FREE GOLD LIT: Mark Leidner Book Launch

Update: The event went-off, and a good time was had by all. Photos courtesy Stephen F. Trull, Jr., and Hae Min Cho. Scott Feeney won the swag pack full of books with a score ~400k.

Saturday, 7/21, I'm throwing a party for Mark Leidner to celebrate the publication of his collection of short stories, UNDER THE SEA, edited by Giancarlo DiTrapano and published by Tyrant Books. Joining Mark will be the poet Amanda Nadelberg and the sci-fi/dystopian/anthologist writer Nick Mamatas


I've thrown a few events in the past with writers such as Matt Bell, Lisa Ciccarello, Ruth Galm, Tracey Knapp, Matthew Siegel, Michelle Adelman, Alicia Jo Rabins, and Siamak Vossoughi. Typically I've hosted at Alley Cat Books in the Mission, which has a really beautiful space in the back for events. It's always been a good time.

This time, though, I'm bringing it a little closer to home. FREE GOLD WATCH is a pinball arcade and screen printing shop here in the Upper Haight. I've been kicking around the idea of running a periodic series called FREE GOLD LIT. Tonight's the demo run of that idea. Bookstores in SF do a great job of throwing events. Particularly Green Apple Books on the Park and The Booksmith/Bindery, but I wonder if there might be more of an opportunity for writers to connect and form community over, say, large quantities of booze and pinball. (Just a theory.)

There will be some books for sale, and we'll also be giving away a swag pack of books for the high score of the night on the pinball machine FATHOM.

If you're in the Upper Haight on Saturday night, swing through. We'll be there from 7PM until 10PM.




Song of Binary Times

Let us sing of binary times. 

Those days of validation or outrage.

Because those were your options. A slot machine in every pocket. If you pulled at it you got paid in dopamine or fury. But that wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. You could get nothing, like your gesture went ignored. Like you lost your connection to the world, which was and was not the one in your peripheral vision. 

Bipolar was not a disorder, it was the new order. The country was or wasn’t run from a country club in Florida, where there were bump stocks on the news cycles and sandtraps of nose beers on the end tables. The Situation Room was a Florida Room. We were all in the Florida Room. It was also run on the internet, but the man running it didn’t look at the internet personally. He had people who looked at the internet for him and told him all about it. It was the most sensible thing he did.

The joke-not-joke went like this: One morning during executive time he took out a pad of stationary with his gilded logo and said, “Somebody write down how many years a president can be president.” An aide wrote down the number 8. “Wrong,” he said. “You are so, so wrong.” He turned the paper clockwise ninety degrees so the 8 lay down and made the symbol for infinity.

He meant and didn’t mean himself. He meant his brand. He meant his carbon hoofprint. He was talking in terms of executive time. It was like geological time, but less science-y.

A screen printing shop whipped up movie posters. Coming soon: ZAPRUDER FILM 2: CODE ORANGE/WIG DOWN. Along the bottom: A 14 Grassy Knolls Production. It was a reference to the famous number of hills in the city and its unspeakable desires. And yet the intended target’s megaphone of choice was right there on the corner of Market & 10th.

There was an elaborate heist going down which transferred wealth from venture capitalists to slumlords, claimed the venture capitalists. And yet.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents periodically raided the pre-dawn, and local law enforcement announced they would not coordinate with or aid Federal agents. Homemade flyers taped to telephone polls said DON’T WALK ON BY, TAKE ACTION! STOP I.C.E. “LA MIGRA” IMMIGRATION RAIDS AND DEPORTATIONS —BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY —. It listed a hotline number and a website. The resistance was drawn with a Sharpie.

There was an elaborate heist going down which transferred vast quantities of personal information to predictive analytics companies with machine learning algorithms, claimed the people happily sharing their data. And yet. 

Let us sing of binary times.

Days of the problematic and woke.

Swipe left, swipe right. What if we wrote an app that helped syphilis become untreatably drug resistant?

OK Google. Hashtag youtoo.

The joke-not-joke went like this: Hey Siri, If we built a new HQ the size of God’s cockring, would it be big enough for Steve?

Hey Alexa, snitches get stitches.

Hey Joe, where are you going with that gun in your hand?

And Joe said: To class.

The joke-not-joke went like this: In the wake of the recent school shooting, they asked the head of the NRA if he thought it might be time to embrace new gun control laws. “Senator with all due respect” the head of the NRA said, “have we considered schools may be the problem?”

Meanwhile in the Alt-Bill of Alt-Rights.

Let us sing of binary times.

Days of truthers and fake truthers.

Once upon a time Elon Musk shot his car into space.

Once upon a time Jeff Bezos brought it back down so he could do donuts on Steve Ballmer’s lawn.

Once upon a time Mark Zuckerberg said the easiest way to overthrow a government is to let them think they’re still a government. RTFM, and I quote: “A zombie process is a process that has completed execution (via the exit system call) but still has an entry in the process table: it is a process in the “Terminated state”.”

Meanwhile, in the city: Bottomless mimosas, bottomless newsfeed. Top me off.

The bumper sticker said HOWL IS MY CO-PILOT and I threw up in my mouth.

Sorry to be so basic, but could you answer a couple of questions?

Question: What is the difference between a zombie process and an orphan process?

“A zombie process is not the same as an orphan process. An orphan process is a process that is still executing, but whose parent has died. They do not become zombie processes; instead they are adopted by init (process ID 1), which waits on its children.”

Question: What happens to the child process when the parent dies first?

“If the parent is killed, children become children of the init process. The init process checks periodically for new children, and kills them if they have exited (thus freeing resources that are allocated by their return value).”

9-1-1, what isn’t your emergency?

There was an elaborate heist going down where the sea was making off with prime coastal real estate, claimed the people building high-rise luxury condos on the shore. And yet.

Caller, please, there is no need to identify yourself.

Amazon Deal of the Day: Buy one horseman, get three free.

Control the pulldown, control the choices. Please select: 

Life becomes the white horse of labor. Nature becomes the red horse of real estate. Exchange becomes the black horse of money. Reality becomes the chrome horse of behavior.

Add to cart? Turn on 1-click ordering?

The court jesters zipped up their hoodies and checked on their bitcoin. “Here comes the crown with his sword and scales, pursued by Hell.”

King GAFA looked around the EU and laughed. “Damn, Bill’s startup didn’t even make it into the acronym.”

The joke-not-joke went like this: All of the world’s leaders for life went down to Cupertino for a visit. After touring the new digs they agreed: “It’s gonna take a big one to satisfy a zero this size.”

Real cities never cease. The wounds may be mortal and they may enter a state like death, but they always resurrect. Even if they are bombed to rubble. This immortal quality separates the real city from the strip mall, from the developer’s mehtopia. Those zones claim no space in the mind. They are faced but forgettable, like currency, and fungible.

But look at Hell, how exquisitely it is rendered. Hell is one of the great cities of time. This, too, is the quality of a real city. All souls must suffer—to varying degree—to claim residence.

This is time upon a once. This is ever after happily.

Yeah but hole up lemme axe you this: What it gonna look like when Silicon Valley go Detroit?

PBS Newshour say: Stay Flinty, my N-word.

The joke-not-joke went like this.

There was an elaborate heist going down. 

Let us sing of binary times.

Those days of validation and outrage.

Let us sing of the Battle of San Francisco.

Back from the (Bad Habits) Lab

Through 2015 - 2017 I finished a novel (working title: Golden Gate) which dealt in part with graffiti and street art in the Bay Area. While following a number of artists on Instagram, I happened to catch an invite from Bad Habits Lab to a private warehouse show in SOMA. Inside, a number of O.G. legends in the scene painted original pieces specifically for the event.

Sadly, the show was shut down after one night. Below are some shots from walls:

(The next to last image in the gallery is a "FLOODED" highway sign painted by Eye Spy. I was lucky enough to take that piece home with me.)

In my novel Golden Gate, an alcoholic EMT who loses his job after failing to stop a teenage girl from committing suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge gets busted down to street cleaning. Not long after he begins removing graffiti, someone stencils the face of the doomed girl all over San Francisco. He is both haunted and hunting for the ghost. The novel circles surveillance, apparent and hidden cultures, disparity, and the wondrous, ever-screwing vice anyone who's lived in San Francisco or the Bay Area understands.

If you move on the level of the street, you cannot help but begin to pay attention to the evolution of the living texture. What at first seems visual noise becomes a hidden text. From the vandal's tag to the sanctioned mural, the signs and symbols grow to be companions in otherwise lonely or hostile environments. They stand against every surface being auctioned and monetized.

A little cut from the novel:

“Who knew who had collected their face. One day they would all only be known by their faces. They would never be able to escape them. The graffiti writers understood this from the start. Ninja masks wrapped from t-shirts, respirators, black hats, sunglasses before dawn. The future beyond names was fast approaching. If you hadn’t learned to live in the sixty-first minute of the twenty-fifth hour, you would be branded.”

I hope to have more news to share soon. Gratitude to all the artists who have taken the risks and shared their talent in San Francisco.