Monthly Archive for July, 2009

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There’s Something Wrong With Chess Event

Aug ’09
7:00 pm

A Dual Release Party For THE2NDHAND broadsheet no. 32,

featuring a short story by Patrick Somerville

& Greg Gerke’s There’s Something Wrong With Sven

Patrick Somerville is the Chicago-based author of a novel, “The Cradle,” out this year, and the “Trouble” collection of shorts. His “A Game I Once Enjoyed,” a short about a chance chess match between two neighbors during the biggest snowstorm of the year, is the featured piece in THE2NDHAND’s 32nd broadsheet, released here. Somerville has been widely reviewed and praised. “The Cradle” even showed up earlier this year in the staid New York Times Book Review, yet he remains true to the roots of his work’s genesis as a mainstay of Chicago’s indie-lit scene. To read selections from his work, interrogate some of the reviews out there, and get in touch, visit his website,

THE2NDHAND contributor Greg Gerke lives and writes in Buffalo, N.Y., where he penned the flash-fiction collection “There’s Something Wrong With Sven” — out this year from BlazeVox Books. His work in fiction has appeared variously in several mags, including Rosebud, Fourteen Hills, Pedestal Magazine, Pindeldyboz, and THE2NDHAND. Writing in the Buffalo News, journalist and book critic R.D. Pohl described the new collection as “a picaresque gambol through many of the leading tropes of contemporary American storytelling from the manic to the gothic, absurdist romance to mock epic parody, Rashomon-effect reverie to tavern patron’s tall tale.” This versatile writer brings his bombast to Chicago in a stop on a multicity tour in support of the book. Visit for more.

Spencer Dew, based in Chicago, authored the 2008 “Songs of Insurgency” collection, out from Vagabond Press, and his shorts have appeared in great frequency in some of America’s best online and print lit mags, included, meagerly, THE2NDHAND. Amy Woods Butler (also, incidentally, more recently a contributor to THE2NDHAND) last said the stories in Dew’s collection “pound through the apathy and delusions of our post-9/11 world with the force of a jackhammer.” His delivery, too, honed through regular readings in Chicago and around the country, is unparalleled in its energy. Visit for links to pieces of his prolific online lit presence. (Dew authored THE2NDHAND’S 30th, Winter 2008-09 broadsheet, “Gives Birth to Monsters.”)

C.T. Ballentine, THE2NDHAND’s Chicago editor, will host. Ballentine’s the creator of several one-off and short-run zine projects, including an audio zine (“Radio Plays”) and the occasional “Aftercrossword Special” for his own work. Prior to joining THE2NDHAND as an editor, the mag published his serialized novella “Friedrich Nietzsche Waits for a Date.” Visit for the first installment.

Onsmith & Nudd at Quimby’s!

Aug ’09
7:00 pm

Ice cream, buzzing flies, cow udders, double-tongues, jarred brains, twisted limbs, floating heads, mysteriously sheathed meat-slugs, severed arms, eyeballs, and shrunken-head fishing lures.  Welcome to the graphic underbelly of Onsmith & Nudd, a cartoonish netherworld of darkly comic doom.  Witness the mushy quadruple-stacked heads that form the menacing totem pole-like Head Heaps.  Or the freshly staked heads and weird diseased udder worship of Monkey Nudd Wine. Together as friends,  Onsmith & Nudd made close to 1000 prints this year, plenty to sift through, scour and pick apart with a fine toothed bone.  Many of these prints, mostly silk screens,  will be on view and available at Quimby’s in addition to Onsmith & Nudd’s extensive back catalog of zines, mini-comics, miscellaneous multiples, video editions, posters, flyers and original art. As an extra added bonus, visitors are invited to participate in Onsmith & Nudd’s newest collaborative body of work, Horde of the Flies: An Infestation.  Many large sheets of paper will be provided so that Quimby’s guests may draw between 1 and 1000 flies that will eventually culminate in a massive swarm of pesky winged insects.  Examples, materials and sources will be provided.

Also, Nudd will be releasing the first two volumes of R.U.B., a new DVD zine that features in-camera edited documentaries of local artists.  Volume I focuses on local kinetic sculptor Nick Black.  Watch Nick as he tinkers with his thriftstore-found animatronic toys, rearranging them into hilarious monstrosities.  His studio is a treasure trove of weird parts and pieces, a dizzying labyrinth of plastic and cheapness, and it’s all captured here on home video!!!  Volume II contains a video about Keith Herzik, local artist, zine-maker and, most notably, screen printer.  Keith began making screen prints fifteen years ago for local gigs, but has transcended the limitations of that form tremendously.  Although he remains quite underground, Keith’s influence on younger artists has been immeasurable.  Indeed, he is not only one of Chicago’s most prolific image makers and most gifted draftsmen, but also an outrageously daring colorist.  Watch him banter, print and give us a tour of his shop, the Alamo Igloo, right here on home video!!!

Finally!  Years in the making, Corpus Corpus 2 is finally here!  A compilation zine with a notorious line-up, curated and printed by Paul Nudd, Corpus Corpus 2 contains thirty pages of mind and bowel blowing graphic mayhem.  Mariano Chavez, Anne Van Der Linden, Gregory Jacobsen, Bruno Richard, Mike Diana, Edith Sloat, Sophie Greenstalk, Kristen Romaniszak, Onsmith, and Ryan Travis Christian join forces in a fully lathered orgy of primal muck.   Silkscreened covers, some hand-tinted, and limited to 100 copies, Corpus Corpus 2 will not be around for long.   These suckers will be snarfed!

