NEW FICTION: Bourbon & Blondes has arrived!

From the bus stations of Rt. 66 to the smoky, neon-tinged jazz dives of the big cities, these wanton tales of longing introduce us to vixens on the fringe and those shifty men that drove them there.

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Watch: The 'Bourbon & Blondes' Book Trailer

Get your shot glass ready because you're about to enter a retro world of showgirls, drifters, barmaids and thieves.

The eternal question for scribes?

In this new social media landscape, the question becomes: Is blogging dead? It just may be...

Watch: The 'Front Page Palooka' Book Trailer

Read the pulp novella that one reviewer called 'A potboiler in the style of old school writers like Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler...'

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Happy New Year to all my 'Basement' buddies... I have a special treat for everyone.

This is a guest post from Caleb J Ross, author of the chapbook "Charactered Pieces: stories," as part of his (ridiculously named) Blog Orgy Tour. Visit his website for a full list of blog stops. "Charactered Pieces: stories" is currently available from OW Press or Amazon. For more, check out his web site.

I’ve a secret dream of being a barstool stereotype. But like many other dreamers, I’ve settled for vicarious vodka tonics and the piano-scaled stagger of Tom Waits. Himself, actually, a vicarious rendition of Beat poets and diner patron woe-tales. He can celebrate the mundane, befriend the outcast. Who cares that his reputation is merely an elaborate persona performance? He’s convinced me that every sunken head has a story.

You’ve got to set the mood. Like bait for strangers with tales to spill. And you’ve got show your open ears. But keep the smiles down, too creepy. Order something cheap, something a stranger could assume you’re prepared to order multiples of; you’re staying a while. I go with Hamm’s when it’s served, but a Bud Light here in the Midwest does just fine. Share a laugh. If a stranger offers a joke, take it in. If a stranger offers you catfish, take it, too.

Catfish. A recent tale of my own: myself and author Gordon Highland (Major Inversions) recently took to a dive in downtown Kansas City. I love this place. The barmen don’t know my name, but I’m working on it. A small community of middle-aged regulars lined the bar that day, eating catfish deep-fried on the spot. This place doesn’t serve food; I had always assumed the kitchen was a closet.

The regulars smoked. A city-wide ban made this act one of renegades. Gordon and I commented to ourselves, happy to be in a laid-back room. Shortly thereafter, the bartender offered us a plate. Damn good catfish. Fresh-caught by one of the present regulars, we’ll call her Sue (‘cause I don’t want to jeopardize the family). We talked. Sue and the others feel a bit defensive about their spot, slowly loosing it, she said, to emo types; the kids’ Saturday nights were slowly seeping into evening and afternoon. “We can hardly smoke pot out back anymore.”

I realized the dream again, a couple years before Sue, this when I donned a suit rarely, enough so that wearing one shifted my chin up a few inches. A suit meant I demanded respect. A suit mean I was someone new, and with that leverage, I could dictate my own story. I did so, my first trip to Vegas. A business meeting, but I wouldn’t describe it that way to Laura, a day-friend I met on The Strip at the Nine Fine Irishmen Pub.

The encounter, though simple, warranted documentation and reflection. The non-fiction piece in my chapbook, "Charactered Pieces: stories," called “A Chinese Gemini,” is that documentation. Check it out. And if ever we meet in a bar, I’ll buy you a drink and we can weather some bar seats together.

I love this place.

Caleb began writing his sophomore year of undergrad study when, tired of the formal art education then being taught, he abandoned the pursuit in the middle of a compositional drawing class. Major-less and fearful of losing his financial aid, he signed up to seek a degree in English Literature for no other reason than his lengthy history with the language. Coincidentally, this decision not only introduced him to writing but to reading as well. Prior this transition he had read three books. One of which he understood.

"Charactered Pieces" is his first sole-author bound book. However, he has been published widely, both online and in print. Visit his official site for all of the exciting details.

Monday, December 28, 2009


OK. Shameless self-promotion time...

My prose poem THE LAST MOMENTS OF PAPA H is now live over at Red Fez, a great online portal. The piece actually started out as a piece of flash fiction at Six Sentences that I eventually went on to rework.

Red Fez was founded in 2003 by independent author Leopold McGinnis and concentrates on publishing and promoting non-mainstream, but accessible work by underground and under-recognized artists. The site/zine is divided into a unique, searchable database style and is updated quarterly. Check 'em out... Great stuff.

My bloggin' buddy John Grochalski also has a killer piece over there. He's a guy you also may want to check out.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

In the gutter, you tend to
notice things normal
people wouldn't dare dream.
You notice puddles;
And that befriending a hungry
pooch can be your biggest
mistake or quite
frankly, your only hope;
Nerf footballs make the
oddest shapes when each
end is chopped off and
they make damn fine pillows;

Blended beers from different
bottles don't taste all
that bad once you get used
to the initial warm jolt;
If you think women are hard
to come by in the waking world,
brother, just wait until you
haven't showered for a fortnight;

You realize that the time
of day doesn't seem all that
important anymore;
Bums celebrate Christmas;
You hair can hurt;
A small radio tuned to a lonely
talk station will get you through
the coldest of nights;
Oh, and a can of soup won't hurt;

You remember your best job
and wonder how it all went
And then you remember;
You start to blame people;
Your shitty company;
cheating wife;
that fucking president;
And then you take another
sip of that glorious hooch
and hope you pass out
before the wind keeps you awake;

You look at children walking
to school and that makes
you weep on so many different
levels that it's incomprehensible;
Their bounce reminds you
of promise and that's
something long gone;

You savor matchbooks;
You consider knocking that
old lady in the head just to
get off the street and land
in a nice warm cell, but then
you remember your mother and
hear her soothing voice;

After a time, the gutter
makes you read people
much better than you would
normally; you can see
where they went wrong;
It's in their eyes.

"Lottery Man" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by RobinHood76 "Christmas Background1" and provided by The FreeSound Project.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


OK... You can't make this stuff up. Kinda sad. Oddly funny in that demented way... Here's the scoop:

April Wright, of Chattanooga, Tenn., is 21 years-old and is divorcing her hubby who's in jail. Her little four-year-old sneaks out of the house in the middle of the night, opens a Bud Light, gets skunk drunk, puts on a dress and steals the neighbors' presents from under their tree.

"He ran away trying to find his father," she said. "He wanted to get in trouble so he can go to jail because that’s where his daddy is..." Messed up, huh?

Check out the vid:

Friday, December 18, 2009

LOTTERY MAN (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

Back when I worked at the luncheonette,
I remember the guy used to come
in every day. Sometimes twice.

He'd sit at the counter, order his coffee,
break out his pad and pencil and began
to jot down numbers. All sorts
of fucking numbers.

Every page would be dated and under
each day, he would jot down the
winning lottery numbers in pencil.
Licking the tip each time before he wrote,
he'd mumur to himself, almost trance-like.

Lottery Man would analyze the numbers
by tabulating how many odd and even
winners came up per week, month
and year. He'd jot down odd facts
like how often '3' would appear and
would often say if he could get rid of
any number, it would be easily be '9.'

He'd call me 'Sonny...' and would ask
me to steal him an instant rub-off on
the sly at least once a week. When I
declined, 'Sonny...' became 'Mary...'
and Phil the owner would usually give
him more coffee, as if he needed it.

I knew his son. We were the same age
and all I could think was, 'Why aren't
you home with him?'

Lottery Man would win now and again and
usually brag about what he'd buy
his family. One year it was a computer,
then a microwave. He always said
he wanted a video camera but never
got one.

When I quit for college, he bought me
an instant rub-off for good luck.
The last thing I remember about
about Lottery Man was splitting our
winnings which bought me my books.
Here's hoping he got that camera...

"Lottery Man" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Bossa2 "Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado" and provided by Jamendo.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Dunno where this pic exactly originated online, but I think it might be our kind of place. Right?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


OK... So we're all busy. Most of us can't eke out enough time to write or update our blogs much less READ. Imagine that? Us writers needing more time to READ.

In any case, heeding the call of many time-crunched readers (and I assume to the ire of all us scribes), two enterprising University of Chicago students have published "Twitterature: the World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less." It's already been released in England and Australia and scheduled to be on American shelves on Dec. 29.

How about some examples? In "The Inferno," Dante texts, "Met a guy who ate all his children and actually feels bad for HIMSELF. Creeped me out. Couldn't wait to say, 'Peace, brotha, gotta split.'"

And then there's this lil' gem from "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the bespectacled hero tweets, "OMG Hogwarts OMG I have two friends OMG magic OMG the Slytherins are Nazis OMG there is an EVIL WIZARD out to get me."

The 224-page book will include roughly 80 popular titles that includes "War and Peace," "The Da Vinci Code," and some new popular teen vampire romance.

Ugh... Hemingway is rolling over in his grave.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Something is seriously wrong. It just dawned on me that this is my second post about a coat in a very short time span. In any case, I wrote this for Playboy Online sometime in the late '90s. Being that it's nowhere to be found on the interweb, I figured I would rework it ever so slightly and give it a decent home here in Bukowski's Basement.

OK, so what's it about? My humble search for the perfect leather jacket -- a Chili Palmer leather jacket to be exact. In the mid-90s, it was no friggin' easy task.

* * * *

I'm of the belief that it takes a certain kind of guy to wear leather.

I'm not talking about your typical biker jacket. Any schmuck with a Bon Jovi backstage pass around his neck could pull that off. I'm talking about something a bit more different, shady. Perhaps even moody. Something I like to call bad-ass leather.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So there I was the other day, driving, and I heard on the radio station how Elton John wrote a letter to his teenage self for some UK book. The jock went on a little about it and I thought, "Huh, how interesting... What would I say to my teenaged self given the chance?"

After thinking about it a small while. This is what came out:


Dear lil' Ant:

Your parents are doing a pretty good job so I'm gonna concentrate on the shit they're not gonna tell you. Brace yourself because I'm going to be blunt.

Ok, so you're small. Can't change it. And stop wasting time with those fucking weight gainers. You're 120 pounds. How much fucking weight you think you're gonna gain? There will always be asshole bullies in your life. Don't feed into them. That's what they want. And sure, they may be the shit now, but trust me, in 20 years, you'll still have your hair and not look like you have an inner tube under your shirt like most of them. That's your revenge.

Booze, et al.
Don't dick around with it. Yet. There will be plenty of time and believe me, kid, you're gonna enjoy it when you can. For now, stick to sippin' those faggy wine coolers. That's all about you can take. As for smoking, we all know you watched your father smoke unfiltered Chesterfields and could mimic it perfectly, but you're allergic to them. Remember that. Fight the urge.

Speaking of which...

Nothing huge to divulge here. At some point, you're gonna get your heart ripped out like one of those characters in Mortal Kombat but life will go on and you'll be surprised how easy it'll be. You'll know lots of girls -- many of them friends. You're picky. Stay that way. Pay attention to these little cuties. Each one will teach you something you'll use almost daily.

The words.
I'll be honest, hopping a flight to the Left Coast to hob-knob at the studio commisary with writers and agents still ranks pretty high up there. But I'll save you some trouble. You're not gonna make movies. That said, however, you will carve out a pretty decent career in the news game. It'll be a long road. Shitty assignments. Totem pole stuff. But you like to write. Stick with it. It'll serve you well financially -- meaning you'll be able to live -- as well as satisfy that creative spark you've had since grade school. Cultivate your writerly senses. Watch people. Listen to what they say. It will come easy. The writing will be the actual hard part. Your ideas will never fail you. Trust yourself.

That catholic school you seem to hate right now will teach you many things. While you may not currently understand, it'll provide you with some pretty decent life skills. Like what? Well, being that there aren't any girls, it'll force you to grow a sack and talk to them on weekends at the roller rink. Plus, without the distraction of giggly teen chicks in class, you'll concentrate on building better friendships and how to value them. Perhaps most shallow, catholic school will teach you how to look good in a suit and not be afraid to wear a tie. Ok, so getting dressed up every day sorta sucks for you now, but there's gonna be a time where nice threads won't seem so bad. In fact, you're gonna like it. And you know what, kiddo? You're gonna be a clothes horse. And hey, between you and I, save those knit ties -- they'll be coming back.

Higher ed.
This one is tough. When it comes time for college, you're gonna be bribed to stay at home with a car. A pretty cool car, in fact. Resist the urge. The car is gonna die a slow death and it will cost you almost 10 grand in repairs through the years. Go away to school. You'll learn things that took this guy way too long to learn. Like laundry. While we're on the subject, ditch grad school. You're never going to use your graduate degree and pay for it long after your first child is born. Did I just freak you out? Good. There's gonna be plenty of those moments. Brace yourself. You'll do fine.

Most important, spend more time your your dad. You don't realize it now but he's seen alot. Ask him about The Depression. Chat about World War II. Talk to him about when he was your age. Believe me, if you don't have these conversations, you'll regret it -- like I do.

trust me.

--- Big Ant

Sunday, December 6, 2009

OVER A HAMBURGER (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

So here we were.
Staring at each other,
this time over a hamburger
during a late lunch.
And I can’t drink this
fucking beer fast enough.
I need to get out of this zone.
The more she doesn’t say
anything, and stares at me or
into space, the more my head pounds.
It throbbed the second we got up,
partly because I was dreading
the day that would be coming.
She was still pissed about
our talk which never gets
us anywhere, but here,
staring at each other
over a hamburger.

"Over A Hamburger" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by 'kaponja' Guitar Arpeggio" and provided by Freesound.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I WEAR HIS JACKET (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

The military jacket was crumpled
in a sloppy ball on the floor of the
antique show that some chickadee
dragged me to.

After hours and hours and rows
upon rows of beat-to-shit furniture,
hat pins and jewelry boxes, I saw it,
this gorgeously authentic army jacket.
Laying there, musty and crinkled, I
tried it on and it was a perfect fit.
This was the real deal, not some
knockoff shit direct from Abercrombie
but a coat that evoked history.

From the tattered interior stitching
I'm guessing the coat was issued
during Korea or maybe even Vietnam.
The patch had the name 'HALL'
and I started to think about him.

Wearing it, not a day goes by where
I don't have questions like how many
offensives had he seen? Was he scared?
I think of the mud he crawled through.
I think of the horrendous rain this
coat must have endured and the
cigarettes he must have smoked during
those uncertain night patrols.

I wear his jacket and I think of the
dog he missed and that perfume
she used to wear on their dates
at the drive in that drove him crazy.

I think about his mom's reaction when
he told her that he enlisted and how
proud his dad secretly was that his boy
would finally be made a man by Uncle Sam.

I think of 'HALL' as I drive to work
and I do the math. He must have kids
around my age if he were still here.
I wonder if they think their dad was a hero?

I wear his jacket quite frequently now
and every time I get a compliment
for it, I think that yes, I wear 'Hall's'
jacket, but I could never fill his shoes.

"I Wear His Jacket" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Rhonda Lorence, track No. 11 "Trail of Tears" on the album "Movements in the Moment," and provided by Magnatune.


Blockbuster Video is selling books now... I know times are rough for the video retailer but selling books?? And they're not even movie tie-ins ala the Harry Potter or Twilight franchises. Oh well, chalk another one up to us hard-workin' scribes...

Thanks to Gizmodo for posting the pic above.

Monday, November 30, 2009


A team of Antarctic adventurers will soon set off on a mission to drill through Antarctic ice to find crates of whiskey that were abandoned during a 1909 polar expedition.

British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton had two crates of the now-defunct McKinlay and Co. whiskey shipped to his Antarctic base near Cape Royds 100 years ago. They were stashed under the floorboards - presumably to hide them from inquisitive penguins - and somehow abandoned, until restoration workers rediscovered them during work on his hut in 2006.

Whyte & Mackay, the beverage group that now owns McKinlay and Co., has asked for a sample of the 100-year-old hooch for a series of tests that could decide whether to relaunch the now-defunct scotch.

Top read more about it, click HERE.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Last week, The Basement gave you the top books of the decade, courtesy of The Times Online. This week, comes a more mainstream Stateside version direct from pseudo-intellectuals at The A.V. Club (sister site of The Onion).

* Beware, a certain book about a boy wizard is on it...

To check it out, click HERE.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Bukowski's Basement wants all of our bloggin' buddies and visitors to have a happy Turkey Day!!


While my uppity family ponders which uppity wine to bring out from their uppity cellar, I'll be salivating about the hearty beer that I should be drinking with my Thanksgiving feast...

For more tips about beer and Thanksgiving, head on over to Gunaxin (Stuff for Guys...) for lots of great tidbits.

Monday, November 23, 2009

THE BOOTLEGGER (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio recording

His outfit was buried deep within the foothills
of the North Carolina Appalachian mountains and
his potent clear liquid made him a local legend.

They called his hooch White Lightnin;
Who Shot Sally and even Brown Mule.
But Popcorn Sutton knew you were The Law
if you came around askin' for that 'White Liquor.'

Descendant from a long line of moonshiners,
Popcorn took his art seriously and would often
brag that he made more runs of liquor than
there were whiskers on his jaw.

Every morning he'd mix corn, water, yeast and sugar
in that big 'ol copper still and wait for the mash that made
some of the best Painter's Piss in all of Maggie Valley.
But what's a moonshiner to do when his life's work
can be bought in a bottle at the local Walmart?
Still, liquor was all he knew. It was a fundamental right.

By 2009, the jig was up and Popcorn was sentenced
to 18 months in the big house for illegally brewing
those mason jar spirits.

Cancer-stricken, the mountain man pleaded with the
judge to let him serve his sentence under house arrest.
When the petition that thousands signed couldn't help,
Popcorn tooks matters into his hands and comitted
suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning to avoid prison.

That 'White Liquor" finally done him in...

"The Bootlegger" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Derek Porter, track No. 6 "Mars, Kentucky"on the album "Heaven's Hill," and provided by Jemendo.


New guidelines to protect whisky from foreign imitation, including new rules on labelling and bottling, are coming into force in Scotland.

Some of the provisions:

* Five categories of Scotch Whisky are defined for the first time; Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, and Blended Scotch Whisky.

* These compulsory category sales terms will be required to appear clearly and prominently on all labels.

* A requirement to only bottle Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Scotland.

* A ban on the use of the term "Pure Malt".

Read more HERE


Two years ago, I got hitched in Sin City on 7 7 7 and was lucky enough to have a pic snapped by an Associated Press shutterbug. Here's the magazine piece I wrote for Casino Player that went along with it.

The notion of whisking a bride to Sin City and deciding to take the plunge on a whim has always been the stuff of pop culture fodder. For pulp's sake, throw in a boozy visit to a local tattoo parlor and you have yourself a bonafide Sin City elopement.

Like thousands of other betrothed couples, me and the future misses figured it would be cool to get hitched on July 7, 2007 -- the so-called luckiest day of the century. No hassles with wedding planning. No big production. No muss, no fuss. Just eight of our best friends and relatives to help us celebrate. Sounds easy, right?

Think again.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I'm usually not one for lists -- they're usually either populated with fan favorites or slanted towards critical darlings. Seriously... It's hard to find a true "best of" list that encapsulates a decent middle ground. That said, however, I figured this list was interesting enough to pass along.

Check it out here.


Last night, The National Book Award for fiction for 2009 went to scribe Colum McCann for his book "Let the Great World Spin."

Set in New York in 1974, the book centers on French tightrope walker Philippe Petit who walked between the Twin Towers, creating a massive publicity stunt.

The author examined life in the Big Apple using Petit's stunt as a backdrop.

Considered to be one of literature's most prestigious honors, it certainly will catapult the Irish author (who lives in New York) to instant prominence.

McCann refers to the book an act of hope written in part as a response to the attacks on 9-11. Accepting the prize, the author praised the generosity of American fiction and its audience. He dedicated the win to a fellow Irish-American writer Frank McCourt.

In addition, legendary author Gore Vidal picked up an award for Lifetime achievement.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie (1928)Image via Wikipedia

Funny enough, Bukowski hated Mickey Mouse with a passion and often referred to him as "A three-fingered son-of-a-bitch who has no soul, for Christ's sake..."

For those who care, Mickey Mouse made his debut on November 18, 1928, in a black and white cartoon called "Steamboat Willie." The cartoon was written and directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. The title is a parody of the Buster Keaton film "Steamboat Bill Jr."

"Steamboat Willie" premiered at New York's 79th Street Theatre, and played ahead of the independent film "Gang War." Steamboat Willie was an immediate hit while Gang War is all but forgotten today.

Now check out Bukowski's dissing the beloved cartoon character...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


People love her. People hate her. Politics aside, she looks pretty damn hot to me.

Is the Newsweek cover (her second in a year) as sexist as Ms. Palin claims? Perhaps... Maybe... Who cares?

She looks hot.

There. I said it.

Back to our regularly scheduled program....

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Taking a cue from the great Barry Northern and his ridiculously professional Friday Fables, I've decided to throw my hat into the podcasting ring (Although, unlike Barry's, mine are not available on iTunes yet and I don't have that soothing voice of his either).

My goal is to eventually get to as many prose poems and flash fiction entries on the site as possible. But boy, did Barry make it look easy. Putting together one of these bad boys ain't exactly a walk in the park.

For starters, however, I'll link the first three that I already have (which some of my basement bloggin' buddies have already checked out -- many thanks).

Suitcases (newest) - Most of us hate to fly. Explore one man's journey from his pre-flight suitcase choice to the final taxi into the destination gate.

The Suit - After an argument with his wife, a man comes upon the suit he wore on their first date.

What She Said - What happens when a man goes to a fortune teller on a sleepy East Coast boardwalk and finds out something he didn't exactly plan?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

WHAT SHE SAID (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

She told him that he’d
eventually harness a gift,
which in all honesty had
come to scare him.

From the second he left
that tiny boardwalk booth,
freaky premonitions streamed
into his consciousness.
It got so bad that after
a while he'd have to ask
himself if they were
just silly mind tricks.
But then some of them started
to come true - little things
that actually happened and
it only made his situation worse.

Will she get into a deadly
car accident on the
way to work?
Will the kid be fine?
And mom, will this be
the last conversation?

He'd tell his friends to put
themselves in his shoes.
Imagine asking yourself
these daily, ritualistic
questions after some silly
storefront psychic laid
down that whopper of a
statement. It’s a burden.

Here it is a year later
and he's thinking
about asking for
his money back.

What right did she have?

"What She Said" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Mister Todd, track "Organ Loop 2", and provided by The FreesoundProject. Music also by Cliftonaudio, "Accordian at La Republique", and provided by The FreesoundProject

Monday, November 9, 2009


"The idea of two people vocalizing their relationship through duets...I always thought of it as just a small project between friends. It perfectly captured where I was in my life at the time," says actress Scarlett Johansson of her new album with fellow Jerseyan Pete Yorn entitled "Break Up."

We can forgive the actress for her earlier solo effort, "Anywhere I Lay My Head," in which she covered all of Tom Waits tunes. Easy to try, tough to pull off. Waits is Waits after all. Of her debut disc, Rolling Stone said,"she's a faintly goth Marilyn Monroe lost in a sonic fog..." Whatever. Personally, I think she sounds awesome and rarely has she looked better as evidenced in this video below.

Speaking of... This new catchy and infectious single "Relator" from the duet disc "Break Up" was released earlier in the year (the album itself was released in September). The tune is honestly one of the catchiest joints I've heard in a long, long while.

Check out the video for "Relator" and the lyrics below...

Read the lyrics for "Relator" after the jump...

Saturday, November 7, 2009


If you dug film version of Jim Thompson's "The Grifters," "The Getaway" and "After Dark, My Sweet" get ready because the tough guy scribe's 1952 pulpy novel "The Killer Inside Me" is heading towards movie screens in a 2010 film starring Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson and directed by Michael Winterbottom.

Affleck stars as a seemingly vapid small-town sheriff deputy Lou Ford with Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson as the women in his life. Also popping up in the film is Ned Beatty, Bill Pullman and Elias Koteas.

Here's the plot via Wikipedia:

"The story is told through the eyes of its protagonist, Lou Ford, a 29-year-old deputy sheriff in a small Texas town. Ford seems to be a regular, small-town cop leading an unremarkable existence. Beneath this facade, however, he is a cunning, intelligent and depraved sociopath. Ford's main coping mechanism for his dark urges, however, is the relatively benign habit of deliberately needling people with cliches and platitudes despite their obvious boredom: "If there's anything worse than a bore," says Lou, "it's a corny bore.

Despite having a steady girlfriend, Ford falls into a sadomasochistic relationship with a prostitute named Joyce Lakeland. Ford describes their affair as unlocking "the sickness" that plagued him during his teen years: he'd sexually abused a young girl, a crime for which his elder brother Mike took the blame to spare Lou from prison. After serving a jail term, Mike died on a construction site. Lou blamed a local construction magnate for the death, suspecting Mike was murdered.

To exact revenge, Lou and Joyce blackmail the construction magnate to avoid exposing his son's affair with Joyce. However, Lou double crosses Joyce: he ferociously batters her, and shoots the construction magnate's son, hoping to make the crimes appear to be a lovers' spat gone wrong. Despite the savage beating, it's revealed that Joyce survives -- in a coma.

Ford builds a solid alibi and frames other people for the double homicide. However, to successfully frame others when the evidence starts to go against him, he has to commit additional murders or induce further deaths. But these only increase suspicion until the local authorities begin stripping away his mask of sanity. Then he reveals to the reader the full nature of the inner demons that drive his criminal behavior.

Trivia: In 1976, the novel was adapted into a film of the same title, with Stacy Keach as Lou Ford directed by Burt Kennedy.

A few days ago, an odd (and rather long) NSFW sales trailer popped up on YouTube. Check it out before it gets yanked.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I love this piece... Here's the skinny on it:

ARTIST: Joseph Ferris
TITLE: Charles Bukowski with his Girlfriend Cupcake, Panel 2
MEDIUM: Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 48"
DATE: 1999

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


If you're into Kerouac or Bukowski or even Tom Waits, you may have a little 50s beatnik or 40s hipster in you. Who knows, you may even have some hippie or neo-hipster sensibilities floating around.

Whatever the case, enjoy Zana Faulkner's pretty well-researched piece that explores 'Hipster countercultures through the decades.'

And when you're done, check out this hipster beatnik blog Like... Dreamsville


If you like, check out my piece "The Well" in the new print issue of Shoots and Vines.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Jersey Shore-based crime writer Wallace Stroby, a former newspaper colleague of mine, is about to get "Gone 'Til November," his third book published. Even though the work isn't available until January, I stumbled across a mini review of it on Publishers Weekly and decided to let my basement fans know about this underrated scribe. Seriously... Why his books aren't made into big screen features is still a mystery to me. In any case, check out this killer review:

PW: Gone 'til November Wallace Stroby. Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-56024-9
Tormented lives brutally intersect in Stroby's powerful thriller, the possible first in a new series to feature Sara Cross, the lone woman sheriff's deputy in Florida's St. Charles County. One night, Cross, a single mother who's coping with her son's leukemia and the remnants of a two-years-gone postdivorce fling with fellow deputy Billy Flynn, arrives on the edge of a cypress swamp where Flynn has just shot a 22-year-old black man from New Jersey allegedly fleeing a traffic stop. Sara tries to smother her still-simmering lust for no-good Billy, but her cop instincts drive her toward a dismaying truth that hurtles her into a violent showdown with an aging New Jersey contract killer stricken with a rare cancer. While relentlessly probing the eternal mystery of why bright and capable women fall for dangerous losers, Stroby (The Heartbreak Lounge) explores moral choices that leave his devastatingly real characters torn between doing nothing and risking everything. (Jan.)
Fans of gritty crime noir will absolutely dig his style and I couldn't suggest more to check him out. The New York Times book review said, "Stroby does wonders with his blue-collar characters" and Gerald Petievich, author of To Live and Die in L.A. said of his debut novel "The Barbed Wire Kiss," that "A new member has been added to the Michael Connelly-Robert Crais-Harlan Coben club of crime fiction. This work marks the debut of a novelist of great promise."

Be sure to also visit his blog, aptly named The Heartbreak Blog (a nod to his second book).

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I'll be the first to admit that I sometimes don't get "The Onion." Or, better yet, maybe I "get it" but just don't care for that kind of elitist humor that smacks of posturing that seems to say, "We're so smart and you're not..."

Americans have this sickening way mocking news to parody. Call me a news snob. I'm a member of The Fourth Estate and think that while I can easily poke fun at my profession, I don't want to get my news from tongue-in-cheek sources like Stephen Colbert or John Stewart. I don't need their spin and maybe that's why The Onion leaves a bad taste in my mouth (no pun...)

Fans of Bukowski's Basement probably know that I love Raymond Carver (above). The man was a sheer master at using less words to say more than most scribes. In addition to his genius minimalism, he explored painful themes among men and women.

That said, check out this (dare I say funny) piece in the usually-annoying The Onion that presents Raymond Carver if he were a advice columnist.

And then check out this beautiful Carver poem.

Friday, October 30, 2009


... This is what he'd look like. Happy Halloween to all of my peeps...

Seriously... How hilarious is this?

Thursday, October 29, 2009


OK... I couldn't help it. Born and bred in The Garden State, this is prolly what would go down if you got directions in any large New Jersey city... Thanks to Michael S. for the spark... Also check out the New England version.

Who's this guy walkin' towards my car? Whats he want?

He don't look like a beggar and if he carjacks me, I got my Club and'll knock him on his ass.

