September Grotto Notes

On September 3, 2012, in Uncategorized, by classes

HOT OFF THE PRESSES FROM THE GROTTO!

Here’s what people have been writing about, as well as what people have been writing about us, for August and September 2012

Peter Orner on home ownership in San Francisco:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/who-owns-that-house/

Monica Campbell reports on press freedom in Venezuela for the Committee to Protect Journalists:

http://cpj.org/reports/2012/08/after-years-of-assault-venezuelas-independent-pres.php

Chris Colin spots a stranger $50, and recounts the ridiculousness that followed in the New York Times:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/i-o-u-and-u-and-u/

Christopher Cook on Congress’ plans to cut billions from food stamps: http://www.alternet.org/food/congress-set-take-food-aid-away-millions-hungry-americans

Laura Fraser writes about finding herself becoming too judgmental, in Spirituality & Health magazine:

http://www.spiritualityhealth.com

Jessica Carew Kraft reviews the Phantoms of Asia exhibition at the Asian Art Museum for Art AsiaPacific:

http://www.artasiapacific.com

Janis Cooke Newman travels down-under in search of true Aussie cuisine:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/12/travel/la-tr-adelaide-20120812

Lorraine Sanders sizes up wearable technology for her latest Style Bytes column in the SF Chronicle:

http://www.sfgate.com/style/stylebytes/article/Pebble-focuses-on-building-a-better-smart-watch-3794372.php

Julia Flynn Siler writes about Hawai’i’s “Forbidden Island” of Ni’ihau: http:

http://juliaflynnsiler.com/2012/08/how-an-1863-petition-from-niihau-re-surfaced-in-san-francisco/

Meghan Ward interviews the editor of Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women:

http://meghanward.com/blog/2012/07/19/love-inshallah-the-secret-love-lives-of-american-muslim-women/

Anne Zimmerman’s essay, “Love With A Side of Ketchup” published in Remedy Quarterly:

http://remedyquarterly.com/

DAVID’S NEW BOOK “WHEN I’M 164″ LAUNCHES THIS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7!

Come to the launch party for longtime Grottoite David Ewing Duncan’s new book on September 7!  The book is “When I’m 164: The new science of radical life extension and what happens if it succeeds” (TED Books – ebook). The party is at Modernism, 685 Market Street in San Francisco, 5:30-7:30pm. For more details on the party, press, and reviews, and on the book itself, go to: http://www.whenim164.com. Also, check out David’s recent essay “How Long Do You Want to Live?” on the book in the New York Times Sunday Review: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/sunday-review/how-long-do-you-want-to-live.html?_r=2

FRESH FALL WRITING CLASSES FROM THE GROTTO START THIS MONTH!

Take your writing back to school with these classes – all taught by working writers. From political writing to the mechanics of voice, honing your memoir to flash fiction, the dark art of pitching to screenwriting, how to write a novel (and not quit half-way through) to the personal essay – Writers’ Grotto classes are the BEST OF THE BAY (as voted by SF Magazine).

With more than 15 classes a week, plus weekend workshops, there’s something for every fiction and nonfiction writer.

Visit http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/current-class-roster to see all their class descriptions. But hurry, the fall session begins September 17 and classes are filling fast!

AND IF YOU CAN’T WAIT TO TAKE A CLASS — LAURA TEACHES NARRATIVE NON-FICTION STARTING WEDNESDAY!

Get a jump on the fall classes with Grottoite Laura Fraser’s 4-Week Narrative Non-Fiction Toolbox class, beginning Wednesday, September 5.

Info here: http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/current-class-roster/narrative-non-fiction-toolbox-with-laura-fraser-95-926

PAUL READS FROM HIS NEW BOOK “HOW CHILDREN SUCCEED” ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

Former Grottoite and New York Times Magazine contributing editor Paul Tough returns to the west for two readings of his new book.  “How Children Succeed” is an in-depth probe into what allows some children to succeed where others fail. Tough questioning whether success is driven more by  intelligence or by more complicated, immeasurable aspects of a child’s character.  Wednesday, September 12, 7:00 p.m. at Books Inc. 601 Van Ness, San Francisco, and Saturday, September 15, 3:00 p.m. at Kepler’s Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park.  More information at: http://www.paultough.com/
LAURA, ANNE, JOHN, CONNIE, AND JD FEATURED AT “EAT MY WORDS” AT THE MCLOUGHLIN GALLERY ON SEPTEMBER 27

Don’t miss a fascinating, one-of-a-kind experience at “EAT MY WORDS,” on Thursday night, September 27th – a taste of art, stories, film, and food.  On the menu are the delectable writings of Grottoites Laura Fraser, Anne Zimmerman, Connie Hale, and Frank Norris (read by John Engell), accompanied by new films by JD Beltran, a cooking performance by Justin Hoover, and a tasting menu with the subject food cooked and served to the audience during the readings.  Courses include scrambled eggs with tabasco, scones with butter and jam, fried Spam, and selections from the gluttonous MCTEAGUE wedding banquet.  Don’t miss this sensory feast at the McLoughlin Gallery at 49 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA, Thursday, September 27th, at 7:00 pm.  Details to come at http://www.mgart.com/exhibit-detail.php?id=246&title=PERFORMANCE+EVENTS

WRITE AT THE GROTTO — THE GROTTO FELLOWSHIP READING PERIOD IS THIS MONTH!

Would you like to be a writer at the Grotto for six months? September is the reading period for the 2013 Grotto Fellowship program. The fellowship program is a new program dedicated to fostering emerging writers. It is open to writers of every genre, including fiction, nonfiction memoir, journalism, poetry, dramatic writing, etc.  Writers who have demonstrated a commitment to their craft, but who are not yet widely published, are invited to apply for one of up to three low-rent workspaces reserved for fellows. If interested, see details on our website http://www.sfgrotto.org/grotto-fellowship

CAROLINE READS AT THE “WHY THERE ARE WORDS” SERIES ON SEPTEMBER 13

Grottoite Caroline Paul and six other writers will be reading at “Why There Are Words,” recently voted Best of the Bay Reading Series 2012, on September 13th at 7 pm.  Studio 333, 333 Caledonia Street, Sausalito, CA.  More information at http://whytherearewords.com

JULIA A KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT THE HAWAIIAN HISTORY CONFERENCE ON SEPTEMBER 15

Grotto dweller Julia Flynn Siler, author of “Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America’s First Imperial Adventure,” will be a keynote speaker at the Distinctive Women in Hawaiian History conference at Honolulu’s Mission Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, September 15th. This event is sponsored by the Hawaii Council for the Arts. Julia will also be a guest on Hawaii Public Radio’s “The Conversation” morning talk show on September 14th, which streams live at http://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/jwplayer/listen_kipo.html. She will address students and teachers at the Kamehameha Schools, the leading institution for educating native Hawaiians (http://www.ksbe.edu/), as well as to speak at the University of Hawaii and the Bishop Museum (http://www.bishopmuseum.org/.) “Lost Kingdom,” a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, is due out in paperback in January 15, 2013. Please visit http://juliaflynnsiler.com/events/ for more details.

LAVINIA KICKS OFF “WEEKDAY WANDERLUST” TRAVEL READING SERIES ON SEPTEMBER 24TH

Grottoite Lavinia Spalding, along with partners Kimberley Lovato and Don George, are pleased to present WEEKDAY WANDERLUST, a new travel reading series. The monthly event takes place at the REX hotel at 562 Sutter Street in downtown San Francisco, and will feature prominent travel writers as well as newer voices. The first event kicks off on September 24th, from 6-8 pm, and features four readers: AFAR Magazine’s Editor in Chief Julia Cosgrove, San Francisco Chronicle Travel editor Spud Hilton, Travelers’ Tales editor Larry Habegger, and Lonely Planet editor Don George.

This event is free to the public. There will be complimentary light appetizers, giveaways, a cash bar, and good times.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Weekday-Wanderlust/301859366574962

Twitter: @sfwanderlusters

CONNE AND ZOE AT THE “FIRST PERSON PLURAL: CRAFTING STORIES FROM OUR LIVES” WORKSHOP IN VERMONT

In this intimate and unusual workshop at Greensboro and Hardwick, Vermont, held October 9 and 10, writers will work under the guidance of Grottoites Zoe FitzGerald Carter and Constance Hale, who have published memoirs and first-person essays in Vogue, Health, Honolulu, The Atlantic, and O. The workshop begins Tuesday night, at The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, where Connie will talk about her new book (Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch) and share surprising insights about what makes writing come alive on the page. After a Vermont breakfast at the Carter’s lakeside cabin, Zoe and Connie will spend Wednesday working with writers on their pieces, in a mix of guided writing, critique sessions, coaching, and private writing time. The day will close with a dinner at Claire’s restaurant in Hardwick, and a reading by all participants at the Galaxy. The workshop fee of $100 includes breakfast, lunch, and the readings. Lodging is available for an additional fee. http://www.sinandsyntax.com/greensboro-writers-retreat/

CALLING ALL ARTFUL JOURNALISTS!  JOIN TOP EDITORS AND GROTTO WRITERS AT UC BERKELEY ON NOVEMBER 10

Registration for the “East Meets West” conference, organized by Grottoite Connie Hale, is now open to writers eager to explore the urgent questions facing literary journalists: How can I tell better stories? How can I pitch ideas so that editors will snatch them up? How can social media and multimedia enhance long-form writing? Which parts of “the craft” can I practice more expertly? The conference will be limited to 60 participants to ensure meaningful connections.

