Chuck Palahniuk was in San Francisco again. This time he was signing comics at Comix Experience. This was probably my seventh time seeing him. He’s one of my favorite writers (but also one of my favorite readers. However, since this wasn’t a book tour, he didn’t read.) Thanks to our friend Dom alerting us to the event, Gib and I were one of the first 40 people to get our comics signed. My friend Jenifer brought Frankie the dog along as well.
This week was the first ever Beatnik Shindig, hosted by The Beat Museum in San Francisco. I’m a huge Beat fan and have been since I was 19 years old. I’m so very fortunate to have worked with and become friends with Director and Founder of the Beat Museum, Jerry Cimino and his wife Estelle (whom he met in a bookshop after graduating college!).
For me, The Beat Museum is much more than a museum: it’s a gathering place, one that draws people in and invites them to be comfortable and share their stories. It is an all important archive of all things Beat. Someone called Jerry up and said, hey I have an old piano that used to be Allen Ginsberg’s. If you drive up here and pick it up, you can have it! People want to contribute to the Museum and help preserve this literary history. The Beat generation were a bunch of miscreants (I say this with love as I would identify myself and many of my friends as thus) who moved around a lot and couldn’t seem to settle down. As a result, things they owned, touched, used, are all over the country. People don’t know what to do with these items, but they realize this Beat history is a large part of our American literary canon, and they want to contribute. Continue reading
Chuck Palahniuk spoke through the Commonwealth Club’s Inforum group at San Francisco’s Castro Theater. If you are familiar with Chuck’s writing, you’ll understand that he doesn’t do anything like others do. His voice and stories are unique because he is. Chuck’s books aren’t meant to be provocative. He isn’t writing to shock people. He is writing stories for people who like them, who get him, who also see the world differently. Chuck tells the stories he knows and understands. He tells the stories that were whispered to him by nervous people that want to confess, want to share their secrets. When people are shocked, it is because they are entering an unfamiliar territory, one in which they are uncomfortable with things they don’t understand or do not like.
The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh examines society’s obsession with celebrity, fitness, art, and the way those things are used to inflict abuse. The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins is about the relationship of a fitness instructor who is filmed by an overweight suicidal artist saving two men from gunpoint. The two women become linked as Lena, the artist, attempts to get into shape with the fitness instructor, Lucy’s guidance. Lucy’s detestable actions seem to stem from her hatred of women. She uses them merely as figures to compare body types and for sex. Continue reading