Camille Rosa Garcia’s Alice Raffle Winners

On Monday, as promised, nine names were pulled out of a hat. The first three will receive a copy of It Books’ brand new Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia, the second three will get a limited edition lithograph and the final three, a tote bag. If your name didn’t get pulled, the book can still be yours – it’s available online, here.

For those curious about the raffle process, it was fairly simple. I pasted the comments from our post into a document, removing comments from staff, double comments and comments from ineligible folks, printed the document and then cut it up, comment by comment. The separated answers we placed into an actual hat, and voila!

I hoped the winners would be announced on Monday, but we had to confirm everyone’s US and Canadian residence first, which took a little longer than anticipated. Without further ado, drum roll, please!

Ed Autumn
Sarah Obscura

Babs Noir

Vulgaire Turpentine

Camille Rose Garcia’s Alice, With Fabulous Prizes

Here at Coilhouse, we spend a lot of time discussing our joint paper fetish. Ink this, paper stock that – we’ve found ourselves having many of these conversations well into the wee morning hours. At least two of us have been escorted out of book stores after hours of illicitly sniffing some shiny new release to a pulp. These things happen. And now, my newest object of forbidden love is It Books’ new edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia.

If you’re not familiar with Garcia’s work, she does things like this. Though the brilliance of a Camille + Alice fusion had never occurred to me before, having now personally seen [and smelled] the book has me wondering why. Everything about this is perfect. PERFECT! From a wobbly, swan-necked, and overgrown Alice crying strings of ruby tears through mascara-caked lashes on page 20, to a rabbit that would make Freyagushi proud tea-dipping a defenseless Dormouse, these character designs are a macabre delight. Camille’s swirly psychedelic style allows the imagination run free, as Carroll, presumably, intended.

Let us go back to that paper fetish for a moment. As if the beautiful illustrations weren’t enough, this edition is Decked. Out. The dustcover has spot gloss, the capital “A” on hard cover is debossed and outfitted with pink foil, and there is gold ink throughout the book. Oh, and the pages are made to look aged. Mmyep, adoration in full effect. Just don’t ask me to replicate the sounds I made while leafing through the thing for the first time and we can stay friends.

Now for the really fun part! To commemorate this release, and because we love you, we’ve teamed up with It Books to give away three copies of this book, three Alice tote bags, and three limited edition signed and numbered lithographs by Camille Rose Garcia. All you have to do is comment, and be a resident of US or Canada. Though this will be a totally random drawing of numbers from hats, I encourage you to share your own Alice art and stories. This book has been a part of so many childhoods and we want to know how it warped your pliant kid-brains.

EDIT: The raffle is over and we are confirming winners’ locations before announcing their names

Click the jump to see the tote and lithograph artwork.

Suzanne Wurzeltod is Plotting Something Wondrous

“Alien Faced People of the World Unite!” by Suzanne Gerber.

The marvelous, nurse oft-mentioned curator/creator/writer Suzanne Gerber recently posted something on her main site,, that should catch the attention of artistic East Londoners:

I recently came to the conclusion that it’s about time for me to get my own little space for art and exhibitions. I know this is not going to happen from one day to another and I’m also fully aware of all the competition around and the dire economic times, but heck, this is as good or bad as any time to start a business when you put a mind as determined as mine to it and if I never try, I will never know.

I have been wanting to get a shop/show room for a long time now and I know that I’m not the only one with such grand hopes but zero cash. So here I am, asking you, fellow (preferably East) London creative/artist/designer/utopian to join forces with me and share a space for creative endeavours with me. I’m looking particularly (but not exclusively) for:

  • An artist in need of a studio
  • A (fashion) designer in need of a shop space
  • A creative hairdresser in need of a salon
  • An (art) book/mag/graphic novel nerd/collector in need of a book shop
  • A restaurateur in need of a small café
  • A combination of the above
  • Someone who already owns a space with a creative direction and wants to rent parts of it out

So if you’re any of the above or know of someone who is and if you have been wanting to have a space of your own for a while and are committed, trustworthy, hardworking and willing to make human sacrifices, please do get in touch so that we can discuss everything over a few cups of hazelnut soy latte.

Best of luck, lovely lady. Break limbs and hearts and piggy banks, whatever it takes! Hoping to hear a lot more about this in the coming months.

Farewell to Howard Zinn, the People’s Historian

“If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive movements of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare.”

—Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States

The news came yesterday that Howard Zinn — historian, veteran, playwright and activist — had died of a heart attack at the age of 87.

Zinn was best known for his magnum opus, A People’s History of the United States, and for relentless activism against war and oppression in every form he saw. He kept up the fight until the end; giving his last interview just days before his death.

