I'm back from a short trip to New York City where there is no shortage of tourists who are so overwhelmed by the lights and spectacle that they stand there in the middle of the sidewalk blocking all passage of other less-stunned tourists (like myself). Anyway, I'm glad to be home. Here are a few short items that should be mentioned in this blog.
An interesting piece about the California stretch of Route 66 in the L.A. Times. Looks like the state is finally getting around to giving some long-needed love to the Mother Road. Here's a quote from Route 66 scholar, Michael Wallis featured in the story: "Route 66 is Steinbeck and Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie and Merle Haggard and Dorothea Lange and Mickey Mantle and Jack Kerouac. It's thousands of waitresses, service station attendants, fry cooks, truckers, grease monkeys, hustlers, state cops, wrecker drivers and motel clerks. . . . It's yesterday, today and tomorrow. Truly a road of phantoms and dreams, 66 is the romance of traveling the open highway." Very true. If you're interested in Route 66, Wallis' book "Route 66: The Mother Road" is one of the best around about the lore and legend of the road. It was definitely an inspiration to me when I was writing THE LEISURE SEEKER.
THE LOST TIKI PALACES OF DETROIT got a mention in Angela's Eye, a local style blog. (It's always good to be "rad.") Not long ago, she also did a photo feature on my friend Pam McLenon's very cool homestyle store in Royal Oak, SCOUT where they happen to sell LTPOD.
And finally, Lansing's City Pulse had an article about the Michigan Notable books of 2010. I'm really thrilled at how many people are finding out about TIKI PALACES because of that list. Many thanks to Rhoda Wolff for her kind words about the book. Thrilled to be in that company.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
THE COLLAGIST has published a review of my story collection, THE LOST TIKI PALACES OF DETROIT. You can find it here. I have to admit that I wasn't aware of this website before, but I'll be checking it out in the future. It features fiction, poetry, non-fiction, book reviews, podcasts and more. I have to say, I thought the review of LTPOD was interesting because of all the links to photographic images of Detroit and other Detroit-oriented websites within the body of the piece.
Some of the links that reviewer Stacy Muszynski used were those of James Griffioen, another very talented local photographer. Do check out his website. I love his series of "Feral Houses." Muszynski also links to Sweet Juniper, the website that Griffioen does with his wife, "Wood." It's a cool, smart, funny website that always has something interesting to say about the city. (While we're at it, here's a superb Detroit Design Guide they did for DesignSponge.)
That's pretty much all I have to say because it feels weird to comment on a review on one's own work. But suffice to say, if it was a scathing, mean, brutal review, I probably wouldn't be featuring it on my blog. I'd be locked up at home, pacing my study, muttering to myself, silently stifling a sob. I'm sensitive that way.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I want to say a few words about Book Beat, Detroit's coolest independent bookstore. Okay, it's Detroit's only real independent bookstore. Sad, I know, but it's pretty much true. Regardless, it is an incredible store, full of many treasures. A huge selection of not only some of the most obscure and fascinating books, but also groovy DVDs and CDs, toys, folk art, cards, and even tiki mugs. Amazing.
I went there today to buy some gifts for friends for the holidays and walked out considerably poorer. But I found some great gifts. Here's a bullet point list of the cool stuff I got. I hope none of my prospective recipients read this.
• A DVD of an animated version of William S. Burroughs' "A Junkie's Christmas."
• Cd of Sufjan Stevens' "Greetings from Michigan."
• A DVD of the MC5 film "Kick out the Jams." by Lani Sinclair and Cary Loren (one of the owners of Book Beat).
• A small book of Glenn Barr's awesome paintings and drawings called "Sparrow."
• The Book of Cool by Marianne Taylor
• A novel by Dan Fante called "Chump Change."
• "The Rock & Roll Book of the Dead" by David Comfort.
• 4 incredible Tiki Farm Tiki mugs (I know, they're new, but Tiki Farm does make some the very best new tiki mugs out there).
• A book of Detroit Auto Show Images of the 1970s.
• "Deconstructing Sammy: Music, Money, and Madness by Matt Birkbeck.
