Home No. 5

Hi, I'm Jami Attenberg. I write books, and much, much more. My fourth book, The Middlesteins, came out in 2012. You can order it here or here. My fifth book, Saint Mazie, will be published in 2015.

Also I like dogs and fighting crime.

This is the fifth place to find me on the internet. Please don't tell me I need a sixth.

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With a fifty-dollar-a-month rent-regulated East Village apartment, I could write one lucrative article for a mainstream magazine and support myself for weeks or even months while I did what I liked, whether that meant writing for countercultural publications that couldn’t pay or going to political meetings. When I did have jobs, I didn’t worry overmuch about losing them, and so felt no impulse, let alone need, to kiss anyone’s ass. There was always another job, or another assignment. At one point, while I was living with a group of people in Colorado, the money I made writing (sporadically) about rock for the New Yorker was supporting my entire household.

Since the early ’70s, however, the symbiosis has been working in reverse: a steady decline in Americans’ standard of living has fed political and cultural conservatism, and vice versa. Just as the widespread affluence of the post–World War II era was the product of deliberate social policy—an alliance of business, labor, and government aimed at stabilizing the economy and building a solid, patriotic middle class as a bulwark against Soviet Communism and domestic radicalism—the waning of affluence has reflected the resolve of capital to break away from this constraining alliance.

Scratch magazine excerpted one of the most frighteningly relevant essays in “The Essential Ellen Willis.” So happy it will be online forevermore! (via theothernwa)

How much time writers used to have to work on pieces has become a sort of obsession for me. I keep fantasizing about having a month to work on something — maybe only a 2000- or 3000-word thing. As an experiment (necessarily on my own time, fit into little holes between the very long days I tend to work), I’d love to write even one piece this way, committing myself to taking 160 or more hours on it, just to see how it would come out.

(via judyxberman)

Most writers I know could give a shit about ever owning their own home or taking a fancy vacation somewhere. All they want is the time to do their own work. Time is our modern luxury.

(via judyxberman)



You like mail and signed books, right? Right! These wonderful authors would be delighted to help you with that. Preorder their books now, get ‘em signed, sealed, and delivered to your door when they come out:

Reminder! May approacheth, and we’ve added Cora Carmack (All Lined Up, May 13) to the roster!

Support everyone everywhere.


This super drunk girl’s date left before the movie even started. 

This is my new favorite tumblr.


Kermit Ruffins, “Sunny Side of the Street” (KDHX Studio, July 2013) - EASTER SUNDAY MUSIC (Big Easy edition)! There’s a popular historical narrative to the evolution of New Orleans music, how it mirrored and fueled the American century, while still retaining a local humanism and connection to the past much of the rest of our society loses with regularity. I’m sure the story is, for some, old hat at this point. But to a visitor, actually witnessing it first-hand, compacted into a 90-minute stretch of a random Thursday late-afternoon in the Crescent City, is jaw-dropping.

Here was a free-concert in a city park that billed together a modern bounce artist (5th Ward Weebie), a local high-school marching band (Landry-Walker), and a modern New Orleans blower (trombonist/singer Glen David Andrews), like it was naturally part of the same extended idea (which it is) and often acknowledged as such (almost never). Weebie opened with a short-set that included his current hit “Let Me Find Out” (more about bounce in 2014 coming up), but the marching band that followed was beyond revelatory. It was a fourteen-strong drums and cymbals corps, directed by a t-shirt-clad drum-major standing to the side, barking rhythmic orders, essentially calling “next.” And the strings of rhythmic phrases the group spelled out were basically a shorthand history of NOLA drumming, from second-line and Satchmo’s man Baby Dodds, through to Earl Palmer and Mannie Fresh. Including one particularly spectacular breakbeat-loop aside that sounded, for all intents and purposes, like parts of Hawtin’s “Spastik”

As an experience it was hard to top; yet, beat it (or match that beat) we tried, wandering over to the beginning Kermit Ruffins’ gig at the newly reopened Mother-In-Law Lounge. (Traveling with a 3yr-old, you take what you can get.) It’s a legendary spot on N. Clairborne beneath I-10, opened by the singer Ernie K Doe in the 1990s, and named after his massive 1961 hit. Even after Ernie shuffled off this mortal coil in 2001, his widow Antoinette continued to operate the two-room spot with the stripper pole next to the bar-tables and the street-side barbecue in front; it became an institution/destination you go to hear and see immortals in, while getting sauced (or whatever your preference) while trying not to piss-off the locals (who still packed the joint). Since Antoinette passed away, and following a protracted civic…ummm…negotiation, Kermit Ruffins, massively popular local trumpeter and beloved media-friendly citizen of the Crescent City, bought the place, and holds court (at least) weekly, on Thursdays at 6p (toddlers kinda welcome, as long as you keep ‘em away from the bar and the scary drunks). For $10, one of the best jazz trumpeters in the world fronted a quartet (same one as in the video above, I believe), playing covers of songs Louis Armstrong recorded, skatting in a voice warmly ravaged by weed, taking solos and selfies, and continuing a tradition, or maybe more to the point, refusing to let an idea die. It was a lesson — an awe-inspiring lesson. 

So, yeah Easter Sunday, a day to make note of rebirth and of refusing a sometimes-great notion pass simply away. What better day to celebrate the sun coming back out.

Happy 4/20

Red Hook Sunday.

Ain’t gonna lie, I’ll be happy to be done with this sucker so I can move this stack off the desk — just so I can start a whole new stack. It’s gonna be a few more weeks I think. Line edits are coming on Monday. But now I’m just tweaking things. Now it’s just the finer points. Nearly done.

This is great. Smart, interesting, inspiring.

Friday night.