Punk Hostage Press Book Signing & Launch Party

July 13, 2012

Sunday, October 14. 5-6pm PDT
Stories Book and Cafe, 1716 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California

Punk Hostage Press’ LA Launch Reading and Party

Iris Berry and A. Razor will be reading from their newly released books at Stories Books & Cafe in Echo Park, Hosted by Pleasant Gehman who will be reading an excerpt from her soon to be released book, with a reception/party at The Echo (1822 Sunset Blvd) down the street afterward. The Legendary Duo will be performing.

Iris Berry has just released her latest book, The Daughters of Bastards, on PUNK HOSTAGE PRESS. Iris is one of the founding creative minds behind Punk Hostage Press and is a native Angeleno who writes about her personal experiences against the historical backdrop of the Los Angeles skyline.

Her poetry and prose, as well as her performances, are an integral part of L.A.’s contemporary literary movement. She has recently featured articles and interviews in Slake, her most recent being an in depth interview with Art Kunkin, who was the founder of the Los Angeles Free Press back in the early 60’s.

Her latest book, The Daughters of Bastards, features some of her most intimate work to date. It reflects her experiences and gives insight to some of her adventurous times growing up on the streets of Hollywood in the golden era of the LA punk rock scene. There will copies available in Stories Books & Cafe for the author to sign.

A. Razor was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1963, but was brought to California at the age of 1. He was raised with a strong desire to read and write, but an even greater desire to survive his circumstances, which has aided his experience and longevity so far.

He has fought hard to live and express his art in many different ways and in many different places. His long anticipated offering, Better Than a Gun in a Knife Fight, has just been released on Punk Hostage Press, 2012, edited by Iris Berry. Another book, Beaten Up Beaten Down, is also about to be released on Punk Hostage Press, as well as a collection of the early Drew Blood Press, Ltd. work entitled Drawn Blood, Selected Poems of A. Razor 1985-1995.

His writing has always explored the world that he has sought to be a part of and to rebel against at the same paradoxical moment. He has traveled extensively, seeking and enduring everything from homelessness and imprisonment to serenity and peace.

The reading will be hosted by Pleasant Gehman, who will also read an excerpt from her forthcoming release on Punk Hostage Press, Lady Don’t Be Panic, that will be available later this year.

After the reading at Stories Books & Cafe, everyone is invited to come down the block and enjoy the musical musings of The Legendary Duo, Sean Wheeler & Zander Schloss, at 6:30pm on stage at The Echo, while imbibing on fresh Two Boots Pizza from next door.

Few of the punk rockers who were around during the early days of the Hollywood scene remained unchanged by the inexorable confluence of cultural and sexual frustrations that spontaneously erupted in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some people lost their minds, and more than a few lost their lives, while the rest spent much of the following decades trying to find healthful ways to safely recapture, or at least approximate, the white-hot intensity and euphoric rush of creativity from punk’s seemingly endless party. Iris Berry and A. Razor emerged from the chaos, if not exactly unscathed, with something better than scars; they each have new memoirs on their new imprint, Punk Hostage Press, that blend poetic insight with baleful punk prose. In his latest collection, Better Than a Gun in a Knife Fight, the aptly named Razor sets the scene with era-specific odes to Oki Dogs and Farrah Fawcett, curtly summarizing the culture clash between punk and classic rock (“Darby Crash/loses his headline/to John Lennon/more people will pretend/Hollywood is London”) while still retaining an air of poetic grace when he “portrays the blood and sinew of human upheavals and desires” and observes that “our hearts collect satellites that circle.” Meanwhile, in her new book, The Daughters of Bastards, Berry pulls you in with such intriguing opening lines as “I knew taking a cab to make a drug run was a bad idea, but we had no other choice,” and “Anything that was worth doing happened after midnight.” The Pacoima native somehow always keeps a cool head, even when the cops keep raiding her home (“looking for my dad, one of my brothers and eventually me”) or when she gets hooked on heroin (“we slipped into a velvet nod, with the smell of sulfur, burnt spoons, cigarette smoke and night-blooming jasmine in the air”). Berry’s longtime collaborator in the Ringling Sisters, Pleasant Gehman, hosts the reading and previews Lady Don’t Be Panic, her upcoming book on Punk Hostage Press. Stories Books, 1716 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Sun., Oct. 14, 5 p.m.; free. (213) 413-3733. — By Falling James

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