Saturday, December 31, 2016

"Scaring the Stars into Submission" - NOW ON SALE!

"Scaring the Stars into Submission" 
by Adam "Bucho" Rodenberger

16 stories across 354pgs

A blend of science fiction, magical realism, and dark surrealism spread out across a dystopian landscape. 

$9.99 for the Kindle/E-Reader Version
$15.00 for the Paperback Version

Available for Purchase Here - Kindle/E-Reader

Available for Purchase Here - Paperback

A great, unnamed event. A world both drowning and engulfed in flames.
Autopsies reveal gardens of lilies sprouting up inside the rib cages of the dead.
Clouds fall to the earth and affect the behavior of those that come in contact with them.
Revolution and violent uprisings spread through nations across the globe.
Twelve blind men in a basement transcribe the history of the world as it burns down around them.
Nightmares become reality; reality becomes nightmare.
Families turn to reluctant cannibalism in the hopes of waiting out the horrors beyond.
Corporations push to create a new population to replace the old one.
Philosophical musings from a balcony overlooking a dark, empty city.
A brief moment of something good between lovers as the world begins to slowly recover.

These are the stories before the event.
These are the stories during the event.
These are the stories after the event.
These are the stories of people coping and surviving, fighting to live, or fighting just to be doing something, anything.

The stories in this collection are brief moments, tiny pockets of surreal happenstance, but pure emotion. Each piece ties into the next by the tiniest filament, each story connected to the one before and the one after, each trying to hold on to some bit of normalcy, but failing in spectacular and terrifying ways.

“Maybe we had reached a point where we were forcing ourselves to believe in something better, something different than what this current reality was spoon-feeding us on a daily basis. The psyche can’t cope with such bleak surroundings for long. Something inside breaks, either for good or ill, but it breaks regardless. Maybe we were just tired of being broken and didn’t know how to go about fixing ourselves.”


Friday, December 30, 2016

Today We Made a Book; Tomorrow We Try to Convince People to Read It

I graduated from the University of San Francisco in December of 2011. Over the course of three summer semesters, two fall semesters, and two spring semesters, I had completed a single novel ("Impasto"), half completed another ("Rise") and completed most of a four-part novella (currently called "Green Leaf, Brown Leaf"). I would've wasted my time had I not left the program with tons of material to work with upon graduating.

Ironically, it was none of these projects I returned to immediately after graduation. I had a wealth of seemingly disconnected pieces of flash fiction, the longest measuring *maybe* 4 pages. I knew I had to keep producing new work post-grad school, but realized a full on novel was a lot of work for where my head was at then. Instead, I tried to see if any of these flash fiction pieces were worth expanding and fleshing out, worth completing to find the end of the story.

For months, I remained on my strange sleep schedule; go to bed at 7pm, wake up at 2am, have a smoke outside my building in the black San Francisco night, and type out whatever ideas came to me on my phone. The fruits of that labor are now available in a single collection called "Scaring the Stars into Submission," which is now up for sale on Amazon in hard copy. Digital copies will be made available soon; their formatting is significantly different from that of their hard copy brethren.

From February 6th, 2012 to September 1st, 2014, I spent every writing moment focused almost entirely on completing this collection. "Marina, Patina, Corona" was the last story to be completed while "Firebug for Hire" was the first. There was often no rhyme or reason to which story was completed when, only that sometimes one felt more ready to be written over the others.

What I did not expect was the stories left untold in the pages I had yet written. I flat out love this collection. At the time, I was reading a lot of Blake Butler, Ben Marcus, and Matt Bell, all of whom do fantastic work linguistically in some very strange narrative situations and settings. These authors were my base and had a great influence over me. Their books "Scorch Atlas," "The Flame Alphabet," and "How They Were Found" (respectively) have been read over and over again because they are just that good. They are also just that engaging in subject matter for me.

I did not want to self-publish. I had read entirely too many excerpts of books that were poorly edited, poorly written, or both. This tainted my ideas of the nature of self-publishing through Amazon. Publishing houses and editors alike had no interest in publishing the collection as a whole, so I finally decided this summer (2016) to do it myself.

I cannot explain to you how vital my friend Rob Romine was in the final stages of the process. I've known Rob nearly the entire 16 years that I've been a DJ. He worked at one of the record stores I would often frequent on the weekends and, eventually (with mutual friend RJ Bass), asked me to join them in their Sunday night downtempo/trip hop residency in the Martini Corner part of Kansas City. I've made mixes in his basement, partied with him long into the night, and gotten to make some fun music with him over the years. But having his patience and his technical skills in handling this cover art and making sure the page formats were up to snuff has been invaluable through this entire process. There was scotch a-flowin' once we realized we'd gotten both the manuscript and the cover art perfected and accepted. Especially considering how much we volleyed back and forth with ideas, whether on cover art or simply trying to get the right formatting on the page to fit the templates through the Amazon site. Today alone, I spent no fewer than 8 hours on preparation for this. A lot of good lessons learned, a lot of mistakes that won't get repeated again so the process goes smoother next time.

There is also an incredibly beautiful foreword by my good friend and brother-from-another-mother Surya K Kalsi at the beginning of the collection. We went through literary boot camp together and we could not be more different in our personal aesthetics, but we are both very, very serious when it comes to the craft. He keeps a blog called Headers, Margins, and Footnotes that is always worth reading. He also has a book out, published by Little Feather Books that can be bought HERE or HERE. It is an unbelievably, beautifully written book that's easy to get lost in for several hours at a time.

For now, my book remains "In Review" on the Amazon site. It's also currently only available in paperback since digital copies require a more stringent and particular formatting (which I'll be doing this week). So don't worry, a digital copy is coming soon for those of you that love the e-readers.

Once the link goes live on Amazon for the paperback copy, I'll create another post. Until then, you'll have to wait the same way I do for this link to be available. I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know it's WAY the hell outside of the average reader's wheelhouse; it's far too strange in places for most. But I honestly think the heart is there. I think there is some very solid storytelling happening in several of these stories and I could not be happier with the finished product.

It's looking to be a solid start to 2017.

And speaking of 2017, a little memory popped up on my Facebook news feed today about the number of places I submitted to over the years. The post is worth repeating here: 

"2012: submitted stories to 15 places.
2013: submitted stories to 148 places. 
2014: submitted stories to 237 places. 
2015: submitted stories to 262 places. 
2016: submitted stories to 116 places 
and released a full short story collection. 

Hustle harder. Do more with your time. It gets easier the longer you do it." 

And it's true, it *does* get easier the longer you do it. I've already got a second collection of stories ready to go, but which I'll be sitting on for most of 2017 while I work on a third collection and one of my novels-in-progress. I'm not a fan of floating in place; if there's no forward momentum happening in my life, I feel like I'm simply wasting it. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more literary news on my end as it comes. 

Quit wasting your talents. Grab the bull by the horns, gather up your supplies, and go create the hell out of something for people to enjoy. You'll be glad you did. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wrapping Up the Weirdness of 2016

Where do I even start with this year?

Musically, we lost Prince, David Bowie, Phife Dawg, Sharon Jones, Maurice White, and Leonard Cohen. Other notables include Gene Wilder, Muhammed Ali, Alan Rickman, and so many more. Some were less surprising due to health issues, but no less sad to see pass on.

I also lost two friends this year, John and Cheri, two fantastic people. You can read more about them here.

Personally, however, my year was full of creativity. As a DJ, I played 22 gigs and made 19 mixes of various musical styles, 5 of which were recorded live at their respective events. You can enjoy my entire collection of mixes at my mixcloud site HERE. There are 59 mixes of various styles of house, trip hop, hip hop, downtemo, techno, funk, soul, get the idea. If you can't find a mix I've done that you enjoy, then you haven't checked them all out yet. There's a little something for everyone, guaranteed.

As a writer, I finished writing fewer stories than I would've liked (3), but had 2 short stories picked up for publication and wrote 9 articles for the Weekend Collective / YeahKC! sites. I'm also releasing my first short story collection called "Scaring the Stars into Submission" on Amazon in both digital and hard copy. I could not be more excited about it as my good friend Rob Romine did the cover art and was infinitely patient with my constant revision requests to his evolving work.

I think the contents of the collection will be a deeply disturbing surprise for those that have never read my stuff before, but who may know me as an individual. The contrast between the art and the artist is stark. I've never been able to really explain why so much of what I produce lies firmly at the bottom of deep, haunted canyons other than I find that the stories first birthed and then unearthed in the dark are the most interesting to me. Trite, happy endings tend to leave me feeling like I've been robbed of some kind of reality, like some kind of truth has been glossed over and hidden away from hearts and minds seeking something tangible due to a need for something pretty in the end. Fiction should reveal truths about ourselves, not obscure them.

I did a fair amount of traveling, seeing my degenerate West Coast family in San Francisco in May, the Missouri Ozarks twice, Chicago with that same West Coast family in August, and then Phoenix in November. I spent the majority of the summer in my pool, entertaining friends and family alike. The days in the unbelievably hot sun (95+ degrees most of the summer) were tempered by the water, a small pleasure I've not gotten to enjoy for the last several years. Pretty sure I made up for all that lost time with my afternoons in the pool.

In November, I saw my youngest sister get married to a guy who I immediately liked the moment I met him. That's pretty huge considering I'm the older brother and there's always the inherent tendency to protect our sisters from those that don't have their best interests at heart. They seem to be perfect for each other, which pleases the hell out of me. They always seem to be in good spirits around each other and in relation to each other. That bodes well for the longevity of their union.

And then there was the Presidential election, which I won't even go into, mostly because I've always wanted to keep this blog politics-free despite having minored in it and having followed political discourse since high school. Suffice it to say, I'm less than enthused by who the country decided to elect. I'm mildly terrified by the quality of people being put into cabinet positions. Not terrified for myself, mind you; I'm terrified for all my people of color, my womenfolk, and my LGBTQ family across the country. They have the most to lose right now.

A light injury in February turned into a very serious injury in September. What I first imagined was a pulled muscle in my back became something much more dangerous: a herniated and ruptured disc between my L4 and L5 vertebrae with pieces of the disc having broken off and fallen down my spinal column. There, they pressed against my sciatic nerve, which caused severe pain down my entire left leg. Xrays, an MRI, and a surgery later, things are back to being semi-normal. There's still a significant amount of pain in the mornings, but with a little movement and forced walking, that tends to go away relatively quickly. Another few weeks and I should be back to 100%.

Every year brings new lessons to learn if one is paying enough attention or bothers to take the time out for reflection (as I often find myself doing more the older I get). Some lessons hit harder than others; some are just purely surprising in their repetition or their suddenly obvious nature. I am easily distracted by certain things or people and that was certainly true this year. But, with the deaths of my friends early in the year, I made the conscious effort to spend more time with the people I left over six years ago and returned to last year. It's a decision I would gladly make again despite how some of the situations turned out. It's all been worth it.

I came away with two lessons this year, both worth discussion and revision, but both feeling apropos of the events of my moving back to Kansas City.

Lesson 1: Some doors aren't meant to be opened; not by keys, not by words, and not by force.

Lesson 2: If the status quo is good enough, don't go asking or looking for more; always be grateful. 

I don't know quite what to expect out of the next year. I'm fully planning on making serious creative moves, having decided to pick up painting as another outlet to my writing and my music. Perhaps, if I get good enough, I'll try to pain the cover of my next story collection "Machinery of the Heart: Love Stories," which is completely and totally done. I've also commissioned my friend Makenzie to do some of her collage work for the cover, so we'll see which route we go. I'm realizing I'd like to be able to showcase the talents of my friends on the cover of each book I release. Plenty of them don't get enough credit or exposure for the cool things that they produce, which is disappointing.

It'd be nice to see "Scaring the Stars into Submission" do well, however. No publishing house, no agent, just all hustle on my end and a little high gloss sheen by a friend. Weird that publishers and agents didn't want the collection despite so many of the stories having already been picked up and published by a large number of reputable magazines and literary journals. Maybe it's just too weird for most, which is fine. My stuff has always been far left of center conceptually. I always knew I'd be writing for a very small, niche group of readers with very specific tastes.

