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Two Performance Artists book by Scotch Wichmann
Two Performance Artists Kidnap Their Boss And Do Things With Him
Inspired by my crazy adventures as a performer on the road, this is the story of two performance artists who cook up the ultimate performance: to kidnap their billionaire boss...and turn him into the wildest performance artist the world's ever seen.

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Archive for the ‘Book Tour’ Category

Two Performance Artists Wins Silver at 2015 IBPA Awards!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Hilarious dark comedy Two Performance Artists novel by Scotch Wichmann wins 2015 IBPA Best New Voice in FictionAlmost exactly one year since its debut, Two Performance Artists just tied for Silver in the Best New Voice category of the 2015 Independent Book Publishers Awards held in Austin, Texas last week, and copies are flying off the shelves! THANK YOU for this fantastic honor, IBPA! If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, visit your local indie bookstore, or hit up Amazon! If you’d like a signed copy, we can make that happen, too—just drop me a line.

In other news, I’ve started work on a one-man show I hope to debut in galleries and fringe festivals in the near future, then maybe onto the road. It’s part performance art, part filmic, and very autobiographical, with surreal characters dredged from my unconscious, secrets of my day job as a computer hacker, conspiratorial theories, tales of ghosts, shamans, and more. That sounds like a lot, I know, and it is; I’m hoping to go meta with this in a kind of grand unifying theory of creatives, especially performance artists and their ilk. I’ve wanted to do a feature-length solo show forever, and cannot wait to unleash what’s been brewing.

Next: If you’re in the area of Ventura, California on May 1, 2015, come to the Namba Performing Arts Space for its 5x5x5 Show, where I’ll be unveiling a brand new performance art piece alongside famed performance artist John White, and many others. FREE! Located at 47 S. Oak St.

Two Performance Artists Nominated for Best New Voice in Fiction!

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Two Performance Artists Named Finalist for Best New Voice in Fiction for 2015OMG, I am freaking out: Two Performance Artists was just named a top-3 Finalist in the 2015 Independent Book Publishers Association Awards for Best New Voice in Fiction! IBPA is the largest indie book publishing association in the U.S.—maybe even the universe!— so this is an incredible honor. Thank you, IBPA!

I’m cooking up more performances and shows for 2015, but I’ll admit it’s been a slow start, thanks to my starting graduate school in January. My creative stamina is slowly returning; it took a couple of months of getting accustomed to having a 2-foot stack of schoolbooks sitting on my desk at all times (my wife loves it!), but I’m almost back to normal.

When I haven’t had my nose buried in school assignments, I’ve been devouring everything I can find on pataphysics, which is giving me new perspective and ideas on performance. If you have any favorite links, or wanna discuss, post away!

Preparing To Remember The Future

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

When I look back on 2014, all I see is a blur.

My wife and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. My novel Two Performance Artists was finally published, closing a chapter on a surreal 15-year journey. Our cross-country book tour from LA to NY was a success, with encouraging bookstore turnouts, performances in 18 cities, and 2 book awards along the way. “Kidnapping As Art,” my survey of artists who’ve kidnapped audiences as performance art, was picked up by MIT Press’s Journal of Performance And Art for publication in January of 2015. Headlining the final 5x5x5 show at the Sylvia White Gallery in Ventura—one of California’s longest-running performance art series in recent memory—was a humbling honor. And of course, learning I’d been plagiarized by Shia LaBeouf—and then having my revenge—was the most wild ride of all.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been more busy—and yet, somehow I’ve still got that nagging feeling that this train is only just starting to pick up speed—that all of the dreams that came true in 2014 are the wood I now need to be shoveling like crazy into the firebox, stoking the flames even harder than before to maintain momentum. But with the past year feeling ephemeral and so long ago already, the wood vanishes like smoke on my shovel, and fear sets in that the engine could start to slow.

NYC to Chicago…and Beyond

Friday, June 13th, 2014

WHAT A TOUR! Even though we have more dates planned for later this year, it’s hard to believe this leg’s really over. Where’d it all go?? 17 appearances in 14 cities flew by. And though the hotels began to all look the same (by the third Holiday Inn in a row, I could no longer remember where my room was), the people we met were unforgettable. To all of the artists, bibliophiles, writers, booksellers, publishers, promoters, librarians, friends, and fans: thank you for making this trip so incredible!!!

Freakshow Books’ booth at the BookExpo America show in NYC was a madhouse. By the time we arrived, word had already spread that Two Performance Artists had won a bronze medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards, so there was a steady stream of reporters, booksellers, librarians, and film scouts running up and grabbing copies. Here’s a view from our booth in the calm just minutes before the doors opened and we were (lovingly) mobbed—gotta love that sea of blue and purple tradeshow carpet, eh?
Freakshow Books booth in NYC, 2014

From NY we drove 535 miles to Columbus for a reading at Kafe Kerouac, an ironic venue because in the novel’s first chapter, protagonist Larry attacks a poet who tries to pass off his reading of a Kerouac poem as performance art. Kafe’s bartender, who was pouring drinks right next to a big-ass Kerouac poster, gave me a scowl when I read the chapter aloud, but I just grinned at him and read on.

