Tuesday, October 30, 2007
So I was impulse buying. At Starbucks. I know, don't ask. Don't even go there. I mean I'm totally off caffeine so what the f was I there for? The short answer: Diedrichs sold out and a certain two.5 year old need chocolate milk. Anyhow. At the counter. Paying way too much for chocolate milk, even the organic kind, when I just hand to the woman, along with my debit card, the latest Joni Mitchell CD just perched there by the biscotti. Because, let's face it, the Disney Pixar Cars soundtrack is driving momma frickin nuts. So we buy Joni. For $17.95. Plus tax. And well, even longer story short: In addition to where old race-cars retire, I now have the soundtrack of hippy death. No really. I'm sure Joan Didion is working her next essay collection around this. Even the funky--what is it? snare drum, cymbal, synthesized woodland imp retired jazz is included. Lucky me.
So yesterday was a bad day. At least bad in the music and milk variety.
Today I was saddled up for a long morning of grading essays on the use of rhetoric in 17th century texts--really I should have just got in the Saab with my stack of papers and a red pen, rolled up the windows, put Joni on full blast and had it out--but instead I stayed at my desk, streamlined Morning Becomes Eclectic and what to my wondering ears did I hear?
Shelby Lynne, live.
But wait, it gets better.
Shelby Lynne live covering Dusty Springfield. Her Dusty record.
(And Nick, don't be too quick to jump up on the pulpit. Dusty's Dusty. Shelby's Shelby. She knows that. In fact, and I quote: "I'm not filling her shoes. No one can. I just set out to sing songs we all want to hear again." And boy does she. Because it's soft. And throaty. And calm. And perfect. And really, when's the last time you heard "Breakfast in Bed" on a Tuesday morning? Because it's enough to melt your heart and send you off to live another life. One where you're not puking and sweeping ash off your sidewalk and grading 17th century philosophy papers and running to the ends of the earth for bad hippy music and pricey organic chocolate milk.)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
In another place and in another time, a member of Groop pulled out a smuggled bottle. We gathered in close while he soaked a spoonful of sugar in a drop of absinthe, then lit in on fire to carmelize it, then poured the absinthe slowly over the spoon into a glass. It was the color of the water of Lake Tahoe, over in Emerald Bay, on a sunny day. And it tasted like it looked.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
While we are basking in the literary glory that is Nami, please people, let's not forget SKIDOO.
A few years back I was interviewed by film historian Foster Hirsch who was writing an Otto Preminger bio for Random House. He heard about my obssession and we met and I waxed SKIDOO for posterity. Lo and behold, "Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King" is out at bookstores everywhere...right Nick? And yes, I get a healthy page to my compressed observations. It's odd to see yourself quoted with such finality as I would have amended some thoughts. But it's all good. And the book is a great read.
The LA Times reviewed it and the reviewer is a SKIDOO fan of course: http://www.killfee.net/
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I recently refilled my ink cartridge for 11 dollars at a place on Alston way off of Shattuck in Berkeley. You can also do this at Walgreens though they don't offer as large a selection. Here is the link to the place on Alston.
This looked somewhat interesting:
Mission Art & Performance Project
Saturday, October 20, 2007 at 7:00pm- 12:00am
24th St. Between Bryant and Florida
San Francisco, CA
Music, Poetry, a Play and Visual Art!
This is the Mission art walk, and Morgan & Mumalo curating
Prose and Poetry readings by Jarrod Roland, Paul Ebenkamp,
Jenny Drai,& Jack Morgan
Art showcases by Helen Tseng, Jack Morgan & V.E. Grenier
Music by Casey Speer
A one act play produced by Diana McCullough
This person's contact info:
And so did this:
So we survived Litquake! But some of us had to do things we're not
proud of, to make it through. So it's time to ATONE for our
literary SINS. There will be hairshirts. There will be cats of
99 tails (and a few deformed heads.) There will be wailing and
mortification. And that's just what Tim Maleeny has planned
for you guys at Writers With Drinks. David West and Nomy Lamm
will be way more hardcore. (And scroll down for my upcoming events...)
