Canadian Wonders

In one section of this book, suprisingly just before the part where Canadian architect Frank Gehry talks about his frustrating experiences at Harvard University, he says he 'wasn't interested in doing rich guys' houses". Personally, I like this. And you can image how interesting his career has been from there. He has has created buildings of perplexing beauty and world renown splendor, his own "deconstructivist" house and, most recently, he orchestrated the remodelling of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Sidney Pollack has even made a film about him and his work.

inside the AGO

the Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Dancing House in Prague

This book is great. It's a collection of conversations in which Gehry recounts his life path, an oral history of sorts. It's cut up into nice sections ("Learning", "Innovating", "consolidating") and well illustrated. As someone with a limited knowledge of architecture, I find Gehry's approach to life and creation quite unique.

If Gehry gets you fascinated about architecture you can come back and check out this biography on Le Corbusier, one of Gehry's major architectural influences:

Le nouveau titre de Simon Bossé vient d'arriver!

Bébête est là! C'est une douzaine de scènettes en aquarelles dans un monde où les animaux ont un job et des vêtements, chacune centrée sur un animal différent. C'est bien drôle, les histoires se terminent avec une note d'humour noir, souvent avec un twist 'animals will be animals' (même si c'est un singe-pape, ça mange quand même des poux).

Aussi à noter: Simon nous a amené des copies de Mini Bébête, un zine sérigraphié à la perfection, bourré d'illustrations des personnages que l'on retrouve dans le grand Bébête que l'Oie de Cravan vient de publier. Il nous reste aussi quelques copies de son autre zine 100% sérigraphié, Fsshmrwl Baouarf, des posters qu'il a réalisé, et bien évidemment, son livre précédent, aussi publié par l'Oie de Cravan, Intestine.

En anglais: Don't worry, drop that dictionary, just like his previous book (Intestine), Simon's new book is wordless - and so are his perfectly silk-screened zines Mini Bébête and Fsshmrwl Baouarf.

Amy Lockhart

I know I already mentioned that tonight is Montreal launch for Amy Lockhart's DIRTY DISHES, but let me introduce you to the book! It's our latest addition to our "Petits Livres" series and features a collection of Amy's comics, paintings and sculptural works, which are strange, kind of grotesque and totally captivating. All of Amy's work appears to be part of a complex and complete interior world that we're only partially privy to, and DIRTY DISHES is like a collection of vacation snapshots from it.

Have you watched her animations? They're awesome. Check out A Single Tear on the NFB website.

Do you really need another reason to come to the launch tonight? WELL, not only is Amy going to be screening some of her animations, but it's HER BIRTHDAY! So come down to 211 Bernard Ouest tonight at 7!

Hear ye, Montreal! Hot Potatoe! Dirty Dishes!

Check out this week's edition of THE MONTREAL MIRROR for this sweet Marc Bell cover and interview by Rupert Bottenberg. Ever wonder where all those waffles come from? Now is your chance to find out!

WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, why not swing on down to 211 Bernard tomorrow night for the Montreal launch of Marc's HOT POTATOE and Amy Lockhart's DIRTY DISHES? Welcome Marc and Amy back from Toronto and London, and use your bike or running shoes one last time before it starts snowing on Saturday...

Montreal Launch for HOT POTATOE and DIRTY DISHES
Friday, November 27th, 7pm
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore
211 Bernard Ouest

Marc Bell and Amy Lockhart @ 211 Nov. 27th

We are proud to be hosting a launch for local D&Q artists Marc Bell and Amy Lockhart. Join us as we release Hot Potatoe and Dirty Dishes. Marc and Amy will be on hand to sign and talk!

211 Bernard Ouest, Friday, November 27th 7pm-10pm

We are Psyched! See you Friday!

Some Thoughts on Energy: "Sorry, Out of Gas"

(The Canadian Centre for Architecture is a wonderful place. We love their bookstore, we love their exibitions and most of all we love their curator's imagination. They always seem to be able to pinpoint exactly what the most relevant contemporary issues are and then explore how they relate to our use of, and construction within, our physical environment.)

