Monday, October 6, 2014

TamTam Books Title List on D.A.P. and Throughout the World


Lun*na Menoh: A Ring Around The Collar

Published by TamTam Books
Introduction by Leslie Dick.

For 14 years, Los Angeles–based artist, fashion designer and musician Lun*na Menoh has been exploring the many unexpected possibilities of the dirty shirt collar, producing paintings, sculptures, music, DVDs, performance art and fashion shows inspired by this lowly, ubiquitous aspect of clothing. The collar is a fashion boundary--the dividing line between what is hidden by clothing and the body that emerges from the cloth--and the stains commonly found there often confound sartorial panache, a fact which Menoh takes as the mischievous starting point for her work. Lun*na Menoh: A Ring Around the Collardocuments the paintings included in this series, as well as Menoh’s performance art and fashion shows. Included with this book is a flexi-disc with two songs by the artist’s band, Les Sewing Sisters, and an introduction by acclaimed author Leslie Dick.



The Death Instinct

Published by TamTam Books
By Jacques Mesrine. Introduction by Robert Greene. Translation by Robert Greene, Catherine Texier.

France's Public Enemy Number One from the late 1960s to the end of the 1970s--when he was killed by police in a sensational traffic shootout--Jacques Mesrine (1936–1979) is the best-known criminal in French history. Mesrine was notorious both for his violent exploits and for the media attention he attracted, and he remains very much a public media figure in France and Europe. In 2008 there were two feature-length films based on his life, one of them starring Vincent Cassel in the lead role. Mesrine wrote The Death Instinctwhile serving time in the high-security prison La Santé; the manuscript was smuggled out of the prison and was later published by Guy Debord's publisher Gérard Lebovici (who briefly adopted Mesrine's daughter, Sabrina, before being assassinated, a few years after Mesrine). The Death Instinct deals with the early years of Mesrine's criminal life, including a horrifically graphic description of a murder he committed early on in his career and a highly detailed account of the workings of the French criminal underworld--making this book perhaps one of the most intriguing and detailed anthropological studies of a criminal culture ever written.



Red Grass

Published by TamTam Books
By Boris Vian. Introduction by Marc Lapprand. Translation by Paul Knobloch.

Boris Vian (1920–1959) was a magnificent jack-of-all-trades--actor, jazz critic, engineer, musician, playwright, songwriter, translator--not to mention the leading social light of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés scene. His third major novel, Red Grass is a provocative narrative about an engineer, Wolf, who invents a bizarre machine that allows him to revisit his past and erase inhibiting memories. A frothing admixture of Breton, Freud, Carroll, Hammett, Kafka and Wells, Red Grass is one of Vian’s finest and most enduring works, a satire on psychoanalysis--which Vian wholly and vigorously disapproved of--that inflects science fiction with dark absurdity and the author’s great wit. Much in the novel can be regarded as autobiography, as our hero attempts to liberate himself from past traumatic events in the arenas of religion, social life and--of course--sex. Red Grass is translated by Vian scholar Paul Knobloch.



In The Words of Sparks...Selected Lyrics

Published by TamTam Books
Edited by Ron Mael, Russell Mael. Introduction by Morrissey.

Sparks--the long-running duo of Ron and Russell Mael--are among the most respected songwriters of their generation, their songs ranking alongside those of Ray Davies (The Kinks having been a formative influence), George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim. Formed in Los Angeles in 1971, Sparks have issued over 20 albums and scored chart hits with songs such as “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us,” “Cool Places” and “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth.” While their musical style has changed dramatically over the course of 40 years--embracing the British Invasion sound of the 60s, glam rock, disco (they teamed up with Giorgio Moroder for 1979’s “No. 1 in Heaven”) and even techno--their work has consistently stretched the boundaries of pop music and the song form. Sparks continue to break new ground: they are currently working on a project with filmmaker Guy Maddin and are soon to embark on a world tour. Now, for the first time, the Mael brothers have chosen their favorite Sparks lyrics (to some 75 songs), editing and correcting them for presentation in In the Words of Sparks. As James Greer--novelist and former member of Guided by Voices--comments, “Sparks-level wordplay is a gift, and more than that, an inspiration.” This book also includes a substantial introduction by fellow Los Angeles resident and longtime fan, Morrissey.

The Mael brothers (Ron and Russell) select their favorite Sparks lyrics from 75 songs.



I Spit On Your Graves

Published by TamTam Books
By Boris Vian.

Written under Vian’s famous “Vernon Sullivan” pseudonym, I Spit on Your Gravestells the story of a “white negro” who avenges his murdered brother with a series of killings in a small town in the deep south. A bestseller in France, the book was notoriously used as a model for a copycat killing.

