Latest Scat Happenings Around the Globe



Frédéric Acquaviva writes from Berlin to inform us of the above exhibition in the UK on March 4th. Anyone planning to be in London should make a point of attending. Visitors can eyeball & sniff rare specimens  of DADA, LETTRISM, FLUXUS, FUTURISM, SOUND & CONCRETE POETRY. You’ll also spot Black Scat’s Considerations on the Death and Burial of Tristan Tzara by Isidore Isou  which—like a talisman–will hang  suspended from the ceiling in a plastic envelope. For those unable to attend, we’ll be posting  photos from the show.

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We’ll also be posting photos of Alain Arias-Misson when he travels to New York City from his home in Paris.  There will be many gala events from March 12-19th: an art exhibition, performance of his Public Poem, as well as a series of readings from his new fiction collection,  The Man Who Walked On Air & Other Tales of Innocencepublished by Black Scat. The book is now available on Amazon in Europe as well as here in the USA.

We will post  details of Alain’s whirlwind tour in the near future.

While you’re waiting…

Yes, Virginia, there is a bookstore…


Although currently based in the SF Bay Area this press has its gnarly roots in Charlottesville, VA. There on the downtown mall (just a hop, skip & a jump from UVA) stood one of the world’s great avant-garde bookstores, Le Scat Noir. Although it carried unusual art books and literature from around the world, it was best known for a huge poster which appeared in its window from time to time, resulting in the store’s temporary closure by local authorities. According to the proprietor, Norman Conquest, “It was a scat and mouse  game that went on for years, much to my amusement.”

The game, however, finally came to an end in 2009 when the literary landmark went bankrupt.  With a nostalgic twinkle in his eye, Conquest reports that friends assure him that whenever they walk past the vacant  building “they still get a whiff of the old store.””

Fortunately for Charlottesville, a few blocks away remains Read it Again, Sam, run by Dave Taylor, another independent bookseller with exceptionally fine taste.



The original structure, erected on Market Street in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1932, was a quaint combination slaughterhouse and ice cream parlor, with a distinctive archway lit by forty-two hanging lamps. Although business was slow during daylight hours, the building swelled to life after dark, due in large measure to a brothel located in the cellar. The illegal business flourished until 1940, when it was closed down by local authorities. The building stood vacant for twenty-five years until, in 1965, it was subdivided by the flamboyant French developer Bennie Péret-O’Lay, and became a bustling beauty salon known as The House of Wax, and a hippie head-shop.These businesses gave way in the early 1970s to Break Wind Books, specializing in Civil War memorabilia, books on local history, and Southern Fried “Chick-Lit.”Finally, in 1989, the Paris-based publishing conglomerate, LSN International, purchased the property for 6.2 million dollars, and proudly evicted the former tenant. Then, on the first day in April of that year, Le Scat Noir Bookshop & Café threw open its doors to a city starved for literary nightlife. The address also served as home to this journal, with its editorial offices located below street level in the quarters of the former brothel. Here, an underpaid staff of a dozen employees worked at dimly-lit desks, producing the infamous weekly newspaper, Le Scat Noir, while music from the café above shook the walls.The bookstore quickly became known around Charlottesville as the place to go for experimental literature, pataphysics [SIC], and rare books on avant-garde art. Smoking on the premises was not only permitted but encouraged, as patrons were greeted at the door by an attractive young lady in a tank-top dispensing free cigarettes and souvenir ashtrays with the painted slogan “Where Art & Literature Hit the Fan.”

Hip! Hip! Allais! Alphonse! Hooray!

Captain Cap


Black Scat proudly announces the publication of Captain Cap by Alphonse Allais—the first of three volumes in a series of “captails” translated from the French by grand maestro Doug Skinner—who also illustrated the edition and produced its sublime cover.

Vol. I (“Captain Cap Before the Electorate”) covers the captain’s notorious political career—including an unexpurgated appendix of his favorite cocktails**.

That this work by Allais has never before appeared in English makes this a literary event worthy of balloons, noise-makers, champagne, and an inebriated marching band.


And to celebrate the Captain’s launch we’re christening this limited edition by offering a FREE Captain Cap campaign button to the first twelve connoisseurs who order a copy.

UPDATE (2/15): All the buttons are gone, alas.

Now if you’ve read this far and are wondering who Captain Cap was, here’s a brief excerpt from the translator’s introduction:

“Many discerning readers think Alphonse Allais was
the finest humorist France ever produced. I will have
to concur. Many go further, and class him simply as a
master of the short story. I will have to agree with that
as well. And many claim that his greatest creation was
that hard-drinking adventurer and inventor, Captain
Cap. I will go along with that too, but with one quibble:
Captain Cap really existed.

His real name was Albert Jean Baptiste Nicolas
Caperon, and he was born in Paris in 1864. His father,
Paulin Caperon, had inherited a fortune in his twenties,
and devoted himself to radical politics, bibliomania,
and banking, in no particular order. It was while
practicing the last that he sold railway shares in Alsace
to a Swiss bank; when Germany annexed Alsace in
1871 after the Franco-Prussian war, Germany confiscated
the stock. The Swiss bank wanted its money
back, leaving Caperon in an uncomfortable situation.
He resolved it by fleeing to Belgium, and then to
America, where he adopted the name of Peter Coutts,
and bought land in Mayfield, California (now Palo

We would be remiss did we not mention that the first title in our Absurdist Texts & Documents series was Masks by Alphonse Allais, for its author embodies the spirit which inspires this small press.

Captain Cap is limited to 125 copies, so we suggest you order quickly before it’s too late.


And have a drink on him!

**Be sure and try the recipe for Corpse Reviver (pg. 53)