"I know my e-mail address says 'brooklyn', but I live in Queens.
Maybe I picked 'brooklyn' after listening to the Beastie Boys too many times, or maybe it's because of a conversation with my wife (a Jersey Girl) when I was explaining to her about my family's origins. "So where did your mother grow up?" "Brooklyn." "What about your father?" "Brooklyn." "And then when they got divorced, where'd your stepfather and stepmother come from?" "Brooklyn." "So where'd they all go to school?"
"Well, my mother and stepmother both went to Erasmus the same time that Barbra Streisand went there (they didn't know each other and they didn't know Barbra either), and my father went to New Utrecht which you can see in the beginning of 'Welcome Back Kotter' and my stepfather went to Brooklyn Tech, and then they all went to Brooklyn College, except my father, who did go there but afterwards studied art at Pratt.""Oh really, where's Pratt?" "Brooklyn."
So anyway I live in Queens now, and in fact I named my new web fiction/performance art project after this humble and mostly-unloved part of New York City. The new project is called Queensboro Ballads, and you can see it here. If you visit and have any comments, I'd love to hear them. My other web site is Literary Kicks, dedicated to the Beat Generation and a few other things I felt like writing about.
You can also read some of my stories in the online fiction journal InterText (I'm in the March '94 and September '94 issues), or in several recent episodes of Enterzone. That's it for online fiction -- I'm also finishing up my latest draft of my novel, which I am trying to get published on paper (you know, the way they used to do it).
Just for the fun of it, here's the list of my fifteen favorite novels.
I'm 33 years old, and I have a day-job as a Unix client-server consultant on Wall Street, where I secretly rebel by wearing conservative black sneakers that look like shoes unless you study them up close.
This has worked well except for one time when somebody dropped a pencil, kneeled to pick it up, and suddenly noticed. I had to kick him in the face until he was dead.
old stepdaughter along with my own three kids.
No pets, though I married into two cats and
I used to have a cat named Happy.
as much as they ever did.
My own children prove this to me
— they are avid readers.
"Levi lives in New York City, where he works as a client-server database systems architect. He employs a strict object-oriented approach to his life but is two years late on the implementation of this project.
He spends too much of his free time on his Web project, Literary Kicks, which is dedicated to the writers of the Beat Generation, particularly Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
because Barnes and Noble
have the best public
restrooms in Manhattan.
Books are in absolutely
no danger of going away,
or becoming less important,
unless the world ends.
I read history and non-fiction
and current events
for my own personal enrichment,
but when I read fiction or poetry
it is often goal-oriented,
and the goal is to
improve myself as a writer.
... the memoir
Literary Kicks writer Levi Asher,
The Bat Segundo Show writer Edward Champion,
and GalleyCat editor and party co-host Jason Boog
took time out of their conversation to pose for a picture.
by Fred Flintstone,
but I was very
serious about it.
New American Dream Interview
LEVI ASHER, 47, lives in New York City.
He runs Literary Kicks website.
The New American Dream Trivia Question:
Levi Asher would rather be ....
a. A darn good literary agent in Dubuque
b. An outgoing editor for HarperCollins
c. Reading poetry to himself in the subway
d. Writing like the best metaphor ever
e. Designing the Hogwarts School website
f. Stuck forever in the Twilight Zone, except it's Cicily, Alaska
g. Resting on his laurels in Washington Square Park
I'll choose G, especially on a nice summer day.
First I need some laurels.
NAD: Levi, hello, thank you for taking the time for this.
Where are you from?
Queens, New York.
NAD: What was your high school's mascot?
An eagle, I think?
I certainly was not involved in high school sports.
NAD: What did you start out wanting to be?
A crane driver in a rock quarry (seriously).
This was inspired by Fred Flintstone, but I was very serious about it.
I like epic-sized machinery and I love dramatic wide-open spaces in nature.
Working in a quarry everyday would make it impossible for me to feel sad.
Is there still time?
That door has closed. And I'm okay with this.
NAD: Are you a writer or a reader?
Which do you do just so you will be able to do the other?
Interesting question. I think I am a writer first.
I read history and non-fiction and current events for my own personal enrichment, but when I read fiction or poetry it is often goal-oriented, and the goal is to improve myself as a writer.
NAD: You must have the best job ever, for someone who likes doing what you do, right?
I have been a computer-programming cubicle drone for morethan two decades.
I like the lifestyle, I (usually) like working withother software engineers, and I like the paychecks.
But no, best job ever?
NAD: Would you like to choose one of these to answer, elaborate on?
I don't ask this to make fun. I ask because I really seek the answers.
— Are UFOs real?
I believe life on other planets must exist (the law of probability mandates so) but I doubt that contact with Earth has been made yet.
I think we'd notice Klaatu if he showed up.
— Did we land on the moon in 1968?
No, silly, it was 1969.
— Did Bush knock down the towers?
The Bush administration could not possibly have been responsible for the Sept 11 attacks, because they were carefully executed.
If the Bush administration did it, they would have screwed it up.
Name anything Bush ever did that showed this level of planning, focus and teamwork.
— Was Paul Wellstone's death an accident?
I don't know enough to answer, though I did read a Vox Pop book about it that indicates it was no accident.
— The Oklahoma City bombing? Wasn't that just another U.S. government terrorist exercise? Or not.
No, I have no reason to think so. But it is a very important fact that Timothy McVeigh was a former US soldier who served in the Gulf War.
— Waco. We burned kids, right? You can see flames shooting out of the tanks.
I don't know enough to answer.
— Is Bigfoot real?
I'm a size eleven myself.
— Is there a God?
I think so, in some form.
... What makes you think that?
There is no scientific anwer to the question of "why do we exist?".
Science can track everything from the moment of the Big Bang, butcan't explain why there was anything to bang in the first place.
This indicates that there are cosmic mysteries we haven't yet solved.
I identify our cosmic source as God.
NAD: Do you have hope in Obama?
Why? Why not?
He appears to have good judgement, excellent leadership skills and the right priorities for his presidency.
I love it that he's trying to reach out beyond party lines, confronting the prejudices and parochial attitudes of both the right and the left.
I think he is more moderate than most people think, and I like a moderate President.
NAD: Do you have hope in John Updike?
As a book critic, absolutely. The guy is magic.
As a novelist, I don't think he's written anything good since "Gertrude and Claudius".
But that wasn't so long ago. Sure, he may write a couple more good novels.
I hope so.
NAD: Do people still read?
Are bookstores going away? Books?
Does it matter?
People still read every bit as much as they ever did.
My own children prove this to me — they are avid readers.
I hope bookstores don't go away, because Barnes and Noble and Borders have the best public
restrooms in Manhattan.
Books are in absolutely no danger of going away, or becoming less important, unless the world ends.
NAD: Tell us more about yourself, if you would.
[You don't have to answer all of these, or any, we are just very, very curious it seems.]
Your family, your pets, your bumper stickers, your buttons, the things stuck to your refrigerator.
I have a big happy extended family — actually several.
We get together often and they have been very supportive of me throughout my life.
I'm recently married and have a new 11-year old stepdaughter along with my own three kids. No pets, though I married into two cats and I used to have a cat named Happy.
No bumper sticker or buttons.
Many magnets of cool places I've been on the fridge.
NAD: Sweatpants or pajamas, T-shirts or tie?
If you were a member of the cast of Northern Exposure, who would you be?
Never watched the show.
I like to dress lightly, sleeveless t-shirtsand comfortable shorts when I'm at home. Hate suits and ties with a passion.
NAD: You've got five minutes to grab free music from Sam Ash Music.
Are you headed straight to the John Prine section, or Jerry Jeff Walker? Guy Clark? Natalie Merchant, Alanis Morisette?
None of the above.
I generally listen to three kinds of music: gangsta rap, classic rock and classic Broadway show tunes.
My rock and Broadway collections are fairly complete, but there's a lot of great hiphop I don't yet own, so that's the section I'd head for.
NAD: Okay, just quickly, give us your favorite one liner from The Big Lebowski and we'll leave you alone.
Hate to tell you, I never saw the movie.
NAD: Oh, just one more thing. [Remember Columbo?]
Does your favorite coffee cup have words on it? What are they?
Hate to tell you, even though I watched it as a kid, I barely remember Columbo either.
My favorite coffee cup says "Hot Java" — that is, from Sun Microsystems original release of the Java operating system, which they must have given to at one of the many companies where I was
a Sun customer.
NAD: What did you absolutely have to get done by noon today?
NAD: How about by Christmas 2009?
Write my memoir.
