November Grotto Notes

On November 29, 2012, in Uncategorized, by classes

HOT OFF THE PRESSES FROM THE GROTTO!

Christopher Cook interviews former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich for The Progressive:

http://www.progressive.org/node/178893

The Redford Center releases Mark Decena’ film, “Watershed” on DVD:

http://watershedmovie.com/buy-watershed-the-movie/

Laura Fraser on keeping San Francisco weird:

http://www.sfbg.com/2012/10/16/sf-stories-laura-fraser

Connie Hale reflects on our love of new verbsˆwhether poet John Clare‚s “soodle” or today‚s “google”:

http://sinandsyntax.com/blog/free-verse-free-verbs/

Jessica C. Kraft finds profundity in tchotchkes at San Francisco estate sales:

http://www1.sfbg.com/2012/10/16/sf-stories-jessica-ckraft

The Biggest Rock Star You’ve Never Heard Of. Rachel Levin interviews him, for The Rumpus:

http://therumpus.net/2012/10/the-rumpus-interview-with-chad-stokes-urmston-of-dispatch/

Louise Nayer is the guest speaker for the Burn Survivor’s Reunion at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill on 11/3:

http://www.med.unc.edu/burn/aftercare-programs-temp/events/adult-burn-survivor-reunion

Janis Cooke Newman visits her old neighborhood for the SF Chronicle:

http://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/Nolita-protects-N-Y-s-neighborhood-feel-3923529.php

Ethel Rohan reviews Allen Learst‚s debut story collection, Dancing at the Gold Monkey, winner of the Leapfrog Fiction Contest, 2011, for the New York Journal of Books:

http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/review/dancing-gold-monkey

Lorraine Sanders finds Wall Street tricks may net you better snowboard pricing, in Fast Company:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3002333/buystand-uses-wall-street-tricks-find-you-better-price-snowboard

Julia Scott has a report on Marketplace about Mi Pueblo, a Latino-run grocery chain that has run into trouble from the feds:

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/latino-grocery-chain-faces-immigration-audit

Julia Flynn Siler profiles S.F.’s Bonnie Fisher, the designer of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. for The Wall Street Journal’s Saturday review section:

http://juliaflynnsiler.com/articles/

Just in time for Halloween, Lavinia Spalding’s essay about finding peace after her father’s death among the ghosts of Alamos, Mexico, is included in the The Best Travel Writing, Volume 9, in bookstores this month:

http://www.besttravelwriting.com/btw-blog/great-stories/travel-memoir-gold-winner-the-ghosts-of-alamos/

Julia Scheeres will be discussing “A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown” in conjunction with the paperback release at Book Passage in Corte Madera on 11/13:

http://bookpassage.com/event/julia-scheeres-thousand-lives-untold-story-jonestown

Bonnie Tsui investigates how the science of recall is finally helping us to learn other languages, for Pacific Standard:http://www.psmag.com/science/lingua-step-rosetta-stone-and-the-secrets-of-learning-a-language-48600/

Matthew Zapruder’s poem Lamp Day illustrated by Laura Scroggs, at The Rumpus: http://therumpus.net/2012/10/lamp-day/

JULIA GUIDES A CONVERSATION BETWEEN T.J. STILES AND ADAM HOCHSCHILD: RIVETING HISTORY ON NOV 10

This Saturday, November 10, don’t miss prize-winning authors Adam Hochschild and Grotto dweller T.J. Stiles comparing notes on the high art of taking historical facts and transforming them into potent narratives. The American Academy of Arts and Letters honored Hochschild for his work, which has ranged from depictions of a fraught relationship with his father to brutality in colonial Africa and opposition to the First World War. Stiles won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt.  He has also written about Jesse James, and is now researching the life of George Armstrong Custer. Grottoite Julia Flynn Syler, a veteran Wall Street Journal writer and herself the author of two narrative histories, will guide the conversation. This event is open to the public and sponsored by UC Berkeley Extension.

Adam Hochschild and T.J. Stiles: Riveting History. When:  Saturday, November 10,  8:00 PM. Where: Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center. For more information, please visit: http://extension.berkeley.edu/catalog/course2717.html

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE! CHRIS WRITES ABOUT BERKELEY’S SIT-LIE MEASURE ON ALTERNET

Grotto dweller Christopher Cook has been campaigning to defeat Berkeley’s sit-lie Measure S, which would make it illegal to sit on a sidewalk in commercial areas. See his AlterNet piece on why sit-lie is the wrong way to go: http://www.alternet.org/liberal-berkeley-may-fine-homeless-75-sitting-down?paging=off. Chris’s essay for The Progressive on a Romney extremist in Virginia caused quite a stir, including the resignation of a Romney volunteer and the disabling of a county GOP website. Check it out if you missed it: http://www.progressive.org/meet-romney-extremist-in-virginia. He’s also got an interview with Robert Reich in the current issue of The Progressive. Contact Chris through http://www.christopherdcook.com for his November election recommendations!

