Monthly Archive for September, 2010

Pawn Works Sticker Machine Debuts at Quimby’s!

Nicholas Marzullo, owner of the West Side’s Pawn Works gallery and creator of the Pawn Works Sticker Club with New York based partner Seth Mooney, have developed an artist network program using sticker vending machines as the conduit. “We align the images we select with our own history as lifelong street- and graffiti-art aficionados,” he says. ” We believe the sticker is true to the accessibility and visceral nature of street/low-brow art. While it appeals to an age submerged in kitsch, the medium and the vending machines offer ways to deconstruct our childhoods and make the art of established artists from around the world accessible in a cool, cheap way.”

Just a few of the artists participating include: C215, a prolific Paris-based stencil artist and muralist whose splashes of color and meticulous representation of social outcasts, British luminary Eelus, whose dark sense of humor and surreal images bear an uncanny resemblance to those of Banksy, Chicago’s Joe Padilla, as well as The Grocer, who is an an enigmatic street artist with his bold images of, appropriately enough, produce, help make the city Chicago an even bigger component to the project.

Machines can also be found in various venues in New York City such as Brooklynite Gallery.

For more info:


Van Gogh’s Ear volume 7 Release Event

Oct ’10
7:00 pm

VGE1.7International prose & poetry anthology series VAN GOGH’S EAR will hold an event to celebrate the launch of its SEVENTH volume. Van Gogh’s Ear is a joint publication of French Connection Press (Paris) and Committee On Poetry (New York), a non-profit organization created by Allen Ginsberg.

Van Gogh’s Ear is among the most popular of international books in the field of creative writing at the moment and is also an affluent resource for teachers and a library basic. Since its début in 2002, Van Gogh’s Ear has gained international acclaim for its original work by more than eighty celebrated and emerging talents per volume including Yoko Ono, James Dean; Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Charles Manson, Xaviera Hollander, Joyce Carol Oates, Norman Mailer, Taslima Nasrin, Carolyn and Neal Cassady.

The event will be hosted by four local Chicago readers and contributors of Van Gogh’s Ear: Marc Smith, Carlos T. Mock, Larry Sawyer, Joel Craig, Lina Ramona Vitkauskas, and Larry Sawyer.

Volume 7 includes work by Jorge Artajo, Camille Feinberg, Fern C.Z. Carr, Saint James Harris Wood, Imani Tolliver, Reginald T. Jackson, Jayanta Mahapatra and many more!

For more info:

Guest Blogger For Banned Book Week: Get Well Soon and Into the Wild Nerd Yonder Author Julie Halpern

This week Quimby’s Bookstore is honoring Banned Books Week. Challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities, and all manner of titles, everything from classics to contemporary. This annual event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.For more info about challenged and banned books, click here.   feature our first guest blogger, Julie Halpern, the writer behind the books Get Well Soon (which was originally a zine sold here at Quimby’s!) and Into The Wild Nerd Yonder.

Thanks so much for having me on the Quimby’s blog!  My career as an author really started at Quimby’s, when Liz Mason (then Saidel) and I used to sell our zine, cul-de-sac.  Writing zines turned into me writing books! Here’s a (sorry, a little long) post about being an author during Banned Books Week:

Get Well SoonAs an author of young adult books, one of the coolest things that can happen to you is to have your book challenged by an angry parent or concerned member of the community.  This year, my novel GET WELL SOON (a pretty funny book about a girl in a mental hospital) was challenged in an over the top effort by an individual parent in a middle school in Fond-du-lac, Wisconsin.  Lucky for me, the Fond-du-lac Reporter, their local newspaper, has a strangely active online group of readers.  Every time an article was written about the challenge (which took place, along with the challenges of books by two other YA authors, Sonya Sones and Ann Brasheres, over the course of several months, as the school board allowed this parent to bring the books up, one by one, to the chopping block), the FDL Reporter readers would share their two cents about how that parent had no right to tell THEIR children what to read.  Occasionally, someone who agreed with this parent would attempt to defend her, but then the rest of the readers would bite the commenter’s head off, leading to hilariously absurd arguments, complete with poopoohead-like name-calling.  Sadly, all of those articles are only now accessible through the FDL Reporter’s archives, which means you’d have to pay money to read them.  Like an idiot, I didn’t print them when they were originally up, so I will have to shell out some cash if I want the hardcopy proof that my book was challenged, retained, APPEALED, and, yes, huzzah, retained.  It all ended well, but it was a process that had me contacting the administration and my fellow challenged authors to see if I could help the cause.  I even wrote a very grown-up letter to the school board, read aloud when it was GET WELL SOON’s turn at bat.

That experience had me feeling pretty good about the majority of parents who actually believe in their children’s abilities to select books they are comfortable with, appropriate or not.  However, soon after, a blogger posted about GET WELL SOON being brought back into a public library in Indiana by an angry parent.  There are swears in the book, you see, and this parent thought that was WRONG.  Instead of going through the process—libraries should have a process for dealing with challenged books, the hopeful outcome being that the books will remain in the library for ALL readers to enjoy—the book was looked at by the library director and promptly removed from the system, then dumped in the garbage.  Because this was blogged about by an intern at the library, one who doesn’t want to get involved, well after the fact, and because the librarian working there at the time was a substitute, and the library director is now a different director, NOTHING will happen about this.  I’ve talked to people.  I’ve tried to appeal to the new teen librarian.  Apparently, she wants to keep her job.  Sad and sick.  Know this, readers: there are people out there who may be removing books from your libraries that you didn’t even know you wanted to read.  THAT is why Banned Books Week is so important.

