September 29, 2013
September 26, 2013
Commitment is a crazy thang,
take you by the hand and be like, “Step right this way.”
And you go, down the rabbit hole
but you know it’s not a hole, it’s just The Way.
Like a supernova thas gonna explode I guess,
time is here and now and also past and future
spiraling over again and again…
it gets to the point that there is no point
good luck with that.
Yesterday I was up then right back down,
flat on my back, could not sleep;
it was gruesome in the strangest possible way.
It was like, drained, every last drop, and all that was left
was me swimming in thought.
to keep from sinking…
Go, where would I go? What’s left?
Nothing is my everything, yes ~
So this is me looking at the phone ringing,
smiling wanly like, No fuhhckinn way. I’m paper thin.
But I notice there’s also this feeling in my heart,
this low beat like,
Wow what would it feel like if I were alive?
And then I think this is one of two and
what’s up on the other side.
But I can’t feel anything,
I’m barely alive.
I miss the point.
This happens all the time.
I’m thinking one thing because I’m stuck in my mind.
And I’m thinking wait, what
and I actually ask.
And then I get it.
And then I Get IT.
And then everything shifts and I finally understand.
I mean, I have no idea what I understand.
This post isn’t meant to be read at all.
How do you hope to help your fellow writers—now or in the future?
I just want to read your words.
September 22, 2013
Many people see their lives as worthy of books, of stories and histories, of memories repeating themselves over and over again with every turn of the page, memories of a time and a place that was once not too long ago but with every passing moment it slips further away. It is the ether to which we return and we hold to its shores, as the river sweeps through. We see and we smile and we think and we know that it comes and it goes.
The book then sets forth to stop time, time capsule, treasure chest of a world that will live on. In ink printed on pages in images and in words and the book speaks to us from the past in the present for the future and we hold it close. We clasp it in our hands, we cradle it to our chest, and our eyes feast upon its contents, devouring every last bit. This is life in print.
And so it is to the book that we return to celebrate the great Gigi Giannuzzi. Trolleyology: The First Ten Years of Trolley Books is a delightfully bright mango number, all board debossed with the simplest boldface, and I’m thinking of that Classic A B C D F U C K t-shirt from back in the days. I love it, this little brick of a book, a marvel of engineering that needs no refinement whatsoever. Form follows function, like Le Corbusier said, and it is here that Trolleyology sets forth.
“Trolley is ten. We would like to thank, from the bottom of our hearts, all those that have helped us reach this milestone, the artists and the people that always believed in us, from our resolute supporters to our very patient printers. Glimpsing at the world as it appears now we little anticipated then, at the outset of this journey, what we have witnessed in those ten years. Wars waged on the precepts of lies, the dramatic effects of collateral damage on millions of innocent people, Geneva Convention rules ignored by ‘First World’ countries, the resurrection and proliferation of torture as a normal means to obtain information. Above all, we have witnessed the rise of fear, the emergence of a new breed of global authoritarianism and corresponding brutal methods of repression, from Burma to the UK, from France to Zimbabwe. At the same time there has been a dramatic fall in the sales of informative books. At Trolley we still believe in the power of information and the people’s undeniable right to know what is happening in their name. We shall continue to promote and support our authors in the next ten years, as we have done since Trolley first began a decade ago.”
Gigi penned these words, before his death. And like Biggie Smalls said, this is Life After Death, for in the circle spinning around in full, a revolution has been completed. Gigi stands for revolution, for things coming around again, and the legacy of Trolley can be found in all that have stood at his side, aligning themselves with Truth, Justice, and the Integrity of the Soul.
Trolleyology reveals it as this, and so it is here that we set forth, looking to what was done, how it was built by the mind of a most swashbuckling lunatic, who possessed a passion that could not be denied. It is a passion for speaking truth to power, for creating art, for using the book as the medium to bring us together, to marry the sacred and the profane, the book is art in the age of mass reproduction and it lives and it breathes in a new milennia where it has a new kind of weight. The book exists. It cannot be erased. And it is the job of the publisher to tell stories worthy of the ages. Stories that command attention and respect, stories that force us out of our comfort zones, into the world outside the known, to a place that calls to our deepest humanity and asks us to be the change we want to see in the world.
Trolleyology offers up chapters from The Book of Life, each chapter dedicated to telling the story of a book on the Trolley list. Consider just a few and you’ll understand the depth, breadth, courage, and strength it takes to publish stories of this caliber:
Chernobyl: The Hidden Legacy by Pierpaolo Mittica
Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq by Nina Berman
Open Wound: Chechnya 1994-2003 by Stanley Greene
A Million Shillings: Escape from Somalia by Alixandra Fazzina
Say Yes to a Rosy Future: Nicolas Righetti
Double Blund: War in Lebanon 2006 by Paolo Pellgrin
Crosses: Portraits of Clergy Abuse by Carmine Gallasso
Taliban: Thomas Dworzak
The list goes on and on, each chapter a rabbit hole into another world, each book a portal into a truth on earth. Gigi’s gift was his passion, and it was this passion that he brought where ever he went, and it was this passion that changed our lives, with each and every book. It is this passion that we see in the pictures and read in the words, in the stories of how each book came to be, and the lives Gigi touched with love.
Trolleyology sits behind my desk on a narrow ledge, a shelf that is home to the books that shape my inner and outer worlds, from The Rumi Collection and The Way of Chuang Tzu to I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp by Richard Hell. And it is that image of the tramp that stays with me, the tramp whose heart is huge, whose spirit is luminous, and whose legend lives on in eternity. It is that trap that is Gigi and his trolley of books, his curiosity lit like a fire, like a flame, whose soul radiates with each and every turn of the page.
The book is the mirror into which we look, not just at ourselves, but a reflection of those who bring it into existence. The book as object, idea, invention, inspiration. The book that calls to a higher self. The book as created by Gigi Giannuzzi. Visionary. Activist. Artist. Emissary. Gentleman. Madman. Publisher. God Bless.
September 21, 2013
Romantic. Melodramatic. Sarah Bernhardt.
Star of stage, not screen, though undoubtedly
I look lovely on film and video,
except my voice, well, that’s why I speak like this.
It never fails to entrance the soothing sounds of self importance.
The sweet smell of success swells and crests
and explodes into a vaporous mist off the tongue,
and I’d write prose and love letters and poems simply because…
I need a muse, a man to turn me on and not give it up,
make me work for it, make me prove my love.
~ Ahh ~
I have a thousand names for it
for it is a perfume.
Obsession it is
my heavenly doom.
I dig it. Can’t help myself.
I build castles made of clouds,
no chance for anything
except a momentary reverie.
Like a a butterfly in the gardens below my bed
but, you know, you see what it does,
it has me writing nonsense like this.
September 21, 2013
That night stays in my memory and I do not know why.
I was alone in my apartment,
standing in front of the magic mirror
that is propped against the floor.
It does things, and I don’t know how.
It shows me who I am, underneath the surface
by showing me the surface as something of infinite grace.
And the mirror started speaking to me, like in a fairy tale.
And though no words were spoken, I could hear them clearly.
And I lit a joint and I inhale and exhaled
and I began to talk, without using words.
And I’m talking to the girl in the mirror and I’m telling her
I am scared because I want to be this person—it feels so far away from me.
And she is telling me I already am.
It’s right here and right now
and it is already me
and I’m saying, “Why can’t I?”
and she is saying, “What can’t you?”
and that’s when it hits me.
I can. And I am.
And so it shall be.
But if I do, and by I do, I mean “I do”,
then things are going to change in ways
I cannot ever imagine and may never fully fathom.
Not with words. Or with feelings. Or with anything of this earth.
Might only ever be able to grasp this when I let go
of the distinction between life and death.
Only I didn’t know this then.
But I’m beginning to think this now.
Because time has changed everything.
Time and something else…
I felt a surge of desire,
a desire for freedom and strength unlike anything I’d known.
Because in the past this desire was one built upon an image, a projection,
an idea in my mind that did not exist anywhere else.
And this time, that desire came from somewhere else.
It came from going beyond what I knew and saying,
Fuck it where else? Cause where else? What is left?
I’d already pursued my image to the bitter end
and I was standing there in fragments and rubble and sharp edges.
And I had to get out.
The walls were falling, though undoubtedly
I was the one wielding the wrecking ball
and I was striking at will without thought
that dismantling was the most important part of taking them down.
But that’s the thing. I don’t think. I simply decide.
I have some insane kind of trust in my feelings and vibes.
So that even when I lose I win.
Though, finally I am considering, I need to take greater care
because I am just too fragile to keep using old tricks.
See. It’s cause I never wanted to say that.
Because fragile sounded weak. I wanted to be hard.
But then when Mr. Brown called me hard,
a kind of revulsion crawled through my skin.
