Although this here blog has been pretty quiet for a week or so, we have been far from idle at Wow Cool / Alternative Comics HQ. Most recently we have upgraded our web servers, so WowCool.com, IndyWorld.com, MagicWhistle.com and several other sites we host should be running much faster now. A couple months back we noticed some very serious problems related to a massive increase in “comment spam”… Even after doing all we could with our old server to combat the problem, slowdowns and server interruptions continued. Hopefully that is now all a problem left in the past. In case you missed any of it, here is a recap of everything else that has gone down the last couple of weeks.
The lineup for the Linework NW show in Portland, Oregon has been announced. Alternative Comics will be part of it. I’m pretty excited about this show, it looks to be a great successor to the Stumptown comics fest. See you there?
The news has spread far and wide that after a quarter century of peddling comic books through the US mails that Wow Cool has opened it’s first ever brick and mortar retail store in Cupertino, California. Many items are exclusive to the store, including the pain-in-the-ass to ship Kramers Ergot 7, Other big books from the likes of Paul Pope, Justin Green and Ivan Brunetti, and the (totally free) Jim Woodring illustrated One Green Tree. Pay us a visit?
The big news is that Alternative Comics has finally announced the full lineup of books for the spring and summer of 2014. It has been well over a year of work to coordinate the release of some of these books, and we are particularly excited to be able to offer Megan Kelso’s Girlhero and Jesse Moynihan’s Backwards Folding Mirror to the world again. Many more books are in preparation for debut at this year’s SPX, for release in stores from September. There will be some familiar faces as well as some total surprises. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.
Sam Henderson is resurrecting the character of He Aims To Please, after an eight year absence, for an appearance in the upcoming Magic Whistle #14 from Alternative Comics. Catch up on his rich history in our Sam Henderson shop.
The Wow Cool | Alternative Comics
Bookstore & Newsstand is now open!
Shop online or visit our retail shop in Cupertino, California
Wow Cool is now open for business at our new brick-and-mortar shop in the historic Monta Vista neighborhood. We are at 21607B Stevens Creek Blvd.; Cupertino, California 95014. Hours: Tues.–Sat. Noon–6pm (408) 921-5164
Do you know the way to San Jose?
We are conveniently located off of the CA-85 Cupertino/Stevens Creek exit near the intersection with I-280. Look for the giant Paul & Eddie’s sign — we are in the same parking lot — way around the back of the Share World building. If you are driving between San Francisco and Los Angeles, you will very likely drive right by us. Stop in and pay us a visit. Our little neighborhood is also conveniently home to an organic grocery, Halo Custom Guitars, the post office, a gas station and many restuarants, including our favorite: iSushi.
This is an open call for entries for an ongoing public exhibition of a curated group showing of video art to run from January 11, 2014 until a date as yet to be determined. The videos will play at a dedicated opening screening in January and will then run in a continuous loop at the Wow Cool | Alternative Comics Bookstore & Newsstand in Cupertino, California during normal business hours.
Any modern digital video format that is playable in our system will be accepted. The program will run on a Raspberry Pi Model B running OpenELEC connected to either a Commodore 64 1702 monitor or a modern HD flat screen display or both. Preferred minimum resolution is 640 x 480 pixels. Preferred Maximum resolution is 720p HD – 1280×720 pixels. We are looking primarily for video work created by artists with a static 2-D background – cartoonists, painters, illustrators. Content can range from the very abstract and experimental to humorous short cartoons and music videos. Examples of the sort of work sought includes: Lightning Bolt/Paper Rad’s ‘13 Monsters‘, Dash Shaw’s ‘BodyWorld‘, and Michael DeForge’s ‘Test Frames‘. But, please do not let this short list limit you. Final selection is at the sole discretion of the curator, Marc Arsenault.
The work can be of any age or length. There is no submission fee or form. We respectfully request that the content be reasonably “safe for work”. Please send a link to a downloadable version of the work via our contact form or send a CD or DVD of the file to: Wow Cool, 21607B, Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014. Please include your full contact info and how you would like the work to be titled and attributed with your submission.
There will be no further manifestation of this program in other venues or mediums apart from this site-specific exhibition.