Remember those gas price hikes a couple years ago? This was the 70's version.

"Sorry, Out of Gas: Architecture's Response to the 1973 Oil Crisis" is collected catalog, filled up with a bunch of essays, of a CCA exhibition from 2008. This article, from arttattler, sums the show up.

This beautifully bound and printed book details the strange, different and innovative solutions to the energy crisis that began in the 70's, when fear of peak oil pushed architects, and all sorts of folks, to start reconsidering how and when they used energy. With the re-surge of our energy worries in the past decade, CCA thought it fit to put together a show that documented the legacy of those innovations and examined the forms in which they continue on today.

The book opens with an illustrated tale by Harriet Russel. You can see her tale here. Packed full of cool information, images, drawings and writing, it is definitely one of the most interesting ones we've come by recently.

Calendars Galore + Penguin Mania + Urban Plants

Consider yourself forewarned that this is the second blog post this week to involve penguins.

If you're at all like me, you have mourned the failure of Christmas to capitalize on the magic that is penguins. Today I am writing to tell you that this problem has been resolved. We present to you 24 Penguins Before Christmas: A 365 Penguins Advent Calendar.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, let me tell you this: it is a POP-OUT calendar. And behind every door? A penguin! Or probably more than one penguin, because there are not 365 days in December, and the math just doesn't add up otherwise.
Since we're already talking about calendars, it's only fair to mention that we have a wide variety of other calendars for your perusal. Continuing on our Charley Harper theme, there is both a 2010 wall calendar, and a weekly agenda.
We also have an Inuit art calendar, which features art from a cooperative based in Cape Dorset.
If Inuit art is not your thing, maybe you will appreciate William Wegman's Weimaraners?
Still no? Try C.F.A. Voysey's designs, New Yorker covers, Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies, or Taro Gomi's doodles.

One final note: there is now a translation of the Plantes Urbaines zine which describes medicinal and edible plants found in the urban environs. These are adorable, informative, and affordable. They go fast!

"and Tango makes three"

We're happy to have "and Tango makes three" in store just in time for the holiday. It's a lovely, well put-together story about an unconventional family. It is based on Roy and Silo, two male penguins who lived in the Central Park Zoo in New York as a couple for six years. The book chronicles their happy relationship till "one day Roy and Silo saw that the other couples could do something they could not...lay an egg." They practice with a rock and then the zookeeper gives them an actual egg to nurture...we won't ruin the ending for you!

Here is a poster artist Mary Tremonte made to celebrate "and Tango makes three" during Banned Books Week:

Found on the Internets

Since the camera Chez Nous is busted I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you this photo I found via The Free People Blog. What's your Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My look like?

We've stocked up on Nieves books! get em while they're hot! (for real, these are going quick)

New Philip Roth

The Humbling by Philip Roth just arrived. I read the following quote in the guardian and wondered if this sentiment has anything to do with the page count of The Humbling (140 with a font that is quite easy on the eyes)

"To read a novel requires a certain amount of concentration, focus, devotion to the reading. If you read a novel in more than two weeks you don't read the novel really. So I think that kind of concentration and focus and attentiveness is hard to come by – it's hard to find huge numbers of people, large numbers of people, significant numbers of people, who have those qualities,"

Let's band together and prove Mr. Roth wrong!

Just Watch Me

Volume 2. of John English's Pierre Elliot Trudeau biography is in store. This volume covers '68 - 2000 and was written with exclusive access to Trudeau's private papers and letters. Who wouldn't want to read more about a Canadian Prime Minister who did a pirouette behind the back of Queen Elizabeth II, gave the middle finger to British Columbian farmers (On behalf of my fellow B.C'rs I forgive him) and wowed the youth of the sixties with his suave and stylish ways - Oh and there were a few little things such as: the diffusion of the FLQ crisis, The Charter Of Rights And Freedoms and Official Bilingualism .

