Writing News

Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 by Allison Byers

Fantagraphics Books and award-winning cartoonist Justin Hall have produced a definitive collection of the greatest LGBT comics created over the last four decades.

Out superheroes such as Northstar, Batwoman, and Green Lantern’s Alan Scott weren’t always a part of the landscape of comic book characters. Not so long ago even acknowledging the LGBT community was forbidden in the conventional world of comics. That didn’t stop queer cartooning and characters from existing, though.

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Posted on Monday, July 9, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Matt Silady loves teaching, storytelling, and drawing. And as CCA's unofficial "Professor of Comics," he gets to do all three every day. Silady's passion for his job is infectious. It is truly a calling, and it explains why every fall and spring semester course he's ever taught as part of both the college's undergraduate Writing and Literature Program and the MFA Program in Writing has been full to capacity.

"Any day that I can spread the word and show people what comics can do, it's a good day," admits Silady, whose plans are afoot to greatly expand CCA's graduate and undergrad comics curriculum to offer more opportunities to students interested in graphic storytelling.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Equal of the Sun
Scribner, 2012
Hardcover, 448 pages, $26

Legendary women -- from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots -- changed the course of history in the royal courts of 16th-century England. They are celebrated in history books and novels, but few know of the powerful women in the Muslim world, who formed alliances, served as key advisers to rulers, lobbied for power on behalf of their sons, and ruled in their own right. Equal of the Sun, a novel by Anita Amirrezvani (Writing faculty) is a tale of power, loyalty, and love in the royal court of Iran.

Her protagonist is Princess Pari Khan Khanoom Safavi. Iran in 1576 is a place of wealth and dazzling beauty. But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult. Princess Pari, the Shah’s daughter, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but the princess’s maneuvers to instill order after her father’s sudden death incite resentment and dissent. Pari and her closest adviser, Javaher, a eunuch able to navigate the harem as well as the world beyond the palace walls, are in possession of an incredible tapestry of secrets and information that reveals a power struggle of epic proportions.

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Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 by Rachel Walther

When CCA alumni (and married couple) Kevin Krueger and Kristin Olson (both Individualized Major 2011) were looking around the Bay Area for an affordable studio the year after graduation, they found their dream space at 1158 Howard Street in San Francisco, formerly the home of leather bondage shop Stormy Leather.

There was just one problem: With its multiple ground floor rooms, basement areas, and loft, it was simply too large for their needs. "We didn't know what to do at first with that much space," remembers Krueger. But then the answer presented itself: They opened up their more-than-enough studio to a larger community of friends and colleagues. Staring in January 2012, the newly named Alter Space began hosting a series of exhibitions, workshops, and live performances.

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Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Jim Norrena

In the following interview, Writing and Literature and MFA Program in Writing faculty member Matthew Iribarne discusses his recent experience teaching CCA's ENGAGE: Teaching Creative Writing graduate course (spring 2012).

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Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Jim Norrena

CCA's MFA Program in Writing and the Center for Art and Public Life launched a pilot course in the spring, called ENGAGE: Teaching Creative Writing. The course marks the first partnership between the graduate Writing Program and Oakland School for the Arts (OSA), an urban, public charter school housed within the Fox Theatre's administrative offices in downtown Oakland.

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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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