September – November, 2012
The Black Dot Museum of Political Art exhibition in Olympia, readings, “How Art & Music Can Change the World” in university classrooms and libraries. October 10, 2012, San Francisco Jean Smith reads at LitQuake and Mecca Normal opens for the Corin Tucker Band at Hotel Du Nord the same day.
Jean Smith talks about three series of paintings by the character Martin Lewis, a narcissist who attempts to prevent an environmentally destructive coal mine from opening off British Columbia’s pristine coast.
Jean Smith painting the “Raven Coal Mine by Martin Lewis” series.
25+ Years of Promotion and Cultural Activism
With over 25 years experience in publicity, content creation, artist management, tour booking, advertising and graphic design; Jean Smith knows what it takes to make a project successful.
Jean and creative partner David Lester have an excellent track record for securing exceptional press. They generate press releases, newsletters, content, and constantly update social media to maintain alliances with established journalists while making new connections with bloggers and online communities. “As well as doing all that,” adds Smith. “We hit the road to present our lecture by day and rock shows at night, rustling up as many interviews as we can fit into our tour schedule.”
“We do what other authors simply have no idea about,” says Smith when asked about getting reviewed. “We get down to the business of selling books. For us, touring gets results in terms of articles, previews and reviews appearing in every city we perform in. Why? Because we do the research and the cold calls. We contact editors, journalists and email event details to the all-important listings editors in every city we perform in. We’re in a position to offset book tour expenses with rock shows along the way.”
On the specifics of promoting their projects, Smith says, “Promotion is an extension of our creative partnership. For over 25 years – 15 CDs and a handful of small-press books – David and I have been the guts behind our promotional campaigns, aptly assisted by our labels and publishers, who we understand are over-worked and stretched for time.”
“Book promotion is most successful,” Smith says. “When we hinge it to our CD releases, tours, interviews and lectures.”
Asked how best to describe the qualities they possess, Smith says, “We are tenacious, ingenious and tireless purveyors of exceptional work. It’s as simple as that.”
They are – together as Mecca Normal or alone as authors – available to tour, speak or perform on relatively short notice.
The compelling story behind The Black Dot Museum of Political Art by Jean Smith.
This book challenges current notions about narcissism – specifically, that it is untreatable and incurable. The fuel for writing it lies in my determination to avoid relationships with narcissists by understanding my propensity to select and attract them. Why would anyone maintain intimacy with someone who lacks empathy? I conducted my research inadvertently, informally and obsessively over seven years. I interacted with men from dating websites – habitat well-suited to the narcissist’s predisposition to manipulate and deceive – and with women at Curves, the gym for women who hate gyms, where I am employed to converse with members, to lessen their boredom, while they work-out. At Curves, I had the opportunity to discuss narcissism with a handful of mental health professionals whose territories included Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The opinions they shared revealed a shocking connection between narcissism and the devastation of lives in Canada’s poorest and most notorious neighborhood.
Set in current day Vancouver, a museum curator collaborates with a political painter and a psychologist to demonstrate how abstract expressionism can cure narcissism, a personality disorder widely regarded as untreatable.
Political art curator Nadine MacHilltop is very accommodating to artist Martin Lewis after he barges through the museum’s front door with a painting to submit. When Martin candidly reveals that he’s a narcissist, Nadine wants to keep her distance, but the two are inextricably tethered to the upcoming art exhibition.
Martin’s abstract paintings – interpretations of the nine symptoms of narcissism – leave his psychologist Dwight Sherburne thoroughly confused, but Nadine has the uncanny ability to understand the paintings. Dwight and Nadine collaborate on a presentation at the exhibition opening, leaving the audience wondering who the real narcissists are – the self-centered curator, the outlandish painter, the unethical psychologist or themselves.
CV — Jean Smith’s publication history.
I am the author of two published novels and a two-time recipient of Canada Council for the Arts awards as a professional writer of creative fiction.
– Named one of the “Top 50 Writers in Vancouver” — Vancouver Magazine
– Named one of the “Top Ten People Who Matter” — San Francisco Weekly
West Coast Line — book (spring 2012), ten page fiction excerpt
Joyland — online (fall 2011), fiction excerpt
I write a weekly online column for Magnet Magazine within which I am free to promote my projects (Volume 159, April 2012).
In March, 2012, I was contacted by a Times Literary Supplement reviewer who says she has confirmed a review of the book with a TLS editor. Her interest is based on an online writing sample and her knowledge of Mecca Normal, my highly-acclaimed, literary voice-and-guitar duo.
Mecca Normal has released 13 “indie” CDs on the genre’s most important labels (Matador Records, Kill Rock Stars Records and K Records) with lyrics directly out of my novels. Tenaciously promoting my music and book projects for 25 years – touring, radio performances, interviews and now social media – I use long-standing relationships with journalists to secure articles and reviews. I co-present a lecture called How Art & Music Can Change the World in university classrooms, bookstores and libraries.
Mecca Normal’s next CD (2013) will feature lyrics from this novel. My guitar-player (editor and creative partner) David Lester’s graphic novel The Listener has just been nominated for a ForeWord Reviews’ Book Of The Year Award.
“Mecca Normal has inspired a larger movement of feminists in their teens and early 20’s who call themselves Riot Grrrls.” — New York Times
“Smith is a writer of supremely fresh poetic skills and has a keen, keen eye for the basic incredibilities of our most mundane daily rituals and heartbreaks.” – John Payne, LA Weekly
“One of Canada’s best-kept secrets in the arts.” — Globe and Mail (Canada)