Beach Art: From Trash to Treasure

by Alyssa Sanchez

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“The opposite of beauty really, is not ugly. The opposite of beauty is indifference. And we’re trying not to be indifferent about this and about the world.”


 

Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang are a couple living in Northern California who have been visiting Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore for 16 years. This dynamic duo loves to take long walks on the beach collecting plastic debris. Sounds romantic, right? Their story begins back in 1998 on Kehoe Beach—their first date—when Judith picked up a piece of plastic in the sand and Richard asked her, “Are you going to keep that?” Continue reading

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Beneath The Postcard: Sunshine/Noir II Continues the Search for “The Other San Diego.”

Sunshine-Noir-II-194x300It has been ten years since San Diego City Works Press published its first book Sunshine/Noir: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana. This anthology used various media to explore the darker aspects of the identity of “America’s Finest City.” This exploration continues with City Works Press’ most recent publication: Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana.  From the ominous, unsettling cover art by Perry Vasquez where a skeleton is peering through a border fence to witness the destruction of the famed Hotel Del Coronado, Sunshine/Noir II is a book with an obvious missionThis exploratory collection features both established and emerging writers and artists, most of whom hail from San Diego, all asking the question whether directly or tacitly, “What makes San Diego what it is?” From ruminations on border politics, to the Black Power movement, to the blooming of jacarandas, Sunshine/Noir II is a “gorgeous hybrid monster” of history, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art and photography.

San Diego has by necessity of location, been a hotbed of border politics. Perry Vasquez’s essay “The Future of Post-Bordernity” asks the poignant question, “Why do we think of the border as having a fixed and permanent national identity instead of a contingent and temporary one?” Vasquez addresses this question by highlighting the work of a performance artist like Ana Teresa Fernandez who in Borrando la Frontera dressed in all black as in mourning, and proceeded to paint the bars of the border light blue until they seemed to vanish. She exposes the absurdity of the idea of permanence. In Vasquez’s opinion, artists like Fernandez are integral to bringing about a conversation that continually contests the idea of a fixed border especially in a setting like Friendship Park where Mexico and the United States have a dialogue that penetrates the mythical border fence. “The park is a meeting place where friends, strangers and loved ones can speak to each other through the vertical bars and mitigate the pain of separation and loss.”

As co-editor and contributor Jim Miller poignantly states: “…San Diego is still in need of a literary voice, a cultural identity that goes beyond the Zoo, Sea World, Legoland, and the beach. With Sunshine/Noir II we persist in our romantic, perhaps Sisyphean, effort to address this need and expose the true face of ‘the other San Diego.’” Steve Kowit, the late author and poet to whom this book is dedicated, captures a moment of rare beauty in his poem “Dusk in the Cuyamacas,” a moment that is also a facet of this true face:

It was that tangerine

& golden

sepia light

spilling over the cuyamacas

-each leaf

of the manzanita

chiselled in space-

that shook me out of my dreams

till I woke again

to my own life:

everything shimmering

everything just as it is.

San Diego, like anyplace has the power to remind us of what is important and to appreciate our surroundings if we simply remember to slow down and take it all in. As residents, we owe it to ourselves and to each other to dig deeper into our history to see where we have come from in order that we may better see where we can go. San Diego is a unique geographic location, we are in a special locale with a long history that deserves to be explored and celebrated and/or condemned. Whatever the history, it is ours. Let’s learn from it, and try not to forget, in the process, the beauty of “everything shimmering.”

by Victor Hernandez

A Unique Perspective: Bill Mosley Reinterprets the Familiar San Diego Cityscape

bill_portrait_01Stepping into The Frame Maker, there are many shiny objects vying for your attention. From the gloss of the reception desk to the hundreds of gorgeous frame samples that line the walls, but something on the far wall catches the eye, it beckons from across the room. You pass two men in deep conversation and walk towards the far wall. It is a triptych, three horizontal oil paintings of snaking gray lines of various thicknesses. They are different views of the same freeway interchange in Mission Valley. What is arresting about these images is not the subject matter, but their odd aerial perspective. Upon closer inspection the paintings look almost distorted as if the artist has been unsuccessful in his rendering, but Bill Mosley is a professional…how can this be? You keep this question in the back of your mind as you move on and take in the other artwork on display.