Regardless, it's not worth worrying over. The only thing left to do is create and never stop.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Ki Russell's "The Wolf at the Door"

If done right, your life gets filled with different casts of characters on a pretty regular basis. I've been fortunate to have known some pretty amazing (I think) writers, entertainers, and thinkers. One of those, a writer, I met during my creative writing days at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her name was Ki Russell. While we never hung out outside of the classroom, she was always incredibly friendly and her critiques towards other student writings were always fair and never laced with subversive barbs or jabs, even if she didn't particularly like the piece in question.

She put out a book (her third) last year called "The Wolf at the Door," which I was able to read an advanced copy of before it came out through Ars Omnia Press. It is incredibly interesting in that it takes the fairy tales we all know, fractures them, then puts them back together in Picasso-like fashion. Below, you'll find a link where you can purchase the book, a review by Piers Anthony, and a summary of the book itself.

Per usual, yes, I am maybe showing a little nepotism towards former classmates by spreading news of their published works here, but I'm of the mindset that I'd like to see them ALL succeed. Anything less than that kind of thinking is petty and not worth vocalizing or printing.


"The Wolf at the Door" combines fiction and poetry to present the interrupted narrative of Lana, a contemporary revision of the Little Red Riding Hood figure. Each snippet of Lana’s story weaves her life ever more densely and intimately into the weft of a wider world of fairy tale-inspired figures, against which the protagonist’s story unfolds and through which she discovers who and what she is. Interwoven between the sections of this narrative are poems exploring other fairy tale figures, the perspective of these poems alternating between the contemporary and the timeless time of fairy tales. Baba Yaga appears in her hut in the woods and also as a Kali-figure living among us in the suburbs: devouring, monstrous, sexual, divine. She subsequently appears in the fairy tale tavern where she guides the heroine of the disrupted narrative, who works and interacts with other fairy tale figures traditionally cast as villains. Ultimately, Lana must come to recognize her own identity as both the maiden (Red Riding Hood) and the crone (grandmother) which allows her to draw power from both of these extremes of the female archetype.

Review by Piers Anthony 

I read The Wolf at the Door, by Ki Russell. This is not your usual fantasy. It is set in a pub where fairy tale characters congregate in a neutral setting. I'd have to review a number of fairy tales that I was familiar with when my daughters were children if I wanted to catch all the references, but did recognize the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk, who is trying to recover the harp that Jack stole. Also Little Red Riding hood who now has a fairly familiar association with the Wolf—they sleep together, though I'm not sure there's sex—and dances at the pub. The story, of a sort, is told in snatches, some of which is blank verse. I am intrigued by a blue rose plant that can be affectionate or deadly, and clearly understands those who interact with it. Definitely not a garden variety plant. Also by an old crone who knows more than she tells, and has powers she mostly conceals. Read this for an experience in outlook, rather than for a coherent story. Adult fantasy, not as a euphemism for sex, but in the necessary maturity of perspective.
(The full review can be found HERE.)

Link for Purchase of All of Ki's Books

Ki Russell teaches writing, literature, and creative writing at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, where she resides with her husband Timothy and two children, Rook and Ashe. They share space with a cat called Draco and a dog named Dooby Dooby Doo.

She holds a Ph.D. in English literature (Creative Writing emphasis) from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and an M.A. in English (Creative Writing emphasis) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Medulla Publishing released her chapbook, HOW TO BECOME BABA YAGA, in 2011. Ki also has a full-length poetry collection, THE ANTLER WOMAN RESPONDS, from Paladin Contemporaries in 2014.

Ki researches fairy tales and then butchers them for her own uses. She steals time from grading to wrestle with words, converse with the cat, dance with the dog, and paint. She believes people should laugh more.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Anatomy of a Mixtape Videos (Pt. 2)

Back in May of last year, I created a post (which you can read here) in which all the videos corresponded to a short story that I'd completed called "Anatomy of a Mixtape." I was hoping that whichever magazine or journal picked it up for publication would leave the link firmly embedded within the text so that future readers could always reference the post and hear the music described all in one place rather than go hunt down every song on their own. That was not to be.

But thankfully, the Summerset Review has published the story in their December 2016 issue and you can read that here

Below, you'll find EVERY video of every song described in the story. Choose how you want to listen to them. Read the paragraph first, then listen to the song? Great. Listen to the song as you read the paragraph? This might be tough with some, but probably the best bet. There's no one way to experience the story and the music together; you'll figure out what works best for you. 

I hope you enjoy! 

Robert Glasper - "Maiden Voyage / Everything in its Right Place"

Al Green - "What is this Feeling?"

Soul Coughing - "Soft Serve"

Leon Ware - "I Wanna Be Where You Are"

Jose Gonzalez - "Heartbeats"

The Cinematic Orchestra feat. Roots Manuva - "All Things to All Men"

Explosions in the Sky - "The Only Moment We Were Alone"

Failure - "The Nurse Who Loved Me"

Jimmy Eat World - "For Me This Is Heaven"

The Radio Dept. - "Tell"

Washed Out - "Don't Give Up"

Bjork - "All Neon Like" 

Billie Holiday - "Don't Explain (Dzihan & Kamien Remix)

Little Dragon - "Cat Rider"

Jeff Buckley - "Lover You Should've Come Over"

4Hero - "Conceptions" 


Saturday, December 3, 2016

2016 Reading List

I keep saying it, but it remains a truism; 2016 has been a supremely weird year. You might look at this list of books I read and think "That's it? That's your list? C'mon, son."

Much of my creative output didn't happen until the tail-end of the year, thanks to this back injury, of which I'm having surgery in a little over a week. During that time I've done some writing (which I'll talk about in another post) and very little reading. It's been a struggle to juggle the creative life with the normal social life, more so here in KC because I moved back with a pretty diverse bunch of friend groups from all walks of my life.

With the death of two friends this summer, it became paramount to me that spending time with them was infinitely more important than sitting at home reading or writing. It just felt like the right move...and it still does.

But now I'm settled in and I seem to have found a good groove. Plus the winters here are crazy cold, so plenty of people just go into hibernation most nights anyway, which makes it easy to divert my time to other endeavors. With the back surgery in a week or so, I'll have plenty of time to do some more reading before the year ends. Below you'll find my incredibly anemic list for the year.

Because I knew that my social life was going to be outshining my personal life, I mostly chose to dig into books that I'd already read before. Somehow that makes them easier to finish when life gets a little chaotic, I think. Plus they're just really enjoyable books, which is why I read them over and over again every so often. The last two by Bolano and Dick, however, I'm planning to read during my recovery time as they've been on my "to read" list for a cool minute now.

2016 Reading List


01.) Carlos Ruiz Zafon - "The Shadow of the Wind" (487pgs)
02.) Carlos Ruiz Zafon - "The Angel's Game" (531pgs)

(1,018pgs total)


03.) Carlos Ruiz Zafon - "The Prisoner of Heaven" (278pgs)
04.) Haruki Murakami - "Hear the Wind Sing / Pinball, 1973" (233pgs)

(511pgs total)


05.) Lev Grossman - "The Magicians" (402pgs)

(402pgs total)


06.) Lev Grossman - "The Magician King" (400pgs)

(400pgs total)


07.) Amber Sparks & Robert Kloss - "The Desert Places" (87pgs)
08.) Amber Sparks - "The Unfinished World and Other Stories" (223pgs)
09.) Stephen King - "The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)" (231pgs)
10.) Stephen King - "The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2)" (399pgs)

(940pgs total)


11.) Stephen King - "The Wastelands (The Dark Tower, #3)" (420pgs)
12.) Stephen King - "Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4)" (672pgs)
13.) Stephen King - "The Wind through the Keyhole (The Dark Tower, #4.5)" (322pgs)

(1,414pgs total)


14.) Stephen King - "The Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5)" (714pgs)
15.) Stephen King - "Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6)" (413pgs)

(1,127pgs total)


16.) Stephen King - "The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, #7)" (845pgs)
17.) Bo Fowler - "Scepticism, Inc." (256pgs)

(1,101pgs total)


18.) Philip K. Dick - "The Man in the High Castle" (274pgs)
19.) Roberto Bolano - "The Insufferable Gaucho" (164pgs)

(438pgs total)

Total Pages Read


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Weekend Collective / YeahKC - 4 New Articles Online & A Broken Back

It's been a weird year all around. Or maybe it's just been a normal year and I'm just over-analyzing things, which I tend to do. The philosopher's brain often takes over when the creative brain isn't firing on all cylinders. Thankfully, however, the creative brain has been taking over this month. It's been far too silent for far too long.

I was recently the recipient of a back injury that left me pretty much immobile. After finally finding a doctor within my insurance network, I had x-rays and an MRI done. Issue: herniated L5 disc with impingement of the sciatic nerve. I haven't been to work in nearly a month, I'm waiting for my short-term disability payments to come through, and I've been given some great drugs that have serioiusly alleviated the pain and allowed me to be more mobile. Thus, I've had a LOT of free time.

First up, I spoke of a publication that was forthcoming. Bluestem Magazine published my story "The Same Night Waits for Us All" last month. A weird piece for me as it's more rooted in realism than my normal stuff. I feel like I wrote it last year around the anniversary of my grandfather's death a few years back. Interesting that that date is coming soon again. You can read that piece here.

I also just got word that another of my stories, "Anatomy of a Mixtape," will be published by Summerset Review in their December issue. That one went through a lot of rejections, with one of those rejections coming with a critique that pretty much gutted the entire story of its heart. If I accepted the changes, the magazine would accept the story. I passed on that. Their critique made no sense in context. I'll post a link to that once it goes live.

I've also been writing for a site called the Weekend Collective. They recently changed their name to Yeah KC! I've had a few articles posted up there as I've had more time to focus on writing them:

1.) The Plaza Art Fair. It's a massive fair of artists across the country who come to sell their wares to the general public. You can read about that and its history here.

2.) I've got a buddy in the rap game who's done work with a lot of great producers over the years and who has turned me onto more new music than I'd ever thought possible. I got to do a write-up on him and a night he's doing here in KC that's spotlighting local talent in the hopes of getting them more exposure. You can read about that here.

3.) Another friend (who is also a DJ) does a lot of graffiti work around town. He's been commissioned by several local businesses as well as national businesses with locations here to create his particular kind of art on their outside walls. He also does awareness work. You can read about him and his endeavors here.

4.) "Black Mirror" just released their third season of Twilight Zone-but-with-more-technology weirdness on Netflix. It's seriously a fantastic show that highlights how our dependence on technology might just end up ruining us. The writers of this show do phenomenal storytelling, often bringing about a twist that is completely unexpected by even the most well-read of people. You can read about that here.

Beyond that, I've returned to some old stories that remain unfinished, hoping I can create decent endings for them. Just last night I finished one called "Movie Music" that's been sitting around for about two years waiting for an ending. I finally found it and submitted it out to several magazines yesterday evening.

Tonight, I've found myself mired in the world of "The Motel Palms," a run-down place full of some very interesting characters that may finally get the ending it deserves sometime this week. I added about 1,000 words to it tonight out of nowhere, so this might be the next one to get finished before I head to Phoenix this weekend for my youngest sister's wedding.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Four New Live DJ Mixes

The last year has been a solid one for me in terms of DJ-ing gigs across the city and the state. I played a couple spots at the Kirkwood Lodge in the Lake of the Ozarks. Luckily, I've been fortunate to have been booked for the more beat-oriented, jazzy hip hop stuff more suited for a martini lounge or a poolside afternoon as it's not only my favorite stuff to listen to, but to play as well.

The below mixes are mostly that kind of vibe. The first one, from the Lake of the Ozarks, was from a gig called Wet Hot Electronic Summer: Hot Miami Nights, which was a weekend-long party with some friends from both Kansas City and St. Louis and a TON of strangers that became friends later that weekend. There is, unfortunately, no tracklist.

The three mixes following that are from a night here in Kansas City run by my long-time DJ partner Mr. Nuro. He calls the night "The Listening Room" and works as a kind of spotlight on music that doesn't always get played on dance floors across the city. The weird, the abstract, the dark, the's a good venue for experimentation.

