Live! From City Lights

Eli Horowitz

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Eli Horowitz reads from his co-authored book with Chris Adrian, The New World, an ambitious and imaginative novel that pushes the boundaries of the science fiction genre.

An innovative story of love, decapitation, cryogenics, and memory by two of our most creative literary minds

Jorie has just received some terrible news. A phone full of missed calls and sympathetic text messages seem to indicate that her husband, Jim, a chaplain at the hospital where she works as a surgeon, is dead. Only, not quite—rather, his head has been removed from his body and cryogenically frozen. Jim awakes to find himself in an altogether unique situation, to say the least: his body gone but his consciousness alive, his only companion a mysterious, disembodied voice.

In this surreal and unexpectedly moving work, Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz spin a tale of loss and adjustment, death and reawakening. Simultaneously fabulist and achingly human, The New World finds Jorie grieving the husband she knew while Jim wrestles with the meaning of life after death. Conceived in collaboration with Atavist Books, The New World interrogates love and loss in the digital era.

Chris Adrian is the author of The Great Night, Gob’s Grief, The Children’s Hospital, and A Better Angel. Selected by The New Yorker as one of its 20 Under 40, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Eli Horowitz was the managing editor and then publisher of McSweeney’s for eight years. The author of The Silent History, he is also the coauthor of The Clock Without a Face, a treasure-hunt mystery, and Everything You Know Is Pong, an illustrated cultural history of Ping-Pong, and his design work has been honored by I.D., Print, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. He lives in San Francisco.

Emily Schultz

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Emily Schultz reads from her new book The Blondes with special appearances by Joyland Magazine alumni Ruth Galm and Rachel Khong.

During a still hot autumn in New York City, a rabies-like illness spreads among blonde women, causing them to “rage out” and attack passersby. The epidemic shuts down New York where Hazel, a grad student who is pregnant and alone, tries to escape only to find the disease infecting women throughout North America. With echoes of White Noise and a biting satiric wit, Emilhttp://www.citylightspodcast.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpy Schultz’s novel is an examination of what happens in a world where beauty is deadly.

 

Emily Schultz is the co-founder of the literary website Joyland: A Hub For Short Fiction. She is the author of the short story collection Black Coffee Night and the novels Heaven Is Small and Joyland.

Ruth Galm is the author of the forthcoming novel, Into the Valley (Soho Press, Aug 2015)

Rachel Khong is the senior editor of Lucky Peach Magazine.

Praise for The Blondes:

“Reading The Blondes… Wow!”––Margaret Atwood

“Emily Schultz is my new hero.”––Stephen King

“The Blondes is intelligent, mesmerizing, and fearless. An entirely original and beautifully twisted satire with a heart of darkness.”––Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

“Like the literary love child of Naomi Wolf and Stephen King, The Blondes examines our cultural attitudes about beauty through the lens of a post-9/11, high-alert nightmare. The result is a spellbinding brew, both satirical and deeply satisfying.” —Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni

“An energetic, startling novel. Emily Schultz is a writer with a deadly sense of humor. You laugh one moment, you’re frightened the next.” Peter Orner, author of Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge

ZAP Comics Celebration

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City Lights celebrated the release of The Complete ZAP Comics and ZAP Comics itself at a party on Jaunuary 22nd, 2015.

The Complete Zap Comix

from Fantagraphics

with Robert Williams, Victor Moscoso, and Paul Mavrides

discussion moderated by Gary Groth and Ron Turner

There scarcely was an underground comics world before Robert Crumb’s classic solo first issue of Zap in 1968. By Zap #2, he had begun assembling a Seven Samurai of the best, the fiercest, and the most stylistically diversified cartoonists to come out of the countercultural kiln. All of them were extremists of one sort or another, from biker-gang member Rodriguez to Christian surfer Griffin, but somehow they produced a decades-long collaboration: a mind-blowing anthology of abstract hallucination, throat-slashing social satire, and shocking sexual excess, that made possible the ongoing wave of alternative cartoonists like Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and Charles Burns. The Complete Zap Comix collects every issue of Zap — every cover and every story, and even the Zam mini comic jam among the Zap artists — in a multi-volume, slipcased hardcover set. It will also include the 17th unpublished issue with work by Crumb, Moscoco, Wilson, Rodriguez, Shelton, Mavrides, and Williams. Plus, an introduction by founder R. Crumb and an oral history of Zap by Patrick Rosenkranz, and other exclusive bonus features and items TBA. Zap is the most historically and aesthetically important comics series ever published.

Viet Thanh Nguyen

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Viet Thanh Nguyen reads a thrilling excerpt from his debut novel, The Sympathizer at City Lights.

