Thursday, April 26, 2007

Punk Rock Journal at the printer

In the year of Flourish and Grow, it's rewarding to experience the slogan in action. Just moments ago, Three Room Press's latest book, Punk Rock Journal by Kathi Georges was sent off to the printer! It's a wrap! Not to mention, a fantastic collection! What a great feeling!

Also in the works, Peter Carlaftes is getting his plays on DVD to submit to every theater in New York City so that the East Coast can experience his genius in person. Those are almost done. Hurray!

AND--with the help of ex-San Franciscan Gary Glazner, Three Rooms Press has scheduled a blow out event at Bowery Poetry Club on Saturday, June 30th from 4-6 p.m. It's officially a book release party for Punk Rock Journal and will also feature the entire current roster of Three Rooms Press poets including Karen Hildebrand, Peter Carlaftes and Kathi Georges. Limited seating, free admission. Make plans now to be there!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Patti Smith at Bowery Ballroom: 04/24/07 6 pm show

Mom used to say: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Dancing in the City II

The Subway Soul Club on Saturday was a real throwback in every respect. The club itself, Rififi's is one of those places you might pass by if you weren't looking for it, despite the theatrical style marquis.

Walk in and it looks like a neighborhood bar, and--indeed--it has "Hi, neighbor!" prices like $3/pint for Pabst Blue Ribbon. Wander past the jean and t-shirt clad crowd to the back, and you get another soft surprise: a big, wooden-plank floored room--dark, but for a few stars on the ceiling and some blue lights--empty, but for two small tables, a couple of red velvet benches in the corner, a 10-foot wide movie screen, silently showing "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," and a little 2-turntable DJ booth. And here in this booth is where the magic happens.

The magic is the music--the greatest, most danceable soul music you've never heard (I recognized 3 songs over 2-1/2-plus hours). And they only play 45s!

With Hostess Lady Dawn, resident DJ Phast Phreddie The Boogaloo Omnibus, accompanied by DJ Miss Shingaling (who specializes in collecting suicidal ballads), and DJ Todd O-Phonic Todd, the night was non-stop dancing from 10:00:01 until 4 a.m. It's like going to a friend's house to listen to records, except there's 50 other people with you.

The DJs were very friendly, dancing whenever they weren't spinning vinyl (ah, I love that word!). Who every heard of dancing DJs? They really didn't have a choice, ultimately. Every time this reporter tried to sit down, a new song would come on and there'd be no choice but to dance again. The crowd was varied: oddly, the early crowd was in their 30s; and the later crowd was older! It was a lot of fun and happens again in a month!

P.S. Phast Phreddie also runs another monthly gig, "Wang Dang Doodle" (second Wednesday of the month at St. Jerome's Bar, located at 155 Rivington Street (between Clinton and Suffolk) in the Lower East Side). Last month's guest DJ was Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye. Guess who showed up? Ronnie Spector! And she sang! Next month's Wang Dang Doodle is May 9th: Mambo Madness! Guacamole made from the secret recipe of Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus!! Fiesta-like frivolity is assured!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's spring and still the war is on

It's one of the beautiful mornings. Trees blooming, air fresh, sky blue. You can feel it in your body: the annual spring awakening. The urge to think things may work out, after all. You want to believe, to give it all you got. The cheerleading part of your brain kicks in, the one that shouts, "Let's go, Hokies," four days after 32 of your fellow students and teachers have been murdered in cold blood. The one that declares, "Mission Accomplished" regarding a war which—four years later—rages on. The one that blocks out all the negatives, all the truth and makes you believe your own lies.

Maybe it's a survival technique. Focus the on positive. Forget past mistakes and make things happen. Move on.

Certainly, as beautiful as the city is today, it's hard to resist at least a smile.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Cut-Off Point Now on YouTube

Three Room Press' Peter Carlaftes short film, The Cut-Off Point is now on YouTube. This 3-minute comedic wonder is a spoof on Lorena Bobbitt who cut off her husband penis. Here Mr. Carlaftes cuts off his wife's vagina after he suspects her of cheating on him. The ensuing bust-a-gut hilarious action is far different than Lorena's adventure.

Carlaftes says he was inspired to create his 1994 movie after becoming "sick and tired" of the ludicrous media exploitation of the situation, which posited Lorena Bobbitt as a spokesperson for radical feminists. While the abuse she suffered at the hands of husband John Wayne Bobbitt was universally considered detestable, the resulting media feeding frenzy hardly raised an eyebrow. The director's own "cut-off point" came after Vanity Fair ran an article on Lorena, complete with photos by renowned photojournalist
Mary Ellen Mark (recently voted by American Photography readers as their favorite female photographer of all time). Mark's photos captured a semi-pornographic wide-eyed Lorena Bobbitt, halfway in a swimming pool, wearing a white bathing suit, dripping wet. The magazine's justification of such a blatantly exploitative shot? "Lorena is, after all, property now."

Carlaftes' film vividly exposes the bitter exploitation by recasting the story's main characters in opposite genders, and the resulting drama is gut-wrenchingly funny. As with all of his work, behind the laughter is a Vonnegut-like sense of compassion, and bemusement that even as civilization continues its descent into oblivion, a few moments of bliss remain.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

And what about Friday?

Looking for something fun to do Friday? Go to Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia St.; off 6th Ave. between W. 4th and Bleecker) where Three Room Press's Kathi Georges will be guest hostess, for an enthusiastic open reading and special feature reader Taylor Mali, King of Spoken Word.

Mali was one of the original poets to appear on the HBO original series "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry." He was also the "golden-tongued, Armani clad villain" of Paul Devlin's 1997 documentary film "SlamNation," which chronicled the National Poetry Slam Championship of 1996, the year of Mali's first national team championship. He's led six of his seven national poetry slam teams to the finals stage and won the championship itself a record four times before anyone had even tied him at three.

Doors open 5:45; reading runs from 6-8 and the modest price of only $6 includes a free drink!

If you want to sign up to read this week: come early!! It's sure to be packed.

Dancing in the City

Looking for something fun to do this Saturday? Head over to the Subway Soul Club, where DJ Phast Phreddie (the Boogaloo Omnibus) will be spinning cool obscure soul records (yes, vinyl—45s!!!—no CDs!!!) from the 60s for your dancing pleasure.

Here's a description:
SUBWAY SOUL CLUB takes place on the third Saturday of the month at Club Rififi, 332 East 11th Street, NYC (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), first record is spun promptly at 10:00 PM and the last at 4:00 AM. In between a whole lotta dancin' is goin' on. There is no cover charge!!!!

Phast Phreddie is a Man among men, a Record Collector among record collectors. All the vinyl without the attitude. Founder of the classic fanzine Back Door Man. Once in the early 80s, I went with Bonnie over to his Hollywood house as a music zine reporter and spent the interview listing to one incredible 45 after another pulled from boxes around the room. He's a poet of the turntable!! Now he's fortunately on the East Coast and has since become head archivist at ARChive of Contemporary Music.

"Don't miss it" is the understatement of century.

Patti Smith Kicks Off Worldwide Tour in NYC

With a new album ready to hit the streets, legendary punk rockette/poet Patti Smith kicked off her worldwide tour at NYC's gorgeous Hiro Ballroom with a sizzling 2-1/2 hour, two set, cover-filled performance that revealed a whole new side of the recently-inducted Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer.

After joking that her new record, "12"—which features 12 cover songs—was only conceived and created because her record company (Columbia) said she needed "a major hit," Smith launched into the song that she expects to make the grade: Tears for Fears' 80s pop smash Everybody Wants to Rule the World. So much is expected from her version of this song, she sang it again in the encore. Smith's version is no less pop-pie than the original, and it seems an odd choice, until she starts her rap about exactly what part of the world "everybody" wants to rule: "Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran..." In doing so, she gives the song a newly-enhanced political edge, adding a new layer of meaning and making it Patti-esque.

The rest of the first set included 10 songs from her upcoming record, starting with Bob Dylan (Changing of the Guards), and moving through rock's biggest stars including Neil Young (Helpless), Paul Simon (Boy in the Bubble), Rolling Stones (Gimme Shelter), The Doors (Soul Kitchen) and George Harrison/Beatles (Within You Without You). A special treat came with a cover of Lou Reed's Perfect Day. But the highlight—bar none—of the first set, and—presumably—the album, is a rip-roaring medley of Hendrix's Are You Experienced segueing through the looking glass into Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit. Guitarist Lenny Kaye dug his axe into its deepest groove—only the no smoking laws kept him from setting his guitar on fire. With Smith playing an Ornette Coleman psychedelic line on—true—clarinet, and special guest Eminem producer Luis Resto kicking the ivories with Ray Manzarek-squared intensity, the band soared and took everyone in the room with it.

And that was just the first half of the show.

Following a couple originals after a brief intermission, the cover parade began again in earnest, including a sweet version of REM's Everybody Hurts, a Lenny Kaye-led jolt of The Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard, and Smith's earlier cover hits Because the Night and Gloria, Smith capped the evening with a final encore that included an insightful version of Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise, and a raw-edged take on Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit (both on the new record).