Art Stars, Muppets and Outsiders: a New York Review

Every once in a while Rory gets a man-crush and all of us end up knowing absolutely everything about whomever artist is in question. This time around it's Arthur Russell, the notorious and so very talented New York artist who died prematurely in 1992. He experimented with a wide range of the music we today take for granted. This article, from The Daily Swarm, gives a good idea of the rich musical legacy he has left behind. This week we received the first and only biography written about Russell's life. It's chalk full of details and pictures. It chronicles his journey from his native Iowa to infamy within the downtown New York music community during the 70's, 80's and 90's.

While we're on the topic of man-crushes, I want to talk about my favorite 80's downtown New York art star: Jean Michel Basquiat. (Here is an interview with him) We also have Basquiat's first and only biography, "A Quick Killing in Art," skillfully written by journalist Phoebe Hoban who left no stone unturned in her relentless search to find information and create a composite, and not always pretty, portrait of the most popular Black painter of the twentieth century. Here is a review that praises it and here is a review that destroys it. I think together they testify to the might of Basquiat's story and show the very types of contradictory reactions he, and his work, often garnered while he was alive.

Finally, as long as we're visiting New York, we should really visit a tiny community we've all grown up with: the gang from Sesame Street. Michael Davis has written "Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street" Sesame Street, though it has gone through many, many changes since the first episode in 1966, is still running strong! Davis does a thorough investigation and comes up with detailed information about everyone and anyone behind the scenes who participated in the production of one of North America's cultural staples.

The Tao of Wu

RZA's follow-up to The Wu-Tang Manual is now in store!

Half autobiography, half spiritual guide (that incorporates teachings from Islam, Christianity and Kung Fu), The Tao of Wu enlightens and windows into the fascinating mind and life of the legendary rapper.

Memorable moments include chapters on chess spiritualism, one on the politics of violence in rap music or another one on how the death of his mother put a stop to the unpredictable actions of RZA's arrogant and reckless alter-ego, Bobby Digital ("I came to the hospital, saw her lying there, and tried to breathe life back into her mouth. I couldn't do it. Then I stopped. I thought, Who the fuck do you think you are? Then I felt it: I know I'm special, but I ain't that special.")


Before Manga, before Anime there was Kamishibai paper theater. Postwar Tokyo, over 5 million children and adults were entertained by this form of street theater. The stages were operated by pulling sliding out successive images painted on heavy poster board. Generally stages were built on the backs of bicycles! Unfortunately you will not see anyone performing this paper theater in the Mile-End (or any North American neighborhood for that matter) Our solution: Manga Kamishibai, The Art Of Japanese Paper Theater from Abrams Comic Arts is now available in store.

The Believer Art Issue

The new Believer just came in the door here at the Librairie. This month is the Art Issue, and it looks amazing. It had us scratching our heads, because we would have sworn up and down that the cover was done by Chris Ware. Way to keep us on our toes, Charles Burns!

Inside you'll find a fold-out double-sided poster by Jerry Moriarty (see Julien's stamp of approval here), as well as poetry by Derek Walcott, a conversation between Moriarty and Chris Ware, and an interview with Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

Plus! Exciting news from the folks at The Believer: starting immediately, they're going to include a monthly spread of comics. Alvin Buenaventura (he of Buenaventura Books) is curating, with regular contributions by Anders Nilsen, Charles Burns, Ron Rege Jr. and others.

Did every bestselling author write a book this season??

Maybe you're like me and you like to read a mix of the well-known, the obscure, the classics, and the low-brow. I'll usually read something fat (hello, Thomas Pynchon and William Vollman) and then I might read a palate-cleanser crime novel (Chester Himes or Black Lizard Books) or rock book (the 33-1/3 series or THIS BAND COULD BE YOUR LIFE) then back into a classic (I must read the Russians, why have I not read the Russians?)

But part of the fun of reading is keeping up-to-date with what's currently coming out--who wants to be left out of the cocktail party chatter? To that end, let me note that these following talked-about-authors have new titles just arrived in our store in the past few days:

Didn't Michael Chabon once write a novel about writer's block? Well, it doesn't seem to be a problem any longer. What do we have here? A guide on how to be a man--c'mon, you sissy, you know you need help with this. Look at you standing there all "woe is me, where has my life gone, how can I be a better husband/lover/father/chef?" I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT MYSELF!!

