Erick Lyle

Looking in at outsider art

DocFest flick I'm Like This Every Day faces "shadow demons"
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Midway through I'm Like This Every Day, friends of underground musician Peter Stubb debate whether or not Stubb is actually a werewolf. Such is the unverifiable quality of Stubb's legend. Since the early 1990s, between trips to the state mental hospital in Georgia, Stubb has made nearly 100 rare but highly sought after home-recorded cassette tapes of his often catchy, but lyrically death-obsessed, violent, and sad acoustic music. Stubb's lo-fi tapes, some available only in editions of one or two, have the eerie, timeless, and deeply lonesome feel of old Alan Lomax field recordings. Read more »

The yard sticks

A train-hopping trip from the Polaroid Kidd's hobotopia to William T. Vollmann's tramps -- and the truths in between
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I hopped my first freight train in the spring of 1993, outside a small central Florida town. My first train sat behind a drive-in theater along old Highway 301, among the pines sometimes seen in old photos of turpentine camps and prison work crews. Under a Southern moon, I battled mosquitoes and listened to a chorus of swamp frogs that must have been heard by the very men who built the railroad. Read more »

After the ruins

SF's pasts and futures -- and Chris Carlsson's Nowtopia
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ESSAY In a journal entry dated Dec. 27, 1835, from his 1840 book Two Years before the Mast, student-turned-seafarer Richard Henry Dana recorded his first impressions of the area we know as the City, while his ship, The Alert, traveled through the Golden Gate:

We passed directly under the high cliff on which the presidio is built ... from whence we could see large and beautifully wooded islands and the mouths of several small rivers ... Read more »