Welcome to our newest Tattoo Club member, Matthew Dutto, of Jacksonville, Florida!

He’s the 27th person to join the Club, with members from 13 states and 2 countries.

As a member, Matthew gets any 10 books available on our website.

Big ups, Matthew Dutto. And welcome.

Help us spread the word about our radical new website by sharing the link to our site and tagging Two Dollar Radio and you’ll have the chance to win a $50 gift card to spend with us, on book[s], or one of our hot new t-shirts, printed by alison rose. Tag + Share any time today for your chance to win!

Help us spread the word about our radical new website by sharing the link to our site and tagging Two Dollar Radio and you’ll have the chance to win a $50 gift card to spend with us, on book[s], or one of our hot new t-shirts, printed by alison rose.

Tag + Share any time today for your chance to win!

Two Dollar Radio: Books too loud to ignore.

(Source: addtoany.com)

News broke this past winter of Shia LaBeouf (pronounced la-BUFF) plagiarizing work by Daniel Clowes and Benoît Duteurtre. In his apology tweets/statements (which were also plagiarized), LaBeouf stated that “Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work.”
Our intention with Frequencies was not to feature the straightforward essays or interviews that you can find in absolutely every other venue. For instance, in Volume Two, Emily Pullen crafted an interview with the long-deceased T.S. Eliot out of questions culled from one poem, with responses from a second.
Taking inspiration from LaBeouf’s mission statements and his recent performance art/antics, we decided to interview “the” “celebrity” “of” “the” “moment” in Volume Four by copying LaBeouf’s responses from previous interviews into a new and different super-interview. We used responses that LaBeouf had provided in interviews with venues such as Details and Stumped Magazine, or on Twitter, and drafted the following satirical interview. To be even more explicit: LaBeouf’s responses were said by the actor, but not to us, and were made in response to altogether different questions.
We’ve agreed to preface our satirical interview with the following, lest ye be confused:
“Shia LaBeouf did not participate in the interview published herein; the questions and answers are fictional.”
===========================
Shia LaBeouf made me feel like James Lipton—had Lipton only seen a low frac­tion of the films that his subject had acted in and was entirely indifferent to those—for the nearly fifteen minutes we conducted our interview at Bob’s Bar (tagline: “The Cultural Hub of the Midwest”) on a pleasant mid-March afternoon. The beer was cold and the sun shone through the front window onto the initial handful of stools that lined the bar. Shia wore gray and was still missing a tooth. He looked like a distant relative I’d do anything to avoid. 
I had never interviewed a celebrity, let alone “the” “celeb­rity” “of-the-moment.” There was a sense that I was witness­ing history, while also missing history entirely. Interviewing Shia LaBeouf was like sleeping through an episode of a television show that I really wanted to watch. 
In the last four scant months, LaBeouf has dropped anchor in our pool of Eccentric Artists. True, that pool gets pissed in a lot, whether by launching a sketchy rap career or dating Madonna. The point is, this pool makes waves: it is a wave pool.
—The Editors
===========================
If you could describe your actions in one word, what would that word be?
SHIA: Hashtag, original.
 
Isn’t that two words? Okay then, what about two words?
SHIA: Hashtag, start creating.
 
Your short film Howard Cantour.com plagiarized Daniel Clowes, as did the storyboard you posted to your website for Daniel Boring. Why are you picking on Clowes, and if you could say ‘sorry,’ would you say ‘sorry’?
SHIA: I would like to be George Clooney diplomatic. But I mean, I don’t give a fuck. At this point I have enough money to live 25 lifetimes. You couldn’t spend the money I’ve accrued now. I have no interest in the materialistic bullshit money can buy. [Other actors are] talking about Ferraris and shit, like it’s a cool car. If [someone] pulled up in a Ferrari right now, my idea wouldn’t be, ‘What a cool fucking guy!’ It would be, ‘Look at this clown.’ I think the fact that I despise that stuff keeps me safe. I hang on to my dirt. I like my dirt. The hardest thing for me is dealing with all this idle time. That’s when I get into trouble.

You’ve gotten into trouble with the law in the past, when you were involved in an altercation in Sherman Oaks, arrested for smoking, and for attacking your neighbor with a knife. What’s more fun, punching or getting punched? 
SHIA: Dude, I was 185 and ripped. I’m a fucking human being who pays his taxes. And I don’t respond in a really sweetheart way. You fight out of fucking survival. Everybody’s got stories. I don’t want to not have stories. 
 
At your #IAMSORRY show at a tiny gallery in Los Angeles, you had your famous “I Am Not Famous Anymore” bag over your head. Andrew Romano of The Daily Beast reported that you were simultane­ously laughing and crying. 
SHIA: I am trying to impress myself. I have yet to do it. 
 
I thought that was pretty impressive: simultaneously laughing and crying. Not everyone can do that. It’s like rubbing your tummy and patting your head. Though the #IAMSORRY piece might appear a bit thin on paper, have you ever considered publishing a show book? 
SHIA: I’d feel disgusted with myself. It takes a certain mentality to be able to pay a hooker and stay hard, if you know what I mean. People write books about important shit.
 
Jaden Smith recently reached out to you in case you “need a fellow insane person to talk to.” Most people view your recent actions as performance art. How does that make you feel that he just thinks you’re nuts?
SHIA: He’s a lunatic. He told me the craziest story at Sundance, about how he used to be a glassblower. He was glassblowing, he said, in his boxers in his garage, and one of the bubbles popped. The glass got on his dick, and it wouldn’t get off, because it’s like molten lava when it comes off the bubble. He said he went to the hospital and at the hospital they said, “Look, we can’t remove the glass because doing so will puncture a vein and then we’ll have to sever your penis.” So his wife called him “glass dick.”
 
I don’t think he has a wife. Jaden Smith is, like, 13.* [*Editor’s Note: Jaden Smith is 15 years old.] Do you feel as though he’s belittling mental illness?
SHIA: Not like you. No, definitely not. He’s a legendary actor.

That might be a tad hyperbolic. We’ve danced around it a bit, but let’s talk about Twitter. It appears to be your new weapon of choice. 
SHIA: I don’t tweet or do any of that. 
 
Seriously? Every day for a month straight you were tweeting “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE.” Your shenanigans where you claim to want to avoid fame are making you more famous; you’re the great celebrity ouro­boros. Do you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life? 
SHIA: Never wanted to do anything else ever in my life.

News broke this past winter of Shia LaBeouf (pronounced la-BUFF) plagiarizing work by Daniel Clowes and Benoît Duteurtre. In his apology tweets/statements (which were also plagiarized), LaBeouf stated that “Copying isn’t particularly creative work. Being inspired by someone else’s idea to produce something new and different IS creative work.”

Our intention with Frequencies was not to feature the straightforward essays or interviews that you can find in absolutely every other venue. For instance, in Volume Two, Emily Pullen crafted an interview with the long-deceased T.S. Eliot out of questions culled from one poem, with responses from a second.

Taking inspiration from LaBeouf’s mission statements and his recent performance art/antics, we decided to interview “the” “celebrity” “of” “the” “moment” in Volume Four by copying LaBeouf’s responses from previous interviews into a new and different super-interview. We used responses that LaBeouf had provided in interviews with venues such as Details and Stumped Magazine, or on Twitter, and drafted the following satirical interview. To be even more explicit: LaBeouf’s responses were said by the actor, but not to us, and were made in response to altogether different questions.

We’ve agreed to preface our satirical interview with the following, lest ye be confused:

“Shia LaBeouf did not participate in the interview published herein; the questions and answers are fictional.”

===========================

Shia LaBeouf made me feel like James Lipton—had Lipton only seen a low frac­tion of the films that his subject had acted in and was entirely indifferent to those—for the nearly fifteen minutes we conducted our interview at Bob’s Bar (tagline: “The Cultural Hub of the Midwest”) on a pleasant mid-March afternoon. The beer was cold and the sun shone through the front window onto the initial handful of stools that lined the bar. Shia wore gray and was still missing a tooth. He looked like a distant relative I’d do anything to avoid. 

I had never interviewed a celebrity, let alone “the” “celeb­rity” “of-the-moment.” There was a sense that I was witness­ing history, while also missing history entirely. Interviewing Shia LaBeouf was like sleeping through an episode of a television show that I really wanted to watch.

In the last four scant months, LaBeouf has dropped anchor in our pool of Eccentric Artists. True, that pool gets pissed in a lot, whether by launching a sketchy rap career or dating Madonna. The point is, this pool makes waves: it is a wave pool.

The Editors

===========================

If you could describe your actions in one word, what would that word be?

SHIA: Hashtag, original.

 

Isn’t that two words? Okay then, what about two words?

SHIA: Hashtag, start creating.

 

Your short film Howard Cantour.com plagiarized Daniel Clowes, as did the storyboard you posted to your website for Daniel Boring. Why are you picking on Clowes, and if you could say ‘sorry,’ would you say ‘sorry’?

SHIA: I would like to be George Clooney diplomatic. But I mean, I don’t give a fuck. At this point I have enough money to live 25 lifetimes. You couldn’t spend the money I’ve accrued now. I have no interest in the materialistic bullshit money can buy. [Other actors are] talking about Ferraris and shit, like it’s a cool car. If [someone] pulled up in a Ferrari right now, my idea wouldn’t be, ‘What a cool fucking guy!’ It would be, ‘Look at this clown.’ I think the fact that I despise that stuff keeps me safe. I hang on to my dirt. I like my dirt. The hardest thing for me is dealing with all this idle time. That’s when I get into trouble.

You’ve gotten into trouble with the law in the past, when you were involved in an altercation in Sherman Oaks, arrested for smoking, and for attacking your neighbor with a knife. What’s more fun, punching or getting punched?

SHIA: Dude, I was 185 and ripped. I’m a fucking human being who pays his taxes. And I don’t respond in a really sweetheart way. You fight out of fucking survival. Everybody’s got stories. I don’t want to not have stories.

 

At your #IAMSORRY show at a tiny gallery in Los Angeles, you had your famous “I Am Not Famous Anymore” bag over your head. Andrew Romano of The Daily Beast reported that you were simultane­ously laughing and crying.

SHIA: I am trying to impress myself. I have yet to do it.

 

I thought that was pretty impressive: simultaneously laughing and crying. Not everyone can do that. It’s like rubbing your tummy and patting your head. Though the #IAMSORRY piece might appear a bit thin on paper, have you ever considered publishing a show book?

SHIA: I’d feel disgusted with myself. It takes a certain mentality to be able to pay a hooker and stay hard, if you know what I mean. People write books about important shit.

 

Jaden Smith recently reached out to you in case you “need a fellow insane person to talk to.” Most people view your recent actions as performance art. How does that make you feel that he just thinks you’re nuts?

SHIA: He’s a lunatic. He told me the craziest story at Sundance, about how he used to be a glassblower. He was glassblowing, he said, in his boxers in his garage, and one of the bubbles popped. The glass got on his dick, and it wouldn’t get off, because it’s like molten lava when it comes off the bubble. He said he went to the hospital and at the hospital they said, “Look, we can’t remove the glass because doing so will puncture a vein and then we’ll have to sever your penis.” So his wife called him “glass dick.”

 

I don’t think he has a wife. Jaden Smith is, like, 13.* [*Editor’s Note: Jaden Smith is 15 years old.] Do you feel as though he’s belittling mental illness?

SHIA: Not like you. No, definitely not. He’s a legendary actor.

That might be a tad hyperbolic. We’ve danced around it a bit, but let’s talk about Twitter. It appears to be your new weapon of choice.

SHIA: I don’t tweet or do any of that.

 

Seriously? Every day for a month straight you were tweeting “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE.” Your shenanigans where you claim to want to avoid fame are making you more famous; you’re the great celebrity ouro­boros. Do you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life?

SHIA: Never wanted to do anything else ever in my life.

"All humans are really good at just checking things out. We’re built to just walk around, look at the sky, eat off trees, sleep in the dirt, etc. And we’re also really good at making shit, at least when we’re kids. I wonder if there’s any connection between kids thinking about death and creativity. I forgot where I read it, but someone said how all kids are creative until they get into school and some teacher says “no, that’s a C-” on a painting they made. That’s dangerous and troubling to me. We should probably just be making things, writing books, wandering around, licking each other’s bodies and waiting for death."

— Shane Jones interviewed at The Believer ‘Logger.’

"I’m not entirely sure why I’m so pulled by weather, but I do think you hit on something with it being unknowable and unpredictable. I like the chaos of weather, the strangeness, the other-world quality that goes with weather, and these things fit with my style, I think. Fuck, I don’t know what I’m talking about. I just think it’s fun to use weather and the imagery, or the manipulating of imagery, that goes with weather. I just want to play with the sky."

— Shane Jones, interviewed at Hobart by J.A. Tyler.

"Haunting."
-Chicago Tribune

"Unforgettable."
-Library Journal, STARRED

"Intriguing."
-Publishers Weekly

"David Connerley Naum’s Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky knows that all true stories are ghost stories, full of horror and want, distance and loss—the lasting specters of the tales we tell ourselves to mask the long truths that refuse to let us go.”
-Matt Bell
"Haunting."
-Chicago Tribune
"Unforgettable."
-Library Journal, STARRED
"Intriguing."
-Publishers Weekly
"David Connerley Naum’s Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky knows that all true stories are ghost stories, full of horror and want, distance and loss—the lasting specters of the tales we tell ourselves to mask the long truths that refuse to let us go.”
-Matt Bell
"Like a cross between Paul Auster’s The Book of Illusions and Janice Lee’s Damnation, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing is at once smart and slyly unsettling. It is expert at creating a quietly building sense of dread while claiming to do something as straightforward as describe lost films—like those conversations you have in which you realize only too late that what you are actually talking about and what you think you are talking about are not the same thing at all. With Rombes, Two Dollar Radio deftly demonstrates why it is rapidly becoming the go-to press for innovative fiction.”
-Brian Evenson

"Like a cross between Paul Auster’s The Book of Illusions and Janice Lee’s DamnationThe Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing is at once smart and slyly unsettling. It is expert at creating a quietly building sense of dread while claiming to do something as straightforward as describe lost films—like those conversations you have in which you realize only too late that what you are actually talking about and what you think you are talking about are not the same thing at all. With Rombes, Two Dollar Radio deftly demonstrates why it is rapidly becoming the go-to press for innovative fiction.”

-Brian Evenson

"Two lost souls hurtle through a long dark night where drug store fluorescents light up fashion magazine headlines and the bad flarf of the pharmacy: Hydroxycut, Seroquel, Ativan, Zantrex-3. Gerard’s young lovers rightly revolt against the insane standards of a sick society, but their pursuit of purity—ideological, mental, physical—comes to constitute another kind of impossible demand, all the more dangerous for being self-imposed. Binary Star is merciless and cyclonic, a true and brutal poem of obliteration, an all-American death chant whose chorus is ‘I want to look at the sky and understand.’”
—Justin Taylor, author of Flings

"Two lost souls hurtle through a long dark night where drug store fluorescents light up fashion magazine headlines and the bad flarf of the pharmacy: Hydroxycut, Seroquel, Ativan, Zantrex-3. Gerard’s young lovers rightly revolt against the insane standards of a sick society, but their pursuit of purity—ideological, mental, physical—comes to constitute another kind of impossible demand, all the more dangerous for being self-imposed. Binary Star is merciless and cyclonic, a true and brutal poem of obliteration, an all-American death chant whose chorus is ‘I want to look at the sky and understand.’”

