New open mic in Oakland; the best Bay Area radio station


A New Monthly Open Mic
Every 4th Thursday
Beginning August 24th

Live interpretive music for the poets and the soul
Open freestyle jam after the poetry
Always FREE
Word of mouth…so pass the word!
Sign up at 7pm
Bring a horn, bring a drum!
Come enjoy music, community, and the healing art of the spoken word!

At the Bay’s beautiful new art space in East Oakland warehouse dist. The House of Stormz:: 1439 105th Ave @ International


I heard an announcement on KPOO (an awesome radio station – with a good blog and streaming audio – **why aren’t they in itunes??** ) for something associated with “Poetry University” and also remember the name “Martin X”, and though I scribbled down the details, I can’t find them. Can’t find it online. Whatever it was, sounded like a really good event, I want to go to it… got to keep looking.

Texting as an art form

A threesome text
Originally uploaded by tuxcomputers.

Was just reading about Ghost Town, the texting novella or short story that comes to you on your mobile phone. From the article, the story doesn’t seem to be adapted to its medium. Or, well… read this from youthnoise and see for yourself. I’m super curious.

A novel adapted to the medium of cell phones and texting would be more like a play with very long pauses, a long-running larp, fiction blogs, or the evolution of gossip into an art form. I could see the beautiful structure – a character from the story texts you a whole bunch – crises build – other characters start to chip in to give you their side – incidents would happen in sensible realtime. The story itself would be mostly deduced and imagined from ellipsis.

Perhaps all the texted replies from all over the world would be collected and juxtaposed on a site. You’d get a hundred thousand replies of “OK” or “Whr RU” for every line of the story. Maybe replies would get ranked on interestingness. The replies might or might not be interesting to meta-followers of the texted novel’s happening. The main point of the novel would be the experience of it.

Days would go by. The characters buzz you from your pocket. What will happen? Why did TinyE say that about Slugface? OMG the cops just came to the party! Cameron has disappeared! Or whatever. At a crisis point you’d probably get messaged from several different characters about it. There would be a lot of suspense, multiple points of view on the same event, and unreliable narrators.

The reader could also be involved by the posing of temporary ethical dilemmas, like a kind of scary character wanting to crash at your house, or in desperation, asking you to do something questionable, and then a few minutes later changing their mind and taking it back. But during those few minutes you’d be thinking “Would I really let Slugface and her baby that she kidnapped from its abusive grandparents stay in my room while they’re on the run from the police?”

I’d love to try this! Now I can’t stop thinking about it… Put in some weird reality-warping fantastic elements… make it get weirder and weirder. A teenage science fiction novel… super political… should definitely involve the war and some teenage protagonist overseas… You know who would be the ideal person to write it — Holly Black or Tricia Sullivan…. Or Heidi Wyss, author of Gormglaith.

I love the idea of new literary genres evolving for cell phones. Seriously – (More seriously than this texting poem contest)

– think about gossip as an art form.

A truly sophisticated texting novel would know, from social networking software and analysis of your social networks, who your friends are. And it could send slightly different version of the textonovela (sorry, am stretching for a handy word for it – there is probably a nice one in japanese we could borrow and use) to you and your closest friends. Then you’d talk about it. I can’t believe Slugface told you that! She told me… blah blah blah. That would be great dramatic entertainment. Again, I think of how involved my friends and I became in Plain Layne’s (fictional) life and how we’d talk about her (and what the commenters said) in addictive soap-opera style, as if she were our real life trainwrecking mutual friend.

What men can do to support women's rights: RTFM

Originally uploaded by valicali.

Here’s some excellent advice for men who want to support women or feminists, written by Charles Johnson of radgeek:

What you can do to support women’s rights, Part three

This article continues Part I and Part II of What You Can Do to Support Women’s Rights, which dealt with three fundamental points of feminist activism — believing and supporting women, getting involved, and educating yourself — and three ways to bring the public fight home into your private life — refusing to abuse women, calling out other men, and acknowledging feminism.

Therefore, we must respect women’s-only space, avoid co-opting, and be willing to step aside.

