Sunday, April 30, 2006

Y'all Need to Help Me Raise My Brows

So, I've been compulsively taking notes on an as-yet-to-be-explicitly-discussed creative project; as my old friend Mark once said, "Watch what you talk about when you talk about your writing -- the gods are watching." So I'm not talking about this much. My computer's been in an Apple hospital in Memphis (this is for true, I swear, Memphis) since mid-month, and in the meantime, I'm sketching out characters and scenarios, doing reading for research, et cetera. Right now, I'm reading two things -- one comic, one painfully pulp -- that I feel can help me, but I'm feeling awfully low-brow in these choices. So I suppose what I'm asking for is suggestions.

Let me be more specific.

My project involves witches, and I'm rereading some stuff I've read before, and a few things I've always wanted to, to turn over other people's ideas and also to make sure I'm not ripping anyone off by accident (curse this photographic memory of mine). I'm curious as to what folks' favorite witch lit and cinema and such are -- comix, movies, novels, songs, poetry, nonfiction, whatever. I'm trying to immerse myself in this in the time I have without my own machine, and it'd be more fun with a little help from my friends.

Oh, and thanks to everyone who came to the Living Room this weekend. That was a really fun, entertaining reading. And no, I'm not just saying that because they made pie and I had a date -- I didn't get to eat any of the pie. I was too nervous.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

ks in the living room, fri 4/28

Friday, April 28

Sam Hurwitt, Jeff T. Johnson, Stefanie Kalem, and Kaya Oakes. The place is teenytiny.

The Living Room, 3230 Adeline St., BerkeleyDoors at 8 p.m., start time approximately 8:30

Monday, April 24, 2006

editorial shitlist of the week

Kitchen Sink Magazine has something called an editorial shitlist. You won't know about it until you're on it, and you probably will never know you're on it once you get there. I'm not here to expose the shitlist, but to flip the now-predictable script of editorial favorites for a cloudy, shitty, drab day. Enjoy. I hate you. Fuck off.

Shitlist for the week of 4/24
1) Everybody who didn't come to Telegraph Stories last night (except for the people who told me they weren't coming ahead of time and provided a valid reason for not being there). Look, do you realize what an awesome event you missed? And how shitty we think you are? I hope you do.
2) Allergies. What the fuck. Why do these exist?
3) Astigmatism. Because it's not bad enough that you're sneezing and sniffling from allergies, now you have to sneeze and sniffle while wearing glasses.
4) Neck pain/back pain/RSI. Because it's not enough that you're wearing ugly glasses and have allergies, you also have chronic pain.
5) Gasoline, and the price of gasoline, in Northern California, urban.
6) UGIS, UC Berkeley. Because when you spend three years developing a class, they take it away from you. Just because they can.
7) The existence of Marissa Cooper on The OC. Kill the bitch, already. Jesus.
8) Crocs, Uggs and Tevas. The trifecta of hideous footwear, seen every day, every single day, in Berkeley.
9) The fact that no decent blogs update often enough, while all the crappy ones update all the time. Thus negating blogs as a time-killing instrument, which is pretty much their only reason to exist. PS. Fuck Flarf.
10) The marine layer.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Take me to the movies, 'cause I love to sit in the dark

What do you get when you add a Siamese twin punk band, disenfranchised African-American voters, a koala businessman suspected of murder, a singing Tony Soprano, Cuban moppets on the run, the Jonestown massacre, flamenco dancers, Matt Dillon as Bukowski, Bollywood-style musical numbers set in a Hong Kong circus, Garrison Keillor's homespun wisdom, Emperor Hirohito talking about hermit crabs, cosmonauts stranded in space, Tibetan monks watching TV, and surreal Japanese porno about George W. Bush's finger? Either a really complicated rumble or the 49th annual San Francisco International Film Festival, which starts today and runs through through May 4. Reverse Angle editor Sam Hurwitt calls 'em as he sees 'em on the KS website.

On a housekeeping note, LiveJournalistas may be interested to know that there is now an LJ feed for this very blog for their reading and feeding convenience.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Telegraph stories: this Sunday

The second installment of Kitchen Sink's storytelling series, Telegraph Stories, takes place this sunday from 6-8 pm at Mama Buzz cafe, Telegraph and 23rd streets, in Oakland.

Telegraph Stories is a quarterly storytelling series hosted by Kitchen Sink's senior editor Kaya Oakes. Each reader has 10-15 minutes to read or perform a true-life tale. The sponsor is Kitchen Sink Magazine and the Neighbor Lady Community Arts Project, our nonprofit arts branch. This event is free but we accept donations, which are text-deductible. The last event pulled a big crowd and this one is equally charming. Our lineup:

Carla Costa, publisher of Kitchen Sink and contributing writer for XLR8R and a bunch of other places
Evan Rehill, KS and Watchword Press writer, and a member of the Conspiracy of Beards, the all-male a capella Leonard Cohen Choir
Lee Skirboll, Kitchen Sink staff writer and Pushcart Prize nominee
Geoff Trenchard, member of the Suicide Kings, HBO featured performer, and host of Tourette's Without Regrets

Music will be played after the readings by Fear of the Outdoors, KS editor Jeff Johnson's band.

Please come if you can. We also have an upcoming reading on Friday, April 28, in Berkeley. It's at The Living Room (Adeline and Ashby, Berkeley) and will feature the KS editors.

Visit the Kitchen Sink website for more info:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

blowing my mind/super special


I've never wanted to own/be seen touching (or breathing on) any purse I'd have to take a loan out to buy. Regardless, this site totally blows my mind--genius!

It's an online designer handbag library--it's kind of like netflix for purses. You pay a monthly fee, they mail you a bag, you mail it back for another bag...sustainable consumerism! Yes, I strongly believe there should be a library for everything...bring on the shoes...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Where have you been, Joe Dimaggio

Oh Kitchen Sink blog, wherefore art thou? And where in a couple of weeks of nonstop work does a college lecturer find the time to update you? To fondle your familiar knobs with her very worn, very raw nubs of fingers rubbed bare by the grammar of undergraduate writing?

Okay, some favorites of the week:
1) Fudgesicles. What? Yes. I hadn'd had a fudgesicle since I was a wee lass (okay, I was never wee. I have been just shy of six feet tall since I was twelve.), but last night I had a Fudgesicle and it was like licking God. Happy Easter! He is Risen in the fudgesicle!
2) Fry bread tacos. My mother has worked for many years as an educational advocate for Native Americans, so a huge part of my childhood was spent visiting reservations, handing out at the Intertribal Friendship House in east Oakland, and going to pow wows. The UC Berkeley pow-wow was this past weekend, and after having received a massage at the gym from a guy who smelled like flowers, I went and got a fry bread taco, and it was like Proust's madeleine in taco form. Hey, mom, thanks for the memories. Looking forward to the ham.
3) Pacifica candles. I'm not a scented candle person, and if I like any smells they're usually somehting pungent like coffee or skunks, but some student I wrote a recommandation for gave me a Pacifica candle for a thank-you gift, and they're like the crack of candles. They smell amazing and you can just hover over it sniffing for hours and hours.
4) Seymour Hersch. Sy, you are the Woodward and Bernstein of our time. Apparently, we're about to drop nukes on Iran. Happy Easter!
5) Wacoal Bras. Yes, some of us who are well endowed are not happpy about it. Back pain, neck pain, torn breast tissue, jiggling, southern-pointing nipples: big boobs are a curse. But the Wacoal bras, which go up to bigger band and cup sizes that those crappy Vicky's secret numbers, will hold even my 34 DDs in firm, perky position for hours and hours. Happy Easter! The titties have risen!
6) National Weather Serivce, Berkeley, Ca forecast for next week: The rain stops.
7) Case Histories, Kate Atkinson: Just like I am not a scented candle person, I am not a mystery novel person. But this novel isn't a mystery so much as a tragedy hung on unsolved formats. Good writin', too.
8) College Writing R4B class discussions, 4/6/2006: Any day when I get to rap the chorus to a Too Short song and my students engage in a long ranging, astute debate about the roots of crunk in popular culture and Bush's responsibility for the ascendance of hyphy is a damn good day of teaching.
9) Geraldine Kim, Pegasus Books, 4/10/06: "I feel like I've been reading for a while. I think I'll stop now". Geraldine, you are a hero to poets everywhere.
10) Telegraph Stories, 4/23/06, Mama Buzz, Oakland. Because we have managed to combine a spoken word guy, a media critic, a guy who writes death notices, a member of an all-male Leonard Cohen a capella choir, and a possible sing along to Monty Python's "Every Sperm is Sacred" into an evening of storytelling your grandchildren will be jealous that they missed. Get your sweet asses down there by 6pm for the fun. Oh, and there's a band too, and they might break stuff.
10a) After I wrote about Chris in the Morning last week, now John Corbett shows up on I give.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Touch My Omelet

Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
Proceed directly to Bear Parade and read

here comes the rain again

Call me wanky, but the intense, neverending rain (except for those sweet, sweet hours this weekend, gorgeous) has got me thinking about how we wee wanker humans are affecting that most natural of phenomenons, the weather, even here in the beautiful bubble of the SF Bay Area, which sometimes I like to pretend is immune to most disasters. Ha ha, yes, I know. We're coming up on the anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and I'm a dunderhead. But still. Ye olde climate change is getting me a little buggered, as usual. There's nothing new on that tip.

Still, here are a few of my personal faves at the moment:

1) The new issue of Vanity Fair is their green issue. And while the cover is full of wanker Hollywood types like Al Gore and Pretty Woman Roberts, the inside is full of coolness, like Chip Giller, the founder of my favorite environmental Web site Grist.

2) Guster, my new favorite band. Yes, they are hippies. But they are also super cute Jewish boys with a great sense of humor. Definitely check out the songs "Backyard" and "Come Downstairs and Say Hello" from their media page. They're on a Campus Crusade environmental crusade tour right now. Check out this report from ground zero in Michigan:

April 6th -- East Lansing MI
About a half hour before our scheduled National Biodiesel Fuel Press Conference today in East Lansing, Adam hit his head on a tampon dispenser in the bathroom while getting up from taking a crap, requiring a trip to the Michigan State Infirmary and four staples in his head.

There are two tragedies here.

1) We lost our one articulate spokesman at the press conference. Ryan stepped up to the podium and did his best to talk about renewable energy, alternative fuels, and making a difference in your community, but the one guy who actually knows what he's talking about was getting his bloody scalp stiched up.

2) I'm like a pig in shit today. All I could think about during the press conference was writing this road journal. I know it's wrong, but I feel the way Jon Stewart must have felt the day he walked into the office and learned that Dick Cheney had shot his 78-year old hunting buddy -- no one died, and it's just good clean fun. Lots of it. If I had Ed Helms standing by I'd ask him "did Adam Gardner really take a crap and then cut his head open on a tampon dispenser today" and Ed would take on a grave tone with his wonderfully redundant response -- "Indeed yes, Brian, I'm here on the scene in East Lansing where Guster guitarist Adam Gardner has apparently sliced his head open on a tampon dispenser in a bizarre bathroom accident, all a mere half hour before he was scheduled to speak at the band's big press conference on biodiesel fuels."

Ha ha. Tampon dispenser. Crapping. My kind of humor, friends.

3) Ming and Ping

This freak played at the Rickshaw Stop Saturday while I was working. The crowd FREAKED OUT and LOVED THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. Basically he pretends that he has a twin, and his twin is somewhere else, like in Hong Kong or something, and then they coordinate their live show with a "live broadcast" of his twin shown on a screen behind them. It was pretty amazing. Bad, fun, danceable electropop. Drag queens abounded and played the cowbell. Ming insisted that the dancers were "extra spicy!" It was impossible to find pint glasses anywhere because it was so sweaty, packed, and impossible to focus.

4) The Milo Foundation

A great dog rescue group in the Bay Area. We fostered our doggie friend Goldie from this organization, and we may again. though Dan and I are still sad about giving away Goldie to our new family. It kind of broke our hearts. Because we are the sappiest dog lovers in the Western Hemisphere.

