Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.

Archive for July, 2009

You Can Quit Trying Now. The Best Title Already Exists.

July 31, 2009 By: Category: Movies

Must ... see ... immediately ...

Must ... see ... immediately ...

Okay, guys, time to pack it in. Sorry, but the best title for anything has already been written. From the LA Times today:

The Australian genre flicks of the 1970s and ’80s receive a jam-packed documentary tribute in Mark Hartley’s “Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation.” It’s a kicky, slightly exhausting look at a bygone era of low-rent moviemaking, whose colorful trove of film clips should delight fans of cinematic esoterica, nostalgic schlock and high octane drive-in fare.

A bit of history: In 1971, relaxed Australian censorship standards ushered in a string of locally produced sex farces with such titles as “Stork,” “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie” and “Alvin Purple.”

I don’t care how good you think you are at making up titles, Alvin Purple has got you beat. From now on, I’m going to have to call everything I write (untitled). Because one just looks foolish trying to compete on that kind of level.

Help Me, Smarties

July 30, 2009 By: Category: Site Notices

Any smarties out there in the audience? My javascript menu stopped working and I can’t figure out why. Go up to the menu item that reads “contributors” and hover over it. Nothing, right? Then, click on it. Now if you hover … look at all those beautiful names!

Anyone able to tell me why this is happening?

Update: Got it: I accidentally connected a thing to a thing that was not supposed to be connected to that thing. No worries. All better now. I’m a programming genius. Whatever.

Fantastic Mr. Fox Trailer Is In!

July 30, 2009 By: Category: Movies, Videos

Clearly, Roald Dahl is the best. We can all agree on that. There would be no Awkward Press if it weren’t for Roald Dahl, because I would have never wanted to be a writer if I hadn’t read his books. For that matter, if it weren’t for Roald Dahl, there would be no me or you, because the world we live in did not exist before Roald Dahl. It is his matrix. We just live in it.

When I heard that Wes Anderson was making an animated version of Mr. Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, my first thought was, “that is certainly a lesser choice from the Dahl canon.” Full disclosure: Roald Dahl has been my favorite writer since I was old enough to read, but I have not read Fantastic Mr. Fox. Is that okay? I just haven’t. Maybe it’s great. It’s probably great. I should read it. Don’t judge me!

Unlike you, I have not given up hope in Wes Anderson. I have given him a long leash based on my love for Rushmore and Bottle Rocket. I hated The Privileged Brothers Go to India, but I like his shtick, for the most part. It’s whimsical! Get used to it! There is room for whimsy in life. Enjoy the whimsy. Stop being so New York all the time.

Anyway, so Anderson made an animated version of Fantastic Mr. Fox, and here is the trailer:

If you ask me, they should change the name of this movie to Fantastic Mr. Fantastic. Because it looks pretty fantastic, is why I recommend that change. I am starting a movie studio next!

(Via Videogum.)

Awkward Press is Now All Prince, All the Time

July 30, 2009 By: Category: Videos

McCarron has been trying to get me to watch these Kevin Smith videos where he talks about some encounter with Prince. I know you’re fascinated by my personal conversations, so here is how this conversation went:

From:Jeffrey Dinsmore Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 7:54 AM To: Jon McCarron
Dammit, did you even read my screed the other day about the amount of shit I have to do in a day right now? In between the 20 pages of material I’m generating every day and running a business I’m supposed to have time to watch a 3 part series of Kevin Smith discussions?!? Gimme a few minutes to catch my breath, f’r chrissakes!

Prince will wait for me. He always does.

From: Jon McCarron Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 7:57 AM To: Jeffrey Dinsmore
and some how you squeeze in masturbation on top of everything.

you are the wind beneath my wings.

From: Jeffrey Dinsmore Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 8:05 AM To: Jon McCarron
On top of everything?!? That is everything! What the Hell do you think it means to “generate 20 pages of material” every day?

I’m talking reams … of cream!

Which, as McCarron noted in .jpg format, is coincidentally the name of Prince’s famous lost masterpiece.

Reams of Cream 4 U

Reams of Cream 4 U

Here, in case you are curious, are the Kevin Smith videos in question.

Award Presentation

July 29, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Site Notices

And the award for having 100 hits on a review of Purple Rain goes to … me and Mike! I know that is not many hits in the grand scheme of things, but it is a lot of traffic for our little site. And I, for one, think that is just swell.

Congratulations, us! Since Mike is in New York and I am in Los Angeles, I will have to accept the award on behalf of both of us. Here I am:

I accept!

I accept!

The Awkward Movie Challenge: Purple Rain

July 29, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Movie Reviews, Movies, Music, The Awkward Movie Challenge


According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.



This past June 24th marked the twenty fifth anniversary of the greatest soundtrack ever recorded specifically for a movie. Man oh man, is Purple Rain ever an amazing soundtrack! “When Doves Cry”? That song is awesome. “Let’s Go Crazy”? Even awesomer, especially when Prince gets all Hendrixy at the end of the song. “Take Me With U”? Holy shit, that song is so awesome they don’t even have a word to describe it (you could probably describe it by calling it “Really, really, really awesome,” but that’s four words). “The Beautiful Ones”? “Baby, I’m a Star”? “I Would Die 4 U”? Awesome, awesome, awesome. Yes, there is no doubt about it; Purple Rain is one totally awesome record. Case closed.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the movie for which the Purple Rain soundtrack was recorded (did I mention how awesome that soundtrack is?), which celebrated its own twenty fifth anniversary this past Monday. Purple Rain: the Movie stars Prince as “The Kid”, a wunderkind musician who lives in his parents’ basement and creates music deemed too weird for First Avenue, the Minneapolis club where Morris Day and the Time draw huge crowds by playing music almost exactly like that of The Kid and his band, the Revolution. Except it’s not as good. The Kid meets aspiring singer Apollonia, falls in love with her, and lets her know this by tricking her into jumping naked into a lake. In Minneapolis. In the winter. Shooting her in the back would have been an equally romantic valentine, but then I guess we wouldn’t have gotten to see her boobs. Despite The Kid’s sadism, Apollonia is unable to resist the pubic hairs glued to his chest (or his purple pirate costume… or his Batgirl Cycle…), so she buys him a guitar. When Morris Day gets wind of the budding ingénue, he swoops in to turn her into his personal protégé. The Kid reacts to this news by punching Apollonia in the face.


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

July 28, 2009 By: Category: Publishing

Only Moz knows my pain.

You're the only one who knows my pain, Moz.

This is hard.

You might not know who I am. You may have come to this site because I found you on Twitter through other independent publishers that you have chosen to follow. (Yes, I’ve been doing that, and I’m not proud.) Or you may have known me for 25 years, as have most of the (two) people who seem to be posting comments.

My name is Jeffrey Dinsmore. I helped start a publishing company called Contemporary Press. You have probably never heard of that, either. Shortly after 9/11 (I think … I’m a little foggy on the details) my friend Jay came up with the idea of starting a modern pulp fiction publishing company. I jumped on board, as did five of our other friends. We threw a couple hundred bucks into a pot and started writing books. My stipulation before joining CP was that I be allowed to write a book called Johnny Astronaut. I didn’t know what Johnny Astronaut would be about, but I knew I had to write it. I wrote it under a pseudonym, which makes perfect sense if you read the book. The author becomes a character. It’s very meta. My own family didn’t get it and most of them never bought a copy. They knew I wrote it, but they didn’t want to read it unless my name was on it. That’s very meta, too. Today, Johnny Astronaut is out of print.

I wrote another book called I, An Actress: the Autobiography of Karen Jamey. I personally am more attached to this book than the other one, but a lot of people I know didn’t really care for it. There are 1,000 copies of I, An Actress available. You should buy all 1,000 and blow our distributor’s mind.

CP was fun. We went to publishing conferences. We were blurbed about in GQ. We got a kick-ass review in The Believer. We lost our shirts. We never had an office. We did all our business on Wednesday nights at a bar. We threw parties in New York featuring musical performances by soon-to-be semi-famous bands like We Are Scientists, Bishop Allen, and the Oxford Collapse. I put my heart and soul into CP, and it broke into a million pieces. Both my heart, and CP. We still owe our distributor money. We were really good at drinking, but we were not so good at business. We were also not so good at proofreading, as a visit to our now dark website will prove.


Wait, um, What?

July 28, 2009 By: Category: TV

Via Salon:

As Smallville begins its ninth season this autumn …

Wait, really? They’re still making new episodes of Smallville? Is the XFL still around, too?

What Are You Doing September 1st?

July 28, 2009 By: Category: Events

Answer: This is what you’re doing.


Radio Free Broadside

July 23, 2009 By: Category: Friends

I am from a small town outside of Flint, Michigan called Clio. Most people read that and pronounce it “clee-o,” but most people are wrong. It’s pronounced with a long “i”. Cly-o. When I tell people that, they often scoff. I have never understood why. I guess when a town’s name is pronounced differently than you might expect, it gives the impression that the town was named by amateurs. When people laugh at my hometown’s pronunciation, I always assume that they’re really thinking, “boy, your town is so full of stupid that they can’t even pronounce their own name properly.”

Clio is just like any other small town in America. Maybe slightly better because we don’t really have any strip malls. Wal-Mart moved in a few years ago, though, so I guess we’re headed in that direction.

Most of the people I know from Clio have moved elsewhere. I have moved elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with Clio … I thought it was a very nice place to grow up, albeit somewhat lacking in diversity. The main problem with Clio is that it is stuck right between Flint and Saginaw, neither of which are exactly crawling with opportunity.

My friend Jon McCarron stuck it out. Jon is a writer. He’s a good writer; my old publishing company, Contemporary Press, published two of his stories in our Danger City anthologies. We didn’t publish his stories because he was my friend, we published his stories because they were among the best from the hundreds of submissions we received.

Recently, Jon and a few friends started a free, alternative newspaper in Flint called Broadside. I have read this newspaper, and it is a really great example of the kind of community paper that we need more of in America. Plus, it is funny. They are only a few issues in, and already they’re turning a profit on ad sales. It is far more impressive than anything I have ever done, because A) people are actually reading it and B) it is actually making money. Michael Moore, you will recall, got his start as the editor of the Flint Voice, the last good alternative newspaper in Flint. So basically what I’m saying is that I know the next Michael Moore.

Yesterday, Michigan NPR did a really great piece on the paper. You can listen to the interview here or read it here. They introduce McCarron as a “computer expert,” which is pretty awesome. If I am ever interviewed for NPR, I hope they introduce me as some kind of expert. I’m pretty sure that holds as much weight as an honorary degree in most circles.

I am proud to call McCarron my friend and Awkward Press is proud to extend our very-highest, most-supportingest 6 PIZZA SEAL OF APPROVAL to Flint Broadside! And for only $20/year, you can experience the magic yourself. Do! Now!