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Posts tagged “Jeff Burk

Squishy the Cat, the Greatest Quarterback

Christoph Paul is a weird writer and die hard Dolphins fan. Squishy the Cat is Jeff Burk’s obese cat. In a sane world, the two of them would be allowed to lead an NFL football team to glory. Instead, here they are in Jeff’s bedroom giving Jay Cutler the business.


Podcast-landia!

Now and then my bizarro peers will chime in and let me know what’s happening out there in Podcastlandia.

Today I hear tales of Nicholaus Patnaude at LOSING THE PLOT, discussing his books Guitar Wolf and First Aide Medicine, as well as his new psychedelic horror press, Psychedelic Horror Press (fitting!). Nicholaus also relates his experience stuck in a time-loop within the Dyatlov Pass incident, a cautionary tale that can’t possibly save you from the exact same fate.

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Then there’s the always-interesting Jeff Burk. His latest installment of JEFF ATTACKS! features Miss Spooky talking about her career as a circus and side show performer. She discusses her acts, the reality of being a clown on a national tour, and the remaking one’s self as a performer. Miss Spooky has performed at several bizarro events in Portland, performed at two World Horror Conventions, and has been a judge at the Gross Out Contest:

So check out these podcasts! Bizarro Central will likely return with more installments of Podcastlandia to bring you the lowest episodes at the bottom of the bottomless podcast barrel.

 


Show Me Your Shelves: Jeff Burk

Jeff Burk was one of the first people I met outside of Facebook that quickly joined my “if you don’t like this person, you’re an asshole” list. I’ve talked books, beer, and horror with Jeff and it’s always been great. I’ve also talked about piracy, politics, the ins and outs of publishing, and even black pus and being tortured by bed bugs, and Jeff has always been cool, honest, and charismatic. Oh, and then there’s the fact that he’s one of the first bizarro authors I read and a man whose work I still dig immensely. So yeah, if you dislike Jeff, there’s something wrong with you. Here’s what he had to say about books, his shelves, his mast…er, his cat, and some upcoming books(!).

GI: Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

JB: I am Jeff Burk. I am the author of SHATNERQUAKE, SUPER GIANT MONSTER TIME, CRIPPLE WOLF, and SHATNERQUEST. I’ve also done a shit tone of short stories, interviews and essays. In addition, I am the head editor of Deadite Press and I do editorial work for Eraserhead Press.

I am a full-time writer and editor – so it is no exaggeration to say that books are my entire life and my life depends on them. Not only are they a personal passion, they are how I pay all my bills and feed my cat.

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GI: You know a lot of authors, so picking favorites will be hard, but I’m gonna ask you anyway: apocalypse is here and you can only take Squishy and five books. Which five make the cut?

This is super hard but I think I can do it.

1: THE INVISIBLES OMMIBUS by Grant Morrison and various artists – My favorite long-form comic book. It’s a super-psychedelic, anarchist adventure comic and I have a super nice hard-cover edition that contains every issue ever published. It’s basically the comic book world’s version of Jodorowsky’s THE HOLY MOUNTAIN.

2: ZOMBIES: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE HUNGRY DEAD edited by John Skipp – my all-time favorite horror anthology. It used to be, THE BOOK OF THE DEAD (also edited by John Skipp), but his more recent zombie collection blew the original away (in my opinion). From classic atmospheric tales to hardcore horror, this has it all, plus shit tons of zombies.

3: THE WAY OF THE TAROT by Alejandro Jodorowsky – I find Tarot cards fascinating and my favorite book on the subject was written by the brilliant Alejandro Jodorowsky (of EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN). Not only is it the best, most insightful, work ever done on the cards, it’s also a wonderful spiritual guide to life.

4: ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FILMMAKING I LEARNED FROM THE TOXIC AVENGER by Lloyd Kaufman and James Gunn – Part history of Troma Studios (the oldest independent film studio in the world), part how-to-guide for DIY filmmaking, and part feel good guide to living an artistic life. I love this book. Nothing else gets me hyped up to go out and make art of my own. Plus, my copy is signed to me from Kaufman himself.

