Monthly Archives: March 2012

Tom Williams on The Mimic’s Own Voice

The Mimic’s Own Voice

Tom Williams’ novella, The Mimic’s Own Voice, was released in 2011. Williams was kind enough to entertain a few questions of mine in this email interview (conducted in early December 2011). Williams’ story is a quirky consideration of mimicry and biography. And I’m not just saying that because of the kind sentiment he expresses at the start of the interview. As noted in his bio: “A former James Michener Fellow, he has received individual artist fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the Arkansas Arts Council. He currently is an associate editor of American Book Review” and Department Chair/Professor of English at Morehead State University. My thanks to Williams for his time and thoughts as well as Susan Henderson for helping to arrange this interview.

Tom Williams: Tim, let me first say thanks for agreeing to do this interview. One of the great things about having a small press book is that I’ve been required, pretty much, to do a lot of my own publicity. Yet I get to meet (in this virtual way) people like yourself, who do so much for writers and, it seems to me, receive so little in return. I hope I don’t stumble too much over these great questions.

Tim O’Shea: In developing this story, how early did you realize it was best suited as a novella, as opposed to a novel or short story?

Williams: As evidence of my unerring commercial intuition, I knew almost right away that it was a novella. The opening lines had a certain kind of tone and were pointing toward an almost historic sweep. I thought for a time it might be a novel but sensed the appropriate length was short of novel length after I had gone through, for the first time, my comedy history–from the one liner royalty to the vernacular story tellers to the mimics to the social critics to, finally, the observational comics. To flesh it out too much would, I thought, ruin the joke, and to try to bring it in under 30 pages would leave too much out.

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Tumblr Fun: Charlie Watts is Bored

Tumblr is another form of social media that educates me. The Carousel is a tumblr site that does not just post music videos, but also points out nuances to the videos. Take for example, this post on the Rolling Stone’s Angie.

I love that the author advises viewers to check out the 50-second mark on this video (for Charlie Watts’ reaction while playing in a song that he has very little to perform).

Then there is this video, at the 2-minute mark, where Charlie clearly does not want the documentary maker filming him as he is seeemingly disengaged.

Please check out the whole Tumblr site, if for nothing else this Rick Moranis as Michael McDonald bit.

Atlanta 1985: The Stein Club

Growing out of the post from earlier this week about T.V. Dinner, a former high school classmate Annette Saldana (now a successful businessperson–and the force behind The Art & Science of Making Irresistible Requests) got me thinking more about The Stein Club. I think (emphasis on “think”) I set foot in the place, which was opened from the early 1960s to 2000, once. But I know many people that loved hanging out there. Why? I think this 1985 North Dekalb Community Television/Cable 23 show, Club Scene, hosted by Brian Smith, provides a good perspective of why folks loved the place.

The video was posted on YouTube courtesy of Smith and the 880+members of the Facebook group, We Miss the Stein Club.

1982 Atlanta: T.V. Dinner

So Atlanta history never fails to surprise me. I remember hearing about the Agora Ballroom, the Stein Club was actually still in existence when I started going to bars, I think I set foot in the Cotton Club at least once. But back in 1982, I was either graduating from grade school or starting high school (depending on what part of the year it was). So I knew nothing about T.V. Dinner, a little club [located at 1028 Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta], founded by Finnean Jones and Rosa Phillips (as noted by this 1982 GSU Signal article by Glen Thrasher at a Facebook  T.V. Dinner fan page) in 1982.

What recently garnered my interest about this seemingly obscure club of the early 1980s? Well I stumbled across a YouTube video of Allen Ginsberg appearing at the club. I am hoping to find out more about the club in the coming weeks (looking at the folks on the fan page, it appears that many of the folks are friends with many of my Atlanta art scene fans–so I am hoping to mine their collective knowledge). But for today, I offer the video (plus a link to the second part). Enjoy.

What really surprises me about my ignorance of this club? Less than 10 years later in the early 1990s, my then girlfriend and I rented an apartment less than a mile from the club’s former location.

Musician J.D. McPherson on Signs & Signifiers

Article first published as Musician J.D. McPherson on Signs & Signifiers on Technorati.


These are busy times for musician J.D. McPherson, seeing as this week he will be making the rounds at SXSW, then next month will see Rounder Records re-release his album, Signs & Signifiers (initially released by his bass player Jimmy Sutton’s HiStyle Records in 2010). McPherson is a singer/songwriter who clearly has an affinity for music’s history, but with a distinctive voice that defies any comparison and that is garnering him an increasing amount of attention. Last week he learned that his music had been nominated in the rock/hard rock category by the Independent Music Awards. This was on the heels of learning last month that Decca Records will be releasing his Signs & Signifiers in the United Kingdom, news that pleased him so much that he tweeted “This is more special than gold to me”. McPherson was recently kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the making of his album in this email interview. After reading the interview, be sure to check his tour page to see if he’s playing near you.

How important was it to you to be able to record Signs & Signifiers in 100% analog?

It was my first experience recording in this way, and I can promise you that I have no interest in recording in any other environment from here on out. It was a completely exciting and rewarding process.

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Dean Haspiel Shares His Parents

James Haspiel (From CulturePOP)

Dean Haspiel is a great writer and artist. I have thought that for years. But the foundation of this great storytelling partially lies his mother and father, as revealed back in January via interviews and articles recently posted at Trip City.

First up, Barbara Haspiel, in her own words.

Then, photojournalist Seth Kushner documented James Haspiel in an installment of CulturePOP.

Finally, Dean interviewed his father in this TripCity podcast.