How does an incredibly handsome, opium-addicted Czech vampire living in Manhattan spend his days and nights? Fiction writer and screenwriter Debra Di Blasi explores the furry underbelly through seven weird, rambling telephone interviews with the real Jirî Cêch.
What the critics have to say:
"The Jiri Chronicles & Other Fictions is chaotic, brilliant and, like Jiri Cech himself, possibly quite mad. With frenetic energy, Di Blasi mixes personal narrative with ad copy, traditional fiction with newspaper clippings, email messages, reportage, collage, and scholarship. The resulting concoction is consistently surprising, challenging, invigorating, and, most surprisingly of all, often deeply moving. Di Blasi has a mind unlike anyone else writing fiction today, and this is her finest work yet."
—Kevin Prufer, editor of Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing
"Some poets become mythic figures only after they die. Emily Dickinson, for example, who didn't exist at all during her lifetime, and the interest of whose poetry derives in part from her radical awareness of that fact. Others live only as mythic figures: Jiri Cech is such a poet.... 'It's A Man's World,' sums up the poems that precede it and foreshadows those that follow, for Cech writes only as a man would." –H.L. Hix, National Book Award Finalist, and winner of the T.S. Eliot Award
"Artist Jirí Cêch, a self-proclaimed businessman and vampire from Czechoslovakia, filled a small room with his capitalist-inspired limited edition T-shirts, postcards, CDs, art therapy sketches and autographed underwear, each one a mimicry of the unspoken rule that art should not be understood primarily as a marketable commodity. Cêch thrives on barraging the viewer with anti-traditional objects, purposely offensive commentary and ruthless political satire, providing a not-so-subtle reminder of the harsher side of our contemporary dialogue." —Robin Trafton, art critic, The Kansas City Star
"If someone put a gun to my head and forced me to wager who'd be the next literary star, I'd say Jiri Cech -- especially if the guy holding the gun was Jiri." —Saltshaker Review
"One certainty from Cêch's [multimedia] installation is that his work is conceptually engaging without being dry or didactic; it is hilarious and a welcome addition." —Oz McGuire, critic for REVIEW
CZECH OUT: http://fc2.org/diblasi/jirichronicles/book.htm
WHO IS THE REAL JIRI CECH? Jiri Cêch was born in Czechslovakia, where once Bohemia flourished. From the age of 13 he carried on an incestuous affair with his sister who became pregnant, presumably with his child. The child was born with half a heart and lived only long enough to be christened Jirí's name. Still a teenager, Jirí Cêch fled Soviet occupation in 1968, along with thousand of other Czechoslovakians, and survived as a refugee in Switzerland by exchanging sex for food, beer and paper on which to write poetry. He arrived in the United States in 1971 where he is now a successful businessman, specializing in new construction and real estate development (i.e., suburban sprawl). Although he is an unrepentant capitalist, he is particularly annoyed by neocons, believing they represent the decline of the American idea[l] of misbehaving in privacy without the KGB breathing down your pants. He enjoys his patriotic right to practice vampirism between consenting adults and, therefore, lives in New York City.
ABOUT DEBRA DI BLASI: Among her many awards Debra Di Blasi has won the James C. McCormick Fellowship in Fiction (sponsored by the Christopher Isherwood Foundation), Thorpe Menn Book Award, Eyster Prize in Fiction, Web del Sol's Best of Web Fiction, Cinovation Screenwriting Award, and three Pushcart Prize nominations. She is the author of books THE JIRI CHRONICLES & OTHER FICTIONS (forthcoming from FC2/University of Alabama Press), DROUGHT & SAY WHAT YOU LIKE (New Directions), and PRAYERS OF AN ACCIDENTAL NATURE (Coffee House Press), praised by The New York Times Book Review for its "clear, resonant prose, laced with bittersweet humor."
Her fiction, essays, art reviews and articles have appeared in many publications, including Notre Dame Review, The Iowa Review, New Letters, First Intensity, Chelsea, New Art Examiner, Pitch Weekly, SOMA, and others. Her short fiction has been anthologized and adapted to film, radio, theatre, and audio CD in the U.S. and abroad.
Screenwriting credits include the acclaimed DROUGHT, for winner of the 1999 Cinovation Screenwriting Award and finalist in Austin Screenwriting Competition. Directed by Lisa Moncure, DROUGHT went on to win a host of national and international awards, including Kodak's Cinematography Award (Avignon, France), Best Drama and Best Director (Toronto International Short Film Festival, and Best Medium Length Film (Lisbon, Portugal). DROUGHT was only one of six films selected for the Universe Elle section at 2000 Cannes International Film Festival.
Debra is president of Jaded Ibis Productions, Inc., a transmedia corporation,™ producing literature, video, music and consumer products.