Cleveland was next, where a raucous crowd showed up at the city’s hip & edgy Visible Voice bookstore to see what crazy stunts I’d pull with my fish:
Scotch Wichmann performing in Cleveland, OHScotch Wichmann performance art with fish in Cleveland, 2014

And oh man, SO MANY FISH! I don’t want to give away too much, but most of the readings involved my manipulating a real fish—usually a 1-pound Branzino or trout—which meant the moment we arrived in a new city, we had to scramble to hunt down a fish of just the right proportions, which turned out to be harder than it sounds.
Scotch Wichmann searching for performance art fish in Cleveland, OH, 2014

Some cities just don’t carry whole fish—and for some reason, a few markets (looking at you, Portland) think “whole” means a fish with the bones still in and the head chopped off. What are they doing with all those heads??

And here’s a pro tip: if you’re gonna keep a fish in your underwear, the razor-sharp fins will shred your panties (manties?) to ribbons after 17 performances, so take precautions to protect your junk:
Scotch Wichmann's black manties shredded by 17 performances with fish

Our next and final stop was at Chicago’s Printers Row lit festival, where mayor Rahm Emanuel was kind enough to stop by:
Scotch Wichmann's Two Performance Artists with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel

But even better, we got to hug Rose Laws, Chicago’s oldest and most notorious madam (she’s retired, though you wouldn’t know it by the way she flirted and tried to slip me some of the Popov she was nursing):
Two Performance Artists author Scotch Wichmann with Chicago's notorious madam Rose Laws

The festival was packed, we sold tons of books, met fans who were already devouring the novel, and were surprised by all of the performance artists who said hello—many had just graduated from Chicago’s Art Institute. I loved hearing their dreams of what might lie ahead, and offered encouragement and advice where I could.
The Freakshow Books booth at Chicago's Printers Row literary festival
Two Performance Artists author Scotch Wichmann signs for fans at Chicago's Printers Row literary Festival

What an insanely fun adventure—but it ain’t over! We’ve already begun planning the next leg, so let me know if you represent a bookstore, gallery, college, or other space that might be interested in hosting a reading or performance!

Also, we’ve already started getting some interest over the novel’s film rights, so if you know an executive producer, director, or celeb who might be interested, please have him/her contact me or the publisher. (JAMES FRANCO: THIS NOVEL WAS MADE FOR YOU!)

And yes, thanks for all the fish.

Kicking Book Tour Ass From LA to Washington DC

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

The book tour has been racing ahead full steam, with exciting stops in LA, Fresno, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and this week, Washington D.C.

Though I’ve said it before, I’m still shocked at just how few indie bookstores remain compared to 10 or 20 years ago, with so many replaced by soulless stucco-and-glass monoliths. Thank the gods for indies—or better, go buy some books from them!

With so few non-chain bookstores remaining, and their calendars so packed with authors hungry for stage time, and their budgets continuing to thin (some have elminated book readings altogether because they can no longer afford event & marketing costs), traditional book tours are becoming a rarity. Even Barnes and Noble stores were an impassable challenge, which we tried to book in towns where there wasn’t a single indie bookstore left. Some B&Ns no longer hosted readings at all, it turned out, while the others were just too disorganized to recall a conversation from one phone call to the next, until time finally ran out.

But that doesn’t mean Book Tours are dead. Far from it. The thriving indie bookstores we booked were a dream. Skylight Books & Book Soup in LA—and my San Francisco favorite, Green Apple Books, with its old creaky floors & eclectic selection—pulled out all the stops, with mobs showing up crazy-excited for a performance art novel. (Full disclosure: though I’d like to think it was all due to my book’s appeal, part of the draw might’ve been rumors preceding me that I do wild things with a fish during my readings, but I’ll take crowds however I can get them!!!)
Two Performance Artists Do It With Duct Tape
Scotch Wichmann signing Two Performance Artists in San Francisco
Scotch Wichmann signing Two Performance Artists in San Francisco

With the novel being about art & performance, we were also able to book some killer art, gallery, and alternative theater spaces, thanks to curators who were game.  SoapCo. Gallery & Theater in Fresno’s Tower District, Mermaids Tattoo in SF, the Show & Tell Gallery in Portland, and Seattle’s The Project Room were not only white hot creative collaborators up for anything, but also fitting for a novel about two subversives who unleash peformances in sweaty underground galleries where art spectators go increasingly mad for performances that shred convention. Finding a way, hell or high water, to still get the book out felt like dancing amid the publishing industry’s ruins—and fucking punk rock performance art.

One of my favorite events was the tattoo happening at Mermaids Tattoo in SF. The evening began with a hilarious standup comedy set by SF favorite Loren Kraut, then a performance art piece by yours truly. Then came the finale: with the audience watching, Mermaids’ owner-and-tattoo-artist Anne Williams inked a tattoo that’s described in my novel onto my torso while my wife read the chapter aloud. It was surreal, grimacing under the buzzing needle while hearing my words echoed back to me. In the novel, protagonist Hank tries to tattoo himself while wearing a vest made of meat that’s being attacked by a massive dog; in the interests of public safety and my needle’s sterility, I forewent the meat and mutt.
The Project Room features Scotch Wichmann doing performance art

You can catch more photos on the book tour’s web page.