I start with Part III because it seems the most relevant to recent discussions of men at BlogHer. (It also seems quite relevant for other forums I’m part of, like the WOMPO women’s poetry email list.) It’s a great starting point. It’s beautiful, clear, I agree with it 100%, and it made me cry. It explains how to be an ally.

I can see that even when I’m trying to be diplomatic, I have a lot to learn, and I have my own feminist rage, which is powerful and useful: but it makes it hard for men to hear the ideas. Even right at this moment I’m sure to a lot of men I sound infuriatingly patronizing. (As if I don’t get patronized constantly by men…. every day… really now! oh, whoops, I’m mad again.) ANYWAY. Since I want men to hear the ideas instead of reacting to me personally, it seems good to link to a man who is a geek and a feminist. I hope that all the very well intentioned, nice, interesting, and amazing Blogher-supporting geek guys like Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, Guy Kawasaki, Marc Canter, and other men who not only came to Blogher, but who followed up, kept thinking about it, and are still talking with women on their blogs, will read it if they have time. I appreciate their participation in trying to answer my criticisms at all.

(I also hope that guys like Hugh Forrest, who was so awesome of an ally at SXSWi — and Chris Heuer, who I admire for his wholehearted efforts to promote awesome conversations, will read this!)

Certainly if one has taken the painstaking effort to separate himself from the psychological and social structures of patriarchy, it is hard to accept being put back into the class of Men and excluded. Many male feminists experience it as a sort of reverse discrimination and feel that that sort of exclusion is just what feminists ought to be fighting against.

However, the exclusion of men by women and the exclusion of women by men are certainly not the same thing in the first place. (from Chris Johnson’s essay)

I did try to acknowledge the difficulty & challenge & complexity of all this. And am trying to do more of that. Without kissing anyone’s ass, backing down, pandering to the patriarchy, giving validation to specific behaviors I don’t like, or having to feel like I’m spending my energy paying attention to and taking care of the feelings of men (which I do plenty of in daily life). Also, I don’t care if you link to this or not, or whatever, am not talking about this for that. Anyway, since I spoke up I wanted to follow through, because I do take this kind of discussion very seriously and do not dismiss anyone’s feelings here although I tend to get mad as a hornet and shoot my mouth off. There are moments when I feel despairing and have that one reaction that is not very useful: “It’s not my responsibility to educate you.” Thus my post title…. RTFM.

I hope that helps and that now I can quit playing den mother and go back to talking about women, their work, and my own experience.

Peace, out.

Writers With Drinks, No and Yes, rambling

Daisy Zamora
Originally uploaded by spanaut.

It was another super crowded night at the Makeout Room! Julia Jackson was a good comedian – I’d love to go see her perform again. Her comments on race, international adoption, and liberals… very good… I was dying at “You ever notice when white people go do some kind of action, they manage to have a vacation at the same time? I’m going to build low-income housing… in Guatemala! ” Extremely funny. There was one joke that made me shriek at a place where no one else laughed, but I can’t remember what it was!

Sage Vivant read from Greta Christina‘s book about how to be a better client if you go to sex workers. I kind of couldn’t figure out if she was reading her own work somewhere in there or if it was all direct from Greta? Confused… Had to restrain myself from squealing (again) at Greta, who was next to me, about how much I loved “Bending” not just for being hot but because it was such good writing & more interesting literature than so much of what’s out there masquerading as being ground-breaking nifty literature.

Then Daisy Zamora got up to read – really the highlight of the evening. She started by quoting Octavio Paz… I will let on if I haven’t already that in high school, I had a giant poster of Octavio Paz on my bedroom wall, because he was my rock star poet. I had some issues with his writing about women, and other things, but…. he’s still a rock star.

“Freedom is not a philosophy, nor is it even an idea. It is a movement of consciousness that leads us, at certain moments, to utter one of two monosyllables, Yes or No. In their brevity, lasting but an instant, like a flash of lightning, the contradictory character of human nature stands revealed. “


“´La libertad no es una filosofía y ni siquiera es una idea: es un movimiento de la conciencia que nos lleva, en ciertos momentos, a pronunciar dos monosílabos: Sí o No.´En su brevedad instantánea, como a la luz del relámpago, se dibuja el signo contradictorio de la naturaleza humana.”

Then she mentioned Walt Whitman and said “rebel a lot, obey a little” – actually why don’t I give y’all that quote too:

To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist much, obey little,
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever
afterward resumes its liberty.

What Zamora was saying is so important, I want to shine my tiny spotlight on it as best I can. To show you why the world needs poets, and people who think like poets and experience the world as poets.

Zamora then blasted the “philosophy of fear” that is so pervasive. She reminded us all to consider, at every moment, that we have a yes or a no, and that at those moments, we need to remember: “99% of what we see in the media is lies to make you fear.

Right on!

NO to this government and NO to this war. (And all such wars and massive instances of evil.)

Then she read “Death Abroad”, “Marina” (Seascape, in English), “To a lady who laments the harshness of my verses” – funny reference – “Streetcar San Francisco” – a poem with the ending at the Amnesia Bar – the poem about the newspaper article about the Salvadorean woman killed on Fillmore St. and the mayor of San Francisco eating wild salmon filet sprinkled with gold dust – and the poem “Cuando las veo pasar” “When I see them passing by” …

Cuando las veo pasar alguna vez me digo: qué sentirán
ellas, las que decidieron ser perfectas conservar a toda costa
sus matrimonios no importa cómo les haya resultado el marido
(parrandero mujeriego jugador pendenciero
gritón violento penqueador lunático raro algo anormal
neurótico temático de plano insoportable
dundeco mortalmente aburrido bruto insensible desaseado
ególatra ambicioso desleal politiquero ladrón traidor mentiroso
violador de las hijas verdugo de los hijos emperador de la casa
tirano en todas partes)

I don’t have the english of this but I could translate it if you like.

I understand on some level why people laughed during this poem, but it doesn’t make me laugh… I started crying as I thought of my own grandmother but really of all the souls (crushed, almost – but the poem gives the hope I want to feel that crushing a soul is impossible) of all the women I could imagine, ever, who have been in that situation. It’s a devastating, devastatingly true poem. It reminds me of Judy Grahn’s amazing, very long poem about mother and female relatives sending the daughter off to be married as they would send a son off to war. Oh! How can Daisy Zamora and Judy Grahn live in the same city and not know each other’s work! It kills me! Why!?

I take a moment to construct my fantasy literary event with Zamora, Grahn, Di Prima, Coleman, major, Gottlieb. (And me. I’m modest that way.) Fierce! Feminist! Ass-kicking all! A small inspiring anthology with some ranting-mad stab you in the heart with truth volcano erupting revolutionary feminist poems, a pocket-poets book for my women poet kin. Anyone who lives in “Tierra de Nadie” in the neverending crossfire. YES to that.

Anyway, this is getting long and a little embarrassing. It’s okay; being embarrassed is good for me.

Charlie had some great humor in the in-between comedy & her introductions but as usual I was laughing too hard to take any notes. All I have is a written-in-the-dark scrawl, “Like a meme wrapped in an onion” from some kind of insane thing about nano meme hors’ d’oeuvres or something. She was running a fever… but the show must go on! (And – she was elegant and glamorous in a long white dress suitable for fevers and fainting.)

Then I sold books for Daisy, because I’m just Ms. Helpy that way. Oh and talked a little bit with George Evans about translation. He co-translates from Vietnamese and I was telling him how much I enjoyed co-translating from Hebrew (which I don’t at all know – so it is a very close collaboration process, which makes it way fun.)