And it was then that, for the first time,
I wanted to be soft.
To be pliable and pliant and comfortable and at ease
and to be attractive to those who have released themselves
from the sharp edges as a defense against the brutality of being alive.
And as I looked in the mirror I smiled because I knew.
I had no idea how far away I was from accessing this truth.
And then I looked out my skylights and I saw that star
and I don’t know which one it is but it’s the only one
that has the power to shine through
New York’s thick and unforgiving atmosphere.
And it sat by the moon twinkling at me and it said,
What would you like
and I spoke honestly.
September 19, 2013
We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines –
we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company,
we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time –
but essentially, and finally, alone.
This is what makes your self-respect so important,
and I don’t see how you can respect yourself
if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention
of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
Photographs by Dave Schubert
Quotes by Hunter S. Thompson
September 19, 2013
Joie Iacono is a diamond, polished to shine, reflecting, refracting, and bending light at she desires. A photographer, painter, designer, director, stylist, actor, DJ, and collaborator, Iacono is a many-faceted gem who best embodies the phrase, “I am every woman.” She first picked up a camera at the age of eight and turned the lens upon herself, becoming both artist and model in each frame.
“My work is diaristic; I am always pulling elements from what is going on in my life, to re-enact and perform these moments for the camera. I am an artist, a business woman, a wife, a homemaker, and a world traveler—yet I’ve been an outsider all of my life. As humans, we are such chameleons. I believe in making the world what I want it to be. My birthday is December 31; according to astrocartography, that’s the Day of the Joker. The Joker is no card and yet it is all the cards in the deck at the same time. I experience nothing and everything. In my art I am capturing the experiences I am having from a tertiary place. I am observing the changes and allowing the process to take place. My mantra for the last couple of years has been to let experiences pass through myself, rather than carry them with me. I am being a receptor, a channel, a path for these ideas.”
It is through these channels that Iacono’s imagery travels, finding its form as it makes its way through time and space. In 2003, Iacono debuted her photographs in “To Drown a Rose,” a solo exhibition in New York’s Chelsea Gallery District. Her work was met with great acclaim. She recalls, “After my success, I got shy about being so open with my life. It took me a long time to begin working intuitively again. I could hear the voices of critics in my head, or wondered what buzz words gallerists might use to pigeonhole my work, and that made me scared of success. Working on commissions for other artists such as Antony and the Johnsons helped. I could put things forward for other people, and explore where my vision and their vision would intersect. That really helped on a personal level. It got me back to myself. My work became about exploring insecurities, narcissism, vanity, beauty, self hatred and self love.”
It is now, ten years later that Iacono returns to the world stage in “J.O.I.E.”, a collaboration with Cédrix Crespel opening September 19 at AD Galerie in Montpellier. The exhibition, which features Crespel’s paintings of Iacono’s photographs, runs through October 19. Crespel’s press materials describe an admiration that borders on idolatry, a love and affection that elevates Iacono to kitten on a pedestal status. The text notes, “From this exchange emanate the grandiose portraits of J.O.I.E., with their fluorescent lipstick traces that illuminate the penetrating and piercing tints, their fluttering black satin sheaths and their cracking garters. The artist does not center sexuality in the glimpse of a thigh, an erect nipple or a moist mouth, but in these stretched forms, gloved in black, playing striptease with the arms and the hands of the model. Joie is depicted as dressed, and her finery, though light, seems like a substitutive virginity. She is passionate about her role, and she photographs herself in the poses the artist will later reproduce in paint.”
Iacono embraces all of the luxuriousness a sex kitten promises. “These works show how I see myself, and then how Cédrix sees me. They place importance on the object and this gives me the opportunity to perform, to act, to be Bardot. I didn’t have to overthink a thing. I just put on a little make up, locked myself in, and I took pictures of myself. It was a great way to blow off some steam!”
Iacono then references a Buddha quote: “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Her portraiture reflects her profound respect for her being, and the photograph becomes a marriage of inside and out, of soul and visage, of director and star, of bridges across seemingly opposite sides of life, each image Iacono creates is a collaboration between artist and muse. Two equals one in this duet that celebrates the feminine, the goddess, the siren song that calls to all in the mortal realm.
