January's Literary Events

Thursday, Jan. 13
Look, you can try to keep spraying it with heavy doses of DADT, but the International Homosexual Conspiracy simply will not be repressed. Larry-bob Roberts has understood this all along. He did, after all, write a book called The International Homosexual Conspiracy (Manic D. Press, $15). The last time we discussed Roberts and his book, we said he could be described as "the Stephen Colbert of queer culture." Then — boom — Amazon went ahead and described him as the Stephen Colbert of queer culture (quoting SF Weekly, kindly). We also said his new book's title might make Roberts sound like the Glenn Beck of homophobes, but nobody has picked that one up yet. Probably because Roberts is funny (see: the whole Colbert thing), less reactionary blowhard than anarchosatirist. The thing is that when he gets to ranting, he takes on not just the hetero-status-quo anxiety of queer culture, but also the self-satisfaction within it. You just can't keep him down. You can, however, meet him and hear him read from his book at the Castro Books Inc., 2275 Market (at 16th St.), S.F. 7:30 p.m., free; 864-6777 or www.booksinc.net.

Wednesday, Jan. 19
Now that "Don't trust anybody over 30" is itself well over 40, what do we do? Maybe New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman knows, for it was she who assembled the new book 20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker (FSG, $16), in which some of that magazine's vaunted fictioneers are to be trusted despite their age. A few of them live around here, so they're probably all right. Daniel Alarcón is the associate editor of the Peruvian magazine Etiqueta Negra, the author of two story collections and one novel, and the winner of the 2009 International Literature Award. Chris Adrian is the author of three novels and a short story collection, and is also a pediatric hematology-oncology fellow at UCSF. Yiyun Li is obviously the slacker of the group, having forsaken her teen-prodigy talent for math and bailed on her immunology Ph.D to become a writer of extraordinary, prize-decorated short stories and novels. Luckily, being young, she still has time to make something of herself. Meet all these crazy kids and make generational pronouncements about them at City Lights, 261 Columbus (at Broadway), S.F. 7 p.m., free; 362-8193 or www.citylights.com.

Thursday, Jan. 20
The theme for InsideStorytime's next event has been chosen, and it is TRAUMA. That's in all caps, according to the website, which also features a picture of what looks like an unpeopled hospital ward. It's a neutral image, yet ominous given the theme and the caps and the credentials of the participating readers. Michael Alenyikov's novel, Ivan and Misha (Northwestern University Press, $19), is a series of linked stories about Kiev-born fraternal twins whose lives and identities are uprooted by the Soviet Union's collapse and a subsequent move to New York. Louise Nayer's memoir, Burned (Atlas, $14), tells of a permanently disfiguring flash fire that engulfed her parents when she was 4. It happened when her mom lit a match to turn on the water heater in a rented beach house. The master of tonight's ceremonies will be writer, editor, and organizer James Warner, who, when he was 39 and having a midlife crisis (possibly exacerbated by the ageist New Yorker?), wrote a great essay for The Rumpus about what it meant to him that Winston Smith, the protagonist of George Orwell's 1984, also was 39. TRAUMA begins at 6:30 p.m. at Cafe Royale, 800 Post (at Leavenworth), S.F. Free; 441-4099 or www.insidestorytime.com.

Wednesday, Jan. 26
Michael McClure was there when Allen Ginsberg first read "Howl" at San Francisco's Six Gallery in 1955. He was just Mike then, and just 22, and he read his own poetry, too, and people noticed. "Allen and I were wallflowers among the lordly and academic figures," he told the Chronicle a few years ago, thinking back on the Beat beginnings. But that was okay, given Ginsberg and McClure's shared opinion that academy was killing poetry anyway. So were war and neglect and lack of love and disinterest, McClure also said. Yet poetry endures, and so does he, prolifically. He'll be reading from his latest book, Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems (UC Press, $35), at City Lights, 261 Columbus (at Broadway), S.F. 7 p.m., free; 362-8193 or www.citylights.com.

Friday, Jan. 28
Here's a fantasy for you: Rachel Kramer Bussel and Violet Blue together — in a bookstore! It's a reality, too, tonight, as the erotica doyennes convene for an intimate evening, with friends. To approximate the tone of their event, consider this combination of the titles of Blue and Bussel's books: "Spanked Orgasmic Fast Girls Seal It with a Kiss, Lips Like Sugar, Yes Ma'am, Bottoms Up." Or you can prepare by spending some private time with a copy of Gotta Have It: 96 Stories of Sudden Sex (Cleis, $16), a new collection edited by Bussel, whose release this event celebrates. Local sexy story writers Susie Hara, Dusty Horn, and Donna George Storey plan to join the action, and — pace yourself, now — there will be cupcakes. It's free and it's at 7:30 p.m. at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Cole), S.F.; 863-8688 or www.booksmith.com.

 
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