Literature

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 »

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 »

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 »

A sizzling tale

'Zodiac' author Robert Graysmith talks San Francisco history and his new book, 'Black Fire'

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cheryl@sfbg.com

LIT Every San Franciscan has at least some knowledge of the city's pre-1906 earthquake days (Gold Rush!), with the more curious able to rattle off a few more random tidbits (Emperor Norton!)Read more »

West Memphis free

Damien Echols' powerful new memoir 'Life After Death'

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Parsley, sage, rosemary, and timewarp

New book lays bare the countercultural roots of the Renaissance Faire

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Shake, rattle, and read

Litquake's biblio-pocalypse approacheth

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LIT What do you get when you bring together a horde of ravenous bibliophiles in a city that's known for the possibility of a future catastrophic event? No, not the zombie-nerd apocalypse: Litquake, the largest annual independent literary festival on the West Coast. This year's nine-day festival runs from Fri/5 through Sat/13, ending with Lit Crawl, the infamous booklovers pub-crawl that words up the Mission. The festival's venues are as diverse as its writers, ranging from theaters, coffee houses, bars to a barbershop, a bee-keeping supply store, even a parklet. Read more »

Downtown development

New books look back at NYC's neighborhood art scene

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LIT/VISUAL ARTS The term "Mission School" was coined in these pages by Glen Helfand in 2002 to describe a loose-knit group of artists based around the Mission District who were then just beginning to break through into international art world success. These artists — including Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Chris Johanson, Alicia McCarthy, Rigo 23 and others — made use of found materials and shared an informal aesthetic that was influenced as much by the low rent streets of the city around them as a relaxed, collective Bay Area vibe.Read more »

Pop thrills

A romp through this year's bumper crop of trash lit

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tredmond@sfbg.com

LIT So much trash lit, so little summer left. It hasn't been the greatest of years for beach and backyard reading (seriously, more trash than lit), but we struggle on. Some selections:

THE AFFAIR

By Lee Child

Delacourte Press

405 pp, hardcover $28

Jack Reacher is one of the best action characters of our time, up there with Spenser and Travis McGee.Read more »