Thursday, December 31, 2009

dorky reading suggestion

The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox = just enchanting. I never thought to read anything as fanciful and touching as Ernest Bramah again, but the The Bridge of Birds, the first of these three novels (in an omnibus edition, signed by author and illustrator) is just as lovely and funny, and as richly enjoyable in its own way. If you're at all interested in speculating on collectible stuff, I think it's a very good bet that these will become very much sought after, in time. (Collectible books are going for a song right now in nearly every category, to be sure.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

an awesome surprise.

The Awl published my review of Avatar today. Somebody pinch me! That is so neat.


Friday, December 18, 2009

bow down, dork faithful.

Words cannot describe how I agree with this man (not the part about tying people up in the basement! The part about The Phantom Menace.) How I admire him and his mush-mouthed, deadpan delivery. Ah, me. Who is Rick Berman?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

paul rudd: big dork

Kind of Elvisy! Love him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

yay baby beat box girl is a super dork

... to say nothing of her parents.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dorks and the books they've been reading.

Booksquawk is the name of a new blog from a wonderfully diverse bunch of writers (self included) that provides casual, personal reviews and commentary on books new and old.

This week's "Featured Review" is made of awesome. It's a barnburning disquisition on Conan the Barbarian, by a bizarre and wonderful Englishman named Pat Black.

Monday, October 26, 2009

from new zealand via germany

My friend Amy writes: "Fellow dorks, I have found our king."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

dorkismo t-shirts!

Available in S,M,L,XL. They are very cute I must say. $18, or $25 for the soft heather one. Please email me for information on how to order.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a terrific dork r.i.p.

Brendan Mullen died just a few days ago of a stroke. I knew him a little through his lovely companion, Kateri Butler, a dear friend. I was very, very proud and thrilled that he liked Dorkismo ... surprised he'd read it, even, he was such a busy guy. I say a terrific dork because, groovy as he was (c'est à dire, ridiculously,) he really did not give two pins if anyone thought so or not. His enthusiasms were powerful and infectious, and he had the most winning expression of pop-eyed amazement I've ever seen, which would cross his pale, lively, mobile face about five times a minute. I liked him such a lot, and am very sorry he's gone.

A lot of tributes to him have been posted recently, and this is my favorite one.

Yogurt-tub musical splendor.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Captain Kirk is climbing the mountain

(He wants to make love to the mountain.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

steve almond, candydork

Candyfreak : A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America Candyfreak : A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Steve Almond is gloriously obsessed with candy, but this book isn't really about candy. It's more like a series of essays about (1) obsessives--really dorky obsessives, actually, which is why I was so attracted to it--and (2) the sad state of our destructive, oppressive corpocracy; it's a very political book. But these topics are sweetened with an absolute ton of candy.

Mr. Almond's style is super modern, self-deprecatingly confessional in the manner of Franzen or Wallace, rather than in the more stand-up, Sedaris way. Those who like this sort of thing will be pleased, and those who don't, won't. I myself love Almond's discursiveness, his candor and hyperbole. He's very funny, as well, and thoughtful; and though one grows rather tired of rants against the Evil Corporation, it can't be denied that the candy industry has been decimated by those very villains, as what hasn't?

The biggest treat here, surprisingly, is Almond's near-miraculous gift for food writing. I'm a cookbook collector and a pretty keen home cook, and for reals, this guy's food writing is quite up to the standard of Jonathan Gold or Ruth Reichl. I am very serious about this. He is so good that I hadn't even finished the book before barreling online to order a ton of the candy he describes, I kid you not. Here's an example:

Her bite was smooth and concerted--there was an obvious density at play here--though interrupted by two muted snaps, both of which caused her a quarter-moment of anguish, followed by a twinge of delight, registered as a flushing upon her cheeks. She moaned. It was a lovely thing to hear.

This reaction was, in my view, restrained [...:] There was caramel, obviously, but also roasted almonds and nuggets of dark chocolate. It was draped in a thin layer of milk chocolate. The interplay of tastes and textures was remarkable: the teeth broke through the milky chocolate shell, sailed through the mild caramel, only to encounter the smoky crunch of the almonds, and finally, the rich tumescence of the dark chocolate [...:] The sweetness of the milk chocolate rushed across the tongue, played against the musky crunch of the nut, then faded. The bite finished with an intense burst of dark chocolate, softened by the buttery dissolution of caramel ...

View all my reviews >>

(another goodreads review ...)

Monday, October 12, 2009

links, reviews and whatnot

articles online

Lethem v. Wood: Whose Fault Is It, Anyway? for The Awl
Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library, for The Awl
The Vicious Trademark Battle Over 'Keep Calm And Carry On', for The Awl
Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert, for The Awl
Inception review for The Awl
Avatar review for The Awl
well anyway, here is all my stuff for The Awl

"Poster Boys", New York Times, November 2, 2011

How Video Game Deaths Help Us Live, for Kotaku
I Was Long the Terror and Scourge of Mario Land. The Stalin of Marios. for Kotaku

notes on Roberto Bolaño's 2666
The Wonder of wallace-l, for Infinite Summer

with David Roth

Psychotic jest and infinite reactions: How David Foster Wallace didn’t invent the Internet’s voice, for Nieman Journalism Lab
Adam Gopnik And The Bourgeois Guillotine, for The Awl

interviews with maria bustillos

Dorkisma: an interview with Maria Bustillos
Erin Stropes,

The Art of Love with Lucia, regarding Act Like a Gentleman, Think Like a Woman

Chariots of the Pods? appearance on the Sarcastic Voyage Podcast

An Interview with Maria Bustillos
Marie Mundaca,

reviews of dorkismo: the macho of the dork

"[...] written with such delightful exuberance, familiar chattiness and obvious love for all things dork, you just want to eat it up with a spoon. Dorkismo celebrates the dorks among us, and the dork in all of us; and if you've never been a dork, you will so wish to be one, after reading this charming book. Maria Bustillos welcomes everyone under the vast and open-hearted dork umbrella."
Christie Mellor, author of The Three-Martini Playdate

"Dorkismo: the Macho of the Dork is pure gold. Don't just grab it for the David Foster Wallace chapter (good as it is) but for the celebration of everything that is dork."
Nick Maniatis, The Howling Fantods

"I'm a big ol' dork. Have been since childhood. But never really knew what a badge of honor the title was. Maria Bustillos's brilliant Dorkismo has convinced me once and for all to stop hiding my dork light under a bushel. The book is by turns serious and hysterical, and all the while engagingly written and with an important point to make: the beauty of the dork is her ability to be herself even in the face of what everyone else thinks -- and if we had a little more of that in the world, we'd all be better off. Two dork thumbs, way up."
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, author of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television

"Like the best American intellectuals (e.g., Tony Kushner or Mark Twain), Bustillos is less impressed by how smart she is (very!) than by how entertaining it is to think and say. Dorkismo is an intelligent, passionate and witty celebration of open-hearted goofiness (what Henry Fielding might call "benevolence"). In Bustillos' world view, the nemesis of "dorkismo" is crippling self-consciousness of the hip variety. If you've ever experienced such a thing (I could name my own name), then this book is your ticket to liberation, that is to say, self-acceptance. She wants us to love the things we love, without embarrassment, and get our kicks in joy instead of judgment. I say: Read it!"
Michael Mullen, The Size Queens

Sunday, October 11, 2009

grandma's boy

This irresistible story of the invincibility of an open heart is marred only by the viewer's doubts that you could still be cogent even if smoking that much weed. Otherwise the dialogue is gorgeous, and what awe-inspiring performances from everybody from Shirley Jones (buh-whaa!?) to the extraordinary Nick Swardson and Joel David Moore!!!! It got terrible reviews from almost everybody except AO Scott! Okay it is horribly vulgar, and dumb on purpose. And it is beautiful, charming, funny and inspiring, no lie.

(How much do clothes cost in the Matrix!? Snort.)

Please go and Netflix this movie forthwith.

about . contact

Hello there. I am Maria Bustillos, the author of Act Like a Gentleman, Think Like a Woman and Dorkismo, the Macho of the Dork. I can be found hither and yon all over the Internets.

email Maria Bustillos

or friend me on Facebook

alternatively, follow me on Twitter

Looking for ebook versions of my books?--please try Smashwords

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dorkisma: interview in Self-Publishing Review

YAY and thank you to Erin Stropes for this really fun interview. I quite like "Dorkisma" as a nickname, heh.

Monday, October 5, 2009

hilarious commentary on the 1980s



Saturday, October 3, 2009

will cuppy rules.

