Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tosh Leaves Book Soup

Dear beloved audience,

As well as being the publisher and editor for TamTam Books, I also had a passion for book buying for the store Book Soup in West Hollywood (Los Angeles).   I can't tell you how much fun it is to purchase incredible books for that store.  The customers there are top-notch, the staff great, and just one big huge zowie of a great time. The magic moment for me is when Ennio Morricone at Book Soup whistled the main theme from The Scilican Clan to me!

Ennio Morricone meets fan Tosh at Book Soup
Also I have to give high praise to the "Rep" who are the faces of the publishing house.  They do a remarkable job in going through the weeded jungle of their catalogs and present me the best and the most unusual books.  And to be honest I never really cared about the cost of the book, but how unique it is and how it fits in the Book Soup moody world.

Within removing from the packings we sold a $10, 500 book "Commedia dell'Arte - Couture Edition" ) within minutes.  Only 25 made in the world, and gone in a matter of seconds.   

But alas, it is time for me to return full-time to the world of TamTam Books.  Also working on my own writings as well.  So its a very regretful goodbye to Book Soup, a place that was my home for at least 25 years.   For me Book Soup is 1987-2012.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jacques Tardi's "New York Mon Amour"

Jacques Tardi is pure gold.  I almost want to say he's my favorite filmmaker, but he's not a filmmaker, he's a graphic novelist/artist. He has done everything from turn-of-the-century Paris noir to classic crime noir, to this book "New York Mon Amour," a snapshot of 1980's New York...that is noir.  One feature length story and three short one's - and what he captures is the foreigner's on their last legs looking at NYC as an exit to even maybe even a worst world out there. 

The first (and the most longish) narrative "Cockroach Killer" (written by Benjamin Legrand) is about a refugee from World War Two, who lives and works in NYC as a bug exterminator.  Which means he travels through out the city going for the dirt and the inner-lives of its citizens.  A sort of 'another take' on the William Burroughs exterminator character, but this character is not as tough, he's just surviving on the filth that was (or is) NYC.   On one of his jobs he visits the 13th floor of a Manhattan building, because normally there isn't a 13th floor - nevertheless he comes across a school of mysterious  assassins. For a brief moment his life is thrown into a world of a haunted and chased man.  The narrative being used to examine the inner-life of New York as it is being slowly destroyed.

What's left is two short stories by Dominique Grange, who is married to Tardi, that examines the life of a troubled assassin who couldn't complete his mission and the other on a woman from Vietnam who is tracking down someone from her past in Manhattan.  And again, both stories are snapshots taken from a foreigner's point-of-view of going through hell, and that state of mind is the landscape of New York.  

Tardi's own story "Manhattan" is nothing but that.  Probably the most ultimate alternative view of a tourist coming to NYC to ....  well you should just read it.  Nevertheless, Tardi has a master's touch in capturing the coldness in life and I really feel he's a master in his field.

Excerpt from "New York Mon Amour"

Jacques Tardi

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Save the Last Dance For Satan" by Nick Tosches

At times I am taken back by Nick Tosches hard-ass attitude, but if I saw him in a dark alley I would have to be honest, and tell you I'll would be afraid.  I read his biography on Dean Martin on a long plane trip to Japan from Los Angeles, and I finished the book as it hit the pavement of Narita Airport.  It was probably one of the most enjoyable times i spent on a plane, and to this day, I think of that trip in conjunction with that particular book.

The great Norton Records who specialize in re-issues of great garage rock and obscure music now has a publishing wing called Kicks Books.  I suspect, no, I know this is going to be a major press here in the States.  I have a sense that 'they got it" like the label, and its going to be a wild reading ride.

Nick Tosches "Save the Last Dance For Satan" is a fragmentary tale of the great American hustlers who first came upon rock n' roll in the 1950's.  Its a book about early record labels and all the hustlers around that specific world.   I suspect that this is a dream project for Norton Records - but alas let's set that side and just sort of (my attention span is terrible these days) focus on Tosches interest here.

As a writer he likes to give you a snapshot with as much detail one can put in that one photo.  And what you have here is a very small book with poetic details about the early American label scene.  The gangsters (there must be gangsters in every form of art to sometimes make it interesting)) who see music as a means to generate capital, but the side affect is that it becomes something even more important.  An art that can cut through the bullshit and say 'yeah I get it why I am here."   And on a personal level I think Tosches feels that commerce in an interesting way has made art - which is sometimes obscure rock n' roll records or Rhythm and Blues recordings.  Its amusing that Tosches sees Elvis as the property line when it all turn sour.  I don't agree with his theory, but I like how he writes and thinks to get to that place.

So yeah, we have a small paperback, that is for sure poetic more than just the facts man, and its from a press that sees music not only ear candy, but also a rich culture.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

It took me awhile, but i finally found this book (thanks Alias East!) and like the pleasure of finding something that you really tried to find - the pleasure of the book even becomes more important, and sensual,  to you.  My interest in the photographic works of David Bailey is pretty much set in the 1960's. He's consistently fine, but the peak of his powers i feel is when he documented the faces of London.  Or I should say the various 'Face" of London.  That would include Mick Jagger, Jean Shrimpton, a very young Jane Birkin and various beautiful models of that period.

David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton
Michael Caine by David Bailey

Bailey had the East London street know-it-all, and its interesting he did a series of iconic portraits of the Kings of East London - The Kray Twins.  The mixture of the visual arts, rock n'  roll, filmmakers, fashion, and gangsters is a heady mixture and a dynamic cocktail.  You got to find this book and buy it. Essential recording of London circ. 1960's and other ports of the world.  But it is seen through the eyes of an East London lad.

Mick Jagger by David Bailey

Friday, June 8, 2012

Boris Vian's L'écume des jours (Foam of the Daze) film

TamTam Books' edition of L'écume des jours (Foam of the Daze)

Here are some current images from the new Michel Gondry film 'L'écume des jours, based on the novel by Boris Vian (and of course, published by TamTam Books.  I have to say it looks incredible:

On a personal note no one from the film production has approached me regarding the filming of "L'écume des jours.  My translation of the book is "Foam of the Daze" but they're using an old American translated title of the novel, "Mood Indigo,"  that was published by Grove in the mid-1960's.  I have read all three English translations (of course) and its strange that they're using this title.  One, at least for the novel, the title or song "Mood Indigo" is never mentioned in the narrative.  Nevertheless it promises to be an interesting film.
Here's the cover of Mood Indigo
The Grove edition of L'écume des jours (tr Mood Indigo)

L'écume des jours (tr UK Froth on the Daydream)

Boris Vian's "Autumn in Peking" as an animated film

I just got word that there are plans to make a feature length animated film of Boris Vian's "Autumn in Peking."   Down below is an article from Variety Film News:

TamTam Books edition of Autumn in Peking

Former Disney animators Paul and Gaetan Brizzi will direct toon feature "L'automne a Pekin," an adaptation of Boris Vian's novel set up at Didier Brunner's Paris-based Les Armateurs, Europe's leading art pic toon producer.

French-born, the Brizzi brothers wrote and directed the "Firebird Suite" segment of Disney's "Fantasia 2000." They were also storyboard artists on 1996's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and 2007's "Enchanted."
Mixing contempo satire, surrealism and a despairing take on love, Vian's same-titled 1947 novel turns on the futile construction of a railway station in the desert of Expotamie.
The Brizzis, whose Brizzi Films Montreuil studio was purchased by Disney, becoming Walt Disney Television Animation France, have already made a 10-minute pilot, which establishes character design, said Les Armateurs' Jean-Paul Commin.
Les Armateurs, whose "Ernest and Celestine" screens Friday at Annecy, has also signed up U.S. screenwriting duo Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow ("Toy Story," "Garfield," "Garfield 2") to pen the screenplay for toonpic "French Riviera."
"A 'vintage' thriller," in Brunner's words, "Riviera" will be helmed by French graphic artist Richard Zielenkiewicz, better known as Monsieur Z.
"U.S. screenwriters can hone the thriller aspects and bring an international sense of humor to 'Riviera,' " Commin said.
Luc Besson's EuropaCorp will no longer co-produce the toon feature, whose budget is in the €10 million-€15 million ($12.4 million-$18.6 million) range.
Armateurs' "Kirikou and the Men and the Women," helmed by Michel Ocelot, bows in France Oct. 3, while "Ernest and Celestine" opens on Dec. 12.
Both movies are co-produced, distributed and sold internationally by Studiocanal. One episode of "Kirikou," "Le Monstre bleu," will screen before "Ernest's" Annecy screening.
TamTam Books' edition of Autumn in Peking

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My favorite image of a Book Store

I can't imagine anything so beautiful as this bookstore.  I never been there and I don't know where its located  - but there is a sense of pure sensual pleasure in this photograph.