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Posts by: Pat Johnson

Green Eggs and Maakies Hits Shelves

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Tony Millionaire’s book Green Eggs and Maakies is out!

Millionaire’s illustrations have appeared in everything from The Believer to the New Yorker, and Maakies even had a small stint on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

For those who haven’t heard of Maakiesit’s essentially a dark comic about a drunk, Irish monkey named Uncle Gabby and his partner, Drinky Crow, who go on debauched misadventures involving booze, suicide, violence, and the occasional sexually transmitted disease—basically all the necessary components for a captivating story.

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New York through Jack Kerouac’s Eyes

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Maria Popova from Brain Pickings takes a look at a chapter titled “New York Scenes” from Kerouac’s 1960 book, Lonesome Traveler.

According to Popova, the chapter is “a kind of narrative emotional cartography of Manhattan, woven of fascinating sketches of Gotham’s vibrant life and cast of characters as recorded in Kerouac’s travel journals, written in his signature style of spontaneous prose, complete with his famous disdain for apostrophes.”

After reading Popova’s article, one can’t help but long to travel back and party with Kerouac in New York, even if it were only for a night.

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Neil Gaiman Prepares for Six-Month “Sabbatical” from Social Media

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Don’t be alarmed come January 2014 when Neil Gaiman suddenly stops updating his blog, Twitter, and Facebook page.

Gaiman simply needs a vacation from the pervasive and demanding nature of social media so he can focus on other projects.

Yes, he is aware his 500,000 Facebook friends, and 1.5 million blog readers, and 1.8 million Twitter followers will likely be displeased.

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Henry Miller’s Disgust for Brooklyn

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Henry Miller hated Brooklyn almost as passionately as he loved Big Sur and dirty sex. In “Henry Miller, Brooklyn Hater,” Alexander Nazaryan takes a look at Miller’s lifelong contempt for the borough.

In a 1975 documentary, Miller refers to Brooklyn as:

a place where I knew nothing but starvation, humiliation, despair, frustration, every god damn thing—nothing but misery.

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Fourteen Hills Release Party!

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Fourteen Hills is one of our favorite Bay Area literary journals, and you won’t want to miss their release party for issue 19.2 at 7:00 pm on May 15th, at the Verdi Club.

The release party will include readings from past contributors, musical performances, and a raffle where you’ll have a chance to win a Rumpus Gift Pack, which includes a Write Like a Motherfucker mug, a copy of Stephen Elliott’s The Adderall Diaries, and a Sugar Says poster.

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David Sedaris Writes Speeches for High Schoolers?

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As strange as it might sound, according to an article in The Atlantic, American humorist David Sedaris included several vignettes in his new book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls: Essays, Etc. that he specifically wrote for high school speech competitions called “forensics.”

Sedaris states:

Students take published short stories and essays, edit them down to a predetermined length, and recite them competitively.

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The Knife’s new Album Shaking the Habitual

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If you haven’t heard The Knife’s new album Shaking the Habitual, we totally recommend giving it a listen. The album experiments with strange organic sounds, sprawling dark ambiance, and playful Swedish synth pop.

The Knife is known for gender bending (lowering the pitch of Karin’s voice, for example); but Shaking the Habitual is lyrically their most politically charged album exploring issues of gender identity, patriarchy, and ailments of Western culture.

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Don’t Forget the “T”

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Politicians have been coming out in droves recently in support of LGBT rights.

But is the “T” in LGBT being fully represented? The New Yorker’s Emily Greenhouse doesn’t think so. In her article “Dropping the ‘T’: Trans Rights in the Marriage Era,” Greenhouse states:

The United States moves inexorably toward granting equality to the L.G.B., but in the process—while still pronouncing that satisfying final consonant—we often, in practice, drop the “T.”

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An Ode to Roger Ebert

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The New Yorker pays tribute to Roger Ebert in “Postscript: Roger Ebert, 1942-2013.”  The article states:

Ebert writes, in the introduction to his 2006 anthology of his work, “Awake in the Dark,” of seeing “three movies during a routine workday,” and, according to Douglas Martin’s obituary in the Times, Ebert “said he saw 500 films a year and reviewed half of them.” Some movies elicit passionate exultation; others, passionate revulsion.

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The Black Panther Party: American Revolutionaries

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The Black Panther Party’s controversial and revolutionary politics have been a topic of intrigue and debate since the party’s inception.

Historians Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. attempt to clarify and demystify some of the myths of the Black Panther’s past and illuminate their role as American revolutionaries in their new book Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party.

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Neal Pollack’s Tumultuous Writing Career

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In a recent AV Club interview, Neal Pollack discusses his tumultuous career as a writer and how he came to find a profitable niche in online self-publishing. Pollack states:

Yeah. I’m grateful. I spent a lot of years wondering, “Why am I not doing this?” or, “Why am I not getting this?” or, “Why is this person more famous than me?” But at the end of the day, I have been supporting myself and, later, my family, as a writer for more than 20 years.

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Feminist Porn

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There’s a great interview at Salon with Tristan Taormino, discussing her new book, The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure. In the conversation, Taormino talks about everything from vulvas to “porn for women.”

Taormino states:

But, certainly, besides the process of making it, feminist porn does have a mission behind it, to really address some of the repetitions, the stereotypes, the tropes of some of mainstream pornography and diversify the representation of desire, pleasure, body, race, class, identity, sexual agency…

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H.P. Lovecraft and the birth of “Blogging”

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Just as H.P. Lovecraft valued the disposition of cats over dogs (see his essay “Cats and Dogs”), he championed the motives of “amateur” writers who wrote for the love of writing rather than commercial success.

Lovecraft states:

Our amateurs write purely for love of their art, without the stultifying influence of commercialism.

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Sex in the CIA

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Reuel Gerecht’s article “Spooky Sex: Inside the Randy Culture of the CIA” explores the history of sex in the CIA and why American culture is quick to condemn and punish the romantic infidelity of CIA officers.

Before we down more generals, before we unleash the FBI on more clandestine romances, we should remember the long, humdrum history of infidelity and espionage—and leave the punishment of wayward operatives to their husbands or wives.

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The Malleable Memory

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What if you discovered that some of your richest childhood memories were actually fabrications?

According to Oliver Sacks, research suggests that some of our most vivid memories may not have happened–or at least didn’t happen the way we remember. Sacks states:

It is startling to realize that some of our most cherished memories may never have happened—or may have happened to someone else.

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