Leave it to Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore to have us all excited about the end of San Francisco. The queer activist and radical prose stylist moved to Seattle a few years ago but returns to celebrate her new book (out on City Lights). Her writing is furious and unlike anything you've ever read; as novelist Justin Torres so aptly points out, "her agitation is an inspiration."
There's a passage in Henry Miller's The Colossus of Maroussi that chronicles one of his major revelations as a writer, when a stranger challenges him to record what the wind is doing through the trees without at all talking about it. Sycamore's prose recalls that passage: Drunk on language that ought to be incomprehensible but is somehow piercingly lucid, she wails elegiac for the dream of a transcendent queer culture once glimpsed with such promise here. If you like firebrands or language as alchemy, this event is a sure thing.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore: The End of San Francisco starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday April 30 at City Lights, 261 Columbus, S.F. Admission is free; call 362-8193 or visit citylights.com. Go to sfweekly.com for our interview with Sycamore!