187 Reasons Mexicans Can't Cross the Border - And Other Things On A Thursday
• Juan Felipe Herrera uses poetry, prose, and performance to address the crucial human rights issues behind the immigration legislation in 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border, with special guests Johnny Flamingo & the Hot Plates and Al Quintana, City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Avenue, SF, free, 7:00 (415/362-8193, citylights.com, 187express.com)
Last night, under these City lights, I went out to the Galeria de la Raza to hear another old lit-bud, the lit bud, Roberto Tinoco Duran. Very sparsely attended, which is too bad for all of you. Try and catch him sometime. There's no one like him. Absolutely no one. He's an original. (And, that hair! No wonder Miguel Algarin pronounced homeboy, "Gorgeous!"
And, yet another reading, last week at the bookstore in the Ferry Building. I went to hear one of my favorite fiction writers, Ehud Havazelet, who has a new book out, "Bearing the Body." Don't you just wish you had thought of that title? And best for this book. Ehud is an incredible writer. I love teaching him and everytime I buy his short story collection, "What Is It Then Between Us?" I always lose it as I lend it right out to students to read immediately. One can learn SO MUCH by reading a truly gifted writer. I loved going through that book and just reading the first and last lines of every story. The guy is such an imagist. Yes, I'll say it, a poet. Good Jewish/Isreali American lit. This story is one that needs breaking silence and telling again and again. Or, just read the book over and over again. I'm still feeling that fuzzy dream state a good (but disturbing) novel will put you into. That seamless timespace of the fictive state, as I call it. Weird. I've been in a weird mood, since. As he's such a great (yes) poet, he can create such characters that stay in your head and heart. I'm glad I went. Gladder that I bought the book.
Buy all these books - and more.
Now, back to typing. Mid-NaNoWriMo, Write A Novel In A Month month. I've been hanging at the Radio Havana cafe and writing - but, don't tell, it's a secret. They have, like, 5 tables in there. But great place to write. Great music: not too loud or dumb or weaving into your consciousness telling its own story. And GREAT stuff and goofy art all over the walls to look at while trying to get your characters to talk back to you. Always interesting conversations around - to steal from or just act as commercials between the tv show in your head as you write. I also like that it's open late. And serves good food, great Cuban coffee, and beer. No WiFi, but that's the point, no? No distractions but the scratching on the page. (Yes, I'm writing my novel in longhand, in a funny looking lavender journal with the words: THOUGHTS written in script on the front. What better for writing about police corruption, cannery strikes, the hippie movement, US Out of Central American and snuff films, eh?)
When I'm not there, and out and about (I'm a bloody hermit) I'm at my father's old hangout, Cafe Boheme. Not a good place to write as I always know someone, so it's a good place to talk and check email (good WiFi) And it also serves good soup and salads, yerba mate tea (my staple) and homemade sangria - besides all sorts of bad goodies. Sugar will be my downfall, Sugar.
Speaking of which, I still haven't made a dent in sampling all the local restaurants within a 10 block radius. On my block alone there's a Japanese Chinese place, and food from Honduras, El Salvador, Peru, Cambodia (the BEST!), Nicaragua, Guatemala, India, Pakastan, the Yucatan (yes, it's a separate country when you think about it), Mexico, Italy, Spain, Chile, all sorts of Middle Eastern combinations, and a lot more I'm forgetting including the ancient diner with the piggy little cook and Good Frickin Chicken - Arab style. But my current favorite restaurant is the vegan, "Herbivore." My current favorite hangout. I could eat there every day. And, do. Sheesh, I never cook anymore. And that used to be so much of my life, cooking. Soon. Wanna come to my house to eat? Just pick up some pupusas on the way. Provecho!