Gary Kamiya Reads From Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco


Cool, Gray City of Love brings together an exuberant combination of personal insight, deeply researched history, in-depth reporting, and lyrical prose to create an unparalleled portrait of San Francisco. Each of its 49 chapters explores a specific site or intersection in the city, from the mighty Golden Gate Bridge to the raunchy Tenderloin to the soaring sea cliffs at Land’s End.

This unique approach captures the exhilarating experience of walking through San Francisco’s sublime terrain, while at the same time tying that experience to a history as rollicking and unpredictable as the city herself. From her absurd beginnings as the most distant and moth-eaten outpost of the world’s most extensive empire, to her instantaneous fame during the Gold Rush, from her apocalyptic destruction by earthquake and fire to her perennial embrace of rebels, dreamers, hedonists and misfits of all stripes, the City by the Bay has always followed a trajectory as wildly independent as the untrammeled natural forces that created her.

This ambitious, eclectic, and beautifully written book draws on everything from on-the-ground reporting to obscure academic papers to the author’s 40-year life in San Francisco to create a rich and insightful portrait of a magical corner of the world. Complete with hand-drawn maps ofthe 49locations, this handsome package will sit comfortably on the short shelf of enduring books about places, alongside E. B. White’s Here is New York, Jose Saramago’s Journey to Portugal, or Alfred Kazin’s A Walker in the City.

Gary Kamiya was a co-founder of the online magazine Salon.com and its longtime executive editor where he wrote about politics, literature, the Middle East, sports, music, art, race, travel, and film, among other subjects. He has written for The New York Times Book Review, Sports Illustrated, Artforum and many other magazines. His first book, Shadow Knights: The Secret War Against Hitler, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010.

Cynthia Carr in conversation with Amy Scholder on The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz

City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in conjunction with the San Francisco Art Institute and Bloomsbury Books present an evening with Cynthia Carr and Amy Scholder celebrating the release of Cythnia Carr’s new book Fire in the Belly : The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz (Bloomsbury Books), October 3, 2012.

In December 2010, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington made headlines when it responded to protests from the Catholic League by voluntarily censoring an excerpt of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly from its show on American portraiture. Why a work of art could stir such emotions is at the heart of Cynthia Carr’s Fire in the Belly The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz, the first biography of a beleaguered art-world figure who became one of the most important voices of his generation. Wojnarowicz emerged from a Dickensian childhood that included orphanages, abusive and absent parents, and a life of hustling on the street. He first found acclaim in New York’s East Village, a neighborhood noted in the 1970s and ’80s for its abandoned buildings, junkies, and burgeoning art scene. Along with Keith Haring, Nan Goldin, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Wojnarowicz helped redefine art for the times. As uptown art collectors looked downtown for the next big thing, this community of cultural outsiders was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight. The ensuing culture war, the neighborhood’s gentrification, and the AIDS crisis then devastated the East Village scene. Wojnarowicz died of AIDS in 1992 at the age of thirty-seven. Carr’s brilliant biography traces the untold story of a controversial and seminal figure at a pivotal moment in American culture.

Cynthia Carr is a writer and cultural critic living in New York City. She has served as staff writer for The Village Voice and has also written about performance art and culture for ArtForum, LA Weekly, Interview, and Mirabella. She is the author of Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America and On Edge: Performance at the End of the Twentieth Century.

Amy Scholder is the editorial director of the Feminist Press. Over the past twenty-five years, she has worked with David Wojnarowicz, Sapphire, Kathy Acker, Karen Finley, Barbara Hammer, June Jordan, Joni Mitchell, Kate MIllett, Judith Butler, Mary Woronov, Kate Bornstein, Jill Johnston, Justin Vivian Bond, Laurie Weeks, and many more writers and artists. She divides her time between New York City and Los Angeles