Born to poor immigrants in Brooklyn, Zinn’s family constantly moved during his childhood, staying “one step ahead of the landlord.” He later recalled the experience of “living in poor neighborhoods, seeing people evicted from their homes, their furniture put out onto the street—it seemed to have nothing to do with race or ethnicity, just poverty and helplessness.”

His childhood left him experienced in desperation, and he soon found out about war as well. Enthusiastically joining the Army Air Force in World War II, Zinn flew bombing runs over Berlin, Czechoslovakia and Hungary before participating in the first military use of napalm in 1945. The horrors he witnessed drove him to become a life-long opponent of militarism, convinced that “war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.”

Upon his return, Zinn took up the career of an educator, but found his own experiences missing from the official histories of his country. He strove to change that, and, instead of standing back, leapt into the civil rights and anti-war movements, inspiring his pupils (including a young Alice Walker), securing the release of POWs from Hanoi and testifying about America’s role in Vietnam at the Pentagon Papers trial.

Through it all, he laid the groundwork for his masterpiece, a book that revealed an alternate universe of dissident uprisings and almost forgotten struggles, simmering just under the surface of the American Dream.

Portrait by Robert Shetterly

J.D. Salinger — 1919-2010

They’re dropping like flies this week, dear readers. Yesterday it was reported that both actress Zelda Rubinstein and author/historian Howard Zinn had died and today word comes that J.D. Salinger, famed author of Catcher in the Rye is also gone, at the ripe old age of 91. A recluse for most of his life, besides the occasional lawsuit to stop seemingly anyone from publishing any details about his life, one could be forgiven for thinking him already dead which, I suppose, might have pleased him immensely.

What we are left with is a blurry portrait, taken from accounts by a former lover and his daughter. The man who emerges is a narcissist with a penchant for Eastern philosophy, homeopathy, and drinking his own urine. It is, perhaps, not the most flattering of biographies.

Still, in the end, none of this really matters. Those who will mourn the loss of Salinger do not mourn him, so much as they mourn the man who gave us Holden Caulfield. In that sense, the frustration with Salinger’s reticence has less to do with the words from his mouth than those from his typewriter. All we are left with is a set of four, slim volumes and a handful of short stories, taking up precious little in the way of shelf space. And yet his most famous creation, the young Mr. Caulfield, endures in just about every aspect of adolescence in this country. One may dispute Salinger’s ability with the written word and it would be a far easier proposition than disputing his influence. In many ways, J.D. Salinger created the teenager we know today. The sullen, disenchanted, angry and, ultimately, sensitive young person was set in stone in Catcher in the Rye, the model for countless (if not all) counterculture icons since.

It may be that such effusive words are unwarranted when describing a book or its protagonist, but a book so widely read, so deeply entrenched in our culture, deserves nothing less. Ultimately it is a case of the work having far outgrown its creator; a creator who quickly came to despise both it and the fame it brought him. In that regard the loss of Salinger is already decades old.

Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman’s Happy Nude Year

Quickly! A sneak peek of some (very happy, glowy) people we’ll be featuring in Issue #05:

photo credit: Allan Amato/Coilhouse

(And everybody goes “AWWWWWWW.”)

So far, 2010 has indeed been a happy nude year for musician Amanda Palmer and her beau, author Neil Gaiman. On New Year’s Eve, Amanda joined the Boston Pops Orchestra for the second year running to perform both Dresden Dolls and solo material (as well as passionately ravish Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1), and at some point during the course of the night, Neil proposed. They publicly announced their engagement on January 15th. A day later, the lovebirds met up with our wondrous Mister Allan Amato in NYC, who took these photos for an upcoming Coilhouse Magazine feature on their creative life together. They like that top portrait so much, they’re using it as their official engagement press photo. Yay!

photo credit: Allan Amato/Coilhouse

At 4am the next morning, they boarded a plane to LA and went directly to the Golden Globes, where, as the Huffington Post put it, Amanda “immediately became the most interesting thing at the awards.” (Heeee hee hee hee hee. Some things never change.) Congratulations, you two.


So, hey… things are kind of chaotic around here for the next few days, owing to the Whitechapel residency and all of us juggling multiple balls. Please forgive me for consolidating the following announcement with the Gaimanda Impending Nuptials Declaration, but my co-editors and I would also like to mention that Coilhouse Issue #04 has OFFICIALLY SOLD OUT in the online store.

