Awkward Press

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

Archive for April, 2010

The Final Word on the New MGMT Record

April 27, 2010 By: Category: Music

MGMT was on Saturday Night Live the other night (Saturday, I believe) with Gabourey Sidibe hosting. First of all, a word about this Gabourey Sidibe character. I haven’t seen Precious so I can’t comment on her acting chops. But what I can comment on is how much everyone is rooting for her. Everyone’s really rooting for that Gabourey Sidibe. It feels strange and somewhat icky to me how much everyone is rooting for her. I can’t quite place my finger on how having all of Hollywood rooting for you is a form of discrimination, but I’m pretty sure it is.

MGMT did a good job. Man, are they awkward! I love how awkward they are. The two lead dudes are total dorks, and you might remember the rest of the band from Wayne’s World. (Thanks, Elaina! I repurposed that joke from you.) I don’t think they’re cool guys being ironic, either … I think they’re actually dorks. So, good on them. They’re not changing to meet the rest of the world, the rest of the world is rising up to meet them.


The Cast of Wayne's World


Clay Is in Richmond Noir

April 21, 2010 By: Category: Friends

Hooray! Clay is going to be in one of Akashic’s famous Noir anthologies! Details:

I was fortunate enough to have a new short story of mine selected for Akashic Books notorious regional noir anthology series. You can read all about my hometown in “Richmond Noir” with my story the battle of belle isle, which Virginia Living Magazine called “…a hard blow to the reader’s solar plexus.” Can’t beat that!

Plus there’s a forward by none other than Richmond ex-pat Tom Robbins!

You can pick up your own copy here: Akashic Books

Or at Amazon: Richmond Noir

To celebrate the release of “Richmond Noir” here in New York City — a handful of authors will be reading their stories at the uh-mazing KGB Bar next Thursday, April 29th. Come out if you can! Books will be on sale!

Thursday, April 29th — 7 PM
“Richmond Noir” Reading
at the KGB BAR
85 East 4th Street (btn 2nd and 3rd Avenue)
Second Floor
Featuring readings from contributors Clay McLeod Chapman (rest area), Tom De Haven (It’s Superman!), Conrad Ashley Persons, Hermine Pinson, and David L. Robbins (Broken Jewel).

Hope you can make it. If not — buy the book! Southern fried noir… It’s about time!

Take care,

Go to the party! Buy the book! Be a mensch!

The Monstrosity Exhibition: Lost Terrors of VHS Sleeve Cover Art

April 19, 2010 By: Category: Horror Films You'll Never See, Movie Reviews, Movies

The Monstrosity Exhibition: Lost Terrors of VHS Sleeve Cover Art
written by Clay McLeod Chapman

Black Christmas

Video World was tucked off into a topiary-barricaded alcove of the Stony Point Shopping Centre, a swift five-minute Schwinn sojourn from my front door.

No bigger than a boutique, this early-80′s video store was infinitesimal in comparison to the cancerous sprawl of the Blockbuster Video chain that had begun to malignantly metastasize its way through America’s suburban strip malls, eventually putting all the mom-and-pop operations like Video World out of business. I was fortunate enough to push through my preadolescence before the big blue-and-yellow Blockbuster awnings started cropping up all across my hometown. Walking into Video World was like immersing myself in a Betamax Shangri-La. Every last inch of wall space, from floor-to-ceiling, was lined entirely in video cassettes. At 8 years old, I had officially found my home-away-from home. Each 4 by 7-and-a-half inch VHS cassette contained a different story, just waiting to be told – and I made it my mission to watch them all. Or as many as my allowance would allow.

Hidden at the rear of the store, buried behind comedy, family, drama (but before you reached the “private room” of adult films at the very, very back) – there remained a single row of videos off-limits to children. Little boys and girls were not allowed to rent the videos from back here at the shadowy edge of the forest.

The horror section.

A kid like me couldn’t help but feel a shift in the atmosphere upon entering the aisle, suddenly surrounded by so many R-rated movies. The carpet seemed to darken, stained somehow. Even the air had a miasma of decrepit breath to it, thicker than the air in the childrens section. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be here, which only made me want to explore even more – go deeper, take just another couple steps in, see if I could make my way past the A’s, past the B’s, even the C’s, until I was utterly immersed in the aisle, enveloped in images of terror from all around.

This – this was where fear resided.

Every kind of fear you could think of, or not think of, was right here – captured on magnetic tape and sealed inside its own cardboard box – little gift-wrapped packages presented in a tableau of carnage.

Deadly Spawn. Faces of Death. Def-Con 4. Xtro. The Stepfather. The Driller Killer. The Stuff. Texas Chainsaw Massacre II. I Spit On Your Grave. The Dead Pit. Black Roses. Headless Eyes. Magic. Black Christmas. He Knows You’re Alone. Class of Nuke ‘Em High. Cellar Dweller. Mother’s Day. The Prowler.

So go ahead, kid – I dare you. Slip a video off the shelf.

Pick any horror film and take the cassette into your hand. Rub your finger over the cardboard cover with its softened edges. Feel how fuzzy and worn the corners are?

Now look at the cover.


Where My Life Is Going

April 13, 2010 By: Category: TV

At the beginning of March, I set our Tivo (or whatever our generic cable company-provided variation on the Tivo is called) to tape The Marriage Ref. I did not have any interest in The Marriage Ref, but it was getting so much hype that I was afraid I’d be kicked out of my “cool guys who know about things” club if I didn’t get in on the action.

I watched the first episode, the one that premiered after the Olympics. If it had been produced by Mr. Nobody and was airing on some buried cable channel, it would have been pretty bad. But with Jerry Seinfeld and gazillions of dollars behind it, it was a train wreck. I decided it would only last a few episodes and I filed it away in my “Irrelevant” folder next to Heidi Montag and the complete works of Rob Thomas.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my machine was still dutifully taping The Marriage Ref. And that one of the episodes featured Ricky Gervais, Larry David, and Madonna. If there was going to be a good episode of The Marriage Ref, it would be the one with Ricky Gervais, Larry David, and Madonna. Plus, I didn’t have any new episodes of Nanny 911 lined up, so I decided to give it another shot. (more…)

Twin Peaks A-Z

April 08, 2010 By: Category: TV

According to walking-David-Lynch-encyclopedia Mike Segretto, today marks the 20th anniversary of the first episode of Twin Peaks. In honor of the occasion, he has posted an extremely thorough and throughly extreme overview of the groundbreaking series on his blog, Psychobabble. Whether you’re a casual fan or a Twin Peaks diehard, you’re guaranteed to learn something from Mr. Segretto’s fascinating piece. To wit:

David Lynch and Mark Frost shared a love of pop culture that thoroughly informed the show they created together. “Twin Peaks” is rife with post modern allusions to cinema and television to the degree that listing them all would probably double the length of this article, but some of the most prominent ones are:
• Laura Palmer’s forename was nabbed from Otto Preminger’s 1944 noir Laura, in which the memory of a murdered woman haunts those who loved her and the detective investigating her death.
• Laura Palmer’s cousin Madeline Ferguson got her name from the two main characters of one of David Lynch’s favorite films: Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, which starred Kim Novak as Madeline Elster and Jimmy Stewart as John ‘Scottie’ Ferguson.
• In episode 18, Peggy Lipton and Clarence Williams III share an exchange for no other reason than their history as co-stars of “The Mod Squad”.
• The scene in which Cooper has trouble adjusting his stool in Ronette Pulaski’s hospital room is an homage to a similar scene in which Humbert Humbert struggles to open a folding cot in Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita, another favorite film of Lynch.
• Dancing fool Leland Palmer was named after the actress and dancer of the same name who appeared in Bob Fosse’s 1979 film All That Jazz.
• Gordon Cole, the hearing-impaired FBI Regional Bureau Chief played by Lynch, was named after an unseen character in yet another of his favorite films: Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard.
• Sitcomy couple Lucy and Andy owe their monikers to sitcom pioneers Lucille Ball and Andy Griffith.
• In keeping with “Twin Peaks’” notorious sweet tooth, brothers Ben and Jerry Horne allude to a famous duo of ice cream makers.
• Schizo one-armed man Phillip Gerard/MIKE is a reference to both the police lieutenant of the same name and the murderous one-armed man in the classic TV drama “The Fugitive”.
• In Black Edward’s excellent 1962 chiller Experiment in Terror, Lee Remick is terrorized in the (real) town of Twin Peaks, San Francisco. And the terrorizer’s name? Red Lynch.



April 07, 2010 By: Category: Videos

Dear God:

Thank you for making people. Because without people, we would not have the Internet. And without the Internet, we would not have Videogum. And without Videogum, I would not know about this, the most amazing thing that has ever been produced by the people you created.

How do I know miracles exist? Because Insane Clown Posse, that’s how!