5: HOWARD THE DUCK OMMIBUS by Steve Gerber and various artists – there’s no harder book to recommend to people than the original comic of Howard the Duck. Sadly, George Lucas’ film has completely destroyed the reputation of one of the most brilliant, funny, and insightful comics ever written. This features the most brutally honest depiction of depression that I’ve ever come across (seriously) and is my go to read for when I feel down and just need the idea that someone else understands.

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GI: Where can I get some decent tacos in Portland? How does it feel to be a human paintbrush?

JB: For good tacos, just hit up any taco cart – of which there are dozens of them spread out all over the city. They are cheap and delicious. Or you could just come over to my house while Garrett Cook and I are having a cook out – we make some pretty kick-ass food and tacos are easy for the menu.

Being a human paintbrush is pretty awesome. You can make great artwork without having to do any work. (In case you are not aware, the brilliant Alan M. Clark, who has done covers for Eraserhead and Deadite Press, has done painting demonstrations using my dreadlocks as the brushes. He’s even painted a portrait of me using only the hair attached to my head).

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GI: You obviously love horror, but your own work is more bizarro/fun/weird/funny than blood/black pus/tentacles. Why is that?

JB: While horror is my true love and I can never get enough sadistic violence and gore – my natural writing inclinations do not go that way. What comes easiest to me (and what readers seems to like) is silly sci-fi stories with lots of action.

However, I have finally started work on my first straight-forward horror novel. And it will be fucking nasty (in all the best ways).

GI: What’s your latest book about and why should we run and get it?

My latest book came out over a year ago – SHATNERQUEST. Rather than pimp that, I rather talk about the three books I have in the works. Who knows, you might be seeing them soon.

HOMOBOMB – a tragic love story about a bomb that is attracted to other bombs when it is supposed to be attracted to people and buildings.

LORD OF THE LARPERS – a rewrite of LORD OF THE FLIES but with live-action role-players in the roles of the characters. The villains will be Civil War re-enactors led by “Robert E. Lee.”

A SNUFF FILM IN A HAUNTED HOUSE – my first straight-up horror novel. It’s about…well, the title kinda tells you.

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, TX. He’s the author of Gutmouth, Hungry Darkness, and a few other things no one will ever read. You can find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias


Flash Fiction Friday: The Dog Who Stared

by Jeff Burk

__________

I believe in the dog.

– K.A.

__________

“Brutus is still out there. He won’t come in. I shook his food bowl but the little guy wasn’t interested.”

Arthur stood up and walked across the kitchen to join his wife, Dorothy. They both looked out the window over the sink to their dog, Brutus, in the back yard.

Brutus was a west highland terrier. A small white dog with pointed ears that weighed, while wet, fifteen pounds. He was what some would call an “ankle biter.”

He was sitting in the center of the backyard staring straight up into the sky.

“What do you think he’s looking at?” asked Arthur.

“I don’t know.”

Arthur went out the back door and into the yard. They lived in the woods, so the yard was just a large grass clearing surrounded by dense trees.

Arthur clapped his hands, “Brute. Hey, Brute.”

The dog ignored him.

He clapped and called again but the dog paid no attention. He walked over to Brutus and stood next to the dog, looking down. Brutus stared up into the sky, right past Arthur.

Arthur turned and looked up. Where the dog was looking there was nothing but clear blue sky. He wasn’t looking at some squirrel high up in a tree or a bird in its nest.

“Hey, come on,” Arthur patted the dog on the head. “It’s time for dinner.”

Brutus still ignored him.

Arthur shrugged and went back inside.

“He wants to stay out, I guess,” Arthur said to Dorothy. “He’s got a dog door. He’ll come in when he’s hungry.”

 

***

 

“He’s still out there,” said Dorothy.

