Lit

Justin Bua brings his hip-hop legends to the Bay

|
(0)

Justin Bua's new book Legends of Hip-Hop would look nice in your living room, but if you get a chance to snag the renowned portratist on his promotional swoop through the Bay Area this weekend (Thu/10-Sat/12) don't feel like you have to call it a coffeetable book. This thing's got wisdom to impart to the Beyonce feat. J. Cole generation. Read more »

"And that's when I came"

SEX ISSUE: A steamy tale of SF sex from Bawdy Storytelling

|
(0)

By Airial Clark

SEX ISSUE 2011 I'm a writer, mother, and social science researcher (in chronological order) who is passionate about poking and prodding at perceived cultural norms while raising two tweenage sons. Bawdy is the best outlet for my raucous compulsion for over-sharing. Here's a tale I shared at a recent installation of the series:

I'm a sex geek. I'm working on a master's degree in sexuality studies at a local university. It's a social justice program focused on oppression and stigma.Read more »

Trash Lit: Demon hunting with John Wayne Cleaver

|
(0)

I Don’t Want to Kill You, By Dan Wells
Tor, 320 pages, $11.95

One of the reviews on the back of this book says that “regardless or your age or your genre preferences, you will find this story both profound and enthralling.” The usual blurb crap, but it did make me think that this could be another series like the Maximum Ride books --stuff my 12-year-old son and I could share.Read more »

Sk8 or die! "Tessa & Scott:" a sartorial appreciation

|
(2)

Taken as a sports glory confessional, Tessa & Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold (Anansi, 192 pages, $19.95) is pretty standard. It has more than its fair share of inspirational sound bites (“The young couple faced difficult challenges, but they were sustained by their love for skating and the knowledge that they could be champions.”). It’s also packed with glossy photographs and mildly amusing anecdotes. Yet, taken as a study in the evolution of dancing facial expressions, body chemistry, and ice dancing fashion choices, the book becomes exponentially more interesting. 

In terms of facial features, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Canada's 2010 Olympic ice-dancing champs, among their many accolades) were born to dance to together. They’ve got the distinctive “Are we siblings or are we lovers?” look that’s become a prerequisite for the sport. The fuzzier the line, the better. Ambiguous sexual preference is suggested, but not mandatory. Both Scott and Tessa have creamy skin and thick – slightly wavy – chocolate brown hair. It’s versatile enough to be tightly wound back, gelled, and hair-sprayed into oblivion, pre-show. Yet, they can also rock the slightly mussed-up, sweaty, post-dance routine look. Tessa is a huge fan of ponytails, though her go-to look for the ice is an intricate top bun. She’s got a strict anti-bangs policy. Scott has a fantastic variety of smiles (including a grimace that strikes a fine balance between warm and fierce), though he’s lacking a bit in the upper-lip department.

Read more »

Lit review: "Ambient Parking Lot"

|
(0)

Ambient Parking Lot (Kenning Editions, $14.95) is a 187-page book about one band’s quest to capture the world’s most perfect ambient noise in a parking lot. Wait, don’t go away! It's great ... I swear. Author Pamela Lu’s novel follows the Ambient Parkers, a fictional collective of musicians and artists, as they rise to heights of fame or alternately cower under the weight of their shortcomings.

Their peaks and valleys shape a familiar refrain if you’ve ever been in a band; Lu uses the Ambient Parkers (they are otherwise anonymous) as a foil by which she is able to draw the whole business of the so-called underground art establishment under her perceptive and witty lens. The performance artist who joins the Ambient Parkers for a night of experimental dance, the respected radio DJ who rebukes their creative advances, and perhaps most impressively of all, us, the fickle and demanding public: these are just a handful of the cogs in a not-at-all-well-oiled (and certainly well worn) machine.

Read more »

Clare Rojas' safe space

|
(3)

As far as books go, Everything Flowers (Chronicle Books, $22.95) may just be my favorite to come out of the Bay Area this year. And not for its revelatory prose or whip-smart characters (it has neither). The small volume is filled with Clare Rojas' quietly woman-centric, garden-toned designs that – can a book do this? – make me feel supported. I found myself breathing deeply while reading it, as if I'd just shook an asymmetrically packed satchel from my shoulders.

Read more »

Urban homesteaders forge ahead, despite lack of ®

|
(12)

For years, the Internet has provided a second home to a community of urban farmers diligently tilling their carrots and tapping away on their keyboards about the experience. These people lived with all the peace and prosperity attendant to backyard chickens, rooftop apiaries, and tomatoes canned in plain sight of sidewalks and skyscrapers – until some of their own went rogue.

Pastoralists the blogosphere over erupted in rage this February when the Dervaes Institute, a long-time Internet presence and self-proclaimed authority on the subject of urban farming, sent not-quite-cease-and-desist letters to sixteen other institutions and small businesses, forbidding them from using the term “urban homesteading” without including the fact that the term is the Dervaes' intellectual property. Read more »

Lit: A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness

|
(3)

This review originally appeared in the Jan. 7-13, 2009 issue of the Bay Guardian:

John Gall's art for A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness (Vertical 160 pages $19.95) is unique in a gaze-snatching fashion. It combines hues of yellow and green, block patterns, and a news photo backdrop into an attractive, enigmatic, and faintly disturbing image that makes a browser wonder, "What exactly is inside this book?" Read more »

Printed matters: A specific glance at the 44th California International Book Fair

|
(0)

Do you want the pristine first edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula for 45 grand, or the slightly worn copy for 25 grand? Such were the questions that presented themselves at the 44th Annual California Antiiquarian Book Fair, which took place at SF's Concourse Exhibition Center from February 11 through 13. Read more »

Speed Reading: Edie Fake's Gaylord Phoenix

|
(0)

The moment I saw Edie Fake's book Gaylord Phoenix (Secret Acres, 256 pages, $17.95) on a table at a local shop was a lifesaver. Not much contemporary art or stuff actually reaches me -- and jolts me -- at the mysterious and elusive spot(s) where my imagination and spirit reside, and the drawings and stories of Fake do exactly that. I have some issues of Gaylord Phoenix from when it was in serial form, and Fake's comic Rico McTaco, but I had no idea a lavish color book of Gaylord Phoenix existed, and the discovery was about as close to finding a treasure as I've had in recent daily life. Read more »