I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Saturday, November 28, 2009

keep your head

I had a terrific temporary job that ended recently. It required me to run around a carefully guarded black train car at night under black light. The job also involved zombies. When asked, my two favorite zombies were:

  • The Giggle Man, so called for his demented laugh of glee, which sounded like pan-pipes played by a psychotic faun.
  • A woman in a tattered ballgown who could menace people in English or Spanish. The Jackie O of zombies.

My role in all this mayhem was a modest one. Here are some shots from the closing party, which had an Alice in Wonderland theme (for my department).

I am the White Rabbit. See my ears? I am flanked by the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse. The Dormouse got me reading M.R. James ghost stories. Most of my pix from that night did not come out. Here we are again.

We went to Tritone after the party and when people asked told them we worked for an Alice in Wonderland themed male strip club. That is not even close to true, but funny.

Here's the watch I made for the White Rabbit:

Keep your head!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the man who forgot to rock

I had become the Man who Forgot to Rock, and to remedy this situation, visited my favorite used CD shops and bought Green Day's American Idiot, and what you see above. Those are from "Long in the Tooth" on Sansom Street.

Are Green Day as despised as they were in the nineties? I like them. American Idiot is menacing and caustic, and it rocks, and it's topical without being preachy. Plus I love anything with a savor of narrative, and this seems to be a rock opera or concept album with recurring characters.

(Because I'm thrifty, and not clever or bold enough to steal music I am always late to buy stuff, waiting till I see it at the used CD shop).

Streetcore was also a good investment. I guess there is a bit of dead wood on it, like a bloated live version of A Message to You, Rudy, but All in a Day is a lot of fun and Strummer's cover of Bob Marley's Redemption Song is lovely. The album has an open, rangy, collage-like feel, which must be at least partly because other people had to finish it up after Strummer died.

What can you say about the Pogues?

I generally drift toward heady, moony music like Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens, and Grizzly Bear:

That's Grizzly Bear at the Electric Factory. Lovely vocals, very spooky. I've seen a ton of great concerts this year so I guess I'll be posting my year's best soon.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

World Fantasy Con, dawn redwood porn

Above is the bark of a dawn redwood, a tree which qualifies as a living fossil, like the coelacanth, in that it was considered extinct and only discovered in the last century by a Professor Zhan Wang--more on him later. The dawn redwoods on the campus of San Jose State, and San Jose's terrific collection of contemporary art, were two of the best parts of being in San Jose to attend the Last Drink Bird Head book release party.

For those unfamiliar with World Fantasy Con, one publisher told me it is the Frankfurt Book Fair of the genre world. This was my first--a great time to reconnect with Clarion teachers and fellow students, make friends, carouse, and discover new writers. The first Outer Alliance World Fantasy Con dinner took place in the lobby bar on Friday; I hope this becomes an annual tradition.

Some new (to me) writers I heard read are Jesse Bullington and Saladin Ahmed--their readings were funny and smart--and W. H. Pugmire, who read a sonnet at midnight on Halloween that brought down the house. (The Bullington reading was his first ever, I think, which is exciting). My friend Kater Cheek read a story she wrote at our Clarion.

I have to post these signs on the doors to the vendor room, which I think are an homage to Magritte (?):

Friends have pictured Halloween at World Fantasy Con as a wild revel of costumes and disguises like the Masque of the Red Death, but almost no one dressed up--except for some steampunk fashionistas who crashed the con to serve tea and exotic 19th century snacks and show off their couture. I was more grateful for the tea than I can say.

I knew that the genre world was friendly and welcoming, but was not prepared for such extraordinary hospitality as I received at WFC. The guys who ran the con suite were terrifically kind and the parties were great--I consider myself a partyologist, and so can sense when a party is particularly well-planned.

Because I had such a nice time, this post must be very boring, so how about some more dawn redwood porn:

The ancestors of this dawn redwood were discovered in China in the 40s by Zhan Wang, a naturalist, conservationist, and inspired teacher of dendrology and forestry. Here's a quote from the pdf. I just linked to; it will give you a sense of Zhan's Indiana Jones-like panache:

The Central Forestry Experiment Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry appointed Zhan as the Forest Administrator of the newly founded Forestry Survey Department in 1943; he worked in that position until 1945. In this post, he led the first field expedition team to explore the forest resources of Shennongjia, Hubei (Hupei) Province in southwest China–known to the scientific community as a remote, dangerous and mysterious area (Liu, 1993). The trip was triggered by stories that the Shennongjia landscape may have hosted the ”Wild Man,” a legendary humanoid primate. Zhan’s report clearly rejected this hypothesis, but, meanwhile, concluded that the area is very rich in species and more complex than any other part of China. Today, this region is viewed as a "hot spot" of plant diversity.
There are dawn redwood fossils in North Dakota dating from the Miocene. To have them growing in North America again is quite a comeback. Thanks, Zhan!

(At the time of my writing this, Zhan Wang has no wikipedia! I tried all the alternate spellings. The person who writes and posts an acceptable first draft Zhan article will receive a stuffed penguin in the mail from me.)

These redwoods are the only photos I have from the con that are decent. They are a photogenic species. 

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