When: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007, 7:30 to 9:30 PM
Who: David West, Nomy Lamm, Matthew Jacobs, Katayoon Zandvakili,
Rachelle Chase and Tim Maleeny
Where: The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd. St. between Mission and Valencia, SF
How much: $3 to $5 sliding scale, all proceeds benefit other magazine
About the readers/performers:
David West's poems have appeared in New American Underground Poetry Vol.1:
The Barbarians of San Francisco - Poets From Hell and Pocket Myths: The Odyssey.
His chapbook, Evil Spirits and their Secretaries, is available from Zeitgeist Press
Michelle Tea called him "one of the city's great unsung poets."
Matthew Jacobs was one of the writers for The Young Indiana Jones
Chronicles, and wrote the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie starring Paul
McGann. His film screenwriting credits include Lassie and The
Emperor's New Groove. He's also written for the video games
Outlaws and Star Wars: Starfighter.
Katayoon Zandvakili is the author of The Arrest, a memoir about
her marriage to a man who was posing as a surgeon. Her poetry
collection, Deer Table Legs, won the University of Georgia Press'
Contemporary Poetry Series prize in 1998. Her work has appeared in
caesura, Five Fingers Review, American Poetry: The Next Generation
and Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the
Tim Maleeny's novels include Beating The Babushka, Stealing The
Dragon, the forthcoming Greasing The Pinata and the forthcoming Jump.
His story "Till Death Do Us Part" appears in the mystery anthology Death
Do Us Part and was nominated for the Macavity Award.
Nomy Lamm is a zinester and queercore musician. She's published
the zine I'm So Fucking Beautiful and organized a genderqueer
reading series called The Finger. She's toured as part of Sister Spit.
Her albums include Effigy, The Transfused and Anthem. She was
named one of Ms. Magazine's "Women of the Year" in 1997.
Rachelle Chase is the author of Sex Lounge and Sin Club. She has
stories in the anthologies Dreams & Desires and Out Of Control.
She co-hosts the Chase The Dream competition for unpublished
Upcoming appearances by Charlie Anders:
Thursday 10/25 Charlie Anders features at the Babble
On reading series at Dog Eared Books, 900 Valencia St.
@ 20th,. SF, at 8 PM.
Friday 10/26 Charlie Anders features at Queer Open Mic at the
Three Dollar Bill café, LGBT Center, 1800 Market @ Octavia,
SF, at 8 PM. Open mic signup at 7:30 PM.
Sunday 11/04 The Kvetsch anniversary show, featuring
Charlie Anders and a whole bunch of other amazing writers.
It's an all-feature extravaganza. It's at 9 PM, at Sadie's Flying Elephant,
on the corner of Potrero and Mariposa.
Weds 11/28 Charlie Anders and Beth Lisick at the RADAR Salon,
hosted by Michelle Tea. A two-person panel discussion and reading.
With cookies! At the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library,
3555 16th. St., SF, at 7:00 PM.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Meatpaper is a new San Francisco-based quarterly dedicated to "the ideas, artistic excursions and bone-deep emotions" inspired by meat. Yes, I've already introduced myself to the editors. No, they haven't asked me to write for them ... yet. For those of you in the area interested to find out more, the mag is hosting a meaty cocktail event this Sunday at Slow Club in SF's Mission District. I'm planning to attend, anybody want to go with?
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Hope all's well in everyone's neck of the woods . . . Spect.
How to Start a Fire
On the evening of October 31st, 2001, I stood before the dilapidated Queen Anne Victorian where a costume party from which I had been banned was shortly to begin, splattering kerosene over the boxwood hedge that lined its yard. I had nearly a quart of bourbon in my bloated gut, and more back at the house, just a block away. I had a Gerber jack knife clipped inside my left hip pocket, a broken heart, a head full of fuck-yous, and this much shy of nothing left to lose.
In short, I was a lonely man, a shattered man, angry as a Republican and confused as a rat. Over the last two months I had undergone a series of operations for a brutal case of kidney stones, the final one of which — while I was still conscious, no less — entailed cramming a tiny metal claw up my penis to seek-and-destroy the rotten stint floating somewhere in the chaos between my bladder and my kidney. For almost 60 days, whacked out on so much Darvocet, Percocet, Percodine, and Delaudin that my doctor refused to give me more of the stuff for fear that she would kill me, I ate nothing but root beer floats made from A&W and Häagen-Dazs. Prior to this, for nearly a year, I had functioned like one of H.G. Welles’ troglodyte morlocks, doing the Thorazine shuffle to and fro between my ramshackle apartment in the old town Duck Pond of this swampy Floridian town and the tenebrous cubicle in which I spent eight hours a day describing Windows XP. Meantime, my wife — now my ex-wife — after drunkenly carousing the night away with the pack of jerks she absurdly referred to as her “colleagues” — rose each afternoon to write stories featuring such lovely sentences as, “I am being stalked by two men: one carries a brick, the other a wrench named Pierre.”