I don't need to tell you that Nick Hornsby writes page-turners (and I mean that in a good way.) His latest concerns a Bob Dylan-esque figure and the "his biggest fan." And the biggest fan's girlfriend. Uh-oh.

A few years back, The Mezzanine blew my mind. Nicholson Baker is back with a book about a depressed writer who is obsessed with the ruined lives of famous poets. Yes, I do like to read about depressed people obsessed with other depressed people--what of it?

Paul Auster is back with another tightly written novel. It is described as "a book of youthful rage, unbridled sexual hunger, and a relentless quest for justice" and Kirkus says it just might be his best book yet.

This Book is a Treat!

"drawing now: eight propositions" is a stellar book. It emerges from a 2002 show at the MoMA, curated by Laura Hoptman, that collected a decade's worth of drawings from twenty-six artists from around the world. As described in the preface, these works attempt to demonstrates the way "drawing has sustained an enormous vitality, unfazed or perhaps even energized by the proliferation of mechanical and electronic means of image making".

The drawings comprise the very best of current movements that remain true to the elegance and simplicity of drawing in an era of media proliferation.

With a perfect balance of detail and variety, "drawing now" presents a few works by each artist and several essays that categorize and discuss certain artistic trends. This book is too good to miss!

More Things Like This

The subtitle for this book is "289 drawings with funny words also on the same drawing." And it's true, although as a bookstore employee, I have to disapprove of this spread:

(If you can't read the small print, it says "Instant Rebate: most bookstores can be talked into a 10% discount")

With work by Raymond Pettibon, Shel Silverstein (!), Tucker Nichols, Maira Kalman, Marcel Dzama, and the usual cast of wonderful McSweeney's folks, you know you can rely on the pictures to be good, and the words to be droll.

Chuck Klosterman is a tease

There. I've said it. This collection of essays is driving me crazy and I love it.

Why, you may ask, am I calling this good gentleman a tease? Well, the answer is that this book is filled with tiny gems of insight, thrown out in a single sentence, or shoved into the footnotes. You will be reading about time travel and the impossibility of time machines and it's satisfactorily interesting and funny and engaging on its own. But THEN, then you get this perfect (there's no other word for it) gem of a footnote. For example, in one footnote, which is self-deprecatingly and self-consciously introduced as semi-interesting, Klosterman uses Michael J. Fox's behaviour in Back to the Future to examine the lengthening of cultural memory:

"Before Fox plays "Johnny B. Goode" at the high school dance, he tells his audience, "This is an oldie... well, this is an oldie where I come from." Chuck Berry recorded "Johnny B. Goode in 1958. Back to the Future was made in 1985, so the gap is twenty-seven years. I'm writing this essay in 2009, which means the gap between 1985 and today is twenty-four years. That's almost the same amount of time. Yet nobody today would ever refer to Back to the Future as an "oldie," even if he or she were born in the 1990s. What seems to be happening is a dramatic increase in cultural memory: As culture accelerates, the distance between historical events feels smaller. The gap between 2010 and 2000 will seem far smaller than the gap between 1980 and 1970, which already seemed far smaller than the gap between 1950 and 1940. This, I suppose, is society's own version of time travel."

And then it's back to business as usual for Klosterman, and I sit in my apartment spluttering about how unfair it is. Seriously folks, come check it out. You will never feel like you are reading about something so simultaneously trite and profound again (and maybe that's the point).

P.S. Check out this sweet back cover. It is surprisingly accurate about the contents of the book.

Events coming up this month!

Thursday November 12, 7pm - Palimpsest Magazine launches its inaugural issue

Come visit and peruse the interactive displays featuring examples of this issue's audio, print and video material. Drinking and ogling, cultural capital, team building, socializing and the consumption of baked goods are all on the agenda, and in no particular order.

