Downtown development

New books look back at NYC's neighborhood art scene


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


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:


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 »

Pagoda madness

A native son counters the myths of Chinatown in a new book


LIT Either I'm terrible at parking or Philip P. Choy was exactly the right person to author his recently-released San Francisco Chinatown: A Guide to Its History and Architecture (City Lights Publishers, 184pp, $15.95). We find a spot for my car in a well-hidden lot, tucked into an alleyway behind the Chinese Historical Society of America. It's the first sign of the day that Choy's knowledge of the area goes beyond tea shops and Peking duck.Read more »

Beyond the Pink

1980s teen movie star Molly Ringwald finds new success as an acclaimed author -- but can she still put lipstick on with her cleavage? 


LIT Molly Ringwald is 44, fabulous, and living a dream life in Santa Monica with her gorgeous husband and three daughters. She's also far from shy when it comes to talking about her storied past as an 1980s movie legend, the red-headed dream girl of choice for a generation of disaffected teens.Read more »

A Republican feminist

Does that exist? Meghan McCain says yes


LIT "Do you consider yourself sex-positive?"

If you have a chance to interview John McCain's daughter, and she identifies as a feminist, and is demonstrably more comfortable in strip clubs than the "liberal comedian" with whom she has embarked on a tour with in promotion of their book America, You Sexy Bitch! (Da Capo Press, $26, 352pp), you have to seize your moment to ask the big questions.Read more »

Black and white and red all over

Author David Kirby champions the anti-captivity movement in Death at SeaWorld


Pipe dreams and nightmares

New memoir Opium Fiend documents an obsession with the cause of the "world's first real drug epidemic."


LIT In the early pages of his new memoir, Steven Martin admits he's obsessive. This is not uncommon, he explains, for collectors — not to be confused with the dilettantes he calls "gatherers." Serious hobbyists hunt down highly specific items, fervently scrutinize them, and then evangelize to whoever'll listen about their findings.Read more »

Prancing at the revolution

QUEER ISSUE: Why Are Faggots so Afraid of Faggots? questions queer assimilationism


QUEER ISSUE "Right now it seems we have more in common with the Christian Right than the gay liberation movement. We've become so focused on marriage as the end-all and be-all of gay rights that it's completely within the realm of possibility that the next leader of Focus on the Family could be a gay man. We all have to get married now for tax breaks, health care, or to stay in this country? Are you kidding me?" Mattilda Sycamore Bernstein spilled some truth into my hot pink Princess phone.Read more »

Big trouble in old China

Author Paul French investigates a decades-old murder in Midnight in Peking


LIT It was a cold, windy January morning in 1937 when a horrifically mutilated body was found sprawled at the base of a rumored-to-be-haunted watchtower in what was then called Peking.Read more »

Ink equality

A new anthology of female comic book artists doubles as a networking tool


LIT It started with a tweet. On May 17, 2011, Renae De Liz, following up on a suggestion by fellow comic book artist Jessica Hickman, pitched "an anthology made by all females" to her Twitter followers. The immediate response was unprecedented, as was the support that funneled in through the Kickstarter that was launched in July.Read more »