Finding new music can be hard, especially when your methods of discovery rarely feature going out. We don't want you to miss out on anything, so we dug deep into the new videos released on YouTube and came up with some songs that got out head bobbing.
This weekend happens to be Bring Them Along's favorite national event. For the past 15 years the first Saturday of May marks Free Comic Book Day. And with geek culture growing and growing each year the selection of comics offered at your local comic book store have become more and more varied - there are more than 30 titles to choose from. There is practically something for everyone!
How does it work?
Free Comic Book Day is pretty simple. Each year all the main publishing houses and comic book distributor team up with independent comic book stores and offer a free comic book to every comic book lover that walks through their doors. Some stores will have illustrators and authors doing signings, cosplay events, or drawings for more comics. It is a great way to expand your love of comics to titles and publishers that you might have not heard of. Here is a list of Bay Area comic book stores that will be participating.
Stand Up Comics, 10020 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, (510) 525-3223
Fantastic Comics, 2026 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 848-2988
Dark Carnival, 3086 Claremont Ave., Berkeley (510) 654-7323
The Escapist Comic Bookstore, 3090 Claremont Ave., Berkeley (510) 652-6642
Comics Cards, Etc., 1063C San Pablo Ave., Pinole, (510) 724-7587
Dr. Comics and Mr. Games, 4014 Piedmont Ave., (510) 601-7800
Cape and Cowl Comics, 1601 Clay St., Oakland, (510) 907-0678
Miryam and Jane's Comic Shop, 14837 Washington Ave., San Leandro (510) 562-0205
San Francisco/South Bay
Coastside Comics, 116 D Manor Drive, Pacifica, (650) 359-1127
Comix Experience Outpost, 2381 Ocean Ave., San Francisco, (415) 239-2669
Two Cats Comics Book Store, 320 West Portal Ave., San Francisco, (415) 566-8190
Mission Comics & Art, 2250 Mission St., San Francisco, (415) 254-5173
Amazing Fantasy, 650 Irving St., San Francisco, (415) 681-4344
Looking for more comic book events, check out our feature on the comic book conventions that occur throughout the year.
This review was first published on Jan. 6, 2016 on KaliReads.com.
In White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between, Judy Batalion recounts growing up amidst stuff. Where normal kids cuddled on their mother’s bed for story time, mountains of detritus left no room for little Judy to snuggle up to mom. Tuna fish cans stacked like a great wall through her kitchen; newspapers, free magazines, and library books towered next to the sofa; records overflowed from shelves onto the floor.
Judy’s mother hoards as if fighting off the deprivation of her history, a woman born to Jewish Polish immigrants struggling for survival as they fled the Holocaust, fled the Nazis, leaving behind friends, neighbors, and their homeland. This isn’t inexplicable hoarding, but hoarding grown out of a time of having nothing, starving in camps, standing in breadlines. Judy finds herself, as a third-generation Jewish woman, separated from the Holocaust’s physical hardships but living amidst its emotional aftereffects.
All the dysfunction of Judy’s childhood–her over-anxious and self-absorbed mother, a house filled with so much stuff it had little room for love–bubbles to the surface when Judy, as a successful young woman, finds out she’s pregnant. Although she’s left her home behind, her mother’s mental health is in decline. How can she be there for a mother who has been largely absent? And will Judy, like her mother before her, continue to pass down the trauma she inherited from previous generations? Can she overcome the anxieties of a childhood drowning in unneeded junk, and of a mother (and now grandmother) unlike any other, to her own child?
Judy writes pretty prose, posing questions about her own experiences that she answers through relayed experience without extended navel-gazing. White Walls is funny, as Judy, also a comedian, has a crack-up sense of humor and a gift for one-liners. It is tragic at other times, as Judy, along with her brother and father, seek a court order to hospitalize her mother against her will.
I’ve read books about crazy moms (Chanel Bonfire, Oh The Glory of It All) and books about hoarding (Coming Clean, Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things) but this one explores the heartbreak of mental illness, a struggle to overcome generational trauma, the shame of hoarding, and the anxieties of motherhood all in one free association, full disclosure, flash-back style relay between motherhood and childhood, between then and now.
This review was first published on March 24, 2015 on KaliReads.com.
In Eula Biss’ short On Immunity: An Inoculation, she takes a step back from the vaccine debate and looks at its framing, its history, and the concept of the self as impermeable by society.
As the mother of a young son herself, her fear for his safety is raw and present on every page. This is a meditation on how much mothers want to keep their children safe, how impossible that is, and just what that struggle looks like today.
In short chapters, the history of vaccination, the symbolism in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the vulnerability associated with breaking ones’ skin all collide with Biss’ own fears of raising an allergic young toddler.
Biss brings together a web of haunting information, exploring the deep-rooted fears we have against the unknown other and those walls we throw up to keep the self safe.
She explains that conscientious objectors, before they were soldiers unwilling to go to war, were those unwilling to get vaccinated. That in 2013, nine polio vaccinators were shot in Nigeria. This isn’t just an American issue–it is global, historic. Whether wealthy Americans are struggling with the idea of chemicals, or Nigerians are questioning vaccines from a Western world that doesn’t assist with other basic healthcare, vaccines ask us to gain immunity by becoming a part of the community. By joining in, rather than edging out.
As many of the moms I know are simply too busy to read (this is a short one, worth picking up, clocking in at less than 200 pages of reading content), I thought I’d cite some snippets of Biss brilliance.
On the dualism of the vaccine debate:
‘I know you’re on my side,’ an immunologist once remarked to me as we discussed the politics of vaccination. I did not agree with him, but only because I was uncomfortable with both sides, as I had seen them delineated. The debate over vaccination tends to be described with what the philosopher of science Donna Haraway would call ‘troubling dualisms.’ These dualisms pit science against nature, public against private, truth against imagination, self against other, thought against emotion, and man against woman (49).
On viewing “natural” as safe:
And when comfort is what we want, one of the most powerful tonics alternative medicine offers is the word ‘natural.’ This word implies a medicine untroubled by human limitations, contrived wholly by nature or God or perhaps intelligent design. What ‘natural’ has come to mean to us in the context of medicine is ‘pure’ and ‘safe’ and ‘benign’. But the use of ‘natural’ as a synonym for ‘good’ is almost certainly a product of our profound alienation from the natural world (40).
On vaccination as a metaphor:
‘Our bodies prime our metaphors,’ writes James Geary in I Is an Other, his treatise on metaphor, ‘and our metaphors prime how we think and act.’ If we source our understanding of the world from our own bodies, it seems inevitable that vaccination would become emblematic: a needle breaks the skin, a sight so profound that it causes some people to faint, and a foreign substance is injected directly into the flesh. The metaphors we find in this gesture are overwhelmingly fearful, and almost always suggestion violation, corruption, and pollution (12).
On what we talk about when we talk about vaccinating:
Debates over vaccination, then as now, are often cast as debates over the integrity of science, though they could just as easily be understood as conversations about power. (26)
And the CDC data to support it:
Unvaccinated children, a 2004 analysis of CDC data reveals, are more likely to be white, to have an older married mother with a college education, and to live in a household with an income of $75,000 or more–like my child. Unvaccinated children also tend to be clustered in the same areas, raising the probability that they will contract a disease that can then be passed, once it is in circulation, to undervaccinated children. Undervaccinated children, meaning children who have received some but not all of their recommended immunizations, are more likely to be black, to have a younger unmarried mother, to have moved across state lines, and to live in poverty. (27)
On the privilege of fearing invisible things:
It is both a luxury and a hazard to feel threatened by the invisible. In Chicago, where 677 children were shot the year after my son was born, I still somehow manage to find myself more captivated by less tangible threats. While two-year-olds take bullets in other parts of the city, I worry over the danger embedded in the paint that chips off my child’s toys and the walls around him (132-133).
And the danger in doing this:
If we understand ourselves living in a world of unseen evils, the immune system, that largely conceptual entity devoted to protecting us from invisible threats, will inevitably take on an inflated importance and a distorted function (133).
This review was first published on Sept. 17, 2015 on KaliReads.com.
In Elisabeth Egan’s debut novel, A Window Opens, Alice Pearse has it all–she’s a modern-day mom, juggling three kids and a part-time job as books editor for women’s magazine You. Her secure life is uprooted when her hubby Nicholas, a lawyer, comes home with news that he isn’t making partner and is leaving his firm (and his steady paycheck) to start his own office. Until Nicholas starts building a clientele and earning some cash, Alice’s part-time magazine job isn’t going to cut it.
Alice considers herself lucky to land a job at e-publishing giant Scroll. They have big plans to get readers into their stores, buying ebooks–think gummy candies, super-lush seating, and curated novel recommendations. It sounds like Alice’s dream. The reality, however, is something a little more maniacal. Scroll is a passive-aggressive mess of tech-speak and never-ending company-wide e-mails. The dream job begins to turn into a nightmare.
Author Elisabeth Egan, in real life, followed a career path similar to Pearse’s. According to the New York Times, Egan worked at Self before accepting a position at Amazon Publishing. She also has three children, like Alice, and there are other echoes of her life in the novel. Egan has taken the old adage “write what you know” very seriously, and the authenticity comes through in the story.
Although marketed as chick-lit, this isn’t an entirely light-hearted story of finding oneself. Egan’s observations about modern life and its expectations of women are so spot on, they are hilarious. Alice’s conversations with her children, all innocence and awkward questions, are charming comedic breaks. But Alice’s father struggles with cancer throughout the story, and in places I felt myself tearing up. A Window Opens is emotional, endearing, and satisfying. Bring your tissues, grab your e-reader, and ask yourself, “What would you do to have it all?”
Want to Meet the Author?
Elisabeth Egan will be reading from her new book on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Book Passage in San Francisco at 12:30 p.m. and at Copperfield's Books in Santa Rosa. For more information about Elisabeth Egan's book tour click here.
Every year for the first week in September thousands of artist, musicians, and fans of self-expression, flock to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to crate a futuristic utopian city known as Burning Man. For “non-burners” Burning Man is filled with mystery and often myth. It is not a drug fest nor is it strictly a music festival.
Just like any city, the Burning Man community comes in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Photographer Zipporah Lomax has been documenting the festival for nearly 10 years. This year with the help of an extremely successful KickStarter campaign, Lomax will be heading back to Burning Man to document the festival’s youngest attendees. Volume 1 - For The Littlest Burners will feature a collection of photographs of the children of the Black Rock Desert.
Due to her busy schedule and the build up to Burning Man this year (Aug. 30-Sept. 7, 2015), Lomax’s interview was done via email.
How long have you been a photographer? Tell us a little bit about your style of photography?
I've been fascinated by photography for as long as I can remember. Though I took black and white photography classes in my early 20's, it wasn't until 2006 that I committed more seriously with the completion of a yearlong intensive program in Vancouver, B.C. In terms of photographic style, I prefer to document un-staged, found moments rather than constructed – moments that feel like authentic records of what was, before the camera was introduced. Meaning, it is my hope that the camera does not change that which it witnesses – that my subjects either don't know I am photographing them, or that they are comfortable enough to sort of forget that it's there at all. I prefer my viewer to be unaware of me, the photographer, as part of the resulting image – as though they are simply looking into a fleeting moment of someone else's life, or a snapshot of their own experience, pristinely kept as an archival remembrance.
How long have you been going to Burning Man and how has your experience changed over the years?
My first 'Burn' was in 2000. That's a long time to try to measure in terms of either personal or collective evolution. In so many ways, I've grown up within the Burning Man community. I'd even go so far as to say that I am who I am in large part because of my experience of this community both on and off the Playa. The event itself has grown and changed in so many ways – I have done my best to grow with it, to celebrate the endless opportunities for personal transformation and learning rather than lament all the ways in which it 'is not what it used to be.'
There are so many chances to photograph art and people at Burning Man, what made you gravitate to photographic children?
I actually photograph everything out there, not just the Littles – it is an endlessly magical, infinitely photogenic place. My choice to honor the Kids, in particular, is really an attempt to give voice to the softer side of Black Rock City in a way that I feel hasn't been done yet. The Kids (and the Elders, too) are indicative of a cultural depth that I believe has been largely under-represented in the public sphere. Indeed, it is that very depth that draws me back into the dust each year – that has helped me make some of my most difficult choices and emboldened me to pursue a life founded on creativity. This book is simply my way of giving back to a community that has gifted me so much over the last 15 years.
How did you come up with the idea for a book highlighting children at Burning Man?
It has a been a peripheral dream for years, though I wasn't confident enough to officially propose it until last November. As I mentioned earlier, it's a side of Burning Man that has remained fairly unknown and, I feel, remains quite misunderstood. There is this widespread belief that bringing kids to Burning Man is somehow irresponsible of the Burner parents who choose to do so. I believe that is a genuine misconception based on the narrow perspective that it is nothing more than a wild party with rampant drug-use. I'd like to offer quiet evidence to the contrary – a visual narrative that tells a very different side of the story. I do not mean to say that Burning Man's raucous side is in any way wrong – only that Black Rock City has so much more to offer than a strictly adult celebration or a mindless disconnection from some 'default world'. As with any city, it is comprised of many parts ... both debaucherous and sacred ... at once playfully ridiculous and spiritually cathartic, depending entirely on what you choose to make of it. For me, and thousands of others, it is a place that is rich with potential for learning. The Littlest Burners are simply getting a fantastically early head start.
Have families been accommodating to your dream of creating a book using images of their children?
Absolutely. Every single parent I approached seeking permission to use their images was enthusiastically supportive. They also offered insights that supported my observations over the years, confirming that there is, indeed, a story here worth telling. They helped me trust the impulse to pursue this project and have been avid supporters from the beginning. As well ... I am receiving messages from folks all over the world interested in participating, offering their likeness to be photographed this year for inclusion in Dusty PlayGround.
How has been the response from the Burning Man community?
It has been mixed, naturally. This is a very polarizing subject. The notion of Kids in the dust either excites or enflames people ... sometimes even enrages them. I have received both vitriol and gratitude and witnessed heated debates in response to the various press this project has been getting. Yet, for every naysayer, there have been a dozen others wholeheartedly cheering me on. In some strange way, I am deeply grateful for the conversation that is unfolding, of which, this book is only one voice. There are such varying ideas about what this event is or is not – so many opinions about who should or should not attend. This book is simply a testament to my personal perspective – a demonstration, through photos that speak for themselves – a collection of that which my lens sees and chooses to celebrate. To be perfectly honest ... my intention is primarily to create a work of art rather than to offer a journalistic photo-essay. I am not trying to make some tremendous statement or change anyone's mind ... only to show that there is more to the story – to perhaps inspire a reconsideration of what Burning Man has to offer – to possibly ease the misguided judgement laid upon the awesome Burner parents who gift the city with the presence of their kids. Not all Burner parents are responsible – but I'd argue that the great majority are actually some of the most positively engaged, authentically generous and calmly present parents I've ever known/observed.
You are also attempting to publish a book about seniors/elders who attend Burning Man, how did that idea come about?
It was part of my original proposal to include the Elders as they are equally significant in demonstrating the breadth of Burning Man's offerings. They show that it is, in fact, a multi-generational CITY. It's simple, really – the presence of both Kids and Elders directly contradicts the notion that Burning Man is just a massive party. I chose to simplify with Volume 1 – to let the Kids first have their spotlight – then to honor the Elders with their own book, as there are certainly enough of them to fill a second Volume with playfully poignant, silver-haired portraits
After surpassed your KickStarter goal of $40,000 what is the next step?
Now that my campaign has been successfully funded, I am preparing to head back into the Black Rock Desert to photograph for the event, and also to gather the images that will fill the pages of Dusty PlayGround. In October, I'll begin the process of image selection and book design. Thankfully, Hemlock, my amazing carbon-neutral printers, are ready to help with the process. My intended publish date is June of 2016, though I hope to have it printed and ready to deliver before then. I will be posting project updates on the website dustyplayground.com. For anyone who missed the campaign, preorders of Volume 1 - For The Littlest Burners are also available on the site, as well as the ability to donate towards Volume 2 – For The Elders.
This review was first published on Jan. 29, 2015 on KaliReads.com.
Some stories are too far-fetched to be fake, as an author creating true crime out of thin air would add more cash and prizes, more glitz, more glamor. Pete Crooks’ The Setup: A True Story of Dirty Cops, Soccer Moms, and Reality TV is so bizarre at every twist and turn it could only be true. The players’ motives here are petty, the suspects’ behaviors inexplicable, Dr. Phil enters the story twice, becoming first excited, then disappointed. The Setup is, in other words, an incredibly human tale.
The story begins with Pete Crooks, humble entertainment reporter for lifestyle magazine Diablo. As a former East Bay resident myself, I’m familiar with Diablo magazine and its focus on the finer things in life: weddings, wine, local celebrities. When Crooks hears about Chris Butler’s PI firm in Concord, CA, he jumps at the chance to ride along on a case. Butler’s PI firm doesn’t employ the usual muscled ex-cops, but instead turns to an untapped resource in the more suburban cities of the East Bay. He staffs his office with soccer moms.
Gun-toting, cam-wearing soccer moms catching cheating husbands in the act! Getting home in time to make dinner for the kids! The PI moms had appeal, and got a lot of national press, including Dr. Phil, before reaching out to local mag Diablo. But from Crooks’ first meeting with Butler and his bevy of investigating moms, things didn’t feel right. And then, like something out of a crime novel, an anonymous source reached out to Crooks. An e-mail from source Ronald Rutherford (?! You can’t make this stuff up!) insisted Butler and his PI moms weren’t what they appeared–they’d hoodwinked national media, and now they’d taken Crooks for a spin in their fantasy world.
At each step of the way, the issues surrounding Butler, his side-kick Carl Marino, and the moms become more complicated, unusual, and hilarious. Lifetime begins filming a reality show about Butler and the PI Moms. Chris Butler’s BFF also happens to be the head of Contra Costa County’s drug task force, Norman Wielsch. At the center of this storm of trickery, caught in the middle of this web of deceit and jealousy and desire to make primetime television, is one entertainment reporter from a regional magazine.
Like this review? Check out more of Kali Lux's book reviews at her website KaliReads where each week a different book is reviewed.
If you have kids then you more than likely have a drawer or basket full of art supplies. Sure it is full of dried up pens without caps, broken crayons, and pencils – but to kids it is a basket full of endless possibilities.
A group in Oakland wants to help adults see what the kids do when it comes to art.
Started in Canada in 2010, LATE NITE ART (which branched out the Bay Area in 2012) is an evening of guided art activities for adults. The main objective is to toss aside your inner critic, draw out the inner artist and to have fun in the process.
Sharpen Your Skills
Once a month LATE NITE ART co-founder Adam Rosendahl guides a group of adults through an art project focusing on a particular theme all set to an eclectic playlist (Rosendahl also goes by DJ adamah) at Impact Hub Oakland.
This is not your typical art class. It is not one of those events were you drink wine and try to recreate Van Gogh’s "Starry Night" or paint pictures of your kids. By providing dinner, a nice glass or wine, music, and art supplies the goal of LATE NITE ART is to move the focus away from what you think art is and tap into what art can be.
Most of all Rosendahl wants people to put down their phones, unplug, and reconnect with others.
“It’s kind of amazing that in one hour that you can have such a profound effect on people,” said Rosendahl, adding that talking with one another face to face is something that is often lost in the Bay Area nightlife scene.
LATE NITE ART sessions are always unique. Each month there is a different theme that structures the art activity. Past themes include Movement, Water, and In The Dark. Rosendahl starts each session with a few icebreakers and then leads into activities that focus on creating art as a group. He tries to mix up the group so that everyone has a chance to meet someone new.
“Even if you come as a couple I am going to break you up and sit you next to someone you don’t know,” Rosendahl said.
What you can expect is a large banquet table covered in thick paper and a variety of art supplies. Over the course of the evening attendees are prompted to add art to the table – the end result is a huge collective work of art.
With community building at the core of the art sessions, many activities focus on creating intimacy through bringing people out of their shell. You might find yourself placing your hand into the person sitting next to you so that they can control your hand and draw with the many art supplies on the table. Or you might be asked to draw a portrait of the person sitting across from you without loosing eye contact and looking at your drawing.
“Even the most introverted person can come and connect with someone,” Rosendahl said.
Details: LATE NITE ART events are held monthly in Oakland with special events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Check their website or Facebook page for updates and tickets. Events range in price from $30-$60 with dinner included.