This morning on The Madeline Brand Show, Madeline spoke with LA based artist and author Lou Beach on a new project he has completed, a collection of micro-stories and collages entitled 420 Characters. The conversation they had was so intriguing and fun and 420 sounded so genius that it required quick Googling on the project, which you guys have to hear about.
First off, no, the “420” is in no way reference to marijuana or any sort of drugs and the “characters” that use them. Instead, the title is in reference to the 420 character limit of Facebook status updates. Using that contraint as a prompt, Beach made his own almost technologic literary form. The stories span across many different subjects, from common daily faux pas to fantastic persons who have finches on their heads to Ikea as a mythical creation. They are all extremely well written and witty, making you wonder, “Well. I wasted all those status updates on such trivialities.”
420 is also picking up much steam and attention, which is why there is a page of recordings of stories on the website with readings by actor Jeff Bridges, actor Ian McShane, and musician Dave Alvin. Definitely take a listen to these quick, thirty second tales and get a taste of Beach’s writing style and what exactly the subject matters are.
Littered throughout the book are some of Beach’s collage pieces. Beach–whose work you are probably familiar with, as he’s done many record covers and illustrations for very popular publications–creates really “old fashion” pieces, that marry the visual lexicon from the 1950s (and, sometimes, earlier time periods). He mashes them together to create these fantasy beings and situations that pair well with his written works.