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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Jewelle Gomez at the Bay Area Book Festival on Race, Power and Vampires

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Author Jewelle Gomez - IRENE YOUNG
  • Irene Young
  • Author Jewelle Gomez
Jewelle Gomez just finished up a book tour, traveling from Atlanta to Portland, Maine, doing readings for the City Lights' 25th anniversary edition of her double Lambda Award-winning novel, The Gilda Stories. On the tour, she’s been encountering old fans — and new ones — of her book about of a girl from Louisiana who escapes slavery in the 1850s and becomes a vampire.

“I guess the thing I hear the most is people say, ‘Gosh, I read this when I was in college 20 years ago and I’m really excited to read it again,’ or they say, ‘I can’t believe I never read this book,'" said Gomez by phone from Madison, Wis., where she was finishing up her trip at WisCon, a feminist sci-fi convention. “So people either know it really well, or they never heard of it.”

When Gomez, who will take part in a panel on Subversive Speculative Fiction in the Bay Area Book Festival, wrote her book in the '90s, vampires weren’t the popular figures in fiction and pop culture we know and love today.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

S.F. Poet Justin Chin Taken Off Life Support After a Stroke

Posted By on Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 5:45 PM

Justin Chin - R. E. MORRISON
  • R. E. Morrison
  • Justin Chin

San Francisco poet and writer Justin Chin is being taken off life support today after suffering a massive stroke last week, according to friends.

Fellow writer Kirk Read, who called Chin “the Kurt Cobain of our writing scene,” reported in an email to friends that after several days in the Intensive Care Unit at California Pacific Medical Center’s Davies campus, doctors said Chin was unlikely to recover. His family asked doctors to remove him from his ventilator today, Read said.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Gonzo Erotica: Fight Club Author Chuck Palahniuk Talks About Sex and Death in His New Novel

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Chuck Palahniuk, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, reading and Q&A at the DNA Lounge, 375 Eleventh St., S.F. $34;
  • Chuck Palahniuk, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, reading and Q&A at the DNA Lounge, 375 Eleventh St., S.F. $34;
Rather than take recent advice delivered by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk, to ease the reader into it a piece of writing, coaxing them with laughter before bombarding them with the graphic underbelly, let's jump right into it.

In his upcoming novel Beautiful You, a 200-year-old sex witch pleases herself with her dead mother's finger. A flaming dildo kills someone at the alter when it's rocketed through a stained-glass church window, launched by a thousand angry husbands at Yankee Stadium. Sex toys are crafted from human bones.

Why yes, Palahniuk's new book has plenty of sex and death.

Beautiful You tells the story of a nobody law-student Penny Harrigan who falls into a sexual relationship with Cornelius Linus Maxwell, or "Climax-well," the billionaire founder of a tech company. Maxwell dresses her in lavish designer brands, gives her national attention in tabloids, and showers her with a trust fund. But there's a catch: whenever he takes her into the bedroom, meticulously scrawling observations into his notebook as he brings Penny to orgasm, he's also testing his a new line of mind-control sex toys called Beautiful You. The billionaire has an evil plan, and it's up to Penny to stop him by seeking the guidance of Maxwell's mentor, an ages-old sex witch who lives in a cave atop Mount Everest. The witch, Baba Gray-Beard, has pubic hair that drags along the ground as she walks, but Penny must please her in order to learn her ways and fight the brain-numbing sex powers that Climax-well manipulates for world domination.

Beautiful You will make you wonder whether Palahniuk has gone too far, all while contemplating the state of human sexuality. Could someone really use archaic sex practices to control the women of the industrialized world, and therefore the national economy? Probably not, but that's beside the point.

SF Weekly spoke with Palahniuk about the new novel, a generation of men with arousal addiction, his new genre called 'Gonzo Erotica' and the upcoming Fight Club graphic novel.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Litquake, Day 6: Poetry World Series and a Tribute to Gabriel García Márquez

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 7:35 AM

This is part of our daily guide to the 15th annual Litquake festival, which you can read more about here. What follows is a guide to day three, Wednesday, Oct.15:

click image poetry_world_series.jpg
Two teams of poets go head-to-head in the Poetry World Series. The moderator (Daniel Handler) picks a topic, and each team sends one of their poets to read a poem that in some way addresses the theme; at the end of each round, a panel of judges decides which team gets a point. The lineups are what you'd expect from The Word Series: Ellen Bass, Victoria Chang, Mark Bibbins, Gillian Conoley, Kevin Killian, Cate Marvin, Indigo Moor, Tomás Q. Morín, and Chad Sweeney. There's a time element, and music and sound effects, too (The Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St., 7 p.m., $5).