5) Spiral Gardens

If you get down West Berkeley way, stop in at this rad nursery and "Food Security Project" on Sacramento Street. I bought all of my seedlings here, and now that I've finally gotten on the snail's asses by sprinkling iron phosphate everywhere, my hollyhocks, Oregon snowpeas, rhubarb, strawberries, bull's blood beets, curly mustard greens, etc., etc., are flourishing. They're volunteer run and serve the local community, striving to provide fresh, organic produce for all folks, regardless of income. Oh, and they sell redworms for your worm composting, if you're into that sort of thing. Lord knows. I am.

6) The Current

You can stream this totally fucking mindblowing station through iTunes or Windows Media. THIS is what public radio should sound like. Check out Mary Lucia's set list from today (Mary Lucia, by the by, is Paul Westerberg's sis):
4 - 5 pm
4:25 Nouvelle Vague - I Melt With You
4:19 Thunderbirds Are Now! - Harpoons Of Love (Aquati
4:16 The Sounds - Song With A Mission
4:10 Paul Westerberg - Seein' Her
4:06 The Lashes - Sometimes The Sun
4:03 Hockey Night - Saturday Night Gallop

3 - 4 pm
3:58 The Faint - Let the Poison Spill From Your Lips
3:55 Heavy Sleeper - I'm With You
3:52 LIVE - Eagles of Death Metal In Studio
3:52 Weezer - My Best Friend
3:48 The Fall - Hit the North
3:45 Crystal Skulls - Treat It Well
3:30 Marjorie Fair - Stare
3:27 Elliott Smith - Memory Lane
3:25 Hank Williams - A Mansion On The Hill
3:19 Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins - The Charging Sky
3:14 Louis XIV - Marc
3:10 Drive-By Truckers - Sink Hole
3:08 The 101ers - Letsagetabitarockin'
3:06 ACDC - There's gonna be some Rockin'
3:01 Friends Like These - Karen

2 - 3 pm
2:56 Jamie Lidell - The City
2:53 Belle & Sebastian - White Collar Boy
2:48 Minus Story - Little Wet Head
2:45 Tammy Wynette - D-I-V-O-R-C-E
2:40 The Double - Hot Air
2:35 The Teenage Prayers - Center Of The World
2:33 Morphine - Yes
2:30 Run Come (Throw Away You - Run Come (Throw Away You
2:24 Kelley Stoltz - The Sun Comes Through
2:19 Patrick Phelan - Fall
2:14 Breakestra - Family Rap (This is the Sound)
2:10 The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Knock Me Down
2:06 Psyche Origami - Commercial Property
2:01 Gogol Bordello - Immigrant Punk

I love them because 1) they play your on-line-submitted requests; 2) they post their setlists in real time; and 3) because MINNESOTA ROCKS!!!!!

7) Hammocks.

Damn man. When that rain stopped for a few hours and the damn mongo hammock dried out, I just wanted to stay in the sunny yard forever. The smell of mint, the twittering of the incredibly greedy birdfeeder-emptying songbirds, the incessant evil barking of the newly arrived Rottweiller next door. Yeah, life ain't perfect, but it seems a hell of a lot better when it's spent in a hammock.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Y'all mind if I drive?

The weekend's all gone. It's Monday night, so here are my/your editorial favorites for the next week:

1. The Neko Case interview at Pitchfork. I'm kind of over the 'Fork -- it's not them, it's me -- but it seems like Neko really lets loose in this one, although it ends too quickly for my tastes. Here's a sample:

Pitchfork: Still, there are lots of traditional elements to the songwriting. It's not like a Brian Eno record.

Case: That's totally true. I'm a huge Brian Eno fan and Taking Tiger Mountain is one of my favorite albums of all time. But when I think about songwriting my mind goes first to things like Roy Orbison or Dolly Parton or any classic songs by the Platters or Jackie Wilson. Or old r&b songs like "Nothing Takes the Place of You". They're really simple structurally and they don't adhere to a time or place, and that's very powerful. I think of all songwriting as high art, but that's what I instinctively think of first. Not that more experimental artists aren't just as valid. I'm sure lurking under the surface in my mind are people like Brian Eno and Roxy Music wearing giant sideburns and leopard skin pants going, "You can put a saxophone on it!" In my sleep, I'm tossing and turning. Bryan Ferry's going, "Neko, wake up. You don't have to do it that way." [laughs]

Pitchfork: That's quite a dream.

