Juliette Tang

"Chronic" 2010

D.A. Powell brings love, longing, and lyricism back to poetic life
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arts@sfbg.com

LIT/NCIBA Because poetic subjectivity is by and large an exclusive undertaking Read more »

Pigs in Oakland

Novella Carpenter creates an urban homestead in Farm City
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arts@sfbg.com

LIT/NCIBA One gets the sense that Novella Carpenter can do anything. A girl from rural Idaho, she knows how to hack it in "scruffy, loud, and unkempt" Oakland, the murder capital of the United States, amid the drug deals, gun fights, and open prostitution on the urban fringe. She also maintains a healthy, active relationship with her auto mechanic boyfriend (described as "a love sponge"), her many friends, and her local community. Read more »

Point for point

Elif Batuman's Possessed charts a hidden map of Russia

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From Beijing to Oakland

Writer Yiyun Li explores the language of creation and the memory of violence

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arts@sfbg.com

LIT In 2005, after dropping out of a PhD program in immunology, Chinese writer Yiyun Li debuted her first book of fiction, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. A collection of stories exploring the aftershock of the Cultural Revolution on mainland and overseas Chinese, it won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award, and California Book Award. Li's story "Immorality" won the Paris Review Plimpton Prize.Read more »

Melissa Febos whips it good

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Whip Smart
By Melissa Febos
(Thomas Dunne Books)

In her new memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos -- who'll be reading at Eros on April 4 -- examines, with frankness, generosity, and unexpected grace, the four years she spent working as a dominatrix in a midtown Manhattan dungeon. Readers are invited into the world of high-price humiliation, in dungeon rooms decked to the nines in the accoutrements of masochistic fantasy, where Wall Street types pay huge sums to be flogged, diapered, and pissed on. Her revelations are often funny, occasionally sad, and fearlessly candid. Febos also writes of the heroin habit that led her to accept the job, and details the emotional strain and psychological effort of kicking addiction. She speaks with the SFBG about life as a professional domme and the process of turning that life into memoir.

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Dare you take offense at Steven Wolf Fine Arts?

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Keith Boadwee is a fascinating artist. Known for his outrageous self-portraits -- which combine media that include but are not limited to photography, performance art, painting, self-administered enemas, and pornography -- his work is unorthodox to say the least. Boadwee has photographed himself in situations that 99.999% of the world would probably rather die (like for real die) than experience for themselves, and he kills himself fearlessly (see NSFW -- I repeat NSFW -- images on his Web site). Viewing Boadwee's work in a gallery setting, such as that of Steven Wolf Fine Arts, is like experiencing the collision of someone's private world with your own public forehead.

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"Original Plumbing" reading

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San Francisco's sexiest new magazine, Original Plumbing, will be hosting a reading at Books Inc. this Thursday for the official launch their much anticipated second issue. Considering the diversity, scope, and increasing visibility of FTM culture, it's mind-boggling that Original Plumbing -- "OP" -- is the first magazine of its kind. Now that Original Plumbing is here, let's ensure that it stays.

Though locally headquartered, OP isn't limited to the scope of San Francisco. The magazine takes care to address topics, like last year's Trans March in Paris, that are relevant to the international FTM community. Politically charged as it is, OP is also visually compelling on an aesthetic level that you don't have to be gay to appreciate. Amos Mac's explicit photography of FTM bodies are the perfect conceptual counterparts to OP's literal content. Throughout all of this, OP is full of fun and lighthearted, campy humor. Even the sex readers are made so aware of refuses to take itself too seriously. Judging from the manscaping-themed second issue (titled "Hair Issue"), beefcake is an integral aspect of OP's editorial philosophy. Read more »

e.e.'s coming

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When I was a young reader first discovering poetry -- and still very much under the thumb of my strict Asian parents -- I blushed (for obvious reasons) whenever I encountered e. e. cummings' name. In those prudish days, were I to know that cummings penned some of the most deliciously sensual poems of the last century, I might have been frightened off literature for good. This hypothetical is redundant, as I wasn't scared off poetry and eventually outgrew those jejune ideas of virtue. This hypothetical is further redundant because his erotic poems were never published together in the same volume until now, in Erotic Poems, a new collection of cummings' amatory verses and sketches.

Readers will delight in these works, which are as naughty as they are tender, bemused as they are earnest. Consider the below, from "16":

(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she
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Let's all read Sand Paper

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Charmingly disheveled Adobe Books, strung as it is on the alcoholic's crucifix known as the cross-section of 16th and Valencia, has become a beloved sanctuary for readers, drunkards, and occasionally homeless individuals alike. I always look forward to Adobe Books' events because you can never predict who among the circus just outside will enter and join the fun. Not many bookstores on this dry earth permit customers to imbibe openly from brown bags of Colt 45 during poetry readings. Adobe Books' Dickensian squalor places it fondly in my heart even as its floorboards sink beneath the weight of dusty overladen bookshelves -- and when the smell of stale beer and, somehow, cats, forces me to breathe through my mouth while I peruse.

On Monday, March 1, Adobe Books will host the San Francisco launch party of three new books from Sand Paper Press. It'll be worth holding my nose to dive in.

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Kevin Killian's sex is unpretty

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IMPOSSIBLE PRINCESS

By Kevin Killian

(City Lights)

Author Kevin Killian's relationship to sex is too complicated to be pinpointed as merely "homoerotic," but homoerotic encounters are a frequent occurrence throughout the stories in Impossible Princess, Killian's latest collection of gay short fiction.

Killian's stories are full of nervous energy. The pace of his writing is jerky and striated, and events change and adjust so suddenly that Killian's words read as if short of breath. The panting quality of the work is, in terms of form, utilized most effectively in the writer's vivid and ominously perceptive descriptions of sex. These sexual encounters are often baffling.

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