—Justin Taylor, author of Flings

In March 2015, we’re publishing a debut novel called The Only Ones. It’s by a writer named Carola Dibbell, who has had fiction published in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, Fence, and Black Clock. But she’s probably best known as a critic, having written about music for the Village Voice and many other periodicals.

The Only Ones follows Inez, who wanders a post-pandemic world, strangely immune to disease, making her living by volunteering as a test subject. She is hired to provide genetic material to a grief-stricken, affluent mother, who lost all four of her daughters within four short weeks. This experimental genetic work is policed by a hazy network of governmental ethics committees, and threatened by the Knights of Life, religious zealots who raze the rural farms where much of this experimentation is done.

When the mother backs out at the last minute, Inez is left responsible for the product, which in this case is a baby girl, Ani. Inez must protect Ani, who is a scientific breakthrough, keeping her alive, dodging authorities and religious fanatics, and trying to provide Ani with the childhood that Inez never had, which means a stable home and an education.

With a stylish voice influenced by years of music writing, The Only Ones is a time-old story, tender and iconic, about how much we love our children, however they come, as well as a sly commentary on class, politics, and the complexities of reproductive technology. It is an outstanding book, grand in scope, relatable, heartbreaking, accessible, that I know will turn a lot a lot of heads.

Following is a Q+A with Dibbell.

=======================

Inez is one of the most memorable and charming characters that I’ve encountered in recent literature. Her voice is so distinctive and fresh, raw and human.  

Inez was a surprise to me—I was really just fooling around with language in the early stages of The Only Ones when I got into her voice. Then she ended up running the show. 

I already knew the novel’s basic subject and themes—a reproductive experiment set in a dystopic future—but this was going to be different from anything I’d ever done before, and I was trying to get the hang of the thing, how many parts realistic, how many parts genre or experimental? This was not long after my daughter had completed the rite of passage known as the SATs, and I’d been pondering what dumb ideas people have about intelligence, so I suppose that was in the back of my mind when I decided to see how the story sounded from a narrator who was barely literate but unpredictably smart.   

I got very literal about how literate she would actually be. I had a sudden vision of early grade-school notebooks with their odd mixture of formality and amazing mistakes, tried some of that, added slang and swagger plus background details that would make sense, and once I’d been in that voice for a page or two, I knew I was never going anywhere else. It was deadpan and funny but touching. The logic was crazy. It was so much fun. And that was before I even understood how having someone like Inez tell the story would take it to a bigger, wilder, more surprising place. She was so open, so game. If she wasn’t going to be a tragic victim of the complicated reproductive drama the plot turns on, she’d have to be some kind of hero.  

You wrote about music for many years. In an interview with Black Clock, you suggest that Inez’s “stiffness and jerky rhythms,” as well as your “distaste for literary smoothness ” were influenced at least in some small part by punk and hip hop.

I loved punk and spent years in CBGBs listening to bands and writing about them and often wondered how punk elements could translate into fiction.  A lot of early punks knew about minimalism and dada and French movies but had a potentially commercial pop flavor that interested me. They were rebels, nothing new in rock and roll. But they were funny about it, always aware of limits, including their own, and they did such great things with those limits, you were glad they didn’t know more chords.  It’s not that my literary tastes didn’t already run to inelegant writers like Dreiser but this spare, loud, bristly music gave me new ideas.  

I suppose you could say that Inez is a punk herself—a tough little hero from Queens with a funny voice. She  does a thing with tenses as weird as the way Joey Ramone pronounces words. Her limits read as hooks. You could also say that as a writer, I learned a lot from punk about using the chords I had. Trouble with pacing?  Be abrupt. Rush through. Just keep a strong beat. I learned things about flow from hip hop, too. You can find your rhythms in ordinary conversation. But always hang them from a beat.

The Only Ones is a very visually arresting read, and you do an incredible job of creating this post-pandemic world that feels almost too tangible, too probable. Were there any visuals that anchored or propelled the story, or that you returned to for inspiration?

I worked with two maps taped to the wall, Queens and central New York state—the main locations where the novel takes place—and I referred to them often. I always tried to picture my characters traveling back and forth by way of a deeply dysfunctional transportation system. I reread David Copperfield as I wrote and sometimes think I internalized the way distances work in that novel, where people routinely walk miles at a clip, all the way across London just to visit a friend. I also spent time riding around Queens with a notebook. Queens is an amazing place, full of place names just waiting for dystopia. Ozone Park! Utopia Parkway!

I got ideas about dystopia from Samuel Delany’s Dhalgren, where post-apocalyptic anarchy combines with odd pockets of civilization, and from Bruce Sterling, whose high-tech futures are rendered credible by persistent glitches. Later, pondering the mad scientists I’d dreamed up, chubby veterinarians living in Quonset huts in upstate New York, I wondered if I’d been channeling hobbits.     

And there were always memories of 9/11. The smell, the dust., the barricades. Katrina, too.  The book was essentially done by the time Sandy hit my neighborhood. But it did seem all too familiar, when it came.

Once you peel back the layers – the post-pandemic setting, the cloning – there is at the heart of The Only Ones a relatable mother-daughter story that is tender and powerful. You wrote a piece for the Village Voice about infertility and motherhood; how did your own experience inform or influence the nature of this story?

My own experiences of infertility and adoption definitely inspired and drove this novel.  The Voice piece ran in the early ’80s, at a time when infertility was just entering the public conversation, and it was a way for me to tangle with the superstition, ignorance and shame I’d encountered in my own years trying to conceive a child. Once my husband and I went on to adopt a baby girl, I never wanted to go public with that personal story which I felt belonged to my daughter as much as me. But as adoption scandals and custody cases made headlines during her childhood, I puzzled over nature/nurture, genes, bonding, and what love has to do with it. When I began to try my hand at speculative fiction fairly late in my career, I realized that the old sci-fi clone theme would be a way for me to tackle those questions. Cloning is, after all, about a parent and child whose genes don’t line up in the conventional way. And as I dug into The Only Ones, at a time when reproductive technology was already starting to seem like science fiction, I saw my story as a parable for all kinds of unconventional families—biracial, single parent, same-sex parent, not to mention kids conceived in vitro, or from sperm or egg donors, or gestated by surrogates—different in some ways. In other ways, not different at all.   

Did you do a lot of research?

A lot.                                                                               

Cloning was actually the easiest part to understand. I read up on Dolly and other experiments, brought my in vitro research up to date, read an interview with an egg donor and some very interesting studies about varieties of in utero gestation. I researched pandemics and immunities. The hardest part for me, in writing about a world where so much has stopped working, was to have some notion of how things work when they do work. I finally resorted to a children’s book to help me out, How Things Work.

You’ve only had a few stories published, but they’ve been in extremely reputable venues – The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Black Clock, and Fence. Have you not written much fiction, or do you find that you need to achieve some balance between your fiction and non-fiction work?

I am a very slow writer.

But I do have other completed projects I would dearly like to see out in the world. A memoir from so far back I called it a non-fiction novel.  A novel I rewrote and rewrote. A novella. Other short pieces.

All this work is interesting and good, and like many interesting and good writers, I could not get the work in print.  It’s always part of how I understand what I do. It’s part of how I understand what other novelists do.  We’re working novelists even if we’re not published novelists.

The Only Ones is your debut novel, and we’ve scheduled it to publish in March 2015, which is a month before your 70th birthday. That’s pretty rad.

Having said all that about the dignity of unrecognized labor, let me be clear. It is a life-changing event to have  work I’ve put so much into about to head out in the world. I find myself thinking I should finally start cardio workouts so I’ll be alive to write the next novel. I think about the shape of a life with this late-breaking twist.  It is very, very sweet.

It also would have been sweet at sixty.

Even fifty.

If you are a bookseller or affiliated with the media and interested in receiving an ARC of The Only Ones, write to eric[at]twodollarradio.com.