is entirely coincidental.” I’m from the North Shore, kid. Kowloon is real as fuck. Bennigans in Wakefield. That’s not a thing. Anyway, I really loved reading this book. I found myself reading it in a forced Boston accent. Enjoying the references to actual places and people. If you grew up in Eastern Mass, or even if you’ve familiarized yourself with the area, you know these places and these people. These are our family members, our friends, yada yada. I could be Steve Industry. It is good stuff. So Steve Industry is a writer, foremost. He also has a bunch of other jobs, but his writing and his music – very intertwined, we learn – takes precedent in his life. Boom, there’s a song right there. I like that mentality. An everyday kind of guy, but he is on another level. Moonstruck. I am going to give this a second read, because the first time through I would like to think I was following along. Lots of laughs. But I was page flipping. I was suckered in. I had a feeling this would be like the book version of a mumblecore film. Excellent character “studies,” no plot. And that is what I am looking for, if it is going to be fiction. I’ve never read a North-Shore-Core book, or any writing that is explicitly Boston. It could have turned ugly, but the writing is so all over the place that only a funny person, whose life went through the ringer that is Route One, could shine through as a genuine scribe of the Keno zeitgeist circa 2009? The one-liners, the deep shit. Some of it complete nonsense, meant to throw you off guard. Each chapter starts with a question. That is irrelevant. It is all about the way Steve rants and raves and communicates with his family, his bandmates, and his own mind. I think it said he hates Good Will Hunting, but maybe ’cause he is that dude. Guy. This is hopefully the first of many novels of this style. Naked confessional, transparency. Populist. A super fun read. Round two – I will be taking notes.

My Christmas Must Sees!


Glen Maganzini (left), Chris DeCarlo (right)

Okay, so I do this annually and if this looks similar to the post I made last year that is because it is! well, for the most part- not much has changed. Here we go:

Films (in no particular order):
1) It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
2) A Christmas Story (1983)
3) Home Alone (1990)
4) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
5) A Christmas Carol (in any of it’s versions, specifically 1951. I usually attend the play, as I will be Saturday night; one of the few plays I enjoy seeing)
6) The Santa Clause (1994)
7) Edward Scissorhands (1990) (okay, so only towards the end of the film this is applicable, but for me it gets me in the mood)
8) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) (I suppose this is more apropos for Halloween)
9) Bad Santa (2003)
10) Die Hard (1988)

TV:
1) The Simpsons– “Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire” (1989), “Bart Gets an F” (1990), “Marge Be Not Proud” (1995), “Mircale on Evergreen Terrace” (1997), “Grift of the Magi” (1999),”Skinner’s Sense of Snow” (2000)
2) South Park– “The Spirit of Christmas” Original (1992), “The Spirit of Christmas” (1995), “Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo” (1997), “Merry Christmas Charlie Manson” (1998), “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics” (1999), “A Very Crappy Christmas” (2000), “Red Sleigh Down” (2002), “It’s Christmas in Canada” (2003), “Woodland Critter Christmas” (2004)
3) Family Guy– “A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas” (2001)
4) At least one Johnny Cash Special
5) Dr.Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1964)
6) Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)
7) Frosty The Snowman (1969)
8) It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas (2009)
9) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
10) SNL– various skits

Literature:
A Christmas Carol By:Charles Dickens (1843)
A Story A Day Till Christmas Various Authors (1985)
The Catcher in the Rye By: J.D. Salinger (1951)

I usually end up viewing (or reading for that matter) only half of these! But, either way, I have a lot of work to do and I recommend others to watch/read them too. I would recommend music, but that will take too long. I’ll save it for another day. To kick things off, here’s Kyle’s Christmas ballad, “I’m a Jew on Christmas” from the South Park classic “Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo” (1997).

My Friend Dahmer

This looks like it could be the weirdo-bizarro cousin of “Spidey’s Curse.” “Dahmer’s Curse,”  a future Black Lips B-side, what a wonderful concept!

*Note this is not an actual plan or future release, but rather an odd fantasy of mine.  This comic is the work of John Backderf aka derf, a comic book writer that was acquainted with the serial killer Jeffery Dahmer in high school.  This came to my knowledge through Chuck Klosterman’s amazing, “low culture manifesto,”  Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs (2003). I highly recommend both.

