After reporting in Afghanistan for MORE on a mother-of-four who has built 40 schools, Diana Kapp launched an Etsy store selling her handmade necklaces, all proceeds aiding girls schools in Afghanistan: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ErrlyGrrl
Mark Decena’s latest short film on the Navajo Nation’s fight against coal fired power plants will premier at the DC Environmental Film Festival. “Our Power” screens on March 23rd: http://www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org
MEGHAN WARD’S NEWEST “RUNWAY: CONFESSIONS OF A NOT-SO SUPERMODEL,” NOW AVAILABLE ON THE SHEBOOKS LABEL
Grottoite Meghan Ward’s new e-book, “Runway: Confessions of a not-so supermodel,” debuted last month! Modeling in Paris seemed like a great way to make some quick money and sample the glamorous life before going to college — until 18-year-old Meghan discovered that the world of high fashion is every bit as morally unsavory as it’s cracked up to be. Download the whole story for only $2.99 athttp://www.shebooks.net/Runway
Kudos to Meghan!
FRESH CLASSES NEW ON OUR WEBSITE – CHECK THEM OUT NOW!
We’ve just listed our new classes for spring, and we’re very excited about them! Lots of fresh new offerings along with our usual favorites. How about spiritual writing, or how to write a quirky, surrealist, magical realist short story? This spring we’re offering classes in dialogue, writing emotion, and crime fiction, along with how to write a novel, memoir, short story, and the short ebook memoir.
CHRIS’ NEW BOOK THAT OBAMA CALLS “BREATHTAKING” – SAVE THE DATE! MARCH 28PARTY!
Free booze! Plus literary crud at a celebration for WHAT TO TALK ABOUT, the soon-to-be-released funny-but-genuinely-helpful life manual from Grottorati Chris Colin and Rob Baedeker, on Fridaynight, March 28, in the Mission. Come!
Books will be on hand, wine will flow and spill and be cleaned up, and Chris and Rob will give demonstrations on how to ratchet up your human interactions by up to 300 percent. Guaranteed to be the best night of your life. Info here:http://www.saybetterthings.com
What to Talk About
2862 24th St., SF CA
Come celebrate the book Obama* is calling “breathtaking.”
ETHAN WRITES ABOUT THE GERM THEORY OF DEMOCRACY IN THIS MONTH’S PACIFIC STANDARD COVER STORY
Grotto co-founder Ethan Watters (with editor, Grottoite John Gravois) writes the cover story for this month’s Pacific Standard, addressing the theory: Is culture just a side effect of the struggle to avoid disease? What kind of government do you live under? Who are your sexual partners? How do you treat strangers? All of these questions may mask a more fundamental one: What germs are you warding off?
ANNE READS FROM HER M.F.K. FISHER ANTHOLOGY AT OMNIVORE BOOKS ON MARCH 20
Grotto dweller Anne Zimmerman reads from M.F.K. Fisher: Musings on Wine and Other Libations, March 20th; Omnivore Books 3885a Caesar Chavez St., San Francisco; 6:30-7:30PM; with wine (of course!)
For M.F.K. Fisher, one of America’s most-read and best-loved food writers, wine was a passion nurtured during her time in France and, later, California. This anthology, edited by acclaimed biographer Anne Zimmerman (An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher), is the first ever to gather Fisher’s finest writings on wine. More information athttp://www.omnivorebooks.com/events.html
CONNIE MUSES ABOUT “A SENSE OF PLACE” IN PETALUMA ON MARCH 20
Grottoian Connie Hale pairs up with Michael Shapiro in an appearance at the Petaluma Writers Forum, a monthly series featuring California writers of all stripes. The talk is titled “A Sense of Place: Two master travel writers reflect on how to evoke character and setting in any genre.” It takes its title from Michael’s book, which is composed of interviews with great travel writers on “their craft, lives, and inspiration.” Details: March 20, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, Petaluma Community Center, 320 North McDowell Blvd. $10 at the door. More information athttp://www.thewritespot.us/forum.html
NEW WORK THIS MONTH BY JD, ALL OVER THE PLACE
Grottoite JD Beltran debuts new artworks all over the world this month. This Saturday, March 9, she’ll debut a new film, “Dreaming in Four Languages,” at the Fei Contemporary Art Center in Shanghai, China, for the exhibition “Electronic Pacific,” curated by Justin Hoover. Next Friday, March 14th, she’ll be showing “The Color of a Color,” a new interactive collaboration with partner Scott Minneman and neuroscientist Bevil Conway, for the exhibition “Mind Matters: Mapping the Human Mind through Neuroscience” — it opens on March 10th with an artist reception on March 14th from 2-5pm at the Sandler Neuroscience Center at Mission Bay. OnMarch 22nd, she’ll be debuting a new video and glass piece created for “Smoke and Mirrors,” the Southern Exposure Auction at Southern Exposure Gallery (reception March 22, 7:30-11:00 pm). And on March 29th, she’ll show a new body of work exploring printmaking in glass (vitreography) and video/glass sculpture at the Cannery Galleries in a featured exhibition, “Paraphrase,” for the Southern Graphics Council International Conference. March 22-29th, reception Saturday, March 29th, Cannery Gallery 104, 3:00 – 4:30 pm.
GET A GRAMMAR BRUSH-UP WITH CONNIE AT CAL EXTENSION ON MARCH 29 AND FREELANCE FUNDAMENTALS ON APRIL 5
Grottozian Connie Hale will lead an all-day Sin and Syntax seminar at UC Berkeley Extension on March 29, for those who want to calm the inner critic or just get the boss to stop meddling with your sentences. This is grammar for grownups: a lists of do’s and don’ts will expose common pitfalls; readings will be hilarious and helpful; exercises stretch new muscles; short writing assignments show how a command of language is as important as a commanding idea…. And if you’ve got your grammar down but want help building a freelance career in this changing media landscape, check out “Fundamentals of Freelancing” on April 5. More on both classes at http://sinandsyntax.com/classes-and-events/.
DON’T MISS EVENTS FROM OUR FRIENDS AT THE BOOKSMITH ON HAIGHT
Tuesday, March 4 [TONIGHT!!] at 7:30 PM
OUT WITH IT: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice
“Out With It is both a compassionate, unflinching memoir and an anatomy of life with a stammer. Katherine Preston offers affirmation for the millions of us who live with a speech disfluency and practical insight for those who don’t. I highly recommend this astute and engaging book.” — David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas
Katherine Preston is a writer, public speaker, and a regular contributor to Psychology Today. Raised in England, she currently lives in San Francisco
Rabih Alameddine’s internationally bestselling novel The Hakawati established him as one of the Middle East’s most celebrated voices, hailed as “absolutely original” (The Washington Post) and a “wonder of a book” (The New York Times Book Review). His latest novel, AN UNNECESSARY WOMAN, is a love letter to literature and its power to define who we are.
Rabih Alameddine divides his time between Beirut and San Francisco and was a 2002 Guggenheim Fellow.
WORDS WILL BREAK CEMENT: The Passion of Pussy Riot
“Urgent…damninG…Much here will be new to the American reader. All of it is infuriating.” — Alexander Nazaryan, The New York Times
„The fullest account so far of the Pussy Riot story… A moving object lesson in the power of art — perhaps especially messy and exuberant art — to rise above repression and have the last, cement-breaking word.” — Sara Marcus, Los Angeles Times
“Valuable for its insights into the modern cultural history of Russia, with all its idealistic muddles, dead-ends and false starts…ideal for those curious about the country behind the Games.” — The Economist
Masha Gessen is a journalist and the author of several previous books, most recently Perfect Rigor and Blood Matters, as well as The Man without a Face: The Rise and Rule of Vladimir Putin. Deputy editor of the Russian-language Snob magazine, she has contributed to Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Granta, and Slate, among other publications.
With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi masterfully recreates an electric and turbulent time in American history and offers a penetrating look at the shamefulness of classifying people by their appearance. Dazzlingly imaginative and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishingly accomplished novel,the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.
Helen Oyeyemi is the author of five novels, most recently White is for Witching, which won a 2010 Somerset Maugham Award, and Mr. Fox, which won a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2013, she was named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists.
This is the story of two young men who come of age during an African revolution, drawn from the safe confines of the university campus into the intensifying clamor of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes increasingly blurred, the friends are driven apart — one into the deepest peril, as the movement gathers inexorable force, and the other into the safety of exile in the American Midwest..
Writing within the grand tradition of Naipul, Greene, and Achebe, Mengestu gives us a political novel that is also a transfixing portrait of love and grace, of self-determination and the names we are given and the names we earn.
Dinaw Mengestu, a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, is the author of two novels, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and How To Read the Air.
For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Michael Ondaatje, Every Day Is for the Thief is a wholly original work of fiction by Teju Cole, whose critically acclaimed debut, Open City, was the winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than twenty publications.
A young Nigerian living in New York City goes home to Lagos for a short visit, finding a city both familiar and strange. In a city dense with story, the unnamed narrator moves through a mosaic of life, hoping to find inspiration for his own. He witnesses the “yahoo yahoo” diligently perpetrating email frauds from an Internet café, longs after a mysterious woman reading on a public bus who disembarks and disappears into a bookless crowd, and recalls the tragic fate of an eleven-year-old boy accused of stealing at a local market.
JD’s Art Picks for FEBRUARY 2014
JAMES TURRELL, ALEXANDER CALDER, AND THE LEONARD PHOTOGRAPHY COLLECTION AT THE LA COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART
Just got back from viewing this in Los Angeles and it’s not to be missed. It’s in its last month, so you’ll need to book your tickets to see it ahead of time! James Turrell: A Retrospective explores nearly fifty years in the career of James Turrell (b. 1943, Los Angeles), a key artist in the Southern California Light and Space movement of the 1960s and 70s. The exhibition includes early geometric light projections, prints and drawings, installations exploring sensory deprivation and seemingly unmodulated fields of colored light, and recent two-dimensional work with holograms. One section is devoted to the Turrell masterwork in process, Roden Crater, a site-specific intervention into the landscape just outside Flagstaff, Arizona, presented through models, plans, photographs, and films. Through April 6th.