“Magisterial. A disturbing, fascinating and darkly comic take on the fall of Saigon and its aftermath and a powerful examination of guilt and betrayal. The Sympathizer is destined to become a classic and redefine the way we think about the Vietnam War and what it means to win and to lose.” —T. C. Boyle

A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, from a powerful new voice featuring one of the most remarkable narrators of recent fiction: a conflicted subversive and idealist working as a double agent in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. In dialogue with but diametrically opposed to the narratives of the Vietnam War that have preceded it, this novel offers an important and unfamiliar new perspective on the war: that of a conflicted communist sympathizer.

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s astonishing novel takes us inside the mind of this double agent, a man whose lofty ideals necessitate his betrayal of the people closest to him. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

Viet Thanh Nguyen is an associate professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, as well as a member of the steering committee for the Center for Transpacific Studies. He has won numerous teaching and service awards. He is the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford University Press, 2002.) His articles have appeared in numerous journals and books, including PMLA, American Literary History, Western American Literature, positions: east asia cultures critique, The New Centennial Review, Postmodern Culture, the Japanese Journal of American Studies, and Asian American Studies After Critical Mass. His short fiction has been published in Manoa, Best New American Voices 2007, A Stranger Among Us: Stories of Cross-Cultural Collision and Connection, Narrative Magazine, TriQuarterly, the Chicago Tribune, and Gulf Coast, where his story won the 2007 Fiction Prize.

visit: http://vietnguyen.info/

Paul Beatty

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Joined by Oscar Villalon, Paul Beatty celebrates the release of his novel, The Sellout.

in conversation with Oscar Villalon

celebrating the release of

The Sellout

from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality—the black Chinese restaurant.

Born in the “agrarian ghetto” of Dickens—on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles—the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: “I’d die in the same bedroom I’d grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that’ve been there since ’68 quake.” Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.

Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident—the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins—he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

Paul Beatty is the author of three novels—Slumberland, Tuff, and The White Boy Shuffle—and two books of poetry: Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. He lives in New York City.

Oscar Villalon is the Managing Editor of Zyzzyva Magazine and former Book Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Advanced praise for The Sellout:

The Sellout is brilliant. Amazing. Like demented angels wrote it.” —Sarah Silverman

“I am glad that I read this insane book alone, with no one watching, because I fell apart with envy, hysterics, and flat-out awe. Is there a more fiercely brilliant and scathingly hilarious American novelist than Paul Beatty?” —Ben Marcus

“Paul Beatty has always been one of smartest, funniest, gutsiest writers in America, but The Sellout sets a new standard. It’s a spectacular explosion of comic daring, cultural provocation, brilliant, hilarious prose, and genuine heart.” —Sam Lipsyte

“Beatty, author of the deservedly highly praised The White Boy Shuffle (1996), here outdoes himself and possibly everybody else in a send-up of race, popular culture, and politics in today’s America . . . Beatty hits on all cylinders in a darkly funny, dead-on-target, elegantly written satire . . . [The Sellout] is frequently laugh-out-loud funny and, in the way of the great ones, profoundly thought provoking. A major contribution.” —Mark Levin, Booklist (starred review)

Ryan Gattis

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Ryan Gattis reads from his latest and best work to come, All Involved, a historical fiction novel that details the brutality of the Rodney King riots at City Lights.

A propulsive and ambitious novel as electrifying as The Wire, from a writer hailed as the West Coast’s Richard Price—a brutal and mesmerizing epic of crime and opportunity, race, revenge, and loyalty, set in the chaotic streets of South Central L.A. in the wake of one of the most notorious, incendiary, and racially charged trials of the 1990s, involving the severe beating of a civilian black man and three white LAPD officers

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/ANG40InfantryDivisionLosAngelesRiot1992.jpg

During the infamous 1992 Rodney King Riots in LA, 4,000 California Army National Guardsmen patrolled the city to enforce the law.

At 3:15 p.m. on April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted two Los Angeles Police Department officers charged with using excessive force to subdue civilian Rodney King, and failed to reach a verdict on the same charges involving a third officer. Less than two hours later, the city of L.A., a powder keg of racial tension, exploded in violence as people took to the streets in a riot that lasted six days. In 144 hours, fifty-three lives were lost. Yet, that number does not account for the murders that occurred outside active rioting sites—some committed by gangbangers who used the chaos to viciously settle old scores.

A gritty and cinematic work of fiction, All Involved vividly recreates this turbulent and terrifying time through seventeen interconnected first-person narratives. Focusing on a sliver of Los Angeles almost completely ignored by the media during the riots, Ryan Gattis paints a portrait of modern America itself—laying bare our history, our prejudices, and our complexities. Resonant with the voices of gang members, firefighters, graffiti kids, and nurses caught up in these extraordinary circumstances, All Involved is a literary tour de force that catapults this edgy writer into the ranks of such legendary talents as Dennis Lehane and George V. Higgins.

All Involved is a symphonic, pitch-perfect, superlative novel.  It is visceral and adrenalin-fuelled, yet tender and even darkly comic.  It is audacious, unflinching and subversive.  It doesn’t judge.  It swallowed me whole.”—David Mitchell, author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas

Ryan Gattis is a novelist, lecturer at Chapman University, and Creative Director for urban art crew UGLAR

(uglarworks.com). He is the author of the novels Roo Kickkick & The Big Bad Blimp; Kung Fu High School, The Big Drop: Homecoming and The Big Drop: Impermanence. He lives in Los Angeles.

David Meltzer, Two-Way Mirror

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City Lights celebrates the classic, Two Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook, published in its newest gift edition with a reading from prominent Beat Generation poet, David Meltzer.

Two Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook available here

published by City Lights Books

A classic book of poetics by a major Beat Generation poet, published in a beautiful new edition.

Rational and practical, a teaching tool and a guide to creativity that makes the perfect gift for poets at any stage of development.

Praise for Two-Way Mirror:

“Reading Two-Way Mirror, I feel continually surprised, excited, alive. This book makes me want to make poems, and readers, beware: if you are not already a poet, this book could very well turn you into one.”––Matthew Zapruder, author of Sun Bear (Copper Canyon, 2015) and Why Poetry (Ecco Press, 2016)

“I know of no better amalgam of poetry & poetics & no better introduction to the ways in which poetry can emerge for us & lead us beyond ourselves & toward our own fulfillments. Meltzer’s grace of mind & the life of poetry that surrounds it make the case complete.”––Jerome Rothenberg

“A great book of learning from a lifetime’s thoughts of the poem. Ramble, scribble, tickle, lightbulb! Timely and highly worthwhile.”—Clark Coolidge

“Invaluable for anyone who reads or writes poetry, or has a restless desire of any kind, this wondrous, zany compendium gives us ‘a biography of poetry’ that directly enters our veins, bypassing all the crud and restoring our sense of the art, and David Meltzer is a champion of the impossible to have compiled it. Out of print since 1977, this new expanded edition is a gift of delight and wisdom––keep it in your bag by day and by your bed at night.”––Mary Ruefle

About the Author:

David Meltzer is a poet, novelist, editor, and musician. He has edited many anthologies, including SF Beat: Talking with the Poets. His last book is When I Was a Poet, Number 60 in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series. Lawrence Ferlinghetti has called him “one of the greats of post-World War Two San Francisco poets and musicians.”

 

Amber Tamblyn

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Amber Tamblyn discusses her new book, Dark Sparkler, introduced by Jack Hirschman live at City Lights.

from Harper-Perennial

The lives of more than twenty-five actresses lost before their time—from Marilyn Monroe to Brittany Murphy—explored in a haunting, provocative new work by an acclaimed poet and actress.

Amber Tamblyn is both an award-winning film and television actress and an acclaimed poet. As such she is deeply fascinated—and intimately familiar—with the toll exacted from young women whose lives are offered in sacrifice as starlets. The stories of these actresses, both famous and obscure-tragic stories of suicide, murder, obscurity, and other forms of death—inspired this empathic and emotionally charged collection of new poetic work.

Featuring subjects from Marilyn Monroe and Frances Farmer to Dana Plato and Brittany Murphy—and paired with original artwork commissioned for the book by luminaries including David Lynch, Adrian Tomine, Marilyn Manson, and Marcel Dzama—Dark Sparkler is a surprising and provocative collection from a young artist of wide-ranging talent, culminating in an extended, confessional epilogue of astonishing candor and poetic command.

Critical praise for Dark Sparkler:

“A memorial and a magical act. . . . Amber Tamblyn is not playing with metaphor or some flight of fancy. She is gifting us with the tragedy, the power, and most of all the truth of these women’s lives.” —from the Foreword by Diane di Prima

http://www.citylights.com/Resources/titles/87286100934770/Images/87286100934770L.jpg“With a drummer’s approach to wording and a coroner’s attention to bodily detail, Amber Tamblyn’s tragicomic dead girl poems are a thoughtful, ghoulish kick.” —Sarah Vowell

“Ms. Tamblyn has a gift for words.” —Quentin Tarantino

“Amber Tamblyn’s Dark Sparkler is an elegy, a eulogy, a rhapsody, a rage. In these astonishing poems inspired by dead actresses, Tamblyn fiercely examines the spectacle of the actress as she lives and dies and how our hands and hearts linger on their lives.” —Roxane Gay, author of New York Times bestseller Bad Feminist

The Highway and the Wilderness: Dennis McNally and Jonah Raskin

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An evening of discussion that centers around the ideas from two recently released books:

Dennis McNally celebrates the release of

On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom

from Counterpoint Press

and

 

 

Jonah Raskin celebrates the release of

A Terrible Beauty

from Regent Press

discussion moderated by Peter Maravelis

On Highway 61 explores the historical context of the significant social dissent that was central to the cultural genesis of the sixties. The book is going to search for the deeper roots of American cultural and musical evolution for the past 150 years by studying what the Western European culture learned from African American culture in a historical progression that reaches from the minstrel era to Bob Dylan.

Shortly before he published Walden; or Life in the Woods, Henry David Thoreau called “The library a wilderness of books.” He also noted that while Americans were “clearing the forest in our westward progress, we are accumulating a forest of books in our rear, as wild and unexplored as any of nature’s primitive wildernesses.” In A Terrible Beauty: The Wilderness of American Literature, Jonah Raskin takes a long close look at the forest of books that poets, novelists and essayists mapped and explored before and after Thoreau. The first work of cultural criticism to look back at writing in the United States from the perspective of the contemporary environmental crisis, Raskin offers insights for students, teachers and lovers of literature as well as for backpackers and hikers who have trekked across untrammeled forests, deserts and mountains.

Dennis McNally received his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1977 for a biography of Jack Kerouac which was published by Random House in 1979 under the title Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America. He became the Grateful Dead’s authorized biographer in 1980 and the band’s publicist in 1984. In 2002, he published A Long Strange Trip/The Inside History of the Grateful Dead with Broadway Books, a division of Random House. It made the New York Times best seller list.

Jonah Raskin has taught American literature at Sonoma State University, the State University of New York at Stony Brook and as a Fulbright professor at the University of Antwerp and the University of Ghent in Belgium. The author of fifteen books, he earned his B.A. at Columbia College in New York, his M.A. at Columbia University and his Ph.D. at the University of Manchester, Manchester, England. He lives in northern California and has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, The L.A. Times, The Nation, The Redwood Coast Review and Catamaran.

Peter Dale Scott

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Peter Dale Scott discusses America’s “deep state,” that influences and opposes official U.S. policies and his book The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy.

from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

51tfV9CQVpL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Prominent political analyst Peter Dale Scott begins by tracing America’s increasing militarization, restrictions on constitional rights, and income disparity since the Vietnam War. He argues that a significant role in this historic reversal was the intervention of a series of structural deep events, ranging from the assassination of President Kennedy to 9/11. He does not attempt to resolve the controversies surrounding these events, but he shows their significant points in common, ranging from overlapping personnel and modes of operation to shared sources of funding. Behind all of these commonalities is what Scott calls the deep state: a second order of government, behind the public or constitutional state, that has grown considerably stronger since World War II. He marshals convincing evidence that the deep state is partly institutionalized in non-accountable intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA, but it also includes private corporations like Booz Allen Hamilton and SAIC, to which 70 percent of intelligence budgets are outsourced. Behind these public and private institutions is the traditional influence of Wall Street bankers and lawyers, allied with international oil companies beyond the reach of domestic law. With the importance of Gulf states like Saudi Arabia to oil markets, American defense companies, and Wall Street itself, this essential book shows that there is now a supranational deep state, sometimes demonstrably opposed to both White House policies and the American public interest.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley,PeterDale Scott is a leading political analyst and poet. His books include Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War, and American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (R&L). He has been awarded the Lannan Poetry Award. His website can be found at www.peterdalescott.net.

What has been said about The American Deep State:

The American Deep State encapsulates Peter Dale Scott’s decades-long research into the hidden aspects of American deep politics. The result is an unparalleled perspective on the real system of U.S. governance. His analysis is meticulous, masterful, and brilliant.

— Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

Peter Dale Scott is our most provocative scholar of American power. Scott picks up where the pioneering C. Wright Mills left off, shining a light on the dark labyrinth of power—a shadow world that has only grown more arrogant and wedded to state violence since the days of the ‘power elite’ and the ‘military-industrial complex.’ There is no way to understand how power really operates without daring to follow Scott’s illuminating path through The American Deep State.

— David Talbot, Founder of Salon

Peter Dale Scott has pioneered the systematic study of the national security state and its hidden impacts on all areas of foreign and domestic policy. With this new book, Scott outdoes himself with a truly comprehensive birds-eye analysis of the increasing encroachment of the unaccountable ‘deep state’ into democratic politics through the postwar period until today, offering a window into a grim future if business-as-usual continues. This is a brilliant, incisive, must-read work for anyone who wants to understand the interplay between global capitalism, national security, and the dubious agendas of the most powerful yet secretive agencies of national governments and the complex network of vested criminal and corporate interests that drive them.

— Nafeez Ahmed, investigative journalist, the Guardian