The first mix of the three is a more jazzy hip hop/instrumental/lounge vibe. The second mix is a more uptempo/funk/boogie style made for a more dance-centric crowd. The third mix is a blend of older 80s & 90s retro stuff that I love playing when the vibe is right. There are tracklists for all three.

You can find the link to stream this mix here:

You can find the link to stream this mix here:

24 tracks, 83 minutes

FloFilz - Gitdown
Galimatias - Sunlight Reigns Supreme
FloFilz - Keepitreal
Galimatias - Major Crimes & Unicorns
Vanilla - The Winter
Miguel Migs - Give Me Something
2Pac - Old School (Cookin' Soul Remix)
Alexis Davis - The Lift
Mono Massive x Vertual Vertigo - Can't Let Go
Brandy - I Wanna Be Down (Grades Remix)
Muneshine - Venus & Mars (Freddie Joachim Remix)
P.SUS - Midnight Thoughts (Breezewax Remix)
Dam Funk - I Wanna Thank You For (Steppin)
Austin Brown - Groove 92 
Chris Malinchak - So Into You
Q-Tip ft. Busta Rhymes - For the Nasty (Freddie Joachim Remix)
She Said Disco - Ocean Love
Bondax - Gold (Snakehips Bootleg)
Duck House - Flaw
Willie Hale - Groove On (Snakehips Edit)
Dam Funk - 10 West
Kartell - Two Step
Gang Starr - Skills (Oll-Zen Remix)
Banks - Warm Water (Snakehips Remix)

You can find the link to stream this mix here:

18 tracks, 63 minutes

Kraak & Smaak - Money in the Bag
JT Donaldson - Leave Your World (Hydro's Disco Dub in the Hour of Chaos)
Kenny Dope - Can You Handle It (Pt. One)
Tuxedo - So Good
Michael Tello - Black Thought
Jazzanova - The One-Tet
Dj Cam Quartet - New York New York
Cassius - See Me Now
Amp Fiddler - Faith
A Tribe Called Quest - Luck of Lucien
Ohmega Watts - What's It Worth (Instrumental)
Paolo Archenza Trio - Mondo Cane
Jazzanova ft. Vikter Duplaix - Soon (A Touch of Jazz Mix)
Dwele - Let Your Hair Down
Up, Bustle, and Out - Compared to What (Chase Mix)
Ohmega Watts ft. the Procussions - That Sound
Coolio - Too Hot
Dzihan & Kamien - Airport

You can find the link to stream this mix here: 

15 tracks,  60 minutes

Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out
A-Ha - Take on Me
Billy Idol - Dancin' with Myself
Berlin - Riding on the Metro
Shabba Ranks - Mr. Loverman
Hall & Oates - Maneater
The Cure - Close to Me
Soul II Soul - Keep on Moving
New Edition - Mr. Telephone Man
Hall & Oates - Method of Modern Love
Tears for Fears - Head over Heels
Howard Jones - What is Love? 
George Michael - I Want Your Sex
Stereo MC's - Connected
Bob Marley - Could You Be Loved?


Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Weekend Collective: Adaptive Skate Kollective and Janet Cardiff's "Forty-Part Motet"

A quick update on a couple things:

Just had a story called "The Same Night Waits for Us All" picked up for publication in Bluestem Magazine. It's part of the second short story collection I completed during the first half of last year while I was dealing with a work injury in San Francisco. It's been good to start shopping these unpublished pieces again, even though the only writing I've been doing has been less fictional.

Which leads me to two new articles of mine that have been published over at the Weekend Collective recently.

The first is about another upcoming exhibit coming to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in November. Janet Cardiff has done some crazy interesting audio installations over the years and this current one has a pretty interesting history, both musically and in terms of some of its early showings in NYC. No lie, I'm pretty stoked to sit in this room for awhile and just soak up the exhibit for a good hour. You can read more about that here.

The second article is one I really enjoyed writing as it involved a long-time friend of mine who lost his right leg years ago and turned his accident into a pretty phenomenal opport, unity for others with adaptive wants and needs. He and others have traveled across the country trying to remove the stigmas and social stereotypes associated with amputees or those originally born without limbs. You can read more about that article here.

For now, the hustle continues. I'm hoping to get a few more articles knocked out this weekend, but I've been laid up with a back injury (again), which has put a crimp in many of my plans. That back injury stemmed from a DJing gig I had this weekend, but out of that gig came three solid recordings which I'll post in a future entry.

Until then...


Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Weekend Collective: The Dark Tower, Kansas City Poetry, and Photography at the Nelson-Atkins Museum

I've been busy.

Crazy busy. And while there's plenty of updates to give, I will simply pop on here briefly to hype the latest work I've been doing, which is writing up news articles and profiles about things and people happening around Kansas City. The site is called Weekend Collective and I got to meet most of the crew this week, all of whom seem incredibly down to earth and fun to kick it with.

Luckily, the bosses want us to write about things that we're passionate about; if you're bored with your own story, chances are good the reader will get bored with it pretty quickly too. That's the nature of not loving what you do. The finished product suffers and it's obvious to EVERYONE. So in this way, I appreciate the approach.

Poetry Slam in KC

The first article I got published was about at monthly poetry slam contest held at the Uptown Arts Bar downtown. I went to the show that night, had a blast, and did a write up on the crew putting the event on. You can read that here.

Photography Exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

My second article was about an upcoming exhibit of photography at the Nelson-Atkins. The theme of the show is "Surveillance," and contains a mix of collections from various photographers around the globe, but I found one whose life story was simply too interesting not to write about in more detail. You can read that one here.

The Dark Tower, or O, Discordia!

The third article was definitely a more personally interesting piece for me as I've been a fan of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series for many years. It's currently being adapted into movie form and the nature of the narrative (which has changed from the book) has completely changed, so it's not just a straight up adaptation. I make the argument that this is a VERY good thing for superfans of the series here.

That's all for now! I'll keep posting up new articles as they go live, especially since my name isn't attached to the articles on the site. Happy reading!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Beats for the Blunted, Vol. 9: Homecoming (New Dj Mix)

Beats for the Blunted, Vol. 9: Homecoming

Quantic - Archipelago
Anitek - Tip Toe
Nomak - Spiritual Home (Feet Remix)
Anitek - Burden Queen
Anthony Hamilton - Better Love
Ta-Ku - Trust Me
Victor Malloy - The Girl Who Wasn't There (Quantic Remix)
Four Tet - And Then Patterns
Massive Attack - What Your Soul Sings
Anitek - Mind Growth
Beacon - Fault Lines
Vaults - Lifespan (Instrumental)
Ta-Ku - Sunrise / Beautiful ft. Jordan Rakei
Shapeshifter - Summer Haze
Dj Krush - Edge of Blue
Portishead - Numb
Ta-Ku - Love Again ft. JMSN & Sango

Just recorded a new DJ mix a week or so ago. 17 tracks at a little over an hour. 77 bpm.

The final installment of the series that got me my start way back when at the turn of the century. Airy, spacious, atmospheric beats that remind me (in many ways) of the home I left for 6 years and then returned to in 2015. I started this series way back in 2001 or 2002, first trying to record to tape (as that was the only medium I had available to me then). When I finally released volume 3, I was surprised to find that many people really enjoyed it. Distributing the mix on CD across the city at random events got me my first few gigs in Kansas City, which led to more gigs after both here in KC and in other cities: St. Louis, Omaha, Sioux City, etc.

My life would be very different had I not been forced by my friend Scott to record the first BFTB mix. VERY different.

Sometimes when I put a new mix together, I know the overall vibe I want to achieve. This one, weirdly, started with the last track. Ta-Ku is one of my favorite producers and "Love Again" had been in heavy rotation; in the car, at work, while I showered.

Quantic's "Archipelago" was a track I stumbled upon in my collection a couple months back and the melody never came unstuck in my head, so it seemed to be the best way to open up the mix. Heavy on the drums and soulful saxophone, it turned out to be the right decision.


Monday, August 8, 2016

A Year in the Midwest

The summer is drawing to a close. It's been an interesting transition, moving from northern California (where air conditioning isn't a thing) back to the Midwest (where it is a necessity). Mine has gone out three times in the last three weeks and, luckily, I live in an apartment complex with a maintenance staff who are not only fast and friendly, but good at what they do. But the nights where the AC has gone out have been the longest as I've been unable to sleep or I've simply been sleeping poorly as of late. I have an active imagination; I play scenarios out in my head over and over with differing results and this is what keeps me staring up at the popcorn ceiling until the alarm goes off at 4am. Sometimes you listen to the voices, sometimes you have to drown them out or suffocate them altogether.

I'm coming up on being home a full year. I have recorded 14 new DJ mixes, all of varying styles. I have had 27 separate DJ-ing gigs, I've done one public reading, two old friends have passed on to other worlds, and I had the joy of a brief summer fling that has since, I imagine, fizzled out. This is life; this is how things go.

I am still broke, despite finally being in a job that has the potential to be a long-term career, but I am happier. I knew I would have to start from the bottom (as I have done over and over and over again, much to my consternation), but it is not the literal backbreaking work of my previous job. I am constantly called on for my brain, which is all I've ever really wanted. I am a "puzzle guy," as my work wife likes to say. I see problems, I offer up myriad solutions. I never approach my boss with a complaint unless I have a multitude of ways to solve said complaints, all with varying degrees of success upon implementation.

I have spent more time in my pool than not, my skin more bronze now than pasty white. My apartment has become a hub for friends and family to rest their heads after spending hours in the water or after a long weekend night out. It has been a good vessel with which I have reconnected to the people of my previous life. It remains the perfect size, allowing plenty of space for sleepovers, movie watching, boozing, and all the various detritus of my life spread out on the bookshelves that line every wall.  i am not displeased by how things have gone this year despite the few instances of dissatisfaction or sadness in the things I cannot control.

I have tried to find a place in my apartment that is conducive to my writing, but to no avail. This weekend, I attempted to revisit some old pieces to update and revise them, to finally finish them and send them out for publication. My mind remained blank as I touched on each of the characters in their respective settings. I worry that I have let them lie dormant for too long, that I have not allowed myself the time to marinate on their worlds and their problems because I have been far too focused on my own world and my own problems. This in itself elicits a whole other host of issues that need to be dealt with sooner than later. The tattoo on my left arm was originally a reminder to myself to never stop writing, yet that is exactly what has happened. Finding the balance between enjoying a real life and creating fictional ones has been difficult.

In many ways, my mental struggle has been the propellant force that allowed for so much writing to erupt out of me. Internal battles necessarily find themselves on the page because that is where I seem to find some measure of closure in them. Those internal battles are now fewer and farther between, though I have no doubt new ones will arise again soon enough.

They always do.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

2 Deaths, 3 Weeks

John Stone

Two deaths in three weeks. That’s how my first summer
back in KC has started. Both separate instances, both with assumed different
circumstances, both leaving me a little emptier than before. Both people were
unbelievably friendly and giving and completely undeserving of such a young

But the great world turns, never stopping for a moment
to grieve for each member it loses. We as individuals get that luxury, but
still…time does not stop, it does not yield its momentum on our behalf. It’s up
to us to carve that time out and steal it, make it our own to do with as we

I personally have been making an effort to reach out
to more people, to let them know I’m thinking of them randomly, to let them
know I have not forgotten about them, to let them know that they still exist in
someone else’s memory and history, that they matter, that they are important,
that they are loved.

It’s worth saying that many of us have fallen down on
that particular job over the years. Life gets in the way and we become
unselfishly myopic. Our own problems tend to take precedence over those of
others' sometimes. It’s an easy trap to fall into; shouldering the weight of
someone else’s problems, even for just an hour, can be exhausting.

But sometimes I wonder if we don’t all exist *because*
of our ability to help those around us handle the things they cannot handle on
their own, like it’s what we’re actually built to do but we lost the
instruction manual several generations ago. I personally have been the
beneficiary of a ton of immeasurable love and support over the last several
years from family here in the Midwest and from family out on the West Coast.
What that kind of outpouring can do for someone's mental is unbelievable until
it's experienced.