Two Performance Artists Wins Bronze Medal in 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards!

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Two Performance Artists by Scotch Wichmann wins Bronze Medal at 2014 Independent Publisher Book AwardsOMG, WE JUST HEARD THE NEWS: Two Performance Artists just won a Bronze Medal for Best Regional Fiction in the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards!

The novel is set in San Francisco’s rough Tenderloin neighborhood, which is where I started writing the book in 1999. In the four-block walk between my apartment and Polk Street, I’d pass liquor stores, pan handlers, people of every color, a blowjob in progress, art galleries, a vet in a wheelchair, mom-and-pop restaurants with flies buzzing in the windows, psych ward escapees, a gay salon, the rich, the destitute, software geeks on kick scooters, a gaggle of transvestite prostitutes checking their hair, drug hustlers and drunks…it was beautiful.

The awards ceremony will be held May 28 in NYC just a day before the kickoff of the BookExpo book convention. I can’t wait! Thanks so much to everyone who helped make this little dream come true!

***UPDATE: The ceremony was a blast! Held at NYC’s historic Providence space—it was once a church, then became a lavish recording studio where Sinatra, Hendrix, Streisand and Stevie Wonder all recorded—seeing my name in lights was surreal. There were two floors with views of the stage, but not enough guest tables, so a lot of attendees had to stand around with their plates of food, including the people on the second floor, who thought it was a good idea to balance their plates on the balcony railing. Every few minutes I’d see a cracker or piece of cheese fall onto the head or plate of a guest below. That—and being there with my hilarious & gorgeous wife—were my favorite parts of the night (you can see where my priorities are, I guess—haha).
Scotch Wichmann wins Bronze Medal in 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards

KISS Was My First Hero

Monday, May 5th, 2014

KISS Scotch WichmannOff Paper, the literary journal for the cutting-edge Project Room gallery in Seattle, asked me to write about my very first hero.  Picking a superhero seemed too easy, although I was willing to make an exception for Isis—it doesn’t get much cooler than a goddess who uses Egyptian magick to conjure a replacement dong out of gold for her drawn-and-quartered husband. A skill like that could come in handy.
     In the end, the band KISS won out. A phallus made from Gene Simmons’ tongue was just too hard to beat.

California Bookstore Day!

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Even Ron Burgundy loves the comedy novel Two Performance Artists!

Even Ron Burgundy loves Two Performance Artists! Yep, that was him, reporting live from UC San Diego last Saturday, where I got to be part of California’s inaugural Bookstore Day! Novelists Dave Eggers and Don DeLillo were among the other authors chosen for this historic event, so I feel both lucky and humbled. Photo by Channel 4 reporter KayDee Kersten. Stay classy, San Diego!

Thanks to Bank of Books in Ventura!

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Just got back from reading Two Performance Artists at Ventura’s awesome Bank of Books bookstore! Thanks to Banks and everyone who came out—it was a blast! My dad, ever the practical joker, had an especially good time sporting the look he likes to call “Magnum P.I. undercover.” If you pay Banks a visit, make sure to check out the stacks downstairs—they’re packed with cassette, VHS, and 8-track tapes like you won’t believe!

Scotch Wichmann book tour in Ventura

Scotch Wichmann on tour in Ventura

Long Beach and Ventura This Week!

Monday, April 14th, 2014

This week I’ll be reading at Long Beach’s Gatsby Books, and Ventura’s Bank of Books!  Check the book tour schedule and come on out! I’d love to read and perform for you!

This past week was crazy-busy in Freakshow Books’ booth at the L.A. Times Festival of Books on the USC campus. Publishers, PR reps, agents, bookstores, and writers seemed seriously excited by Two Performance Artists, and it was a great chance to take the grassroots pulse on what’s happening across the literary scene.

One downer: the main L.A. Times stage was right across from us—and we were shocked when a string of famous people serving as interviewers (Maria Shriver, for example) went on to interview some of the most flat-lined personalities ever to take the mic. We listened to one woman drone on about her new (albeit, well-written) “What should I do with my life after college?” pablum, then a 60-year-old grandpa wearing a toupee mumble from his “What if pets could talk?” pulp—I could hear Dr. Seuss crying in heaven. THIS, ON THE MAIN STAGE. Where were the edgy radicals, rebels, and raconteurs? The rock-and-roll writers? The pissed-off poets? The literary terrorists? Part of literary fame really must be whom you know. The audience couldn’t figure out how these scribes had managed to land plum spots up there for an hour each. Were they friends of Shriver’s? Did their PR reps blow a roadie? If this is what book show producers believe are going to get readers excited about books, then no wonder publishing’s got big problems.

Scotch Wichmann book tour
Scotch Wichmann book tour