Palimpsest Magazine is an anthology of multiples (print, audio, textile, video, etc). All handmade works are edition-ed, comprising an exclusive total of 50 issues. 01, our inaugural issue, was curated by Danielle St-Amour and Tess Edmonson, and features fine art works by Chris Foster, Matt King, Peter Thompson, Aisling Macken and Stacey Ho, writing by Neil Holyoak and Tess Edmonson, video works by Willie Brisco, Tobias Rochman, Brendan Reed, Christopher Mills and Kevin Hainey, and a mixtape-cassette curated by Shub Roy of Grand Trine/Pink Noise, and Mark Fragua of Wax Attic/Ultrathin.

For more information, or to view their current catalog, visit them online at


Thursday, November 19, 7pm - The Best Canadian Essays 2009 Book Launch

Tightrope Books, the publishers of The Best Canadian Poetry series are proud to announce the beginning of a promising new Best Of series of literary essays. Carefully selected by editors Carmine Starnino and Alex Boyd, The Best Canadian Essays showcases fourteen exceptional essays published in Canadian magazines in 2008.

These fourteen distinctive voices unite to represent the diversity and breadth of Canadian nonfiction writing today: Denis Seguin describes his experience as the father of a child with Asperger's; Anita Lahey introduces the new face of porn; Jessa Gamble patiently searches for a glimpse of the elusive muskox; and Kris Demeanor opines on the exigencies of choosing music as a profession. The Best Canadian Essays can be regarded as a welcome and overdue companion to the long running American series, The Best American Essays.


Friday November 27th, 7pm - We're launching Marc Bell's Hot Potatoe and Amy Lockhart's Dirty Dishes!

Marc Bell's Hot Potatoe seamlessly combines decade-plus long comics activities with a lifelong devotion to, as Bell calls it, "Fine Ahtwerks." Part art monograph, part comics collection, Hot Potatoe is filled with mixed media cardboard constructions, watercoloured drawings, altered found texts and Bell's most intense, dizzying comics from the contemporary avant-garde comics anthologies Kramers Ergot and The Ganzfeld.

Bell's works have their roots in draftsmanship, typography and old-fashioned gags, but morph into assemblages that connect his images into real space. His comics are funny, seat-of-the pants narratives that give the characters an inner-life.

Represented by the Adam Baumgold Gallery in Manhattan, Bell is one of the leading lights in the new emphasis on drawing in the art world. He comes on like a stepchild of R. Crumb, Ray Johnson and Basquiat, armed with a dashing and looping rapidograph. He is an internationally renowned artist who has been greatly influential to a new generation of artists working in a similar vein. Originally from London, ON, Marc Bell currently lives in Montreal.


Dirty Dishes is feminist art from the trailer park. This petit livre is a first class ticket into the creepy cute and totally absurd world of StrawBaby, and the mind of its creator Amy Lockhart. It chronicles the various facets of her process/thinking from her paintings and drawings to cardboard sculpture of objects from her everyday life. Also included are stills from her animations and photos of costumes used in her videos.

Amy works in a variety of mediums, including animation, film and video making, acrylic painting, drawing, costume making, comics and small press books and combines the various mediums as much as possible and let them feed into each other and out of each other. She is an animator by trade, and recently was a visiting educator at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Eating Animals

Just through the doors here at 211 is Jonathan Safran Foer's new book Eating Animals. It took me a while to figure out that this book was literally about eating animals, as we are familiar with Mr. Safran Foer for his works in fiction. Natalie Portman elaborates via The Huffington post

Naive: Modernism and Folklore in Contemporary Graphic Design

True to its name, "Naive" is beautiful book that collects samples of contemporary work influenced by Classic Modernist artists.

In these pages are the immaculately reproduced works of a talented new generation of graphic designers who have taken up old mediums (like silkscreen printing and woodcutting) in order to re-appropriate and re-invent a timeless genre.

This book dispenses of explanatory essays, or even an introduction and let's you roam through images (show posters, illustrations, book covers and editorials) that tell their own story.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?