Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Places you’re not supposed to see

This morning I’m going to the SFMOMA to meet artist and writer Trevor Paglen and interview him.
        Update: Here’s the interview on TheRumpus.net.
He may be best known because of his appearance several months ago on “The Colbert Report” talking about his short book about the unit patches worn by people working on secret military projects, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have To Be Destroyed By Me. He’s also the author of “Blank Spots on the Map,” a geographical approach to the black world of secret military projects, and co-author of Torture Taxi, about the Bush administration’s uncharted rendition air flights.

But he’s not just an author and academic — he’s a geography professor at UC Berkeley — but a photographer whose work is hanging at both SFMOMA and the Altman Siegel Gallery in SF. His photographs, many of which use what he calls “Limit Telephotography” or the practice of taking very long range telephoto pictures, peek into places you’re not supposed to see:
Trevor Paglen: Large Hangars and Fuel Storage/Tonopah Test Range, NV/Distance ~18 miles/10:44 am

… and pick out needles — secret surveillance satellites — in the haystack of the night sky.

Lucha Libre!

Green Apple Books might be a huge, wonderful bookstore, but they don’t only sell books. They also sell music, canvas bags, and … Lucha Libre Thumb Wrestling Masks. Yes. Just in case you needed one more excuse to shop there.

Merlin Mann Says Goodbye to Stacey’s

The abandoned mezzanine level of Stacey’s Books, photographed by Merlin Mann, who has posted the above photo and some reflections on the closure here. When this news was announced, I had a feeling that it was the rent that killed them, and Mann’s post would seem to confirm it: he reports their rent as having been $65,000 a month. That’s a lease of $780,000 a year. You just try to run a bookstore, of all things, with an expense like that on your P&L.

Given that they had too much space in a prime retail space, I still wonder why they didn’t choose to relocate. That question has puzzled me from the beginning. If you happen to know the background of this choice, please let us know in the comments.

[Thanks to Allan of Mission Mission for sharing this link.]

Recession around the Bay

stimulus!A friend visited the Emeryville branch of Borders Books and found it half-empty. Must be a little rough in Emeryville these days, considering that the big Circuit City there closed when that chain went down.

Also today, I was in Noe Valley and saw employees of the AAA storefront there literally carrying equipment out the door. A sign posted in the window said the branch was closing that day.

Meanwhile, the Chronicle carried an unintentionally funny story about how something called the Bay Area Council Economic Institute is meeting to split up funds from federal stimulus bills. Great quote:

“If we all work together in the next 66 days and get a great plan, we win,” said John Grubb, spokesman…

Yeah, that’ll definitely happen.

All Things Ferlinghetti

Today is Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 90th birthday. Give City Lights some love and buy a book from them today! In person or online, it’s a gift for him that you get to receive.

By the way, a film about Ferlinghetti’s life and works is going to premiere at the upcoming San Francisco International Film Festival on April 28. Film site here. Tickets are available now to SFFS members!

UPDATE: Streetsblog has this great article about Ferlinghetti’s proposal to create an Italian-style piazza on Vallejo Street (near Trieste).

UPDATE: SFist reports that it’s also Frank Chu’s birthday. Well, how about that?

Geek Reading at 111 Minna, Monday the 23rd

From the EFF’s weekly newsletter:

You’re Invited to a “Geek Reading” with Authors Cory Doctorow, Rudy Rucker, Annalee Newitz, and Charlie Anders at 111 Minna Gallery.

Join EFF on Monday, March 23rd, for a fundraising event featuring award-winning writer Cory Doctorow. Cory will be reading from his novel, “Little Brother,” a story of high-tech teenage rebellion set in the familiar world of San Francisco. As he currently calls the UK home, this is a rare opportunity to to hear Cory read from his work in person. He will be joined by fellow writers Rudy Rucker, Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders reading from their latest works.

WHEN: Monday, March 23rd, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: 111 Minna, SF, CA

‘Breathers’ author to appear at Writers with Drinks

S.G. Browne
The first novel by S.G. Browne, who lives in the Santa Cruz area but has attended a writer’s group in SF for years, is called Breathers: A Zombie’s lament. The comic take on the undead, who shamble around a small California town, attend Undead Anonymous meetings, and try to stay out of the grips of the SPCA, is also a romance, between the main character and a recently suicided young woman. It’s also a story of temptation, once the zombies find out that the secret to fighting decrepitude is to comsume, yes, the flesh of humans, or “breathers.”

The book, which is being released today, was recently sold to Fox Searchlight with Diablo Cody slated to produce. Browne appears Saturday at Writers With Drinks. I spoke to him by phone yesterday.

My interview after the jump

Florida bookstore display has Obama fans enraged, but SFers yawned

According to the Washington Post, a bookstore window display in Coral Gables, Fl. has people outraged at the pairing of Obama books with one entitled “Monkeys.” But when Alexander Book Co. did something similar in January and SFist blogged about it, commenters yawned. “There reaches a point when pointing one’s finger and screaming ‘racism’ crosses the line into paranoia,” one wrote, while another said, “Only in overly sensitive San Francisco would something this obviously meaningless get any attention.” Hmm, maybe not.

S.G. Browne’s "Breathers" sold to Hollywood; Diablo Cody to produce

Santa Cruz writer S.G. Browne‘s book Breathers, a comic zombie romance which he describes as “a classic story of suffering and redemption, like The Color Purple or the New Testament, only with cannibalism” has been sold to Fox Searchlight, with Diablo Cody set to produce. (Cody is last year’s slumdog millionaire, as it were — her Academy Award for the “Juno” screenplay vaulted her to fame and Hollywood power.) Browne, a former Disney screenwriter, will be appearing at next month’s Writers with Drinks as well as other venues after the March 3 release of his book.

RADAR reading includes appearance by JT LeRoy hoaxer

Laura Albert (l.) and Savannah KnoopSavannah Knoop, who for several years played the role of JT LeRoy in public, will appear as herself in Michelle Tea’s monthly RADAR reading series tonight at 6:00 pm at the San Francisco Public Library. (Description, times and location of the event here.)

Knoop is the author of Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT LeRoy from Seven Stories Press. Tea told me Knoop would be “reading something, and that there will be elements of performance art as well” at the event.

Also appearing are filmmaker and writer Hilary Goldberg,performer Lauren LoGiudice, and Fresno poet Bana Witt — who is great. My money’s on Witt to steal the show.

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