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Litquake, Day 5: Does Literature Make You an Empath?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 8:02 AM

This is part of our daily guide to the 15th annual Litquake festival, which you can read more about here. What follows is a guide to day four, Tuesday, Oct.14:


Every year, particle physicist cum novelist Ransom Stephens assembles an unlikely cast of writers and specialists to address an intersection between literature and science. This year, the topic is "Does Literature Make You an Empath?" Ransom has written about the event in some depth over at KQED, so we won't go into it too much. Just know the panel includes a psychologist, a romance author, a therapist, a mystery writer, a writer of literary fiction, and the founder of The Greater Good Science Center (Mechanics Institute Library, 57 Post St., 6:30 p.m., $15).

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Litquake, Day 4: Brautigan Tribute and Porchlight Storytelling

Posted By on Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 9:07 AM

  • From Austen to Frog Music: Emma Donoghue's Literary Life
This is part of our daily guide to the 15th annual Litquake festival, which you can read more about here. What follows is a guide to day four, Monday, Oct.13:

Litquake is out of the first weekend and going strong, with I Watched the World… 30 Years After Brautigan, a tribute by friends and legends Joanne Kyger, Michael McClure, and David Meltzer in conversation with Robert Hass and family Ianthe Brautigan-Swensen and Paul Swensen, whose short film You Will Have Unreal Recollections of Me was created solely for this event (UC Berkeley, Morrison Library, 6:30 p.m., Free).

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Litquake, Day 3: The Best American Nonrequired Reading and Barely Published Authors

Posted By on Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 8:00 AM

This is part of our daily guide to the 15th annual Litquake festival, which you can read more about here. What follows is a guide to day three, Sunday, Oct.12:

We asked Daniel Handler what to expect at the launch for this year's edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading, which brings the endlessly inventive author and alter ego of Lemony Snicket — or is it the other way around? — together with Pulitzer Prize-winner Adam Johnson and director of San José State University's Center for Literary Arts Andrew Foster Altschul (Deus Ex Machina and Lady Lazarus), but all Handler would divulge is "free snacks" (Z Space, 450 Florida St., 3 p.m., Free).

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Litquake, Day 2: San Rafael and Drivel Book Launch Party

Posted By on Sat, Oct 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM

click image Gillian Flynn, Mary Roach, Dave Eggers, Rick Moody, Chuck Palahniuk, the list goes on: they all sucked once and they all have the guts to share some of their crappiest early work in this uplifting bit of voyeurism.
  • Gillian Flynn, Mary Roach, Dave Eggers, Rick Moody, Chuck Palahniuk, the list goes on: they all sucked once and they all have the guts to share some of their crappiest early work in this uplifting bit of voyeurism.
This is part of our daily guide to the 15th annual Litquake festival, which you can read more about here. What follows is a guide to day two, Saturday, Oct. 11:

Ever so sneakily, Litquake has essentially decided to not only end the festival with a Lit Crawl but to begin with one too! San Rafael hosts programs all day long, from free donuts and travel stories in the morning to lunchtime open mics at restaurants (Indian and Cuban), a bookfair, mystery writers, romance writers, sci-fi writers, Troy Jollimore and Melissa Stein, 30 men singing the songs of Leonard Cohen in The Belrose Theatre, and… what? An afterparty that includes a cold buffet! So Marin.

In particular, whoever had the idea to put Charlie Getter, Bucky Sinister, and Zarina Zabrisky a) together b) at San Rafael City Plaza in the middle of a Saturday afternoon should be granted a genius award and fed grapes. Bravo.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Litquake Guide: Top Events for Each Day of the Literary Bonanza

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 7:28 AM

You can see what they mean when they say “all-out gala” in this photo from last year's opener. More here. - M. LUKE MCDONELL
  • M. Luke McDonell
  • You can see what they mean when they say “all-out gala” in this photo from last year's opener. More here.

Today starts the 15th annual Litquake, San Francisco's Literary Festival, and to celebrate the organizers are throwing a party with no readings. Over the next eight days, there will be 800+ authors reading and performing and singing and crying their language out (and sometimes others' languages).

There's simply not enough time to adequately prepare yourself for the days that follow, and opening night gives you a chance to flip through the festival guide and see what's happening, what people are planning to go to… you face your conflicts, make your resolutions, you have more complimentary tequila, forget you made your resolutions and make them again, you dance, flirt, you think hm many times and perhaps hell yes more than a few.

Here's Acapulco Mariachi Trio playing La Bomba in a board room:

And here's DJ Alarm:

That's a good Litquake 1-2 for you (I recommend playing them simultaneously). So you don't have to flip through the festival guide wide-eyed when you could be checking people out, we've put together a guide for each day, with video links and other potentially useful information, which we'll publish here early every morning.

