DISCLAIMER: I fucking curse in this review, so beware! I know, I know. Why is a dainty book nerd like myself wielding profanity? I am a many-petaled sunflower, okay?


While y’all are sitting around watching Super Bowl LIII, I’m listening to Thelma and the Sleaze and drinking cheap booze. In other words: when it comes to gen-u-ine American pleasure, I’ve got you beat by yards.

Wait, who? Thelma. and. the. Sleaze. Remember those words. You’ll want to remember my name, too, so you know who to thank later. You’re welcome, by the way.


LG and LG’s Pals.

Queens of Rock.

From Nashville, Tennessee.

You’ve gotta see ’em live. That’s imperative.

As musicians, they kick ass all over any stage brave enough to hold them.

LG is the eye of this hurricane. She’s raunchy, rowdy, and fucking hilarious. But, she doesn’t do it alone: everyone up there with her is worth the price of admission any damn gig they play. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Their energy is its own entity. Ultimately, you need to be in the same room as that shit to understand its pull. Trust me on this. I could describe a TATS show down to the smallest sweaty detail, until you felt fucking transported to that place and time. Virtual Reality Level: 10. It still won’t do it justice.

Fortunately, there’s something that is closer than anything short of seeing them live.


That’s a magic word, right there.

Your ticket to TATS nirvana.

What is a RELIX?


Oh, hey! Thanks for asking. It’s just…the best.

“Officially” (via LG on Facebook) RELIX  is an “open concept not album.”

Or (in my-speak): it’s a sixteen-song treasure box whose contents keep changing.

I bought version two on Friday, when it was still pay-what-you-want-or-can. By the time you’re reading this, it will cost $217.00 or an original poem. But, probably not. Or, maybe. See, it’s that kind of exchange. Elastic, symbiotic, fiercely creative. Ya know, art. The real deal, brought to you by demos recorded, I believe, at home, and left unmastered.

Imagine trying to bluff your way into a hip stranger’s house party. You’re a bit shaky at the prospect: dry mouth, moist palms. “Do people really do this kind of thing? Is it normal? Am I an idiot for even trying?” You ring the bell. The door flings wide. Maybe you manage a few mumbly words of greeting. Nothing you say matters, though, as you discover there was no reason to worry about being caught and called out for trespassing. You weren’t invited, because no one was: everyone’s welcome, the food and drinks are plentiful, the conversation is actually interesting. Better yet? Some richly talented chicks are hanging out in the living room, playing lit-as-hell songs. As you wander from room to room, meeting new people, getting wasted together, you keep hearing the musicians as they run through a bunch of songs. Sometimes the music is loud, sometimes the music is low, but it’s always radically compelling. Of all the waves in the universe to inhabit, everyone in the house is sharing the same one. (Except for Janet, who has shit taste in music. Fuck Janet.) What are the odds? (That’s rhetorical. I’m not a statistician, so please don’t come at me with your fancy numbers. Also: I don’t care.)

The party breaks-up. People go back to their lives. The only remnant of that night, aside from a short-lived collective hangover, is the whisper of “Oh, my God! Have you heard of this band?” to friends and strangers alike.

That’s the joy of RELIX.

I hope you’ll listen, and join the chorus.


So, here we are. What’s left to speak of, except for:

Mutual generosity, getting-and-giving, the vulnerable transaction between creators and consumers. Are they mere ideas, or the lifeblood of every artistic project worth a damn?

RELIX is simultaneously a gutsy experiment, a middle finger to corporatized art, and a gift to those music lovers who will, in turn, give a damn right back.


When I bought RELIX a couple of days ago, I paid xx amount of dollars of my choice. I wish that I could have paid more dosh, but, ya know, bills. The majority of my bills are due on the first of the month. That’s adult life, right? I told LG that I would write a poem to pad out my contribution. As you know, when it comes to indie artists I try to put my money where my mouth is. After all, I am one and I respect the hell out of creative types who forge their own path. Look out for my next post (which is going live in a few minutes). It, I believe, more than fulfills my promise.





It’s only rock and roll


National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

It’s that day of the year again.

A Small Press Life: Books. Art. Writing. Life. Tea.

This was originally published here on 7 December 2012. In what is turning into an annual tradition, I am re-posting it today in honor of its subject, my buddy Frank.

[Intermezzo] Wherein I Offer You a Few Disjointed but Heartfelt Memories of My Dear Friend Frank on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

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#ReelInfatuation Blogathon: Links to My Posts About Dean Jagger in White Christmas

What Are You Reading in November?

What is on your reading list this month?

Have you given yourself permission to take it easy, as the year comes to a close?

Or, as we race the clock to 2016, are you trying to stuff as many books into your brain as possible?

I am doing the latter.

Very much the latter.