Wow. It’s been what, a month?! We’re floored. Thank you for your overwhelming support and patronage! For those of you (in the States, at least) who missed the cutoff, fret not. There are still copies available in select Barnes & Noble stores across the country. Full list of stores here. Just be sure to call ahead to reserve your copy. There’s also Meltdown Comics in LA, Wildilocks in Australia, and… well… me in New Zealand. (Kiwis, just pipe up in comments and I’ll arrange to get your info.)

Onward and upward, comrades! Please do drop by the Whitechapel thread if you get the chance. There’s some really lively discussion happening over there, and we’d love to see more of our beloved blog readers chime in.

When Lynch Met Fellini

In 2007, David Lynch published a short book on Transcendental Meditation, titled Catching the Big Fish. Roughly half the book is devoted to extolling the virtues of meditation in decidedly Lynchian terms: “I call [depression and anger] the Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit of Negativity. It’s suffocating, and that rubber stinks. But once you start meditating and diving within, the clown suit starts to dissolve.” The other half reads like a scrapbook of anecdotes (“There’s a scene [in Eraserhead] in which [Henry] is on one side of the door; and it wasn’t until a year and a half later that we filmed him coming through the other side of that door”), musings (“there’ a safety to thinking in a diner”) and filmmaking advice (DV, DV, DV). One of the most touching sections describes Lynch’s first and last meeting with the great Italian director Federico Fellini:

I was shooting a commercial in Rome, and I was working with two people who had worked with Fellini. So I said, “Do you think it’d be possible to go over and say hello to him?” And they said, “Yeah, we’ll try to arrange that.” There was an attempt on a Thursday night that fell through, but Friday night, we went over. It was about six o’clock in the evening in summer – a beautiful, warm evening. Two of us went in and were taken to Fellini’s room. There was another man in the room and my friend knew him, so he went over and talked to him. Fellini had me sit down. He was in a little wheelchair between the two beds, and he took my hand, and we sat and talked for half an hour. I don’t think I asked him much. I just listened a lot. He talked about the old days – how things were. He told stories. I really liked sitting near him. And then we left. That was Friday night, and on Sunday he went into a coma and never came out.

The book’s rapturous tone can feel surreal when keeping the author in mind. Just imagine Lynch saying out loud, to you, “when you dive within, the Self is there and true happiness is there… it’s bliss  physical, emotional, mental and spiritual happiness that starts growing from within.” But in another section, Lynch addresses the obvious question: is he’s such a blissful guy, why are his films so dark? “I fall in love with certain ideas. And I am where I am. Now, if I told you that I was enlightened, and this is enlightened filmmaking, that would be another story. But I’m just a guy from Missoula, Montana, doing my thing, going down the road like everybody else.”

Lynch states that meditation changed his life. Coilhouse readers, who here meditates? Is it as healing as David Lynch says? Who’s never meditated properly, and doesn’t really get how it works (me!)? Lynch’s passion and clown suit metaphors make me want to try again.

The Friday Afternoon Movie: Naked Lunch

We are going to get right into it because you and I both know that there are copies to be made and collated A.S.A.P. As in As Soon As Possible. As in by 10 minutes ago.

The Naked Lunch is a mess of a novel which, I suppose, was the point. William S. Burroughs’s most famous work, made possible by the cut-up technique he championed* was decried as pornographic when it was published in Paris in 1959. It wasn’t published in the U.S. until 1962 where an obscenity trial was held for it and it was banned by courts in Boston, though the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned that ban in 1966. What The Naked Lunch is about is hard to say. There is a man named William Lee. He is an Agent. There are strange, far off places with names like Interzone and Freeland. There is a lot of sex of many varieties, centipedes, drugs, pedophilia, and Mugwumps. Somewhere in all this is satire. Mostly, it is nonsense.

And yet, it is interesting nonsense which is the key to its enduring legacy and the reason that David Cronenberg decided to make a movie out of it in 1991 starring Peter Weller, pulling an excellent Burroughs imitation. Also mixed in there are Ian Holm, Judy Davis and a crazed cameo by Roy Scheider. Naked Lunch does its best to make some kind of narrative out of Uncle Bill’s series of vignettes by filling in many of the gaps with snippets taken from Burroughs’s life, meaning we get to meet fellow Beat writers Alan Ginsburg and Jack Kerouac in the forms of Bill’s friends Martin and Hank. It also features the infamous “William Tell routine” which resulted in Burroughs shooting and killing his common-law wife, Joan Vollmer Burroughs née Adams, in 1951 for which he would spend 13 days in jail and eventually receive a suspended 2 year sentence, in absentia.

Luckily, the novel contains a plethora of just the kind of body horror material that so appealed to Cronenberg before 2002’s Spider. Fluids, orifices, and gruesome transformations are in gleeful abundance and the end result is a film that keeps the hallucinatory vision of the novel while adding a narrative anchor to keep it from completely floating away. Also, it helped to insure that, should one ever have to name a foreign rent-boy for their novel, short story, movie, whatever, it will always be Kiki. Always.