Also presented, a transcendent exhibition of sculptural work and mobiles of the inimitable Alexander Calder (through July 27) and an extensive trip through the history of photography with the Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection (through March 23rd). http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibitions/current
YOGA: THE ART OF TRANSFORMATION AT THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM
This fascinating exhibition has been lauded by the New York Times as groundbreaking in its perspective on the ancient art of yoga. “As diverse artworks on view confirm, ancient adepts of yoga, especially of its inner and mystic disciplines, aroused as much fear as admiration in a world convinced that supernatural influences impinged constantly on mundane existence,”remarked art critic Kenneth Baker. Yoga: The Art of Transformation goes beyond postures and delves into how yoga has evolved into a global phenomenon through an exploration of its visual history. Borrowed from 25 museums and private collections in Europe, the U.S. and India, the artworks featured in the exhibition date from the 2nd to the 20th centuries. Images ranging from benevolent deities and gurus to Tantric goddesses and sinister yogis reveal how yoga practices — and perceptions of them — have transformed over time and across communities. Exhibition highlights include stunning masterpieces of Indian sculpture and painting; pages from the first illustrated book of yoga postures (asanas); and a Thomas Edison film, Hindoo Fakir (1902), the first American movie ever produced about India. The Asian Art Museum is the only U.S. West Coast venue for this exhibition, which is on through May 25th. More information athttp://www.asianart.org/exhibitions_index/yoga
THE POSSIBLE AT THE BERKELEY ART MUSEUM
The Possible is an experimental exhibition that reconceives the museum as a site for creative convergence. You will have the chance to be a part of this evolving exhibition by engaging directly with an exciting array of visiting artists.
As an open platform for shared creativity and the exploration of diverse artistic techniques, The Possible combines studio, classroom, library, gallery, and stage. A multisensory library provides context and inspiration, while the galleries are reconfigured as a series of workspaces: a ceramics studio, dye lab, print shop, and recording studio. Collaborating with one another and the public, a diverse range of guest artists will use these studios to create new work in a public forum. The finished works will filter into a gallery installation, building the exhibition over time. We hope to inspire a spirit of experimentation, improvisation, and play by providing opportunities for artists to go deeper into familiar mediums, experience new practices, and work collaboratively. The studios will function as classrooms during a series of Sunday public workshops and audiences will also be invited to participate in discussions, performances, and field trips during the course of the exhibition. And bring the whole family to Kids Club, a special gallery devoted to engaging children in the creative process that is at the heart of this project.
Disrupting expected images of South Africa, the 25 contemporary artists and collectives featured in Public Intimacy eloquently explore the poetics and politics of the everyday. This collaboration with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presents pictures from SFMOMA‚s collection of South African photography alongside works in a broad range of media, including video, painting, sculpture, performance, and publications˜most made in the last five years, and many on view for the first time on the West Coast. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, Public Intimacy reveals the nuances of human interaction in a country still undergoing significant change, vividly showing public life there in a more complex light. Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa, Downstairs Galleries. Through June 29th. More information athttp://www.ybca.org/public-intimacy
PIER 24′S EXHIBITION
Pier 24 Photography, one of the world’s premier exhibition spaces for photo-base work, presents A Sense of Place, an exploration of how photographs shape the perception of our environments. Together, the exhibited works shift in scale from room size installations to small, quiet photographs, transporting the viewer through a variety of locations, memories, and emotive experiences. Highlights include Lee Friedlander’s America by Car, a series documenting both the everyday and specific eccentricities in the United States from the confines of his car, shifting the viewer to a variety of places from the familiar frame of a car window. Erik Kessels’ installation 24 HRS in Photos creates a cascading room filled – floor to ceiling – with printed versions of every picture uploaded to Flickr during a 24-hour period, allowing the viewer to both visually and physically experience the overwhelming number of photographs shared online. The pictures assembled in A Sense of Place demonstrate what photography does best: engage our attention with the everyday – to what we might otherwise bypass – inspiring us to take another, closer look at the places that surround us. Artists include: Robert Adams, Doug Aitken, Uta Barth, Edward Burtynsky, Eric William Carroll, John Chiara, Jan De Cock, Moyra Davey, Thomas Demand, Jose Manuel Fors, Lee Friedlander, Paul Graham, Andreas Gursky, Todd Hido, Rinko Kawauchi, Veronika Kellndorfer, Erik Kessels, Lucia Koch, Richard Learoyd, Richard Misrach, Asako Narahasi, Stephen Shore, Cinthya Soto, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jeff Wall, and selections from the Sack Photographic Trust. Through May 2014. More information at http://www.pier24.org/exhibition/current.html