Since 1 November, I’ve finished:

  • Holding on Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore by Linda Leavell
  • Eleanor Marx: A Life by Rachel Holmes
  • Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music by Neil Powell
  • All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays by George Orwell
  • Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell
  • Gloria Swanson: The Ultimate Star by Stephen Michael Shearer
  • Vintage Reading: From Plato to Bradbury: A Personal Tour of Some of the World’s Best Books by Robert Kanigel
  • A Woman of Temperament by Lucile Duff Gordon (in progress)

To Be Read by 30 November:

  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (the only novel on the list!)
  • Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee
  • Madcap May: Mistress of Myth, Men & Hope by Richard Kurin
  • White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple
  • The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr Eccentric Genius by Jan Greenberg & Sandra Jordan
  • Oscar Micheaux: The Great and Only: The Life of America’s First Black Filmmaker by Patrick McGilligan

And, if I finish all of these…I have Michel de Montaigne’s essays waiting in the wings.

What is your favourite book this month?

Which book on your list are you most looking forward to reading?

Please share with me in the comments!

Happy reading.

[Intermezzo] Wherein I Offer You a Few Disjointed but Heartfelt Memories of My Dead Friend Frank on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

This was originally published on 7 December 2012. I am re-posting it today in honor of its subject, my buddy Frank.

A Small Press Life: Books. Art. Writing. Life. Tea.

Dear World,

Frank died at 87 1/2 years old. Picture this: When he was a tow-headed little boy, just a toddler, his parents dressed him in short pants and a striped shirt and posed him on the hood of the family Model T, grinning. Feisty. He was named after a prominent ancestor, Benjamin Franklin, and they shared more than a name: both were brilliant, larger-than-life, charismatic. Actually, he came from a long line of characters: a grandfather who died, in his 90s, as the result of a bar fight, a father who was an early aviator. That family bred their men big, bold, and memorable. Frank, my Frank, my friend, came of age during the Great Depression. He had an older brother, equally brilliant; when it came time for Frank to attend college in ’37 or ’38, there was no money left. None. His brother had the degree that Frank…

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[Creativity Challenges] Why I Just Added a Dry Erase Board to My Amazon Wish List

It all comes down to time management. In fact, most of my professional difficulties can be traced to that annoyingly persistent foe. Time management is, if you will, my arch-enemy. While I am extremely organized by nature, I have a hard time keeping firm control over my writing day. The busier I am, the worse my habits become. In March, I am working on the launch of two new blogs, editing a book and consulting on another, and creating three pieces of short fiction. This is in addition to my regular blogging, ‘zining, and writing commitments. My self-control is a shambles. My desk is, even as I type these words, littered with notes, most of which are scraps of half crossed-off to-do lists. My lovely notebooks, ditto. While it is deeply satisfying to strike lines through finished tasks, having a pile of disordered lists lounging about mocking my intentions does not encourage me to actually do anything. Quite the opposite. Technology is equally sterile when faced with dozens of work assignments. I will ignore every single electronic notification put in place to help me along the path to finishing jobs, and will do so every single time with unchained glee. Technology is only my friend when it is helping me waste time or stay connected with people. Otherwise, it can fly off. Continue reading

Daily Diversion #104: Lazy Sunday

The frozen sky spits out a combination pack of snowflakes: huge, miniscule, fat, puffy, wispy, deflated. Something for everyone, except me. I am ready for spring; curmudgeonly winter with his ridiculous whims needs to go away. Back to yesterday, or last week. Back to when he was wanted, appreciated, welcomed.

Snowy day, snowy day.

Snowy day, snowy day.

I have no energy, just a belly full of decadent food and a gaping need for a long, warm nap.

Creme Brulee French Toast

Creme Brulee French Toast.

Goodnight, all. I’ll write tomorrow.


Daily Prompt: Happily Ever After

Once Upon a Time, little girls were told they needed fairy tales. The goal was to hear the words, “And they lived happily ever after. The End.” It’s a scary idea. It says so right there: the end. A closed book. Happiness trapped under glass like a dead fly. The problem is that, when you are working toward an official Happily Ever After, you miss the nuances of the journey through the Big Bad Forest, the meat and mead of life: laughter, tears, growth, absurdity, knowledge, companionship, heartbreak, fulfillment, frustration, accomplishment. Life is messy, irreverent. It brooks no happily ever after. Why should it? Life is its own complicated reward.

Write your own story, but write it honestly. Live your own life, without succumbing to complacent platitudes. Embrace your own beautifully cracked version of success and happiness. Mine calls for writing words the best way I can, in reading more than is healthy, in loving a complex, brilliant, imperfect man. It allows for dust in the corners of my house and budding laugh lines around my eyes. I love every second of this broken bliss. It’s a thousand times better than any sterile Happily Ever After.

This is in response to the Daily Prompt: Happily Ever After. “And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there?