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Posts about Books

Alec Soth prints sold to benefit Soap Factory

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: December 9, 2013 - 3:36 PM

"Soap Factory," by Alec Soth

Internationally known Minneapolis photographer Alec Soth has produced a limited edition of 100 prints (above) whose sale will go to support the Soap Factory, a non-profit Minneapolis arts organization that showcases experimental projects in a former factory warehouse. This summer Soth staged a "slide show" review there at which participants in his Summer Camp for Socially Awkward Photographers explained and exhibited their own work.

Soth's own work has garnered international attention for the past decade at the 2004 Whitney and Sao Paulo biennials, in 2008 shows at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Photomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, and a 2010 retrospective at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. While his gallery and museum career perks along, Soth uses the book format to tell stories in pictures. At regular intervals he turns out small editions of books and magazines that quickly become collector's items including "Sleeping by the Mississippi," (2004); "NIAGARA," (2006), "Fashion Magazine," (2007); "Dog Days, Bogota," (2007); "The Last Days of W," (2008); "Broken Manual," (2010). For the past five years he's been devoting a lot of attention to quirky publications issued through his publishing firm, Little Brown Mushroom.

The Soap Factory print is roughly 12 inches wide by 9 inches tall and will be issued in an edition of 100. Cost $400. Orders can be placed through the Soap Factory here.

Prince to be profiled in comic-book biography

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: December 4, 2013 - 3:51 AM

Michael Jackson and Madonna already got theirs. So have Beyonce, Drake and Adele. Cher and 50 Cent, too.

Now Prince is going to be profiled in a comic-book biography. It’s called “Fame: Prince,” published by Bluewater Productions. The 32-page comic, offered in both digital (at iTunes) and print formats (at Comic Flea Market), is available with two different covers.

Bluewater has collaborated with William Shatner, Ray Harryhausen and Vincent Price on comic projects. Next up in its biography series are Johnny Depp and Sharon Osbourne.

“Fame: Prince” author Michael Frizell admits to preferring Prince over Jackson. "Writing [it] was like reliving my teenage years,” he said in a statement. “For me, the music scene wasn’t defined by Michael Jackson, despite his success with Thriller. The 80’s, and music in general for me, were defined by Prince. He takes chances in his music, doesn’t sell out as an artist in order to make money, and still ends up on top.”

Who's bigger, Statham or Franco?

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: November 22, 2013 - 6:07 PM

Chuck Logan, far right, met the stars and director of "Homefront," based on his book at a premiere at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. They include, starting third from left: Kate Bosworth, Jason Statham, Izabela Vidovic, Winona Ryder, James Franco and director Gary Fleder. Photo by Eric Charbonneau.

At his first red carpet event for a major Hollywood release, the "Homefront" premiere at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas Wednesday, Stillwater author Chuck Logan described a chaotic scene. "Cameras everywhere, people moving you along -- I wound up lost in some storage area at one point." Logan spoke briefly with both top-billed stars, Jason Statham and James Franco,  and was struck by how much bigger Statham looks onscreen than in real life. 

"Actually Franco's almost bigger than him, I think," he said. "I don't know what they do, maybe have everyone else walk in specially dug trenches so they look shorter, like they used to do with Alan Ladd."

A feature on Logan and the movie runs Sunday, and a review of "Homefront" next Wednesday.

Mom, dad and Pat Conroy

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: November 13, 2013 - 12:45 PM
Pat Conroy at Talking Volumes, Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul, on 11/12/13. Photo by Tom Campbell.
As millions of readers know, Pat Conroy has major parent issues.
The bestselling author of such hit books as "The Great Santini" and "The Prince of Tides" was in St. Paul on Tuesday night as part of Talking Volumes, a series that brings writers to town for live interviews at the Fitzgerald Theater.
Much of his hour-long talk with Kerri Miller of Minnesota Public Radio centered on his beautiful, "beloved mom" and his violent, abusive and egomaniacal dad. (Conroy always used "mom" and "dad" in referring to his parents, not "mother" and "father.") 
Conroy described the rage and frustration he experienced as a boy when he couldn't protect his mother from his father's violent abuse. He described how he and his siblings learned to duck and hide from Donald Conroy's wrath.
His new book, "The Death of Santini," is a memoir that revisits some of the horrors of growing up as well as the changes he said his father underwent in the latter years of his life. "My dad had a great second act," Conroy said, referring to his father's occasional realizations that he had been a bad parent and that all his children "hated his guts."
Conroy's hair-curling stories of his violent, peripatetic childhood were softened by his folksy-dark humor. When his fighter-pilot dad said, "I should have beaten you more, you'd a been a better writer," Conroy says he replied, "If you beat me any more, I'd be Shakespeare."
His father belittled Conroy's decision to become a writer as "gay," so Conroy later got a Hollywood studio write to his father telling him that  they had decided to cast Truman Capote to play him in the movie, "The Great Santini." (In fact that part was played by Robert Duvall.")
Conroy said that while he wasn't wild about cold weather, he thought he would make a good Minnesotan because everyone here is so unhappy. Later he asked, "Does everyone in Minnesota keep a journal?"
Asked for his views on religion, Conroy said that for him, writing had a spiritual aspect, and that he would like to see the Catholic Church make writer Flannery O'Connor a saint.
Conroy praised his mother for encouraging her children to read, and praised the novelist Thomas Wolfe for turning him on to the glories of fiction. "When I read 'Look Homeward, Angel,' I was changed forever," he said.
As one audience member commented via Twitter: "#PatConroy has the audience shifting swiftly between shared tears & brilliant laughter."
Star Tribune books editor Laurie Hertzel recently profiled Conroy,here.
The conversation with Conroy will be broadcast Nov. 25 in the 11 a.m. hour on MPR. More quotes and comments from the evening can be read on Twitter, under the hashtag #TalkingVolumes.


A Fatman in Frogtown

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: November 12, 2013 - 12:55 PM



Author Tony Schmitz (left) does a dramatic reading from "Fatman Descends" with Bart Cannon as Roscoe the Cop at a launch party for the serial novel, available to read free online. Photo by Kimerly Miller.

Light-rail construction along St. Paul’s central corridor has made at least one guy’s imagination run wild.

Writer Tony Schmitz, a 33-year resident of Frogtown, has written a 66-installment serial novel you can read online, “Fatman Descends,” in which a circumspect, corpulent denizen of the ‘hood becomes embroiled in a sinister underworld revealed by the excavations. Of course, there will be zombies.

The project was funded in part by Irrigate, a nonprofit creative-placemaking series of projects intended to liven up the corridor and unite surrounding communities.

While “Fatman” is a work of fiction, “an appalling number of people and situations are based on actual events that happened around here,” said Schmitz, who so far has proven uncannily adept at building suspense in 500-word bites.

A sample conclusion: “ ‘Smells like somebody opened the door to hell.’ Despite all the official explanations and denials that were to come, this was less wrong than you might think.’ Read the story so far at fatmandescends.com (you can also sign up there for daily email delivery).



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