NAD: What else would you like to add? What else should I have asked?
You did good.
NAD: Please insert a link here to something you would like linked to, with a brief tag re: where that link goes:
Hmm. At the risk of being obvious ... http://litkicks.com
NAD: Thank you.
Thanks to you too.
If you search the archives below, you will find, in a sort of order [last to first], interviews with:
Geov Parrish, Seattle journalist, activist
Bill Polonsky, Yukon 9/11 Truth
Daphne Webb, Denver writer, activist, green wedding planner
Michael Boldin, a populist blooms in L.A.
Greg Mitchell, editor of Editor & Publisher magazine
Will Braun, editor of Geez Magazine,
Ben Heine, political artist in Belgium
Matt Sullivan, editor of The Rock Creek Free Press
Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review
Jarek Kupsc, 9/11 Truth filmmaker, "The Reflecting Pool"
Bill O'Driscoll, arts editor, Pittsburgh City Paper
Gerry McCarthy, editor of The Social Edge
Jim Cullen, editor of The Progressive Populist magazine
Bartcop, old-school blogger from Tulsa
Lee Rayburn, radio show host from Madison, Wisconsin
Aimee England, bookseller in Michigan
Al Markowitz, poet for the working woman & man
Timbre Wolf, a Tulsa peace minstrel goes to Hawaii
Steven Stothard, a radical grows in Indiana
Dale Clark, an artist in the desert
Jacqui Devenuau, Green Party organizer in Maine
Don Harkins, co-editor of The Idaho Observer
Stewart Bradley, independent film producer
Rick Smith, Cleveland area radio host
William P. Meyers, independent book publisher, political activist
Ian Woods, Canadian publisher, 9/11 Truth activist
Richard D. Brinkman, Edmonton, Canada 9/11 Truth
Lynn Berg, New York City actor
Alejandro Rojas, of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network
Brian Kasoro, publisher of The Liberator magazine
Brother Raymond, walked from Denver to D.C., for truth
Korey Rowe, one of the producers of Loose Change
Dave Zweifel, editor of The Madison Capital Times
Cathleen Howard, expatriate, from Tucson to Mexico, to pursue her dreams
Sander Hicks, Brooklyn radical entrepreneur, writer, publisher
Joe Bageant, America's blue-collar author
Frida Berrigan, a lifetime of faith, hope and love
Denise Diaz, brewing up a revolution, at The Ritual Cafe in Des Moines
Deanna Taylor, Green Party activist, teacher, in Salt Lake City
Rossie Indira-Vltchek, writer, filmmaker in Jarkarta, Indonesia
Nora Barrows-Friedman, Pacifica reporter in Gaza
Delaney Bruce, Friends of Peltier
Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs
Michael Sprong, South Dakota Catholic Worker
Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker
Bob Graf, One of the Milwaukee 14
Loren Coleman, Bigfoot researcher
Monty Borror, Sci-Fi artist from Virginia
David Ray, Great American Poet
Jack Blood, radio show host, in Austin, Texas
Danny Schechter, A Real Reporter
Bob Kincaid, host, Head-On Radio Show
Tony Packes, Animal Farm Radio Host, Keeping An Eye on Big Brother
Richard Flamer, Working With the Poor in Chiapas
David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Truth activist author
Barry Crimmins, U.S. comedian, author, social activist
Bret Hayworth, political reporter for the Sioux City [IA] Journal
Lisa Casey, publisher of website All Hat No Cattle
Joe & Elaine Mayer, activist couple in Rochester, Minnesota
Fr. Darrell Rupiper, U.S. priest revolutionary
Whitney Trettien, MIT student, Green Party activist
Meria Heller, radio show host
Phil Hey, professor, poet
John Crawford, book publisher
Steve Moon, Iowa Bigfoot researcher
Carol Brouillet, California social activist, 9/11 Truth
Russell Brutsche, Santa Cruz artist
Kevin Barrett, professor, radio show host, 9/11 Truth activist
A'Jamal Rashad Byndon, social activist in Omaha
Chris Rooney, Vancouver, Canada Catholic Worker, website publisher
Marc Estrin, political novelist, from the left
Peter Dale Scott, poet, professor, author, activist
Anthony Rayson, anarchist zine publisher, works with prisoners
Alice Cherbonnier, editor of The Baltimore Chronicle, an independent newspaper