Case: I've had a waking dream like that but not a sleeping one.

(Read it all here:

2. The Alternative Press Expo. Rogue Reporter and I went on Saturday and, though it was totally overwhelming, and I think the goodly geek overload actually rendered her physically ill, I came home with some new comic wonderfulness, all of which is serving to inspire me in my own wannabe graphic novelling. One thing I bought was "Locas in Love," which collects the first four Penny Century comics. Wotta phenomenon! I also got "Fortune's Bitch," a local comic that follows a luck-obsessed sex worker around the Tenderloin. (Sorry, I can't find a link for it.) And I got the first volume of "Hopeless Savages," a sort of Anglophile Locas Lite meets Spy Kids. It's cute as a button:

3. Bunnywith: My Book of a Thousand Bunnies. This didn't come from APE -- Ross brought it home and I think it's funnier than a seven-arm chickenshaped ticklebot. Or something. There is definitely something wrong with me.

4. Having a friend who works at a record store. My friend/favorite ex-boyfriend ever took me out to lunch today and gave me a huge stack of vinyl:
The Kinks, "Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneyground"
The Billie Holiday Story Vol. 1
The Stone Poneys, "Evergreen Vol. 2"
GWW "John Birch Society Blues" (A Dylan bootleg, apparently)
Tim Hardin Golden Archive Series
John Prine s/t
Merle Haggard's/ tribute to Bob Wills
Ella Fitzgerald sings the Duke Ellington songbook

... and two more that I already have, which he instructed me to pass on to others. He also gave me two new boxes of tapes for my car. It all does my unemployed heart SO much good. We also frolicked amongst the junk sculptures of the Albany Bulb. Let's hear it for bicycle wheels!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Fallen Rappers


Fallen Rapper Pez series by Packard Jennings, featuring Tupak, Biggie, and Eazy-E.
This is a bit of a plug since I just interviewed this dude for the upcoming KS issue, but if you check out Jennings' website you can read his letters proposing the Fallen Rapper Pez series to Pez Candy Inc. Good reading, especially on a crappy weather day like today. Lots of giggles to be had. Check it here:

Or, you can check out his Oakland bus stop ads + Office Pamphlets at this show:
March 30th-May 6th, 2006.
Catharine Clark Gallery, 49 Geary, 2nd Floor.
San Francisco, CA

Thursday, April 06, 2006


click pic for fuel

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

self-promotional army

Kitchen Sink's second podcast in KQED's Writer's Block series is up as of today. It's me, reading from my forthcoming book. Note the photo, which I like to call my Michael Jackson face.

The link is alive here for the week:

And will live permanently here:

And you can subscribe via itunes here:
which would be a good idea, as Jeff T. Johnson, the other senior editor and the music editor, is reading something there next week.

Monday, April 03, 2006

more faves

i'm resisting the urge to read up on v for vendetta (the movie) online, because i just saw it last night and am still formulating my opinions on it. ok, here they are so far:

i liked it. i know it's full of gestures that don't have a lot of solid meaning, but i went with that, because there was an evident attempt to make that part of the point. all that stuff about symbols and stuff. also, it's a movie, a big old movie, and it was fun to watch, and its themes were highly ambiguous, ethically speaking. which is far preferable to bluntness and message in big productions. i was bugged by the lite metaphysics and philosomophizing in the first matrix movie (which is part of why i didn't see the others--fishburn's annoying mopheus schtick was another reason, and the dumb retro-sexual politics was another; keanu had nothing to do with it, because we know exactly what to expect from him, and we've come to like it--we know he knows we know he knows karate), but v seemed less smug. maybe it's because it's sci-fi, and i've read enough sci-fi that i've seen the reality question handled much more deftly, even in a pop environment (eg, pk dick novels). v, on the other hand, is a still and still newly rare commodity--a popular film dealing with the "post-9/11" world, even if it does it at a slant. its flirtations with big ideas, political (the suggestion that a government might attack its own people in a perverse power grab--yes, i happen to believe that the bush administration is complicit in the events and aftermath of 9/11; even if it wasn't involved in any way in the attack--and i'm not convinced it wasn't--the way it used the attack for political gain and warmongering is now part of what happened that day) and conceptual (a character that delivers his lines, and delivers speeches, from a static mask), is admirable and provocative.

i read part one of alan moore's v for vendetta before seeing the movie, my concession to good advice from a friend, who said i should see the movie, then read the comic, in which case i would enjoy the movie more. i couldn't help wanting to have some "authentic" context for the story, though. anyway, the comic book is rad. i've read a bit of moore's stuff (watchmen and some of the league of extroardinary gentlemen), and i think his period-piece affectations tend to get the better of his writing, or anyway, they ward me off, from what i've seen (i keep browsing from hell, but i can't yet get with the idea of reading historical fiction about jack the ripper). i'm having no problem with v, tho. great storytelling, great illustraions (by david lloyd), and just marvelous overall craft. it looks to be the alan moore gateway i've been looking for. (i don't know how much the aforesaid applies to watchmen, but i should say it took me two tries to get through it, and i was generally underwhelmed--i thought it was kind of plodding and overblown in a way that moore wasn't taking advantage of, but i'm sure if i was a superhero comic enthusiast as a kid, i could have grown up with this one. i'm more of a fiction geek who was won over to comics by warren ellis' transmetropolitan, still my favorite graphic novel, though grant morrisson's the invisibles and the filth are right up there.)

i just remembered that the other day, i picked up the latest issue of ellis' stupendous budget comic, fell. it's issue 4, and i recommend that you hunt down this series. each issue is $1.99, and documents the life of a detective in a very burned-out town. ellis has another great series going, post-transmet, called desolation jones, which i won't bother to describe. paraphrasing ellis makes you look stupid. i'll leave it at this: if you like smart comics, and appreciate writers who focus on writing and choose an illustrator that can show them what their imagination looks like, ellis is your man.

ok, so: v for vendetta, movie: good. v for vendetta, comic book: awesome.

and, on the ed faves tip, appleseed cast, low-flying owl vols I&II (2002) finally on vinyl: epic.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Editorial favorites of the week after the week after Saint Patrick's day

It's a little hard to sype with two cats on your legs at the same time, but this is what I do for you, Kitchen Sink Magazine. This is all for you.

1) Northern Exposure: A show I didn't really watch when it aired, due to the fact that I didn't have a television at the time (and back then I was coincidentally a much better person), but I've become addicted to marathons of the DVD's, including the newly released season 4, which is the last decent season, I hear, before the show went downhill. It's the kinder version of Twin Peaks.

2) Italics.
I remember being in college and typing essays on a borrowed Mac Classic and not knowing how to make italics. Those were tough days.

3) Minestrone. Because the Bay Area has apparently turned into Portland in the last month (26 straight days of rain... 26 straight days of rain...), soup is the only thing keeping some of us going.

4) Big Love, HBO. Bill Paxton plays a polygamist married to three wives, including Chloe Sevingy in awful prarie-mama outfits. I think everytime they have a kissing scene, he imagines he's tasing Vincent Gallo's wang. The show's good anyway, especially Harry Dean Stanton as the cult leader.

5) Junebug. A lot of the movie was kind of crappy, but I keep repeating, "That's the retard painter she likes". At random moments, that line is genius.

6) Tara Goe's art show at Mills. Our staff writer and resident cutie had the most interesting piece in the whole damn gallery.

7) Hoodies. Hanging in there for many weeks in a row. Hoodies have saved me from having to buy an unbrella after mine broke this week. Plus, you can totally wear a hoody over a bra and no one even knows.

9) Stash teas Double Bergamot Earl Grey. Because double the bergamot = double the number of times you can recycle the tea bag.

10) Cabin fever. No, not the crappy horror film, the condition we are all rapidly developing. This is why my sister in Portland has to sit in front of a light panel for an hour a day. Also, it's kind of like the years I spent in Olympia all over again, minus the crazy boyfriend and Luck Lager cases.