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
“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
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
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 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
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, 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
Freedom Voices Press Celebrates 25 Years with a Sneak Preview of 2015 Releases and a 2014 Award-Winner with Margot Pepper, Paul Boden, and J. Douglas Allen-Taylor.
In 1989, when editor Jess Clarke worked as a cultural organizer in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District for the non-profit Tenderloin Reflection and Education Center (TREC), he found the neighborhood awash in unpublished talent. Working with Central City Hospitality House and the printing collective Red Star Black Rose, Clarke organized Freedom Voices to publish literature that speaks to or from voiceless communities on the margins. In the quarter century since its inception, the Freirian Bay Area publisher has expanded that vision to include publication of a diverse collection of high caliber and highly-respected American and international literary talent. Among the outstanding writers published by Freedom Voices are Native American poet Mary TallMountain; the poet known as the “Beat Friar:” Brother Antoninus/William Everson; award-winning poet and film-maker Clifton Ross; ] Artist Art Hazelwood and the late Puerto Rican Piri Thomas who, shortly before his death in 2011, chose to publish his final collection of fiction with Freedom Voices: Stories From El Barrio. International titles include Quetzalcóatl by Ernesto Cardenal and Voice of Fire: Communiques and Interviews of the Zapatista National Liberation Army. Join Freedom Voices in celebrating this milestone with the early release of two exciting 2015 titles (to jump start the holiday season!) and the recipient of the the PEN Oakland Lifetime Literary Achievement Award.
Freedom Voices celebrates the release of three new books :
Updating Orwell’s 1984, this gripping techno-dystopian thriller set against the Bay Area’s iconic landmarks provides disturbing insight about life in the information age. And escape.
“Daring, brave and fully imagined, this political stance is vital and necessary.” —Luis J. Rodriguez, author of Always Running.
The story of community organizing efforts to end homelessness in San Francisco provides a meaningful framework for organizers creating a community-based social justice movement in the United States. Artwork has been a vital part of this organizing and a wide range of images, from cartoons to murals and street posters are highlighted.
Sugaree Rising by Jesse Allen-Taylor
A haunting novel in the great literary tradition of Zora Neale Hurston and William Faulkner from the recipient of the PEN Oakland 2013 Reginal Lockett Lifetime Literary Achievement Award. Allen-Taylor’s masterful storytelling pulls readers along with the Yay’saw until the novel’s surprising conclusion.
Author Kate Schatz and artist Miriam Klein Stahl offered an engaging presentation that involved a reading from the book, a slideshow and Q&A, and a conversation about how to be rad! Kate and Miriam are both mothers and teachers, so they’re no stranger to entertaining young folks—audience participation was encouraged.
This event was hosted by Michelle Tea!
At this event, Miriam also participated in silk-screening, so guests brought a t-shirt, onesie, or other clothing item to rock their own Rad American Women A-Z gear!
When Bella learns of the murder of her beloved half brother by political extremists in Mogadiscio, she’s in Rome. The two had different fathers but shared a Somali mother, from whom Bella’s inherited her freewheeling ways. An internationally known fashion photographer, dazzling but aloof, she comes and goes as she pleases, juggling three lovers. But with her teenage niece and nephew effectively orphaned – their mother abandoned them years ago—she feels an unfamiliar surge of protective feeling. Putting her life on hold, she journeys to Nairobi, where the two are in boarding school, uncertain whether she can—or must—come to their rescue. When their mother resurfaces, reasserting her maternal rights and bringing with her a gale of chaos and confusion that mirror the deepening political instability in the region, Bella has to decide how far she will go to obey the call of sisterly responsibility.
A new departure in theme and setting for “the most important African novelist to emerge in the past twenty-five years” (The New York Review of Books) Hiding in Plain Sight, is a profound exploration of the tensions between freedom and obligation, the ways gender and sexual preference define us, and the unexpected paths by which the political disrupts the personal.
The Baffler Party with Tom Frank and John Summers celebrated the release of No Future For You: Salvos from The Baffler from The MIT Press (Co-published with The Baffler) at City Lights Book store.
