Monday, January 16, 2006

My Summer as a Loan Shark (pt.2)

Mr. Hartman has got to be close to a thousand. He works in closeouts and this means that he's usually at our door peddling hanes women's cotton briefs, jackets, or a warehouse filled with chinese knickknacks. We once ended up with twelve large boxes filled with small glass figurines, plastic dolphins, large decorative bottles of oil filled with red peppers. It also means that he works from job to job.

Mr. Hartman leaves us strange gifts: bags of ski jackets, packages of bottled water, t-shirts in odd sizes. His rheumy pale eyes stare past me; we never make eye contact. I feel too guilty to look at him, or talk to him more than I absolutely have to. I'm his "dear girl" or "sweet child." Sometimes he moves his worn fishmerman's cap from hand to hand before patting my hand. He pulls up in his Honda SUV, parks in the handicapped spot, and collects himself. His watery and red-rimmed eyes fix on a point towards the sky (he can only drive seated at a strange reclined position). In these moments it's like he's underwater and gasps for air: his face slackens into an expression of repose. His daily resignantion before he grabs the battered box next to him and begins with us all over again makes my breath catch.

Friday, January 13, 2006

behind the times

i miss all the best things at LACE

October 28 | 7 PM
Trinie Dalton, Jessica Hutchins and Rachel Kushner

Trinie Dalton : Wide Eyed
In Trinie Dalton's tweaked vision of reality, psychic communications between herself and Mick Jagger, The Flaming Lips, Marc Bolan, Lou Reed, and Pavement are daily occurrences. Animals also populate this book; beavers, hamsters, salamanders, black widows, owls, llamas, bats, and many more are characters who befriend the narrator. This collection of stories is told by a woman compelled to divulge her secrets, fantasies, and obsessions with native Californian animals, glam rock icons, and horror movies, among other things. With a setting rooted in urban Los Angeles but colored by mythic tales of beauty borrowed from medieval times, Shakespeare, and Grimm's fairy tales, Wide Eyed makes the difficulties of surviving in a contemporary American city more palatable by showing the reader that magic and escape is always possible.

Jessica Hutchins: Jessica Z. Hutchins is an artist and a writer. Her sculptures and stories express insights into the dark humor of American masculinity, naturophilia and the paranoiac. She received an M.F.A from California Institute of the Arts. She is a member of the new media cooperative C-Level, with whom she has collaborated on the interactive game projects "Cockfight Arena" and "Waco Resurrection". A collection of her short stories, "Dark Pastoral" was published by Machine Project Press in 2004. She currently lives and works off Highway 138 at the edge of the Mojave Desert. You can find her online at

Rachel Kushner: Rachel Kushner is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her fiction and nonfiction can be found, most recently, in Fence, Artforum, ArtUS and Bomb Magazine, where she is a contributing editor. She is currently at work on a novel about, among other things, colonial folly and the Zazou aesthetic

The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy days of Summer

“Tell Him Then,” a bubblegum pop tune by a nameless 1960s girl group played throughout the diner. Although the jukebox in the back corner by the bathrooms had an extensive selection of moderate and slightly obvious tunes by artists such as the Supremes, the Exciters, and even the Castaways, Bonnie never heard a song she recognized. They’d hit close to twenty diners of the same ilk. All she had learned was how desperate to hear “Come See About Me” she had grown over the past month.

Frank sat across from her in the vinyl booth. He dropped his balled-up paper napkin on remnant curls of scrambled egg and smears of ketchup on his plate signifying that he was done. “All I’m saying is,” Frank prodded the napkin with his long fingers thoughtfully. “Some songs just sound best during a shootout.”