Subversive Book Club Review: The Lives of Abbie Hoffman

Full Title: Run, Run Run: The Lives of Abbie Hoffman
Author(s): Jack Hoffman and Daniel Simon
Year: 1994
Comments: Going into this book I already had a vast knowledge of Abbie Hoffman’s life, at least his life in the spotlight, but after reading this I gained a new perception of a man I have come to greatly admire over the years. Since, the main author is Abbie’s kid brother Jack, we are given an extrmely close, personal perspective of the events, lifestyle, and personality of Abbie Hoffman, the things only a brother could tell you. I have read and seen several works on Abbie (including his own autobiography, Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture– 1979), but this is the deepest and darkest. The first half of the book is a bit more optimistic, we see Abbie go from a fairly typical American boy with a privileged, suburban background to an aspiring, curious psychologist and ultimately to a committed, social activist. Initially, Abbie is involved in the Civil Rights Movement and is a bit more traditional at first, but as the times change Abbie changes and he soon becomes the iconic, inverted american flag wearing Yippie! we have come to love. The biography doesn’t go too far into the details of his specific activism, but mostly how it affects his life and the lives of his family members. For both, it is a dramatic effect, often severing relationships beyond repair. Jack Hoffman details how Abbie’s notoriety destroyed much of his family’s lives, both internally and externally- often ruining business deals and personal relationships. At the same time, he descibes Abbie’s complete devotion to his country and how he inspired millions. It appears that Abbie hit his peak of happiness and inspiration in the late 60s, because the second half of the book starts to chronicle Abbie’s emotional downfall. He is busted for cocaine possession (though it appears this was largely a set up) and soon flees to the underground. While on the run, he remains highly active politically and socially, even starting an entire environmental movement in the form of the Save The St. Lawrene River Movement. Despite, his admirable work, he begins to fall deeper and deeper into depression. Eventually, he is diagnosed with Manic Depression and this truly rips apart Abbie’s soul. Even after he emerges back into the public eye, he still struggeles to find happiness. Through all of these chaotic times, Abbie never quits the political struggle, with as much energy as ever. Alas, I must admit reading the last hundred or so pages of this book was really a drag. Don’t get me wrong, it is well-written, but I never realized how much Abbie (or his family for that matter) suffered. Then in 1989, Abbie committed his worst crime: suicide. Just look at how sad and distant Jack’s words are in his desciption of his brother’s suicide: “Sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, Abbie emptied 150 or more 30-milligram phenobarbitals into a glass of Glenlivet single malt Scotch whiskey, gulped that down, and then filled and swallowed four or five glasses of the Scotch as fast he could. It only took a few minutes for the drug to take hold of him, and then he lay down to die” (353). The emotional turmoil of the Lives of Abbie Hoffman is made clearer than ever. And when the story reaches its conclusion we understand why this is the title of the book. Abbie truly led several different lives, some more stable than others, but ultimately in each of those characters was a pillar of responsibility. Responsibilty to the people around you, the people that are suffering around the world, and a responsibility to never give up, even when it seems the rest of the world is against you. Abbie Hoffman showed us that loving your country did not mean sucking Uncle Sam’s dick. Yeah, I think he would have liked that.

Grade: 8/10

The Spits Read-Along Adventure

If you like to look at elementary school story books and listen to psychedelic rock in the background (at the same time!), you might just shit your pants because I’ve got the record (actually download…it will be available in major retail outlets in November) for you! It’s called Haunted Fang Castle and it is a free download over at Scion A/V Garage. Is Scion trying to make punx apart of their demographic? It’s up to you to decide. Either way, grab both the .pdf story and the mp3 folder. Set aside about thirty minutes and listen. People who document themselves listening to this and send the movie to klyamemail@gmail.com will receive a free life-time subscription to KLYAM. The choice is yours and yours alone.

Link to Haunted Fang Castle: http://www.scionav.com/music/scionavgarage/index.html#general6,19080323

Subversive Book Club Review: Agent of Evolution

Full Title: Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution
Author: Kevin Booth with Michael Bertin (Ghost Writer)
Year: 2005
Comments:

I pride myself on the many subversive books I read and let me say, I tend to find the best of these bunch to be those of the autobiography, biography, memoir, etc. variety. It’s really neat to see how someone became the subversive, influential character they are/were. This book in particular is special for two reasons: 1) The subject is my hero and main influence, stand up comedian/social critic, Bill Hicks. 2) This work is written by his best friend and collaborator, Kevin Booth (Sacred Cow Productions) and contains various passages by close friends and several other vital figures in Hicks’ life/career. So, with those credentials, this read is easily one of the most personal and intimate experiences one can find from a book. We see how Hicks was raised in a Southern Baptist Prison and how he escaped through his window, out into the Comedy World via the Comedy Workshop in Houston, Texas. As he hits the stage life, he transforms from excessive teetotaler to excessive drinker with cocaine and various other substances serving as side dishes. After years of constant partying, Bill realizes his life and career needs a 180 turn and he snaps into sobriety. Instantly (it seems), he takes his comedy to new levels, the humor itself is the same, but with a sober mind he can perform more and execute his revolutionary message stronger than ever. Sadly, he never hits it big in his homeland, though his career did grow and he became quite popular in the UK. Even more depressing, in 1993, Hicks was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died shortly after. As readers we realize, yes it was a tragedy that he died soooo young, but what would have been more tragic was if he did nothing with his life and kept his thoughts to himself and went about his day. Instead, Hicks was outspoken and stopped at nothing to change as many minds as he could; forcing people to think for themselves, as stated in the Outlaw Comic documentary. Bill may not have waken everyone up, but for those who did hear his call, he changed everything. It wasn’t just “is what the govermnent doing bad?” It was, “the government is a bunch of lying, stealing, murderous cocksuckers- here’s why- now show me how I’m wrong.” To which a neanderthal redneck would respond, “You’re UNAMERICAN!” End of argument. Overall, I can’t say anything negative here, except maybe the fact that many of the guest writers, friends and such, drag on a little bit and repeat what others said, but other than that, this is a fantastic and informative read. We see an up close look at one of the greatest minds in all of art and entertainment through the eyes of his loved ones. What more can you ask for?

P.S. the tales of Acid/Mushrooms tripping are mind blowing and fascinating, to say the very least.

Grade: A, KLYAM RECOMMENDED