DAVID, XANDRA, MARK, AND ZAHRA’S “STAND UP PLANET” GETS SFIFF PREMIERE APRIL 28, AND BROADCASTS ON MAY 14
Stand Up Planet, a one-hour Gates Foundation-funded documentary about a new generation of comic rebels changing the world one joke at a time, will screen Monday, April 28 at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and make its TV debutMay 14 on Jeff Skoll’s new Pivot TV channel. Grottofilms’ David Munro and Xandra Castleton created the show, which David directed and Xandra co-wrote, in collaboration with Grotto emeritus Mark Decena who co-wrote and produced through his company Kontent Films. and resident Grotto comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh, whose knowledge of the stand up world was indispensable.
The film is hosted by comedian Hasan Minhaj and features appearances by Bill Cosby, Norman Lear, and Carl Reiner, in addition to a host of super funny and talented American and international comics. In addition to Pivot, SUP will be simulcast on LA independent station KCET and cable network Link TV, whose parent company KCETLink is the producing network.
YUKARI’S “HAUNTED EMPIRE: APPLE AFTER STEVE JOBS” GARNERS CONTROVERSIAL ATTENTION
Yukari Iwatani Kane’s book, “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs,” debuted on March 18 and immediately garnered controversial attention after Apple’s CEO Tim Cook spoke out against it. Based on interviews with nearly 200 sources in Apple’s world in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, the narrative non-fiction book examines how Apple is handling the loss of its visionary founder while also dealing with the many challenges of a fast-growing, globally dominant company. (http://yukarikane.com/haunted-empire/)
SUSAN’S “THE MOUSE ROOM” NOW OUT ON THE SHEBOOKS LABEL
Grottoite Susan Ito was a struggling college student working at a genetics lab when she met her birth mother for the first time. A quirky memoir, at once funny and heartbreaking, The Mouse Room is full of big questions about parenting, DNA, and what makes us who we are. Buy it at on the Shebooks Label at http://shebooks.net/the-mouse-room#.U0LN9q1dW9Q
LAURA’S SHEBOOKS.NET MAKING ITS MARK IN THE PUBLISHING WORLD
Longtime Grotto dweller Laura Fraser’s new publishing company, Shebooks.net, has already published 24 short e-books, and sold over 2500 copies!
Homo sapiens have been speaking for hundreds of years — and yet basic communication still stymies us. We stagger through our exchanges merely hoping not to crash, never considering that we might soar. But no more. With Grotto dweller Chris Colin and Rob Baedeker’s What to Talk About, you’ll learn to speak — fluently, intelligently, charmingly — to family, friends, coworkers, lovers, future lovers, horse trainers, children, even yourself.
This absurd-but-serious manual comes out this month with Chronicle Books. Amazon has already named it one of its Best Humor & Entertainment Books, and Chris and Rob will be discussing it on NPR’s Here & Now next week. If you’ve ever thought of reading a book, or giving a gift, now’s a great time to get started!
Spring has arrived — and so has our amazing schedule of Spring Classes! We’ve got tons of new offerings in addition to our usual weekly and weekend classes in fiction, nonfiction, memoir, novel-writing — everything you’re looking for to get your writing on track after the winter doldrums. Check out all of our Spring Session classes at: http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/current-class-roster
KATHRYN’S “THE YEAR SHE LEFT US” GETS A STARRED PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW – OUT IN MAY
Grottozian Kathryn Ma’s novel, “The Year She Left Us,” got a starred review from Publishers Weekly: “Ma’s first novel is a sweeping successs…with a fascinating protagonist. This is a family saga of insight, regret, and pathos, and it is not to be missed.” Look for Kathryn’s book in May!
CAROLINE PICKS MARIA POPOVA’S BRAIN AT THE HATTERY ON FRIDAY, APRIL 10
Grotto-ite Caroline Paul interviews Maria Popova, the brain behind the wildly popular culture blog Brain Pickings, on stage at The Hattery, April 10 at 7 PM. Brain Pickings is a one-woman discovery engine for interestingness, “bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.” They’ll discuss hunting and gathering on the internet, lessons on creativity, and musings such as the curious minds (and sleep habits) of famous writers past and present. Buy tickets here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/brain-pickings-an-evening-with-maria-popova-tickets-10928097233?aff=hatterysite
Conversation with Maria Popova of Brain Pickings
414 Brannan Street
April 10th, 7 – 8.30 PM
VANESSA AWARDED THE EMERGING WRITER FELLOWSHIP AT ASPEN SUMMER WORDS CONFERENCE
Grottoite Vanessa Hua was selected for an Emerging Writer Fellowship at the Aspen Summer Words conference this June. She read from her novel-in-progress on Wednesday, April 2, at San Jose State University, at the Steinbeck Fellowship year-end reading. Kudos to Vanessa!
