RADAR & City Lights Books present a most excellent book party for Lenelle Moïse’s Haiti Glass on September 16, 2014 at City Lights Books (261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco) at 7pm. This book is part of the City Lights Sister Spit imprint! Now you have one more book you should most definitely read before summer officially ends. The time is now! Start reading it.
Here are some reasons why:
Haiti Glass, the debut book from award-winning playwright Lenelle Moïse offers an unflinching look at Haitian-American identity, disaster, desire, and death-defying love. In her debut collection of verse and prose, Moïse moves deftly between memories of growing up as a Haitian immigrant in the suburbs of Boston, to bearing witness to brutality and catastrophe, to intellectual, playful explorations of pop culture enigmas like Michael Jackson and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Whether it is the presence of a skinhead on the subway, a newspaper account of unthinkable atrocity, or the “noose loosened to necklace” of desire, the cut of Haiti Glass lays bare a world of resistance and survival, mourning and lust, need and process, triumph and prayer.
“Lenelle Moïse brings fierce passion.”—New York Times
“Piercing, covering territory both intimate & political . . . vivid & powerful.” —Curve Magazine
“See Moïse push stories from her mouth like it might save your life.”—The Root
Lenelle Moïse is an award-winning poet, playwright, essayist, and internationally touring performance artist who creates jazz-infused, hip-hop bred, politicized texts about identity, memory, and magic. Her poems and essays are featured in several anthologies, including: Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution and We Don’t Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists. Her writing has also been published in the Utne Reader, Make/Shift, Left Turn, and numerous other magazines and journals. A current Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow, her plays Womb-Words, Thirsting, Ache What Make, Expatriate, Matermorphosis, Purple, and Cornered in the Dark have been produced across the country. She lives in Northampton, MA where she was the 2010-2012 Poet Laureate. This is her long-awaited first book, and she is available for interview.
Too much time on your hands? Need more summer reading? How about for the price of free? We love our RADAR Monthly Reading Series because we love the people who come to our monthly reading series! We want to celebrate the books from our City Lights Sister Spit imprint and so we are giving away a copy of Beth Lisick’s Yokohama Threeway during our AUGUST 12 reading. Head to the Radar Facebook page to enter. We will pick someone at random and announce the winner at the August 12th reading!
About the Book:
Peering into life’s cringe-worthy moments, best-selling author Beth Lisick excavates territory that most would rather ignore. Funny, odd, deeply personal, yet somehow universal, these are the kind of memories that haunt us all, the small, awful moments of shame and humiliation that we’d rather forget than relive.
Beth Lisick has made a career of opening her life to her readers in all of its messy, smart hilarity, but this type of story doesn’t usually find its way into a memoir. With her trademark humor and sly intelligence, writing in short flashes the way these episodes tend to pop up in memory, Lisick recounts her most embarrassing moments with gusto. From a trick she played on a neighbor thirty years ago to what she accidentally blurted out at last night’s dinner party, she explores the bad judgments and free-floating regrets that keep her up at night, and the result is a daring, candid and wickedly funny collection of embarrassment embraced, the triumph of humor and perspective over everyday mortification.
Make sure to head to RADAR’s August 12th reading to collect your prize and watch some amazing performances. The event will be held at the San Francisco Public Library in the Latino/Hispanic Rooms A/B from 6-8 pm.
Or maybe you live somewhere not in the bay and weren’t able to attend, either way, you can stay home in your PJ’s (or maybe slack off at work if you’re sort of productive) and watch some radicle people share their art with RADAR and others.
Achy Obejas‘s video may include feelings, be warned.
Martin Sorrondeguy‘s video is so funny you may actually start to feel stomach muscles doing things.
Julian Talamantez Brolaski gives a short list of banned poetry words such as aperture. Warning: you may start to consider your own usage of such words.
Have fun spending the next hour on your couch and remember, stretching is also good.
Photo by Owen Leong
Radar: What will you be reading at Wandering Moon?
Tom: I’ll be reading a selection of pieces from my collection of fictions Look Who’s Morphing. The book was originally published in my home country of Australia and it’s recently been released in North America by Arsenal Pulp Press. In the course of the book, the protagonist, along with some other characters, goes through some surprising transformations, morphing into figures from film, TV, music, comics, porn flicks and more.
