Literature

Been there, done that

Reading between the beats of Rollin' with Dre
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REVIEW Bruce Williams and Donnell Alexander's Rollin' with Dre (One World/Ballantine, 192 pages, $25) is a strange and sinister book. What makes it strange is that it's actually about Williams, who worked as a bodyguard, valet, personal manager, and confidante for Dr. Dre. It's his biography, not Dre's, so it falls into the category of an insider's tale. Read more »

CC Riders

Scott MacDonald traces Canyon Cinema's decades-long zigzag
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LIT When filmmaker Bruce Baillie founded Canyon Cinema in the early 1960s, it was a backyard bohemia to show artisanal films and drink wine with neighbors. But it quickly took root as a cooperative serving the needs of a movement of underground filmmakers. Read more »

You'll go blind doing that

Solitary Vice wants you to put the book down and go play
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ISBN REAL Nobody knows better than writers that there's nothing inherently special or ennobling about reading a book. Read more »

Shorts

Speed Reading, American Photo Booth, and Tempest Tales
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SPEED READING

AMERICAN PHOTO BOOTH

By Näkki Goranin

W.W. Norton

224 pages

$29.95

A character on the Bush-era TV show The Hills once suggested churches' confessionals be turned into photo booths. That idea sums up today's brand of American narcissism, if you're feeling pessimistic. Read more »

You'll go blind doing that

Solitary Vice wants you to put the book down and go play
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()

> a&eletters@sfbg.com

ISBN REAL Nobody knows better than writers that there's nothing inherently special or ennobling about reading a book. Read more »

After the ruins

SF's pasts and futures -- and Chris Carlsson's Nowtopia
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ESSAY In a journal entry dated Dec. 27, 1835, from his 1840 book Two Years before the Mast, student-turned-seafarer Richard Henry Dana recorded his first impressions of the area we know as the City, while his ship, The Alert, traveled through the Golden Gate:

We passed directly under the high cliff on which the presidio is built ... from whence we could see large and beautifully wooded islands and the mouths of several small rivers ... Read more »

Speed Reading

The Death of the Critic and Headless Body in Topless Bar
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THE DEATH OF THE CRITIC

By Rónán McDonald

Continuum

160 pages

$21.95

Rónán McDonald notes that upon hearing his book's Roland Barthes–inspired title, people assume he is celebrating the death of so-called (and often self-deemed) experts. The Death of the Critic's jacket image mordantly plays off this assumption — one might think the contents were a fictive, rather than nonfiction, whodunit. Read more »

Outlaw representation

Richard Bruce Nugent's Gentleman Jigger sprawls forward
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I love Dick and I cannot lie. I am of course referring to my Chocolate City homeboy Richard Bruce Nugent — who was never called "Dick," but was outfitted with "Paul Arbian" and other choice names by his friend, rival, and fellow Harlem/Negro Renaissance leader Wallace Thurman. Nugent, who died impoverished but grand in 1987, has been one of my abiding heroes since childhood. Read more »

Magazinester

A spree-killer's attack on the magazine rack
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Vanity Fair would like to know: "Who Says Women Aren't Funny?" Magazinester would like to know: "Who Says Women of Color Aren't Funny?" Granted, Wanda Sykes and Maya Rudolph represent. But why no Margaret Cho? Read more »

Karaoke revolution

The world won't listen -- but it will sing, thanks to the younger Phil Collins
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REVIEW The radio at my neighborhood Laundromat is a source of pop music melancholy. That a-ha song "Take on Me" gets me misty while folding socks — damn it.

Something similar happened when I first saw British artist Phil Collins's captivating Smiths karaoke video project, dünya dinlemiyor (Turkish for "the world won't listen") at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2006. Read more »