Arthur and Dorothy were standing at the kitchen window the next morning. They were both in robes, holding their cups of coffee.

Brutus had been outside all night instead of in his normal place at the foot of their bed. He was still in the same spot outside, sitting and staring.

“What is he doing . . .” Dorothy wondered out loud.

“I don’t know,” said Arthur. “But I have to get ready for work.”

 

***

 

“What’s with your dog?”

“Huh?” Arthur looked up from the engine. It was Friday and Arthur’s buddy, Brad, had come over to take a look at the latest improvements to Arthur’s 1950 Chevy Club Coupe. The two were going to take it out for a drive later.

“He’s just been sitting there . . . staring,” said Brad.

“Yeah, he’s been doing that lately.”

“Why do you think? It’s kinda . . . weird.”

“He’s a dog. Here, take a look at this.”

Brad didn’t respond. Arthur looked over and saw his friend staring at Brutus.

“Hey,” Arthur shouted. “Can you take a look at this?”

Brad shook his head like he was coming out of a daze. “Yeah. Sure. Sorry.”

 

***

 

“I didn’t know your friends were coming over today.”

“What?”

Dorothy motioned towards their backyard. “Brad, John, Frank, and Stan are out back. They’ve been here for at least an hour.”

“Really?” asked Arthur. He had made no plans with them.

He went out into the backyard and his friends really were out there. They were sitting in lawn-chairs around Brutus, who was still staring into the sky. His four friends had a cooler of beer and they were slowly sipping on drinks, silently watching the dog.

“Ummm . . . hey guys,” said Arthur. “What’s up?”

Brad looked at him but the rest of his friends didn’t respond at all.

“Hey man,” said Brad. “I just told the guys about Brutus and they all wanted to come over and take a look.”

Arthur looked them over and asked, “Why?”

Brad shrugged. “Dunno. Seemed interesting.”

 

***

 

When Arthur and Dorothy got back from work the next day there were two dozen people in their backyard. Some they recognized—there was Gary from the post office and some teenage girl from the grocery store. The crowd was mostly standing. Some people sat on folding chairs. Everyone was facing Brutus.

Arthur pushed through the crowd to Brad, who was still sitting in his chair in the front row.

“What the Hell is going on?” demanded Arthur.

“Some people wanted to have a look.” Brad replied, never looking up from Brutus.

Arthur, frustrated, made his way back to Dorothy.

“What do they want?” she asked.

“They just want to have a look.”

“Well . . . they’re being quiet.”

Arthur and Dorothy went inside and watched TV.

 

***

 

“How many people do you think are out there?” asked Dorothy.

Arthur shook his head. “At least a hundred is my guess.”

Dorothy pointed. “They have a hot-dog stand.”

Over the past few days, more and more people had been showing up in their backyard. They joined those already gathered in watching Brutus.

Brutus, who was normally a very excitable and friendly dog, paid no attention to the people. Arthur and Dorothy had been growing concerned with how long he’d been outside and without food or water—both his bowls remained untouched since the day he started staring. But he seemed no worse for wear and he still ignored their calls.

“I’ve had enough, let’s get going,” said Arthur.

Arthur and Dorothy had gotten tired of the craziness that was now their backyard. They had decided on a weekend getaway camping outside of town. Their bags were packed and in the car. They could deal with all of this later.

 

***

 

Three days later, they had almost forgotten the insanity in their back yard until they turned onto the narrow dirt road that led to their house.

The street ended only a few hundred yards after the turn-off to their home and it began only a half-mile before. In total, there were only seven homes on the road. Normally it was very quiet and they rarely saw their neighbors.

But today, there were scores of cars and hordes of people. Rides, carnival games, and food carts were set-up.

Arthur pulled over and parked the car next to a Ferris wheel.

“What is this all about?” asked Dorothy as they got out of the car.