“Being human you can affect change. I’d much rather be a dolphin but they can’t effect change in the same way. That’s part of the burden. The human condition is heaven and hell. The cycles of beginning and ending, light and dark, spring and fall, death and rebirth, they are universal principles. This is a space of discovery, and of meditation. Think of crying and laughing; the place where they meet is rapturous. When we love ourselves as much as we love others, we allow ourselves to be open and let it pass through you. That’s a huge driving force in my work right now.” Which makes Iacono ripe, vibrant, and alive, her vision of self is strong and passionate enough to capture Crespel’s imagination this Fall.
September 17, 2013
Rumi said, “Be the change you want to see in this world.” This is where it all begins. The power to create the world in which we want to live, to exact a future that is happening now, today, using all that exists at our fingertips. Exactly, it is this, I type as my fingers fly free across the keyboard. The Universe conspires to remind us of this. D.I.Y. Do It Yourself.
It’s like the 70s all over again. A return to the era when the artist represents the underground and brings new worlds to light through the publication of their vision in print form. It is this space, this world at our fingertips, a world we unconsciously read as our hands traverse the page. We feel the image, we let it sink in, we read the words as the pages turn. We see it unfold, with our eyes and our hands, the stories touching us as they rest in our laps. It is the book made manifest that reminds us of the beauty of physical life.
Bruno Ceschel knows this, though it came to him by way of seeming happenstance. After curating an exhibitions of self-published artist books for A The Photographer’s Gallery in London in 2010, the digital response was large enough to propel the website into ongoing curatorial project for artists and authors alike [we don’t really distribute books, we feature them, showcase them] and from this Self Publish, Be Happy was born.
Ceschel observes, “Digital has caused a renaissance of printed matter. Self-publishing is not a way to make money. That is a burden. Self-publishing requires you to spend money which paradoxically free you from being concerned about profits. That is the restriction of the traditional publishing house. The people who do it today are very young. They are born into the digital generation. They are used to the computer and the online world. Self-publishing is their response to it. They are finding a complement to it in book form; they now have a physical object in reality and can share it with people. Books give them a different way to communicate.”
And this idea inspires and uplifts print more than anything ever could. Because it is not simply a matter of marketability, of consumer appeal, but of a need to tell stories, produce objects, create content the enlivens, inspires, and elucidates all sorts of spaces in the Universe we would never otherwise know, were the author not driven to make manifest that which holds them captive. And it is in this same way that the publisher operates.
Ceschel’s background is in magazines. He began working as a journalist for Colors in 2001. He then joined Chris Boot in 2013 where he learned the process of publishing and saw the tyranny of the trade firsthand. Most books are simply not economically viable, and an industry built on this offers a tightrope held at great heights. It’s a challenging business model from any angle you look. Self Publish, Be Happy avoids this by forgoing the model itself. It exists on its own terms, as defined by Ceschel. It is less a company and more a curated space, a digital doorway that transports us into another world of books and art as they are being lived today. Liberated from the burden of profits, the artist is free to do as they wish.
And it is here that Ceschel reveals his own love, establishing the SPBH Book Club that funds the production SPBH Editions. These are books that Ceschel selected, chosen from love. “It’s a small enterprise that’s very personal. I went to my people: Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Brad Feuerhelm, Christina de Middel.”
And it is here that we come full circle, back to a love of books that is without beginning or end, but born of a desire to see in print our vision of the world and the way in which we want to live. As both publisher and a curator of the self published illustrated book, Ceschel has found himself in a new and dynamic world that combines tradition and experiment, classic and avant garde to sublime effect. Self Publish, Be Happy is more than a name, it is an ethos, a call to action, and way of being that speak to people from all walks of life, the single common denominator being a wish, want, desire, and need to produce a book.
Many are called, few are chosen. Come see why. Self Publish, Be Happy will be exhibiting at the New York Art Book Fair from September 19-22 at P.S. 1 in Queens, New York.
September 16, 2013
I have been asked to find a spot, a spot that is mine,
that speaks to me with and without words.
To sit for ten minutes in silence, letting go of all that came before,
all the noise that no one else hears, only me,
the eternal internal track running without pause.
I be where I am so I am where I be and I don’t even notice where I am
until I see it through the eyes of other ladies
and they hoot and the holler and they whoop it up and it occurs to me
that what I have is so very good, and more than enough
and I need not look because now I can see,
and it’s like Amazing Grace, only less dramatic,
yes, less dramatic is now me.
I am a writer. Finally, I can own this.
I write because I be.
I write as though it were air and air it is I breathe.
I write, and then I forget.
I forget what this means, this honor, this gift,
this blessing, this curse, this everything.
I am a lucky girl.
