Written by Eric Reynolds
Wednesday, 09 June 2010
For Immediate Release:
FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS ANNOUNCES THE ACQUISITION OF SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS STORY COLLECTION
SEATTLE, WA, JUNE 9, 2010 --- Since its debut, Significant Objects, the bold online inquiry into the relationship between narrative and the value of everyday objects, has been the subject of speculation by everyone from NPR to litbloggers to The New York Times' Freakonomics crew. Some theorized about the project's hypothesis, others about its methods and results.
Some just wanted to know: Will there be a book?
This last question can now be answered: Yes!
A collection of one hundred Significant Objects stories, seductively illustrated by top artists, will be published in 2011 by Fantagraphics Books.
This represents the most pleasing plot twist yet to the story of a very unlikely project that began as an experiment, turned into an experimental literary magazine secretly published on eBay, and currently raises money for youth tutoring nonprofits.
Founded by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker, SignificantObjects.com appeared out of nowhere last summer, and has published an extraordinary series of 200 stories and counting - by William Gibson, Curtis Sittenfeld, Sheila Heti, Colson Whitehead, Nicholson Baker, Meg Cabot, Lydia Millet, Jonathan Lethem, and other talented writers - about ordinary stuff like novelty items, discarded souvenirs, and tasteless kitchenware picked up cheap at thrift stores and yard sales. The goal: To see if commissioning great stories about these insignificant things would increase their value - as measured in actual eBay auctions.
The LA Times's Jacket Copy blog summarized the project's questions: "Can a good story make something more valuable? What if it's entirely untrue?"
Significant Objects and its contributing writers sold piles of flea-market flotsam for thousands of dollars and, as The Economist's More Intelligent Life blog put it, "proved Walker and Glenn's theory that stories add immeasurable value to objects."The New York Times's Freakonomics blog gaped at the "supersonic premium" which Significant Objects managed to create. "Is it the intrinsic utility and beauty of a commodity that creates its value," the Boston Globe's Brainiac blog queried, "or the stories we tell ourselves about them?"
Some observers suggested the Significant Objects experiment had invented a new business model: "This is just one (fun) example of many of content creators smartly using infinite goods (the stories) to make a scarce good (the trinket) more valuable, and putting in place a business model to profit from it," according to Techdirt. Cool Hunting speculated that the project had created "the first pay scale for writers based on emotional impact."
Of course, Significant Objects was never just about the marketplace. Most importantly, it was about writers "finding magic in unexpected things," as NPR's All Things Considered put it. The project has published first-rate fictions by best-selling novelists and pathbreaking up-and-comers, by literary stars and experimentalists, writers for The Daily Show and other TV programs, innovative improv comics, cartoonists, journalists, and writers of young-adult fiction, mysteries, thrillers, sci fi and much more.
"The roster of authors is beyond impressive." - the blog BookSlut
"It's a heck of a great idea and Walker and Glenn have assembled a really terrific collection of writers to participate" - Media Bistro's UnBeige blog
"Like a Salvation Army staffed by brilliant writers, Significant Objects has created a new kind of online journal - publishing and selling on eBay" - the blog GalleyCat
"If this is a cynical marketeer's scam," a columnist for The Independent (UK) suggested, "then consider me conned. Significant Objects combines one of the oldest of all media - the near-improvised short story - with the reinvigorated writer-reader relationship afforded by Web 2.0."
The experiment, in short, was a smash hit. With enthusiastic reader/buyers from Texas to Alaska, from New York to California, and everywhere in between, Significant Objects decided to funnel auction proceeds from its second and third volumes of stories to the tutoring programs 826 National and Girls Write Now.
Does the project point the way towards a new business model for literary publishing? Are we 21st-century skeptics in thrall to talismans and totems? Once the auction sales figures have been correlated with, say, narrative exposition strategy, will Significant Objects reveal the key to the relationship between narrative and value?
All of these questions and more will be addressed (and some answered) by the Significant Objects book, which will not only feature one hundred moving, absurd, surprising, and always entertaining stories from the project's three volumes. Thanks to Fantagraphics, it will also feature new illustrations by artists from the worlds of comics, skate graphics, rock posters, children's books, and the commercial and gallery arts.
The Significant Objects book will change the way you look at things, forever.
About the Editors of SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS
Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based journalist, editor, and cultural semiotics analyst. He cofounded the website HiLobrow.com; he's been a columnist for the Boston Globe's Ideas section and a contributing editor to other publications. He edited the nonfiction collection Taking Things Seriously (2007) and coauthored, with Mark Kingwell, The Idler's Glossary (2008). In the 1990s he published the critical-culture zine Hermenaut.
Rob Walker writes Consumed, a column that mixes business and anthropology, for The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, named by Salon as one of the best nonfiction books of 2008. His work has appeared in many media outlets, from The Wall Street Journal to The New Republic, from GQ to public radio program Marketplace. He is often called on as an expert on consumer culture, most notably in the recent Gary Hustwit documentary Objectified.
Written by Eric Reynolds
Tuesday, 01 June 2010
KIM DEITCH AND MEGAN KELSO CELEBRATE THEIR NEW GRAPHIC NOVELS AT THE STRAND ON JUNE 24
Kelso will be making a rare return to New York since moving back to her hometown of Seattle, WA a few years ago. She will give a multimedia talk called "Big and Small": How do you construct a story that includes the big wide world, history, culture, sweeping events like war and political change, but that also includes personal, intimate character-driven things like friendship, family relationships, love, sex, babies and dying? How do you meld the two together into a believable whole? How do you humanize important historical players, kings, queens and presidents, and also show how the personal lives of ordinary people are affected by grand events that take place outside their doors? This are the essential questions that Kelso asked herself throughout the creation of Artichoke Tales, and she answers them through examples of her own work, as well as other artists who are engaged with similar issues, from Joe Sacco to Lynda Barry.
Meanwhile, underground comix and New York legend Deitch will present a visual tour through his "universe," which features a a sprawling, multi-generational cast of characters both fictional and real, spanning comics and animation history of the 1920’s and 30’s through the present day, with a particular focus on his latest epic, The Search for Smilin' Ed. Deitch will explicate his incredibly intricate yet organic page and panel constructions, which he employs with unparalleled excellence in the creation of structurally complex narratives concerning equally complex characters.
These lively talks will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience and book signing.
WHO: Megan Kelso and Kim Deitch
WHAT: Multimedia talk and book signing
WHERE: The Strand Bookstore, 12th & Broadway, New York, NY
WHEN: Thursday, June 24, 7PM
ARTICHOKE TALES is the long-awaited graphic novel from Megan Kelso, a six-years-in-the-making family saga spanning three generations and an entire continent. This coming-of-age story is about a young girl named Brigitte whose family is caught between the two warring sides of a civil war, taking place in a world that echoes our own, but whose people have artichoke leaves instead of hair. Influenced in equal parts by Little House on the Prairie, The Thorn Birds, Dharma Bums, and Cold Mountain, Kelso weaves a moving story about family amidst war. Kelso’s visual storytelling, uniquely combining delicate linework with rhythmic, musical page compositions, creates a dramatic tension between intimate, ruminative character studies and the unflinching depiction of the consequences of war and carnage, lending cohesion and resonance to a generational epic. This is Kelso’s first new work in four years; the widespread critical reception of her previous work, THE SQUIRREL MOTHER, makes Artichoke Tales one of the most eagerly anticipated graphic novels of 2010.
THE SEARCH FOR SMILIN' ED is the latest of Kim Deitch’s graphic novels to showcase his obsessive burrowing into the nooks and crannies of vintage American popular culture. A long-gone children’s show host propels Deitch into a pop-culture investigation.Where Deitch's earlier books focused on the earliest days of the animation industry (in THE BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS), the history of comic strips (ALIAS THE CAT), and vintage movie serials (SHADOWLAND), THE SEARCH FOR SMILIN' ED explores the surreal landscape of children’s TV shows. Launched on his latest investigation by a remark from his brother about a shared childhood favorite (“Y’know, I heard that when Smilin’ Ed died... his body was never found!”), Deitch begins to uncover some mysterious things about the kiddie-show host and his malevolent sidekick, Froggy the Gremlin. Ranging across the entire twentieth century, replete with flashbacks and stories within stories, The Search for Smilin’ Ed! is a narrative whirligig that shows Deitch at his wildest and woolliest.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 June 2010 )
Written by Larry Reid
Thursday, 27 May 2010
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery hosts an art exhibition and book launch party for Seattle-based cartoonist Megan Kelso’s new graphic novel ARTICHOKE TALES on Saturday, June 12 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.
A graduate of alternative cartoonist breeding ground The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, Megan Kelso burst onto the comics scene in the early 90s with her provocative self-published zine Girlhero. She has since proved herself a master of the cartoon short story with Queen of the Black Black (1998) and The Squirrel Mother (2006), in addition to the weekly serial “Watergate Sue” published in the New York Times Magazine (2007).
ARTICHOKE TALES is a coming of age story about a young girl whose family is caught between the two warring sides of a civil war. Kelso’s visual storytelling, combining delicate line work with rhythmic page compositions, creates a dramatic tension between intimate character studies and the unflinching depiction of the consequences of war, lending cohesion and resonance to a generational epic. The widespread critical acclaim afforded Kelso’s previous work makes Artichoke Tales one of the most eagerly anticipated graphic novels of 2010.
The reception on Saturday, June 12 coincides with the colorful Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic industrial arts district. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street at Airport Way S. in the heart of Georgetown. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110. Please join us on June 12 to celebrate the work is this remarkable artist.
MEGAN KELSO: ARTICHOKE TALES
Artist reception and Book signing Saturday, June 12, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Exhibition continues through July 7, 2010
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.)
Seattle, WA 98108
Open Daily 11:30 – 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM
Written by Eric Reynolds
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Come and meet the 'Insanely Great' Drew Friedman!
Drew Friedman will be making a (medium) rare appearance/book signing in Hollywood to discuss, along with journalist/pop culture historian Ben Schwartz, (whose new book, The Best American Comics Criticism, from Fantagraphics sports an adorable cover by Friedman), his new hardcover anthology, "TOO SOON?", a collection of political and Showbiz illustrations covering the last delightful 15 years, and featuring a foreword by Jimmy Kimmel. As Howard Stern says "Everything he does is insanely great!"
Also to be discussed will of course be Old Jewish Comedians, (Family is located conveniently across the Steet from Old Jewish Comedian Jack Carter's favorite deli, Cantor's!) and the third and final in the trilogy, "Even MORE Old Jewish Comedians", due out in early 2011. Other topics surely to arise will include Milton Berle's appendage, Danny Thomas's love of Coffee tables, Bingo the Chimp, Joe Franklin, Abe Vigoda, Side Show Freaks, meeting Groucho and of course Shemp.
The PERFECT father's day gift for Dad!!
WHERE: Family Books
436 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036 USA
WHEN: SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 7PM
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 May 2010 )
Written by Eric Reynolds
Thursday, 20 May 2010
JIM WOODRING’S WEATHERCRAFT TOUR HEADS TO NW, BAY AREA & NYC!
This week, comic book shops and many bookstores across America began selling Jim Woodring's WEATHERCRAFT, one of the most eagerly-anticipated graphic novels of 2010.
Beginning this Saturday in Seattle, author Jim Woodring embarks on a rare tour of the Pacific Northwest, California Bay Area, and New York in support of his first-ever original graphic novel, WEATHERCRAFT. In each city, Jim will entertain audiences a fantastic slide show and discussion of the hidden meanings behind every mysterious idea and totem in WEATHERCRAFT. And in Brooklyn, on June 18, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to view all of the original artwork from the book, as well as many preliminary pieces that went into making it.
05/22/10 | 6PM • Seattle WA • FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKSTORE & GALLERY
06/09/10 | 7:30PM • Berkeley CA • PEGASUS & PENDRAGON BOOKSTORE
06/10/10 | 7:30PM • San Francisco CA • THE BOOKSMITH
06/17/10 | 6PM • New York NY • FORBIDDEN PLANET
06/18/10 | 6PM • Brooklyn NY • SCOTT EDER GALLERY
06/19/10 | 7PM • Brooklyn NY • DESERT ISLAND COMICS
06/25/10 | 7:30PM • Portland OR • POWELL'S CITY OF BOOKS
ABOUT WEATHERCRAFT: After 30 years of making acclaimed comic books, Jim Woodring has created his first-ever, long-form original graphic novel. WEATHERCRAFT sends Jim's sloth-like character, Manhog, on a psychedelic quest for enlightenment. Woodring's transformative imagination lures the reader in and makes that person part of a looping story in which actions speak and words don't exist. Wooodring's fluid panels and detailed linework makes this journey though the "Unifactor" universe one that rewards with exquisite new discoveries upon every reading.
Jim Woodring lives in Seattle, WA with his wife.
WEATHERCRAFT: Black-and-white, 104 pages, 7" by 9.75" • ISBN: 978-1-60699-340-8 • $19.99 US
“The ancient myths and folk tales of all cultures which have been preserved for so many centuries have meaning for us today because the fantastic elements in them are rooted in immutable reality. The Frank stories belong to this class of literature.” – Francis Ford Coppola
"Jim Woodring may be the most important cartoonist of his generation. The Frank stories are masterpieces, each and every one. Read them. Re-read them. Re-re-read them. Every cell in your body will remember this spellbinding, visionary work." – Scott McCloud
COMPLETE LISTING INFORMATION:
Saturday, May 22, 6-9PM:
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 S. Vale St. (@ Airport Way)
Wednesday, June 9, 7:30PM:
Pegasus & Pendragon Bookstores
2349 Shattuck Ave.
Thursday, June 10, 7:30PM:
1644 Haight Street
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Thursday, June 17, 6PM:
NEW YORK, NY
Friday, June 18, 6-9PM:
Scott Eder Gallery
18 Bridge St 2-I
Exhibition of Weathercraft original artwork and artist reception
Saturday, June 19, 7-9PM:
Desert Island Comics
540 Metropolitan Avenue
Friday, June 25, 7:30PM:
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W Burnside
Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 May 2010 )
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