PETER’S LOVE AND SHAME AND LOVE OUT IN PAPERBACK THIS MONTH!

Grottoite Peter Orner’s novel Love and Shame and Love is just out in paperback. A New York Times Editor’s Choice Book. “Elegant yet intimate, this is a book that gets into your head and stays there.” NY Times. More information at

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/books/review/love-and-shame-and-love-by-peter-orner-book-review.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

CAROLINE’S “LOST CAT” GIVEN A SPARKLING REVIEW BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Grottoite Caroline Paul’s latest, “Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology,” debuting in April, just received a glowing review from Publisher’s Weekly. “The self-deprecating author’s note sets the stage for this hilarious, and moving, account of Paul’s relationship with her two cats. In the note, the 40-ish Paul (East Wind) qualifies the accuracy of her story by noting that she was on painkillers for some of the time (while recovering from a plane crash) and asking the reader to also take into account “normal confusion for people our age.” The author’s note is followed by a New Yorker–like map of San Francisco, as seen by a cat, divided into areas of Fear, Large Threat, Total Death, Other Cat, Food? and Home. Her experiences with Fibby and Tibby (full names Fibula and Tibia) range from farce, as she attempts to track Tibia’s travels out of the home by means of a GPS device, to tragedy. The humor of the opening continues throughout, augmented by diagrams such as one of an animal shelter volunteer, with an arrow pointing to the woman’s “kind, crazy eyes.” Even non–cat lovers will find this an engaging read, charmingly illustrated by Paul’s partner, Wendy McNaughton, as Paul easily makes her strong emotions for her pets accessible and universal.” Read the review at http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-60819-977-8

Congratulations to Caroline and Wendy!

KATHRYN MA’S LATEST ACQUIRED BY HARPER COLLINS

Congratulations are also in order for Grottoite Kathryn Ma, who just sold her latest novel to Harper Collins! Read more about Kathryn here: http://www.kathrynma.com/pages/events.html

CHECK OUT CONNIE’S LATEST BOOK FOR MORE ON SMOOCHABLE SENTENCES AND HER MECHANICS INSTITUTE TALK ON NOVEMBER 15

Connie Hale continues to celebrate verbs from the East Coast to the West, with her final Bay Area appearance on November 15, at 6 p.m., at the Mechanics Institute Library to celebrate her latest book, ŒVex, Hex, Smash, Smooch.‚ Her talk will trace the grand sweep of English „from the Swamp to Squidoo‰ and will include insight into literary lines from Shakespeare to Shake N Bake. If you are curious about some of Connie‚s iconoclastic ideas but can‚t make it to the talk, Zyzzyva gave a good picture of the book in „Everything Pivots on the Verb‰ [http://www.zyzzyva.org/2012/10/19/everything-pivots-on-the-verb-constance-hales-vex-hex-smash-smooch/]. And an interview with Krys Boyd on „Think,‰ a long-format radio show in Dallas, allowed for in-depth conversation and questions from callers. http://www.kera.org/2012/10/24/the-power-of-verbs/

THE LATEST LITCAMP NEWS

We at the Grotto are celebrating the nomination of Dave Eggers‚ A Hologram for the King as a National Book Award Finalist. Might be because Dave‚s editor, Ethan Nosowsky is a workshop leader at our upcoming writers conference Lit Camp. Ethan will be joining Adam Johnson (author of The Orphan Master’s Son), Amy Williams (literary agent at McCormick & Williams), T.J. Stiles (Pulitzer Prize winner for The Last Tycoon), Oscar Villalon, (Managing Editor, ZYZZYVA), and long-time Grotto teacher, Janis Cooke Newman (LA Times Book Prize Finalist for Mary). Grottoites Ethan Watters (Crazy Like Us), Chris Colin (Blindsight), and Isaac Fitzgerald (Managing Editor, The Rumpus) will also be on hand.

Join us April 4-7, 2013 at Mayacamas Ranch near Calistoga for Lit Camp. Applications are now being accepted. Application deadline is December 31, 2012. For more information and to apply visit http://www.litcampwriters.org Follow Lit Camp on FB http://www.facebook.com/litcampwriters  or Twitter http://twitter.com/litcampwriters

COMPLIMENTS FROM THE SUBJECT FOR DIANA’S SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE PIECE ON THE “IT GIRL”

Don’t miss Grottoite Diana Kapp’s SF Magazine piece on the wannabe “It Girl” of the tech blogosphere Sarah Lacy: http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/it-aint-easy-being-queen. Featured in the Letters section of this month’s San Francisco Magazine is Lacy’s email response to Diana, where Lacy states, “This is probably one of the more flattering and on-point pieces that’s been written about me. I come across pretty much as I am, whether that’s good or bad. I would like to have seen more credit given to genuinely big stories that we’ve broken, but no entrepreneur I’ve written about ever feels like it’s fair either. That’s just the game. The most valuable thing is that it is clear how hard we are working on this. I really appreciate the work you put into it, given that very few people do that level of reporting these days.”

