Hunks 'n' Spunk 

In this month's East Bay book news, feminists ponder pee while Cal professors rage and starve.

Brutality mentality: After dinner and some games of Pong, 21-year-old Lynn Swann — now the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor but then, in 1974, the Pittsburgh Steelers' top draft pick — was pulled over and arrested with his brothers and cousin by San Francisco cops frenzied by that era's unsolved black-on-white Zebra Killings. Swann's brother Brian, who had run a red light, claims the officers called the quartet "black monkeys" and "aborigines," beat them, and batoned them. The cops claimed to have been assaulted by the quartet. Three trials later, both cops and quartet were ordered to pay each other restitution. Now a dentist, Brian Swann was interviewed by Mark Rosenkranz for the Pleasanton author's book, White Male Privilege (Cork Hill, 22.95).

Le Pew: A guy drinks skunk-squirt to get high: Holding the striped rodent over his head, "I ... squeezed a full shot straight down my throat." Later he learns to dilute it in water for "the anesthetizing effects of an opiate and ... the sense of heightened awareness of a hallucinogen," in a tale by Justin Courter (who works for the Wildlife Conservation Society) that appears in Paraspheres ($19.95), a new fabulist-fiction anthology from Richmond publisher Omnidawn.

Fee, fi, fo, fem: "What might be the implications of an entire generation of men trained to pee sitting down?" ... "Are fat suits the new blackface?" ... "What is the beauty standard for vulvas and who sets it?" These questions and more pepper Bitchfest (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16), a collection of eloquent postfeminism-pokin' pieces previously published in the Oakland-based magazine Bitch, edited by Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler. In these pages we meet bearded women, masochists lured into vans for impromptu on-camera "humilitainment," ... and one writer laments "masculinity's troubling persistence." Down, boy.

Hopping mad: Tyre-born UC Berkeley visiting political science professor As'ad AbuKhalil is Shiite on his dad's side and Sunni on his mom's. He ditched religion after "I discovered Marxism and leftism by the time I was thirteen," the author of Bin Laden, Islam, and America's New "War on Terrorism" (Open Media, $8.95) told the Los Angeles Times. Now he runs AngryArab.blogspot.com, where he offers this tease: "For my Arabic readers, I shall soon be writing for Al-Akhbar" — a new Lebanese newspaper. "And I plan to be out of control."

Mao's pad: He had a Jaguar and a Ph.D — but it was Berkeley in '75, and David George caught the communism bug. "Everyone was into revolution. And that meant Mao," he told a reporter for Margaret River Online in the Australian town where he now runs a theater company. "I'd been to Russia. ... Mao, they said, had an alternative: revolution after the revolution. ... I had to go and see for myself." So he did, living and working in a China that was technically closed to foreigners, as described in his novel How Mao Died (BookSurge, $17). Reality didn't match his ideals. "It's hard when a billion people let you down," George told the site. He clung to his dreams by becoming a radical dramatist and writing a play about a bomber.

Hunger artist: He didn't play with his kids; then he starved himself to death. In between, abstract expressionist and longtime Cal professor Jesse Reichek pursued the I Ching and found worldwide acclaim. He died aged 88 in Petaluma on July 18, after having chosen while in good health to stop eating and drinking. His son told the media that this typified the author of Etcetera (New Directions, $9.25), who offered his children intellectual dialogues rather than games, and who cofounded Petalumans Against War with his wife — who survives him — in 2002.

Gone wild: "Great steaming piles of bright purple" grizzly-bear dung on a trail "reminded me that huckleberries, thimbleberries, and salmonberries were gloriously ripe and plentiful and that the bears were hungry. Katie and I also stuffed ourselves" — on berries, not dung, as Berkeley science writer Lucy Jane Bledsoe recounts in The Ice Cave (Terrace, $19.95), a bracing retinue of outdoor adventures including a naked desert trek on which she concluded that seven coordinated lights in the sky were UFOs: "They headed for us. ... They seemed curious."

Gold testament: A temple to pot — think "sacramental cannabis" — just opened in a Hollywood Boulevard strip mall. Its founder and reverend is Craig X Rubin, whose book Jesus Smokes Weed will be published next spring by Oakland's Quick American Archives. A longtime legal-marijuana activist and the technical consultant for Showtime's Weeds, Rubin performs weddings at Temple 420. At Temple420.org, visitors learn: "We know that Jesus smokes weed. So, it is the goal of our ministry to ... create a worldwide ministry that preaches the Holy Bible to humanity." With weed.

Hippie chic: Eyes gouged out, a nun being anally penetrated, heads exploding, guts and pus and blood — all in full color while you sanctify an iconic underground comic and remember those glorious '60s when murder was madcap and drawing distended pudenda was still new and nasty. Berkeley's Ten Speed Press brings you The Art of S. Clay Wilson ( $35), a retrospective with an introduction by R. Crumb.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Books

Author Archives

Special Reports

Holiday Guide 2016

A guide to this holiday season's gifts, outings, eats, and more.

Taste, Fall 2016

Everything you need to know about dining in and out in the East Bay.

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation