Julie Sokolow

The Family Project by Julie Sokolow

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Julie Sokolow is a musician, filmmaker, and writer whose work has been acclaimed by Pitchfork, The Washington Post, and Wire, among others. She’s a 2012 recipient of a Creative Development Grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation towards her first feature-length documentary, Aspie Seeks Love, about an Aspergerian writer looking for love on the internet.  The teaser was recently featured by Boing Boing.

Film / 3 Comments
June 11th, 2013 / 1:38 pm

Fear, Loathing, and Comics

Comic book artist, Ed Piskor

If you’re walking the streets of Pittsburgh at night, be prepared to encounter an intimidating gang of comic book artists. There’s Ed Piskor, who wears sunglasses indoors, has a different Public Enemy t-shirt for every day of the week, and who Rolling Stone calls “the next big thing in books”. There’s Tom Scioli, who stutters a tad with delight when retrieving a comics-related file from his encyclopedic mind, and whose work on Godland and American Barbarian is compared to that of the eminent, Jack Kirby. Then there’s indie artist, Jim Rugg, whose books Street Angel and the Eisner-nominated Afrodisiac have made big waves in the small press scene. He also co-hosts a podcast called Tell Me Something I Don’t Know with artist, Jasen Lex. BFFs since college, they grill folks, such as Hellboy’s Mike Mignola, on what it means to live and work as an artist.

If these guys are excited about something, so am I. So when they invited me to film them at a “special event”, I jumped at the opportunity. Then they told me the shoot would take place in a subterranean warehouse in the middle of nowhere.

Jack Kirby’s 2001 series, in the basement

“No, you see, this basement is legendary,” they said.

“Uh-huh,” I said.

Ellwood City, Pennsylvania is a small town 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. In 1895, it became the first place in America where seamless steel tubes were pierced. Nowadays, Ellwood City is most synonymous with the New Dimensions Basement Sale – a bi-annual event during which a pop culture treasure trove of over half a million comics and magazines is opened for public perusal and consumption. Comic lovers from Toronto to Alabama drive tractor-trailers over the Pennsylvanian landscape to buy and sell a store’s worth of illustrated matter. Each book is priced at one dollar, whether it’s a Jack Kirby back issue that will never again be reprinted or Prophet #4, one of the most sought-after books from the 90’s comic boom.


Film / 5 Comments
September 25th, 2012 / 12:41 pm


Julie Sokolow on the drug-addled origins of “The Lobster Kaleidoscope” and Chômu Press’ Dadaoism anthology.

The Cover of Chômu Press’ Dadaoism anthology resembles a certain, familiar monolith. Still from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

A year ago, I dispatched my idiosyncrasies overseas.  I had been reading the work of a UK-based publishing house called Chômu Press and felt a kinship with their unabashed promise:  “If you are tired of tepid, humanistic realism on the one hand, and the narrow fixations of genre on the other, Chômu Press may be what you have been waiting for.”  There was something devilishly discourteous about it, but I was intrigued by the Steppenwolf-style invitation to Chomu’s own Magic Theatre.  Now, seven years since I originally penned the drug-addled artifact that is “The Lobster Kaleidoscope”, I find it “trippy” to experience it anew within the context of Chômu’s impressive Dadaoism  anthology.

M.C. Escher’s “Another World”

Dos Dazzling Deets re Dadaoism (An Anthology):

1) Metaphysical Portals:  As a devotee of Borges, Kafka, and Beckett, I get kicks out of masterful meta-ness, psychological terror, and gallows humor, all of which Dadaoism’s opening piece, “Portrait of a Chair”, possesses in levels of toxicity.  In Reggie Oliver’s story, a retired antiques dealer, keenly aware of his mortality, attends an auction where he purchases a captivatingly simple portrait of a chair.  The portrait is not just some symmetrical schlock to mount over a mantel, but rather, a metaphysical portal to a dimension in which inanimate objects are paradoxically conscious, and the narrator, having undergone a paralyzing transformation, must fight through telepathic intellect alone to survive. READ MORE >

Word Spaces / 12 Comments
July 16th, 2012 / 12:26 pm