Dressing Up Like Mozart 

In this month's East Bay book news: Surrealism, suicide, and Incredibly Strange Wrestling.

Who let the dogs in? Hot chicks and their dogs, posing together and photographed in kissable color, comprise the 2007 Pinups for Pups calendar (PinupsforPups.com, $14.95), a first-ever fund-raiser aimed at aiding animal-rescue centers. Kandie Caine with Sir Avalon, Jessica Kiper with Major P. Pants ... every page has tongues, tattoos, and tails. Ex-Berkeleyite P4P CEO Jake Shannon is a financial engineer and a professional wrestler — he performs with Incredibly Strange Wrestling — and is the executive director of ScientificWrestling.com and the author of An Introduction to Vintage Jiu-Jitsu, The Handbook of Authentic Indian Club Swinging, and Classic Pugilism and Bare-Knuckle Boxing Companion, vols. I & II.

No encore: A sealed bottle of antidepressants waited in Susannah McCorkle's bathroom when the Berkeley-bred jazz singer jumped out a sixteenth-story window in 2001. Linda Dahl's Haunted Heart (University of Michigan, $29.95) charts a life of miseries such as the summer in Europe when McCorkle couldn't find any bras big enough to fit her.

You know hue: When she and her Caucasian husband tried to buy a house, neighbors petitioned to ban them. When she gave birth, the hospital wouldn't let her share a room with Caucasians. According to Evangeline Canonizado Buell in her memoir, Twenty-five Chickens and a Pig for a Bride (T'Boli, $19.95), that hospital was Herrick. The house was in Berkeley, and Buell claims it happened in the '60s. She had grown up being told by her parents in Oakland "that Caucasians viewed people of color as filthy."

Like Dalí, but from Vilnius: His vast surrealist canvases featured bloody guts, war dead, workers agonized, Christ crucified, and escalators going on forever. Irving Norman quit the Communist Party soon after joining, though the FBI would watch him for fifty years. He railed: "Let all politicians of the right and left ... keep their bloody hands and scheming minds out of the field of art." The Norman retrospective Dark Metropolis ($35) is new from Berkeley's Heyday Books.

Humiliation station: Soon after 9/11, US airport security personnel searched Mark Massoud's luggage, "scavenging like hungry rats in a pantry," he remembers. "I felt humiliated." His essay is among ten in A Vision of Hope: Addressing Prejudice and Stereotyping in the Wake of 9/11 ($10), published by Berkeley's International House with the help of the Chevron Corporation. In another essay, Caroline LeFeber reminisces: "I had first learned to despise my America in 1998."

Write books, make bank: Along with the $40,000 Whiting Award, the €50,000 Frank O'Connor Short Story Award, and a $200,000 book deal, Mills College English professor Yiyun Li has now won the $10,000 Guardian First Book Prize for A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Random House, $13.95). When she arrived in the US from Beijing in 1997, she could neither write nor speak English fluently. A math-and-science wiz, she was studying immunology. She says there's no vocabulary for love in Chinese.

The big stuff: While promoting his new book, Don't Get Scrooged: How to Thrive in a World Full of Obnoxious, Incompetent, Arrogant, and Downright Mean-Spirited People (Harper San Francisco, $16.95), Walnut Creek author Richard Carlson — most famous for his 1997 best-seller Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and It's All Small Stuff — collapsed on a transcontinental flight and died December 13. In the new book, Carlson urged compassion instead of snappy comebacks, and bursting into song instead of screaming.

Isle say: Watching the self-described "world's leading motivational speaker" Les Brown on TV while he was a schoolboy in Hawaii, Saitia Faaifo resolved to make his own mark in the human potential movement. Relocating to the East Bay, he joined Toastmasters, became a senior manager at Comcast, and now does motivational-speaking tours nationwide, calling himself Doctor Aloha, telling big kids that the world holds lots of options besides football, and plugging his new book The Riches of Respect (Authorhouse, $18).

London calling: Corpses look like steak; jewel thieves feed each other strychnine; a jealous Native American husband shoots off his wife's feet. Horror stories by Oakland's fave hobo, accused plagiarist, and rich socialist get top-quality comix treatment by many artists in Graphic Classics: Jack London (Eureka, $11.95), part of a series that has also comixed the works of Bierce, Stevenson, and Twain.

West of Orinda: A dog-walker dressed as Mozart in Cesar Chávez Park, naked activists downtown: Packed with pictures, Berkeley One and Only (Command Performance, $35) is Jon Sullivan and Contee Seeley's hefty coffee-table tribute to a town whose attractions have included an anti-smoking mural ringed with the names of carcinogenic chemicals. That's right! B-Naphthylamine, hexamine, naphthalene, acrolein, acetone, N-nitrosonornicotine ...

Who's there? Oakland's Vanessa Huang wants a world without prisons. Amy Andre is "a 31-year-old femme bisexual African-American Jew." Logan Gutierrez-Mock is "a biracial (Chicano/white) middle-class 26-year-old tranny boy." Ralowe T. Ampu is "a white academic living as a black asshole." They're among the contributors to Nobody Poses: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity (Seal, $15.95).


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Books

Author Archives

Arts & Culture Blogs

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay


© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation