Archive of ‘Nonfiction’ category
David Calonne came into City Lights Bookstore to discuss his new book Charles Bukowski (Critical Lives Series) (Reaktion Books) on December 4, 2012.
Charles Bukowski (Critical Lives Series)
Poet, short-story writer, and novelist Charles Bukowski (1920–94) was once called by Time a “laureate of American lowlife.” In this new interpretation of his life and work, David Stephen Calonne examines the creation and originality of Bukowski’s writings through the lens of his colorful life, the literary traditions that influenced him, and his unique place in world literature.
Calonne describes how Bukowski, who was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States at the age of three, was influenced by German literary and intellectual traditions. He shows how the writer’s traumatic childhood—his abusive father, social withdrawal, and early introduction to alcohol—influenced the themes and content of his work. Calonne also explores several unknown pieces of fiction and poetry from the early years of Bukowski’s career, as well as his major works—including Post Office and the poetry volumes published by Black Sparrow Press—and biographical films such as Barfly. Comprehensive but concise, Charles Bukowski will find a wide audience in fans of this prolific, influential figure and provide a valuable introduction to his new admirers.
David Stephen Calonne is the author of William Saroyan: My Real Work Is Being and Bebop Buddhist Ecstasy: Saroyan’s Influence on Kerouac and the Beats, and he has edited several Bukowski titles, including Absence of the Hero: Uncollected Stories and Essays, Vol. 2: 1946-1992, More Notes of a Dirty Old Man, and Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook Uncollected Stories and Essays, 1944-1990.
Walking the Circle: Prison Chronicles
from Grizzly Peak Press
Tony Serra is the epitome of counter-cultural hero. He has spent his life defending society’s marginalized citizens in the courtroom. His role in the Chol Soo Lee case was depicted in the film True Believer and he has gained national prominence for his closing argument techniques. Mr. Serra has consulted with hundreds of professional organizations on various legal issues in multiple forums in 14 different states. He is a life-long tax resister who has spent time in federal prison in protest of what he perceives to be an unjust political and legal system. His recent stay in Lompoc Federal Prison Camp yielded the release of this new book that sheds light on the conditions prevalent in the prison system. Not one to be content with fighting for a more civil and just society only in the court-room, Tony Serra has taken the fight to the front-lines. His examination and criticism of the prison system complex adds to the ongoing dialog for prison reform.
J. Tony Serra has been a practsing criminal defense attorney for over 45 years. He has represented: Heuy Newton and the Black Panthers, The White Panthers, The Hell’s Angels, Chol Soo Lee, Hooty Croy, Brownie Mary, Bear Lincoln, and many others. He is the reciepient of numerous award that include: ACLU Benjamin Dreyfus Civil Liberties Award, Gideon Equal Justice Award from the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Lawyer of the Year from the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, as well as numerous others.
What has been said about Walking the Circle: Prison Chronicles:
“A life filled with passion, trouble, and general shit-kicking may be the best life to have, but probably only if you are Tony Serra, wily defense lawyer, generous supporter of perilous causes, devoted custodian of just about everyone except himself. Recently, he continued his mission of disruptive merry-making while ioncarcerated fora little matter of federal taxes he decided not to offer a federal government he considers hostile to the poor, immigrants, Native Americans, and folks who enjoy a bit of inner transportaion by means of forbidden substances. In the matter of Tony Serra vs. the System, the conflict has gone on for more than forty years.” -Herb Gold
“Tony Serra’s Walking the Circle: Prison Chronicles, is a wonder, as is the author. Not since Clarence Darrow has a trial lawyer attracted such envious attention in court, Nt since Byron has there been a more poetic, passionate defender of liberty. Tony’s book almost akes you want to spend time in jail.” -John Keker, Esq.
Tamim Ansary discusses his new book Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan
Tamim Ansary came into City Lights Bookstore to discuss his book Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan (Public Affairs Books), December 12, 2012.
Today, most Westerners still see the war in Afghanistan as a contest between democracy and Islamist fanaticism. That war is real; but it sits atop an older struggle, between Kabul and the countryside, between order and chaos, between a modernist impulse to join the world and the pull of an older Afghanistan: a tribal universe of village republics permeated by Islam.
