But what distinguishes Guaraldi from his superiors is his respect for the tried and true. If “O Tannenbaum” has worked for a few hundred years, maybe it’s worth kicking around the block a time or two....more
Was it a dream? A nightmare? I felt like I’d been sold a lie. There was no husband or caring partner, no safe home or solid income. Just me, pregnant and alone, in an abortion clinic with my rapist....more
Vanessa Hua discusses her debut collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, writing fiction in order to understand life as an American-born child of immigrants, and the importance of literary community. ...more
Jennifer Martelli discusses her debut collection of poetry, The Uncanny Valley, growing up saturated with images of the Madonna, and her experience of motherhood first as a daughter and now as a mother. ...more
Jacqueline Woodson discusses her latest novel Another Brooklyn, the little deaths of lost friendships, and her work with children across the country as the Poetry Foundation's Young People's Poet Laureate. ...more
A tranquil beach town named Jarmuli is the setting of Anuradha Roy’s third novel, Sleeping on Jupiter, which won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and made the longlist for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Four older women travel as friends in search of a bucolic vacation, and a young woman, contending with the trauma of her past, finds her stay in Jarmuli tied with theirs. Roy braids the narrative threads of these and other characters together to create a butterfly stitch that examines personal trauma, a national epidemic of violence, and the ways in which power is used to injure. The prose is deft and powerful, the resort town beautifully rendered, the turmoil bubbling underneath terrifyingly realized.
Roy and I corresponded over email to discuss the book, the nature of violence, and the craft of storytelling. (more…)
Today, the so-called British Invasion of the ’60s is remembered primarily for its flagship band, The Beatles. Another English group called The Animals—widely known for their international hit version of the folk song “House of the Rising Sun”—are unfortunately obscured by the long shadow of the former, but their screaming fans knew and loved The Animals’s gritty rock. Their raw, mature music could make other invading British bands sound like children. The rich and versatile voice of singer Eric Burdon gives “Gin House Blues,” their homage to Bessie Smith, a no-nonsense wail that recalls the bluesmen who came before them.
Thursday 1/19: Celebrate at the press party for the January edition of PQ Monthly. Scandals, 5 p.m., free.
Experience the long-awaited showdown between Portland’s two most active slam-poetry scenes: Slamlandia vs. Portland Poetry Slam! Hosted by Robyn Bateman, this face-off will feature Nikki Burian, Kojo, Jill Greenseth, and Clementine Von Radics representing the Portland Poetry Slam and Jane Belinda, Jamie Mortara, Josselyn Haldeman, and TK Layman representing Slamlandia. Hotlips Soda, 6 p.m–9 p.m., $2 suggested donation.
Welcome issue 4 of Grand Mother zine into the world with featured poetry readings and music from local creators including Kat Salas, Zoe Zuchlag, Lili St. Anne, and more. In Other Words, 7 p.m., free.
Welcome to This Week in Trumplandia. Check in with us every Thursday for a weekly roundup of the most pertinent content on our country, which is currently spiraling down a crappy toilet drain. You owe it to yourself, your communities, and your humanity to contribute whatever you can, even if it is just awareness of the truth.
Depending on how you track Tim Cohen’s prolific songwriting, Luck Man is either his first solo record or his fourth. This is a testament to the number of monikers that Cohen has used over the years to release the range of psych-inflected pop that has made him one of the pillars of San Francisco’s musical community. In an attempt to describe Cohen’s productivity, Pitchfork draws a comparison between the Fresh and Onlys frontman and Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices:
Both are hugely prolific, fiercely independent rock ’n’ roll lifers—bedroom auteurs with a taste for tape hiss and eccentric pop songs.” Whether or not you agree with the comparison, Pitchfork has it right that Cohen is both “fiercely independent” and makes great pop songs that are hard to describe, which often earns them the description “eccentric.
Wednesday 1/18: Litquake and the San Francisco Public Library present “No Shadow Without Light: Writers Respond to Trump” with readings by Elmaz Abinader, Faith Adiele, Robert Mailer Anderson, Devorah Major, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Alejandro Murguia, Ishmael Reed, Tennessee Reed, and T. J. Stiles. Free, 6 p.m., San Francisco Public Library.
“When asked (about our newest album Oczy Mlody) what does your new stuff sound like..?? My current response has been that it sounds like Syd Barrett meets A$AP Rocky and they get trapped in a fairy tale from the future.” It’s Wayne Coyne himself, penning those words in the official press release for his Flaming Lips’s newest album, Oczy Mlody, out last Friday from Warner Bros. Records.
Oczy Mlody, inspired by Coyne’s “meditational” and “meaningless” reading of book written in a language he couldn’t understand, is Polish for “eyes of the young,” but to the Oklahoma singers sounded “like Oxy (as in Oxycodone) Melody and, as my imagination ran away with it, also the name of a drug made in the future,” one that “uses your own sub-conscious memories and transports you to your perfect childhood happy mind.” (more…)