Then Ellen Klages read from her funny “science fiction slush pile” story, Gerard Jones read from Men of Tomorrow about Jerry Siegel and the beginning of fandom, which I enjoyed (though me and Debbie poked each other and winced – especially at the thing about the domineering mother – that was a bit much) and Noria Jablonski read a story about a girl who skipped from 5th grade to college in like… a day? a week? something? But not really because it’s all just sort of a metaphor for the way adolescence and adulthood hit you and you’re still that 5th grader who’s next up for kickball. Beautiful and funny. I snorted with delight at the bit about how the rumor about that one girl (all the boys think she’s hot, like they’re wearing so-and-so-is-hot goggles… she’s not that hot) frenching somone at the roller rink and then I realized it was a reference specific to my generation and suburbanness.

A bunch of people went to the tapas place but I ended up with a big crowd of science fictiony people, too many of us to fit in the tapas place, so we had burritos at somewhere on Mission. I got to hang out a little bit with Ariel and her girlfriend and Ellen Klages and admired Ellen’s interesting book collection & str
ange kitsch, like ceramic “chicken of the sea” tuna baking dishes shaped like fish & a porcelain liquor decanter shaped like Eleanor Roosevelt. You take off her head to pour the liquor. (Eleanor’s not Ellen’s.) It was especially eerie because I’m in a role-playing game right now where we’re playing in an alternate history Earth as the Resistance in Nazi-occupied Britain & there’s also these tentacled things, and we assassinated Hitler, and went down the Maelstrom into the hollow earth, but the point of this “sentence” was that in our game we regularly talk to President Eleanor Roosevelt who is secretly an alien.

That’s enough for now. I feel so calm and centered now that all THAT is out of my system.

The new Tiptree book

tiptree biography reading
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

On private mailing lists, I’m seeing a ton of fascinating discussion of Julie Phillips’ new biography of Alice Sheldon (James R. Tiptree, Jr.). As soon as the book comes out, that discussion will migrate to blogs and public forums! A lot of people are having strong personal reactions, feeling inspired by the book and by Sheldon’s life — as well as admiring how well written and researched the biography is.

I think it’s of general interest, and especially recommend it to all feminists whether you know anything about science fiction or not. And to all science fiction people, whether you identify as feminist or not.

I’m hoping for scholarly editions of Sheldon’s letters in the future!

Julie will be reading from this exciting new book in San Francisco on August 21st, 7pm, at A Different Light on Castro. Here on her site there’s a schedule of her upcoming readings elsewhere in California, Washington, Oregon, and New York.

Literary adventures and commonalities

This weekend I went to a nice reading at Other Change of Hobbit – Mary Anne Mohanraj was reading from her new not-yet-published novel, The Arrangement. Though I haven’t read Bodies in Motion, her book of linked stories, I’ve heard her read from it. What I notice about Mary Anne’s writing is the subtleties of character, established very quickly, so that I expect everyone to be complicated.

We all admired the new paperback of “Bodies”, & Mary Anne talked interestingly about writing, her experiences in the publishing industry in the literary fiction market, and then about the current market for erotica; she says that most successful erotica authors are women. Her erotica series, Wet, is printed on waterproof paper & she demonstrated for us how you can pour a glass of water onto it and it just rolls off. You can read it in the bathtub.

Mary Anne has a huge amount of projects, among them the Speculative Literature Foundation and DesiLit. She’s got a long-running pre-blog-era blog & was a founder for Strange Horizons and Clean Sheets.

I always think it’s interesting how many people we know or knew in common from various scenes. Many people from University of Chicago show up in my core groups of San Francisco people, science fiction, literature, sexuality, & poly – and Mary Anne is just one of the many with those multiple intersections. They are people almost guaranteed to have the most fascinating & eclectic book collections! After Mary Anne’s reading we headed over to Lori, Guy, and Steven’s house – another U. of Chicago connection, with role-playing games definitely in the mix – and I got to wallow around in Lori‘s reference books – the Dictionary of Languages – note our common interest in myth & women pirates & warriors & Inanna & that sort of thing – shelves and shelves of sex and erotica books – Anthologies – comic books – And Steven’s books on war and philosophy. In short, I could happily get lost in their house for months.

It’s nice to be around all these people – they’re inspiring, fun, smart as hell, and I have the feeling of intellectual security that they also know about the broad range of knowledge I have, so don’t see me just as a poet, or geek, or gamer, or history and science fiction buff, or sex radical; they know what it means to be all of those things at once, because that’s what they are too…

aesthetics and hateration

When you hate on a woman for her pointy-toed shoes, skinniness, hairstyle, cheerleaderiness… you are participating in a misogynist system just as if you hated on her for being fat and not shaving her legs. You’re trying to comment on patriarchy, but on the way, you’re doing some woman hating. I’m hearing and reading it all week from 25 year old women on myspace, tech guys, radical feminists, friends, and my own brain.

Fembots and ‘basement cupcakes’ – – – model-thin, dressed wrong, identical – – It’s equally hateration whether it comes out of the mouth of a man or a woman.

Everyone loves hating on the Bejanes. Again, if you’ve been doing this and that was your first reaction, I’m not pointing and yelling “You’re sexist!” We’re all sexist. Look at your gut reaction of hate towards the outfits, chirpy voices, “identicalness”, hair, and shoes of the two women on stage, and think about why that reaction is so violent and powerful. What are you hating? Why did it come out in that kind of language that dehumanizes the two women from Microsoft? Sit with that for a while. Who else is “like that”? I would even challenge you to free associate a list of similarly hateable qualities.

Mixed in with the misogyny there is some fine criticism of Microsoft and of the very idea of the commercial break.

All anyone has to do is describe these women physically (very thin) and maybe say the word “fembot” and “we” think we know what’s being talked about. We hear a type – not a person. We hear qualities of femininity, which of course are understood to be despised. If we’re women talking this hate talk, we’re saying “I am not that.” If we’re men, we’re also delineating, “I am not that.”

This kind of talk is why I play with femininity at all. I am that. And I’m still your sister and I still have a brain. I am not a fembot. Talk to me like I’m a human being. Respect, y’all.

You know how people were making fun of some of us for worrying about “what to wear to BlogHer”? This is why. A good bit of the criticism directed at Microsoft drives home that where they erred is in sending women who wore the wrong thing.

I want people to dig around in their minds for a while and think about why that’s fundamentally messed up. You can be wrong. It’s okay. I think we all have internalized sexism, racism, classism – it is called hegemony. Pointing it out is not divisive – it’s helpful, and gets that stuff out into the open so we can give it a little analysis.

If you are a woman hating on another woman for big hair, makeup, pointy toed high heels, and chirpiness, and being thin, you are hating her for what you perceive as her buying into the system of patriarchal aesthetics. It signifies that she is willing to give a significant amount of her time and energy to men. We think that fembot, consciously or unconsciouly is sucking up to The Man, and getting privilege for it. That perception of privilege (which I’d argue is largely wrong) creates a lot of divisive resentment. That’s why we think we can talk smack about “plastic actresses with boob jobs in Los Angeles” and think that it’s okay to dehumanize them in our thoughts and language. It’s not right to hate a Bejane or an Uncle Tom. Isn’t bejaning yourself presented to us women as a survival skill? Isn’t it the way to be loved? To be non threatening? Then why is it also a ticket to hate? Because – coding yourself with feminine qualities is a way to signify inferiority. So we bitterly hate the ones who can and do code themselves extremely well according to patriarchal standards.

I don’t accept that entire system although I live in it and it is more powerful than I am as an individual. I see no escape from it, and so I play with it. I have the luxury of my sense of self worth, my job, my relationships, not depending on my conforming to feminine requirements.

Oh, and p.s. Yes – I do feel annoyed and uncomfortable at condescending men in hardware stores, whether I’m in a dress or in jeans and work boots. Yes I can go buy a hammer, but I still notice the sexism. The sexism is worse if I’m in a dress and it’s especially worse if I’m in a sexy feminine dress. Because I have a lot of privilege, I can mostly ignore that sexism. Many women don’t have the kind of privilege I enjoy.

NCDD Brainjam notes – afternoon

Chris – our expertise. share it.

Beth – the best way to be a techie is to know people who know more than you.

other guy – we don’t have any 12 year olds in the room


loretta – i have a background in chemistry. i know how to blow thinggs up. so, i know with tech i’m not going to blow anythin up.
west 120th street in manhattan dug up. colleague – librarian told me i don’t have to come in to the library, i could get a “MODEM”. bought a book and couldn’t understand the instructions for getting online.

Beth – what is a blog. how many people konw.. who doesn’t. I try to define it.

vanessa – interactive. more interactive

kai – dont want organization to have static feel.that we are givin you information. instead you have an experience.

beth – i started blogging in 2001 and was clueless for about a year and then people started commenting. i then realized other people had blogs and i could read them and we could folllow each others conversations.

heather – it’s how you set them up. personal websites almost not difference. it’s just a piece of software that makes it like 30 seconds to set up.

loretta – very important shifts taking place. everyone in the world could not create their own web site. now with bloggin you can without spendin money to do it

heather – very personal first blogs were very personal.

loretta – voice has shifted.

beth – way to build a community, to have community conversation. styles of conversation. single author blog. my podium, my diary that I’m sharing. then multiple author blog. that’s what the NCDD blog is.


Blogrolls. More on blog structure. What is a blog. B/c of the blogroll you know we are looking at you.

Question from Avis. Do bloggers have to worry about hackers and spam?

Beth – yes you do and it has to do with what platform you are on. is there a techie in the room? Andy?

a guy – hacking no not really. comment spam, yes… (he explains a bit)

beth – does anyone moderate comments?

guy – some blogs. the one on workflow. because fortune 500 company people come on there and I don’t want them seeing v111aaaagra ads.

beth – so it can be useful to moderate. For me the comments are the most useful part of my blog. I have made so many connections and learned so many things.

Loretta – we are going to have 400 people at the conference.

Beth – i’ll show how easy it is to comment.

[now I am reading my email. and laura is reading our mom’s secret blog and giggling. okay now I’m paying real attention again. sorry, social overload, had to check out.]

Loretta and Beth – explaining more about blogging with demo. Demo of commenting, posting, editing a post. Can fix stuff on the fly. Can go back and add last names. Fix typos. Beth has the cheat sheets for brainjam. cliff notes for every topic. (must change, must not use cliff notes name.) It’s all on the ncdd blog, right here.

magnificent report by Ideaware on decsion making grid.

is there anything you can keep revisions, history of document…

Yes. try wikis, basecamp tools.

Loretta – conversations, starting new posts.

Beth – photos. flickr. incredible photo sharing community. old model was post your photos to the web private and only share them specifically with friends and family. flickrr you share them witih the community of the world. who uses it? (show of hands) khanh?

Khanh – I use it just to look at my friend’s photos. Off his blog.

Beth – more on flickr, demo, tags, comments, surfing, tag clouds.

MJ – clusters. flickr tries to group stuff on similar subjects.

lunch – ncdd brainjam

Lunch – vietnamese food with laura, mj, sarah, khanh, 2 dudes the massage guy and jack paulsen. laura – on Lost fiction blog (corporate) sarah on perplex city. games. me on geneva convention game on the UN site. khanh talks about her news blog plan and translating. i talk with her about blog ad models and syndication. i talk about the f word and how every guy i talked with started up witih that and was expecting something from me – a bit fearful. (minnie was tainted witih it just by having sat next to me.) The f word apparently v. scary. we all laugh. MJ and I talk about dodgeball and swarms and writing.

2nd half of the morning, NCDD BrainJam

2nd exercise –

had name brainjam before knew what it was.
all my life trying to help people connect the dots, help them move forward, omg have you seen this book, do you know this person? I get a big jolt to help peple connect with each other in that way. so, people oudl jam in a one on one situation. how migh that look? j split up rgroup of peopel in 2 halves, segment. inner circle facing out, outer facing in. 12 five minute meetings with each other.

(i know this as a rotating fishbowl. the other fishbowl is a discussion in the inside and the outside peopel have to only listen.)

ask each other what work ignites your true passion?

my conversations:



Vanessa A. Smith


Heather Gold

John Kelly



(to be filled in later from notes)