December 31, 2013
Here are highlights from HILOBROW’s 2013. Enjoy!
Since 2011, each summer at HILOBROW we’ve published a series of posts in which 25 talented culture critics wax enthusiastic about, e.g., a specific Jack Kirby comic book panel (KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM), or a specific Star Trek scene (KIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM). This summer’s HERC YOUR ENTHUSIASM series, named after breakbeat pioneer DJ Kool Herc, was dedicated to specific old-school hip hop tracks.
ALL POSTS IN THIS SERIES: LUC SANTE on Spoonie Gee’s “Spoonin’ Rap” (1979) | DALLAS PENN on Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” (1979) | WERNER VON WALLENROD on Kurtis Blow’s “Rappin’ Blow” (1979) | DJ FRANE on Blowfly’s “The Incredible Fulk” (1980) | PAUL DEVLIN on Jimmy Spicer’s “The Adventures of Super Rhyme” (1980) | PHIL DYESS-NUGENT on Funky 4 + 1’s “That’s the Joint” (1980) | ADAM McGOVERN on The Furious 5’s “Freedom” (1980) | DAVID ABRAMS on Blondie’s “Rapture” (1980) | ANDREW HULTKRANS on Treacherous Three & Spoonie Gee’s “The New Rap Language” (1980) | TIM CARMODY on Afrika Bambaataa & The Jazzy 5’s “Jazzy Sensation (Bronx Version)” (1981) | DREW HUGE on Grand Wizard Theodore & The Fantastic Five’s “Can I Get a Soul Clap” (1981) | OLIVER WANG on Grandmaster Flash’s “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” (1981) | DOUGLAS WOLK on Busy Bee’s “Making Cash Money” (1982) | ADRIENNE CREW on Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 (featuring Melle Mel and Duke Bootee)’s “The Message” (1982) | DART ADAMS on The Jonzun Crew’s “Pak Jam” (1982) | ALEX BELTH on Malcolm McLaren & The World’s Famous Supreme Team’s “Buffalo Gals” (1982) | JOSHUA GLENN on Wuf Ticket’s “Ya Mama” (1982) | PHIL FREEMAN on Malcolm X with Keith LeBlanc’s “No Sell Out” (1983) | NATE PATRIN on Afrika Bambaataa’s “Death Mix Live, Pt. 2” (1980/1983) | BRIAN BERGER on Grandmaster & Melle Mel’s “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” (1983) | COSMO BAKER on Run DMC’s “Here We Go (Live at the Funhouse)” (1983/1985) | COLLEEN WERTHMANN on Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” (1983) | ROY CHRISTOPHER on Ice-T’s “The Coldest Rap” (1983) | DAN REINES on L.A. Dream Team’s “The Dream Team is in the House” (1985) | FRANKLIN BRUNO on hip hop’s dance crew The Lockers.
* HILOBROW’s former co-editor Matthew Battles returned, for a brief period early this year, and published nearly a dozen excellent posts which you can see here. These days, Matthew is associate director of the metaLAB (at) Harvard, which keeps him very busy.
We published GALACTUS LIVES!, a six-part series, by Rob Steibel, offering a close reading of Jack Kirby’s pencil work (and notes to Stan Lee) on a single page from Thor #162 (1969).
Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons’s Brick Jokes essay — which analyzes the plant-and-payoff structure of a particular type of joke — was a big hit.
New contributor Gordon Dahlquist wrote a terrific mini-series of posts for us on a few of his favorite things: Roger Zelazny’s 1967 sf novel Lord of Light, the character actor Philip Stone, Alain Robbe-Grillet’s 1966 novel La Maison de Rendez-vous, Ross MacDonald, and Natsuo Kirino’s 1997 novel Out.
Andrew Sempere, a former HiLobrow Artist in Residence, wrote about what it’s like to attend a Punchdrunk performance.
Singularity & Co., the Brooklyn-based science fiction bookstore that a year ago launched the digital book club Save the Sci-Fi, recently ran a successful kickstarter for a new digital book club, Save the Adventure. Because they like what HILOBROW’s Joshua Glenn has done with HiLoBooks’s Radium Age Science Fiction Series, they asked him to be the book club’s editor.
The goal of Save the Adventure is to rescue out-of-print and un-digitized adventure stories from obscurity. While researching titles suitable for the Save the Adventure book club, Glenn published a series of posts here at HILOBROW listing 200 of his favorite adventure novels published before the Eighties (1984–1993); and another 250 second-tier favorites, which you can peruse via the following posts: Best 19th Century Adventure (1805–1903) | Best Nineteen-Oughts Adventure (1904–1913) | Best Nineteen-Teens Adventure (1914–1923) | Best Twenties Adventure (1924–1933) | Best Thirties Adventure (1934–1943) | Best Forties Adventure (1944–1953) | Best Fifties Adventure (1954–1963) | Best Sixties Adventure (1964–1973) | Best Seventies Adventure (1974–1983). I’ve only recently started making notes towards a list of Best Adventures of the Eighties, Nineties, and Twenty-Oughts.
