UPDATE: This just in from Ron Turner: "Hello Friends. There will be a memorial for Gary this coming Tuesday at 11 AM at 225 Berry St. off 4th, very near the Giants ballpark and the Cal Train station. Hope to see you there. It is a modern Senior Center where Gary made his home. Bring stories and memories to share."
Hello, listeners. Brilliant breakout podcast "Welcome to Night Vale" has gained a rabid (yet adorably introspective) fanbase since it launched in June 2012. The twice-monthly, 20-minute-long show, created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, takes the form of a surreal newscast, coming to us from "somewhere in the Southwestern United States" by way of Twin Peaks.
Describing a community of indelible characters, it's a twisted take on Lake Wobegone that vacillates cunningly from whimsical to chilling, often veering into outright poetry. "Night Vale" also recalls the golden age of radio plays: even though it lacks sound effects and depends mostly on the deep, hypnotic voice of narrator Cecil, it summons the entrancing atmosphere of such classics as "The Shadow."
After two more hours of hiking, we stop in a dry creek. One of the younger men enlists help pulling large cactus spines from one of his legs. We sit in a circle sharing food. The tastes link us to loved ones and Oaxaca...Read more »
San Francisco has been home to some of the true giants of American literature and poetry, from Jack London and Mark Twain to Jack Kerouac and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. To honor that past, 12 streets were renamed for these and other writers on Oct. 2, 1988, and there will be a 25th anniversary celebration of that dedication coming up on Oct. 6. Read more »
LIT In late-1980s San Francisco, Steve Abbott hosted a gay writer's workshop at his small apartment at the fabled corner of Haight and Ashbury. One fleeting but reliable occurrence was an appearance by Alysia, the daughter he'd raised since his wife died in a car accident years earlier.Read more »
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.
It is perhaps indicative of my professional scope that I was nervous to talk to Amber Belldene, Bay Area author of a "racy romance" vampire novel (her words.) But be advised, my anxiety was due less to her literary pursuits and more with the fact that she is an ordained Episcopalian priest. Religion, it would seem, is a harder passion to penetrate for me than undead sex scenes.
On her end, Belldene sees no conflict between the two. "Romance novels are really about love, and so is being Christian," the neatly-attired writer, who "fell down a slippery vampire slope" when she was a young thing told me during her visit to my office. The tagline on her website reads "Mystically Sexy Paranormal Romance…because Desire is Divine." [sic] Read more »