The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody: Great Figures of History Hilariously Humbled The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody: Great Figures of History Hilariously Humbled by Will Cuppy

If only this hilariously droll send-up of historical figures were used as a middle-school textbook, every kid would adore history and go on to become a genius. Cuppy worked on it for sixteen years; the history is meticulously researched, though his treatment of it is far from stuffy. The book was published posthumously in 1950, so you'd think the humor would be dated. Not so. It holds up spectacularly well. "Egypt has been called the Gift of the Nile," he begins. "Once every year the river overflows its banks, depositing a layer of rich alluvial soil on the parched ground. Then it recedes and soon the whole countryside, as far as the eye can reach, is covered with Egyptologists."

View all my reviews >>

(This is my first goodreads review. Kind of fun.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

nobody believed her.

Well I guess we believe you NOW.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ha ha hahahahaha

via Marie Mundaca to whom a big THANK YOU.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Most-quoted thing I ever wrote.

Years after its original publication (on Popula,) this thing is still linked a lot. It's been everywhere from Libération to Gawker.

Is Anna Wintour Satan?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the dork vision of ego plum

I have long been an ardent admirer of the composer Ego Plum. He has got the most magnificent radio program these days. Do have a go. There's also a Gogol-themed drama/marionette show or something that is opening here in Los Angeles in the next week or two and running through November; details on the website. I'll be going to that one fo sho. The poster has got a lovely slogan:

I choose crazy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A special kind of dork

God Loves Fag Hags (Like Me)

Don't get me wrong, I love straight men, too. Indeed I am incorrigibly straight myself. My sole attempt to rack up enough lesbian experience to qualify as elegantly bisexual was a fiasco, to put it mildly. But I am also a categorical, card-carrying, dyed-in-the wool fag hag. Therefore it was with a certain pique that I read in Salon some days ago that God hates me ("God Hates Fag Hags," Thomas Rogers, Salon 8/18/09.)

Mr. Rogers's basic premise is that society has outgrown fag hags. We are “retrograde,” apparently, by which I assume he means passé. Even though he claims that a lot of girls would like to be his fag hag (for reasons he himself cannot explain any more than I can,) he doesn’t want one. Well, Mr. Rogers is not required to have any fag hags draped over his arm at any cocktail party. He doesn't care for “fine furnishings” or “dance music,” evidently. He is “into dudes,” he says. He is certainly not the sort of fag I personally care to hag around with. (God, I hasten to add, is perfectly okay with him, I feel sure. If there is a God, we can take it as read that He loves everyone.)

Certain facts, despite our so-called progress, are not going to change. Such as, the fact that both straight women and gay men are in thrall to the straight men in a manner that goes far deeper than mere gender politics can ever touch. Or to be more exact, gay men and straight women are much like everyone else, in that we're held hostage by the force of our own sexuality.

Both gay men and straight women are irresistibly attracted to straight men, as Mr. Rogers astutely observes. Like it or not (and quite often, not,) a straight woman will experience an element of sexual tension in relation to almost any straight man, one that is not entirely comfortable, and it can't be wished away or ignored. Our relations with straight men are almost always going to be sexually fraught, somehow or other. The same—and here is the nettle that Mr. Rogers has entirely failed to grasp—is true of gay men. The possibility of a sexual angle to the relationship with a straight man is always, always on the table. We love them dearly, but straight men are our mutual cross to bear.

I submit that the cozy relations existing between straight women and gay men are predicated on the fact that that tension is entirely absent, not only for straight women, but for gay men, too. Together, we inhabit an oasis of blissfully un-fraught carefreedom, pleasure and loveliness. It is total relief from the idiotic conventions that elsewhere persecute us almost 24/7. If a gay man lights our cigarette or opens the door for us, we know he's not flirting. We don't have to make any aggravating calculations, figure out "how far to let it go." Our miniskirt will never be judged on anything but its cut and style, and whether or not it flatters us. Likewise, if a woman admires her gay male friend, there will be no need for him to worry about the possibility of a come-on in the offing. There will be no untoward remarks. Or that is, there will, but they will be funny, and not serious, and never require any battening down of the sexual hatches. Not for straight women, and not for gay men, either.

What I am trying to tell you is that the bond between gay men and straight women is not, as Rogers claims, based on an outmoded “outsiderhood.” It is, in fact, insiderhood, and of the most rarefied and pleasurable kind. I could care less what kind of watered-down version of this bond appears on TV shows like “Will & Grace,” or “Sex and the City,” which I wouldn’t watch on a bet. I don’t believe that gay men are all alike, either, as the obtuse females who have allegedly besieged Mr. R. with offers to “be his fag hag”—seriously?!—appear to have done. Now, that really would be “retrograde.” There have always been, and will always be, all kinds of gay men—macho, or fey, limp-wristed or musclebound; politically active, politically discreet; promiscuous or naturally chaste. I don’t doubt that even that very small subset of gay men that persists in detesting women and referring to them as “breeders” is as permanent as any other class of crazies.