Transformation seems an apt theme for a full moon reading, right?
Radar: Have you ever read outdoors as part of a full moon reading before? If yes, when? If no, does the idea utterly thrill you?
Radar: What are 1 or 2 themes that feature prominently in your work?
Tom: One theme is: wild transformation.
(There’s a second theme too, which I’ll get to in a moment.)
Radar: What is your relationship to metaphors?
In my work, I love to draw surprising connections between seemingly remote and disparate concerns (which is the second theme in my work), so I feel like there’s a strong metaphorical impulse that runs through all of my writing.
Radar: If you could describe your writing style in 10 words or less how would you describe it?
Tom: My Australian publisher once said: “Tom is more thorough in the pursuit of implication than any writer I know”. In saying that, he used 14 words to describe my work, but I think he got it right, so we’ll pardon him for being so verbose.
Radar: What’s your favorite place to get dinner or drinks where you live?
Tom: I’ve been travelling for the last year and half so I don’t have a fixed address. However, I very recently arrived in LA so I need to ask your blog readers: What’s your favourite place to get dinner or drinks in LA?
Radar: Describe the room you’re in right now.
Tom: I’m staying at the Tom of Finland Foundation and my bedroom here (which is where I am now) is actually Tom’s bedroom. So I’m surrounded by Tom of Finland artwork, and his clothing and ephemera. In short, I’m in fanboy heaven.
Photo by Owen Leong
Tom Cho’s collection of fictions, Look Who’s Morphing, was published to acclaim in Australia and was shortlisted for various literary awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. Studied in Australia, USA, Switzerland, UK, Canada and elsewhere, Look Who’s Morphing was recently released for North America and Europe by Arsenal Pulp Press. Tom also has 70 publications of fiction pieces in literary journals and anthologies, and has received various arts grants and artist residencies. He is currently writing a novel about the meaning of life. Visit his website at tomcho.com
Virgie: OMG I love taco trucks and Frida and donuts! So, we share a similar interest in the discussion of bodies in our work. Bodies feature prominently in your poetry. Can you talk about why and how.
Baruch: I feel our bodies are such powerful and yet absurd things. We are so rough on our bodies, it angers me that we’ve spent so many centuries shaming, hiding, destroying them – especially the female identified body. Inspired by some of my hero writer/performers like Sonya Rene Taylor and Denise Jolly, I began to explore my own relationship with my body and that sparked Notes From My BackFat. Instead of hating my body I decided to have a conversation with it, turns out all my parts had something to say, those voices have helped me love myself more.
Virgie: Actually Michelle and I were on the bus yesterday after getting a massive sandwich at Molinari’s and I asked her what she’d want to ask you and here’s what she said: how has being part of open mic culture influenced your writing?
Baruch: A lot. So many snobby asshat writers scoff at even the thought of an open mic. Usually those people’s writing will put an audience to sleep. I know that criticism stems from fear in the weakness in their work, but open mic culture keeps you on your toes. Sometimes I go to an open mic just to read something new, raw, and I seek a nurturing open mic audience for that. Sometimes I go to test myself as a performer, so I go to the open mics where the audiences need more for you to wow them, and if I end up bombing or putting them to sleep, I know I gotta go home and work harder. I do have to state though, that I’ve done the work to find a place where I only let the audience or open mic audience influence my work so much, or half way, I guess what I’m trying to say is, being part of open mic culture has greatly influenced how I work on my writing, but I feel I’ve done a pretty good job and not letting it affect my writing.
Virgie: Favorite artisanal dessert?
Baruch: I will wrestle a wolf for some fancy tiramisu. And I will punch a wolf in the face for a well made mango mousse. Just kidding, I would never harm a majestic creature, unless they’re like a big human silver daddy that identifies as a wolf when doing sex fantasy play and he asks me politely to punch him in the face, then I would, then let him watch me eat some mousse.
I’m a sucker for good plain old-fashioned cheesecake with some bitter black coffee.