To celebrate the release of artist Bill Mosley’s first book, VERTICALS | Over San Diego, The Frame Maker, a frame shop and gallery that has been providing custom framing services in San Diego for over 39 years, hosted a book signing and art sale event on December 5th, 2015. The event coincided with the artist’s exhibition “A San Diego Experience” which showcases Mr. Mosley’s current work and images included in the book is on display in the showroom. You pull out your cell phone to look up some background information on Bill Mosely. The Frame Maker’s website provides some important background information on the artist: “As a native of San Diego, Bill has always had a strong connection to the physicality of the urban environment. His first downtown studio provided him with the opportunity to paint the views from it’s rooftop. This cemented his interest in the uniqueness of perspectives from well above our usual grounded views. As buildings grew taller downtown, the artist found a fertile ground to explore.” Aha you exclaim!  Now were on to something. The mystery of the triptych’s unusual perspective is beginning to unfold.

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Bill Mosley works mostly in oils as you can see but there are two pieces done in pastels as well as prints of artwork that was created on an iPad. It’s wonderful to see that Mosley has embraced technology as another tool in which to explore his artistic sensibility. The aerial rooftop views of the city are mesmerizing.  You imagine yourself parachuting in from above, in awe of these buildings you’ve seen so many times before, but never from this viewpoint. You find yourself back near the entrance and that triptych catches your eye once again. It was meant to be viewed from a distance you think. “I rented a helicopter to get the photos on which those paintings are based,” a voice says. You turn to see the artist smiling directly at you. “Its a combination of aerial photography and satellite imagery.”   Ahhhh…now it makes sense. “It’s the same point in space but from three different views.” His explanation is enlightening but the paintings still retain their strange power. It’s the integration of technology that makes the perspective so disorienting, you think. To render this disorientation successfully with oil paints is a true talent. He goes on to explain some of his techniques and his media of choice. He is personable and passionate and you can’t help but like him. But it’s time to go. You introduce yourself and thank Mr. Mosley for the conversation.

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“A San Diego Experience” is an exhibition worth seeing. Mosley makes a strong effort to present the city of San Diego from different perspectives, perspectives which highlight the beauty of the city’s architecture and its relationship to the surrounding natural landscape and which most of us rarely, if ever get to see.  To see familiar parts of San Diego from such unique points of view is to see the city anew, with fresh eyes. “A San Diego Experience” is currently on view through December 24 in the The Frame Maker’s showroom. VERTICALS and artwork by Bill Mosley can be purchased from the artist directly through his website as well as through The Frame Maker.

To celebrate the release of VERTICALS, Mosley also released a special limited edition print “Point Loma View.” This print though it is more traditional in terms of perspective, perfectly captures Mosley’s aesthetic. The San Diego skyline is nestled between the bay and East County mountains and the sense of being over the city somehow is unmistakable.

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by Victor Hernandez

On Richard Powers’ Orfeo

by Alyssa Sanchez

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“How did music trick the body into thinking it had a soul?”


Orfeo is a contemporary novel, loosely inspired by the myth Orpheus, that delves into themes of science and music to further explore that very question. Orfeo was written by author Richard Powers. Even though he originally pursued physics in university, Powers changed his major (as most of us do) when he discovered his passion for English and has since published eleven novels. He was the recipient of the McAuthur “genius grant” and the National Book Award. One of his most popular books The Echo Maker was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Continue reading

Sandbox Event Review

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It’s late at night. The smell of cigarettes, cheap well whiskey, and the salty beach only a few blocks away permeates the air and creates an aroma specific to Southern California. Its an unmistakable welding of the dirty city streets, the gritty sand, and cologne from bar-hoppers prancing about the streets. Then, uniquely pertaining to Sandbox, the smell of light, smoky wood and fried delicacies off-set by steel guitar strings and the nervousness and sweat dripping from the first performer’s hands. Its hard to know where I start and this wooden bar-stool begins; everything feels strangely one with the object next to it. Am I off-setting this delicate ecosystem? Or am I adding to its hearty flavor in a usual, familiar way, like every other audience member? In either case, I am comforted by the nerves of the first performer; so humble and earnest, surprised by the hoots and hollers of their audience. He admits to being urged on stage last minute, and he plays a Jackson Five remix after I cheered that he could sing the “ABCs” and it would still sound so beautiful. It was a mediocre attempt at calming his nerves, as I was surprised that someone so musically inclined was so nervous to perform for the drunken, appetizer-craven band of misfits that created his impromptu audience. He makes the SandBox scene, a group of strangers bunched together in their little circles of friends, feel like neighbors who are witnessing something rough, but wonderfully imperfect. The highest quality performance imaginable for a weekly open-mic night.