Hello… What’s this? Thanksgiving was last week! That may well be, but Kevin Scalzo’s Sugar Booger #1 didn’t get here until now! But, wait, you say, I thought that came out like ten years ago. Nope this is the new 32 page 5×7″ color glossy edition from Alternative Comics. It collects the first two mini comics with seven pages of new art, all freshly colored. And there will be two more of them in 2014. But what’s up with the Thanksgiving Special? Ah, that is a special brand new 12 page black and white story with the two-color covers that you see above. They were made special as an exclusive for CAB in Brooklyn. We have just three of them and are giving them away FREE to the first three people that order the new Sugar Booger #1.
DICE is the Durham Indy Comics Expo, a comics art festival designed to highlight the cutting-edge comics talent in the Triangle and expose them to the growing local arts community. The show will feature lectures, how-to workshops, panels, signings, a gallery show and a large selection of minicomics, books, and prints.
Sam Henderson started publishing the Magic Whistle series 20 years ago, and today sees the release of the 24th issue. Yes, number 13 is the 24th one. There were 10 issues in the self published volume 1 (largely collected in Humor Can be Funny and The Magic Whistle Blows) Volume 2 has had 13 print issues and the free digital collection #0. That’s 24! The all new issue 13 features the return of Gunther Bumpus and Robot Duckling and the stories ‘Three Little Fishies’, ‘The Half Plus Seven Rule’ and ‘The Origin of Dirty Danny!’ Also included are precious little valentines, a four page guest strip by Lizz Hickey and a back cover by David Goldin.
If you haven’t gotten the news yet, Sam has relaunched his website MagicWhistle.com Go there now.
But wait! There’s more! Enjoy this gallery of recent sketches by Simon Gane. Bonus sketch: Juliet from Simon’s graphic novel Paris with Andi Watson – featuring Simon’s interpretation of Picasso’s 1946 painting La Joie de Vivre. Simon has a new book on the way with a well known writer that is still hush-hush and we have been trying to find the perfect project to work with him on for, uh, several years now. In the meanwhile, enjoy his amazing drawings and feel free to browse Wow Cool’s Simon Gane Shop.
7PM until 10PM SHARP!!!!
ACTUARY!!!(L.A.) --- Kwisp --- Heartworm --- Darwin's Bitch --- Pete von Petrin --- Seitz versus Gendreau --- Gosling --- Fslux --- Dross
This 3 piece wowed Sacramento at the Norcal Noise Festival after a 'mad samurai' came to the show single-handedly trying to shut down the event wielding a katana (also off his meds). While police were called Actuary Hero One busted the thumb of the wild man when he was trying to play grab-face during the insanity exchange, subduing the wildman. Later, more triumphs with the live act utilizing analog synths, electronics, & bliss. So...they are on their way here, please welcome them with your best thumbs up or samurai gear as they are presenting their more experimental 'sound' side with a huge array of collected instruments, effects, & tightrope walking vulcanized mind boning beyond anything you could imagine on or off medication. Note the recent release with Merzbow is listed on their soundcloud site.
Kwisp is a San Francisco based musical group, their instrumentation is unique, most of it built by the band itself. Teriyaki Vest Odyssey, Kwisp’s first album, merged Elf songs, psychedelia, free jazz, Dada, and Tantric Appalachian Pygmy Music. Kwisp’s current lineup includes Walter Funk & Lenny Bove (ex Pere Ubu, Tripod Jimmy). They first met through Cork Marcheschi, whose 1960's experimental rock band Fifty Foot Hose, was among the very first of underground rock bands to perform with experimental and electronic instruments, influencing such later bands as Throbbing Gristle, Pere Ubu, Skinny Puppy and Chrome. In 1995, when Marcheschi reformed Fifty Foot Hose, Walter and Lenny were asked to join.
Heartworm is San Francisco based sound artist Brandon Yahiro-Taylor. A veteran of the NYC and bay area experimental/noise and underground dance music scenes, heartworm currently fuses modern and traditional sound
design and experimentation with field recording, ambient soundscapes, shattered breakbeat tomfoolery and general silliness. There will be no costumes, visual aids or jumping around. Just pure evil for the ears...
Sound artist and violinist Marielle V. Jakobsons creates electro-acoustic compositions of evocative, pulsing drones. She has published recordings on Thrill Jockey, Important Records, Digitalis, Mexican Summer, Root Strata, among others, and has toured across the
Americas & Europe. A classically-trained musician turned sound designer and educator by trade, she creates and collaborates extensively in the experimental arts. Together with Gregg Kowalsky, she formed the band Date Palms and with Agnes Szelag Myrmyr. “Glass Canyon” is her second solo album of analog synthesizers and violin, was released by Students of Decay in Summer 2012. From 2007-2011 she performed under the moniker “darwinsbitch” and released the album “Ore” on Digitalis in 2009.
