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Ben Greenman (born September 28, 1969) is an American novelist, short story writer, humorist, and magazine editor.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Works
- 3 Bibliography
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Greenman was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Miami, Florida. He attended Miami Palmetto High School and then Yale University where he worked on the Yale Herald. After Yale, he worked as a film critic at the Miami New Times, and then moved to New York City to work as a freelance writer and editor. His journalism has appeared in such magazines as Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Time Out New York, "The Forward" and other publications. In 2000, he joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine.
Superbad / Superworse
Greenman's first book of fiction, Superbad, was published by McSweeneys Press in 2001. The book is a collection of stories, most humorous, dealing with such issues as creativity, originality, and pop culture while also experimenting with fictional forms. Superworse, published by Soft Skull Press in 2004, reworked some of the material from Superbad while at the same time adding a more novelistic structure to the book, mostly through the editorial interventions of a character named Laurence Onge, an intrusive editor who bears some resemblance to Vladimir Nabokov's Charles Kinbote.
A Circle Is...
A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories About Human Love, Greenman's third book and second collection of short fiction, was published in the spring of 2007 by MacAdam Cage, a San Francisco-based independent publishing company.
In 2008 Hotel St. George press released a handmade and letterpress-printed edition of his book Correspondences. The book, made by a letterpress studio called Blue Barnhouse, features an intricate book casing that unfolds to reveal three accordion books and a postcard which allows the reader to contribute to the story; the casing has part of the story on it as well. The first printing of the book is a limited edition; the project has already been reviewed (favorably) by the Los Angeles Times and Time Out. Stories from or connected to Correspondences have appeared or will appear in McSweeney's, OneStory, and the L Magazine.
Please Step Back
In spring 2009, Greenman published a novel entitled Please Step Back with Melville House Publishing. The novel, which tells the story of a fictional funk-rock star who shares some characteristics with such real-world celebrities as Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye, and Curtis Mayfield, was praised by Time, New York, The Village Voice, the Miami Herald, Publishers Weekly, and other publications.
For Please Step Back, Greenman also recorded a theme song in collaboration with the funk-rock cult figure Swamp Dogg.
What He's Poised To Do
In fall 2009 Greenman signed with Harper Collins: the first book will be What He's Poised To Do, an expanded paperback based on the material from Correspondences. In advance of the book's June 2010 publication date, Greenman launched a blog called LettersWithCharacter.com, which invites readers to compose letters to their favorite fictional characters. The book was named one of the best books of the year by several critics, including Steve Almond.
In October 2010 Harper Perennial published Celebrity Chekhov, a book of short stories in which he replaced Anton Chekhov's characters with contemporary celebrities. He launched the book with an event the Powerhouse arena with the author Neil Strauss.
"The McSweeney's Book of Politics and Musicals"
In July 2012, Vintage Books published "The McSweeney's Book of Politics and Musicals," a collection of satirical pieces about American politics that included contributions from many writers, the actors Jesse Eisenberg and Ellie Kemper, and others. Greenman's work provided the anchor for the book, with a half-dozen of his celebrity musicals (see Other Projects, below) and a half-dozen paradoxical infographics.
In May 2013, Harper Perennial will publish "The Slippage," a novel about a suburban couple facing a crisis in their marriage. The book also incorporates various humorous meta-charts that Greenman has created and posted online; within the book, they were created by one of the main characters. Some of those graphs are also posted online at the I Love Charts blog or at McSweeney's.
Greenman has also ghostwritten the memoirs for noted entertainment figures like Gene Simmons of KISS (Kiss and Make-Up) and Simon Cowell of American Idol (I Don't Mean to Be Rude, But...). In late 2012, it was announced that Greenman would be collaborating with Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the drummer of The Roots and the bandleader for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, on Thompson's memoir, "Mo' Meta Blues." Following the release of that book, Greenman began work on the memoir of George Clinton, the founder of P-Funk.
In addition to his books, Greenman has penned a series of musicals that reflect on current-events happenings of the day (one recent example, If I Did It! The Musical, responds to the news that O.J. Simpson planned to publish a book speculating on the murder of his ex-wife Nicole, and others retell the stories of the racehorse Barbaro, the feud between Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell, and the troubles surrounding Britney Spears). He has also invented the Conceptual Art Registry (in which he generates hundreds of ideas for conceptual art shows and then licenses them to young artists) and authored a series of epistolary stories that challenge the validity of commentary by the conservative talk-show host Sean Hannity. As a collaborative artist, he has worked with the band One Ring Zero, with the poet Mary Anfinsen, with the singer/songwriter Boyce Day, and others. He is also the inventor of 3*TYPE, a revolutionary three-dimensional typographical process announced in McSweeney's in March 2010.
At the 2007 The New Yorker Festival, Greenman moderated a panel discussion on superheroes in popular culture with Tim Kring, the creator of the NBC series Heroes; the comic-book artist and writer Mike Mignola; the comic-book writer Grant Morrison; and the novelist Jonathan Lethem. He also conducted an onstage interview and performance with the indie rock trio Yo La Tengo. At the 2008 festival he interviewed the horror movie directors Wes Craven and Hideo Nakata.
At the 2007 edition of Litquake, the San Francisco literary festival, Greenman moderated an onstage event, the Literary Death Match, for Opium Magazine; participants included the novelist Wesley Stace and the eventual winner, the author Daniel Handler. He is also the regular judge for the Literary Upstart live fiction event sponsored by the New York-based L magazine.
Greenman has been involved in the Significant Objects project run by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn, contributing multiple pieces to the site and the book, proposing theme weeks, and more. He presented a piece at Walker's invitation at the Museum of Modern Art in 2011.
Greenman appeared on the WYNC Soundcheck radio program's Animating Music: Cartoon Rock to discuss the evolution of cartoon rock (such as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Gorillaz and Studio Killers) on August 26, 2011. He was joined by Britta Phillips and Brendon Small.
Greenman maintains his own website, www.bengreenman.com, which formerly purported to be a community bank but does not any longer.
- The Slippage (2013)
- Please Step Back (2009)
- Superworse (2004)
Short Story Collections
- Celebrity Chekhov (2010)
- What He's Poised To Do (2010)
- Correspondences (2008) -- Includes the Postcard Project.
- A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both (2007)
- Superbad (2001)
- Significant Objects: The Book (2012)
- The McSweeneys Book of Politics and Musicals (2012)
- I Love Charts! The Book (2012)
- Cassette From My Ex (2009)
- Rock and Roll Cage Match (2008)
- Stumbling and Raging: More Politically Inspired (2006)
- Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans (2005)
- The Encyclopedia of Exes: 26 Stories by Men of Love Gone Wrong (2005)
- May Contain Nuts (2005)
- Politically Inspired (2003)
- 101 Damnations (2002)
- More Mirth of a Nation (2002)
- Mirth of a Nation (2000)
- Mo' Meta Blues (with Questlove) (2013)
- I Don't Mean To Be Rude But... (with Simon Cowell) (2003)
- KISS and Make-Up (with Gene Simmons) (2002)
- Greenman, Ben (2 January 2012). "Critic's Notebook: A Particular Place". The New Yorker 87 (42): 8. (Chuck Berry)
- Almond, Steve (20 June 2010). "'What He's Poised to Do,' by Ben Greenman - LATimes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- "Ben Greenman". WNYC. August 26, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2012.