Last night I trekked up to the north end of Clinton Hill in Brooklyn for the Sybil’s Garage film shoot. A start-up film production company offered to make a promo film for us as a way to build their resume. We bounced ideas back and forth. They sent me a script, I sent them my comments. And before no time at all they were shooting.
I arrived at the set, made to look like a graffitied parking garage, in their office studio:
I know when working with creative people, it’s best not to micromanage. Better to let their subconscious have free reign. In my version of the film, people would be sitting across from each other in a kind of competition as they’d read sections of stories to a greater audience. The one who moves the audience the most, “wins,” the metaphor being that each piece of Sybil’s Garage is more moving than the last. This vision of the scene was confirmed when I saw the director writing out scripts like this*:
But then something happened. I’m not sure what. Somehow the scene ended up being shot like this:
A screaming, shouting, cussing, drinking mini-riot. A literary rumble. Not exactly the solemn affair I’m used to at KGB. I decided to just roll with it. I was not going to interject, like the school librarian, and say, “You know, these things are usually much more staid affairs. Maybe we can tone it down?” No way. People were having too much fun, and so I stood there in my PJs (yes, I wore PJs; we were supposed to dress “eclectic”) as we shot the scene from about a dozen different angles. The directors promised me an awesome promo film, and I trust them, even though our visions differ. And you know, it got me thinking, maybe exactly what literature needs right now to make it hip and relevant is a little punk rock. I’m looking forward to the finished product.
Oh, and doesn’t Paul Berger look totally f’n awesome here? I’d hire him to solve a murder. Or maybe commit one.
My friend Cesar Bustamante made this cool video of Catherynne M. Valente reading from her new Prester John-themed novel, The Habitation of the Blessed.* She recently read at Word Bookstore in Brooklyn as part of the Wold Newton Reading Extravaganza, with music by Brian Francis Slattery and the West Constantinople Squeezebox All-Stars, as well as dancing by Jezebel Wood, Mary Cyn, and Katie Lennon. I’ll be reading there as part of the series with Rick Bowes in February. I’m not sure if there will be belly dancing yet.
To celebrate the holiday season, Senses Five Press is offering a 50% discount on everything in our store, including the latest issue of Sybil’s Garage and the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology Paper Cities. Just use coupon code HOLIDAZE2010 when checking out.
Have you read Sybil’s Garage No. 7 yet? Read what others are saying about the latest issue.
“It’s been awhile since an anthology had this kind of emotional impact on me…this one is highly recommended.” – N.K. Jemisin, Hugo-nominated author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.
“One of my favorite magazines.” – John Klima, Hugo Award-winning Editor of Electric Velocipede
“Beautifully designed and printed as always, Sybil’s Garage which has been one of the best small press speculative fiction journals, graduates to anthology status.”
– Richard Bowes, multiple World Fantasy Award-winning author
“The always interesting ‘zine Sybil’s Garage is back with a thicker than usual issue” – Rich Horton for Locus Magazine
“Every story had something for me to like: vivid description, playful language, a character to root for, mystery, poignancy, tragedy, an intellectual puzzle, a sting in the tail.” -SFF Portal, Alison Sinclair
I said to my father. “I never knew my grandfather.” He had died a few years before I was born.
And my father said, “You can meet him!”
Contrary to my first impression, he had not summoned his ghost or lost his mind. Among the many boxes in the shed of my grandparents’ things, there supposedly hid a novel my grandfather had written. But after a day of searching through mouse-eaten boxes, we never found it. Well, good news (he says in the Professor’s voice). My father has just found the novel (hidden in another box), as well as a play and several short stories of his. I’m looking forward to getting some insight into who he was. I also think it’s kind of cool that even though he masqueraded as a school principal, he was a closet artist.
“Beyond the wastes of the Jeen, where the white sands breathe in irregular tides, a cleft splits the desert in two. The chasm descends to the center of the earth, perhaps deeper, and many demons make their despicable homes in nooks in the cliff face. Down its vastness, daylight vanishes behind mountains of stone, replaced by torchlight from parapets or ghastly radiances spilling from caverns.
In one such cavern lived the demon Atleiu. Her home blazed with corrupted light, as if splendor itself had died. Living metalwork squirmed from angled walls, columns dripped orange syrup into stone pools, and gold, everywhere there was gold.
Atleiu, a serpentine beast with a hairy insectoid head, sat on her radiant throne, her long black tail trailing away like a river of oil. Beside her writhed Mielbok, the Billion-Toothed Maggot, his two pink eyes rheumy with pus.
Also, last night I was on Jim Freund’s Hour of the Wolf (its new time is Wednesday nights) with playwright and director Edward Einhorn. We talk about Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Blade Runner, human empathy, and even got to hear Philip K. Dick himself knock an early movie script based on the work. (He ultimately approved of a later version and a special-effects screening.) It was lots of fun and all too short! Listen to the show here.