There’s never been a better time to be outside the consensus—and if you don’t believe it, then peer into these genre-defining essays from The Baffler, the magazine that’s been blunting the cutting edge of American culture and politics for a quarter of a century. Here’s Thomas Frank on the upward-falling cult of expertise in Washington, D.C., where belonging means getting the major events of our era wrong. Here’s Rick Perlstein on direct mail scams, multilevel marketing, and the roots of right-wing lying. Here’s John Summers on the illiberal uses of innovation in liberal Cambridge, Massachusetts. And here’s David Graeber sensing our disappointment in new technology. (We expected teleportation pods, antigravity sleds, and immortality drugs. We got LinkedIn, which, as Ann Friedman writes here, is an Escher staircase masquerading as a career ladder.)
Packed with hilarious, scabrous, up to-the-minute criticism of the American comedy, No Future for You debunks “positive thinking” bromides and business idols. Susan Faludi debunks Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s phony feminist handbook, Lean In. Evgeny Morozov wrestles “open source” and “Web 2.0” and other pseudorevolutionary meme-making down to the ground. Chris Lehmann writes the obituary of the Washington Post, Barbara Ehrenreich goes searching for the ungood God in Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus, Heather Havrilesky reads Fifty Shades of Grey, and Jim Newell investigates the strange and typical case of Adam Wheeler, the student fraud who fooled Harvard and, unlike the real culprits, went to jail.
In A Muse and a Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic, Peter Turchi draws out the similarities between writing and puzzle making and its flip side, puzzle solving. As he teases out how mystery lies at the heart of all storytelling, he uncovers the magic—the creation of credible illusion—that writers share with the likes of Houdini and master magicians. Applying this rich backdrop to the requirements of writing, Turchi reveals as much about the human psyche as he does about the literary imagination and the creative process. This much anticipated follow-up to Turchi’s bestselling Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer helps the reader navigate the fine line between the real and the perceived, between the everyday and the wondrous.
Born in New York in 1939, Bill Berkson is a poet, critic and professor emeritus at the San Francisco Art Institute, whose previous collection Portrait and Dream: New & Selected Poems won the Balcones Prize for Best Poetry Book of 2010. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Brooklyn Rail, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology, The New York Poets II, Bay Area Poetics, The i.e. Reader, The Zoland Poetry Annual 2011, Amerarcana, Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology and Nuova Poesia Americana. He now divides his time between San Francisco and Manhattan.
“Like his good friend Frank O’Hara, Bill Berkson writes about friends and family (wife, son, mother on her 100th birthday) and isn’t afraid to drop a few glam names from life in the cities where he lives, in his case San Francisco and New York. In this he resembles Stéphane Mallarmé, who wrote verses on fans (the kind you wave) and notes on fashion, as well as difficult dreamlike poetry. Berkson includes two celesta-toned Mallarmé translations, one of them ‘Brise Marine': (‘The flesh is sad, alas! And I’ve read all the books’) alongside journalistic patter: ‘Lovers for a time, Lee Wiley and Berigan began appearing/ together on Wiley’s fifteen-minute CBS radio spot,/ Saturday Night Swing Club, in 1936.’ Expect Delays is an all-too-familiar warning to urban Americans. In this case, the delays are as rewarding as the invigorating voyage.—John Ashbery
Ari Larissa Heinrich, in conversation with Scott Esposito, discussed the work of Qui Miaojin, author of Last Words from Montmarter, published by NYRP Classics and translated from the Chinese with an afterward by Ari Larissa Heinrich at City Lights Bookstore.
When the pioneering Taiwanese novelist Qiu Miaojin committed suicide in 1995 at age twenty-six, she left behind her unpublished masterpiece, Last Words from Montmartre. Unfolding through a series of letters written by an unnamed narrator, Last Words tells the story of a passionate relationship between two young women—their sexual awakening, their gradual breakup, and the devastating aftermath of their broken love. In a style that veers between extremes, from self-deprecation to pathos, compulsive repetition to rhapsodic musings, reticence to vulnerability, Qiu’s genre-bending novel is at once a psychological thriller, a sublime romance, and the author’s own suicide note.
The letters (which, Qiu tells us, can be read in any order) leap between Paris, Taipei, and Tokyo. They display wrenching insights into what it means to live between cultures, languages, and genders—until the genderless character Zoë appears, and the narrator’s spiritual and physical identity is transformed. As powerfully raw and transcendent as Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask, Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, and Theresa Cha’s Dictée, to name but a few, Last Words from Montmartre proves Qiu Miaojin to be one of the finest experimentalists and modernist Chinese-language writers of our generation.