Monthly Archive for April, 2013

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Pete Jordan Reads From In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist 5/5

May ’13
3:00 pm

In The City Of Bikes Cover

Pete Jordan, author of Dishwasher, tells the story of his love affair with Amsterdam, the city of bikes, all the while unfolding an unknown history of the city’s cycling, from the craze of the 1890s, through the Nazi occupation, to the bike-centric culture adored by the world today.

Part personal memoir, part history of cycling, part fascinating street-level tour of Amsterdam, IN THE CITY OF BIKES: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist is the story of a man who loves bicycling in a city that is obsessed with bikes.

When Pete’s story begins, his goals for an upcoming semester abroad are clear: study how to make America’s cities more bicycle friendly, and then return home—simple and straightforward. Once he sets foot in Amsterdam, however, Pete falls immediately in love with the city that already lives life on two wheels—and suddenly, he can’t imagine living anywhere else.

But hardships loom in Pete’s adopted homeland. As Pete skips from one short-term apartment rental to the next, stability stays just out of reach and work is increasingly difficult to find. Meanwhile he stumbles upon unforeseen pleasures in his daily bike rides and begins his dig into the city’s cycling past. What he discovers there is no less an untold cultural history of Amsterdam.

From cycling’s beginning as an elitist pastime in the 1890s to the street-consuming craze of the 1920s, from the bicycle’s role in city-wide resistance to the Nazi occupation to the legendary (yet mythical) success of the White Bikes in the 1960s all the way up to the mysterious bike fishermen of today, in IN THE CITY OF BIKES Jordan illuminates the bicycle’s integral role in shaping both the psyche and city of Amsterdam.

“An excellent choice for bikers and those who appreciate how a city’s history can be changed by the simplest of passions.”

-Kirkus Reviews


“Part memoir, part history, the book gives readers looking to unlock the city’s secrets an opportunity to follow in the author’s tracks.”

-Publishers Weekly

Pete Jordan is the author of the memoir Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States. Pete’s work has been featured on public radio’s “This American Life” and in The New York Times. He lives with his son in Amsterdam.

Sunday, May 5th, 3pm – Free Event

For more info, download In the City of Bikes Press Release from the publisher.

Ian Svenonius Reads From Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group 5/7

May ’13
7:00 pm


Don’t miss rock icon Ian Svenonius reading from his provocative, extremely hilarious, and bizarrely erudite book entitled “Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group.” The book pretends to be a “how-to” guide for people wanting to start a rock band, but it is so much more — fusing a meticulously researched sociopolitical examination of the history of rock and roll music with Ian’s trademark humor and cutting wit, one of the best rock and roll satires ever written.  The author, who is most well-known as the singer of The Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up, two of the most popular bands to emerge from DC’s Dischord record label, is a charismatic showman and performer. He is also the author of the underground smash book of essays The Psychic Soviet.

“People now expect a nice ‘career’ from their music. This is misguided and, today, perhaps impossible. Suffering is necessary to maintain the integrity of the group as an object.” —Brian Jones, Rolling Stones, as told to Ian F. Svenonius from beyond the grave

“Rock ’n’ roll is an American art, brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the harnessing of electricity, and the miscegenation of various poor, exploited, and indentured cultures in the USA.” —Jimi Hendrix, as told to Ian F. Svenonius from beyond the grave

“Since [this] is a nation founded on the ideas of individualism, rebellion, evangelism, white supremacy, black slavery, expulsion of native peoples, expansionism, and commerce, these values all play a part in the formation of the USA’s primary and arguably greatest cultural export.” —Richard Berry, composer of “Louie, Louie, as told to Ian F. Svenonius from beyond the grave

Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ’n’ Roll Group addresses never-before-discovered revelations about that most beloved American cultural pastime; not only does this book help the aspiring inge?nue to start his or her own rock ’n’ roll group, it also confronts the strange and murky origins of the group itself and the reason for its ubiquity and cultural currency, still going strong since its initial, shocking, and cataclysmic appearance during the cold war.

BY TALKING TO DEAD ROCK ’N’ ROLL STARS such as Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, et al., for pointers, Svenonius—the front man of influential groups The Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up, and currently the singer of Chain & the Gang—is able to furnish a more complete picture than the normal myopic critic/historian eggheads. Supernatural Strategies proposes the origins of the group to be not just blues music as is commonly supposed, but also the street gangs which terrorized the landscape of industrial-era America, and which were romanticized in media (e.g., Westside Story).

SUPERNATURAL STRATEGIES EXPLAINS THAT THE GROUPS’ use as a propaganda instrument against Socialist ideology was central to their proliferation during the postwar era, and suggests that the continued tolerance of the presence of groups might only be totemistic, as they have possibly outlived their usefulness to the elite.

THE BOOK OUTLINES THE SIGNIFICANCE of group names, live concerts, vans, sex, drugs, band photos, records, record labels, recording studios, and all the other bugaboos which serially feature in group life. It explains the future relevance of groups and the strategies that groups can use to successfully understand and embody their destinies, historic roles, and responsibilities. It is a must- read for anyone who is alive in the early portion of the new century.

SUPERNATURAL STRATEGIES is a combination of occult esoterica, how-to manual, socioeconomic textbook, fanzine, and revolutionary pamphlet, this book is bound to overtake Plato, McLuhan, Marx, and Hesse in dogs eared.

This book touches on such related topics as: How rock ‘n’ roll emerged from American gang culture; The role of the Soviet Union in modern popular culture; Why it’s crucial that members of rock ‘n’ roll groups communicate with each other in an indirect manner; Why music groups need strict codes of discipline; The historic underpinning of groupie culture, and the related issue of necrophilia; The influence of the Black Panthers on rock ‘n’ roll music; The significance of vans and other motorized vehicles to rock ‘n’ roll beyond the obvious transportation aspect; The diminishing meaning of the rock ‘n’ roll group in 2013 and beyond; What young musicians today can still learn from Buddy Holly, Richard Berry, and Brian Jones.

For more info:
Ian’s Soft Focus series, where he “tenderly interrogates” the likes of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Chan Marshall (Cat Power), and Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys), among others:

Check out these links for a small sampling of what some of the press is saying about the book so far:
Onion A/V Club
Los Angeles Times
American Songwriter
Mother Jones

Click here to download the publisher’s press release:
SupernaturalStrategiesPress Release

Press and publicity inquiries can be directed to Ibrahim Ahmad: ibrahim(at)akashicbooks(dot)com.

Don’t miss the official after party at The Owl where Ian and Calvin Johnson will be DJing at The Owl from 10-4. Ian will have a mixtape soundtrack for the book for sale at the after party. These will be a numbered edition of 100 tapes with silk screened covers. 2521 N. Milwaukee.
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