The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Happy Readers

September 19th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Look: happy readers!  Won’t you join them?  My translation of Selected Plays of Alphonse Allais is available from Black Scat Books.




(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Selected Plays of Alphonse Allais

September 15th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Photo: Final cover for SELECTED PLAYS OF ALPHONSE ALLAIS<br /> Publication: Monday, September 15th.

I’ve selected, translated, and annotated a choice selection of plays by Alphonse Allais for this book. First aired in the cabarets and theaters of Paris in the rollicking 1890s, these plays include satire, absurdism, he-she sketches, a burlesque operetta, even a play for dogs.  You’ll find ten monologues, three one-act plays, and twelve shorter skits drawn from Allais’s columns for Le Journal, Le Chat Noir, and other papers.  It also includes my introduction and notes, a frontispiece I drew, and photos from the original 1899 production of The Miserable Wretch and the Good Genie.  It’s 124 pages, and it’s available from Black Scat Books.  It’s proto-Dada at its most delicious!

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Editor’s Choice!

September 9th, 2014 · 2 Comments

I’m happy to report that my book The Unknown Adjective and Other Stories has been selected as an editor’s choice in the current issue of The Ironic Fantastic.  Take their suggestion, why don’t you?



(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Black Scat Review 8

September 1st, 2014 · No Comments


The eighth issue of Black Scat Review is now out!  It contains my short but unpleasant story “Hardwood Mulch,” as well as seductive works by Suzanne Burns, Doug Rice, Steven Teref, Kurt Cline, Charles Holdefer, Paulo Brito, Jhaki M.S. Landgrebe,Tara Stillions Whitehead, Maria Morisot, Fox Harvard, Charlie Griggs, Monika Mori, and Tom Whalen.  You can find it at Black Scat Books.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Carousel Art Show at Dixon Place

August 25th, 2014 · 1 Comment


I (Doug Skinner, that is) will be participating in a show of artwork by Carousel contributors at the Dixon Place Gallery on September 3.

R. Sikoryak’s Carousel is Dixon Place’s longest continually running performance series, featuring a wide array of comic strip makers, graphic novelists, visual artists and luminaries from the downtown New York Theater and music worlds, presenting work in front of a live audience. It seems only natural to show these artists’ work on Dixon Place’s Gallery walls. The exhibition will feature gag cartoons, graphic novel pages, painted storyboards and more, on subjects including autobiography, classic literature, anatomy, and other heady topics.

The opening on September 3 will be followed by the Carousel performance series in the theater at 7:30 pm, with live appearances by artists showing work in The Gallery. I will be reading from my book The Unknown Adjective; Shae D’lyn and Ralph Hamperian will join me. Other artists include Brian Dewan, Emily Flake, Danny Hellman, Miriam Katin, Jason Little, Jim Torok, Kriota Willberg, and, of course, R. Sikoryak.

Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, NY NY 10002

Opening Reception Wednesday September 3, 2014.  6 pm-7:30 pm. On view: August 29 – October 3, 2014.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (206)

August 22nd, 2014 · 2 Comments


We have another “Old Maid” deck, the 30th in our survey.  This one came to me without box, date, or name of publisher; the cards are perforated, so they were probably sold as a sheet.  Sad Sam is joined by such cheerfully derogatory characterizations as Fat Fanny, Jitterbug, Sissy, and Uncle Rube; a couple of them, School Marm and Aunt Lizzie, look a lot like the Old Maid.  And for some reason, there are two Old Maids.  I suppose it’s good to have an extra.


(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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A Univocalist Typo

August 11th, 2014 · 6 Comments

Georges Perec followed his masterful novel La Disparition, a lipogram without the letter E, with Les Revenentes, which avoided all vowels except E.  And Les Revenentes is hilarious, bending all rules of grammar, spelling, and syntax in its rigorous pursuit of univocalism (and becoming increasingly smutty in the process).

But there is a stray O.  It was apparently not intentional, just a typo.  Remember, univocalists: be diligent!  It’s on page 81 of my copy (Julliard, 1991).


→ 6 CommentsTags: Literature

Children’s Card Games (205)

August 7th, 2014 · No Comments


One card from an old “Snap” deck: no date or publisher given.  Vivid colors!

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Bulletin (28)

July 28th, 2014 · No Comments

First of all, we’re happy to announce that the Ullage Group is planning another event, after prolonged torpor.  It will focus on one of Charles Fort’s favorite topics, volcanoes, and is slated for the fall.  Details will follow.

