Sunday, September 23, 2018

To be Santa you have to be tested by Joe Donohoe (2002)

To be Santa you have to be tested
Joe Donohoe
little vanity press
San Francisco, CA

When I was in Toronto over the summer I happened across books by Canadian writers Liz Worth and John L'ecuyer dealing with "cool fringe" culture : drugs and music, but mostly drugs. So when I found this tiny sliver of nothing, the chapbook by Joe Donohoe, I thought of the cool Canadians. This one though wasn't quite the others. Reminds me of that Sesame Street tone "One of these things is not like the other". Indeed. Not that the writing is terrible because it does fit what the Canadian writers were portraying. It's that the presentation was god-awful.

So, I found Donohoe's chapbook on a shelf behind a front row of books, and it didn't stand out so much as I was intrigued by the thinness of it. I recognize a chapbook when I see it. This staple bound effort is completely slap-dash in the most kind was of saying it. There are illustrations in the book but they didn't distract from the absolute primitiveness of the book's appearance. They actually make it more blatant since the illustrations look like they were photocopied poorly and simply put in as pixelated and gray and dirty as they were. Plus each illustration has the title of the book above the image. Like I would be confused or something? I am holding a wreck of a chapbook, I know what I am holding. I half expect it to vomit on me at each turn of the page. Like a chapbook form of a bad punk music show where a speaker falls on a teenage girl and splits her head open. Gushing blood and puke and boy did you see that, dude, that was awesome! (except it wasn't) And neither is this chapbook but not everyone feels like way about his work! A different chapbook by Donohoe was actually distributed by Last Gasp. He's a niche artist, it seems. Not my niche, sorry.

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