Literature

Mirrors and masks

In praise of the art book during a Kindle era

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Nan on Jean

WRITERS ISSUE: Bay Times "Straight Talk" columnist Nan Parks reviews the first book by the Onion's Jean Teasdale

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arts@sfbg.com

WRITERS ISSUE So this is my very first book review ever (!) unless you count the book review I had to do in school on The Yearling, so bear with me because I'm a beginner. But anyway the title of the book is A Book of Jean's Own (St. Martin's Griffin, 288 pages, $14.99) and the author is Jean Teasdale who lives in an apartment somewhere with her husband Rick and her two cats, one was named Garfield which I'm guessing she took from the comic strip and I forget the name of her other cat. You'll find out if you read her book!Read more »

It's not easy being an arrogant know-it-all

WRITERS ISSUE: An excerpt from The International Homosexual Conspiracy

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arts@sfbg.com

WRITERS ISSUE Having to constantly suffer the company of the ignorant, it's difficult to suppress my condescension. After all, I know about obscure music and books that few others know of and this makes me superior.Read more »

Moving portraits

WRITERS ISSUE: Left in the Dark illuminates San Francisco's movie-going past

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They're back!

WRITERS ISSUE: Armistead Maupin catches us up on the girls in Mary Ann in Autumn

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Lost city

WRITERS ISSUE: Peter Plate's Elegy Written on a Crowded Street stares into the Market Street abyss

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Past presence

Simon Reynolds sounds off about the music of hauntology

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arts@sfbg.com

LIT/MUSIC/VISUAL ART A present from the past — the paradox within that phrase is as close as one might get to pithily describing hauntology. The term was coined in 1993 by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida to describe utopian specters within capitalist society. But more recently, the music writer Simon Reynolds has specifically applied hauntology — literally, ghost logic — to music, using the term to describe the playfully eerie studio-as-séance-site releases on the British label Ghost Box, and similar recordings.Read more »

Call of the grisly

Paco Ignacio Taibo II constructs a guide to corruption in Mexico City Noir

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arts@sfbg.com

LIT With volumes devoted to numerous U.S. cities and quite a few foreign capitals, it sometimes seems as if Akashic Books' expanding line of noir story anthologies will wind up covering virtually every major metropolis on earth. Because less gritty burgs like Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and Phoenix all have entries in the crime fiction series, it's only fair that Mexico City gets a nod.Read more »

Addicts unanimous

The urge to gorge or smoke crack is explored in two habit-forming new memoirs
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arts@sfbg.com

LIT What is it about addiction memoirs? Like Pringles — something food junkie Frank Bruni might know something about — you just can't have one. They're easy to devour and easy to digest, as compulsively consumable as the impulsions they're filled with.Read more »

Ride the Iron Horse

Author Kevin Starr sings the praises of the Golden Gate Bridge

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There's a mysterious paradox present in the fact the Golden Gate Bridge was essentially born in the pit of the Great Depression. On the one hand, this marvel of architecture and beauty stands for potential and optimism as made manifest in the dreamiest haven of California. On the other, the Golden Gate is like a metallic siren, known as a place where those who have lost contact with American life go to disappear.Read more »