“I have no . . . oh, God . . .” Arthur lost the sentence when he saw the T-shirt vendor. A line of people waited to buy screen printed shirts with the image of two intense staring eyes and the slogan: I KNOW WHAT THE DOG SEES!

It was impossible. There was no way all these people were here because of their dog—because of Brutus. But as Arthur and Dorothy made their way through the masses of people and got closer to their house, the crowd just grew thicker. All attention was directed towards their house.

There was no denying it. All these people were here because of Brutus.

When they reached the backyard, people were taking pictures of Brutus, cheering him on, and waving signs that read: STARE, DOG, STARE. NEVER GIVE UP. I BELIEVE IN THE DOG.

Arthur stumbled out of the crowd of people, finally finding himself in open space. He turned around to see his dog, still in the same position. Staring. His four friends still sat in lawn chairs, sipping their beer, and watching Brutus.

“Hey man, nice to see you again,” said Brad raising a beer.

“What is going on? Where did all these people come from?” shouted Arthur, struggling to be heard over the noise of the crowd.

Brad shrugged. “Dunno. Guess they wanted to see your dog.”

A man can only take so much before he finally breaks and this was Arthur’s breaking moment. He moved in front of Brutus and turned to the crowd, waving his arms in the air. “You people are insane! Why are you here? It’s just a fucking stupid dog for God sake!”

The crowd immediately went silent and for one brief, wonderful moment, Arthur thought he had gotten through to them. But he quickly realized that the crowd was not paying attention to him but to Brutus. He looked down at Brutus and saw that the dog had moved aside. He was no longer sitting and staring but hopping around and wagging his little white tale.

The crowd was watching Brutus with fascination. They turned as one to look up the sky behind Arthur, the exact same place Brutus had been staring.

Arthur slowly turned around and looked up. The sky was a clear pristine blue with not a cloud to be seen. But there was a fiery ball hurtling straight towards him.

He had no chance to register the oncoming object. The soccer ball-sized meteor hit him in the chest and tore straight through his body, splattering blood and organs onto Brad and his three other friends.

The meteor hit the ground and bounced over Brad. The crowd parted for the extraterrestrial object in hushed reverence. The meteor bounced two more times and Brutus tore off after it. Bouncing along and barking and throwing his paws into the air, Brutus had finally gotten his new toy.

__________

Jeff Burk is the author of Shatnerquake, Super Giant Monster Time, and Cripple Wolf. He is also the head editor of Deadite Press. You can stalk him on the internet here.


Brian Keene announces 2011 Horrorfind schedule!


Horrorfind is the craziest, wild-ass horror convention you will ever attend. EVER. A handful of us bizarros (Jordan Krall, Andersen Prunty, Eric Mays, and William Pauley III) went last year and shocked the crowd with our Bizarro Power Hour! This year, bizarro is ALL OVER the schedule. We have events happening every single day.

You won’t want to miss this:

BIZARRO SCHEDULE

FRIDAY:

Signing 5:30pm – 7:30pm: Andersen Prunty and Jeff Burk

SATURDAY:

Panel 5:00pm — 7:00pm: Bizarro World – Authors Andersen Prunty, Jeff Burk, Gregory Hall, Eric Mays, William Pauley III, Jordan Krall, and Nick Cato discuss the origins and future of the Bizarro genre, and offer some select readings and performances.

SUNDAY:

Signing 11:00am – 1:00pm: William Pauley III, Jordan Krall, and Eric Mays
Find out more about the convention at www.horrorfindweekend.com

Hope to see you there!


Happy Birthday Jeff Burk!

Today is Jeff Burk’s birthday. He wrote such fine books as Shatnerquake and Super Giant Monster Time! If you don’t have them, check them out on Amazon. It would make Jeff happy. He’s also the editor of Deadite Press and the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction.

Besides writing (and editing) awesome shit, Jeff is also a cool guy. Despite what the top photo may imply, he’s actually very polite and friendly.

So check out his blog, his books or just tell your friends he exists, and long live Jeff Burk!