My mother used to make me a lime ice cream cheesecake dessert every year for my birthday. One day I pissed her off and she swore to never make it again. She has kept her word for the past 13 years, and I miss it extremely. I mean it was an out of this world dessert that she came up with herself, so epic, that when I visited with my cousin who I hadn’t seen in 20 years she said, “does your mom still make that lime dessert she made up? I still remember it, it is the most delicious memory I have of our childhood in Mexico.” She was crushed when I told her my mother no longer made it. Never disappoint a Mexican woman.
Virgie: OMG I totally would have said tiramisu too! Also, agree re: disappointing Mexican women. OK, if an actor were going to play you in your biopic who would it be and why?
Baruch: He’d have to gain like 60 pounds but, Demian Bichir! The why part – I honestly have never seen a Latino actor who looks like me in Hollywood. He is the Mexican actor that comes the closest, he’d have to grow a thicker beard, and eat a lot of donuts, but with a belly and more meat on his bones, he’d look like me, I think.
Virgie: Damien’s pretty hot but you’re hotter. Speaking of.. I’m currently obsessed with not only you but also Game of Thrones. It took a while to get over some of the betrayal and all the brutal and gratuitous torture, but now I can totally eat nachos while I watch it. Thoughts on Game of Thrones?
Baruch: Aw, man, here comes confession time, just for you Virgie Tovar, I have never watched more than 4 minutes of Game of Thrones. I’ve tried, so many times, and could not get past 3 minutes, I know everyone is going to hate me for this, but it does not interest me, I thought it would be good to come clean. It’s hard for me to get excited about a show where people of color are completely missing from the main character line up, I mean this show has more dragons than people of color up in them castles. I’m more excited about Michone from Walking Dead. I’m more excited about Adventure Time. I’m more excited about the comic book Saga, yes they are aliens, with horns and wings, but the main characters are aliens with horns and wings that are drawn to look like people of color, (eh, they look like hipster Latinos, but hey, I’LL TAKE HIPSTER LATINOS!). I also have never been able to sit through an episode of MadMen, Girls, and How I Met Your Mother.
Virgie: That’s real. The dragons critique is tres on point. Thanks, Baruch!
Baruch Porras-Hernandez is a writer, performer, and organizer, based in San Francisco. He has performed his writing all over California, and featured at shows in Washington D.C., NYC, and Canada. His poetry appears in Aim for the Head anthology of Zombie Poetry, –Write Bloody Publishing, Divining Divas – Lethe Press, Flicker and Spark Queer Poetry Anthology –Low Brow Press, Tandem – Bicycle Comics Press, Sparkle and Blink -Quiet Lightning Press, and is forth coming in Multiverse, anthology of Superhero Poetry, also with Write Bloody Publishing. For the past 5 years he’s been the curator and head organizer for The San Francisco Queer Open Mic and regularly puts together literary shows and festivals, most recently the ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente? festival of Latino Poetry and Spoken Word. He has been a resident artist at the spoken word program at the Banff Center in Alberta Canada, and the A.I.R. Program at The Garage, a Space for Performance Art, in San Francisco. He was born in Toluca, Mexico and grew up in Albany, California. baruchporrashernandez.wordpress.org
Alex will be reading at the upcoming July Radar Reading Series at the San Francisco Public Library on Tuesday, July 8, 6-8pm. We interviewed him on life, literature and clichés.
Radar: What would you say are the 1 or 2 most prevalent themes in your writing?
Alex: Why we have lives as opposed to nothing and American life specifically.
Radar: Favorite thing about New York & favorite thing about San Francisco?
Alex: New York: that it will never be your boyfriend.
San Francisco: that it wants to be your boyfriend.
Radar: Artist/author you love right now?
Alex: Ana Mendieta. But I’ve always loved her. Lately, I can’t stop thinking about a show I saw of hers in London late last year. Specifically some postcards she wrote to friends that were presented alongside artworks from different stages of her career. I’ve always loved the work but hearing her voice in those postcards was special. It made me love her more because I recognized who she was. I think she’s underrated. If you’re reading this go look her up now. It’s real work with a lot of heart and blood in it. No bullshit.
Radar: What are you going to read from on the 8th?
Alex: Poems from the new book I’m working on. San Francisco has been real good to me. The first time I came here Kevin Killian threw a party for me and invited all the poets. I had never even met him, or anybody here. This was in 2011 and before I published a book. And then last year my first book had just come out and I came to read and gave one of my favorite readings at 851. So I have a special place in my heart for San Francisco. And California in general.
Radar: What are you reading right now?
Alex: A lot of articles and press clippings on American serial killers from the 1970s and 80s, maybe some 60s. Various things on JFK, Jr. All of these are subjects I’m also writing and thinking about. The last book I finished was Joan Didion’s Where I Was From. Speaking of California…
Radar: Most beloved cliche?
Alex: The expression “if looks could kill.”
Radar: Thing that helps you focus when you absolutely need to get something done?
Alex: An orgasm or a cigarette. But I don’t have a lot of sex or smoke really. I guess I’m pretty focused regardless. One could always be more focused so I bum cigarettes from my friends.
Radar: Last thing that brought you to tears or made you laugh uncontrollably?
Alex: I cried the other night listening to a recording of Janis Joplin performing “Cry Baby” live in Toronto, in 1970. She has this line, in this monologue she gives in the middle of the song, addressed to one of her lovers, and she says “One day you’re going to wake up in Casablanca, or one of those fancy places honey, and you’re going to be freezing to death.” She just got it. She got the real because she was the real. Why would you want to be around anything else? When I’m dead I want to go exactly where Janis Joplin and Ana Mendieta went. I want to hang out with those kinds of people.
Alex Dimitrov is the author of American Boys (2012) and Begging for It (2013). In 2014 he launched Night Call, a multimedia poetry project through which he read poems to strangers in bed and online. Dimitrov is also the founder of Wilde Boys, a queer poetry salon in New York City. His poems have been published in Poetry, The Yale Review, Kenyon Review, Slate, Poetry Daily, Tin House, Boston Review, and the American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize in 2011. He is the Content Editor at the Academy of American Poets and teaches creative writing at Rutgers University.
Hi, my name is Rob Kirby. Through the grace of the Radar Goddesses I’m here to trumpet the publication of my nice big new all-color comics anthology QU33R, from Zan Christensen’s Northwest Press, successfully funded on Kickstarter in late fall 2013.
QU33R had its genesis in a little queer comics zine I did from 2010 to 2012 called THREE, each issue of which was comprised of three stories by three creators or groups of creators. Seeking to expand the scope of the project, sometime in 2011 I approached Northwest Press about publishing a book-with-a-spine collection of contemporary LGBTQ alt-comics, and a deal was struck, baby. Meanwhile, in 2012 Justin Hall had produced No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics to awards and general acclaim. I loved how Justin’s book had shone a light on how queer-themed comics have evolved over the years and felt that QU33R could take the next logical step and make a statement as to the breadth and scope of queer comics in the present day. In particular, it’s interesting to see that many of the stories in QU33R are concerned less with basic issues of coming out and queer community and more about looking at issues of gender fluidity and questioning queer identity itself.
QU33R is comprised of 34 stories ranging from a 21-page coming of age mini-epic by Eric Orner to other stories looking at a wide variety of subject matter: familial and primary relationships, gender bending, hooking up and dating, depression and recovery, celebrity crushes, and so forth. I didn’t ask the contributing artists for specific story content, preferring to work within a looser structure in an effort to create little serendipitous thematic cycles. I feel this really paid off.
The cross-generational contributors range from longtime dyke inspirations like Jennifer Camper, Diane DiMassa, Kris Dresen and Carrie McNinch to hot gay boy talents like Justin Hall, Ed Luce, Jon Macy, and Sasha Steinberg, to non-cis gendered folk like Dylan Edwards, Edie Fake, and Christine Smith; not to mention the presence of several awesome grrrl cartoonists well known to Radar supporters and Sister Spit fans: Nicole Georges, MariNaomi, and Amanda Verwey. And so many more. It’s an exciting line up.