I remember the first time I breathed those words
and he looked at me confused, even doubtful,
and I knew then he would be the man with whom I would learn
nothing is my everything (yes)
and it has been a year, two years,
not that he would remember or even care.
Yo soy como la bruja.
I know things I am not meant to know
and I am told things without words and I am told
to keep talking, and to write, and to tell the world.
And to not care for proof nor judgment nor reputation,
but to simply tell, and to encourage everyone to tell,
and if we all tell, there will be no secrets to fear.
And so I write—
as I speak,
and I discover my voice, my voices,
all of those speaking to and for me.
But me as I am, me obliterates,
me disappears inside of the me that is me,
matrioshka is my favorite thing.
And so I write—
for sanity, understanding, for compassion and fearlessness,
To release the shame that vibrates,
the fear that you never loved me because you didn’t,
I say everything and you say nothing and that makes it fair.
Or at least even or at least I know I will never forget
because I will tell all, but not about you,
of you I will never tell a soul.
You will be erased, like those who came before,
like those who know one knows, for they are not secrets
but shards, shadows, and ghosts.
They without substance
and they without meaning
and they without being
are simply that.
I’m on my exorcism and I purge you from my flesh.
September 14, 2013
September 13, 2013
Bond. Bonded. Bondage.
Tie me up, tie me down.
G’head. Make me.
You can’t cause I won’t.
It’s been spinning round and round in my head
and no good ever comes of it.
Don’t believe the hype.
Were it that I could think without words,
that I could think with pictures and song.
Were it that I could think
with touch and taste and smell freedom and remain…
Writing chose me and so I submit.
Refuse to resist.
I love this too much.
Too much to love.
Love it all,
even when I know I don’t know what I’m writing about.
I’ve given up.
This idea of knowing.
Of owning. Of controlling. Of it being so.
But I like the way I lie. It’s aspirational.
I’ve given up nothing. I’ve acquired a new faith.
That I can search for meaning while saying it can never be known.
Because meaning is personal and me,
I am grandiose.
I dream of staircases, sweeping circular things,
and long gowns flowing behind me
as I ascend and descend and drag my dress behind me.
September 12, 2013
Let the beauty we love
be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss the ground.
September 11, 2013
And I sometimes forget
not everyone heard the sound of engines rumbling low to the ground
and then the sound of police sirens and fire engines racing down the street.
except this is New York,
and it always is.
And I sometimes forget
I didn’t hear it once, I heard it twice,
those engines rumbling low over my head.
And then the sound,
an impact I had never heard until I heard it again,
but I am inside and I am at my desk
and I am answering emails and no one is in the office yet.
And I sometimes forget
not everyone was there when it happened.
That they didn’t smell it for months coming out of the ground,
throughout September and October wondering if it will ever stop
because it feels like it is in your hair and in your skin
and its not like anything you can describe
because it doesn’t smell like anything you want to relive.
And the smell lingers outside the house and outside the office
and it’s much too close but it’s far away enough that I don’t have to breathe it in
except when I can see those clouds that come out of the manholes.
And then I hold my breath like a little kid
sitting in a car that is driving by the cemetery.
It is a long minute.
And though it has been twelve years
I cannot go because it’s just too strange to act like it’s business as usual
because there are some things that I don’t want to remember
and some things I don’t want to forget.
We did a book right after and raised money
because it was the only thing we knew how to do and that felt like something,
because you wanted to contribute.
But I had to release myself so I gave away the book
because I will not look at violence like it is art.
Only now it is odd.
Because I peruse blogs for photos
and I find these images of planes upon impact
and buildings ablaze
and people jumping
and it has become an aesthetic to be consumed.
It is but a photograph
littered in between hundreds and thousands of photographs
of teen angst and lust and drama and dreams.
And so it has become a photograph.
And this makes me think.
About what it is when reality becomes but
a token of life lived
compressed into two-dimensions.
A decorative thing.
I wonder what happens when something is both sacred and profane,
and its meaning changes as it intersects with those
who will never know it in any other way.
September 10, 2013
melt you do melt as tho you were and tho you are
and back to where you came is where you remain forever more.
fade you do fade as tho you never were not
to me, not anything, not even the shadow of distant memory.
erase i do erase as tho i never did
tho i did, and i am, and because of you i never will again.
September 6, 2013
per chance to dream the dream, this is all i eva wish
to me he reads the words i heard with cummings on his breath
and his lips drip with words i heard before whispered on my flesh
and nothing but nothing then or since has eva felt like this