"Nobody knew me at Buckton. That's why Clem picked the place; besides, even if I hadn't had a flat, I didn't have enough gas to go any farther north. Just about a gallon. I had a dollar, and Clem's letter, and that's all. There wasn't a thing worth a damn in my valise, so let's not mention it. Hold on: I did have in the bag the kid's little revolver, a miserable, cheap little .22 caliber pea-shooter. It was still in his pocket when the sheriff came to tell us to take the body away to bury it. I've got to say that I counted on Clem's letter more than on everything else. It ought to work, it just had to work. I looked at my hands on the steering wheel, at my fingers, my nails. Nobody would find anything wrong there. No risk on that score. Maybe I'd get away with it."
—Excerpted from I Spit On Your Graves.



Evguenie Sokolov

Published by TamTam Books
By Serge Gainsbourg. Translated by John Weightman, Doreen Weightman.

Serge Gainsbourg's sole foray into fiction, Evguenie Sokolov describes an artist who uses his intestinal gases as the medium for his scandalous artwork. What once was a smelly and noisy problem in his social and sex life becomes a recipe for success in the early 1980s art world.

"So, as I said to myself during the dark hours of the night while trying in vain to get to sleep, the pestilential exhalations prophetic of my corporeal death were to serve the purpose of channeling and transcending that which was more pure, most enduring and most despairingly ironical in the inner depths of my creative mind, and after all the years devoted to the technique of painting and all the day spent releasing my gases in front of museum walls radiant with the genius of the great masters, these jagged, fragile and torturous lines had now rid me forever of my inhibitions."
Excerpted from Evguenie Sokolov.



Foam of the Daze

L'ecume des jours

Published by TamTam Books
By Boris Vian. Translated by Brian Harper.

Raymond Queneau called it the “most poignant love story of our time,” and Julio Cortázar said of its author: “I can’t think of another writer who can move me as surreptitiously as Vian does.” Boris Vian (1920–1959) was a songwriter, trumpet-player, poet, playwright and pataphysician, but is best remembered for his 1947 novel, Foam of the Daze, a jazz-fueled science-fiction romance that mingles bittersweet and surrealist absurdity with a melancholic meditation on the frailty of life. It tells the tale of Colin, a wealthy young dandy, and Chloe, his newly wedded wife who develops a terrible illness: a water lily in her lung. The supporting cast includes Chick, an obsessive collector of Jean-Sol Partre memorabilia; Colin’s libertine manservant Nicolas, a Jeeves for the jazz-age; the philosopher Jean-Sol Partre himself, Vian’s rib-poking tribute to his friend Jean-Paul Sartre and the pianocktail: a cocktail-mixing piano whose individual notes are tuned to liqueurs that mix incredible cocktails. Michel Gondry’s film adaptation of the novel, to star Audrey Tautou, will begin production in 2012.

Colin finished dressing. Getting out of his bath, he had wrapped himself in an ample towel of fine fabric from which only his legs and torso were exposed. He took the vaporizer from the glass shelf and sprayed the perfumed liquid oil in his light-colored hair. His amber comb divided the silky mass into long orange strands identical to the furrows that a happy laborer traces with a fork in apricot jam. Colin put down his comb and, arming himself with a nail clipper, beveled the corners of his shaded eyelids to give mystery to his gaze. He had to repeat this often because they grew back quickly. He turned on the little light of the magnifying mirror and approached it to verify the state of his epidermis. Several blackheads were sticking out around the sides of his nose. Seeing themselves so ugly in the magnifying mirror, they quickly went back under the skin and, satisfied, Colin turned off the lamp. He took off the towel that girded his loins and passed one of the corners between his toes to absorb the last traces of moisture."
Excerpted from Foam of the Daze.



Autumn in Peking

Published by TamTam Books
By Boris Vian. Introduction by Marc Lapprand. Translated Paul Knobloch.

Autumn in Peking takes place in an imaginary desert called Exopotamie, where a train station and a railway line are under construction. Homes are destroyed to lay the lines, which turn out to lead nowhere. In part a satire on the reconstruction of postwar Paris, Vian’s novel also conjures a darker version of Alice in Wonderland.

"As he swept the remains into a sewage ditch, the city sanitation worker noticed the peculiar green color of the lungs of the little dog that had been crushed by Agathe Marion who, as usual, was driving recklessly. Soon after, the sewer began vomiting things up and traffic had to be rerouted for several days."
—Excerpted from Autumn in Peking



The Dead All Have The Same Skin

Published by TamTam Books
By Boris Vian. Introduction by Marc Lapprand. Translated by Paul Knobloch.

Vian’s second noir novel under the Vernon Sullivan pseudonym is a brutal tale of racism in postwar New York City, as protagonist Daniel Parker is blackmailed by a long lost brother. Also included is the short story “Dogs, Desire and Death,” and Vian’s account of the controversies surrounding his previous novel I Spit on your Graves.

"We didn't have many customers this evening, and the band was playing a bit sluggishly, as is always the case eon nights like these. It was all the same to me. The fewer people the better. Having to toss out half a dozen guys a night, in a more or less orderly fashion to boot, well, in the long run it can end up being a real drag. In the beginning I liked it."
—Excerpted from The Dead All Have The Same Skin.


To Hell with the Ugly

Et on Tuera Tous Les Affreux

Published by TamTam Books
By Boris Vian. Translated and Introduction by Paul Knobloch. Drawings by Jessica Minckley.

First published in French in 1948, To Hell with the Ugly saw Boris Vian's noir-novelist pseudonym Vernon Sullivan take on Vian's own burlesque pop sensibilities. An erotic crime novel with science fiction tendencies, Sullivan's third outing is described by its translator as "a pornographic Hardy Boys novel set on the Island of Dr. Moreau to a be-bop soundtrack." To Hell with the Uglyrecounts the tale of Rock Bailey, a dashing 19-year-old lad determined to hold onto his virginity amidst the postwar jazz-club nightlife of Los Angeles-a resolution challenged by the machinations of the demented Doctor Markus Schutz, who has decided to breed beautiful human beings and found a colony in which ugliness is a genetic crime. Vian's brutal depictions of American race relations in his previous Sullivan novels here give way to a frenetic fantasy of eugenics and uniformity-a parodic anticipation of the cosmetic surgery that was to rule Hollywood over the coming decades, as well as a comic-book reflection on Nazi Germany's visions of a master race. With the novel's breathless domino tumble of fist fights, car chases, kidnappings, and murders, Vian here set out to out-Hollywood Hollywood, serving up a narrative cocktail of Raymond Chandler, H.G.Wells, Brave New World and Barbarella.

"Taking a smack on the head is nothing. Even being drugged twice during the course of the same evening is something a guy can live with. But stepping outside for a bit of fresh air and then all of a sudden coming to in your birthday suit in a room with a naked woman, well I'd say that's when things started to get weird. As for what happened next…"
—Excerpted from To Hell with the Ugly.


Gainsbourg: The Biography

Published by TamTam Books
By Gilles Verlant. Translated by Paul Knobloch.

When Serge Gainsbourg died in 1991, France went into mourning: François Mitterand himself proclaimed him “our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire.” Gainsbourg redefined French pop, from his beginnings as cynical chansonnier and mambo-influenced jazz artist to the ironic “yé-yé” beat and lush orchestration of his 1960s work to his launching of French reggae in the 1970s to the electric funk and disco of his last albums. But mourned as much as his music was Gainsbourg the man: the self-proclaimed ugly lover of such beauties as Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, the iconic provocateur whose heavy-breathing “Je t’aime moi non plus” was banned from airwaves throughout Europe and whose reggae version of the “Marseillais” earned him death threats from the right, and the dirty-old-boy wordsmith who could slip double-entendres about oral sex into the lyrics of a teenybopper ditty and make a crude sexual proposition to Whitney Houston on live television.
Gilles Verlant’s biography of Gainsbourg is the best and most authoritative in any language. Drawing from numerous interviews and their own friendship, Verlant provides a fascinating look at the inner workings of 1950s–1990s French pop culture and the conflicted and driven songwriter, actor, director and author that emerged from it: the young boy wearing a yellow star during the German Occupation; the young art student trying to woo Tolstoy’s granddaughter; the musical collaborator of Petula Clark, Juliette Greco and Sly and Robbie; the seasoned composer of the Lolita of pop albums, Histoire de Melody Nelson; the cultural icon who transformed scandal and song into a new form of delirium.

"Now it's impossible to understand what will follow – namely the mad passion that will unite Bardot and Gainsbourg for no more than a few weeks but which will have serious repercussions for the both of them – without taking into consideration the reckless Don Juanism of this woman, who at the age of 33 is at the height of her beauty. Our anonymous contributor continues: 'She dealt with her conquests like a praying mantis: Serge, like me and like all the others, was zombified by Bardot. That woman had a supreme talent for grinding men into rubble. Serge was a totally atypical lover for her. He had the authenticity of a real artist, he hated money, and he led his life with a sort of heedless existentialist ethic. He was the exact opposite of the clean-cut types she had been with. I am convinced that Serge fascinated her much more than her other lovers. He brought her into a world of intelligence and talent, which no one had ever exposed her to before. Little did it matter that he had a face like a gargoyle from Nôtre-Dame. What's more, he brought a whole new world to her, served up on a silver platter, which is just what she needed at the time. Thanks to Serge she was hip again.'"

-Excerpted from Gainsbourg: The Biography


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