With an average of about 12 events per day, there's something for everyone. After all, this is more like walking up to a buffet of desserts than it is choosing a wedding ring. But here's two or three highlights for each day; they were all tough to do, and we'll discuss our picks (and other events) each morning.

Saturday, October 11: San Rafael's All-Day Downtown Festival of Books and Authors, and particularly Words en Plein Aire: Writers with an Edge (Various locations, San Rafael City Plaza, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m., and particularly 4:30 p.m.), and Drivel: Litquake's Book Launch (Z Space, 450 Florida St., 8 p.m. $12.)

Sunday, October 12: 3 p.m. The Best American Nonrequired Reading Book Launch (Z Space, 450 Florida St., 3 p.m. Free.), and Barely Published Authors (Z Space, 450 Florida St., 7 p.m. $5.)

Monday, October 13: Tribute to Richard Brautigan (UC Berkeley, Morrison Library, Free.), and Porchlight Storytelling: Brushes with Fame (Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa St., $20-25.)

Tuesday, October 14: Does Literature Make You an Empath? (Mechanics Institute Library, 57 Post St., 6:30 p.m., $15), and Straight, No Chaser: Writers at the Bar (Vesuvio, 255 Columbus Ave., 7 p.m., Free), but also definitely Identity Theft: James Luna and Guillermo Gomez-Pena (Z Space, 450 Florida St., 7 p.m., $20)

Wednesday, October 15: Poetry World Series (The Make-Out Room, 3223 22nd St., 7 p.m., $5-7), and Macondo in San Francisco: A Tribute to Colombian Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927–2014) (SFPL, Mission Branch, 300 Bartlett St., 7 p.m., Free)

Thursday, October 16: Flight of Poets: Readings and Wine Pairings (Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter St., 7 p.m., $20), Maggie Nelson at Center for Literary Arts (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Rm. 225, San Jose, 7 p.m., Free), and Smart Smut: Baghdad By the Bay Doing the Nasty (The Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St., 8 p.m., $7)

Friday, October 17: Shaken and Stirred: Marking the Loma Prieta (Alfred's Steakhouse, 659 Merchant St., 5:04 p.m., $15), A McSweeney’s Variety Show: Litquake’s Barbary Coast Award (Z Space, 450 Florida St., 8 p.m., $15)

Saturday, October 18: Lit Crawl San Francisco. With 101 events in three phases over 3.5 hours, here are two picks for each phase (all free):
If you attend a show and would like to write about it for possible inclusion here or in one of Litseen's wrap-ups, feel free to send your thoughts, photos, video links, overhead stories/quotables, etc. to evan AT litseen DOT com. You can also download the Litseen App and write reviews and/or upload those things directly, set your own calendar, see what other people are saying/going to, and more.

There's a lot going on this week that's not Litquake-related. Pen & Ink tonight, and Writers With Drinks tomorrow, will be especially good places to be. Take advantage; this is a stellar chance to experience any number of things you've never seen/done/heard before. Use the larger guide as a quick and dirty directory of who and what is local; of course it's incomplete, but it's also overflowing.

Litquake’s 15th Anniversary Quinceañera Opening Party begins at Z Space, 450 Florida St., 8 p.m. $15-20. 

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Write Stuff: Kai Carlson-Wee on the Beauty of Not Really Knowing Who You Are

Posted By on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 9:00 AM

  • Gayle Walsworth

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

Kai Carlson-Wee was born and raised on the Minnesota prairie. His poems have appeared in Many Mountains Moving, Linebreak, Forklift Ohio, and Best New Poets 2010. He currently lives in San Francisco, California, where he is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

When people ask what do you do, you tell them... ?

Well, I try not to say I'm a poet. I try to avoid it. I say I'm a skater. Or I say I'm a teacher. Or that I spend my time looking out windows at trees. You know, it's funny, but this question actually makes me very nervous. I mean, I've been writing seriously since I was 19 years old, and I'm 30 years old now, so that's 11 years of writing, but it's only been the last year-and-a-half that I've actually been able to call myself a writer. I don't know why this is. I mean, what makes it so painful for a poet to admit that they spend their days looking at trees? Saying you're a poet has all these romantic connotations, you know, and every time I tell someone I'm a writer I see this film-roll of judgment start playing itself out in their brains. They think you're a poser. A self-ordained dandy. One of those faux intellectual hipsters who hangs around coffee shops quoting from Blake -- "To see the world in a grain of sand" -- that sort of thing. I don't know, perhaps it's a symptom of a larger disease.

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    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"