What'd he say? Do I know how to get where??

"Yo Pal, what don't you go to the gas station over there... I look a map?"

Moron. You should have yourself a nav anyway. Creep...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mr. P (flash fiction)

Every Halloween season I remember this quirky English substitute named 'Mr. P' who replaced Ms. Clemm after she caught a mysterious ailment.

He was an odd chap who'd slam down his dusty books every morning, tinker with an unkempt mustache and speak in an formalized and grand English we never really heard before.

Unconventional and odd, he ignored our given text and asked us kids for help in his own compositions, thereby illustrating to us the ins and the outs of the language.

Being that it was the creepy season, many of us concocted different frightful stories -- one in particular -- was about a man who entombed his friend alive.

Well, it wasn't long before a some persnickety parent saw his child's notebook and needless to say, that was the last we saw of Mr. P.

Imagine our surprise when Ms. Clemm, who, after mysteriously returning, had us read something called "The Cask of Amontillado."

Funny, we all seemed to get an A on that particular pop quiz.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Every so often, I'd like to present on the blog some lyrics that I find pretty damn noteworthy to me -- poetic. That said, I give you Leonard Cohen's "Waiting for the Miracle."

This is a feature I wanted to start at Bukowski's Basement for a while. I guess you can say that the Oliver Stone film "Natural Born Killers" pushed me to do it since the song I'm featuring is on the soundtrack. Watching the film (again) the other night on cable got me thinking about how incredible the lyrics to Cohen's breathtaking tune "Waiting for the Miracle" actually is (Another Cohen gem "The Future" is also featured in the film).

The All Music Guide refers to Cohen and the disc the tune stems from as:

literate and

... In other words, right up our alley.

The brooding tune is chock full of eerie sentiments and comes pretty close to spoken word at times. In fact, most of the disc resembles poetry set to music than simply mere songs. The entire album comes off as one long manifesto calling all to challenge the concepts of righteousness and despair in Cohen's modern world.

The All Music Guide calls him "one man against the world with nothing but a gruff voice and a cause." And what a gruff voice it is...

That said, play the tune below and follow the lyrics. As always, enjoy...

Baby, I've been waiting,
I've been waiting night and day.
I didn't see the time,
I waited half my life away.
There were lots of invitations
and I know you sent me some.
But I was waiting
for the miracle...
For the miracle to come.

I know you really loved me,
but you see, my hands were tied.
I know it must have hurt you,
it must have hurt your pride
to have to stand beneath my window
with your bugle and your drum...
And me I'm up there waiting
for the miracle...
For the miracle to come.

I don't believe you'd like it,
you wouldn't like it here.
There ain't no entertainment
and the judgements are severe.
The Maestro says it's Mozart,
but it sounds like bubble gum
when you're waiting
for the miracle...
For the miracle to come.

Waiting for the miracle
There's nothing left to do.
I haven't been this happy
since the end of World War II.

Nothing left to do
when you know that you've been taken.
Nothing left to do
when you're begging for a crumb
Nothing left to do
when you've got to go on waiting,
waiting for the miracle to come.

I dreamed about you, baby.
It was just the other night.
Most of you was naked,
ah, but some of you was light.
The sands of time were falling
from your fingers and your thumb,
And you were waiting...
For the miracle, for the miracle to come.

Ah baby, let's get married,
we've been alone too long.
Let's be alone together.
Let's see if we're that strong.
Yeah, let's do something crazy,
something absolutely wrong,
while we're waiting...
For the miracle, for the miracle to come.

Nothing left to do
when you know that you've been taken.
Nothing left to do
when you're begging for a crumb
Nothing left to do
when you've got to go on waiting,
waiting for the miracle to come.

When you've fallen on the highway
and you're lying in the rain,
and they ask you how you're doing
of course you'll say you can't complain --
If you're squeezed for information,
that's when you've got to play it dumb:
You just say you're out there waiting
for the miracle, for the miracle to come.

Saturday, October 24, 2009



Please enjoy this short piece of flash that I guest wrote for Tess Dickenson's lovely blog "Throughts from Tess." It centers on a lonely waitress at a greasy spoon in Las Vegas and the stranger she meets one ordinary afternoon.

* A paragraph or two appear to be a tad long. I didn't intend them to be that long, the carriage returns apparently didn't translate in the e-mail. Please enjoy...