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...'

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.