Paul Nudd was born in Harpenden, England in 1976. He graduated in 2001 with an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Recent exhibitions include Jack the Pelican Presents, Brooklyn, Western Exhibitions, Chicago and the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. His website is .

Onsmith is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Chicago. His comics, prints, and illustrations have appeared in The Chicago Reader, Vice Magazine, both volumes of Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories, and may also be viewed at He most recently began showing his art in galleries as well as curating a show of comics.

Duncan Wilder Johnson and Dan Lockheed

Aug ’09
7:00 pm

Cabildo Press, an Orono-based small press dedicated to publishing works by new and emerging writers and poets, celebrates their release of author Duncan Wilder Johnson’s “How I Fell In Love With Punk Rock. Johnson is the frontman for Boston-based band Destruct-a-thon, who recently advanced to the semi-finals of WBCN’s annual Rock N’ Roll Rumble. He has performed spoken word shows in the United States since 1999, reading with such luminaries as Jim Carroll, Eugene Mirman and Lydia Lunch. He has read in England, Scotland and Ireland.

Joining Johnson is Dan Lockheed. Through a tilted glass and a jilted sense of self actualization, he finds retrospect with his latest spoken word piece “Life in the Shit Show”. Fresh off five years in LA as a screenwriter Lockheed steps back into his Midwestern roots to make sense of his past plundering in the land of silicon dreams. After a myriad of independent films, commercials and sketch shows; including his self produced “Buck Stew” and “Coffee and Crackers”, Lockheed finally moved out west to…. take it on the chin. He feels much better now. Really, so much better… loads better actually. Lockheed currently has three film projects in play between LA and Detroit including “Getaway Girl$”, “Freakquency” and “Son of Rock” currently optioned by National Lampoon.

For more information, see Duncan Wilder Johnson:


Aug ’09
7:00 pm

A WILDY IMAGINATIVE COMEDY ABOUT A MAN WHOSE LIFE HAS BEEN RUINED BY A ROGUE FBI AGENT…AND WHAT UNCOVERING THAT PLOT MAY MEAN In the sixties Jeffrey Parker briefly attended an antiwar rally. He wasn’t all that interested, listened to a few speeches, and went home…and nothing was ever the same. In this wildly comic debut novel, Parker’s brief dalliance is the beginning of the end. He never lands a decent job. Girlfriends never stick around. He has terrible stretches of bad luck, and is the unwitting victim of just plain bizarre occurrences: once, the final page in every one of the books in his library is removed. Then Parker discovers that he’s the victim of a government plot—like the FBI’s real-life COINTELPRO, set up to harass and surveil sixties peace activists—and the obsession of a rogue FBI agent who just won’t give up. This outrageously imaginative debut is reminiscent of John Kennedy Toole’s explosive out of-nowhere farce, A Confederacy of Dunces. Part thriller, part national tragedy, and all hysterical comedy, it is devilishly entertaining even as it forces Parker, and readers, to uncover the truth not only about their country, but about themselves.

The Blindfold Test was inspired, according to author Barry Schechter, by his meetings with two people: The first was someone who claimed to have been a victim of the COINTELPRO program, “It sounded as if the harassment had amounted to a lot of very nasty practical jokes,” Schechter notes. His second inspiring encounter was “soon after that, with a woman who told me that one time, after she had cracked open a fresh egg, a perfect, white sphere about two thirds the size of a golf ball plopped out … and at that point I started thinking about how strange the life of somebody with a long-term practical joker controlling things might look. It would become very hard to distinguish between the conspiracy and the genuine oddness of everyday life.” And that, says Schechter, “is when I knew I had a novel.”

BARRY SCHECHTER is a lifelong resident of Chicago. He has written for the Paris Review, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Review. This is his first novel.

“Reading The Blindfold Test is a new and radical pleasure. Barry Schechter regards the dirty tricks with which life undoes his protagonist—the nightmare neighbors and prodigious happenings—with a kind of glee. We are reminded that Kafka was supposed to have held his sides laughing while he read friends his stories.” —Lore Segal, author of Shakespeare’s Kitchen “The Blindfold Test is a beautiful and terrifying pleasure, a metaphysically witty novel rich with melancholy joie de vivre.” —Matthew Sharpe, author of The Sleeping Father

Top 10 Bestsellers For Last Week


Look! It’s a Quimby’s New Sign Salad. Have we posted this picture in the blog already? We can’t remember. They’re old and bleached, and isn’t that ironic? Old New signs. Anyway, this is for the week of June 28th-July 6th, 2009.

1. Cometbus #52 by Aaron Cometbus $3.00

2. Fart Party vol 2 by Julia Wertz (Atomic) $13.95

3. Stop Smiling #38 $6.99

4. Make Your Place: Affordable Sustainable Nesting Skills by Raleigh Briggs (Microcosm) $7.00

5. Giant Robot #60 $4.99

6. Juxtapoz #102 Jul 09 $5.99

7. Monocle vol 3 #25 Jul Aug 09 $10.00

8. RFD #138 $7.75

9. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame Smith (Quirk) $12.95

10. Brinkley Girls by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics) $29.99