Editors include Alan Burdick (The New Yorker), Tom Curwen (Los Angeles Times), Whitney Dangerfield (The New York Times), Vanessa Mobley (Random House), Peggy Northrup (WorkReimagined.org), Evan Ratliff (The Atavist), John Tayman (Byliner), Osacar Villalon (Zyzzyva), Bill Wasik (Wired). Writers include Grotto members Monica Campbell, Chris Colin, Laura Fraser, Connie Hale, Rachel Howard, Yukari Kane, Laura McClure, and Bonnie Tsui. In a bonus evening program (free and open to the public), Grottoite Julia Flynn Siler will lead authors Adam Hochschild and T.J. Stiles in a conversation about writing riveting history.

“East Meets West: A Gathering of Literary Journalists”
Nov. 10, 2012, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Evening program 8 to 9:30 pm.
Information and registration: http://journalism.berkeley.edu/events/details/757/

CHRIS RUNNING COMMUNICATIONS FOR BERKELEY’S MEASURE S

Grottoite Christopher Cook’s Progressive Message is running communications for Berkeley’s campaign to defeat Measure S, which would make it illegal to sit on a commercial sidewalk in Berkeley, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. He just got coverage in the Daily Cal: http://www.dailycal.org/2012/08/29/controversy-arises-from-sit-lie-measure/.  On Twitter: @righttositdownn. Chris also just finished the full draft of his next book, Postcards for Kerouac, and is seeking agents now.

JOIN LAURA IN ITALY FOR WRITING AND FOOD THIS SPRING IN MAY

Longtime Grotto dweller Laura Fraser is teaching An Italian Writing Affair in Umbria, Italy in May, 2013. Start planning that spring sojourn to Italy and come have a taste of la bella vita with Laura with a combination writing workshop and culinary adventure. http://www.eat-write-travel.com/umbria.html

THIS MONTH AT BOOKSMITH

Noteworthy Events from our Friends at the Booksmith:
Monday, September 10, 7:30 PM
SETH ROSENFELD
SUBVERSIVES: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power
in conversation with Oscar Villalon
Read more: http://www.booksmith.com/event/seth-rosenfeld-subversivesin-conversation-oscar-villalon

Wednesday, September 12, 7:30 PM
SYLVIE SIMMONS
I’M YOUR MAN:The Life of Leonard Cohen
Read more: http://www.booksmith.com/event/sylvie-simmons-i%E2%80%99m-your-man-life-leonard-cohen

Thursday, September 13, 7:30 PM
T. GERONIMO JOHNSON
HOLD IT ‘TIL IT HURTS
Read more: http://www.booksmith.com/event/t-geronimo-johnson-hold-it-til-it-hurts

Friday, September 14, 7:30 PM
RICHARD KADREY
DEVIL SAID BANG
Read more: http://www.booksmith.com/event/richard-kadrey-devil-said-bang

Thursday, September 20, 7:30 PM
A CELEBRATION OF DAVID FOSTER WALLACE
D.T. MAX
EVERY LOVE STORY IS A GHOST STORY: A Life of David Foster Wallace
Read more: http://www.booksmith.com/event/d-t-max-every-love-story-ghost-story-life-david-foster-wallace

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JD’s Art Picks for September 2012

“ABOUT FACE” AT PIER 24
“About Face,” an exhibition now showing at the stunning Pier 24 photography gallery, focuses on the tradition of portrait-based photography. On view are nearly one thousand photographs drawn primarily from the Pilara Foundation’s permanent collection. “Revelations” – the Diane Arbus retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – inspired the purchase of the Foundation’s first photograph, a portrait from her challenging and emotive “Untitled” series. The emotional intensity characterizing this photograph has informed subsequent acquisitions for the collection, which are aptly highlighted by the huge, meditative gallery space.  “About Face” encompasses wide-ranging approaches to portraiture from the mid-nineteenth century to present-day, from August Sander’s “Face of Our Time” to Richard Avedon’s “The Family,” to Jim Goldberg’s “Rich and Poor” and Larry Sultan’s “SF Society,” all of which consider the socio-economic divide in San Francisco. Through a series of 66 self-portraits by Lee Friedlander from the past 50 years, one encounters many of the themes that have come to characterize his practice. Self-examination is also the focal point in selected works by Cindy Sherman, Gillian Wearing, Yasumasa Morimura, and Tomoko Sawada, in which the artists alter their appearances to challenge traditional notions of identity.  Through February, 2013.  By advance appointment only.  More information at http://www.pier24.org/exhibition/current.html

