"A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe." — Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, August 1, 2011

Teenage Garage Sale with Alex Epstein (The Circle Cast) + Giveaway!

Stopping by the blog today is Alex Epstein, author of The Circle Cast! He's here to tell us some of the things that would be in a garage sale in his teenage years if he was to have one.

Stiff Records T-shirt, with the slogan “F*** Art, Let’s Dance.” I still have it, rips and all.

Red silk smoking jacket with black satin trim. I picked it up at my high school’s thrift store, along with a cashmere overcoat. I was in the theatre clique, and at the time we all wore thrift store clothes and jeans with holes in them. The smoking jacket was too big, and sort of ‘40s, but it was just so cool I couldn’t not get it.

One velvet doublet from a Shakepeare production. Basically a black velvet jacket with a high collar, very Swingin’ London 1965, except that it was New York in the 1980’s.

I didn’t wear either of these jackets except at parties. But I treasured them, because they seemed to come from different worlds than mine.

Case of Korbel Brut champagne. I never had that many people at my parties in high school, maybe because I only invited people I actually liked. I’d have like a dozen people, tops. But I remember buying a case of inexpensive but drinkable champagne. I didn’t have a fake i.d. or anything, but it was New York in the ‘80’s. I might have had trouble buying a fifth of vodka, a case of champagne was okay.

About 300 records on vinyl, mostly New Wave. Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols. The Clash. London Calling. Talking Heads ’77. More Songs About Buildings and Food. Parallel Lines. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. A few folk albums. Court and Spark. The Woodstock soundtrack. And Beatles and Stones.

Around 20 wargames. These were elaborate simulations of historical battles, with paper maps and cardboard chips representing the units, and twenty-page rule books in 6 point type. I used to replay Waterloo and beat the English every time. Unfortunately I didn’t have any friends who played wargames. The only time I got to play against a real live player was when I went downtown to the game publisher’s office on 23rd Street and playtest new games from 6 to midnight on Friday nights. My folks would give me cab fare home, but I’d walk up from 23rd Street to 96th Street to save money, and then take a cab to my folks’ apartment on 114th Street and Riverside. In those days, you didn’t want be between 96th Street and 110th Street after dark.

One boom box. Occasionally I would walk somewhere and blast music along the way. A lot of people were doing that then. But mostly they were not blasting Duke Ellington.

One portrait of me by Abstract Impressionist painter Gerry Monroe. My parents have lots of artist friends. Gerry came to visit and wound up doing my portrait.

A slew of posters from the Venice Biennale. My folks took me to Venice when I was 15. They’d just plaster one poster over another there, until they were an inch thick and falling off the walls. I pulled one stack of posters off a wall, rolled them up and took them home. Then I soaked the glue off them in the bathtub and gently pulled them apart to see what the posters looked like. Some of them were pretty snappy.

One Shure professional quality microphone. I was briefly in a band called The Girls, because there were no girls in it. I wrote lyrics; my roommate Mike Jung wrote the songs. I still have a couple of recordings of our songs; they don’t entirely suck.

Where you can find Alex:

As part of the blog tour Alex is offering 4 ebook copies for giveaway. Just leave a comment and the winner will be chosen at the end of the week out of all the stops in that week. So if you comment in other post you will have better chances of winning! =) If you would like to see the other stops you can click here.


  1. Thanks for the giveaway!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  2. what a fun interview!!!

    not an entry, i don't have an ereader :)