William Auten, writer and musician from California, will be at Page One Books at 6:30pm on Thursday, July 7, to talk about and sign his 2016 novel, Pepper's Ghost, which partially takes place in a circus sideshow.
The book is described as such: "Charlotte Alexandra Long is determined to create her own life, but severe reverberations await her at the crossroads of each decision and always the possibility that the very thing she put in place on her own terms could be wiped away by an uncertain future. As Pepper's Ghost weaves in and out of her experiences as a teen and young adult, and locations in the South and Midwest, Alex emerges from the remains of young Charlotte, but her evolving identity will never escape being an outsider in society's eyes. After a series of ill-fitting jobs, Alex joins a traveling amusement company as a sideshow performer, where illusion and reality interplay through the metaphor of an old theater trick. She faces challenges from her troubled but devoted father, her self-absorbed mother, a spectrum of circus employees, and emotional ties to memories and places that give solace in times of ambiguity and loneliness."
Auten's work has appeared in Cahoodaoodaling, District Lit, Drunken Boat, failbetter, Hawaii Review, Nimrod, Notre Dame Review, Origins, Rum Punch Press, Canada's Saturday Night Reader, Terrain, and other publications. Auten read at the bicentennial celebration for North American Review in 2015. He is also an accomplished painter and musician, and a member of the Gym Jones community. His other interests include science and technology, history, religion and history. Having lived in Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Virginia, he and his wife now call California home.
Gwyneth's birthday freaktacular features the rock stylings of SuperGiant, Fatso, Icky & The Yuks and Mother Death Queen. Take in the spectacle on Saturday, Aug. 18, beginning at 9:30 p.m. at the Launchpad (618 Central SW). Admission to the 21-and-over event is $5. (JCC)
Are you an insane plastic surgeon on the run for pursuing your unethical experiments? Have you directed your own facial reconstructive surgery in a mirror using only a local anesthesic? Do you enjoy dallying with the lovely ladies whose deformed features your skill has made whole again? Are you willing to cut down anyone in your path who dares defy your iron will? Well, have you ever considered running a circus?
Hawk-faced Anton Diffring (Fahrenheit 451, The Blue Max) excels as the cruel, oddly sympathetic and totally bonkers Dr. Schüler (or is it Rossiter?), mad doctor turned circus master, in this outrageous, non-supernatural, vibrantly technicolor horror film (from the producers of Michael Powell’s notorious Peeping Tom). The ridiculousness of the scenario (Schüler collects scarred criminals—mostly women—heals them and binds them to perpetual service in his circus) is made compelling by its twisted character studies, particularly the doctor’s toady-like accomplices (Kenneth Griffith and Jane Hylton) who seethe with mixed worship and revulsion for their master. Hurried exposition (especially at the beginning) and laughable animal costumery detract only slightly from psychodrama, blood and intrigue. Great actual circus performances and a genuine pop hit (“Look for a Star”) round out the lurid entertainment.
MarchFourth Marching Band plays at the El Rey tonight. Read Summer Olsson’s story on the group here.
Most people haven’t heard of my favorite video game . This does not make me cooler than you. It really just means that when I showed up at a costume party dressed as a character from the one game I play (Katamari Damacy! w00t!), I got a lot of funny looks. Whatever.
Production guy Jesse “Badass” Schulz pointed me to a live-action commercial built around Katamari’s brilliant premise.
Here’s the plot of the first version of the game: Your father is the king of the universe, and on a whim, he destroys all the stars. You, a tiny little prince, must push a katamari ball around and collect enough mass to make stars. You start small, picking up paper clips and mice. By the time the credits roll, you can pick up continents.
Just watch the commercial. That will explain it better. It’s really something to see.