masthead.jpg (8194 bytes)
Store.

               books by Rip Rense. . .
           wondrous CDs by The Persuasions. . .hats. . .mugs. . .t-shirts. . .tote
            bags. . .mousepads. . .velocipedes

SECURE PAY with PAYPAL
or

 YOU MAY ALSO ORDER BY CHECK, CASHIER'S CHECK, MONEY ORDER HERE

Please allow ten days for delivery
(For international shipping, add $10.)

"Persevering Through Relentless Absurdity"
 T-shirts, hats, tote bags, coffee mugs, mouse pads!


  Click any pic to purchase. Amaze your friends. Baffle your enemies. Amuse your pets.
 order
 
NEW!
trade paperback, 309 pages: $10.99!
International shipping: $10

 

 

    The Death Sisters

A middle-aged woman dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. A taiko player leaking from a hundred punctures. A predator female who can’t decide if she is Japanese, Caucasian, or Jewish. A billionaire developer, the Mexican Mafia, punk cops, sado-masochism, a middle-aged shinnichi (Japanophile), 86-year-old strongman, boozing theater dame, incest, money, murder, Little Tokyo, and cat-sitting. The stuff that L.A. is made of. Somehow, beat-up private detective Ed Funderburke must make sense of it, and figure out what it has to do with the incarceration of Japanese and Japanese-Americans in World War II. Funderburke---Thunderbird to the hearing-impaired---is stabbed, seduced, and nearly blinded as he tries to put things right for reasons he doesn’t understand, but have to do with his late Japanese mother’s preaching that he must always mind his own business. In events as peculiarly eclectic as L.A. itself, Funderburke navigates the smarm of Hollywood, the vulgar excesses of the West Side, the ecstasy of the Japanese Buddhist Obon summer festival, the 3 a.m. ghostly funkiness of a Little Tokyo hotel. He is jailed with pimps and shemales, held as a terrorist, sheltered by the legendary L.A. singer Chuck E. Weiss, bailed out by an aging pothead attorney. With only three people turning into corpses along the way. Shikata ga nai.

© 2017 Rip Rense, Rensart Productions. All rights reserved.

Note: I signed, and cancelled, a deal to publish this book with a well-known New York outfit. For reasons unknown, the editors asked for changes that would have reduced the Japanese and Japanese-American aspect of the book. I refused. ---RR

cover by David Allen

cover by David Allen
 

 

 

 

 

trade paperback, 280 pages: $10.99

International shipping: $10

 

Cigars. . .and other stories
Twelve scintillating new stories. Excerpts:

It’s a rough thing to look at a dead man under the best of circumstances, whatever they might be, but to look at a dead man after eating a bag of psilocybin mushrooms is a touchy proposition. . .“I wrote a story once called ‘The Big Lighter,’” said Pete. “It was about a country where people were allowed to put cigarettes in their mouths, but never light them.". . .Kincade’s hands were around his neck before Butts could scream. His adrenalin-pumped fingers instantly crushed the larynx and stopped all flow through the carotid artery, all breath to the Butts lungs. . .She felt as old as all the sequoias combined, as old as stupidity, as old as the first question. Hell, her right knee alone felt as old as Betelgeuse. . .One of the fine civil servants put a gigantic black boot on my head, and ground  my face into the recently Lysoled Starbucks floor. I’d never tasted Lysol before. Zesty. . .Everything about Tomoko was jarring, wrong, out-of-place. She was all M.C. Escher and Mad Magazine. The lantern jaw with the bird aperture mouth. . .And there he was. The burly, gruff old Italian bastard, with forearms like footballs and a forest fire of graying black hair rising off them. . .Percy, I should tell you, was a dwarf, about three-and-a-half-feet tall, with mole and rabbit DNA. He could burrow like a sonofabitch, just like in those ancient Bugs Bunny cartoons. . .This huge cat had the biggest cane bastard spider I’ve ever seen by one of his legs, and was shaking him literally around his head. The leg came off, the spider flew about six feet through the air. . .

