Our top picks for the week starting Monday, Feb 11 2013. Suggest an event.
Adam Mansbach @ City Lights: 7:00 pm: Come into City Lights and help New York Times bestselling author, Adam Mansbach, celebrate the release of his new book, Rage Is Back (Viking). Featuring the story of Kilroy Dondi Vance, a young New Yorker dealing pot in prep school who’s abandoned by his world-famous graffiti artist father, Rage is an Amazon.com best book of January and is sure to rise in the ranks of literary prestige within the next few months.
You may recognize him as the author of the beloved and delightfully raunchy children’s book Go the Fuck To Sleep, or as the writer of the brilliant short film/political ad entitled “Wake the Fuck Up” featuring Samuel L. Jackson (if you haven’t seen it, check it out!).
After perusing through his website, it becomes apparent that Mansbach is a man of many talents: A recognized poet, novelist, screenwriter, journalist (he writes a great column on Salon.com and created Elementary, a renowned hip hop journal in the 90’s), who blends satire and hidden truths like a wine expert pairs cheese. Make sure not to miss out on this City Lights event, you may find your new favorite writer!
Here’s Adam reading an excerpt from Rage Is Back:
[Some helpful links]
Douglas Blazek & Andrew Joron @Moe’s Books, 7:30pm: Moes is hosting another wonderful literary night with poets Douglas Blazek and Andrew Joron, both well known and respected throughout the literary community.
Douglas Blazek has been writing for over 50 years and has been a major force in the publishing industry since the 1960’s. He is well known for his anti-mainstream outlook on publishing, and created his famous chapbook, Ole’, in order to defy conventional poetry and push underground writers like Charles Bukowski into the literary limelight. For this, Blazek, you will forever be my hero! He has spent the last 35 years intensely revising every poem he has ever written while writing new poetry as well, and has finally released a new series of new and revised poems from Edition Muta. Blazek has published over 1,000 poems and has appeared in over 400 journals over the course of his career, and poet laureate Charles Simic calls him “a genius”.
Andrew Joron studied with the anarchist philosopher Paul Feyerabend, graduated with a BA in Philosophy of Science, and set out to write science fiction poetry, which is an uncommon genre that I have yet to see someone master as well as he has. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Trance Archive: New and Selected Poems (City Lights) and The Cry At Zero, a collection of prose poems and critical essays. He has also done translations from German to English of the philosopher Ernst Bloch’s Literary Essays, The Perpetual Motion Machine by Paul Scheerbart, and Richard Anders’ The Footsteps of One Who Has Not Stepped Forth.
Joyce Carol Oates @ Mills College (Oakland): 5:30pm: “When people say there is too much violence in my books, what they are saying is there is too much reality in life.”- Joyce Carol Oates
Another exciting event presented by the Mills College Contemporary Writing Series, this time featuring Joyce Carol Oates. There is so much I can say about her, but I will start off by saying she is one of the most prolific and poignant writers of the past decade. Oates has a huge collection of accomplishments including three Nobel Prize nominations and the 2012 PEN Center Award For Lifetime Achievement. She has written “56 novels, over 30 collections of short stories, eight volumes of poetry, plays, innumerable essays and book reviews, as well as longer nonfiction works on literary subjects ranging from the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the fiction of Dostoyevsky and James Joyce”. She has taught in Princeton’s Creative Writing program since 1978, and mentored many famous writers such as Jonathan Safran Foyer. Her writing goes hand in hand with her life, pushing boundaries and achieving her purpose every step of the way. If you have never read a book by Oates, pick one up, any one, and you will be thrust into a new world that you won’t want to leave.
Please, read more about her:
Jamaica Kincaid @ City Arts and Lectures, 7:30 pm: Acclaimed writer Jamaica Kincaid will be in conversation with Frances Phillips, discussing everything from her writing, childhood, politics, influences, and beyond.
Kincaid on her own writing: “I would be lost without the feeling of antagonism that people have towards me. I write out of defiance.”
Jamaica Kincaid was born in Antigua, and moved to the United States at 17 to escape her family and begin a new life abroad. She first became a noted writer with her pieces and short stories featured in The New Yorker column “Talk of the Town” in the late 70’s, and published her first collection of short stories, At the Bottom of the River, in 1981. Kincaid’s writing is considered autobiographical, and is deeply influenced by her childhood in Antigua and the rampant colonialism present in her birthplace, a theme also shown throughout her three novels Lucy, My Garden, and A Small Place. Her first novel in ten years, See Now Then, is forthcoming and is sure to be a major topic during discussion.
ZYZZYVA Poetry All Stars @ City Lights, 7:00 pm: ZYZZYVA, the West Coast’s darling lit mag, is hosting poetry readings from recent contributors Matthew Dickman, Robin Ekiss, and Dean Rader at City Lights bookstore. Editor Laura Cogan and Managing Editor Oscar Villalon of ZYZZYVA will be there to introduce the readers and host the event. It is great to see emerging writers gaining recognition in the literary scene, and here is some more about the featured readers:
Matthew Dickman is an associate editor for Tin House, and the author of two full length poetry collections: Mayakovsky’s Revolver (Norton), and All American Poem, which won the May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of two chapbooks, Amigos and Something about a Black Scarf. Click here for some more Matthew.
Robin Ekiss is a poet, copywriter, teacher, and baker, whose poems have been published in various journals such as The Atlantic Monthly, TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, and many more. Her first book of poems, The Mansion of Happiness, was published by the University of Georgia Press VQR Poetry Series, and won the 2010 Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers. Check out her awesome website here.
Dean Rader’s debut collection of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize, and his poem “Self Portrait as Dido to Aeneas” was selected by Mark Doty for Best American Poetry, 2012. He is the department chair of English at the University of San Francisco (shout out to my school!), and has had his writing published in many esteemed journals such as Boston Review and New American Writing. All English majors at SF State better be attending. Schmooze him here.
Thursdays at Readers Poetry Series: Devorah Major + Adrian Arias, 6:30 pm: Head to Readers Bookstore in Fort Mason Center for the Thursday at Readers Poetry Series, and listen to poets devorah major and Adrian Arias read their work! This reading series is curated by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library’s Poet-In-Residence and former San Francisco Poet Laureate, Jack Hirschman.
This reading is extra exciting because San Francisco’s Poet Laureate 2002 through 2006, devorah major, will be performing. She takes an energetic and hypnotizing approach to poetry that she sees as both a written and performance art. Find out more about major here.
Of the American-Peruvian prize winning poet and visual artist Adrian Arias: “his visual art, like his poetry, explores the absurd, the sensuality of elements, and the connection between reality and dreams ” – his website, and I’m already hooked. He has some impressive accomplishments, such as four award winning books of poetry and an official selection for Altar-Installations every year since 2003, held at SOMARTs Cultural Center in San Francisco.
It should be fascinating to watch such a talented and disparate duo perform their poetry.
The Bloom: Love and Hate, Progressive Grounds @ 7pm: The Bloom is back! A Fall reading series featuring Bay Area writers reading their work with a different theme each month, The Bloom returns to the literary scene with its newest rendition: Love & Hate. Five diverse writers will read their work: Alastair Gee, Ethel Rohan, Liz Worthy, Maw Shein Win, and Julia Mendel. Read about each of the writers and the show’s host, Jenny Bitner, here.
RADAR + La Pena: Hear Me Roar!, La Pena Cultural Center (Berkeley), 8pm: Woah, this is going to be one of the coolest series emerging in San Francisco this month. As a huge fan of spoken word, I can only watch from the audience and wish I had half the talent these performers can spit on a daily basis, but I am always thrilled to hear about events in the Bay Area where spoken word is featured.
Hear me Roar! is “the first event of the Hip Hop Beyond Gender series, a five part event series that features performances and workshops showcasing the music and art of women and trans Hip Hop artists”. This series focuses on not only showing what these artists can do, but also to expose the connection between misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia rampant within the Hip Hop community. Hear Me Roar! will be a night filled with incredibly talented performers of feminist/queer hip hop literature and spoken word: Aya De Leon, Raquel Gutierrez, Chinaka Hodge, Carrie Lielam Love, Dawn Robinson, and Kit Yan. Read about them here, and check out this previous performance by Chinaka Hodge :
Kim Addonizio + Kim Lohse @The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd St @ 7:25pm: Kim Addonizio has been called “one of our nation’s most provocative and edgy poets”, just one attempt to grasp a definition for the cut-throat talent in her work. Addonizio is funny, filthy, and incredibly witty, and will keep you entertained and unabashedly laughing at dirty words and dick jokes for the duration of her reading. She is one of those readers that captivates the room with her presence and quirky reading style, incorporating blues music between her words, and dissolving the expectations of music and poetry into one melting pot of a genre. Check out her website, and enjoy a blitz from one of her readings:
Kim Lohse is a freelance poet and English teacher, and works as program director for Poetry Center San José and Squaw Valley Writer’s Conference. She won an Iowa source poetry prize in 2006, and was a finalist in the Dana Awards. Her work has appeared in Margie and Cæsura, and she translates early French surrealist poetry and essays that have appeared in Pilot.
R.L. Stine… for free!, Mark Hopkins Hotel in the Room of the Dons @ 10 am: Your third grade self is ready to pee your pants with excitement. San Francisco Writer’s Conference is hosting a “frightfully delightful” interactive session with the author of Goosebumps, R.L. Stine. But here’s the catch: its for 3rd to 8th graders only! Luckily, there is a chaperone required for every ten children, so perhaps you can volunteer to help wrangle the kiddies in and attend. If you know anyone within the age range, make them RSVP as soon as possible, as I’m sure the seats will disappear faster than the kids in Welcome to Camp Nightmare. Reminisce here.
Bawdy Storytelling’s “Scandalous!” 6-yr anniversary, Verdi Club @ 8pm: For the past six years, Dixie De La Tour at Bawdy Storytelling has been entertaining us with hilarious tales of awkward hookups, scream worthy sex, and one night stands that make your teeth clench. Come celebrate their anniversary with Natasha Muse, Blythe Baldwin, and other readers that have yet to be announced. This event costs $20, and is way worth the money.
Natasha Muse is a transsexual stand up comedian, creator of A Funny Night For Comedy, writer and performer for the sketch group Femikaze, and mother (lucky kid!). She performs all over the Bay Area and her website has already made me crack up in the library twice.
Blythe Baldwin is a Queer Open Mic host and a second generation gynecologist(!!). Watch:
Writers With Drinks, Make Out Room @7:30 pm: Writers With Drinks is a great series that mixes all types of genres on one stage to create a homogenous hodgepodge of writers (there is such a thing!) to help “expose people to new modes of expression”. Readers are:
Jim Munroe is a self identified anarchist and Canadian science fiction writer, graphic novelist, video game creator, and short film maker, who publishes his works independently under the imprint No Media Kings. Check out his website and be entertained for hours!
Zubair Ahmed is an engineer (my heart is fluttering) and poet, who has been published in The Believer, California Northern, and Tin House. His first full-length poetry collection, City of Rivers, is published through McSweeney’s.
Virgie Tovar is a body image expert & coach, hosts her own radio show on CBS in San Francisco, and is the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love, and Fashion.Virgie and her work have been featured by MTV, the San Francisco Chronicle, Jezebel, Golden Gate Express, and SF Weekly, as well as on Women’s Entertainment Television and The Ricki Lake Show. Read more here.
Weeks, Kenower, Woltag, and Neuman for Small Press Traffic, Artist Television Access@ 5pm: Small Press Traffic is hosting a poetry reading from Bay Area poets Maya Weeks, Andrew Kenower, Laura Woltag, and Laura Neuman. Come hear some rising talent:
Maya Weeks’ recent work has appeared in the East Bay publications ARMED CELL, See You Next Tuesday, the Vulgate, and The Feeling Is Mutual: A List of Our Fucking Demands. You will like her blog.
Andrew Kenower curates the online audio archive A Voice Box and is co-curator of the Woolsey Heights Reading Series. He is the principle designer for Trafficker Press and is the print and web designer for the Prison University Project.
Laura Woltag’s work has appeared in Try!, OMG!, & is forthcoming in Mrs. Maybe and the Manifest Reading Series anthology. She facilitates a listening/sound studies class through the Bay Area Public School.
Laura Neuman is a poet and performing artist, and some of her poems have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail and Tinge. She has taught Creative Writing, Poetry, and Composition to undergraduates at Temple, and has performed in and sometimes co-created projects with The Workshop for Potential Movement.
Michelle Greenberg is a Litseen intern and Creative Writing student at SFSU. She likes to play drums and write poetry in her free time, and is obsessed with Charles Bukowski, Mexican food, and cats. She wants to publish at least one book of her original poetry and/ or own a guinea pig farm when she grows up.