Earlier this month, local bookstore/indieculture mecca Reading Frenzy (921 SW Oak) posted a worrisome plea for help on its website, saying ominously that "a series of unfortunate events, both business and personal, have brought us to a critical juncture and we need your support to see us through." Proprietress Chloe Eudaly then encouraged customers to help keep the shop alive by buying a few extra books this month, becoming a member of the store, or proposing a fundraiser to buoy the shop. When asked for details on Reading Frenzy's woes, Eudaly sent the Mercury a thorough account of the store's increasing obstacles, including a general ebb in business, mounting debts, a forthcoming rent increase, and growing obligations involving Eudaly's disabled child. Read Eudaly's State of the Store address right here, but first, head to Reading Frenzy and pick up a few of their amazing books and periodicals.
Speaking of zine-y stuff, not everyone is buying Joe Biel's excuse to move Microcosm Press to Bloomington, Indiana. In both the Mercury and the Oregonian, Biel cited his disgust with local gentrification as his reason to pull up stakes, but former associates are saying that there are other reasons that Biel is not being forthcoming about. People close to Microcosm have suggested that the move came about largely because of the dissolution of Biel's marriage: In the split, Biel's ex-wife, Alex Wrekk, got the couple's house and Biel got the business, which he then opted to move to Bloomington. Marital splits are ugly, but some have described Biel's public excuse for the move to be "more than a little manipulative, and less than totally honest."
In cheerier news, Kevin Sampsell—founder of Future Tense Publishing Company, tireless author, curator of Powell's small press section—is getting a big (cashless) award at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center's Do North Gala, this Sunday, April 1. Says IFCC's Creative Director Adrienne Flagg, "Not only is Kevin a wonderful artist himself, but he also reaches out to other writers to bring them along and give them opportunities. So many times as artists, we get wrapped up in our own world and forget that part of the success of our own world involves making it better for those around us." The Do North Gala and event is totally free, but reservations are required at 823-4322.
Scott Moore contributed to this story.