The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to reflect on what went before: here are some highlights from a year in podcasts featuring some of the revolutionary, hilarious, devastating writers that have visited us at City Lights!
Why not stop by for one of our 2014 readings?
PoeRoom1Pussy Riot were unexpectedly freed in December 2013; City Lights had an evening of words, sounds and resistance in their honor, featuring many legendary San Francisco punk and incendiary literary icons! Listen to Frightwig (Deanna Mitchell, Mia Simmans, Cecelia Kuhn, Eric Drew Feldman), Daphne Gottlieb, Penelope Houston (of The Avengers), Sophia Kumin, Meri St. Mary (of The House Coat Project), Michelle Tea, and V. Vale (of Search and Destroy & Re/Search Publications), right here!
Sometimes we have offsite readings, as was the case when we presented Success & Failure at The Odd Fellows Hall with Stewart Home, Jarrett Kobek and John Tottenham. Listen here
The world-renowned Kenyan novelist, poet, playwright, literary critic, and theorist of post-colonial literature, Ngugi wa’Thiong’o came to City Lights Bookstore to celebrate the release of In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir, 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.
A conversation between 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
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.
To celebrate the release of Cha-Ching! and The Beautifully Worthless part of the City Lights/Sister Spit series, Ali Liebegott had a pizza and reading party at City Lights! Listen in right here!
In Ali Liebegott’s award-winning road story, The Beautifully Worthless, a runaway waitress leaves her lover, grabs her dog and hits the highway. Liebegott maps her travels in a series of hilarious and heartbreaking letters to the girl she left behind, and some of the most exquisite poetry written about love, heartache and madness.
The winner of the 2005 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Lesbian Fiction, The Beautifully Worthless is back in print and now available from City Lights/Sister Spit!
Richard Hell stopped by the store and read from his new autobiography, listen here.
I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp
Richard Hell is a poet, musician, fiction writer, actor, and cultural mover and shaker of the first wave of punk music. He was in several important bands of the late seventies that included the Neon Boys, Television, The Heartbreakers, and the iconic punk group Richard Hell & The Voidoids. He is the author of Godlike, published by Akashic Books. Richard Hell has appeared in numerous films. He has exterted a significant inlfuence upon punk and avante garde fashion of the 70′s and 80′s. I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp follows the exploits of the this cultural trailblazer.
Chris Kraus came to City Lights Bookstore to celebrate the release of Summer of Hate (Semiotext(e) Books), listen in here
Kraus’ 1997 debut novel I LOVE DICK was hailed by Rick Moody as “one of the most important literary events of the past two decades,” and has become a cult classic. New York Times critic Holland Cotter has called her “one of our smartest and most original writers on art and culture.” In SUMMER OF HATE, Kraus turns her attention to the glaring disparities in expectations and consciousness that have come to define American life.
Baudrillard meets Breaking Bad in Catt’s stark and bleakly hilarious descent into an underclass world of born-again Christianity, self-help, and crack.
On January 31, 2013 Ayana Mathis came to the store to read from her new novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Knopf). Listen here
Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is her first novel.