Read Lacy’s full response here: http://pandodaily.com/2012/09/13/well-at-least-they-called-me-queen/

JD’S NEWEST ARTWORKS HIGHLIGHTED IN THIS MONTH’S DWELL AND 7X7 MAGAZINES

Grotto dweller JD Beltran and collaborator Scott Minneman’s artwork created at The Workshop Residency is featured in both 7 x7 and Dwell magazines this month. 7 x 7 highlights their latest iPad art application “LIMN,” soon available on iTunes: “[A]n iPad app called LIMN is something of a multidisciplinary miracle. Riffing on Beltran’s 2010 ‘Material Language’ series, LIMN renders a single image in four formats at the same time: it is also something of a hometown homage: Download the app and use your fingers to interact with San Francisco street scenes depicted in Super-8 film, photography, painting, and video.” And Dwell magazine highlights their other new creation – the Cinema Snowglobe, which features film, video, and moving imagery in the palm of your hand. Just in time for Christmas! More information at http://www.theworkshopresidency.com and http://vimeo.com/46062279 and

http://www.buzzfeed.com/reyhan/what-happens-when-you-cross-an-animated-gif-and-a

DAVID FEATURED IN THIS MONTH’S DISCOVER MAGAZINE

Grottoite David Ewing Duncan has a feature this month in Discover: “Your Cancer, Your Cure: How Genetic Tests Are Saving Lives” - http://discovermagazine.com/2012/nov/08-your-cancer-your-cure-how-new-genetic-tests-saving-lives

ONE LAST GROTTO WORKSHOP BEFORE THE BREAK – WRITING A GREAT MEMOIR ON NOVEMBER 17

We’ve got one last weekend workshop on our schedule before the holiday break, Writing a Great Memoir: What You Need to Know with Louise Nayer, Saturday (11/17). For more information, visit http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/current-class-roster.

Nearly all of our Fall Session classes sold out this time around. We’ll be announcing our Winter Session classes, which will begin in January, next month. To be the first to hear about them, subscribe to Grotto Class Notes, our monthly e-newsletter, which includes writing tips from our teachers, tips on useful books on writing craft, and recommendations on what we’re reading now. http://www.sfgrotto.org/contact

TOM’S STORY ON “SELECTED SHORTS”

Grottoite Tom Barbash’s story, “Balloon Night,” was featured recently on the show “Selected Shorts.” You can listen to the podcast of that “Selected Shorts” Episode here: http://ec.libsyn.com/p/4/3/2/432ea9afb72fdde2/Pcast_SS201203.mp3?d13a76d516d9dec20c3d276ce028ed5089ab1ce3dae902ea1d01cd8735d7c85f6725&c_id=5036386

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR MAY 4-11 TO JOIN LAURA IN UMBRIA, ITALY

An Italian Writing Affair–May 4-11, Umbria Italy. Join longtime Grotto dweller Laura Fraser to experience la bella vita in Italy! Medieval town, world-class cuisine, an intimate writing group, rolling hills to wander∑ When not writing, we‚ll experience the best of farm-to-table Italian cuisine, such as hand-rolled ravioli, fried zucchini blossoms, gnocchi with shaved black truffles and famed Chianina beef drizzled in an red wine glaze. This workshop is a collaboration with Kris Rudolph, an experienced chef and tour leader who knows Umbria and its food intimately.

Laura Fraser is the bestselling author of An Italian Affair, and speaks fluent Italian. She has taught writing at the University of California at Berkeley‚s Graduate School of Journalism, Stanford Continuing Education, the San Francisco Writers‚ Grotto, and her own Laura‚s Mexican Writing Fiestas. Information is here: http://www.eat-write-travel.com/umbria.html

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JD’s Art Picks for November 2012

JAY DEFEO AT THE SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
“Even the earliest and slightest works in ‘Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective,’∑exude a fearlessness characteristic of her sensibility,” writes art critic Kenneth Baker about this influential and gifted Bay Area artist. Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective: Paintings, sculpture, photographs and collage. Through Feb. 3. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., S.F. (415) 357-4000. http://www.sfmoma.org.

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 Franciscoˆbased 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

“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

Guilty Pleasures: Skipping work to celebrate the Giants win at the parade; raiding the Halloween candy pumpkin for Reeses and Twix, according to the Candy Hierarchy at http://boingboing.net/2010/10/22/the-candy-hierarchy.html; the finest in pumpkin art at http://www.sfgate.com/living/article/Incredible-and-freaky-pumpkin-carvings-2319287.php, hysterical send-ups of that ridiculous Brad Pitt Chanel ad at http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/10/22/brad-pitt-chanel-no-5-parodies/; old-fashioned Strauss soft-serve ice cream twist cones at Super Duper Burger at Yerba Buena Gardens or in the Castro.

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.
Aristotle

 

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