Some of my comic art will be included in a show at Dixon Place (in Manhattan) in August, organized by R. Sikoryak.  I will also project and read excerpts from my book The Unknown Adjective in Mr. Sikoryak’s show Carousel, also at Dixon Place, on September 3.

I will also present an evening of my songs, at Brooklyn’s Jalopy Theater, on September 13.  I will be joined by Doug Roesch (guitar), David Gold (viola), and Ralph Hamperian (tuba).

My edition of Alphonse Allais’s plays is due out in August from Black Scat Books.  It includes translations of ten monologues, three one-acts, and twelve shorter dialogues, skits and burlesques drawn from Allais’s columns.   It’s proto-Dada at its most delicious!

I have also contributed to other upcoming publications from Black Scat: a short story (“Hardwood Mulch”) to Black Scat Review; and a homophonic translation, an alphabet, and a univocalism (“A Homophonous Restoration of the King James Text of Psalm 23,” “Hybrids,” and “Gus Fucks Lulu”) to Oulipo Pornobongo.

The definitive book on Richard Shaver’s artwork is in the works.  There will be two volumes, from Shavertron Books; I will provide the introduction for the second.

Lastly, Michael Smith and I continue to work on a DVD collecting the puppet shows we performed in the ’90s.  If all goes as planned, it will be included in a larger collection of Mike’s work, and also released separately.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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The Complete Works of Alphonse Allais (10-11)

July 23rd, 2014 · No Comments


The seventh volume of Allais’s posthumous works (499 pp., 1969) contains his weekly columns for Le Sourire, 1901-1904.

The cover art is taken from a poster by Jules Chéret for the Palais de Glace (Ice Palace).


The eighth and final volume of the posthumous works (641 pp., 1970) collects the following:

Allais’s weekly columns for Le Sourire, 1905, ending with his last, on October 21.

Additional columns from Gil Blas, Fantasio, and Le Tintamarre; a letter to his mother, and a poem not discovered until 1930.

The novel L’Affaire Blaireau (The Blaireau Affair), from 1899. Allais reworked it from a play, Innocent, he had written with Alfred Capus in 1896.  The plot revolves around a poacher, Blaireau, wrongly convicted of assaulting a policeman, and the ensuing complications.

Another novel, Le Boomerang, ou Rien n’est mal qui finit bien (The Boomerang, or All Is Not Bad That Finishes Well), serialized in 1903, and published as a book in 1912.  Although released under Allais’s name, it was ghost-written (Allais referred to the book’s “young confectioner”), and based on the short plays Silvérie and Le Pauvre Bougre et le Bon Génie (The Miserable Wretch and the Good Genie).

There are also three plays: The aforementioned one-act, Le Pauvre Bougre, from 1899; another one-act, Congé Amiable (Friendly Departure), written with Tristan Bernard in 1903; and a three-act farce, Monsieur La Pudeur (Mister Prude), written with Paul Bonhomme and Félix Galipaux in 1903.

Allais’s other plays, all collaborations, and often with little contribution on his part except his name, are described, but omitted.  They are, for the curious:

Au Moulin de la Galette, with Jehan Serrazin and Jules Desmarquoy, 1889.  A revue for the eponymous cabaret.

Revue libre (Free Revue), with many others, 1890.  Another revue, for the Hôtel Continental.

Innocent, with Alfred Capus, 1896.

Silvérie, ou le Les Fonds hollandis (Silvérie, or the Dutch Fund), with Tristan Bernard, 1898.  Based on Allais’s story Simple Malentendu (Simple Misunderstanding), from 1890.

A la gare comme à la gare (At the Station as at the Station, a pun on the proverbial expression A la guerre comme à la guerre, At War as at War), with Albert René, 1899.

L’Astiqueur, ou Patience et longueur de temps font plus que force ni que rage (The Polisher, or Patience and the Passage of Time Do More Than Force or Rage), with Albert René, 1900.

Eh! Placide! Eh! Généreux!, with Albert René, 1901.  Another revue; only René’s songs have survived.

Chat-Mauve Revue, with Albert René and Paul Bonhomme, 1904.

Les Cinq Sens (The Five Senses), with E. Favart and Albert René, 1904.  Presumed lost.

La Partie de Dominos (The Game of Dominoes), with Sacha Guitry, 1907.  Based on Allais’s early story, Un drame bien parisien (A Very Parisian Drama).

Le Petit Café, with Tristan Bernard and Ernest La Jeunesse, 1911.  Originally written in 1899, but not performed until 1911.

The cover is taken from a poster for the Théâtre Libre, by Toulouse-Lautrec.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)


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