Now, Tamim Ansary draws on his Afghan background, Muslim roots, and Western and Afghan sources to explain history from the inside out, and to illuminate the long, internal struggle that the outside world has never fully understood. It is the story of a nation struggling to take form, a nation undermined by its own demons while, every 40 to 60 years, a great power crashes in and disrupts whatever progress has been made. Told in conversational, storytelling style, and focusing on key events and personalities, Games without Rules provides revelatory insight into a country at the center of political debate.
Tamim Ansary is the author of Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes and West of Kabul, East of New York, among other books. For ten years he wrote a monthly column for Encarta.com, and has published essays and commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Alternet, TomPaine.com, Edutopia, Parade, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. Born in Afghanistan in 1948, he moved to the U.S. in 1964. He lives in San Francisco, where he is director of the San Francisco Writers Workshop.
A groundbreaking work of investigative journalism, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terror shows how the FBI has, under the guise of engaging in counterterrorism since 9/11, built a network of more than fifteen thousand informants whose primary purpose is to infiltrate Muslim communities to create and facilitate phony terrorist plots so that the bureau can then claim victory in the War on Terror.
An outgrowth of Trevor Aaronson’s work as an investigative reporting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley—which culminated in an award-winning cover story in Mother Jones magazine—The Terror Factory reveals shocking information about the criminals, con men, and liars the FBI uses as paid informants, as well as documenting the extreme methods the FBI uses to ensnare Muslims in terrorist plots—which are in reality conceived and financed by the FBI.
The book offers unprecedented detail into how the FBI has transformed from a reactive law enforcement agency to a proactive counterterrorism organization—including the story of an accused murderer who became one of the FBI’s most prolific terrorism informants—and how so-called terrorism consultants and experts have made fortunes by exaggerating the threat of Islamic terrorism in the United States.
Trevor Aaronson is associate director and co-founder of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit journalism organization that produces reporting about Florida and Latin America. He was a 2010–11 investigative reporting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where his reporting about the FBI’s informants in US Muslim communities resulted in a Mother Jones cover story that won the John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim 2012 Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award, the Molly National Journalism Prize and the International Data Journalism Award.
Monika Bauerlein is co-editor of Mother Jones, where, together with Clara Jeffery, she spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by two National Magazine Awards for general excellence, the addition of a seven-person Washington Bureau, and an overhaul of the organization’s digital strategy that tripled MotherJones.com’s traffic. Previously she was Mother Jones’ investigative editor, focusing on long-form projects marrying in-depth reportage, document sleuthing, and narrative appeal. She has also worked as an alternative-weekly editor (at Minneapolis/St. Paul’s City Pages), a correspondent for US and European publications in Washington, D.C. and at the United Nations, an AP stringer, corporate trainer, translator, sausage slinger and fishing-line packager.
Ngugi wa’Thiong’o came to City Lights Bookstore on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, to celebrate the release of In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir (Pantheon).
From the world-renowned Kenyan novelist, poet, playwright, literary critic, and theorist of post-colonial literature, comes the second volume of his memoirs, spanning 1955-1959, the author’s high school years during the tumultuous Mau Mau Uprising. In the House of the Interpreter evokes a haunting childhood at the end of British colonial rule in Africa, and the formative experiences of a political dissident.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. He is the acclaimed author of numerous books including Wizard of the Crow, Petals of Blood, Devil on the Cross, and Decolonizing the Mind. He is recipient of many honors including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and seven honorary doctorates.
Robert Graysmith came into City Lights Bookstore on November 15th, 2012, to discuss his new true crime novel, Black Fire: The True Story of the Original Tom Sawyer–and of the Mysterious Fires That Baptized Gold Rush-Era San Francisco (Crown Books).
The first biography of the little-known real-life Tom Sawyer (a friend of Mark Twain during his brief tenure as a California newspaper reporter), told through a harrowing account of Sawyer’s involvement in the hunt for a serial arsonist who terrorized mid-nineteenth century San Francisco.
When 28-year-old San Francisco Daily Morning Call reporter Mark Twain met Tom Sawyer at a local bathhouse in 1863, he was seeking a subject for his first novel. As Twain steamed, played cards, and drank beer with Sawyer (a volunteer firefighter, customs inspector, and local hero responsible for having saved ninety lives at sea), he had second thoughts about Shirley Tempest, his proposed book about a local girl firefighter, and began to envision a novel of wider scope. Twain learned that a dozen years earlier the then eighteen-year-old New York-born Sawyer had been a “Torch Boy,” one of the youths who raced ahead of the volunteer firemen’s hand-drawn engines at night carrying torches to light the way, always aware that a single spark could reduce the all-wood city of San Francisco to ashes in an instant. At that time a mysterious serial arsonist known by some as “The Lightkeeper” was in the process of burning San Francisco to the ground six times in eighteen months – the most disastrous and costly series of fires ever experienced by any American metropolis.