Pete von Petrin
Pete von Petrin explores pyschoacoustics and involuntary response to visual stimulation through performances involving strip club lighting and audio feedback. He is currently working on an album about the Singularity.
Seitz Versus Gendreau
Seitz Versus Gendreau is a collaborative sound experiment sampling from a wide-ranging array of instruments and sources. In the past they have used toy pianos, records, invented instruments, and field recordings; for the July show they will be employing a new set of tools. Noise will evolve into rhythms and dissolve back into a field of sound.
SEITZ is a series of words: ubiation, spumescence, pleochroic, impluvious, limbeck. Seitz is a deipnosophist well-practiced in myomancy and a believer in resistentialism. Ultimately Seitz is nothing but a zodiac of the mind's phantasms.
GENDREAU started playing drums in 1972, and working with tape machines and scrappy electronics a few years after that. He has composed or co-composed for those instruments and others (turntables, notably) for various recordings and performances, both solo and in groups (Crawling With Tarts, Lars Mars Orchestra, rRope, Seitz Versus Gendreau, Speed The Parting Guest, The Disturbing Group, Veti_Vert, etc.). After completing a degree in physics in 1989, he began work as an acoustician that continues to this day, where his primary focus is in the design of very quiet research environments, with respect to infrasound and vibration (for a list of publications, click here).
This is their record release party.
1. a young goose
2. a foolish, inexperienced person
3. The combined forces of vocalists, Danishta Rivero (Voicehandler,Blood Wedding, Aghora) and Sarah Elena Palmer (EFFT, Lutra Lutra)
Danishta: a musician/sound artist who specializes in the Hydrophonium (a water-based electro-acoustic percussion instrument), extended vocal techniques, and digital processing.
Sarah: a songwriter and a vocal improviser - tending towards the emotional and tonal - who also uses electronic processing to adjust the spacial/textural context of her sounds.
The long-time project of Bay Area artist C. Sullivan, Fslux focuses on the manipulation of everyday sound, layering of textures, and generally lo-fi instrumentation. For this performance, she will be using vintage electronics, looping, effects and and various other sounds to aurally penetrate your mind's ear.
Dross is analog synth drones, tape loops & manipulation, feedback loops, noise, and sometimes songs. It's the solo project of John Farris, who played in Michigan punk/experimental bands Salt Lick and Blind Lake, and frequented the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti basement noise scene. Since moving to the bay he's focused on building a solo rig (limited by space) and experimenting with textures and meditative drones to immerse in some heavy zones. John is joined on electronics at this show with "Chopper".
For more info, please visit http://www.thelab.org/
My good friend and bandmate Nick Carpenter is associate producing this documentary. It launched its Kickstarter a few hours ago. Have a look. Help out. Watch until the end as you will have a laugh.
Syl is a super interesting subject, a major part of soul music history, and a volatile person and performer today. We need your help to tell his story. Watch the video, tell people about it, consider donating yourself – all that good stuff. Or even just play some Syl Johnson on youtube today. The guy has got a special voice and we’re excited to introduce you to him.
Please notice all the ridiculously cool, exclusive rewards. The tote, the tee, the poster, the art. Whoa!
If you know anyone else who might be interested in checking this out, please help spread the word. The response has been great so far, but we want a big first couple days to keep the momentum high.
Channel 16 – a program of Brown Cuts Neighbors video shorts – is being presented by Jason Martin tonight, Friday June 28 at Harvestworks in New York City at part of the 2013 New York Electronic Art Festival.
596 Broadway, #602
New York, NY, United States 10012
In this screening and talk inter-disciplinary artist Jason Martin presents his work with the expansive collective Brown Cuts Neighbors, a band and Public Access TV program that ran from 1989 to 2002 in Schenectady, NY. In these years, Brown Cuts Neighbors created more than one hundred videos that revel in the liminal spaces of late night television. Bringing together bizarre fables, a cast of imaginary characters, and a channel-surfing montage, these intensely chromatic films unveil a submerged media satire and wonderment. This event is part of 2013 New York Electronic Art Festival.