Clearly, Smith is trying to crack the new era of the single, where albums "no longer sell." With 12 potential smash hit singles on the way, and her tour reminding people of how great a performer she is—while luring a new audience to her style—the record industry may come to realize that the reason whole albums aren't selling isn't because people don't want them, it's because most albums don't even have one single that can stand up to the power of 10 seconds of one song—cover or otherwise—by Patti Smith. And that's a fact.

News flash: Patti's going to be doing the narration for the upcoming Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. That's a fact, too. Go figure.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Exploration of Spectacle Continues

Attending a hockey game is like seeing a ballet performance, but with more applause and faster moves. Attending last night's New York Rangers playoff game vs. the pathetic Atlanta Thrashers was pure magic. The Blue Shirts scored just 32 seconds into the game and never let up, in a 3-period, 7-0 romp that should have resulted in a name change for their opponents to the "Thrashees." Hockey is so fast, that what appears to be total lack of control is actually extreme talent. The Rangers are on a roll, and we at Three Rooms Press are in heaven.

By the way, getting last minute tickets at face value is possible now. We didn't even know we were going to the game until 2 hours before hand. You just go to Ticketmaster and request 1 (not 2) seats. They usually have something, and you can often get 2 seats within a row or two of each other, then trade places with kind souls at the game. Or ballet.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What's Doing...PEN Caberet on Saturday April 28

PEN’s third World Voices Festival of International Literature on Saturday, April 28 at the Bowery Ballroom promises to be a real knockout show. Poet, singer/songwriter, and New York icon Patti Smith will be joined on stage by playwright, author, and actor Sam Shepard. Hmm...they only performed their co-written play Cowboy Mouth one time. Will they do it again on this night, or do they have something new up their sleeves? There will also be a special show by spoken-word poet and musician Saul Williams, a performance by Nona Appleby (aka Victoria Roberts, cartoonist for The New Yorker), readings by international authors, and one or two other surprise guests. Tickets are $25 general; $20 for PEN members.

PEN is certainly a group worth supporting and joining. International PEN was founded in 1921 to dispel national, ethnic, and racial hatreds and to promote understanding among all countries. New York's PEN American Center, founded a year later, works to advance literature, to defend free expression, and to foster international literary fellowship. You get to rub elbows with literary geniuses, get the inside scoop on over 1,500 grants, publicize your own upcoming events, and post your publications to their website. Go team! Previous memembers have included W. H. Auden, James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Thomas Mann, Arthur Miller, Marianne Moore, Susan Sontag, and John Steinbeck, to name a few.

Sadly, 14-year PEN board member Kurt Vonnegut is no longer with us. Spent the weekend reading "Timequake," his 1996 novel about a breakdown in the time-space continuum that forces everyone on the planet to relive the 1990s. Help. The world's just not the same without this man.

Years ago, in San Francisco, Three Rooms Press poet Kathi Georges read at one of PEN's literary events at The Marsh with a stalwart group of other writers including the fabulous Cintra Wilson (whose essay "The Glass Parking Lot, or Summer in the Swamp of Moral Relativism" in the most recent issue of Tin House (this issue's focus is Evil) is an alternately hilarious and frightening insider's account of Wilson's five-week stint on the D.C. beat). Also included is an interview with a Manson family member who left the clan just 2 months before the Tate-LaBianca murders. Definitely worth checking out. You cannot read the magazine for free online, but you can (just like in the old days!) buy a copy at many NY magazine stands and a few giant ugly chain bookstores.

Speaking of buying, keep sending those emails to to reserve your copy of Kathi Georges' Slow Dance at 120 Beat a Minute. Requests are piling up, so if you want to be sure to get a copy of the first edition, write now, and we'll reserve one for you.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The New Book is Out!

Kathi Georges' "Slow Dance at 120 Beats a Minute" (©2007, Three Rooms Press; 4.25" x 11", 24 pages, $10) is finally published! These books will go FAST, and will definitely be a collector's item, so if you want to be sure to get one, please email and we'll save a copy for you.

The official book release party is June 8, 6 p.m. at Cornelia Street.

The unofficial book release party is TONIGHT! Why waste time? If you happen to be in the neighborhood, come to MeKong at King Street and 6th Avenue, just South of Houston, where we'll start the celebration at 5:30, immediately following the weekly Friday poetry group (varying locations, 4ish-6ish every Friday; this week: Amherst's own Madame de Sade, Emily Dickinson).

