My new “gentri-fi” novel Byebye and Shlort is here! It’s got what you need: comedy, tragedy, language traps, language weapons, mayhem, friendship, frenemies, migration, deportation, drugs, yuppies, nonprofits, landlords, gentrification, displacement, homelessness, death from exposure, everyone’s excuse for how we can’t live any other way, and of course beer and weed!
It’s my love letter to San José, in hope that the people through education and cooperation can get the city we deserve, as the guy says. Hope I can go on living in San José for a few more years! Of course you can all make me rich by purchasing the book and send me off to Aptos…
I’m especially excited that the book will be at Bluestockings in Manhattan! You can call Hennepin County and Denver libraries and tell them to take that offer that they got this past week!
Anyone who reads the book can keep the world turning by rating it on Goodreads as well. ¡Viva la anarquía!
In The Guadalupe River and the Hidden Heart of San José, Eric Simons writes in the latest Bay Nature magazine about my beloved and trash-choked Guadalupe River and its system in the Santa Clara Valley. The interviewee, Roger Castillo, has showed the writer around the city where salmon, whom I never see in my stretch of the Guadalupe, are living in the storm drains of the freeway system. I found this astoundingly poetic. Homeless fish living under the freeway because they can’t afford the river! Thanks, successful people!
The article is worth a read no matter where you live. If it smashes some preconceptions about Silicon Valley, that’s a bonus. There are a lot of us in this town who would love to see the freeways, semiconductors and banks vanish with their neonazi brogrammer operators and have our cheapass stonefruit and goats back.
Those moved to help the river can sign up to clean it with the 222 Crew of South Bay Clean Creeks Coalition, a local organization with community-based anarchy leadership. Make it a punishment for when your kids are on their phone too much!
In related news, I recently looked and found out that people living downtown such as the Washington “Goosetown” and Reed neighborhoods use groundwater, so it’s in everyone’s best interest not to trash the river.
Way behind in my zine reviews since I’ve been pretty much committed these last months to Byebye and Shlort and this movie script thing. I’ve had these five episodes of Free Money, “illustrative journalism from the future” by Cyberpunk Dan since January, which he sells for “1 gal. gas.” The interesting thing about these is that he appears to be writing and printing them while living in a “customized 95 G20 Sport” and traveling, though he seems to be based in Pittsburgh.
The stories are about underemployed working-class rebels who get into crazy messes while trying to do a job or make their own work. No corporate bottom-feeders here. The first story’s protagonist upsets the pecking order in her shithole town by doing some cleaning that no one else wanted to do until she started getting paid for it. Mayhem ensues.
Honestly I can’t tell anymore if he draws them on a computer or with mixed media, or with mixed media augmented by a computer, or whatever, but the line is loose and active, the colors well-planned and expressive. And it comes on newspaper instead of xerox, which I love.
Besides the focus on matters of survival, what I liked about the zines is how Dan generally does it like the old comics did, offering advice, spots for reader interaction, advertising space, and news about arts events. The marginal budgeting tips add to the stories’ pervading and tense feeling of “I’m sick of fuckin being broke,” with which I think many of us can identify.
I’m glad I finally got to this review since it made me look at the stuff again. I’m definitely into it. Buy Free Money and support Dan wherever you can! If you have InstaGram, he’s @cyberpunkdan.
Finally, finally made it to the fourth floor of my beloved King Library, after a bitter monthlong absence, to be shit last in seeing San José old hand David Mejia’s exhibition Before and After Thanksgiving. It’s a painting (watercolor, right?) exercise and a modest history lesson. Mejia has been pushing his stuff for years. One of my favorites is the profane and puerile Ballman. It’s excellent that he’s getting some love at the library. Go see the paintings before November 30! I’ll let the paintings speak for themselves:
Low-res, off-center photos posted for collegiality and appreciation only. I really dig the playful but purposeful use of color and the comic book-style planning in general. It gives an emotional directness needed by the subject, just as an improvised shamanic performance would in a more advanced culture than our own.
I also like how he mentioned using fish as fertilizer in poor soils, because it reminded me of the many years of my life I spent wondering why the fuck, as it said in some school textbook of mine, they “planted fish.”
Happy Halloween everyone! Not scared yet? Think of how you’re going to pay rent this month! Just consider, if we could just convince property owners to lower their arbitrary prices. What good is private property when it can’t get be traded easily for a fix?