I do not know why, so I can't tell you, but a lot of straight women and a lot of gay men really do tend to have certain fondnesses in common. We like art, literature, poetry, interior design. I am sorry, but we do. We like platform shoes, Ronald Firbank, absinthe, and crisply ironed shirts. We like tiny hors d'oeuvres, Paris, and Virginia Woolf. We will gladly spend the afternoon discussing Bernard Berenson or the wild history of the Pre-Raphaelites, looking at curtains, or having a leisurely brace of martinis at the latest watering-hole.

These are the things that any latter-day fag hag worthy of the name is sharing with the fags in her stable (and I am quite sure that the fags I love also consider their hags in this amiable light and yes, we do call each other Fag and Fag Hag—and did, long before Margaret Cho hepped the nation to this jovial practice—together with such friendly epithets as Hussy, Homo [for use in such phrases as, "Atta Homo!"], Strumpet, Jade, Harlot, and Nancy-Boy.) The whole point is that when we are together, we're miraculously liberated from the bullshit that surrounds most relations between the sexes. There is nothing the least bit PC about it, thank god. It's all just for fun--finally! The pressure is off, and we're just going to enjoy one another freely and without any kind of unpleasant innuendo (only pleasant innuendo.)

And so beautifully, so magically, there is so, so much to enjoy. The theatrical gesture, the favorite song in the nightclub that we race to the floor to dance to. It will not be taken wrong, or amiss, if one of us should profess to the other, "You are the Most Gorgeous Thing I have Ever Seen—I am so going to cry right now!" There will be eyebrows madly waggling at the sight of a particularly comely male arriving at the party. There will be tears shared when a boyfriend turns out to be a shmuck. And there will always, always be the innocent pleasures of music, art, literature and champagne to be enjoyed together, no matter what happens. That is a wonderful thing, Mr. R., and the fact that it doesn’t work for you is no reason to diss it for those others who may be differently abled.

Fortunately you won't be able to alter our immemorial bond, not if you had your life to live over a thousand times.

I was lucky enough to see Grace Jones at the Hollywood Bowl a couple of weeks ago. I'd been invited by my stepdaughter to join her and some friends that night to see not Miss Jones, but Of Montreal, whom I had managed to miss in London some days before. I had no idea that Of Montreal weren't the headliner until the day before the show.

"Why didn't you TELL ME THAT GRACE JONES WAS PLAYING?!" I bawled at my stepdaughter, aghast (and also, thrilled.)

"Who's Grace Jones?"

Who, indeed! Only the patron saint of fags and their hags. Only the Amazon queen, supermodel and Bond villainess, the living embodiment of all that was exotic, delightful and deranged about the 1980s.

As shocking as it was to learn that neither of my daughters knew who Grace Jones was, it was still more shocking to arrive at the Bowl and find that the eighties had returned for the evening in all their glory. We alighted out of the car and into a huge procession of all the fine gentlemen of the type we used to dance with at Studio One and the Stud, a little older now but in pleasingly excellent nick, a vast panorama of them, in a sea of Querelle caps and black leather, sequins—nay, paillettes!—Cuban heels, hip boots and feather boas, many of them already dancing to the Donna Summer that wafted out on a boombox from the picnic area outside. A disco whistle began its wild, syncopated shriek: a thing of beauty, and a joy forever. Soon I, too, would be dancing in the aisles!—a scant hour later, I texted my favorite fag and best friend in all the wide world,

Grace jones is about to come onstage, thinking of you my jamaican guy.

Soon the phone beeped back with his reply:

Ask her if she remembers mussing my hair in SF

Monday, September 7, 2009

dork WIN

Go Senator Franken!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rorty on Nietzsche: v. Dorky.

"[Nietzsche] saw self-knowledge as self-creation. The process of coming to know oneself, confronting one's contingency, tracking one's causes home, is identical with the process of inventing a new language--that is, of thinking up some n metaphors. For any literal description of one's individuality, which is to say any use of an inherited language-game for this purpose, will necessarily fail. One will not have traced that idiosyncrasy home but will merely have managed to see it as not idiosyncratic after all, as a specimen reiterating a type, a copy or replica of soemthing which has already been identified. To fail as a poet--and thus, for Nietzsche, to fail as a human being--is to accept somebody else's description of oneself, to execute a previously prepared program, to write, at most, elegant variations on previously written poems. So the only way to trace home the causes of one's being as one is would be to tell a story about one's causes in a new language."

from Richard Rorty's Contingency, irony, and solidarity.

Express Yourself: Lou Salomè lets Nietzsche have it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009



Sunday, August 30, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

dorky, or absolutely bonkers? you decide.

Ladies and gentlemen: MegaWhoosh.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to make a Steampunk Keyboard


Beautiful. Insane. Dorked out beyond all reckoning.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Real Don Steele

Lordy Lou it is the Dance Contest segment!!! Believe it or don't we teenagers thought this was the height of L.A. elegance ca. 1974. Also: Yay BTO.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Here is an Interview with the Author

Maria Bustillos,
interviewed at

Trees = awesome.

Ten of the Most Beautiful Trees in the World.

I've got a stepniece who is or maybe was scared of trees but these ones are so lovely!!?? Not scary.

Friday, July 31, 2009

my favorite blog

Maybe you guys are more hep to the jive than I am (v. likely) but if you haven't seen Margaret and Helen, you're in for a treat.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Insatiable need to see Saudi guys dancing.

Please forward more.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

a metal cello rock band from Finland

Apocalyptica: behold the dorkiest thing I have seen in weeks. Unfortunately no embeds allowed but well worth a stray click.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The nerd-in-chief

A few days ago the delightful John Hodgman spoke regarding our President, whom he calls the Nerd-in-Chief, on Olbermann via Huffington Post.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

my little zombie pony.

Yes, it's My Little Zombie Pony. So, there's this whole establishment simultaneously mocking and exalting the Keane aesthetic, as was prefigured in the movie Sleeper all those years ago. But I have to admit I still find it kind of irresistible.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Important Artifacts at Auction

Super awesome spoof auction catalogue from (real) Farrar, Straus Giroux catalogue. Reckoning ceramic poodles to be Important is sublime, as an aesthetic and cultural position and even as a moral one.


We don't need no bouillon let the m*f*er burn!

My friend Ken Smoker participates in this exciting event every year in Rochester, NY.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Large Hadron Rap

Please make sure to watch through to the end, because the credits are just divine.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In which David Foster Wallace suggests I am Fossilized, but in a Nice Way

It turns out that there is audio of the Wallace reading I describe briefly in Dorkismo. This is the audio of me asking him a question! I thought of using this for a ringtone as it is about the dorkiest thing ever, but it also makes me bawl, so I guess I'll just leave the Benny Hill theme song on there for now. You can download the whole reading (it's like an hour-long .mp3), so sad that he is gone but it is so good that we got to know him even for the short time that we could.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Laura Miller on Narnian economics

So Richard was telling me last night about his old friend Laura Miller, who has written a really good book about her lifelong relationship with Narnia. It's a grown-up book, not at all adorable or nostalgic, as you might assume from the subject. It's more about growing up reading, and it's really engaging and thoughtful so far; I haven't read the whole thing yet.

Anyway, Richard said that Laura M. gave a talk at the Los Angeles Public Library, an excerpt from which appears below--the part that he was telling me about:

Tolkien hated Narnia, because he was kind of a purist ... and he thought that all those different elements should not be mixed up all together, you know? Marmalade, like Mrs. Beaver bakes this marmalade roll and you kind of think, "Well, where did that marmalade come from?"

Because it's not like you can imagine Narnia having kind of surplus wealth and trading with some warm countries where oranges grew or god forbid, sugar!--and so it doesn't ...

I mean I have to say, I don't think that Middle-Earth is economically plausible, either.

Richard could barely talk, he was laughing so hard at this.

Me: Well, now, The Shire is economically viable, though ...

R.: Oh my god, I can't believe you're actually arguing about this.

Me: It is, though, seriously, they export smoke-leaf!!

R.: [guffawing] Wahhahahahahahaha!! Ho my god HA! HA!

Me: F. off! They totally do! In barrels!! Until it is all getting stolen by Saruman!


Me: Damn it!

R.: *rupture*

Me: But the Elves, though. Those Elves really are living on air.

a dork masterpiece

How wonderful was Laugh-In? Very, very wonderful. And this is maybe the loveliest thing ever to happen on that venerable show.