HiLobrow published 150+ HiLo Hero items this year, including posts on: Kira Roessler [pictured], Palmolive, Zora Neale Hurston, Yukio Mishima, Antonio Gramsci, Vito Acconci, Derek Jarman, David Graeber, Shepard Fairey, Cindy Sherman, Jonathan Lethem, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Severo Sarduy, John Fahey, Hester Lucy Stanhope, Gilbert Hernandez, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, The Iron Sheik, Bayard Rustin, Yoko Kanno, Allan Kaprow, Dennis Ritchie, Věra Chytilová, Tommy Cooper, Tod Dockstader, Thomas Frank, Jay DeFeo, Crystal Skillman, Jane Digby, Joe Meek, Leonora Carrington, Gustave Le Rouge, Biz Markie, Afrika Bambaataa, Bruce Sterling, Katia Krafft, John Waters, Kaz, Lars Von Trier, Keith Haring, Delia Derbeyshire, G.K. Chesterton, D.M.C., Chuck Barris, and Neil Patrick Harris.
Lynn Peril’s Eartha Kitt HiLo Hero item was one of the most-trafficked items on HiLobrow this year. Also very popular this year: Aaron Swartz by Matthew Battles, Luc Sante by Jacob Mikanowski, Walter M. Miller Jr. by Mark Kingwell, Ellen Page by Jerrold Freitag, Steve-O by Patrick Cates, Drew Friedman by Brian Berger, and Frank Miller by Adam McGovern.
Big ups to Brian Berger, who has — as of 2013 — written over 100 HiLo Hero items! You’re the man.
Special shout-out to new contributor Elina Shatkin, who wrote a dozen HiLo Hero posts this year about female adventurers. Excellent!
We are very grateful to our contributors: Brian Berger, Devin McKinney, Luc Sante, Elina Shatkin, Lynn Peril, William Nericcio, Erik Davis, David Smay, Jacob Mikanowski, Matthew Battles, Marilyn Berlin Snell, Greg Rowland, Tom Nealon, Adam McGovern, Jerrold Freitag, Gary Panter, Tucker Cummings, Joe Alterio, Mark Kingwell, Alix Lambert, Mike Fleisch, Amanda French, Tor Aarestad, Flourish Klink, Erik Davis, Franklin Bruno, Adrienne Crew, Anthony Miller, Robert Wringham, Peggy Nelson, Katie Hennessey, Mimi Lipson, Patrick Cates, Dan Reines, Deb Chachra, Peter Bebergal, Ingrid Schorr, Chris Spurgeon, Suzanne Fischer, and Kio Stark.
Also see: Our annual Rondel for HiLo Heroes.
PS: We’re collaborating with famed book designer Jacob Covey on a HiLo Heroes book pitch — hopefully, we’ll be able to announce in 2014 that it’s been acquired by a publisher.
Recently, the University of Iowa Libraries acquired the Joshua Glenn Zine Collection — hundreds of zines that HILOBROW’s editor squirreled away during the Zine Revolution of 1984–1993. Also included in the collection: scores of letters from zine publishers, plus all sorts of ephemera related to the printing, distribution, and promotion of zines including Glenn’s own zines Luvboat Earth and Hermenaut.
Via the 25-part HiLobrow series REGRESSION TOWARD THE ZINE, Glenn bade farewell to his collection — including such titles as 8-Track Mind, ANSWER Me!, Beer Frame, Ben is Dead, Boiled Angel, Bust, Chip’s Closet Cleaner, Crank, Crap Hound, DishWasher, Duplex Planet, Ersatz, FAT!SO?, Heinous, Hey There Barbie Girl!, Idiotooth, McJob, Mommy and I Are One, Murder Can Be Fun, Mystery Date, Pagan’s Head, Plotz, Rollerderby, Scram, Sidney Suppey’s Quarterly and Confused Pet Monthly, Teenage Gang Debs, and Thrift SCORE.
The mission of HiLoBooks is to serialize (via HiLobrow.com) and sometimes republish — in gorgeous paperback editions — overlooked classics of Radium Age science fiction. In 2012, we serialized and published five Radium Age science fiction novels; in 2013, we published another five. We’re very excited about the second set of five titles, which are extremely obscure — overlooked by all but the most scholarly of sf history exegetes. Two of our authors, Cicely Hamilton and Muriel Jaeger, were among the only female sf authors of the era.
Here are our 2013 titles:
William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land (April; Introduction by Erik Davis). “For all its flaws and idiosyncracies, The Night Land is utterly unsurpassed, unique, astounding,” says China Miéville. “A mutant vision like nothing else there has ever been.”