In 1989, high school students Jason Martin, Marc Arsenault and James Kopta started a project called Brown Cuts Neighbors. The group took its name from an imaginary band Jason formed with his younger sister Colleen, at ages 6 and 4, respectively. Martin, Arsenault and Kopta took the concept and brought it to a collective music/performance/video project and long-running Public Access TV program on Schenectady NY’s Channel 16.
Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins have turned to Kickstarter to fund the final chapter of five in their film cycle Jimmy’s End. “His Heavy Heart” is in need of £45,000 to complete filming. £30 (currently about $47) appears to me to be the sweet spot with the inclusion of a DVD and illustrated book – although the cheaper digital download option and the much more expensive signed edition are currently more popular. All the info you need, including the full video for part one “Act of Faith” and a trailer for the second installment, are on the Kickstarter page. Wow Cool carries a large selection of Alan Moore’s books and CDs, including a number of harder to find items.
It’s been too long since we’ve mentioned any video games or deep topography related items here, so, via Rock, Paper Shotgun, we urge you to check out this very interesting game in development that you can help support right now by green lighting it on Steam. Infra is a first-person game about structural and infrastructural decay. I would love to see more games that get into this level of exploration of the wreck of the post-modern world. Looks alot like life back in Schenectady, New York… Let the power fail!
Erik T. Johnson’s Outliers #1 and Sam Henderson’s Magic Whistle #0 Added to Alternative Comics‘ 2013 schedule.
Debuting on ComiXology, and also available direct from the publisher, on June 19, is the free digital-only full-length comic Magic Whistle #0 by Sam Henderson. This newly assembled compilation collects strips that originally appeared online and in (mostly) out of print books, including Measles, Hotwire Comics and Expo 2001; plus self-published mini-comics and long out-of-print back issues of Magic Whistle. “Magic Whistle 0 will serve as the perfect introduction for readers new to the madcap, ever-expanding world of Sam’s vast oeuvre, possibly leaving them scarred for life”, boasts Alternative Comics’ General Manger Marc Arsenault.
New to the Alternative Comics family is veteran designer and illustrator (New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, GQ, etc.) Erik T. Johnson’s debut solo comic The Outliers Chapter One. Originally printed with help from a Kickstarter campaign, the comic will receive direct market distribution through Alternative Comics in August. The Outliers is an action-adventure story that follows a speech-impaired 11 year-old boy living in the Pacific North woods who has a very unusual friendship with an 18-foot tall, hairy woodland giant. The comic was produced with a high and unique degree of craft; employing French Paper Company papers, letterpress covers and a color dustjacket; and, it was selected for the Society of Illustrator’s 55th Annual Sequential Art show in New York. The Outliers will make its debut at The College of Comic Book Knowledge in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June first and be showcased at CAKE – The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo on June 15-16., with the author in attendance at both events. The Outliers will be available in stores and on ComiXology on August 28, 2013.
Also joining Alternative Comic’s digital releases this June is K. Thor Jensen’s acclaimed graphic novel Red Eye, Black Eye. Cloud Stories, Jensen’s new collection of short comics, is expected in early 2014. Sam Henderson’s Magic Whistle #9 and James Kochalka’s Peanut Butter & Jeremy’s Best Book Ever will be released digitally in early July.
It seems fitting somehow to present some recent sounds from members of Brown Cuts Neighbors on Memorial Day, since one of our main members – James Kopta – has been gone from us for over a decade. The work lives on, however, and many of our videos will be presented by Jason Martin as part of the New York Electronic Art Festival 2013 a month from now.
Starting with something short… This is a quick track I threw together on Sunday afternoon with my new birthday toy – a Korg Kaossilator.
An unexpected birthday present yesterday was the re-release of the Teen Beat Records tribute compilation Relax Brother, Relax from My Mean Magpie. Track 12 is a cover of Sexual Milkshake’s Bargaining with the Bubblebot (or possibly Peanutz – there is some confusion and room for debate here), titled simply Bargaining The Bubblebot and credited to nickname: Rebel, my post Brown Cuts Neighbors band that has been slowly working on releasing the first two records and polishing a third.
Finally, from Mr. Jason Martin, we have the title track from the 2010 very limited vinyl-only release Adirondack Power and Light, which is to receive a digital release later this year from a re-launched Wow Cool Records.