© 2015-16 Rip Rense, Rensart Productions. All rights reserved.
 
trade paperback, 145 pages: $10.99
Always Not There
Poems.
Los Angeles writer and sometimes wronger Rip Rense presents a collection of 71 utterenses published by Rensart Productions. Among the subjects considered:
Ravel’s “Bolero,” a portrait of actress Sarah Bernhardt by Alfred Stevens (hanging in the UCLA Hammer Museum), the singer-songwriter Chuck E. Weiss, the fifth symphony of Jean Sibelius, the late comic Jonathan Winters, the deeply diseased state of world culture, the tyranny of marketing, a man returning home after his son leaves for college, a terminally ill neighbor, a struggle between Jesus and the saxophone, a house in Isla Vista in 1968, a café named for a vagina, guitar notes played by Jerry Garcia, kitty-cats, ambivalence, and jackhammers. There is also a tribute to the late, beloved Los Angeles poet, Scott Wannberg. The book is dedicated to Wannberg, a lifelong friend of Rense.
        "Rense's style is unshackled by convention and expectation," said Santa Monica writer Cordelia Wong-Rogers. "It exists to serve the subject at hand."
       More here.


© 2015-16 Rip Rense, Rensart Productions. All rights reserved.
 

cover by David Allen
trade paperback 302 pages, 25 stories. . .
just $10.99!
International shipping: $10
Strange Places of the Heart---
CHEAPO EDITION!
No illustrations. Only the stories, all twenty-five.

A poor country girl in Taiwan dreams of going to the land of Rock Hudson and Doris Day. . .An aging bachelor plots to have lunch with his favorite cinema femme fatale, half-way around the world. . .. . .A professor returns to his home city and finds the father he hasn't seen in decades, or does he?. . .A writer gets an e-mail from a sister he never knew he had--or does he?. . .A sweet brother and sister songwriting team work toward the big time, but circumstances have stranger plans. . .A tiny wooden house that once lived and breathed the joys and aspirations of a Japanese immigrant family falls to the the backhoe. . .Two Taipei high school girls vow to protect an old man selling ice cream in front of their school. . .A woman reckons with the death of her father, or both her fathers. . .A grade school teacher leaves her abusive, drunken husband and finds answers from a college kid in a 3 a.m. coffee shop in 1968. . .A writer returns home to find there is no more home---but plenty of rabbits. . .A man with multiple sclerosis finds a new world, in the one he already lived. . .Two once-upon-a-time childhood sweethearts pass each other in the night, 40 years later. . .Two brothers and their father find themselves victims of Santa Claus, an ex-wife, and Puccini. . .A stranded man receives improbable help from a nice phone operator in the middle of the night, with a very large catch. . .A day off from hell. . .A high school reunion from below hell. . .And more Strange Places of the Heart. . .

© 2015-17 Rip Rense, Rensart Productions. All rights reserved.

 
 
trade paperback, 340 pages:  $19.99
hardback with dust jacket, 340 pages:  $29.99


 International shipping: $10

 

Strange Places of the Heart--
Original Illustrated Edition

Twenty-five short stories by Rip Rense. 
wonderful illustrations by Keith Snider.

Love is a many bended thing. It is not roses and chocolates, and it is not sex, and it is not undying devotion, though those things are all better when love is involved. Love is cryptic and perverse, sneaky and strange. It happens when it shouldn’t, and doesn’t happen when it should. It happens inside heads where no one can see it, and it happens between the living and dead, people and cats, people and food, people and delusions, people and hope, people and themselves. And love is not even love. It can be hate. Yin-yang, the notion of everything carrying its opposite, is too often simplified as two halves of a whole. But the Chinese symbol of yin-yang has some yin in the yang, and some yang in the yin. Was the hatred that drove humans to destroy Nazi Germany an act of love? Well. All of which is to say that there are strange places in the heart, maybe nothing but strange places. Here are twenty five stories about them.

© 2015-17 Rip Rense, Rensart Productions. All rights reserved.

VVVV


(cover by Rip Rense)

 

6 x 9" trade paperback, 405 pages: $19.99

6 x 9" hardback with dust jacket, 405 pages: $29.99
International shipping: $10  

 

The Oaks
Rense's masterpiece.
A town, a boy, and the sixties.
"Within its pages are to be found a cast of characters who breathe and move with such passion that one can only find comparisons in the writings of John Steinbeck." ---Gary L. Coffman, retired English teacher.

There was something oppressive, malignant in Charlie Bogle's idyllic world. Something he did not understand. Something that left him feeling loathed, exploited, worthless. Something that he was instructed to introduce as. . .his mother. Well, at least there were the oaks. They were outside his window at night, and in the fields he walked through on his way to school, in old tennis shoes with cardboard in the soles. They were his pillars, his bulwark, his friends, his family, and it crushed the boy when he finally had to leave them. “The Oaks” is the story of Charlie's sad, crazy, hilarious and heroic struggle as he grows up in Beatles-echoing, 1960’s California bedroom-community America. A miraculous, almost magical country town where lions roar like morning roosters, rockets break the late night sky, and the gigantic summer days are made of nothin'-to-do. Rense writes with grace and poignancy in this lyrical, touching novel of triumph.
Reviews, Reader comment
© 2007-2017 Rip Rense, Rensart Productions. All rights reserved.

V

BACK IN PRINT. Revised edition.
"Maybe the last of the real newspaper novels. The best I know of since William Kennedy's 'The Ink Truck.'" ---Bernard Beck, SF Chronicle.

bylinecovercrunch2.jpg (17962 bytes)
(cover by Rip Rense)
 
 trade paperback, 394 pages:  $19.99
 
hardback with dust jacket, 392 pages:  $29.99

 International shipping: $10

The Last Byline
The decline of newspapers.

"Bogle is an Atlas figure, whose shouldered burden is not his alone; this is part of the book's greatness."---Barry Smolin, KPFK.

"You'll help me, Mr. Bogle. You're a good man!" says Mary McAbee, silent film star. "You ain't the type to work for nobody, Charlie Bogle," says the street sax player, Jumping Jimmy. "You lack grist," spits managing editor Louise Abigail Francis. "You're nuts," says reporter Beryl Mahoney. Charles Bogle is a lot of things---too many, maybe. And he finds himself at the heart of absurdity, always---whether spending nights in an easy chair, nursing old drunks, or trying to break his city editor's wrist. This is the story of a few months in his life, circa 1980, at the Los Angeles Chronicle, popularly known as the Chronic Illness. Between funerals of children, attempted seductions by nymphomaniacs, bottles of Scotch, Bogle reluctantly chases down the strange secret of Elmer Cruickshank, Ruler of the Cosmos---despite being played for a fool by the LAPD, FBI, and his own paper. He is beaten, burned, and bamboozled---all while anchoring the Chronic Illness's "Back Row," a gallery of journalistic gallantry disguised as a black militant, cokehead, and hothead. Then there is Bogle's avuncular colleage, Shag Hanson, who between chewing his pipe stem to splinters, observes, "The thing to remember about condescension is that we are all descended from the same con." In the end, Bogle casts the deciding vote in the destiny of all concerned. Or does he? This rambunctious book is a grand tale of what newspapers used to be, and will never be again.   Reviews

© 2002, 2017 Rip Rense, Rensart Productions. All rights reserved.
 
Less than Satisfying Encounters with Humanity, by Rip Rense

 

5 1/2 x 8 1/2" trade paperback,
 230 pages:

  $10.99


 International shipping: $10

 

Less Than Satisfying Encounters With Humanity (LTSEWH)
The Decline of Western Civilization---Illustrated.

Rense's long-running LTSEWH column is now a fully illustrated book. You read it in the L.A. Times, and The Rip Post. Now, the book. With wonderfully deranged illustrations.

Maybe it was the Starbucks guy who asked me if I wanted any water in my coffee. Maybe it was the gorgeous mother who lifted her blouse in a Whole Foods Market to allow her three-year-old to play squeezey-slappy with her breasts. Maybe it was the guy talking loudly about circumcision at the next table, over spaghetti marinara. Maybe it was the caffeinated doofus who yelled, "Daughters? Daughters are cool!" In the end, Rense was left with no choice but to write about these. . .LTSEWH's.

"The best book I have ever, ever read. . .in a bathroom."
---Mike Ball, Glendale, Ca.

© 2007-2017 Rip Rense, Rensart Productions. All rights reserved.

 


 

5 1/2 x 8 1/2" trade paperback,
 210 pages:

  $10.99


 International shipping: $10




 

 

Lingo Czar
The Decline of Western Civilization---
measured by its language.

Rense's long-running Lingo Czar column (L.A. Times, The Rip Post) is now 210 acid-dripping pages exposing rigidly conformist slang, reflexive outbursts, 'cool' patois, abominable cliches, infantile drivel, smug rejoinders, mandatory peer-enforced buzzwords and idiot-speak that Americans are spewing from 500-word iPhone vocabularies as their knuckles hang ever closer to the sidewalk.

The Czar's rulings are rendered with wit, insight, and mildly dyspeptic analysis.

"I thought I was alone. Thank God someone else has not only noticed, but hilariously documented, the degradation of English wrought by television and computer. Bless you, Mr. Rense." ---Laurie Dockett, retired professor of English Literature.


