Mudd Up Book Clubb: FRAN ROSS – OREO

There’s a larger story to be told about how the Mudd Up Book Clubb met at Brazenhead, the best bookstore in the world, for nearly 4 years! About how Michael had to leave Brazenhead’s secret apartment location (& how I recorded its silence — a shareable portrait of the clandestine bookshop’s unique acoustic space)… but we’ll save that for later. Because the September Mudd Up Book Clubb selection is a whopper .

Back in 1974 Fran Ross published a great American novel. Oreo. An unruly picaresque. Black, Jewish, steeped in Greek myth and profane jokes gassed by polystylistic riffs, with Yiddish in spades and a masterful use/abuse of language at the heart of it.

How did Oreo not become an instant classic, revising the way we think of contemporary lit lineages? For all those selfsame reasons it seems.

When the book failed to make waves, Ross moved to LA — to write comedy for Richard Pryor. This actually happened. I love this woman.

So — let’s read her only book. New Directions recently re-republished it. This September we’ll meet at a post-Brazenhead location to discuss what happens when a hyperintelligent writer decides that there is no reality outside of language and that the Lawd/Jehovah gave us tongues so we could wisecrack and hoot. Shaking up our canons in the best possible way.


Radio is in my blood. After 5 years of hosting a show on WFMU, and some time off, I’m ready to return. If you enjoyed Mudd Up! then you’ll like what’s to come… This fall I’m starting a new podcast, and am looking for a New York City based production assistant.

WANTED: a media producer/arts journalist with experience editing audio interviews and doing storytelling with sound. Duties include: artist and label liaison, audio editing/production, dealing with metadata/FTPing/etc., & research. I’m not after a musician (or DJ), although familiarity with new & old music is a big plus.

The time commitment will hover around 5 hours a week. We’ll need to meet twice a month in NYC, although much of the work can be done remotely. There is a monthly honorarium. This position makes the most sense for someone who is excited to work with me and get some flexible-yet-focused experience producing an exciting, unruly podcast about exciting, unruly music.
I am a benevolent dictator and an equal opportunity employer.

Interested? Tell me why with some examples of what you do. Email: radio at jaceclayton dot com