Propeller No. 8, Summer 2011
Q&A's with Neal Pollack, Channing Frye, Grant Brisbee, and Jackie Stiles. Nico Alvarado and Geoff Hilsabeck on Glass Joe. Derek Stackhouse on foul balls. Touchstones from Keri Thomas, Matthew Hein, and others. Fiction by Chris Leslie-Hynan, poems from Kevin Gonzalez & Michael Anichini.
Neal Pollack Writes Jewball
a craft Q&A
When Neal Pollack announced that he would be publishing his next book, Jewball, straight to the Kindle, the author whose first book was The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature: The Collected Writing of Neal Pollack did so with characteristic boldness: he said so in The New York Times Book Review. The author of Alternadad and Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude responds to questions on Jewish domination of early pro basketball, the pleasures of reading and writing noir, and the potentials of digital publishing in the era of e-readers.
Touchstone: Abebe Bikila
by Will Jones
"I first heard Mingus's 'Better Git It In Your Soul' in 1960 when I was eleven-years-old. It changed my life. I became an instant jazz fan and have remained a fan ever since. How many life changing experiences can an eleven-year-old have in one year? In my case, two."
Channing Frye Kicks It City to City
a sports Q&A
Channing Frye is a six-year veteran in the NBA who currently plays center and power forward for the Phoenix Suns. From 2007 to 2009, his smooth jump shot and companionable demeanor made him a fan favorite on the Portland Trail Blazers. Channing still lives in Portland during the off-season, and hosts charitable events both in Portland and in Phoenix. We asked him to compare these two cities the only way that makes sense: through analogy.
Grant Brisbee and Moniker Madness
a sports Q&A
The author of the freewheeling San Francisco Giants blog McCovey Chronicles chats with us about baseball nicknames. "Dave Parker's nickname was 'Cobra,' which is pretty badass. It's on the list of nicknames you'd probably give yourself if no one was looking. Ron Cey's nickname was 'The Penguin,' which doesn't make sense until you see him run."
Touchstone: Nadia Comaneci
by Keri Thomas
"It had become a familiar Nadia narrative: the schizophrenia of state neglect and control, the see-saw of physical depletion and regeneration, life-saving mental fortitude and, finally: transcendence."
Touchstone: Bud Harrelson
by Matthew Hein
"With my mom standing somewhere behind me, I picked that book off the shelves of a public library in the Pacific Northwest of the late 1970s. Bud Harrelson's self-identification as a 'little guy' in his introduction got me right away. He wrote that 'big guys,' around '180 pounds,' play other positions, but that a slick-fielding little guy could play shortstop."
by Dan DeWeese
Is Michael Ritchie, Robert Redford, and Gene Hackman's 1969 film about downhill skiing the quintessential sports film of "The New Hollywood"? If so, why has it been ignored for forty years?
by Nico Alvarado and Geoff Hilsabeck
"How can a figure of irredeemable degradation not yield anything real? I went and watched Little Mac KO Joe on YouTube. It took me back: Joe's worried eyes and bad hairdo over his bulging pecs and six-pack; Joe's worried eyes bugging out with each body blow; the spongy bleeps thereof. Man, the monotony of the beatdown."
Fear of a Little White Sphere
by Derek Stackhouse
"One strange story involves Richie Ashburn, who in 1957 struck Alice Roth twice with two separate foul liners. As she was being helped to the exit after the first ball, the second hit her in the back."
Touchstone: Anderson Hunt
by Chris Leslie-Hynan
"I wanted to be one of the true Rebels, the black rebels. I didn't want to be Greg Anthony or Stacy Augmon, who were nondescript to my eye, nor did I want to be Larry Johnson, even though he was the star. I wanted to be Anderson Hunt."
Fiction: "Calyph in Walworth"
by Chris Leslie-Hynan
"We went from room to room and had a little tour. In the living room Calyph bent to look at the framed picture of my uncle with Robin Yount, and one of the cats leapt across the room to collapse on his foot. He lifted the little thing with one hand and set it backwards over his shoulder with an abstracted air."
Jackie Stiles Played the Underdog
a sports Q&A
"A couple of my big goals were to play D1 basketball, play pro, and make the Olympics. Also growing up--I never verbalized this--but in my mind I wanted to be the best to ever play the game as a female."
Touchstone: Brian Holman and Ken Phelps
by Andy Stallings
"The subject (singular) is Brian Holman, 25 years and 2 months old, born in Denver, raised in Wichita. Brown-haired, handsome, an adversary to the Oakland A's, called here the 'home' team, and to the majority of the 44,000 spectators reported to be in attendance. The subject is Ken Phelps, the batter at the plate, wearer of glasses and distinctive mustache."