Journey Editions, the new arm of Charles E. Tuttle, debuts with an intriguing combination of art and fiction. Cult film star Woronov (Eating Raoul; Chelsea Girls) uses semisurreal short stories complemented by boldly expressionistic, angular paintings to depict a Los Angeles of rotting marriages, benumbed emotions and random sex and violence. It's an urban hell where nihilistic adolescents, sinister stepfathers, runaways, hookers, punks, girl gang members, speed freaks, alcoholics, shoplifters, androgynous dancers and wannabes transplanted from Ohio scavenge an empty spiritual landscape for kicks or signs of renewal. Some of the pieces offer slyly funny, anecdotal, vignettes; others record nocturnal dreams or waking nightmares; still others are disquieting prose poems. In one, a neglected woman feels herself vanishing because she exists only to the extent that others think about her; in another, a couple having sex in a toxic government dump strewn with tumors is attacked by mutated, man-eating stray dogs. All of the tales were written specifically to accompany the paintings (reproduced in 130 color plates), and although the off-the-shelf decadence and anomie soon pall, there is pleasure in watching Woronov's imagination feverishly teasing stories from the canvases, some of which evoke the deadpan cool of David Hockney. First serial to Buzz and Elle. (Oct.)
Like all successful art, these provocative collections of images and words possess the power to interrupt routine ways of thinking. These highly personal forays into the complexities of both modern life and creativity chronicle the last 20 years of their authors' lives and art. The somewhat maudlin poetry of Canadian Regehr, a self-described "automonograph," is eclipsed by his exquisite, jewel-like paintings. Eight series depict the author-artist's vision of autobiographical, environment, and societal changes. Woronov's Wake for the Angels blends high-color paintings with nightmarish short fiction to tell twisted tales of runaways, housewives, families, and warped relationships in Los Angeles. Woronov brutally yet poignantly weaves a powerfully haunting California-style vision of urban life. She is especially adept at capturing what desperate women settle for in stereotypically glamorous Los Angeles. This eerie hologram of the city's subsconscious is, at turns, satirical, erotic, grotesque, funny, and sad. Woronov's prose packs a real wallop, whereas her paintings-at their best-recall Reginald Marsh and Alberto Giacometti. While both titles are recommended for their immediacy and unique personal vision, they're most suitable for strong contemporary literature and art collections.-Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut.