The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

“The Kiss in the Gallery,” a short story by Scott Bassis

I gazed with both awe and skepticism at Kevin as he sipped his coffee, bit into his muffin and surfed the web on his phone. We had been together for four months, yet there were still times when he felt to me like a figment or dream. It seemed as if he might vanish at any moment, leaving me alone in my Brooklyn apartment. 

In the decade before I met Kevin, there wasn’t one Sunday that I didn’t take breakfast alone. I’d had a few one-night-stands, but always crept away or convinced the guy to leave as quickly as possible. It was no wonder I occasionally doubted if Kevin was real. For my entire adult life and most of my childhood, solitude had been my only companion.

I met Kevin at a Hell’s Kitchen gay bar. I didn’t go to bars often, but once in a while did crave human company. Kevin walked in, slender, bespectacled, gawkily handsome, in khakis and a buttoned-down shirt buttoned to the top. Appearing as wholesome as a fifties sitcom character, he seemed as out of place there as I felt. That was surely what possessed me to approach him, ask him the name of his cerulean blue drink. We ended up having three rounds of “bluebirds.” At the end of the night, we exchanged numbers and went to our respective homes, a rarity in the gay world. If I were to find love, it couldn’t be with anyone remotely normal.

Kevin was strange because he was so “normal,” raised by two devoutly religious, yet wholly accepting parents in a small Minnesota town. He had moved to New York from Minneapolis a month earlier, transferred by his consulting firm. He’d recently ended a long-term monogamous relationship. There was no Grindr on his phone. The only “Molly” he knew of was his sister-in-law. Continue reading

Book Review: The Dying of the Light by Robert Goolrick

Review by Tess Tabak

The Dying of the Light is a sumptuous feast of a book, rich in texture and detail. Robert Goolrick tells the life story of Diana Cooke, the jewel of a dying Southern empire. She and her family invest everything they have, their very souls, into saving their estate, a sprawling house named Saratoga.

Even though Diana’s story contains more tragedy than light, Goolrick’s impeccable eye for detail make this book a pleasure to read. He includes glorious descriptions of the luxuries in Diana’s life: her fine clothing, and the Southern scenery.

“For a moment she stood, freed from her father’s arm as he wheeled himself back from her, until she was alone in the light, eyes lowered demurely, under the hundreds of candles in the seemingly hundreds of crystal chandeliers, the luminous room catching the glitter from her warrior’s tiara, her luminous, flawless skin, and then she bowed her head, her swan’s neck bending so that her chin touched her neck, and made the curtsy that was so elegant, so graceful, it was forever to be named after her.” Continue reading

Q&A with cartoonist Gisele Lagace

Gisele LagaceGisele Lagace got her start in webcomics in the early 2000s, with Cool Cat Studio. Since then, she’s gone on to create a wide range of webcomics, including Menage a 3, a Three’s Company-esque adult romantic comedy, and Eerie Cuties, about a school for magical teens.

In addition to managing her own ring of webcomic titles, more recently, she’s also left her mark on cartoon characters straight out of your childhood. She drew several issues of Betty Boop and Jem and the Holograms, as well as reimagining the cast of Archie gender swapped.

Issue 1 of her newest title, Exorsisters (script by Ian Boothby), will be released tomorrow by Image Comics. (You can read a sneak peak online).

 

Q: You’ve collaborated quite closely, as a writer, with David Lumsdon and T. Campbell over the years. What do you like about working collaboratively?

I like that it sometimes takes me out of my comfort zone artistically. It’s also nice to be able to rely on another brain to solve a story problem.

Q: Anything you dislike about collaboration?

I guess I dislike it for the same things I like it for. At times, I can be sent outside my comfort zone a little too much, and too many cooks is also an issue sometimes with writing stuff collaboratively.

Q: David Lumsdon has his own titles now that grew out of Ma3, which you created. What’s it like having someone else working solo in a universe you built? Was it hard to let go of creative control?

I don’t have a problem with that. It also helps that I use T Campbell as editor on all properties, so I’m confident he’ll make sure everything works together. Maybe I put too much trust in people at times, but it’s generally the way I roll. Continue reading

Book Review: Scribe by Alyson Hagy

Review by E. Kirshe

Scribe by Alyson Hagy is a fascinating and quick read yet at just under 160 pages this novel packs a lot of story. Hagy’s writing is beautiful, stylistically as the whole book comes off as poetic as well as having that practicality that lets the reader feel like they are really in the landscape of the novel.

 

“Outside, the air was layered with the scents of cooling bark and leaves. The sun flared behind the hill where the Hopkins house lay in ruins, nothing left to scratch the sky but its four stout chimneys. Persimmons. The sunset was the color of persimmons.”

 

And what a strange location it is- set in a harsh dystopian landscape of a post-war, post-pandemic Appalachia the decimated population relies on bartering and brute force to survive.

The unnamed main character trades in words, writing letters for people who seem to think the act can vindicate or more importantly offer them absolution. She’s been living in peace on her family’s lands for years; alliances are kept in place both with the local overseer Billy Kingery and with the group of migrants she allows to live on her land, the Uninvited, a group which seems to almost worship her late sister. When she agrees to write and deliver a letter, something of a confession, for a mysterious man named Hendricks a devastating series of events unfold. Continue reading

Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea by Tricia Warren

Crawfish pie, succulent as any dish at Galatoire’s, beckoned from the counter alongside a platter of baguettes and, glistening under the skylights, a heap of romaine tossed with strawberries. Were cilantro and pine nuts wedged in there too? Either way, the silver platter caught Beth’s crab-like hand scuttling toward the baguettes, and her eyes as well, looking to elude her mother’s gaze. “I’m twenty-one years old, Mom, and I don’t care if I’m not emaciated like you,” she might have said.

But she didn’t. In this polite envelope of a crowd, gathered together at Uncle Adrian’s beach house, a rejoinder to her mother’s silences would be unthinkable. Every June they visited. As usual, her family had traveled from Chattanooga, though this time she’d driven alone after work, first with the radio blaring, then As You Like It on CD. While for her the trip to the Gulf Coast took seven hours, her cousins, who lived in New Orleans, except during and after Katrina, could make it in four.

“Okay, everybody!” bellowed a pious great-aunt. Continue reading

Book Review: Sound: A Memoir of Hearing Lost and Found

Review by Tess Tabak

Sound Bella BathurstIn Sound: A Memoir of Hearing Lost and Found, Bella Bathurst explores what is lost besides sound when we go deaf late in life. A journalistic curiosity coupled with personal experience make this a nuanced look at hearing across a wide range of subjects. She covers not just deafness and the way society treats the deaf, but a look at the mechanics and meaning of sound itself.

Bathurst was working as a journalist when she began to lose her hearing. She noticed that her interview skills suffered when she couldn’t hear subjects as clearly. Worse, she began to isolate herself from friends, unwilling to go out to noisy clubs or restaurants where she’d spend the night struggling to understand a few words. She writes heartbreakingly about her own depression: “I also made the discovery that there’s more than one way to kill yourself. There’s the active way, where you go out to seek death. […] Or there’s the passive way, where you just stand there on the threshold holding the door open.” (117).

However, miraculously, Bathurst regained her hearing after 12 years. Her experience as someone on both sides of hearing loss give her a unique perspective on the subject. Being able to hear again after over a decade of deafness made her appreciate sound. Continue reading

New York Comic Con 2018 Roundup

New York Comic Con is one of the biggest events for people who love comics, books, and the people who make them. Fans come from all over to meet the writers, artists, and actors who bring their favorite stories to life. We recapped some of our favorite moments from this year’s Comic Con.

Thursday

From Page to Screen: Owning Your Own Intellectual Property

Left to right: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti

On Thursday, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti offered up practical information for creators, from creators who have been in business for years. The duo were tapped to create what is now DC’s wildly successful Harley Quinn comic; they also founded the multimedia entertainment company PaperFilms. Palmiotti offered up his life experience on having his work brought to live action.

The Gist:

“Hang on to your intellectual property, the only power you have in this life is to say no.”

“For protecting your intellectual property the keyword is: tangible.”

On film deals: “Always ask for back end but don’t expect it. You should always try to get as much money as you can upfront, and also executive producer; they give those away like candy.”

Hold out for the best deal possible, don’t feel compelled to say yes. If you’re worried about protecting that property, another key piece of advice was, before shopping or sharing your work, make sure to have something tangible. What they mean by that is to create a website with your character/description of your work on it. Something with a date, a digital paper trail that leads back to your distinct idea, will go a long way in protecting your work.

Both creators agree that you should know how to pick your battles: when a large corporation threatened a lawsuit over the name of Palmiotti’s comic Random Acts of Violence (formerly called splatter man) Palmiotti changed the name shortly before going to press. This is also a good lesson in not getting too attached to your work; it’s always a good idea to be flexible they said.

Their other shared piece of advice was to “be nice, it comes back in spades.” Both agreed that having favors to call in whether it was getting help in making deals or raising funds for their indie film projects it’s worth it to build connections and have friends that will want to help you.

Continue reading

Book Review: Beauty of the Death Cap by Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze

Review by Tess Tabak

Who knew mushrooms could be so fascinating?

In The Beauty of the Death Cap, Nikonor, the eccentric narrator, states, “I have always preferred the company of trees and mushrooms to that of my fellow humans.” That is the gist of the book. With a wry sense of humor, Nikonor takes us on a rolling journey through his life in mushrooms. He is obsessed with fungi, and has made them his life’s work. The people he meets are another story.

Author Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze gives us a Nabokovian narrator in Nikonor. The prose is gorgeous, with lines shifting back and forth between French and English that verge on poetry (“Encore que . . . suddenly I am seized with doubt!”). He slowly unveils a narrative, distracted along the way by tangents on everything from mushrooms to Charles Baudelaire’s missed calling as a nature poet, all with a surprisingly sharp sense of humor and a pretentious air. He speaks of death and murder as coldly and carelessly as if he were talking about picking a mushroom, musing things like, “I am a lone wolf by nature. I made the mistake of taking on a partner only once, and the attempt ended in an abject failure—one from which my associate did not recover.” Continue reading

“In a Pickle,” a short story by Katelyn Terry

It was October and my friend, Lance, had invited me to a costume party in the ritzy part of Boston that a friend of his friend was hosting. Of course I was excited, but politely declined when I saw the entry fee of one hundred fifty dollars. However, Lance was determined to go and begged me to join him.  He used every form of bribery there was beginning with stating there was a cash prize of 10,000 dollars for the most authentic and realistic costume and ending with his offer to pay for me to go. He should have started by waving my fee because the moment he did I was in.

Knowing that there were large cash prizes at stake I quickly began planning my costume.  I scoured Pinterest for “original costume ideas” which actually really defeats the purpose so I switched to “semi-original costume ideas” and eventually found a winner.  After scrolling through images of trolls, aliens, and girls dressed as nerds I finally found a costume that spoke to my true identity. I wanted to be a giant green pickle. I could already imagine being called to center stage, the lights glistening of my slightly sweating green form as I accepted a giant check made out to Pickle Girl. Continue reading

Book Review: We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit

Review by Tess Tabak

we are the nerds Reddit book coverIn this thick tome, Christine Lagorio-Chafkin faithfully traces Reddit’s history from its 2005 inception to the present day. We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet’s Culture Laboratory reads like a real-life version of HBO’s Silicon Valley. Caveat: real life is a bit less interesting than TV, so this book may only appeal to those with an interest in business or diehard Reddit fans.

This book is part biography of Reddit, and part a story of the company’s path from conception to corporatization, and its rocky journey towards becoming self-sustaining (turning a profit). Chafkin touches upon the problematic aspects of Reddit: users who choose to share revenge porn, child porn, as well as the harassment and doxing of women, and so on. However, while she frowns on these, she doesn’t dive deeply into the ethics of the site. For the most part, this is a faithful biography of Reddit’s founders and of the company itself. It’s organized event by event, going through every significant event in Reddit’s history. Some of these are intriguing – I didn’t know that Reddit played a part in organizing the Daily Show’s Rally to Restore Sanity, for example. 

However, Chafkin goes into what was (for me) a boring amount of detail about the personal lives of the founders. Unless you already care about Alexis Ohanian, Steve Huffman, and Aaron Swartz, this book goes into way too much detail – like, we get updates on the health of a woman Alexis Ohanian once dated briefly in 2004. They had a rocky relationship! I’m going to file that under ‘things I didn’t know I didn’t want to know, but now I do, oh well’. Continue reading

« Older posts

© 2018 The Furious Gazelle

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