James H. Miller

'Medical miracle' Ozzy Osborne at Booksmith

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Trust the Prince of Darkness – when it comes to health-matters, Ozzy knows what he’s talking about, and I say that with only a slight hint of sarcasm. The man who once cleaned four bottles of cognac each day, dumped a library of pharmaceuticals into his system, and was banned for a decade from San Antonio, Texas, for drunkenly urinating on the Alamo, is today a vegetarian on a diet of rice and beans, a regular exerciser, and sober, sober, sober. For the last year roughly, Ozzy (with the help of Chris Ayres who co-authored his memoir, I Am Ozzy) has been writing a hit column for Rolling Stone and the Sunday Times, answering questions about everything from hangovers, bedbugs, bad breath, love, and parenting with ribald humor, frankness, and lots of personal experience to reference. Read more »

Haunting the lens: Ralph Eugene Meatyard at the de Young

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Photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925-1972) is an anomaly. There’s little consensus about the nature of his work beyond its unusualness. Throughout the late 1950s and 60s, Meatyard drove his wife and kids to dilapidated farm houses outside Lexington, Kent., where he used them as models for his photographs. He adorned them with cheap masks and accessorized the settings with broken mannequins, mutilated dolls, and other props that he would obtain from thrift shops and junkyards. He ultimately created a series of heavily shadowed, black and white photos that are chilling (but sentimental), surreal (but in an everyday sort of way), and at times, plain weird (I guess?)

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Notes from the indie underground: the ATA Film Festival

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For more reviews from the sixth ATA Film and Video Festival, check out this week's film listings. The fest kicks off tonight with an opening reception.

Piena En Mi Alexandra Cuesta’s short film “Piena En Mi” is an impressionistic portrait of Los Angeles, where, in addition to Quito, Ecuador, the filmmaker lives and works. Primarily shot from a bus that traverses the sprawling metropolitan, the film is told with the the city’s different neighborhoods, its sounds, and its patchwork of ethnic groups. It’s an honest portrait of  LA — economically depressed in most places, polluted, congested – but beautiful, nonetheless, and unapologetic. Cuesta treats her city with tenderness and it renders her film graceful and intimate. It’s sensitive to the very subtlties that make LA radiate with character, whether it’s odd haircuts, dirty bus windows, or bells on an ice cream carriage. It’s in these shots that the filmmaker’s background in street photography shows, and make it a highlight of the ATA festival. Program One, "City Symphonies" Read more »

Get lit! A handy guide to Saturday night's LitCrawl

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LitQuake has been rough. You’ve been dashing out of work, shoving people away from their cabs to make it to the Chuck Klosterman event and sprinting after buses to catch Karen Russell; you’ve had to make the hard decision between “Kafkaesque” and “Rock Out with your Book Out;” and all the while, you keep thinking Jeffrey Eugenides has just passed you on the street. With LitCrawl coming up Sat/15, things become even more overwhelming and terrific. In the Mission, bars, cafes, and bookstores together host 450 readers in 79 readings, all free and open to the public. One way to navigate the event might be to pick your favorite bar or cafe, find a chair, order a drink and wait for something to happen. Or, you can check these readings out:
 
I Live Here: SF. How We Got Here, Why We Stay
Not a lot of us can say we were born and raised in San Francisco. Most of us fled here from elsewhere for one reason or another: failed relationships, parents kicked you out, a nervous breakdown, a mid-life crisis, you formed an indie-rock band. Maybe you came for LoveFest and simply forgot whom you were. There are a thousand reasons for arriving and a thousand more for staying. In Clarion Alley, writers and non-writers alike including Mark Bittner and M.C. Mars talk about what brought them here and why they haven’t budged. 6 p.m., Clarion Alley, between Mission and Valencia, and 17th and 18th Sts, SF

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City Lights celebrates a vital, veteran publisher

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The avant-garde publisher New Directions was founded in 1936, but the idea was borne two years earlier when Ezra Pound gave some fairly harsh advice to James Laughlin, a 22-year-old aspiring poet and Harvard undergrad. In 1934, Laughlin was ambitious enough to travel to Rapallo, Italy, to meet and study under Pound, who was by that time a fascist and outspoken anti-Semite, but still respected by young writers as the force behind Eliot, Joyce, and Hemingway, as well as Imagism, the movement he helped shape. After two months, though, Pound didn’t think Laughlin possessed enough talent, and told him to return to the states and “do something useful.”
 
Three quarters of a century later, “useful” hardly describes New Directions (which will be celebrated Tues/11 at City Lights Books) and its dedication to publishing eccentric and groundbreaking work, beginning with the likes of Dylan Thomas, Denise Levertov, Tennessee Williams, and Marianne Moore, and continuing today with contemporaries like László Krasznahorkai and Javier Marías.

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