I’ll leave you with this, my first taste of the world of challenges.  Several years ago, a father (yes, a father.  People always assume this email was written by a woman.  Look what that says about you, people.) emailed me this note about GET WELL SOON:

Dear Ms. Halpern,

My daughter aged 15 was reading your book. She is quite a reader and reads all of the time. From time to time she will set down her current book and I will usually check out what she is reading. The other day I picked up a yellow covered book entitled “Get Well Soon”. I started reading the first page and could not believe my eyes when I saw the “f” word there. I started paging through the book and could not believe the curse words strung throughout. I looked at the cover and saw that it is labeled for youth. To be honest with you, I cannot understand how a book for youth and teens can be riddled with so much profanity. I am not going to attack you or assassinate your character but I will say that, in my mind, it is totally inappropriate and lacking proper judgment to write a book like this and label it for youth. It makes “The Godfather” look tame for crying out loud. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how I feel about your book.

I think this letter speaks volumes about the way a book challenger’s mind works.  Try talking to your kids.  Because then you’ll realize that their reading books with swears and sex does not make them bad people.  It makes them readers.

For more info about Julie Halpern, go to

Weekly Top 10 and Banned Book Week Info

1. Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat (Melville House)$25.95 – Jean-Christophe Valtat Read From Aurorarama on 9/22/10 here. Aurorarama is set in the glittering Arctic city of “New Venice,” Jean-Christoph Valtat’s Aurorarama imagines an intricate steampunk society populated with anarchists, hypnotists, rock stars, drug-addled bohemians, dapper secret police, and a secret society of subterranean garbage collectors. Sounds like our customers. Here’s a picture of him looking quite dapper himself.

2. Brilliant Mistake #1 by Carrie $1.00 – What a gem of a debut zine! Beautifully quilted together from bits of a questioning heart, Brilliant Mistake #1 pares down the aches of the social games we play. -EF
3. Is It the Future Yet? by Corinne Mucha $3.00 – What does the future hold for you? Well, I predict you will fall madly in love with Corinne’s amazing new mini-comic, Is It the Future Yet?, which she made ‘specially for Quimby’s! I see you laughing out loud at the fresh psychic hijinx and time-travel schemes that grace every delightful page. I can see your love for this comic growing rich, deep, and strong and you will find it brings you much good luck and happiness as years go by…Yes, my friend, the future looks very bright indeed!
4. Bitch #48 $5.95
5. Baffler vol 2 #1 $12.00 – Featuring essays by Michael Lind on the emerging American oligarchy; Yves Smith on the mountainous self-regard of the American finance industry; Chris Lehmann on libertarianism’s willful failure to understand the economic crisis; Naomi Klein’s reflections on “branding” in American politics 10 years after her magnum opus, No Logo; Matt Taibbi on the howler of a memoir just published by a certain doltish Midwestern governor; plus ruminations on the ruination of Detroit, a very funny fantasy about rumbling with the personnages of the Western literary canon, and a clever story by Paul Maliszewski.
6. Juxtapoz #117 Oct 10 $5.99
7. Walking Dead TPB vol 12 Life Among Them by Robert Kirkman (Image) $14.99

8. Letters I Will Never Send To You #4 by Morgan Inez $3.00 – Snippets and snappets jam packed in Morgan Inez’s castaway island of treasures. Found photos, ephemeras, rants and stories. A hearty garbage salad zine! Where did the Seaweed find a job? Ha. You’ll have to pick this zine up to get the punchline! -EF

9. Proof I Exist #11 by Billy $1.00 – Get your fix now! He’s a-movin’ to Santa Fe! Serious!

10. V Magazine #67 Fall 10 $7.50

Also! Join us in honoring Banned Books Week – Celebrating the Freedom to Read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities. Click here to see a map of book bans and challenges in the US from 2007 to 2009.  This annual event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. Banned Books Week is endorsed by The Library of Congress Center for the Book and sponsored by various associations including the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association(ALA) and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Stay tuned this week as we feature our first guest blogger, Julie Halpern, the writer behind the books Get Well Soon (which was originally a zine sold here at Quimby’s) and Into The Wild Nerd Yonder.

Adam Levin Reads The Instructions

Oct ’10
7:00 pm


Local Chicago writer Adam Levin’s The Instructions (McSweeneys) begins with a chance encounter with the beautiful Eliza June Watermark and ends four days later with the Events of November 17. This is the story of Gurion Maccabee, age ten: a lover, a fighter, a scholar, and a truly spectacular talker. Ejected from three Jewish day schools for acts of violence and messianic tendencies, Gurion ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases of Aptakisic Junior High. Separated from his scholarly followers, Gurion becomes a leader of a very different sort, with righteous aims building to a revolution of troubling intensity.

The Instructions is an absolutely singular work of fiction by an important new talent who has already been compared to David Foster Wallace by New York Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Adam Levin’s stories have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, and Esquire. Winner of the 2003 Tin House/ Summer Literary Seminars Fiction Contest and the 2004 Joyce Carol Oates Fiction Prize, Levin holds an MA in Clini-cal Social Work from the University of Chicago and an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. He lives in Chicago, where he teaches writing at Columbia College and The School of the Art Institute.