ALI’S SHORT STORY IN STORYSOUTH AND HIS POEMS PUBLISHED BY BEDLAM PUBLISHING
Grottorati Ali Eteraz’s short story “Iron Bowl” appears in storySouth and his poems “Three Excerpts from the Aborted Status Updates of E.” have been published by Bedlam Publishing. Congratulations to Ali!
DRINKS, AUCTION, DELECTABLES, & SPELLING! THE EIGHT ANNUAL SPD SPELLING BEE IS APRIL 28TH
Join Grottoite Ethel Rohan on Monday, April 28th for the eighth annual SPD BEE, A Spelling Bee to Benefit Small Press Distribution. THE SPD BEE is an old-fashioned spelling bee but with alcohol, tasty nibbles, and more fun! Crown Point Gallery is the beautiful setting for this event. Proceeds support the work of SPD, the nation’s only remaining non-profit distributor of literary small press books.
Emcee: Comedic Josh Kornbluth has toured internationally, written and starred in several feature films. His most recent show, Sea of Reeds, has performed widely in the Bay Area and beyond. Judge: Geoffrey Nunberg, NPR commentator, professor at UC Berkeley, and board member of the American Heritage Dictionary. Other spelling bees include Anise Gross, Summer Brenner, and more. Get full details and your tickets here:http://www.spdbooks.org/pages/events/default.aspx
JULIA AT “WTF, SF?” A PANEL ABOUT THE CHANGING SAN FRANCISCO LANDSCAPE
On Wednesday, April 2nd, Grotto dweller Julia Flynn Siler, author of Lost Kingdom and The House of Mondavi, appeared on a panel with Gary Kamiya, San Francisco magazine executive editor and author of Cool Grey City of Love,) the Reverend Cecil Williams (pastor emeritus of Glide Memorial Church and co-author of Beyond the Possible) John Law (founder of Burning Man Festival and co-author of Tales of San Francisco Cacophony Society) and Joel Selvin (SF Chronicle culture editor from 1972-2009) to discuss the changing landscape of San Francisco today. It was sponsored by Green Apple Books; more information at http://www.greenapplebooks.com/event/wtf-sf
WENDY DEBUTS “MEANWHILE IN SAN FRANCISCO: SAN FRANCISCO, THE CITY IN ITS OWN WORDS” – READING TONIGHT, APRIL 7 AT BOOKSMITH!
Grotto friend and artist Wendy McNaughton’s recent book, “San Francisco, The City in its Own Words,” is number three on the Chronicle bestseller list. From San Francisco Chronicle reviewer “If Studs Terkel, the great oral historian, had taken up drawing, his work might have looked something like what Wendy MacNaughton has created in her irresistibly bighearted new book…Like Terkel, MacNaughton gives voice to ordinary people from all walks of life, dignifying them in the process. Her pleasing, unfussy ink-and-watercolor portraits of San Franciscans – “illustrated documentaries,” as she calls them – capture library patrons, farmers’ market vendors, Giants fans, Mission hipsters and old friends hanging out in Chinatown. “This is our front yard. I’m not trying to get out of here,” says a smiling young man in MacNaughton’s section on Sixth Street, whose lives of struggle she contrasts with a Fifth Street populated by programmers, businesspeople and tourists.http://www.sfgate.com/books/article/Meanwhile-in-San-Francisco-by-Wendy-5358128.php
FROM OUR FRIENDS AT THE BOOKSMITH
1644 Haight Street, San Francisco 415-863-8688, http://www.booksmith.com
Events are free of charge unless otherwise noted
Monday, April 7
MEANWHILE IN SAN FRANCISCO: The City in Its Own Words
HELLO, NEW YORK: An Illustrated Love Letter to the Five Burroughs
Wednesday, April 9
TOM FITZGERALD + LORENZO MARQUEZ
EVERYONE WANTS TO BE ME OR DO ME:
Tom & Lorenzo’s Fabulous & Opinionated Guide to Celebrity Life & Style
Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez were your typically paired-off gay couple of ten-plus years: no kids, lots of antiques, single-digit body fat, and one cat too many, when they decided to throw a couple curveballs at life. They launched a blog called “Project Rungay,” which punctured the self-importance and silliness of the fashion and celebrity worlds. The pair’s gentle snark and wit quickly amassed a cult following, and the blog became TomandLorenzo.com, which now receives 10 million page views a month and 6-7 million monthly visitors.
Thursday, April 10
A FARM DIES ONCE A YEAR
The rhythms of a farm are familiar to Arlo Crawford: rise, eat, bend, pick, sort, sweat, sleep. Raised on New Morning Farm, seventy-five acres in south-central Pennsylvania where his parents have grown organic produce since the 1970s, Crawford chronicles his homecoming and one full season on the farm, from the smallest triumphs and inevitable setbacks to celebrated harvests and sold-out markets, in A FARM DIES ONCE A YEAR: A Memoir.
More at http://booksmith.com/event/arlo-crawford-farm-dies-once-year
Wednesday, April 16
MY FOREIGN CITIES
A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
Two writers, two books that take you behind the scenes at the hospital in very different ways. One a memoir, one fiction, both filled with stories, large and small, that bring these corridors to life and give a window into their complexity. Elizabeth Scarboro and Louise Aronson will talk about their vantage points as doctor/patient-writers, and how their work fits into the larger conversation of health care reform.
Thursday, April 24
ANDREW SEAN GREER
THE IMPOSSIBLE LIVES OF GRETA WELLS
“The premise of this novel isn’t that a woman travels through time: it’s that ‘the impossible happens once to each of us’…What this wonderful novel teaches us is how magic works.” — John Irving
From the critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Confessions of Max Tivoli comes The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, a rapturously romantic story of a woman who finds herself transported to the “other lives” she might have lived. Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of The Story of a Marriage and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was a Today book club selection and received a California Book Award.
JD’s Art Picks for APRIL 2014
THE SILICON VALLEY CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR DEBUTS THIS THURSDAY
This spring, Silicon Valley Contemporary opens its doors at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center,April 10 – 13, 2014. The first of its kind in the tech industry mecca, Silicon Valley Contemporary places emphasis on the relationship between art and technology in a growing effort to engage the arts patrons of tomorrow.
In recent years, art and technology have successfully merged to further creativity, broadening our understanding of artistic practices and making art visible in mediums previously reserved for technologists including networked culture, interactivity, creative use of digital surfaces, and the space between image and motion.Those in the technology sector are turning to artists to address design and function issues with initiatives like Google’s DevArt, while the art world continues to embrace technology as a creative practice as in Rhizome “Seven on Seven,” both pointing to progress made in bridging two notoriously insular cultures.
Silicon Valley Contemporary aims to be at the center of a conversation on art and technology in effort to connect the collectors of tomorrow with the most relevant work of today. At the heart of this initiative is the appointment of Paul Young, Director of Young Projects (Los Angeles), as curator of the fair’s Moving Image Experience, a presentation of artists whose work ranges from single channel video works that span animated, narrative and performance based pieces, to computer based installations, 3D works and interactive projects, including the “Mutual Wave Machine” by Suzanne Dikker, Matthias Oostrik, Peter Burr, Diederik Schoorl, Matthew Patterson Curry, and Oliver Hess, presented by Marina Abramovic Institute on exhibit throughout the fair.
Silicon Valley Contemporary Exhibition Dates and Times:
Thursday, April 10, 7-9:30pm | Opening Night Preview | Black Card & VIP Pass holders
Saturday, April 12, 11am – 8pm
Sunday, April 13, 11am – 6pm
San Jose McEnery Convention Center 150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113
More information at http://siliconvalleycontemporary.com/tech-savvy-art-collector/
REX RAY AT GALLERY 16
For Rex Ray, the joy of making and viewing art is his continuing motivation. Drawing inspiration from his acknowledged influences – the Arts and Crafts Movement, Abstract Expressionism, organic and hard-edged abstraction, pattern and textile design, and Op Art – Ray playfully combines these formalist concepts with decorators’ tips gleaned from lowbrow publications and sources of popular culture in his pursuit to create beautiful things. Gracefully bridging the gap between fine and applied art, he distinguishes himself in each realm.
As a fine artist, Rex Ray works in a wide range of media, including painting, collage, print works, and photography. His collages grew out of the simple pleasure of cutting shapes from magazine pages, assembling and gluing them to paper to create visually pleasing works that have since developed into sophisticated resin-covered panels. In his large-scale canvas paintings, like the one on view at MCA DENVER, he conceives abstracted landscapes from biomorphic shapes and distinct color combinations as a fresh adaptation of an aesthetic that sympathizes with twentieth-century Modernism.
Ray’s work exudes beauty with a subversive edge that stems from an attitude grounded in alternative subculture. He was an early admirer of punk and new wave music. Music holds a special place in his life. A former record store employee and devoted collector, he has worked with leading contemporary musicians, contributing designs for many album covers and concert posters for artists such as Radiohead, Bjork, Nine Inch Nails, Deee-Lite, and David Bowie.
Rex Ray was born in Germany in 1956. He lives and works in San Francisco’s Mission District. Before moving to California in 1981, he was a longtime resident of Colorado Springs and he still maintains his connection to Colorado. In 1988, he received a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, CA. His paintings, collages, and designs have been widely exhibited at galleries and museums, including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, San Jose Museum of Modern Art, CA, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA. He is an accomplished graphic designer with a client list that includes Apple, Sony Music, and The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY. [Written by Cydney Payton]
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