A quick reminder that in these tough economic times, it's more important than ever to support the independent businesses in your area. They need your business.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Every year, the Library of Michigan selects twenty books of note about Michigan people, places or events. They just announced the winners for this year (actually 2010) and my book of short stories The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit made the list. It's always good to get some recognition for one's work and this puts the book in some fine company, including Brad Leithauser, Steve Amick, Bonnie Jo Campbell and a number of my fellow WSU Press authors. Pretty darned thrilling. And hopefully, more people will discover the book because of this list.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
My short story collection, THE LOST TIKI PALACES OF DETROIT was featured in a recent holiday book guide in the Detroit Free Press. Lots of cool books here. All the authors featured are from Michigan or originally from here. Here's the link:
One of my personal faves on the list is Megan Abbott (now of Brooklyn, NY). Her books are incredibly well-researched period pieces that are rooted deeply in noir, but with a feminist slant. If you like someone like say, James Ellroy, you'll like Megan's work. (Btw, Ellroy loves her work too.) All her books are great, but her newest "Bury Me Deep" is featured in the guide.
I'm also very excited to check out John Sobczak's photo book of Detroit, called "A Motor City Year." I've always liked Sobczak's photography. And the book is published by Wayne State University Press, who also published Tiki Palaces. WSU Press is having a banner year, many great books and some new-found respect and attention, thanks to Bonnie Jo Campbell's "American Salvage" being nominated for a National Book Award. (And why isn't that book on this list?)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I love the films of Wes Anderson. Is it really that much of a surprise? Alas, my guess is that I totally fit the demographic for his quirky, mannered, deadpan, detail-obsessed films. (And I mean only good things when I say "quirky." The Q word has been used to describe my work a number of times and I do not have a problem with it.)
Anyway, this is an amazing addition to his already impressive body of work. I'm not going to write a review because I'm not going to do that on this blog, but if you want to read one (or twelve) reviews, just go to Rotten Tomatoes.
A few random details in bullet point form that I loved about the film:
• The crazy, stop-action animation, especially the way that the individual hairs on the characters' faces change and move at all times, as if they were all constantly caught in the slightest of breezes.
• Ash, the grumpy, non-athletic, misfit Fox son who wears a dorky superhero cape for most of the film.
• The fact that the animal characters hunt, kill, steal, fear for their lives and even die in the film. (You can tell they're dead by the way the "X"s appear in their eyes.)
• The animals curse in the film, but all real curse words are substituted with the word "cuss." (E.g., "What the cuss it that?" "For cuss' sake!")
Go see "Fantastic Mr. Fox." I don't know how much longer it will be out. I was the only person in the theatre. Which was nice, but it doesn't exactly make for a communal, global village kind of cultural experience.
Anyway, thank you, Wes Anderson for another one of your wonderful films. They always make me happy.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Haven't heard it yet, but I'm very excited about DAPTONE GOLD, a new collection of artists on the Daptone label. I'm a fan of Sharon Jones and Lee Fields and they're both featured prominently on this disc, along with a slew of other modern soul artists. Here's a review from tinymixtapes.com:
Friday, December 4, 2009
The trade paperback of The Leisure Seeker will be coming out in early February of 2010. It will feature a fantastic new cover (as shown here). It has a slightly different feel than the hardcover. It's amazing how much difference it makes seeing people on the cover of a book. I loved the old cover, but this one feels so much more intimate. I really like the track suits on the couple here too. A wonderful detail.
Another interesting feature is the diorama effect of the cut-out trailer. Art Director and Designer friends and I were trying to figure out how such a strange open-face trailer came to exist. We decided that it was probably used in a film set somewhere. The only way you could actually shoot in a trailer and have it feel genuinely like the characters were in a trailer would be to open up the side so a camera could move around. Anyway, we all love the new cover. Hopefully, the book-buying public will feel the same.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Well, like the world needs another blog. But hey, here's my two cents tossed into the vast and deep void that is the World Wide Interweb. Welcome to Daily Apocalypse, the Blog of Michael Zadoorian. In it, I'll be writing about pretty much anything that comes to mind. There'll be a lot about my books and writing, but also the things that tend to obsess me -- music, films, books, design, photography, tiki, folk art, obsolete pop culture, food, drink, strange old objects, Detroit, not to mention just interesting stuff that I find out in the world that I want to share. Don't expect it all to make sense. Basically, I'm just going to be figuring it out as I go along.
Okay. Here goes nothing. Blog ahoy!