Until, the next performance equally surprised and delighted me. The singer is apparently a friend of a friend. But her voice is so deep and powerful that she immediately feels like a stranger. She must be a professional, I think to myself. But no, this is the kind of crowd that SandBox and its Tuesday night open-mic calling attracts. “Amateur” musicians, who have performed and recorded sparingly, for themselves, but have in their life-time mastered their acoustic art enough to sing a Vance Joy radio smash almost better than the original. The beat has been slowed, key slightly altered to fit her softer voice, and, uniquely to her performance. The drummer is using the back of an acoustic guitar in a way I have never seen. It almost sounds like a jembeh and a bongo intrinsically combined, and he is a genius with his unique instrument.

The following performances, whether planned or impromptu, were equally as impressive. We found ourselves singing along to the songs we knew, applauding and hollering out at the performers as if we were, in some way, apart of their performance. The relaxed, “do what you will” atmosphere feels special and relative to its environment. Sandbox is a gem hidden amongst hip, but competitive, local bars on the string leading down to Pacific Beach. It is never too crowded, a pleasant surprise for those looking for good service or for good acoustics so that you can continue your conversation at will or sing along to a throwback acoustic performance that catches your attention. For the quality of performances and delightful menu concoctions, this open-mic night should be gathering a much bigger group of patrons. I left feeling some sort of civic duty to advertise the Sandbox name enough to pack the place for each Tuesday night’s performances. But, then I realized that perhaps the unique quality and ability to move around is what makes this event so special. A gem that felt like our little secret, to find and revel in artists with the skill level as high as any acoustic performance I have heard live, but almost in an unknowing way. Sandbox’s humble but endearing nature, friendly staff and performers alike, is what keeps me coming back.

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You can check out their menu or local events at

www.sandboxsd.com

by Meg Zabriskie

Interview: Jim Miller

                                                     by Victor Hernandez

Jim_miller-210Jim Miller truly is an example of the engaged citizen. A native San Diegan, Miller is the cofounder of the San Diego Writers Collective and San Diego City Works Press. He is also the Vice-President of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931. An author and editor, Miller has published two novels, as well as fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in various literary journals. He most recently served as co-editor of Sunshine Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana. Miller currently teaches American Literature and Labor Studies at San Diego City College. You can read his weekly column “Under the Perfect Sun” in the San Diego Free Press. Mr. Miller was gracious enough to answer some questions for PRESSBOX, where we feel that his ethos is representative of our own.

In addition to being a writer, editor and instructor, you write a weekly column for the San Diego Free Press, how do you balance these responsibilities?

In addition to being a writer, editor, and professor at City College I am also the political action vice president for my union, the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931, so balance is indeed a challenge but I find that being deeply engaged in the world is more of a benefit than a hindrance. For instance, much of my work, particularly for the SD Free Press is political and being part of the local activist community provides me with material and insight on a daily basis. I don’t need to go out and investigate things, I’m already in the thick of it. At City, I teach literature, humanities, writing, and politics so that part of my work keeps my head in the game as well. Talking with my students is always part of my process and I’m always learning. The whole world is at City College.

And over the years, I have come to appreciate the discipline of a column on a deadline. The time constraint clarifies and sharpens your craft as there is often not much time to ruminate. You get used to throwing yourself “in media res” and trusting your instincts. You learn to be more immediately present right away.

For larger projects, the nice thing about working in academia is that we do get breaks in the winter and summer so that’s when you have time to slow down a bit and really dig in, whether that means doing research or simply giving yourself the kind of space you need for the frequently lateral movement of the imagination to happen. I find that while there is plenty of intersection between fiction, non fiction, and poetry, getting to that place where good imaginative work gets done requires more time and a different context than writing non-fiction requires. You’ve got to lose yourself to find yourself despite the fact that so much about our society works against this. So it’s a different kind of discipline–still deeply engaged but more like Zen, getting unstuck and opening.

San Diego City Works Press just celebrated its 10th anniversary, an important milestone for an independent press. Has maintaning the press been difficult? Did you face any major challenges?

Yes, City Works Press has been around for 10 years now and, of course, it’s always difficult. I remember when we first started the San Diego Writers’ Collective and City Works Press my friend Steve Kowit said, “Don’t do it! It will make you miserable!” Then he laughed, gave us some good advice and was supportive all the way through until he unexpectedly died quite recently. We dedicated Sunshine/Noir II to him. We loved Steve and his selfless commitment to the local writing community was an inspiration to us.

