Archive for the ‘Upcoming Events’ Category


Talk at TEDx Los Gatos. Joan Brown show in San Jose.

On Wednesday, October 26, I’m giving a short talk for TEDx Los Gatos. At this point all the seats for the event are taken, but eventually videos will be available and I’ll post a link to them here. The idea behind TEDx events is that they are set up to resemble the official TED talks, but any local group in the world can mount a TEDx, assuming they stick to certain guidelines.

Here’s a preview PDF file of my slides and text for my talk, “Transreal In Los Gatos.” It’s a large file, so when you click the link, it’ll take up to a minute before you see the images onscreen. Note also that I’m still revising the text, and in the end it’ll come out different during live performance.

Sylvia and I were in downtown San Jose this weekend, nice to get a taste of city without driving all the way to SF.

Downtown San Jose does tend to be a little deserted.

But they have a great patisserie called Bijan near the art museum.

The San Jose Art Museum is an interesting building, expanded out from an old stone Post Office.

And they’re having a show of paintings by Joan Brown (1938-1990). She hasn’t had a big show around here since 1998, when there was a somewhat larger two-site show in Oakland and Berkeley. About the best book on Joan Brown was based on that show.

The SJ show is definitely worth a visit. I like the transreal, narrative quality of Brown’s later paintings, and how they go right down into the subconscious.

Reading “The 57th Franz Kafka” Friday Night

Tonight, Friday, I’ll be reading my weird old SF story, “The 57th Franz Kafka,” under the auspices of the SF in SF group, who have arranged a Kafkaesque reading for the annual San Francisco Litquake festival. Doors (and drinks) at 6 pm, Readings start at 7 pm. Terry Bisson and Carter Scholz will be reading as well as me.

And here’s an R. Crumb-illustrated plug for our reading in the Huffington Post.

My story will be reprinted soon in Kafkaesque: Stories inspired by Franz Kafka, edited by John Kessel & James Patrick Kelly. Here’s part of the story note that I wrote for this new anthology.

I wrote “The 57th Franz Kafka near the start of my literary career, in the spring of 1980. My wife and I were in Heidelberg for two years—I had a grant to do research on infinity at the Mathematics Institute of the university. During this period I read and reread the Penguin Modern Classics edition of The Diaries of Franz Kafka several times, drinking in Kafka’s vibes and chuckling over the crazy letters he’d write to his relatives and to the family of his lady friend.

One aspect of Kafka’s writing that’s perhaps not as well-known as it could be is that Kafka himself considered his stories to be funny. His friend Max Brod reports that Kafka once fell out of his chair from laughing so hard while reading aloud from one of his works, perhaps from Die Verwandlung, that is, The Metamorphosis. Our puritanical and self-aggrandizing American culture tends to make out Kafka’s work to be solemn and portentous. But it’s funny in somewhat the same way as Donald Duck comics…

And here, just as a teaser, are the first two paragraphs of my dark tale:

Pain again, deep in the left side of my face. At some point in the night I gave up pretending to sleep and sat by the window, staring down at the blind land-street and the deaf river.

The impossibility of connected thought. Several times I thought I heard the new body moving in the long basin.

Here’s a photo taken at the event—me, Terry Bisson, and Carter Scholz. There’s also some video of the event on YouTube, there’s a link to the video segment with me reading “The 57th Franz Kafka.” Thanks to Litquake, Evan Karp, and Stellar Cassidy for making and posting the video.

My Emperor Norton Award (Tachyon Party at Borderlands)

I was at Borderlands Books in SF for the annual Tachyon Publications party on Sunday from 2-4.

Among the assembled SFictional luminaries were my fellow-writer (and Kentuckian) Terry Bisson, Charlie Jane Anders , a writer and impresario known for editing the SF site io9 & running the Writers With Drinks salon, and Jeremy Lassen—my editor and publisher at Night Shade Books—dressed in a full-on zoot suit from Mission Street.

One of the events at the party is the awarding of two Emperor Norton Awards. As Locus magazine explains:

The Emperor Norton Awards are a San Francisco Bay area specific award given each year for “extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason”. The award is named after and commemorates the memory of Joshua Norton I, Emperor of the United States of America and Protector of Mexico, and are presented annually by Tachyon Publications and Borderlands Bookstore in San Francisco.

I was a proud recipient of one of the Norton Awards! It’s nice to get an award now and then, very heart-warming. Along with me, the photo shows Jacob Weisman of Tachyon Books, Jude Feldman of Borderlands Books, and SF eminence grise Richard Lupoff.

The other Emperor Norton award went to Steve Boyett.

Here’s a close-up of my finely printed certificate. Emperor Norton was known for printing his own money—which became an accepted local currency in 1870s San Francisco! Kind of like being a writer, really. We deal with funny paper.

It was a great day and a fun party. Many thanks to Tachyon and Borderlands.

A main reason for my award is that many of books are set in the SF Bay Area, most recently Jim and the Flims, my fantastic novel of Santa Cruz and the afterworld, published by Night Shade this June. See my JIM AND THE FLIMS page for more info.

Unrelated photo: Rooting through some old scrapbook-style journals, I came across this picture of me with my SF mentor Robert Sheckley in Venice Beach, CA, around 1987. Bob would be proud of me today.

By the way, if you stop by Borderlands, they have a number of large, very high quality, signed color prints of my paintings that I made on heavy archival paper. We’re looking to sell a few of these off, so the price is all the way down at $18 a print. Stop by and get one if you’re walking by. Another kind of “Emperor Norton money.”

JIM AND THE FLIMS Reading, now with Podcast

[Added on Monday, July 11, 2011] Here’s a podcast of my reading on July 10: the first chapter of Jim and the Flims with some Q & A. By the way, the station also has a podcast (made by Rick Kleffel) of reading I did back in January from my forthcoming autobiography Nested Scrolls on “The Birth of Transrealism”. You can click on the icon below to access .


My publisher and editor Jeremy Lassen was there yesterday with Liz Upson and Tomra Palmer of Night Shade Books, which was nice.

And here’s the assembled audience.

And I was glad to have fellow writer John Shirley and my artist pal Paul Mavrides there, too.

[Now back to the old post…]

Jim and the Flims, my fantastic novel of Santa Cruz and the afterworld has appeared from Night Shade Books. See my JIM AND THE FLIMS page for more info.

On Sunday, July 10, at 3:00 pm, I’ll be giving a reading from Jim and the Flims at the fabulous and cozy Borderlands Books (and cafe) on Valencia Street in San Francisco. We’ll have a Q & A session after the reading, and we’ll be giving away a large, high-quality art print of one of my paintings.

Get in your flying saucer and come on over.


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