The Other Bay Area

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Chris was also a transfer student but from the other direction, further north, one of the towns in that cluster—El Sobrante, Crockett, Port Costa—where the Bay waters tentacle and the urbanity dissipates. “The Midwest begins where the BART line ends,” a San Francisco comedian once quipped. I wish I could say that isn’t true.

In “The Tweakers or the Ghosts,” Lauren Quinn chronicles Crockett, California, the site of a C&H sugar refinery, a brothel-turned-bar, and some of Quinn’s own chaotic youth.

It’s a bittersweet tribute to the Bay Area that you don’t see in movies, that portion of the East Bay that doesn’t produce any hip-hop artists or protest movements, but where people nonetheless work jobs and play in maybe-experimental bands and try to live alongside ghosts.


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →