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Holiday Highlights 2001 

Holiday Event Lisitngs

Wednesday, Nov 21 2001
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Page 10 of 11

*San Francisco Bizarro
Jack Boulware

Whether they lived through the '06 earthquake or just arrived here in SF, not many folks have the collective knowledge found inside this guide. This SF bible of the bizarre trails us through the cultural gutters and the notorious landmarks of wonderful San Francisco. Written with wit, it chronicles the city's bar noir scene, celebrity mishaps, odd museums, sex industry, and anti-California cuisine and takes a fascinating look at some of our strange city's inventive vocations. Former SF Weekly writer Boulware gives the reader carnal knowledge of local singularities such as a shoe store for foot worship, a school for sex and a church whose patron saint is John Coltrane. Take a tour through the Pez Memorabilia museum or visit a sergeant's dead dog at the Presidio pet cemetery. An engaging guide that will get you and visiting guests out on this strange town.

Office Kama Sutra
Julianne Balmain

If you know someone who pants over the sorority girls in HR, or whose palms sweat while signing for the FedEx man, the Office Kama Sutra could be their guide to fulfillment. This tastefully illustrated book of wanton wisdom leads you through techniques of choosing, courting, and gratifying your new-sprung office love. Occupations are compared, and the temp worker has high honors: "Cloaked in anonymity ... their presence is made all the more appealing by the threat of their imminent departure." There are 40 ways of courtship to master, and each will titillate young lovers. Consider the game of a thousand sticky notes, wherein you slowly uncover your lover's delectables one note at a time. Or of ergonomically correct congress, in which you measure your lover's limbs to correct for any encumbrances and avoid injury. Conveniently, it comes with a reversible cover, aptly titled "Getting what you want at work," that allows one to continue to read in the appropriate place, the office.

The Gryphon
By Nick Bantock

Another wonderful correspondence story from illustrator/writer Nick Bantock. The fourth book in the Griffin & Sabine series, this addition continues the tradition of beautiful images, postcards, and handwritten letters pulled from their envelopes that tell a fantastical mysterious tale. Re-emerging are the main characters, Griffin & Sabine, as they start a correspondence with a young archaeologist in Egypt. Confounded by the clairvoyance of a letter from a woman named Sabine, the archaeologist shares it with his lover, Isabelle, who resides in France. The two couples' lives begin to entangle via shared visions and discoveries. The reader is taken into their mythical lands, ancient truths, and dark forces. It is irresistible to want to continue with the story but as in the last one, we will have to wait for the follow-up of this fantastic tale.

*Queer Pulp
Susan Stryker

Susan Stryker has a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Cal and a post-doc fellowship in sexuality studies at Stanford. In other words, she's a heavyweight in the field of getitonology. Despite the academics, she's also got her tongue firmly planted in cheek, as shown in this collection of lurid paperback covers of queer pulp fiction from the 50's and 60's. Very well researched and annotated, the essays are an extreme contrast to the graphics. One can't help giggling at Abnormals Anonymous, AC-DC Lover, Lavender Love Rumble, or Frisco Gal. Don't ask, but do tell about Army buddies in The Killer Queens and Womens Barracks. These "one-handed readers," packed with closet queens, trannies, she-males, homos, lesbos, and deviants of every variety, are for those who favor naughty over nice.

*The Jerusalem Complex: My Life as a Reluctant Messiah
Marc Maron

Comic and former San Franciscan Marc Maron has adapted his one-man show into a hilarious travelogue for the lost. With the sound of Satan's cloven hooves never far behind, Maron searches for the men behind the curtains at every opportunity, be they the Illuminati, the ghosts of dead comedians, or the Almighty himself. The Jerusalem Syndrome takes its title from the delusion some people get when entering the Holy Land that their arrival has cosmic implications and was orchestrated by God. In other hands, this questing could get tired fast, but Maron's ability to recognize his own idiosyncrasies is the key, because if one can articulate the conspiracy well enough, then the paranoia isn't so far-fetched. Sorry to give anything away, but Maron gives a compelling confession in which he admits responsibility for the Northridge earthquake by performing a rite on the roof of the St. James Hotel in Hollywood.

*This Too Can Be Yours
Beth Lisick

Beth Lisick's short stories are guilty pleasures--candid glimpses into flawed and troubled lives that unfurl with confessional honesty, indulging the reader in voyeuristic gratification. If you've lived in the Bay Area long enough, you'll likely recognize some of her characters--the aging hippie still searching for free love and good karma, the cyber freak, the annoying performance artist, the out-of-work poet, the reality TV wannabe, the neurotic media maven, the rock star asshole, the debauched debutante. Lisick manages to nail all of these and several more while generously infusing the stories with pop culture kitsch. A poet and performer, Lisick fronts a band called The Beth Lisick Ordeal, and is a columnist at sfgate.com. She writes with equal ease from the male and female perspective. In "Grit in the Oil," she captures both the blasé ennui of a likable male limo driver and the abrasive egocentricity of the female record exec he's paid to pick up from the airport and spy on: "I see her rolling her eyes in the rearview while she listens (to her cell phone). "Okay, whatever. If she has a leash on you, then fine. I'm free for dinner tonight and if you want to see my new underwear, I suggest you make yourself available. Bye!' " It's this sort of candor, like eavesdropping on a conversation or reading someone's diary, that make this collection a quick and compelling read.

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