In no particular order, here are the first few of ten important literary figures and their related events and publications. These people have not only done their own great work but have fostered creative American communities in their own fashions. They have kept me going for the past ten years and show no signs of slowing down.
1/ Benjamin Weissman’s fiction writing and his reading series, New American Writing:
Though Weissman’s fiction is stylistically in the vein of Thomas Bernhard, there is nothing quite like his abject fictional fantasies. His two story collections, Dear Dead Person and Headless, are hilarious and disturbing. He is also a talented artist and the ski drawing posted here is an image of a collaborative piece he did with Paul McCarthy (Paul McCarthy + Benjamin Weissman, 1 2 Boy, 1997-1998, Courtesy Hauser + Wirth)
Weissman is an important member of the Los Angeles literary community and has hosted for several years a reading series at the Hammer Museum. It is consistently the best series in LA. It’s free, and authors travel from all over the country to read there.
2/Jay Babcock’s Arthur Magazine:
Music journalist, Jay Babcock, began Arthur as a new format Rolling Stone (based on when Rolling Stone was good) for music and contemporary countercultural thought. When I began writing for Arthur, it was the only magazine that was running long-form music reviews in the format that the New Journalists founded. Babcock taught me how to write about music. Arthur ran first features on young “Freak Folk” acts like Devendra Banhart and CocoRosie, who have since exploded that restrictive label to become hugely influential. Arthur has always been about radical representation. Since moving from print to web, and since widening its scope to less musical and more political endeavors, Arthur is still a community building resource and I’ve found everyone associated with Arthur to be completely cool and innovative.
Classic! Becky Stark reads Arthur!
Print magazine back issues: http://store.arthurmag.com/category/back-issues
Current on-line only magazine: http://www.arthurmag.com/
3/ Dan Nadel’s Picturebox:
Dan Nadel is a cartoon-comics expert who is not only the Picturebox publisher but also a respected author himself. His book, Art Out of Time, is an essential collection of vintage comics with personal reflections written by Nadel. A part-two to this book will publish coming sometime in the near future.
Here is a preview that ran in Comics Reporter when Art Out of Time came out:
Nadel has contributed to helping experimental comics and cartoons become a respected literary field. He is making some of the most well-designed art books out there. Picturebox is also the best source for finding printed matter related to all the RISD and Fort Thunder artists, like Mat Brinkman, Jim Drain, and Brian Chippendale, who are well-known now. For awhile, Picturebox had a storefront but now the best way to score Picturebox books are direct from the source or through any bookstore, since some of their books are distributed through D.A.P.
A video tour for their colossal, 2-volume Gary Panter book:
A video tour of their book, Hipgnosis, about the famous art directing team: