Shakespeare and Company Celebration

Editor Krista Halverson and guest speakers celebrate the release of Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart, published by Shakespeare and Company Paris and edited with introduction by Krista Halverson. Foreword by Jeanette Winterson. Epilogue by Sylvia Whitman.

A copiously illustrated account of City Lights’ sister store, the famed Paris bookstore on its 65th anniversary.

This first-ever history of the legendary bohemian bookstore in Paris interweaves essays and poetry from dozens of writers associated with the shop–Allen Ginsberg, Anaïs Nin, Ethan Hawke, Robert Stone and Jeanette Winterson, among others–with hundreds of never-before-seen archival pieces, including photographs of James Baldwin, William Burroughs and Langston Hughes, plus a foreword by the celebrated British novelist Jeanette Winterson and an epilogue by Sylvia Whitman, the daughter of the store’s founder, George Whitman. The book has been edited by Krista Halverson, director of the newly founded Shakespeare and Company publishing house.

George Whitman opened his bookstore in a tumbledown 16th-century building just across the Seine from Notre-Dame in 1951, a decade after the original Shakespeare and Company had closed. Run by Sylvia Beach, it had been the meeting place for the Lost Generation and the first publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses. (This book includes an illustrated adaptation of Beach’s memoir.) Since Whitman picked up the mantle, Shakespeare and Company has served as a home-away-from-home for many celebrated writers, from Jorge Luis Borges to Ray Bradbury, A.M. Homes t

o Dave Eggers, as well as for young authors and poets. Visitors are invited not only to read the books in the library and to share a pot of tea, but sometimes also to live in the bookstore itself–all for free.

More than 30,000 people have stayed at Shakespeare and Company, fulfilling Whitman’s vision of a “socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore.” Through the prism of the shop’s history, the book traces the lives of literary expats in Paris from 1951 to the present, touching on the Beat Generation, civil rights, May ’68 and the feminist movement–all while pondering that perennial literary question, “What is it about writers and Paris?”

Krista Halverson is the director of Shakespeare and Company bookstore’s publishing venture. Previously, she was the managing editor of Zoetrope: All-Story, the art and literary quarterly published by Francis Ford Coppola, which has won several National Magazine Awards for Fiction and numerous design prizes. She was responsible for the magazine’s art direction, working with guest designers including Lou Reed, Kara Walker, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Zaha Hadid, Wim Wenders and Tom Waits, among others.

Jeanette Winterson‘s first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, was published in 1985. In 1992 she was one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. She has won numerous awards and is published around the world. Her memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, was an international bestseller. Her latest novel, The Gap of Time, is a “cover version” of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

Sylvia Whitman is the owner of Shakespeare and Company bookstore, which her father opened in 1951. She took on management of the shop in 2004, when she was 23, and now co-manages the bookstore with her partner, David Delannet. Together they have opened an adjoining cafe, as well as launched a literary festival, a contest for unpublished novellas and a publishing arm.

ZAP Comics Celebration

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.

Rad American Women A to Z Book Party!

City Lights, Radar Productions, Mutha Magazine, and Raising a Reader Bay Area were thrilled to celebrate the publication of their first kid’s book on March 28, 2015 at City Lights Bookstore.

87286100228580LAuthor 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!

George Herms

George Herms celebrates the release of his new book, The River Book, at City Lights Bookstore with a guest appearance by Diane di Prima.

The River Book is thgeorge-herms-the-river-book-2(1)e first-ever comprehensive publication on acclaimed and pivotal California assemblage artist George Herms (born 1935). The handsome, two-volume slipcased book covers his earliest works from the 1960s, through his influential assemblages from the 1970s to today, as well as his work on such films as Easy Rider, his set designs for poet and playwright Michael McClure and dancer/choreographer Fred Herko, and his fascinating collaborations with, among others, Diane di Prima and Wallace Berman, for his LOVE Press series of hand-printed books. Interspersed throughout are comments by Herms on various works and on his creative ethos. Also included is a trove of never-before-seen archival photographs of Herms’ friends, such as Wallace and Tosh Berman, Fred Herko, Diane di Prima, Kirby Doyle and Ray Johnson, as well as of Herms himself. A bonus DVD showcases the entirety of Herms’ opera The Artist’s Life. Renowned art critic Dave Hickey provides an insightful look at the artist and his milieu, and the artist himself offers witty and informative text throughout. This is truly an essential book for anyone interested in California art, the Beats, avant-garde theater and film, and fine-art printing.

Wave Books Party

Hosted by Wave Books Editor at Large Matthew Zapruder, with authors Garrett Caples, Anthony McCann, Hoa Nguyen, Cedar Sigo, & Rachel Zucker reading from their recent books published by Seattle-based poetry publishing house Wave Books.slideshow_3

Wave Books is an independent poetry press based in Seattle, Washington, dedicated to publishing exceptional contemporary poetry, poetry in translation, and writing by poets. The press was founded in 2005, merging with established publisher Verse Press. By publishing strong, innovative work in finely crafted trade editions and hand-made ephemera, we hope to continue to challenge the values and practices of readers and add to the collective sense of what’s possible in contemporary poetry.

Gabrielle Selz and Peter Selz

Gabrielle Selz discusses the release of her new memoir,

Unstill Life: A Daughter’s Memoir of Art and Love in the Age Of Abstraction

from W W Norton. She is joined by her father Peter Selz.

Poignant and candid, UnsUNstillLifex6till Life is a daughter’s memoir of the art world and a larger-than-life father known to the world as Mr. Modern Art. Selz offers a unique window into the glamor and destruction of the times: the gallery openings, wild parties and affairs that defined one of the most celebrated periods in American art history. Like the art he loved, Selz’s father was vibrant and freewheeling, but his enthusiasm for both women and art took its toll on family life. When her father left MoMA and his family to direct his own museum in California, marrying four more times, Selz’s mother, the writer Thalia Selz, moved with her children into the utopian artist community Westbeth. Her parents continued a tumultuous affair that would last forty years.

Weaving her family narrative into the larger story of twentieth-century art and culture, Selz paints an unforgettable portrait of a charismatic man, the generation of modern artists he championed and the daughter whose life he shaped.

What has been said about Unstill Life:

“A beautiful, compelling memoir, a testament to art, to love, to life and all its losses and joys.” — Frederic Tuten, author of Self Portraits

“Life inspires art inspires life—all of which inspire Gabrielle Selz’s sparkling memoir of her brilliant but chaotic family. In Unstill Life, the art and people ricochet off each other, wreaking havoc but also encouraging everyone to live more intense, artistic lives.” — Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat