Book of the Day Posted May 18, 2018

Book of the day and book launch tomorrow! > International Signal Code Alphabet by Corita Kent

D IS FOR DIGGING IT!  

Book of the day and book launch tomorrow! > International Signal Code Alphabet by Corita Kent. Published by Atelier Éditions. Introduction by Dr. Ray Smith, foreword by Aaron Rose. "Radical American artist, educator, and once-devout Catholic nun, Sister Mary Corita Kent’s provocative imagery has entranced audiences for over four decades. Originally completed in 1968, Kent’s 'International Signal Code Alphabet' encompasses a series of twenty-six kaleidoscopic serigraphs integrating scripture, typography, image, icon, and the maritime flags of the International Code of Signals. It features an introduction by Corita Art Center Director Dr. Ray Smith along with a foreword by noted Kent scholar, artist, and curator Aaron Rose. As 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of both the series’ completion, and the centennial of Kent’s birth, this celebratory publication reproduces this engaging body of work for the very first time in a monographic, fine art  format". Join us tomorrow to celebrate the celebratory publication - Saturday 5/19, 4-6 at Arcana. This and the Very Special Limited Edition (slipcased with 26 offset prints!) will be available for purchase. If you can't make it, no sweat -- call 310-458-1499 or order here. However you do it, get one now before these beautiful editions is sold out.

 

Book of the Day Posted May 17, 2018

Book of the day > Emily Shur: Super Extra Natural!

Book of the day > Emily Shur: Super Extra Natural! Published by Kehrer Verlag @kehrerverlag. "American photographer Emily Shur’s book Super Extra Natural! is a collection of images made in Japan between 2004 and 2016. What began as a one-time getaway possessing no agenda beyond experiencing something new expanded into a long-term body of work that has resulted in over 15 trips to various parts of the country. However, these images are not a documentation of a place. They are explorations of an unspoken connection; a state of mind that has become its own version of a vacation. Initially, Shur was not exactly sure what kept drawing her back to Japan, but she found a personal feeling of freedom and peace there. She says: "Everything made sense. Lines, shapes, light, and color fit together like a math equation that added up to what still feels like a supernatural high.'"

 

Events Posted May 16, 2018

Book Signing and Discussion Saturday, May 26th, 4:00 - 6:00 PM > Jason Lee: A PLAIN VIEW

A PLAIN VIEW is the most recent chapter in Jason Lee's ongoing photographic exploration of rural America that began more than a decade ago with large format Polaroid films on the back roads of California. This lavishly produced lay-flat softbound book is comprised of one hundred and eleven color images made throughout Texas over the course of twenty-five days between January and April of 2017 using expired Kodak 4 x 5 color films and a Graflex Speed Graphic view camera. It is accompanied by a text by Will Gillham, the Head of Publications at The Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth. Says the author "Having relocated to Texas from California in 2015, I felt it important to explore my adopted state more extensively than I had in the past as a visiting photographer. A PLAIN VIEW is the result of that exploration".

Please join us Saturday, May 26th between 4:00 and 6:00 PM at Arcana as we host a very special conversation between Jason Lee and Aline Smithson of Lenscratch.com followed by a book signing. If you cannot attend but would like to purchase a copy of A PLAIN VIEW signed by Mr. Lee, please place your order here or call us at 310-458-1499.

 

Miscellany Posted May 14, 2018

Goodbye to Book Castle and Adam Parfrey

On Saturdays in the mid to late sixties, pre-teen science fiction and comic book enthusiast me would hop the RTD bus from West LA to comb the unadorned wooden shelves and cardboard boxes of Hollywood Boulevard's Cherokee Book Shop and Bond Street Books. I had grown up doing stockwork over the Summers at Campbell's bookstore in Westwood Village which served much of the UCLA community, but had not yet really been exposed to the whole used bookstore experience. In their own separate ways, Cherokee and Bond Street were for me that introduction.

 

Bert Blum was the younger brother of Cherokee's owner Gene who ran a separate comics shop upstairs - one of the very first in the city. Unlike the Village Rexall Drugs which only stocked that month's titles, Cherokee dealt in out of date back issues going back to the Golden Age, which were of course what I really coveted. Bert was young-ish and hip, and I was pretty sure he indulged in at least modest drug use when he wasn't haggling with his youthful clientele of buyers and sellers. I met any number of like-minded proto-nerds there - many of whom later went on to have jobs in the comics industry.

 

A couple blocks away, just south of the Boulevard on Wilcox, was Bond Street Books. Bond Street had not as comprehensive a selection of comics, but did possess a magnificent array of back issues of every science fiction magazine imaginable - including my favorites at the time, Galaxy, Analog, and the occasional New Worlds. It's interior was spartan and unruly, and owner Steve Edrington was notably cranky and sarcastic. You needed to be tough to keep going back there with as little available funds as I had then, but I loved that place and so I did. I was impressed by Steve’s way of keeping customers in line, and upon reflection have to think that for better or worse  - as my lovely partner Whitney would convincingly argue - subconsciously some of it creeped into my own later retail persona… Soon enough though, those weekend trips took a back seat to having girlfriends and listening to (and beginning to play) music. By my High School years they were but a distant memory, though I tried to catch up with Philip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard, and R.A. Lafferty when I could.

 

Cut to the early eighties, in my post-Rhino Records, pre-Arcana period of learning to become a bookseller, and therefore exploring each and every local used book store for potential inventory and inspiration. Upon entering Burbank Book Castle on the Golden Mall for the first time, I was mesmerized. A former Woolworth's as I recall, it was cavernous, and filled to its mezzanine with every subject matter imaginable. The bookcases were mostly constructed from old wooden fruit crates stacked up and pushed back-to-back with one another to form lengthy aisles. While there were numerous reasonably priced art and photography book finds to be made each trip, Hollywood was king here. Book Castle had thousands of books, scripts, film stills and one-sheets, and scores of thousands of back issue magazines of all kinds. I found out it was owned by a trio of book dealers - most notably one which was the very same Steve Edrington from Bond Street. Upon seeing him, he not only hadn't changed physically one bit, but also had lost none of his sharp-tongued repartee. Along with Dutton's, Book Castle became my primary reason for frequent treks out to the east Valley in those days when bargains were still to be had.

 

In the ensuing years both of Steve's partners departed, and he actually bought a building just north on San Fernando Boulevard and rechristened the new place Book Castle and Movie World. While a tenth the size of the previous store, it seemingly housed just about the same amount of stock, and negotiating the aisles was not for the faint of heart. Steve's nephew Mitchell manned the counter most days, and against all odds efficiently rode herd on the miles of newspapers and periodicals still housed in the underground catacombs of their original location two doors down. The shop was a mainstay for gifts, reference, and set decoration for the local Film studios and creatives for decades before the internet changed the ways these things work. Even over the past few years after they jettisoned the mags and papers and stopped buying much, there were always untold treasures to be found on those shelves, boxes, and toppled stacks on the floor. Visiting only a month ago, Mitchell was as usual beleaguered with being half the staff that day, but also unfailingly polite and attentive. He still to this day calls me sir! Steve was as acerbic and funny as ever, even though the process of finally closing up his shop after a run of fifty-one years had begun. At least this was because he sold the building and actually had something to show for all of that time.

 

Today was Steve, Mitchell, and Movie World's last day. And while those two are due for a well-deserved rest, I'm gonna miss those guys.

 

In some additional sad news, I just learned that author and publisher extraordinaire Adam Parfrey passed away this past weekend at his Port Townsend, Washington home. Adam was a longtime mainstay of the the local book scene, first via the storied Amok, and later promoting authors and the dissemination of transgressive cultural knowledge by way of his Feral House and Process Media imprints. Some favorite publications of these to be found on my personal shelves include his own "Apocalypse Culture" and “Sin-a-Rama”, guilty pleasure "Ye-Ye Girls", the amazing color photographs of Leon Kagarise's "Pure Country", biographies of Roky Erickson, The Germs, Moondog, Ed Wood, and Walter Keane, and his former wife and partner Jodi Wille's extensively researched "The Source" - the companion book to her awesome documentary film of the same name. And in a suitably spooky “coincidence – perhaps not” occurrence, I had just begun re-reading Feral House’s biography of Pasadena’s own pioneering rocket scientist and occult legend Jack Parsons entitled “Sex and Rockets” this past Friday... While many of the most memorable personalities in the book world tend towards the idiosyncratic, Adam was truly one of a kind who carried on a unique mission. My condolences go out to his family and friends.

Lee Kaplan 

 

 

Photograph of Steve Edrington at Book Castle and Movie World by John McCoy via dailynews.com
 

Photograph of Adam Parfrey and Jodi Wille by Andrew Hultkrans via artforum.com

 

 

Events Posted May 13, 2018

Book Signing & Discussion, Saturday, 5/19, 4:00 - 6:00 > International Signal Code Alphabet by Corita Kent!

Please join us on Saturday, May 19th between 4:00 and 6:00 PM to celebrate the beautiful new Atelier Éditions publication International Signal Code Alphabet by Corita Kent. We will be hosting a discussion and book signing with Dr. Ray Smith, Director of the Corita Art Center, and artist, curator, and Kent scholar, Aaron Rose.

 

"Radical American artist, educator and once-devout Catholic nun, Sister Mary Corita Kent’s provocative imagery has entranced audiences for over four decades. Originally completed in 1968, Kent’s International Signal Code Alphabet encompasses a series of twenty-six kaleidoscopic serigraphs integrating scripture, typography, image, icon, and the maritime flags of the International Code of Signals. As 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of both the series’ completion, and the centennial of Kent’s birth, this celebratory publication reproduces this engaging body of work for the very first time in a monographic, fine art  format". It features an introduction by Corita Art Center Director, Dr. Ray Smith along with a foreword authored by noted Kent scholar, artist, and curator Aaron Rose.

International Signal Code Alphabet will be available for purchase at the event as well as some special Corita Kent merch straight from the Corita Art Center! If you cannot attend but would like to purchase a copy signed by Dr. Smith and Mr. Rose, please place your order here or call us at 310-458-1499.

 

Book of the Day Posted May 11, 2018

Book of the day and book signing & discussion tomorrow (5/11, 4-6)! > Vandalism – John Divola

Book of the day and book signing & discussion tomorrow (5/11, 4-6)! > Vandalism – John Divola. Published by @mackbooks. “Between 1974 and 1975, the American photographer John Divola – then in his mid-twenties and without a studio of his own – travelled across Los Angeles in search of dilapidated properties in which to make photographs. Armed with a camera, spray paint, string and cardboard, the artist would produce one of his most significant photographic projects entitled Vandalism. In this visceral, black and white series of images Divola vandalised vacant homes with abstract constellations of graffiti-like marks, ritualistic configurations of string hooked to pins, and torn arrangements of card, before cataloguing the results. The project vigorously merged the documentary approach of forensic photography with staged interventions echoing performance, sculpture and installation art. Serving as a conceptual sabotaging of the delineations between such documentary and artistic practices, at a time when the ‘truthfulness’ of photography was being called into question, Vandalism helped to establish Divola’s highly distinctive photographic language.” Join us tomorrow for a discussion with Mr. Divola and the Getty’s Amanda Maddox. If you cannot attend but would like to purchase a signed copy, please phone 310-458-1499 or visit our website here.

 

Book of the Day Posted May 10, 2018

Book of the day > Handbook of Tyranny by Theo Deutinger

Book of the day > Handbook of Tyranny by Theo Deutinger. Published by Lars Müller. " Handbook of Tyranny portrays the routine cruelties of the twenty-first century through a series of detailed non-fictional graphic illustrations. None of these cruelties represent extraordinary violence – they reflect day-to-day implementation of laws and regulations around the globe. Every page of the book questions our current world of walls and fences, police tactics and prison cells, crowd control and refugee camps. The dry and factual style of storytelling through technical drawings is the graphic equivalent to bureaucratic rigidity born of laws and regulations. The level of detail depicted in the illustrations of the book mirror the repressive efforts taken by authorities around the globe. The twenty-first century shows a general striving for an ever more regulated and protective society. Yet the scale of authoritarian intervention and their stealth design adds to the growing difficulty of linking cause and effect. Handbook of Tyranny gives a profound insight into the relationship between political power, territoriality and systematic cruelties."

 

Book of the Day Posted May 09, 2018

Book of the day (and mark your calendars for a book signing on 6/9!!!> Shaniqwa Jarvis

Book of the day (and mark your calendars for a book signing on 6/9!!!> Shaniqwa Jarvis. Published by Baque Creative Press, designed by Stephen Serrato. Introduction by Ryan McGinley. “Empathetic and raucous, Jarvis’ vivid portraits are coupled with images of delicate landscapes, objects from her extensive travels, and array of visceral portraits shot in her personal studio.”

Events Posted May 04, 2018

Book signing & Discussion, Saturday, May 12th, 4-6 > JOHN DIVOLA: VANDALISM

Between 1974 and 1975, American photographer John Divola – then in his mid twenties and without a studio of his own – traveled across Los Angeles in search of dilapidated properties in which to make photographs. Armed with a camera, spray paint, string, and cardboard, the artist would produce one of his most significant photographic projects entitled "Vandalism". To produce this visceral black and white series of images Divola vandalized vacant homes with abstract constellations of graffiti-like marks, ritualistic configurations of string hooked to pins, and torn arrangements of card, before photographing the results. The project vigorously merged the documentary approach of forensic photography with staged interventions echoing sculpture, performance, and installation art. Serving as a conceptual sabotaging of the delineations between such documentary and artistic practices at a time when the ‘truthfulness’ of photography was being called into question, "Vandalism" helped to establish Divola’s highly distinctive photographic language.

 

Please join us Saturday, May 12th between 4:00 and 6:00 PM for a conversation between John Divola and The Getty Museum Department of Photographs curator Amanda Maddox followed by a book signing of his stunning new MACK publication. If you cannot attend but would like to purchase a copy signed by Mr. Divola, please place your order here or call us at 310-458-1499.

 

Book of the Day Posted Apr 27, 2018

Book of the day > Ed Templeton: Hairdos of Defiance

Book of the day > Ed Templeton: Hairdos of Defiance. Published by Dead Beat Club Press (@deadbeatclub).  " 'An explosion of spiked fluorescent pink hair precariously balanced atop a young girl’s head, eyes painted black in the shape of an Egyptian goddess, slender neck choked by a black leather dog collar ringed with metal thorns, a ripped-up t-shirt barely concealing the flesh of her breasts: it had the same shocking effect on a family walking along London’s King’s Road in 1977 as it did on the explorers encountering the Pawnee Indians in 1541, something exotic and strange to behold. Having a punk hairstyle was a way to spit in the eye of polite society, to rebel and depart from the prevailing fashion trends. It was an emblem of non-conformity and a hairdo of defiance - until it wasn’t.' —Excerpt from "On Mohawks" by Ed Templeton (@ed.templeton).

From Disneyland to Detroit, Spokane to Scotland, Hairdos of Defiance highlights Templeton’s encounters with iconic punk-rock plumage across two decades and two continents. Shot on film, the portraits in Hairdos of Defiance track this ubiquitous expression of individuality on friends and strangers. In the accompanying essay On Mohawks, Templeton reflects on the evolution of the mohawk, from its origins in indigenous culture to its emergence as a punk identifier, to its co-option by the mainstream, to its significance in his own life as an outsider kid growing up in suburbia."

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