So there I stood, a 240 pound drunk with more than three-quarters of his body covered in tattoos, garbed in a pair of thrift-store flip-flops, raggedy, cut-off jeans and a wife beater tee shirt stained with macaroni-and-cheese, pecan pie, barbeque sauce, and the grease from a recent bucket of deep-fried chicken, my face still smeared with the make up I had donned in preparation for a night of festivities I was no longer welcome to attend. Regardless of the early hour, merely imminent dusk, a phalanx of costumed kiddies had already taken to the streets. As if from hidden pods, a duo had manifested across the way, a clutch down the block, a gaggle more on the porch three homes down — super heroes, clowns, bunny rabbits, and angels, the whole prancing, heartwarming bit. And yet despite what must have been my own blasphemous prominence — was I not, after all, here in this quaint little neighborhood with its Greek Revival mansions and Tidewater homes, its ancient oaks festooned with oozing tassels of Spanish moss, its verdant, manicured gardens replete with magnolias, dogwoods, rhododendrons, and camellias — was I not to the bliss of this antebellum paradise what the blister is to a pretty foot, the scum is to a crystal pool, the maggot to a rose? — no, despite my evident peculiarity, not a single one of these sprites or their grown-up chaperones had seemed to care about me, much less to see me. How that was possible I will never know. It must have been that, obscene as I was, I had somehow managed to blend in for the day, just another ghoul raised from the crypt, an overzealous reveler making final preparations to his terrifying funhouse before the onslaught of trick-or-treaters commenced.
Whatever the case, the fact remains that once I had emptied my red two-gallon can of its precious kerosene, I held a lighter to the glistening leaves and flicked it. Immediately a flame appeared, and then again, with a great swelling rush, the entire hedge and sidewalk before it erupted into a wall of dancing flames. Fire, as Canetti so keenly observed, is the same wherever it breaks out. It is as sudden as it is contagious and insatiable, and yet its appearance, though cause for alarm, is never a surprise. But most of all, fire is possessed of an ancient splendor to which all people find themselves compulsively attracted. There they were, now, tongue after tongue of relentless flames, in all the colors of the rainbow, the colors of the sun from dawn to dusk, instantaneously consuming everything they touched, uniting in a moment what had before been separate, branches and leaves and trunks. I had seen many fires in my life, but none that I had ever started were of this magnitude. What I had besmirched with kerosene was the dullest of hedges. What emerged from that monotony, like some exquisite moth from its muddy chrysalis, was a kaleidoscopic salamander, living, breathing, pulsing, writhing as only fire can. Until the instant before its appearance, I do not believe I had known what to expect. Now that it was upon me, however, I understood at once that it could never have been otherwise. It was as though I had been under a spell, cast not by the fire but by the fire that longed to be.
My monster brought to life, it dawned on me that however much I wanted to admire it, to do so would be the act of a man more foolish than even I had become. I picked up my can, therefore, and started for home. “That’s right,” I thought, “I just lit your fucking yard on fire. Now what are you going to do?”
Amazingly, not a single head had turned, not a single voice was raised. It was as if I had been operating from within some crazy invisible cloak. I wondered whether my drunkenness had anything to do with it. Was what I perceived what others perceived, as well? Had I truly done what it appeared I had done? The terrible dreamlike quality to each successive moment was almost more than I could bear. The absence of guilt, the absence of fear. The purity of satisfaction, the sense of inviolate power. It was simultaneously lovely and horrific, all too much and all too little. Once again I took stock, and once again I saw what I had seen: innocence on the rampage, innocence immersed in its own naïveté. That was all. And then I had reached my house, and then the sirens began, two at first, then three, then four, all of them rushing toward those great black plumes of smoke spiraling into the deepening sky.
Continued . . .