22 years ago, when I first moved to Kansas City from
Oklahoma City, I found myself on the precipice. I was 15, I was losing every
person I’d ever known, and moving to a city I knew nothing about. I went to a
very dark place where ambivalence took over; I could jump out the window of my
top floor bedroom. If I lived, I could run away. If I didn’t live, it didn’t

Now this may have been the overly dramatic results of
being a hormonal teenager, but the emotion was real and it had a suffocating
hold on me. I’m glad things turned out the way they did and that I can be here,
22 years later, writing about my experience personally rather than having
someone else convey their sadness over how things may have potentially gone.

So take this message as a welfare check, something
police officers do when a family member is concerned for the safety or
well-being of a loved one. Whether we’ve talked once or a million times, if you
find yourself moving into that dark place in the brain that won’t allow for
rational thought, that won’t allow you to see the sun shining while you stare
right up into it, unblinking…call me. Send me a message. Tell me you need help
and I’ll be the first person on your doorstep. Never let anyone or anything make
you feel “less than”…

Because I can assure you that you are not. You are most certainly more.

Cheri Jean Sweaney

1982 - 2016


Friday, June 17, 2016


This is maybe a weird thing to admit, but I can't write at the moment. I haven't been able to sculpt language to do my bidding since I moved back to Kansas City.

Maybe I'm trying to force it, as a good friend suggested. Maybe I'm just not in the right head space because what I should be doing right now is reconnecting with my Midwest family, which I've been doing with some serious gusto as of late, leading to some pretty great nights out and some very exhausting days in the office. All very much worth it, however.

But it's had me thinking (for awhile) that, perhaps now that certain aspects of my life are back in balance, I am drawing less artistic "pain" from the reservoir, thus feeling less inspired. Other than finances, I really don't have much to complain about at all. I wonder if maybe my agitated headspace for so many years was the reason I was able to produce so much material, much of it dark and surreal in nature. Not because I'm an unhappy or dark person (I'm not), but because I find the dark corners of a room far more interesting to explore than the bright outdoors, speaking from a literary standpoint.

There will certainly be writer friends who say you don't have to be mired in this kind of emotional state in order to write, and they're correct. A writer writes no matter if they want to or not, no matter if they are inspired or not. I often deviate from these schools of thought. I like to be struck dumb by an idea so thoroughly that nothing can keep me from putting it to page. The piece becomes an obsession that I can't seem to finish fast enough (if at all) and many of the stories in my last collection arrived in that fashion. I also had the time to finish them, working two days a week due to a work shoulder injury.

For now, however, due to said conversation with the good friend and another friend's passing, I'm putting the writing on hold for the next year. I may try to rehash and rework a few stories that haven't been published yet, but beyond that, this year feels like one for re-connection more than anything else.

*     *     *

The Kansas City Dj/Club scene got news this week of a dear friend's passing. I hadn't seen him in many years, but we'd exchanged a few comments here and there across Facebook while I was in California and he was in Florida. Truly one of the most genuine people you could ever meet. I actually can't think of a time when I saw him out and about in a foul or sour mood.

I don't know all the details of his death and, if I did, I doubt I'd post them here. But his funeral service is on Saturday. I was supposed to do training for a new job at the same time as the funeral service, so obviously I won't be doing that now. I think the stark contrast of those two events against each other is a pretty great reminder of what's important: people over work, friendship over money, community over self.

There will be many at his funeral service that I haven't seen in a very long, long time. And while the circumstances are sad beyond belief, it'll be good for all of us to reconnect and reevaluate our own lives. Maybe we'll hold each other a little longer next time, maybe we'll second guess our decision to stay at home remaining comfortable and, instead, go out to make a little magic in the moonlight.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wishes Can Be Dangerous

The new year has started off in many fantastic ways, but for two and a half months, I've not read a book for leisure, done any work on any of my short stories, or begun any serious editing on my book. This is a problem.

But it's a good problem. Kind of. That which I am most passionate about has fallen to the wayside in favor of finally working a job that I'm not only trained for, but well educated to do. I work with good people in a hyper-positive environment where my ideas or criticisms are taken seriously and then, unbelievably, actually put into effect more often than not. Higher positions within the company open up and my coworkers and I are actively encouraged to apply for them by our boss despite the fact that we may not be the right people for the positions. It's a little disarming, but it is all to the good. All of it.

Currently, I'm editing out-sourced articles written by contracted writers. I tell my friends that the content is typically the kind of stuff your mom would google. Furnace repair, taking care of your pool, how best to rid your home of pests, that kind of thing. I edit, on average, anywhere from 25-45 articles a day, most topping out at about 600 words a piece. On the low end, this averages out to about 15,000 words (or roughly 60 pages in Word). On the high end, this averages out to about 27,000 words (or roughly 108 pages in Word).

Summation: I'm doing a lot of reading and I'm doing a lot of editing during the course of the day. By the time I get home, my brain is fried, but I feel good about the work. Some of the writing is good, some of it not so good. Some articles are edited faster than others and I've been able to pretty easily identify the "good" writers from the "bad" ones.

Once I'm off work, the desire to read more has diminished, which is disappointing as my entire apartment (which I moved into at the start of the year) is completely covered in books. And art. And all the minute detritus that I have collected from years of living. It is a good space, one that I'm incredibly happy and comfortable in. It is my own; the messes are mine, the decor is, in total, the essence of me. After three months, it finally feels like home.

The start of April brings a few new things, the first of which is my team being completely caught up on all our work. I'll be reading less during the course of the day and working more on special projects around the office and with other various teams under the Social Media umbrella. I've also taken off the entire month of April (from Facebook and all but one dj-ing gig) to focus entirely on editing and revising my novel. It will take much longer than a single month, but I hope that this new shift in work duties will allow for more concentration outside of work, thus fomenting some much needed editing habits on my own writing. I also have several books I'd like to read, both for the first time and for the second, third, or fourth time.