BARRY MCGEE AT THE BERKELEY ART MUSEUM
“Throughout his career,” writes Alex Baker in the exhibition catalog, “Barry McGee has continued to surprise and contradict expectations.” Including rarely seen early etchings, letterpress printing trays and liquor bottles painted with his trademark cast of down-and-out urban characters, constellations of vibrant op-art painted panels, animatronic taggers, and an elaborate re-creation of a cacophonous street-corner bodega, along with many new projects, this first midcareer survey of the globally influential San Francisco–based artist showcases the astonishing range of McGee’s compassionate and vivacious work.  Through December 9.  More information at http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibition/mcgee

RE(COLLECTION) – A COLLABORATION WITH LOST AND FOUND:  FAMILY PHOTOS SWEPT BY THE 3.11 EAST JAPAN TSUNAMI
After the 2011 Tohoku earthquake hit, a massive tsunami swept away houses, and everything that was inside them. As the search for survivors ended and attention turned to the clean up mission, Self-Defense forces, firemen, and policemen who were in Tohoku to help survivors began to pick up photos they found in the mud, and to store them in an elementary school gymnasium. Two months after the earthquake hit, a group called the “Memory Salvage Project” began to sort out the more than 750,000 photos and prepare them for return to their owners.  The images were cleaned and digitized by volunteers who came from Tokyo and other parts of Japan. The photographs you see here are part of photos recovered from the city of Yamomoto. Presented alongside new work by Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Ariel Goldberg, Mayumi Hamanaka, Taro Hattori, Sean McFarland, Kari Orvik and Kelli Yon.  Through October 27.  More information at http://theintersection.org/2012/07/visual-arts-lost-and-found/

DAVID SHRIGLEY AT THE YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS
The work of David Shrigley effortlessly infuses a comedic sensibility into a serious fine art practice. “David Shrigley: Brain Activity” showcases the diversity of the artist’s work – seemingly amateurish, crude drawings, sculptures made of unusual materials, and installations characterized by incongruities of scale – offering insightful and often surreal commentary on the absurdities of life, death and everything in between. Irreverent and mischievous, Shrigley’s art presents the kind of odd scenarios you never come across in real life, but wish you did. “David Shrigley: Brain Activity,” curated by Cliff Lauson of the Hayward Gallery, London, is the largest survey of the artist’s work to date, and features groupings of drawings and paintings on paper, a variety of sculptures, several installations, sets of photographs and a selection of animations. Organized by Hayward Gallery, London and curated by Cliff Lauson. Through September 23. http://www.ybca.org/david-shrigley

“MAN RAY/LEE MILLER:  PARTNERS IN SURREALISM” AT THE LEGION OF HONOR
One of my all-time favorite artists and a pioneer in photographic processes, Man Ray revolutionized photography with his blending of the surrealistic aesthetic with the darkroom black and white photograph.  Don’t miss this gorgeous show, which includes his iconic images, as well as the equally compelling works of his artistic contemporary and muse Lee Miller.  Through October 14.  More at http://www.legionofhonor.org

INTERNATIONAL ORANGE AT FORT POINT
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, The For-Site Foundation’s “International Orange” – named in honor of the unique paint color of the span – offers fresh perspectives on an enduring landmark. This exhibition at Fort Point presents new work by contemporary artists responding to the bridge as icon, historic structure, and conceptual inspiration. Contributing artists – Anandamayi Arnold, Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood, Bill Fontana, Andy Freeberg, Doug Hall, Courtney Lain, David Liittschwager, Abelardo Morell, Cornelia Parker, Kate Pocrass, Jeannene Przyblyski, Allison Smith, Stephanie Syjuco, Camille Utterback, and Pae White – approach the bridge with diverse and distinctively individual aesthetics, materials, and points of view. Some investigate the bridge’s history – real or imagined – while others contemplate the natural history of the environment around it, exploring the conditions of water and weather particular to the Golden Gate. Some convey the grandeur of this monumental structure; others document the everyday details that bring it down to human scale. Many works consider a combination of these factors, either directly or metaphorically. Through October 28. More details at http://www.international-orange.org/

Guilty pleasures: Old “Mission Impossible” episodes (especially the fantastic fashion of actress Barbara Bain); a $10 shopping spree at See’s candies (California Brittle, Marzipan, Molasses Chips, and Kona Mocha, yumm); almost any film at the Embarcadero Theaters; a trip to the Camera Obscura (hopefully open) by the Cliff House on a sunny day; San Diego’s entire Fourth of July Fireworks show accidentally all set off at once (a 30 minute show ignited, and done in 15 seconds) at http://instagram.com/p/Mr-nJqKJBv/

Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.

Clint Eastwood

 

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