© 2007-2017 Rip Rense, Rensart Productions. All rights reserved.

 


Persuasions of the Dead
20 TRACKS. 2 CDs. 12 GUEST ARTISTS.
 


 PRODUCED BY RIP RENSE. MIXED BY MARC DOTEN
FOR ZOHO ROOTS RECORDS.

ORDER

LISTEN TO SAMPLES

 
© 2009-17 Rip Rense/Rensart Records All rights reservede
(cover art by Luis Genaro Garcia

the greatest grateful dead album the
grateful dead never made. . .

The Persuasions, Brooklyn-grown street singers who became the greatest a cappella group in American history, sing the Grateful Dead---specifically, the songs of Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia. Songs that still are among among the most original in American music. Sheer poetry, meet sheer melody.
PRODUCED BY RIP RENSE. MIXED BY MARC DOTEN
FOR ZOHO ROOTS RECORDS.


"Enchanting!"
---grateful dead lyricist Robert Hunter.

SPECIAL GUESTS ARTISTS: Country Joe McDonald, Mark Karan (Ratdog), Jackie LaBranch and Gloria Jones (Jerry Garcia Band), Grateful Dead keyboardist Vince Welnick, Dongming Qiao, James King, Alyn Kelley, Eric Thompson, Peter Rowan,  Pete Grant, Mary Schmary.

"Deadheads, take a hit from this double disc dose of the real thing. Persuasions fans, this may be the last time you'll ever hear a Persuasions line-up with original lead, and once-in-a-lifetime talent, Jerry Lawson. . .These tracks are stories that happen to have been set to song, not songs that happen to have a story."
---Jonathan Minkoff, Recorded A Cappella Review Board.


"Album producer Rip Rense calls the marriage of these two acclaimed artists "a surprisingly natural fit." He couldn't be more right. It works because these tracks are more than just covers; they're tributes. Each arrangement is designed to draw something new out of the original. Many of them include actual instruments, such as piano, guitar, and baritone saxophone."
---Nicole Maria Milano,Recorded A Cappella Review Board.


PRODUCED BY RIP RENSE FOR ZOHO ROOTS
 AND RENSART PRODUCTIONS

"Hands-down the spiritual event-in-song of 2011."---David McGee, Bluegrass Special.
 


The Persuasions---
Live at McCabe's

NINETEEN SONGS.
70 MINUTES OF MUSIC AND JOY.
5 SONGS NEVER ON A PERSUASIONS ALBUM.

"WE CAME OUT SMOKIN'!"---Jerry Lawson.

"Live at McCabe's is a great find, a reminder of this act at its best."---Soultracks.com

Everyone knows, or should know, that as great as Persuasions studio albums were, you did not experience The Persuasions unless you saw them live. Rip Rense set about capturing this vocal lightning in a bottle at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in 1999. Yes, it’s just like being there.

PRODUCED BY RIP RENSE AND MARC DOTEN
FOR RENSART RECORDS.

ORDER

LISTEN TO SAMPLES


  
© 2009-17 Rip Rense/Rensart Records All rights reservede

 

19 SONGS. . .70 MINUTES OF MUSIC AND LAUGHTER. . . BOOKLET. . .ECO-FRIENDLY CD WALLET. . .PHOTO SCRAPBOOK. . .
PRODUCED BY RIP RENSE AND MARC DOTEN
FOR RENSART RECORDS.

 
I Woke Up In Love This Morning
Chain Gang
Looking For An Echo
I Could Love You (If You Let Me)
500 Miles Away From Home
Peace in the Valley
Mona Lisa
Old Black Magic
Under The Boardwalk
Drip Drop

 
Return to Sender
Elvira
Come On and Save Me
I Have But One Desire
Oh Heavenly Salvation
Ramblin’ Rose
When Jesus Comes
The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing
Building a Home

Sam Cooke, Frank Zappa, Nat King Cole, Kurt Weill, The Mills Brothers, The Oak Ridge Boys, Elvis, even. . .The Partridge Family. . .Gospel, rock, country, classic ballads. . .The ORIGINAL PERSUASIONS: Jerry Lawson, "Sweet Joe" Russell (R.I.P.), Jimmy Hayes, Jayotis Washington, plus "newcomers" Raymond Sanders and B.J. Jones. . .

 
"The Persuasions have come to save your soul. America is safe again."
---The Bluegrass Special


"You need to buy this album!"
---
Contemporary A Cappella Society


                                                                                                                          BACK TO PAGE ONE