I’ve known Susie Ghahremani as an awesome indie illustrator, artist, crafter, and good friend for more than a decade but had only scratched the surface of her musical talent through karaoke. Last week I saw her play with a fairly new band, Bulletins, right down the street from my house at the Silverlake Lounge. The sound is both lovely and cosmic with elements that recall the energy-filled hooks of Velocity Girl and noisy undercurrents of Asobi Seksu. Afterward, I had to ask my pal from San Diego for more details… (more…)
“With coolness and precision, Specktor comes across as a West Coast Saul Bellow in this sweeping narrative, but his energetic, pop-infused prose is markedly his own.”
“Specktor’s book deserves a special space in the L.A. canon, somewhere looking up at Pynchon and Chandler. Even as the narrator searches through his past to uncover the truth about his family, the author is searching, too.”
“…Matthew Specktor’s American Dream Machine [is] a big and generous novel that functions both as elegy for a recent past and fictional anthropology . . . .it evokes a world with casual ease and unexpected tenderness, recalling and referencing lots of other fiction (both Hollywood and non) while contriving to establish its unique authority.”
—LA Review of Books
“Specktor’s great achievement is to make familiar territory original, the Hollywood novel born anew. It’s bold, weird, an d unforegetable, as startling as a poke in the eye.”
—The Sunday Telegraph Magazine
“Specktor does for L.A. what Hemingway did for Paris and what Hunter S. Thompson did for Las Vegas: create a character that lives and breathes a city. Like hotels in Vegas, we see characters rise, grow dusty, and collapse.” —Daily Beat, Hot Reads
“American Dream Machine takes readers into situations that might seem familiar: the drug-fueled party at a star’s house in the hills, tense meetings between executives, dimly-lit wood-paneled bars filled with players and movie stars. Yet Specktor’s lyrical writing and insights into human nature elevate the novel into fresh territory.”
“[American Dream Machine] is a vivid evocation of the entertainment business from the 1960s to the near present, an L.A. bildungsroman and a murder mystery, all wrapped in one . . . entertaining package.”
—New York Daily News
“American Dream Machine is grand, complex, lush, intelligent and lively, funny as hell and generous in ways you don’t often find. It’s also a strikingly original portrait of Los Angeles. People speak of Chandler’s Los Angeles, or Didion’s, or Nathaniel West’s. Someday, they’ll speak of Specktor’s the same way.”
—Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine and The Devil in Silver
“American Dream Machine may be the first literature I’ve read in which Los Angeles is assumed as London is assumed by Dickens and Paris by Proust and New York by a host of twentieth-century American writers. There is nothing ironic, ambivalent, or apologetic about Specktor’s relationship to Los Angeles — as it is and was, as myth and as a thriving capitol city. Los Angeles provides an animate pulse under the lives of these men and boys, a source of permanence that lends their struggles gravity.”
—Mona Simpson, My Hollywood
“Matthew Specktor has created a great American character in Beau Rosenwald. He is full of contradictions, full of ambition, full of raw life, and yet he manages to seduce us. This riveting novel shows us the existential desperation that lurks in the dark hunger of Hollywood power mongers. Specktor gets every detail right, and American Dream Machine‘s sentences are suffused with an elegiac beauty.”
—Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia and Eat The Document
“American Dream Machine is the definitive new Hollywood novel. It’s almost
impossible to write now about the movie business without resorting to well-established
mythology. Somehow, here, Matthew Specktor has figured out a way to do so.”
—David Shields, author of Reality Hunger and The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead
“This is the novel about Los Angeles that I’ve been waiting for–a mythical LA full of longing and distances and illusion. Specktor has captured the LA I know, the one all around me and the one in my head, a city of invention and grit, surface and underbelly. Funny, poignant, and gorgeously written.”
—Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and Sorry Please Thank You
“On the other side of paradise from Monroe Stahr and The Last Tycoon is Beau Rosenwald in American Dream Machine, the last agent who mattered as much to the movies as a studio boss. Against the backdrop of the possibility-plagued seventies, Matthew Specktor’s moving, witty, and irresistible epic captures as well as any novel in memory that time in LA when twilight could still be mistaken for sunrise.”
—Steve Erickson, author of Zeroville
giant robot time: 5.17.13 | print by: kozyndan
GR: Welcome to Southern California. Tell me about your new place and your working studio set up situation?
Thank you very much. I currently live in the South Bay with some fellow artists including Aaron “Angry Woebots” Martin and Mathew Curran, a fellow North Carolinian that made the cross country move with me. We have a converted loft in the back of our house where we can paint, cast resin and sculpt amongst other things, all to facilitate the different types of projects that each of us might be working on. It’s definitely a change from being in NC where I was essentially working in an artistic vacuum on my own – being amidst many artists that inspire me has definitely given me a new-found appreciation for being able to share techniques, offer and receive critiques and have constant constructive feedback.
GR: This exhibition features pieces that are fully sculpted and not customized. Is this a new direction? Will you still customize?
For this particular show I wanted to focus more on form, rather than the narrative or emotive qualities in many of my previous pieces. Although I am often recognized for being a part of the toy customizing scene, I prefer to create original sculptures for shows where I have the opportunity to showcase a larger body of work, work that is not contingent upon modifying or customizing existing base platforms. That said, I will still participate in customizing shows depending on if I feel that I can create a piece that is fundamentally sound in theme and execution.
GR: Animals are an obvious theme this time out, yet it’s not limited by mammals, insects or reptiles, yet there’s a common bond between them. Can you talk about how you chose which animals to depict?
I chose to call this body of work “Biorgasmica”, a study of what it would be like to meld various elements of baroque stylings, the human face and the shape of various creatures together. When determining what animals I wanted to involve, it mostly came down to animals where I could envision how those disparate elements could more easily coalesce into one cohesive creature. The final roster of creatures tended to be those that were organically armored, whether with a carapace or scales, or those that had body shapes that would lend themselves to the incorporation of faces or detailing.
Hello Kitty and Mimobot have collaborated again releasing these new flash drives! She is dressed in the cutest animal outfits and ready to store your computer files. Choose from Hello Kitty as a fox or raccoon. All 8 GB of memory. Find them here!
Reclusive novelist Haruki Murakami surprised and delighted the audience when he opened up about several topics during his recent speech at Kyoto University. Smiling and cracking jokes, the best-selling author and Nobel Prize contender was in high spirits from start to finish….
(Asahi Shimbun – Haruki Murakami)
File this one under C’mon, Chinese people.
A Chinese shop owner in Namibia, told one of his local employees to toss out a plastic bag of his wife’s poop. The employee refused and was fired. Story covered here by AllAfrica.com.
Problem #1 – Why is your wife pooping in a plastic bag? The story says she didn’t want to use the toilets used by the employees. I understand how desperate one can be when poop is eminent, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever been inclined to poop in a bag. Maybe she didn’t poop *in* the bag, but pooped somewhere else and scooped it up doggie style. I could maybe do that…
Problem #2 – If you poop somewhere no one else is pooping so that your poop then has to be disposed of, it’s pretty bad form to ask someone else to clean up after you. I’m cool with changing my daughter’s crappy diapers now, because someday, she’ll change mine (or pay a health care worker to do it). Maybe the wife who pooped handed the bag to her husband and asked him to throw it away, and he just passed it off to his employee. If he really loved his wife, he would have done it himself.
Problem #3 – Don’t fire the employee you just asked to toss your wife’s poop in the garbage. Maybe just pretend you thought he was walking past the trash so maybe he could toss in there for you, but that you’ll do it instead. Maybe offer him a bonus if he does it. Maybe hand the bag back to your wife and tell her she should throw it away herself, and use the toilet next time.
There are reported to be over 40,000 Chinese nationals living and working in Namibia. They’re there doing construction, manufacturing, retail and food service. China has been tapping into Africa’s mineral wealth for over a decade now, and nearly every where they go there have been culture clashes, rumors of corruption, shady labor policy, and mutual distrust.
The pains of being new the new Evil Empire.
It’s a fine saturday evening. Here’s the blunder of the week. This one uses LA City tax payer money to fund. It’s Yellow Face again. Somehow people think it’s ok to do Yellow Face and those same folks know it’s not ok to do Black Face. Dr. Greg Kimura from JANM and Guy Aoki from MANAA comment in the video. Sadly, they and many of you all paid for this.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Author Signing – Matthew Specktor
American Dream Machine
Sunday May 19 2-3pm
GR2 – 2062 Sawtelle Blvd LA, CA 90025
www.gr2.net 310 445 9276
Matthew Specktor is the author of the novels American Dream Machine, which is currently being developed into a series for Showtime, and That Summertime Sound, as well as a nonfiction book of film criticism. His writing has appeared in The Paris Review, The Believer, Tin House, Salon, and numerous other anthologies and publications. He is a founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.
For any information:
Giant Robot Owner/Publisher
Judging actually matters. The results went to the top part of the Hollywood Reporter article which carries some weight. Great work winners at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. Glad to have been part of the Narrative Jury. (Hollywood Reporter – Judged)
Director Lee Isaac Chung took top honors at the 2013 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, which handed out its awards at the closing ceremonies on Thursday night, May 9. Chung’s Abigail Harm, starring Tetsuo Kuramochi and Amanda Plummer, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature, and Chung also received the Outstanding Director Award.
Additional narrative film awards given out included: Outstanding Screenplay, which went to writer Jeff Mizushimafor the script for Sake Bomb, and Outstanding First Feature Award, which went to Keo Wolford for The Haumana, his feature directorial debut. Acting awards were given for Breakout Performance by an Actress, Vera Miao in Best Friends Forever, and Breakout Performance by an Actor, Jason Tobin in Chink.
giant robot time: 5.10.13 | print by: kozyndan