Writing News

Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Signal to Noise
The Foundry: A Literary Collective, 2011
Paperback, 268 pages, $12.75

Postmodernism meets music mash-up, remixing, and collage in this late-1980s coming-of-age story, a much-reworked version of author Jonathan Lyons's (Writing 2005) thesis project. It is an alt-underground music extravaganza that repeatedly breaks the traditional form of the novel. As Connor submerges into the underground music scene, he is enthralled by an industrial/hardcore music legend who goes by the handle "The Siren." Their otherworldly commingling alters them, a physical transmogrification that takes hold whenever they are intimate. Music is woven into the text, as lyrics interplay with the storyline in this hybrid of fabulism, alternative and industrial music, and fiction, a tour of the underground music scene of the mid- to late '80s in Iowa City and beyond. The publisher, the Foundry: A Literary Collective, is a small co-op press (started by Lyons) using CreateSpace for fulfillment and delivery of this, its first title. The book is a nominee for the Pushcart Press Editors Choice Book Award.

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Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

None of This Is Real
Sidebrow Books, 2012
Paperback, 115 pages, $18

Miranda Mellis (Writing faculty) imagines a not-too-alternate reality of philosophical children, reincarnating chimeras, mutant matriarchies, and kind seers adapting to affliction. These five fictions question what is knowable and what actions can be taken in the face of loss of family, heritage, ecosystems, agency, and power. A face incapable of masking its sneering rebellions; young sisters in search of their missing mother; a page whose very body extracts meaning from occult readings in response to alienation; a never-ending line for coffee that becomes a surreal site of quotidian wars in miniature. Mellis brings the playfulness of contemporary fabulism to bear on today's pressing ethical and political issues, exploring the potential and limits of magical thinking with empathy, subtle humor, and an engrossing mastery of the fictional form.

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Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 by Jim Norrena

A documentary short by Yoni Klein and Alka Joshi

Blink once for finalist, twice for student Academy Award.

In almost as little time as it takes to blink, Yoni Klein's (2012 Photography) and alumna Alka Joshi's (MFA 2011 Writing) documentary short, Blink, made the film festival rounds in 2011, screening at almost a dozen film festivals across the United States as well as in London at GFEST, the Gaywise Festival! Now the film has just been announced as a regional finalist in the 39th annual Student Academy Awards competition of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy) and the Academy Foundation!

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Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 by Chris Bliss

David Sedaris [photo: Anne Fishbein]

Best-selling author and NPR humorist David Sedaris will appear at a special benefit reading for California College of the Arts (CCA) on May 3, 2012, at Zellerbach Auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus. The evening will include a reading from new and unpublished material, a book signing, and, for sponsorship donors, a VIP cocktail party with the author at Berkeley Art Museum. Proceeds will benefit the CCA Scholarship Fund.

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Posted on Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

My Mother and the Ceiling Dancers
Kattywompus Press, 2012
Paperback, $18

My Mother and the Ceiling Dancers is MFA Program in Writing faculty Zack Rogow's seventh collection of poetry. The book is "Dedicated in loving memory of my mother, Mildred 'Mickey' Rogow: These poems celebrate her life and values, as well as the reasons for living that eluded her at points along her path." This is Kattywompus Press’s first full-length book, and it is hand-sewn, hand-glued, hand-bound.

Two of the poems have been nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. Several of the poems have already been published in anthologies. A series of tanka poems in the collection won the Tanka Splendor Award for best tanka sequence in English. Melissa Stein, author of Rough Honey, says, "Zack Rogow's poems tenderly evoke life’s ironies, bitter and sweet. They have a passionate sweep: the East River to Venice canals, Van Gogh's ear to sandcastles, filterless Pall Malls to the dazzling, dying stars. And they have a big, beautiful, aching, resonant heart."

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Posted on Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Reeducation of Cherry Truong: A Novel
St. Martin's Press, 2012
Hardcover, 368 pages, $25.99

The Reeducation of Cherry Truong is a novel by Writing and Literature chair Aimee Phan about reverse migration, the new American immigrant story. Cherry Truong's attempt to reconnect to her mother's family reaches around the world, from America to Vietnam to France, and reinvents what she knows of her family's history and her world. It is a story of loyalties, histories, and identities, exploring multiple generations of the Truong and Vos families and touching on the events of the Vietnam War, cultural assimilation, reconciliation, forgiveness, and redemption.

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Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Production stills from CCA's newest "drama queens": Candacy Taylor, Greacian Goeke, Susan Sobeloff, and Jennifer Roberts

"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." -- Oscar Wilde

In the last year a growing number of CCA graduates -- each representing a unique program of study -- has tapped into the Bay Area's richly diverse and proliferating performing arts scene to have a full-scale world premiere of their work brought to fruition. Among these impressive alumnae are:

Candacy Taylor (MFA Visual Criticism 2002)

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Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

10,000 Wallpapers
Brooklyn Arts Press, 2011
Paperback, 40 pages, $8

This is a new chapbook of poems by Matt Shears, a faculty member in Writing and Literature, Writing, and Critical Studies. Cathy Park Hong, author of Dance Dance Revolution, says, "This long lyric is full of brute terror and bucolic beauty, exploring individual consciousness unmoored by our present 'thundering interconnectivity'; 10,000 Wallpapers chronicles 'the everyman meandering through this digitized countryside,' questioning how we can truly inhabit the world when reality has become denatured by the image. The speaker in this poem sings like Prufrock, in a lyric that is searing and true, as he searches for the possibilities of pure utterance and perception amidst what is manufactured."

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Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

One More for the People
Perfect Day Publishing, 2011
Paperback, 224 pages, $16

Eight years in the making, One More for the People is the first collection from Martha Grover's (MFA Writing 2010) Somnambulist zine. Playful, wry, and conversational, it chronicles three generations in the life of the Grover family. As the idiosyncratic characters reluctantly confront adulthood, one Grover is always there to take notes. But after she’s diagnosed with a rare, potentially fatal disease (the 81 side effects of which include dramatic changes in her appearance, not to mention the dreaded possibility of having to move back home), the book becomes something unexpected: a survival guide.

Named one of the Best of 2011 by the Portland Mercury!

Read the reviews in the Portland Mercury and the SF Weekly.

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