by Kevin Killian
Publication Studio, 2012
590 pages / $16 Buy from Publication Studio
There are moments when Evan Lysacek or whoever is figure skating on video. Where what you hear is the intense carving sound of the blade on the massive expanse of ice (that and tacky music); where what you see are limb size hocks of sparkling lycra (that and wisps of breath in the cold); where it’s about precision, carnival and also about risk, and where it feels like so much is at stake. There are moments like this when reading Kevin Killian’s new novel Spreadeagle: his wit as sharp as any Jackson Ultima Blade, his prose as sparkling as any Sharene and this novel as breathtaking, terrifying and exhilarating as a five rotation axe.
A figure skating move isn’t all that the title Spreadeagle might conjure up. It’s also a heraldic symbol, a ballroom dance move, a bondage restraint, a sexual position in which the legs are splayed akimbo, a method of a particular species of jumping spider swimming and the shape of the body adopted just prior to undertaking a sky dive. All of these seem like apt references, all in one way or another appropriate to the power play and textual and sexual politics that play out in this book.
The novel itself is spread spatchcock into two quite different – though linked- parts. The first is the very best sort of comic novel, with all the wit, humour and deliciously droll dialogue of “A Nest of Ninnies” or “What’s for Dinner?” It takes place in the grand San Francisco home (so grand it’s mistaken for an embassy or a museum) of novelist Danny Isham. Danny is the author of the successful Rick and Dick series of gay novels (so wildly successful that he’s perennially mistaken for Armistead Maupin- even by Francois Ozon!) and his partner is Kit, an activist, who, as we meet him, is returning from Cuba surrounded by a troupe of Kylie Minogue-obsessed holiday makers.
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January 28th, 2013 / 12:00 pm
Matthew Stadler reading from his new Publication Studio published novel at Smallpressapalooza at Powell's Books.
Spotlit recently on Dennis Cooper’s blog, Portland’s Publication Studio—brainchild of novelist Matthew Stadler and his business partner Patricia No. Using print on demand equipment, PS puts out books by a number of innovative writers—including two of my favorite Seattle authors, Stacey Levine and Matt Briggs—rescues the out of print or in publication limbo, and generally advocates for a more nimble, more author-centric publishing world. I asked Matthew some questions. Matthew answered.
I wanted to know more about the machine you are using to bind the books. Could you tell me about it? Where you found it? Who had it before you? What it was used for?
Yes, we use two machines. The one that got us started, that we call Ol’ Gluey, is the heart of an old Instabook III system that was developed by a man named Victor Celario, a Mexican who started the business in Morelia and Mexico City and expanded it when he moved to Florida. Victor calls Instabook “the Mr. Coffee of portable print-on-demand.” Victor designed and patented his integrated POD system in the late 1990s, aiming for a market of self-publishing authors, the people who now use Lulu or Apple’s iBook or Blurb. The Instabook rig that we have started out at a bookshop in NewJersey in the late 1990s, performing that service (as far as I know) and then migrated to Brooklyn’s Longdash Printing, which became a printing arm of a local cafe called VoxPop. Gabriel Stuart used it there to publish more would-be self-publishers and he might have tried publishing an imprint, I’m not sure. Gabe wanted to change the focus at VoxPop and had been trying to get rid of the Instabook for a year or two when I saw his blogpost offering it at a cheap price. I flew to NYC with my ten-year old, rented a van, and drove it back to Portland last summer. We got a Kyocera FS9130DN duplex B/W printer, Ol Gluey, and an Ideal guillotine trimmer from Gabe (all parts of the Instabook III system) and started to make books in September 2009. Since then we have added a Chinese knock-off of a perfect binder, a rig you can get online for $700 – $900. We do about half the books on that and half on Ol’ Gluey. READ MORE >
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March 18th, 2010 / 5:35 pm