Lit

Joyful noise

'Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society' takes readers to the brink

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arts@sfbg.com

LIT If the intrinsic value of an ephemeral experience is its very impermanence, then attempting to capture it for posterity is an exercise fraught with peril. No sanitized textbook description of such chaos-driven movements as Dada, Situationism, and Fluxus could ever hope to capture the raw vibrancy of being a part of the action, and the true value of such movements has really never been in spectating, but from the transformation experienced by the participants while pushing their personal boundaries.Read more »

'Maximus' through Flarf

Updated Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry updates updates updates

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marke@sfbg.com

LIT Mm-hmm

Yeah, mm-hmm, it's true

Big birds make

Big doo! I got fire inside

My "huppa"-chimpTM

Gonna be agreesive, greasy aw yeah god ...Read more »

Boom life: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore talks about 'The End of San Francisco'

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A picture of Brian Goggin's iconic site-specific sculpture "Defenestration" (that 16-year-old "furniture leaping out of an abandoned building" piece in SoMa that may be demolished soon) is pictured on the cover of Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's latest book, The End of San Francisco -- which I reviewed in this week's Guardian.

It's an almost too-perfect image to represent the book's contents -- "Defenestration" cheekily channeled the out-the-window frustration of the dawning of the first Internet boom, with its hordes of tech gold-rushers pushing out old San Francisco culture. (And now, in the middle of another tech boom, the artwork itself will be pushed aside to make way for affordable housing -- the term for anything under $2500 per month rent pretty much at this point.) The End of San Francisco takes us on an atmospheric, highly personal through the turbulent period of the '90s and early 2000s, while asking some hard questions about the queer activism, participatory gentrification, and "alternative culture" of the period. Along the way, Mattilda intimately delves into issues like her recovered memories of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of her father; the rampant drug use, mental illness, and hostile attitudes of Mission queer culture; the gynophobia and transphobia of many "underground" scenes, and much, much more. 

I asked Mattilda a few questions over email in advance of her appearances here at City Lights (April 30) and the GLBT Historical Society (May 9) to help set her book in the context of what was happening then, and what's still happening now. As always, she pulled no punches. 

Read more »

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 »