Here's what NY novelist/poet Susan Scutti has to say about Slow Dance:

The characters on Kathi Georges' dance floor spin and twist with lifelike spontaneity, abandon... Each of her poems speeds down the page yet leaves grooves that remain in your heart. Who isn’t familiar with these dancers, these dances? Isn’t her voice an upbeat, downbeat echo of your own?

Check out Scutti's excellent feminist suspense thriller, Second Generation which is available in print from Amazon and as a pdf download at Ebookmall. What a world!

You can't imagine how gorgeous Slow Dance looks, with our new high-quality printing esthetics! The poetry within explodes with all the energy of a new Big Bang. We're working on getting this available for purchase through PayPal--probably next week. Stay tuned, but if you want to acquire a first edition for yourself, send that email right away!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wave Books Reading

Wave Books is a Seattle/New York based publishing company with beautifully-designed books featuring a stable of noteworthy cutting-edge poets. Last night, 3 poets from the imprint were featured in a reading at New School.

Funny, but the line between so-called "academic" work and "coffee-house" poetics is certainly become increasingly blurred, probably for the best. The three readers--Christian Hawkey, Matthew Rohrer and Eileen Myles--are all college-level poetry teachers. Hawkey's work most simulates and academic edge, with an metaphysical bent ("Even the walls are illusions;" "Close the eyes before looking a dream in the face"). His juxtaposition of oddball imagery with concrete knowns is interesting, and reminds me a bit of San Francisco poet Tom Stolmar. Rorher is an illusionist: writing seeming love poems to some domestic housefrau/sex object, when underneath it all (in my mind, at least), he seems to be addressing his muse. Myles is the Patti Smith of the bunch (and former St. Mark's Poetry Project director), with humorous poems that seem to lack humility, until you realize that everything she's laughing about is her way of showing the beauty of the horror (i.e., 9/11, friends dying of AIDS, being a lesbian from a conservative family).

Glad to know that Wave is publishing such a wide range of poetic styles. All I wonder now is: Do all their poets need to be college professors, or do all poets eventually become college professors?

Happy Birthday again the wonderfully inspiring Karen H!!

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Scorching Show! Iggy & the Stooges at United Palace Theater, NYC

Okay, I know I boasted that Iggy Pop was one of the greatest living live performers, but every time I see the man, it reminds me how right I am!

The absolutely gorgeous United Palace Theater, full of gold leaf sculpted plaster walls, intricate towering ceilings and velvet cushioned seats has been the home to Reverend Ike for the past 30 years, with lots of revival meeting "Hallelujah's" and "Praise the Lord's." But, the Reverend himself is quoted on the walls, "Don't trust anyone's opinion but your own," so--in a way--Iggy & the Stooges was a natural act to fill that gilded hall.

The crowd dribbled in, barely 1/4 made it to their seats in time to hear unannounced opening act, all female S.F. Bay Area power trio Sistas in the Pit. Intense at times, at other times looking to crash the dyke disco scene, they were the definition of "uneven." Still the good tunes outweighed the blad, and all-and-all, they were received positively.

By the time the Stooges took the stage at 9:30, nearly all 3,200 seats were full, but once the first note hit, hardly anyone was sitting down for a second. While a 12-song set (plus 5-song double encore) may seem a bit short in the age of 23-song Stones shows, every tune was delivered with such intensity, it was hard to believe no one had a heart attack (especially considering the largely over-30 age range of the crowd).

Following a couple of new songs, Iggy launched into a explosive version of his biggest hit "I Wanna Be Your Dog," crawling on all fours, launching himself off the stage into the crowd. His most popular new hit, the clever ditty, "My Idea of Fun..." (second line: "Is Killing Everyone") rocked the house, and proved clearly that fans had been tuning into the Stooges myspace site, since with minimal radio airplay and increasingly few places to buy offline cds, fans still knew the words (and the songs only been out for 3 weeks!).

A range of older favorites, including intense, extended versions of "TV Eye," "Dirt," "Real Cool Time," "No Fun" and "Funhouse" interspersed with other new songs provided a non-stop electric shock treatment show. Two hundred fans poured onstage for "Real Cool Time," with Iggy, like the genteel host of some Broadway benefit, doing his best to make all of them happy, and keep his low riding, skin-tight jeans on (at least for most of the show).

The four-song first encore opened with the classic "1969" and ended with what is sure to become a new classic, the brand new rocker, "I'm Fried" (which on the album, includes a 3-sax solo!!!). The final encore, with Iggy looking like he truly was finally "fried" included only "Little Electric Chair" of 2003's underrated gem Skull Ring.