J.D. Beresford’s Goslings (June; Introduction by Astra Taylor). “At once a postapocalyptic adventure, a comedy of manners, and a tract on sexual and social equality, Goslings is by turns funny, horrifying, and politically stirring,” says Benjamin Kunkel. “Most remarkable of all may be that it has not yet been recognized as a classic.”
E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man (September; Introduction by Annalee Newitz). “Edwin Vincent Odle’s ominous, droll, and unforgettable The Clockwork Man is a missing link between Lewis Carroll and John Sladek or Philip K. Dick,” says Jonathan Lethem. “Considered with them, it suggests an alternate lineage for SF, springing as much from G.K. Chesterton’s sensibility as from H.G. Wells’s.”
Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage (October; Introduction by Gary Panter). “Like Colson Whitehead’s Zone One without the zombie camp and idiom, Theodore Savage is a dark, strange, and cruelly contemporary tale of The Ruin and the post-apocalyptic condition that follows,” says Alexis Madrigal. “The book makes a spirited argument against science and machines, disputing itself viciously to the last word.”
Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses (December; Introduction by Mark Kingwell). “The first attempt to extrapolate the hypothesis [of ESP] carefully and painstakingly,” says The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, “and to conclude that it might better be reckoned a curse than a blessing.”
MORE INFO ABOUT THESE & OTHER TITLES: Visit the HiLoBooks homepage.
Also this year, HiLoBooks partnered with the digital pulp publisher (and Brooklyn bookstore) Singularity & Co. to make selected HiLoBooks titles available as e-books. (Here’s a nice post about both Singularity & Co. and HiLoBooks from the sci-fi blog io9.) AND we’ve partnered with Dreamscape to make all 10 HiLoBooks titles available as audiobooks.
In addition to serializing four of the five Radium Age sf novels listed above (Goslings, The Clockwork Man, Theodore Savage, The Man with Six Senses; we serialized The Night Land in 2012), in 2013 HiLoBooks serialized six other Radium Age sf stories:
* Philip Francis Nowlan’s 1928 novella Armageddon — 2419 A.D., the inspiration for the Buck Rogers franchise!
* Homer Eon Flint’s 1921 novella The Devolutionist, in which Dr. Kinney and his companions enter the minds and share the sensations of the inhabitants of a double planet: Hafen is the abode of capitalists, Holl of workers!
* W.E.B. DuBois’s apocalyptic 1920 story “The Comet”. A black man and a white woman are the only survivors of an eco-catastrophe!
* Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men. Invading communist moon-men have reduced Americans to primitive tribesman. Can they fight back?
* Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland. A feminist utopia!
* Sax Rohmer’s The Zayat Kiss. The first appearance of the infamous Fu Manchu!
In 2013, HiLobrow serialized Robert Waldron’s campus novel The School on the Fens, which takes place in the 1970s at a prestigious Boston public school. Click here to read all installments.
We published Charlie Mitchell’s story “A Fantasy Land”, which took first place in the Wyoming State Reading Council’s Young Authors Competition, in the 10th Grade Fiction category.
In 2013, HiLobrow announced our eighth micro-fiction contest, the theme of which was fanfiction. Pazzo Books provided beautiful and apropos rare books as prizes. In May, we announced the winning stories. Lyette Mercier took first place with “Sex and the Single Superhero”. (Illustration created for HiLobrow by Rick Pinchera.)
Second-runner up from our fanfiction contest: “Weren’t Your Eyes Blue?”, by Joe Coen (of Houston, Texas). First-runner up: An untitled Scooby-Doo fanfiction by classics major Jason Matthews (of Halifax, Nova Scotia), which we’ve titled “Mystery Machine”.
Although Peggy Nelson is no longer active as HILOBROW’s Arts Editor, in 2013 she published a couple dozen fascinating HiLobrow posts.
Nelson was also responsible for THE RED MEN EDITS, a series of posts in which Matthew De Abaitua rereads his own cult science fiction novel, The Red Men, and explicates the process of editing and rewriting it for 2013’s ebook edition.
Nelson’s Asteroid Meme post was one of the most-trafficked HiLobrow items this year.
Finally, here are a few 2013 posts from HILOBROW’s editor:
Josh added a few installments to his SHOCKING BLOCKING series of posts, about the positioning and movement of actors in some of his favorite movies. For example: Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood, Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop, Bernard Rose’s Candyman, Don Siegel’s Escape from Alcatraz, Jared Hess’s Nacho Libre, Allan Arkush’s Rock’n’Roll High School, and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
With the final four installments in his series of generational periodization posts, Glenn has now re-periodized the generations (formerly known as Boomers, Silent Generation, Generation X, etc.) going back 250 years. The newly added installments are: ORIGINAL PROMETHEANS (born 1785–94), IRONIC IDEALISTS (born 1775–84), ORIGINAL ROMANTICS (1765–74), and PERFECTIBILISTS (1755–64).
An item revealing the long-unknown true origin of the CALVIN PEEING meme! This item sent a shock-wave throughout the Internet; its reverberations are still spreading.