In music news, I've been dj-ing a great deal since being home. These have mostly been weekly or monthly gigs playing 80's and retro, but it's been good to play entire nights with my homegirl WestEndGrl (formerly cQuence). In between gigs, I've made a couple new recordings as well, which you can find at the very bottom of the post.

All in all, many of the things I have sought after and struggled to achieve are finally coming to fruition. Like any good thing in life, some sacrifices have occurred, but that's too be expected. Now I've just got to find my footing again and figure out how to balance it all appropriately so that I can have my cake and eat it too. I've worked too hard not to enjoy the cake that I've been baking for nearly 10 years. Never believe your own hard work is all for nought - it may just take a while for the results to appear and there's nothing wrong with that by any means.

New Mixes (since November of 2015): 

From my first gig back in Kansas City. I'm on for the first hour or so, followed up by Elle Vulf and then Oj Shrink.

Disclosure - "Holding On ft. Gregory Porter"
Fouk - "Kill Frenzy"
Teenage Mutants - "Elle (Original Mix)"
Rene Amesz - "Big (Original Mix)"
Dusky - "Dummy (Original Mix)"
Danny Serrano - "Osaka (Original Mix)"
Dj Dep - "Get It (Original Mix)"
Joyce Muniz - "You Always Get Me High"
Miguel Migs - "Little Star"
Rene Amesz - "Like It Deep"
Enzo Siffredi - "Sometimes"
Submantra - "Lilly (Original Mix)"
Spiritchaser - "Ride (Earnshaw's Ride)"
Joeski - "Monkey Funk (Original Mix)"
Sergio Fernandez - "Stone Age (Original Mix)"
Spencer K - "Pandole (Original Mix)"
Harry Romero - "Puma (Original Mix)"
Jay Lumen - "Roots 88 (Original Mix)"
Julian Jeweil - "Meteorite"

Beastie Boys - Shambala
4 Hero - Conceptions
Alina Baraz & Galimatias - Show Me
Alina Baraz & Galimatias - Make You Feel
XXYYXX - About You
Cinematic Orchestra - All Things To All Men
Dj Cam - Underground Vibes
Sir Sly - You Haunt Me (AMTRAC Remix)
Nalepa - Flatlands 
George Palikaris - Woman
Yasume - Sing the Noises
Skalpel - Sculpture
Dj Cam - Mad Blunted Jazz 
Bliss - Reveal ft. Lisbeth Scott
Rae & Christian - Bring the Drama
Slowdive - J's Heaven
Lapalux - Without You
Eric Del Mar - Mykonos Sundown Feelings
Gerd - Seduce Me
MOODORAMA - Behind the Scenes
Eluvium - All the Sails
Tennyson - Lay-By
Dj Cam - Return of the Jedi
Nujabes & Fat Jon - Ole
Simon Burnett - Theme for A New Day
Sigur Ros - Svefn-G-Englar

Gino G - Insidious Soul (D Unity Remix)
Banda Sonora - Guitarra G (Warren Clarke Dub Mix)
Stanny Abram - Shine On (Miki Mad Remix)
VIP Room - Late Night (Original Mix)
Carlo Cavalli & Eros Locatelli - Mexico (Massimo Russo Remix)
Massimo Russo - Gladiola (Dj Troby Remix)
Doomwork - Life Element (Original Mix)
Carlo Cavalli - Welo (Tech House Mix)
Carlo Cavalli - Tanzmania
Fabio Montana & Freiboitar - Bring the Funk (Teenage Mutants Remix)
Rafa Barrios - Daledalehey
David Vasquez - Baila Con Miego (Johnny Fiasco's Unreleased Remix)
Ken Ishii - Traffic
Tyree Cooper - On Tha Floor (Live Element Remix)
Mario Ochoa - Burning (Original Remix)
LxS - Can U
Dj Navigare - Piter Pen
Arda Gencer - Zero (Harun Karabulut Remix)
Rodrigo Risso - In The Forest (Original Mix)
Matals - Tester (Original Mix)

The Bounce Kitchen, Vol. V

Maax 52 - Just Away
Maax 52 - Sidespin
Chus & Ceballos, Dj Chus - Mamasitas (Original Mix)
Detroit Swindle - Figure of Speech
Dj E-Clyps - So Gone
Secondcity, Kydus - The Light (Original Mix)
Jetro - Why I Lose Control (Davydov Deep Mix 2)
Miguel Migs - Heartbeat
Maax 52 - Seehunger Love
Umek & Mike Vale - All I Want (Dosem Remix)
Fifth Avenue Ensemble - Lightness of Living (Fashion Mix)
Martin Villenueve - Uhuru Sunset (Deep Mix)
Detroit Swindle - Ballin'
Luke Hassan - Everything I Need
Le'Funnk - Insane
Michael J. Matthews - Memories
Rene Amesz - Like It Deep (Original Mix)
Dario D'Attis, Yvan Genkins - Afro Call (Original Mix)
South of Roosevelt - This Is How It Is (Deeper Dubstrumental)
Nero - The Thrill (TCTS Remix)
Joeski - Monkey Funk (Original Mix)
Camilo Diaz - XYZ123
Fred Everything - Come On Everybody
Joe Silva - Spam
Tom Lown - And Again (Original Mix)

The Bounce Kitchen, Vol. VI

Homework - Pleister
Diem & Romano Arcaini - Time (South of Roosevelt Mix)
Wehbba - Common Ground (Original Mix)
Dj Max Mad - Tek My House (Tribal Version)
Sebb Aston - Hold Me Down
Fabio Bacchini - Funk Player (Homero Espinosa & Cubase Dan Remix)
Alex Morgan - El Aquelarre (Original Mix)
Cavalier - Lipizzan
Nigel Hayes - Moving On (Fred Everything Movin' Dub)
Roberto Rodriguez (Manolo) - Giving It All (Original Mix)
Miguel Migs - Runnin' Away
Mettle Music Collective - Glider
Sigother - Natural Tone
Escape - Just Escape (Justin Martin Remix)
Ahautzab - Last Pretty
C'est Moi - This Song (Dario D'Attis Remix)
Danny Cruz - Time to Go Back
Jimmy Chronic - Beans (Swirl Peepz Mix)