In the end QU33R is a testament to the fine work queer creators are contributing to comics, to the broader queer culture, and perhaps even beyond those realms. I hope that people who enjoy the anthology will continue to explore the work of the artists within and that of other creators -– there are many other artists I would have liked to have included in QU33R but space was already at a premium. I’ve said many times I could have doubled the number of artists and called the book QU66R.
Rob Kirby’s is the first post in our series Sister Spit Super Fans! Buy your copy of QU33R HERE!!!
Today’s very special ART MONDAY is an URGENT MESSAGE that you absolutely MUST rearrange your schedule to see Laurie Lipton while she’s in town! Her new book The Drawings of Laurie Lipton, published by local heroes Last Gasp, provides the most comprehensive survey of Lipton’s work to-date with beautifully reproduced images of her incredible, large-scale graphite drawings.
Released on the tail of Lipton’s recent move back to the states after many years living in Europe, her new drawings represent a new perspective on the American cultural condition by depicting Los Angeles’ beauty, youth and car culture in a manner that is equal parts outsider/insider and rendered with dark satire in her signature BEYOND meticulous style.
She has THREE Bay Area signings this week- Don’t miss out! Click HERE for more information!
Thursday, December 12th
824 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA
6pm – 8pm
Friday, December 13th
Artist discussion & signing
2349 Shattuck Ave
7:30pm – 9:30pm
Saturday, December 14th
Exclusive Varnish print release
Varnish Fine Arts
16 Jessie St #C120
San Francisco, CA.
5 – 7pm
In honor of the SISTER SPIT 2014 FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN, I present another offering from the 1997 Sister Spit Tour Diary! This entry was written from a CYBER CAFE by one of the Valencia directors Samuael Topiary!!!
DAY 4 or 5, from topiary
Hello and hope you are well. We are now on day 4 or is it 5? Driving all night through major heat and find ourselves in Tuscon.
After nice opening shows in Santa Cruz and LA, we really hit our stride in Las Vegas, out-performing ourselves to a rowdy and diverse Vegas crowd of locals, a mix of heckling straight men and appreciative dykes and many others in between. Our most excellent and talented host Dave had hooked us up w/ free rooms at the illustrious Stardust Casino and even got us a grant from the Nevada State Council on the Arts. The free “ass juice” the bar kept doling out definitely heightened the energy. Heckling was raised to a new level. And believe it or not, we even did a second set!
I think it’s safe to report that we all had a blast in Vegas especially after Ali treated some of us to her expert slot machine techniques.
It’s fucking hot as hell here in Tucson and we’re all a bit punchy now after driving all night from Vegas to Tucson. Am writing you from the cyber cafe next to the Hotel Congress.
Hit a traffic jam in the middle of the desert on the road from Vegas to here at about 3 am. We wondered about the alien abduction possibilities, but it turns out there was a murder…. probably by human hands, though. The landscape is surreal here.
I lost $3 to the nickel slots. It’s very hot in the van. We have to drive at night and sleep by day. Wish we had more time in Tucson, it seem so interesting, picturesque.
The tour is really starting to get rolling now. I can feel us as a show gelling, getting the hang of it, getting funnier and easier and less precious with each other. The traveling is harsh, though.
In honor of the SISTER SPIT 2014 FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN we’ve dug deep into the Sister Spit archives for some must-see-gems from the vault. So today, for your #FBF viewing pleasure, I present DAY 33 of the Sister Spit Tour Diary 1997, written by Michelle Tea.
Below is it exactly as it appeared on the ’97 website:
DAY 33, michelle
Greetings from the illegal insides of the Budget Cargo Van!
I’m bouncing & rocking all over the place as the van zooms out of Cleveland and on towards Detroit. This whole part of the country – particularly the east coast (is this still the east coast?) – has been such a crazy whirlwind.
Philadelphia was a great all-ages show at the new gay center, we each got to do one piece written by someone else on the tour, something we’d been talking about doing for a while. It was pretty hysterical, the big highlights were Ali doing Sini, complete with the trademark yellow glasses; Sini doing Eileen’s ‘Merk’ in pure Sini fashion – very loud, with a couple “Fucking”s thrown in. And Eileen doing Tara aka ‘Pantena’ was completely insane, performed in some kind of weird snooty british accent, wearing a feather boa, doing Pantena’s strange yoga-ish moves on the floor. I was a little afraid our gigantic in-joke performance would bore & alienate the audience, but they really liked it.
After Phili was New York, where all the girls were split apart, staying at different houses and it felt more like a weird vacation than the tour. I saw Rod Stewert eating breakfast, he looked really bad but I still got excited seeing him. I went to see the Cindy Sherman show at MoMA, it was sponsored by Madonna, who Eileen believes should sponsor next year’s Roadshow. So if anyone knows how to get in touch with Maddy, please let me know. And did anyone read her goodbye to Versace in Time? What a fucking idiot! I’m so sorry she won’t get to stay in his villa & be pampered anymore, this must be a really hard time for her. But I still would like her to kick down some cash to our traveling all-girl literary revolution.
ANYWAY, NYC was rad, a little show at Rising Cafe in Brooklyn, and a sold-out house at P.S.122, a show Topiary & Eileen put together from the road, a very tricky thing. It was a great night. Next was Boston, another sold-out, people turned away at the door, standing-room-only show – can you deal with all these people coming out for poetry!!! It’s pretty fucking incredible.
Boston was wall-to-wall excellent girls, and there were a bunch of moms & assorted family members in attendance, including my own. It was the first time she ever heard me read, actually it was the first spoken word event, lesbian event, weirdo event, whatever event for my mom, and I think she held up pretty well & even enjoyed herself, though she was also slightly disturbed. It’s good to periodically disturb your mother, don’t you think? Ali’s mom stole the show, joining her daughter on stage to read her lines from Ali’s piece “The Story of Slutty.” She made all kinds of great exasperated mom faces while Ali read about being 15 years old smoking pot in a changing stall with a 27-year-old floosie.
Next was fantastic Provincetown, by far the hardest place for us to leave. Well, it was hard getting out of New York, but that was because Cherie took the wrong train and got lost in Queens for 2 hours. But Provincetown was fabulous! Another packed show, where we were joined by local poet Kathe Izzo, the lady responsible for the terrific event. Kim Silver & Annie Sprinkle opened their homes to us vagabonds, and Annie taught Ali a new boob trick – how to light matches off her nipples. She nearly got arrested on Commercial Street one night lighting up her tits for our entertainment. You’d think the cops in P-Town would have more of a sense of humor. A bunch of girls went whale-watching and had very spiritual experiences watching the humungous mammals flip around and wave their fins. Cherie, who used to live in P-Town, took us across the breakwater to her secret swimming hole, and we swam with the crabs & minnows, and I held a couple starfish and as you could guess that was pretty cool. We got some good illegal tattoos from Cherie’s friend Chris – tattoos are still illegal in Massachusets, and you still can’t buy booze on Sundays either. Coming into town right as we were leaving was Club Casanova – a very swanky & hilarious drag king show from New York City. We got to catch their act the night we left, Mo B. Dick, Dred, Will Doher and Labio, Fabio younger brother. Cherie & Sash hopped onstage and sang a country song as a pair of incestuous brothers recently kicked off the Garth Brooks tour for their forbidden love. Finally we tore ourselves away from Provincetown. It was very hard.
Back in the van for an overnight 15-hour drive to Buffalo, we haven’t had to haul ass like that since Texas! We were like a bunch of 7-11 hot dogs on one of those rotating hotdog warmers, all of us lined up & sleeping in the back of the Budget. In Buffalo we were welcomed into the House of Kate, who not only put most of us up in her huge & excellent house, but also kept us thoroughly entertained. Our show at Hallwalls was great and very, very bittersweet because it was the final show of the original Sister Spit line-up. Marci & Ali have since returned to their lives in San Francisco & New York, and Eileen is off writing in the woods at a writer’s colony in upstate New York. I don’t have to tell you that we miss them a lot. Marci was a really good, solid, sensitive & stable girl to have on the tour. Ali is not exactly stable, but her constant humor & sweetness even in the tensest of situations, is sorely missed. Plus, Sash has lost her drink…
(……oops!!!!…here’s where michelle ran out of batteries … we’ll get the rest of the story soon!)