Black Fire is the most thorough and accurate account of Sawyer’s relationship with Mark Twain and of the six devastating incendiary fires that baptized one of the modern world’s favorite cities. Set amid a scorched landscape of burning roads, melting iron warehouses, exploding buildings, and deadly gangs who extorted and ruled by fear, it includes the never-before-told stories of Sawyer’s heroism during the sinking of the steamship Independence and the crucial role Sawyer and the Torch Boys played in solving the mystery of the Lightkeeper.
Drawing on archival sources such as actual San Francisco newspaper interviews with Sawyer and the handwritten police depositions of the arrest of the Lightkeeper, bestselling author Robert Graysmith vividly portrays the gritty, corrupt, and violent world of Gold Rush-era San Francisco, overrun with gunfighters, hooligans, hordes of gold prospectors, crooked politicians, and vigilantes. By chronicling how Sawyer took it upon himself to investigate, expose, and stop the arsonist, Black Fire details – for the first time – Sawyer’s remarkable life and illustrates why Twain would later feel compelled to name his iconic character after his San Francisco buddy when he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Robert Graysmith is the New York Times bestselling author of Zodiac and eight other books. The major motion pictures Zodiac and Auto Focus are based on his books. A San Francisco Chronicle political cartoonist and artist for fifteen years, he lives in San Francisco.
This event is co-sponsored by Litquake
Litquake, San Francisco’s annual literary festival, was founded by Bay Area writers in order to put on a week-long literary spectacle for book lovers, complete with cutting-edge panels, unique cross-media events, and hundreds of readings. Since its founding in 1999, the festival has presented more than 3,650 author appearances for an audience of over 83,500 in its lively and inclusive celebration of San Francisco’s thriving contemporary literary scene. Litquake seeks to foster interest in literature, perpetuate a sense of literary community, and provide a vibrant forum for Bay Area writing as a complement to the city’s music, film, and cultural festivals.
visit: http://litquake.org/ (more…)
Writers, organizers, and activists Stewart Acuff and Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz met at City Lights Bookstore, July 8, 2012, to celebrate the 18th annual LaborFest! Local poet, activist, and organizer Alice Rogoff hosted the event.
LaborFest was established in 1994 to institutionalize the history and culture of working people in an annual labor cultural, film and arts festival. It begins every July 5th, which is the anniversary of the 1934 “Bloody Thursday” event. On that day, two workers Howard Sperry and Nick Bordoise were shot and killed in San Francisco. They were supporting the longshoremen and maritime workers strike. This incident brought about the San Francisco General Strike which shut down the entire city and led to hundreds of thousands of workers joining the trade union movement.
The Organizing committee of LaborFest is composed of unionists and unorganized workers, cultural workers and supporters of labor education and history. We encourage all unions not only to support us with endorsements and contributions but also to include activities about their own union members, their history and the work that they do.
LaborFest San Francisco supports the establishment of LaborFests around the country and internationally. There are now LaborFests in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, every December. Laborfests have also taken place in Buenos Aires, Argentina and El Alto, Bolivia. In April of this year, the first LaborFest in Capetown, South Africa took place. In May, there were LaborFests in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey. The need to build local, national and international solidarity is critical, if labor is going to face the challenges it faces on all fronts. LaborFests help bring our struggles together in art, film and music.
Stewart Acuff is the Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) and has been a labor organizer for more than 30 years. He writes and speaks extensively and has written articles for the Atlanta Constitution, Labor Research Review, In These Times, The Nation, Foreign Policy and Focus Magazine, Labor Studies Journal, New Labor Forum and several Georgia newspapers. He also has written essays in Which Way for Organized Labor? (edited by Bruce Nissen) and Organizing for Justice in Our Communities (edited by Immanuel Ness and Stuart Eimer). He is the co-author with Dr. Richard Levins of Getting America Back To Work.
Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz is an educator, feminist activist, writer, and life-long activist. She has produced many scholarly books and articles, and has published three memoirs, Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie (1997); Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960–1975 (2002); and Blood on the Border (2005), which is about what she saw during the Nicaraguan Contra war against the Sandinistas in the 1980s. Outlaw Woman won recognition from the Organization of American Historians as a 2003 finalist for the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award in the field of American civil rights struggles. Her writing has also appeared in Monthly Review, The Nation, and on the CounterPunch website.
Alice Rogoff is a local poet, activist, and organizer. She has served on the Labor-Fest organizing committee since its inception as one of its key organizers. She has been published in the literary magazines Pudding Magazine, Borderlands (Texas Poetry Review), BEAT, Poetrymagazine.com, and the North Coast Literary Review, and in the anthologies It’s All Good by Manic D Press and The View from Here by Street Sheet. Her poetry book MURAL won the 2004 Blue Light Press 2004 Book Award Contest. She is a member of the Authors Guild, Northern California Media Workers Guild (CWA), Academy of American Poets, IWW, Workmen’s Circle and Amnesty International. She co-edited two anthologies for Noe Valley Poets and This Far Together for the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, as well as being an editor of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal since 1984.
San Francisco Chinatown is the first book of its kind–an “insider’s guide” to one of America’s most celebrated ethnic enclaves by an author born and raised there. Written by architect and Chinese American studies pioneer Philip Choy, the book details the triumphs and tragedies of the Chinese American experience in the United States. Both a history of America’s oldest Chinese community and a guide to its significant sites and architecture, San Francisco Chinatown traces the development of the neighborhood from the city’s earliest days to its post-quake transformation into an “oriental” tourist attraction as a pragmatic means of survival. Featuring a building-by-building breakdown of the most significant sites in Chinatown, the guide is lavishly illustrated with historical and contemporary photographs and offers walking tours for tourists and locals alike.
Retired architect and renowned historian of Chinese America, Philip P. Choy co-taught the nation’s first college level course in Chinese American history at San Francisco State University. Since then he has created and consulted on numerous TV documentaries, exhibits, and publications. He has served on the California State Historic Resource Commission, on the San Francisco Landmark Advisory Board, and as President of the Chinese Historical Society of America. He is the recipient of the prestigious San Francisco State University President’s Medal.
Phil Cousineau discusses his hew book, The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins (Cleis Press’ Viva Editions) at City Lights, September 13, 2012.
Cousineau, linguistic detective and dictionary delver, is back with a priceless treasury of word stories and literary obscura that will enchant any lover of language. The words themselves range from the commonplace, such as biscuit, a twice-baked cake for Roman soldiers, to loanwords like chaparral, courtesy of Basque shepards who came to the American West; from word-reversals such as silly, which evolved from “holy” to “goofy” in a mere thousand years, and to words well worthy of revival, such as carrytale, a wandering storyteller. Cousineau’s journey through the history and mystery of words will enlighten as it delights.
Phil Cousineau is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, independent scholar and travel leader, storyteller and TV host. He is the author of numerous books including Wordcatcher
An Odyssey into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words. He lives in San Francisco.
David Talbot reads from Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love
As Talbot writes, “San Francisco values did not come into the world with flowers in their hair—they were born howling, in blood and strife.” This is the wild story of the people and events that shaped the city that continues to shape the nation.
What has been said about Season of the Witch:
“A fresh, fun, vigorous look at a strange American city David Talbot knows well and loves with irony.”
– Oliver Stone
“As a phenomenally intuitive journalist, editor, and culture critic, David Talbot has not only channeled the Zeitgeist but helped make it.”
– Camille Paglia, best-selling author, and culture critic
“David Talbot is a great story-teller. He writes like an angel and has a reporter’s passion for the truth. Describing people I knew, I can say that Talbot has perfect pitch, but he has also introduced me to others, as thrilling as sin. He got it all just right and gets closer to describing the lusty, languorous, glamorous, and sometimes lethal Saint named Francisco than anyone I know. The book overflows with gifts. I’m in awe of it.”
– Peter Coyote, author of Sleeping Where I Fall
David Talbot, author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, has been hailed as a “pioneer of online journalism” by The New York Times, is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon. He has worked as a senior editor for Mother Jones magazine and as a features editor for the San Francisco Examiner. Talbot has written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time and other publications. He lives with his family in San Francisco.