Lit

Laid bare

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's new memoir The End of San Francisco captures tumultuous times

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marke@sfbg.com

LIT "I met Johanna at a party in New York in 1998 — actually I was talking to her boyfriend first, barrettes in his dyed black hair and painted nails, I was trying to figure out if he was a fag or from Olympia."Read more »

Boooooooooooks: 2 spots to buy 'em cheap

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Since you might be having a hard time finding the funds for your 1. your ticket to Phu Quoc and 2. the Opening Ceremony-Spring Breakers mall trash collection you'll need for those white sand beaches, you should at least let us help you out with the third essential component of your hypothetical spring escape: books!

You'll need them for those hypothetically long hours in the sun, and lucky you, two epic sales are going on shortly so you can save your ducats for neon logo cropped tees and duty-free Toblerones. You might also hit up Adobe Books, which has been served its final eviction notice in the face of incoming yuppie muck *sad face* Read more »

"It just gets different": Ali Liebegott on her third book 'Cha-Ching!'

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When you've spent long, smelly months in a bus traveling the world sharing words with pockets of alternative community, the issue of place takes the fore. As she releases her third book Cha-Ching!, and as her decades-old Sister Spit collective embarks upon yet another tour of spoken word, queer revelry, and cramped living conditions, author Ali Liebegott is getting academic about it. Read more »

Bieb's collapse, predicted in literary form

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In the midst of Justin Bieber's spectacular burn-out last week -- in which the popthrob appears to ruined his 18th birthday sneaking minors into a club, been two hours late for a concert, collapsed at another concert, sworn at paparazzi, and generally become what we'd expect from an 18 year old whose life has been micromanaged ever since 2007 when YouTube got a hold of his DIY R&B covers -- I had the distinct feeling that I'd read it all before. 

And I had, kind of. The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne is a nice opportunity to tap into what Beeb's inner monologue could sound like, should one dare. Read more »

Next chapter: Adobe Books hopes to transition into co-op

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Adobe Books lives on… we hope. The Mission’s beloved 23-year-old bookshop – which reported it would be going out of business multiple times last year – now has plans to stay open as a collective.

Adobe owner Andrew McKinley first reported his shop would be closing in spring of 2012, and then again late summer. His reason: an excessive rent increase for his storefront, in a building at 16th and Valencia Streets. Unless someone was planning to swoop down to be the store’s financial superhero, the proposed rent was too high and McKinley was sure he could no longer afford to keep the shop afloat.

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Boning and binding spines (the old-fashioned way) at SF Center for the Book

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When was the last time you sat down and made a book? You know what I'm talking about -- those beautiful bound things that are filled with words and pictures.

They're pretty awesome, in my opinion, and they are seriously celebrated and loved at the SF Center for the Book. For years I had been wanting to take a class from them and last week the opportunity arose to join in on an intro to bookbinding class, taught by Nina Eve Zeininger-Byrne. It was fun to hear, after a few quick introductions, that most students in the class had also had an inkling to take a class at the SFCB for years and were finally taking the leap.

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No headbutting?

A Lee Child fan follows Jack Reacher to the big screen

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tredmond@sfbg.com

LIT/FILM The folding travel toothbrush is a central element in every Jack Reacher novel. It's his only possession, the only thing the wandering ex-military cop takes with him when he throws away his old clothes and buys new ones, the only thing that ties him directly to his old life in the U.S. Army. It's part of the Reacher formula, one that consistently works through 17 books by Lee Child.

It's not in the Jack Reacher movie.Read more »

The Performant: Poetry in motion

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"You Need to Read Poetry" and "Ragged Wing" take flight

Against the back curtain of the stage, empty save a couple of small platforms, a mysterious tree, represented by a rainbow of colored scarves, stretched its silken boughs. Cut to the “great before,” when humans were still a figment of the future, and Mol’-luk (Liz Wand), a brooding, powerful condor, sat perched on a rock, little suspecting that the “mountain” is pregnant with his peregrine falcon son, Wek Wek (Juliana Lustenader), whose dramatic birth by fire was further facilitated by a chorus of rattlesnakes (select members of the oddience armed with noisemakers).

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Free the free

San Francisco icon Xara Thustra looks back at 15 years of underground art

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VISUAL ART It starts with the streets. Walls, the texture of walls, rough and colored in swirls of graffiti letters. Walls you feel you could reach out and touch their cold and grit. Establishing shots — the streets of San Francisco in the dot-com era. The photos are of their times: an unattended shopping cart in the streets appears as early as page three. Soon follows the spray-painted legend, "Don't let the good times fool you."Read more »

Freedom fighter: SF underground art icon Xara Thustra

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Since the late 1990s, Xara Thustra's art has been inseparable from resistance and community in San Francisco, providing many of the signature visual images of the anti-displacement and anti-war struggles of the era. His work first appeared as graffiti in the streets of the city during the height of the first dot-com boom and soon grew to include artistic collaboration with and in support of neighborhood organizations, like the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition and the Coalition on Homelessness.

As his work evolved over time from agitprop street art into elaborate performance and filmmaking, Xara has collaborated with countless others on many now-legendary art events like the Anti-Capitalist Fashion Show, the 949 Market Squat, and the band Manhater, while contributing stunning murals to Clarion Alley Mural Project and the Mission Neighborhood Health Center (with Kyle Ranson). Xara appeared in the 2002 Bay Area Now show at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, but has since resisted overtures from the art world, and preferred to instead make work in spaces like Adobe Books, Needles and Pens, and, still, in the streets.

Thu/6 at a presentation of new work at Needles and Pens, Xara and friends will celebrate the release of the self-published, 500-page book, Friendship Between Artists is an Equation of Love and Survival. It's an epic photo documentation of the past 15 years of his work and collaborations in San Francisco.
Note: this interview took place between Erick Lyle (in Brooklyn) and Xara Thustra (in the Redstone Building) over Skype ...

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