*This is not true, as pointed out by Ben Morris in the comments. While it is considered part of Burroughs’s cut-up period it was not produced using this method, a method Burroughs became acquainted with only after the publication of “The Naked Lunch”, meaning that Burroughs required no special technique to write a confusing mess of a book.

“Ayn Rand Assholism” as Institution/Ideology

GQ link via Tertiary, thanks.

If you read any rant today, make sure it’s “The Bitch Is Back”. (Be warned: should you happen to think Objectivism is nifty, you may not appreciate it quite as much.) Andrew Corsello’s essay for GQ concerning author/philosopher Ayn Rand’s followers and her work’s lingering influence over global economics and politics is a raw, rambunctious, damning piece of work. Here’s a choice excerpt:

In the end, it’s not the books but the smug, evangelical certainty of Ayn Rand Assholes that causes me to loathe Ayn Rand in a personal way. The thing I liked most about college was being around so many young people who were as earnest as they were dauntingly smart. People who didn’t (yet) feel the need to own every room they walked into. People who knew how to ask questions. That was it. All that elevated question-asking, and the pliancy of temperament it entailed.

We were children. Then came Rand, “the Rosa Klebb of letters,” as entertainment journalist Gary Susman calls her, to body-snatch some of the best of them. Rhetorical question: Is there anything more irritating than a 20-year-old incapable of uttering the words “I don’t know”?

Actually, there is: an 82-year-old Alan Greenspan admitting in October 2008—at least ten years too late—that he’d found “a flaw in the model that I perceived as the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.”

WORD. Wish I still had the email address for this kid in my high school econ class who used to carry Rand’s photo around in his wallet and habitually referred to people as “subnormals”, just so I could send him the final, frothing paragraphs of Corsello’s essay.

See also:

Help “Escape From Dullsville” Escape Obscurity!

Many of you will recall our Issue 02 interview with Andy Ristaino, a brilliant comics artist/writer based in San Francisco. His visual style is extremely dense, textural and multi-layered, drawing inspiration from Japanese manga and ’60s head shop comix. Both the art and the text are rife with secret codes, cross-referenced visual puns, and painfully funny non-sequiturs. At times, the inked pages look almost like bas relief, or woodcut sculpture.

Detail of the cover art for Escape From Dullsville by Andy Ristaino.

It’s challenging, kaleidoscopic work– certainly not “skimmable”. As Andy would put it, his comics just aren’t the kind of thing you pick up and read in a matter of minutes, then never look at again. “So much time and effort goes into making comic books, but for the most part, they’re still a disposable medium. [I have always wanted] to create books where you couldn’t just skip ahead and read the last panel to find out what happens.” (Mission accomplished. I’ve read his oversized graphic novel The Babysitter three times now, and I’m still discovering  delightful new details.)

When I first met Andy well over a decade ago, he was hard at work on a demented, epic title for SLG Comics called Life of a Fetus. The premise:

A claustrophobic fetus grows tired of its surroundings and decides to make an early exit, setting an avalanche of bizarre happenings in motion. Soon the fetus becomes embroiled in the plots and schemes of the likes of little green men, mad scientist puppets, government cover-ups, jet-packed babysitters, strange cults, anarchists, beatniks, psychotic magicians, truckers, and crazy mothers, as it goes on the most wigged-out of road trips through the good ol’ U.S. of A.

About a week ago, he finally finished the 288 page book collecting all 7 issues of L.O.A.F. The collection, titled “Escape from Dullsville” also contains over 80 pages of new material, including the previously unpublished L.O.A.F. #8. Unfortunately, pre-orders have not been high enough for SLG to justify printing the book. (That can’t have been an easy decision for a publisher so dedicated to supporting industry underdogs.) Unless Andy can raise enough pre-order sales quickly it may never be printed. That, my friends, would be a crying fucking shame. To say the least.

You need to look at Andy’s art at higher res to even begin to comprehend how insanely awesome it is. Click here, here, here and here for larger jpegs.

Andy’s hoping to get everyone who would normally buy the book when it came out to preorder it from Amazon ASAP. (For less than 14 bucks! 6 dollars less than the official cover price). If SLG receives enough pre-order sales, the book will be printed. Folks who go through Amazon will not be charged until the book is shipped. Even more amazingly, Andy is offering a personalized original sketch of one of his book’s characters to anyone who emails him a photo of themselves holding the book when it comes out. He’s taking requests, even.

I just ordered two copies.