The only other performer to really ever compare to Iggy is one of his favorites, Jim Morrison. He exudes sex, passion, energy, and the willingness to share in a mutual submission to a greater (raw) power. He is rock's ultimate showman--neither master nor slave, neither victim nor hero. His live shows are transformational, and perhaps that's the best reason of all that the venue he chose for his one-night-only NYC show was a church. Amen.

Moving Forward with Better, Brighter Books this summer

Three Rooms Press is on the move with 2 new books due out this month (Slow Dance at 120 Beats a Minute, and Punk Rock Journal by Kathi Georges), as well as mid-summer publication of a collected poems by Peter Carlaftes, including those previously published in his books Bar Essentials, Sheer Bardom, Nightclub Confidential and Barstool Backslide; and late-summer publication of Splinters, which features poetry by Karen Hildebrand and artwork by William Wareham. Thes e last two books represents our move into "legitimate" books, perfect bound with bright, shiny covers and (gasp!) ISPN numbers. More than this, these books are HOT! with incredible work by
some of the today's best American writers.

The book release party for Slow Dance and Punk Rock Journal will be held at Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City on June 8, 2007, at 6 pm. For those of you who are not in NYC, we will be having a special, almost-live PODCAST of Ms. Georges reading poems from her new book so you can join in the exciting event remotely!

Keep checking for more news at your favorite blog,

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Debut book of 96-year-old Brit is best seller

It's tough--but not impossible!--to pubish your first book at age 96. So for those of you who keep asking when Three Rooms Press' next poetry book, Slow Dance at 120 Beats a Minute will be released, remember: There's still time! Actually, it will DEFINITELY be coming out on Friday the 13th of April (and will be quickly followed up by a second poetry book, Punk Rock Journal by the same author, Kathi Georges, at the end of April).

If you are a poet, we invite you to contact Three Rooms Press through this blog to discuss publication of your own work. Whether you're 96 or 9+6, your work matters and should be seen by the world--during your lifetime. As a fellow publisher once told me, generating interest in posthumously-published poetry collections is about as easy as getting a kid with a cellphone to stop texting his friends. Unless you're Emily Dickinson, it just doesn't happen.

So stay alive and keep writing!

Friday, April 6, 2007


Easter is here again: the time of resurrection. In honor of the concept, I'm resurrecting my love for live music by going to see two of my favorite rock muscians of all time this month: Iggy Pop (Iggy and the Stooges) and Patti Smith. While Ms. Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, her predecessor -- and, certainly one of the most influential voices of the genre -- has been rejected yet again. Not that awards are necessarily important, but as long as you're honoring the greatest of a particular field, you may as well do it properly.

Here are some compelling reasons to give this man his due:

1. I&TS's "I Wanna Be Your Dog" is widely accredited as the first punk song ever (some contend it remains the best punk song ever.

2. Iggy is himself a model of resurrection, rising from the drug & alcohol infused gutter of rock stardom into which he descended, to acheive new artistic success with the help of David Bowie on 1976's "The Idiot."

3. Iggy continues to create with a new no-holds-barred album at least every three years. Lyrically, he continues to take on the pillars of society including TV, moronic group thought, politics, organized religion and American denial of the normalcy of aging and death.

4. As a live performer, no one tops Iggy. Though Patti Smith, live, is close to being an equal.

Spoken like an obsessed fan, you say? Hell, yes!--and proud to be!

The strangest thing about his upcoming show on Monday is that it will be held at the United Palace theater, at 175th and Broadway. It opened in 1930 as the elegant Wonder Theater and featured vaudeville and movies, then was purchased in 1969 by the Christ Community United Church (which still owns it). This is not a place that normally features rock concerts (or anything close). Hence, the juxtaposition of Iggy and the Stooges in this amazing venue should be interesting in itself. I'll let you know...

(photo courtesy United Palace Theater website)

(photo of Iggy performing in August 2004 at Little Steven's Underground Garage Rock Festival at Randall's Island, by Shelly Riff, courtesy of Richard and the Young Lions website)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Yankees Opening Day was great!

Baseball is back! No sport is more poetic! As usual, Three Rooms Press was on the job, checking out opening day of the Yankees on Monday, April 2nd. The injury-prone Carl Pavano--we call him Mr. Opening Day! took the mound, gave up a hit, then settled down and served up a stable, if not flawless performance through 4-1/3 innings. And the rest of the team came through, though 3 errors is a bit unpleasant considering the caliber of this team.

The field looked beautiful, and overall the Yankees were awesome. Check out more photos at the Yankees Opening Day website.