Still it’s tough. The major obstacles are the obvious ones–finances, working around other jobs, getting folks to pay attention to your books and buy enough of them for the press to survive. In general, our 100 percent non-profit, all-volunteer, collective model has really helped. All the money we make on the first book goes toward publishing the second book and so on. Thus it’s a labor of love for our authors and editors. It’s about the thing itself, not making money. And–go figure–our potlatch publishing model has persevered and kept us alive and kicking longer than lots of other presses than went the traditional commercial route.

San Diego City Press’ most recent publication, Sunshine/Noir II, which you co-edited, includes many established writers and poets but also includes many emerging writers. Why was it important to include these newer writers?

We thought it was important to include emerging voices because many of those people are telling important stories about who we are in new and fresh ways. It was also important for us to include pieces by people who aren’t necessarily “literary” types but who have a story to tell about their corner of the city or the way they experience life in San Diego.

In your opinion is San Diego beginning to develop a unique literary and artistic identity or is this still a work in progress? Are there any particular writers or artists whose work you think embodies this identity?

In the introduction to Sunshine/Noir II, after outlining our city’s literary history populated by the likes of Oakley Hall and Jim Thompson, I write that, “San Diego is still a city in need of a literary voice, a cultural identity that goes beyond the Zoo, Sea World, Legoland, and the beach.” That doesn’t mean that nobody is doing good work but that San Diego resists being represented in a way that defies its marketing. Thus literary and/or other cultural work that goes beyond our cherished tourist stereotypes is still marginalized despite our growing size and diversity: “we insist upon the sunshine while ignoring the noir, like a politician sticking to his talking points.” Some of the old noir novels I cite tried to go beyond this, and there are great works in our anthology that map our marginal spaces, and in my own humble efforts I too have tried to write beneath the postcard. But it is like engaging in a kind of cultural rebellion of sorts. Cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are comfortable enough with themselves to acknowledge their dark spaces and hence have richer and fuller cultural identities. Ours is still struggling to be born. There are border stories, stories about the “wrong side” of I-5, the underside of the tourist economy, and our imperiled natural landscape waiting to be told. That said, there is not a lot of cultural space available for those tales. This makes San Diego a hard but also an interesting place to be a writer.

Your novels Drift and Flash take place in San Diego, incorporating an extensive amount of the city’s history, what is it about this historical element that appeals to you?

In Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See I wrote that “if history is not dead in San Diego, it is certainly on life support.” Consequently, the voices of the past are faint here, but by resurrecting them and putting them in conversation with the theme park present, we can start to reinvent a richer sense of place and identity. In both Drift and Flash, the narrators are alienated figures in a city that fashions itself beyond alienation so they are drawn to the ghosts of the forbidden past as an antidote to its affectless present. Thus whether it’s the voices of dead Wobblies tortured during the Free Speech Fight in 1912, the residue of ancient grit beneath the Disneyfied streets of the Gaslamp, the traces of lost fishing boats and canneries along the harbor, or the hints about the invisible struggles of the city’s marginalized communities, the narrators of Drift and Flash are compelled by these ghosts because they haunt San Diego’s sunny stage and connect them with something more authentic than the seamless gloss of the hyper-commodified cityscape they occupy.

We only know who we are by knowing where we have been and in San Diego most of us are lost and don’t even know where to start looking for home. In my novels I try to uncover a story of San Diego that invites the reader to reconsider where we have been and who we are, to find home anew.

What kinds of creative projects are you currently working on? Can we expect another novel from you anytime soon? Perhaps a book of poetry?

Right now, I am working on something about life in San Diego, Ocean Beach in particular, in the sixth extinction–the beach party at the end of the world.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: Carrie Brownstein

0903fe1eHunger is a labyrinthine of a word. In the same breath, hunger can be used to describe a feeling of discomfort or weakness stimulated by malnutrition, or it can skip any intermediary by suggesting feelings of strong desire, of a craving for something. To so boldly title something “Hunger Makes a Modern Girl,” as Carrie Brownstein did in her entrenching, complex memoir, is to assume all categories of that word as being applicable to the story that follows suit. In three acts, so to speak, named “Youth,” “Sleater-Kinney,” and “Aftermath,” Brownstein chronicles the minute details and convoluted fabric of her childhood, the development of her popular grunge-girl-rock band as it blossomed during the Riot Grrrl era, and the eventual hiatus that led to her own personal rediscovery, respectively. The memoir’s title is borrowed from her own song titled “Modern Girl,” where definitions of what it means to be a modern girl are changed, twisted to fit circumstance, as Happy, Hunger, or Anger or whatever you may choose makes her modern. Brownstein, pictured on the cover engulfed by the blackness of a sheer stage, clasping a microphone and exuding an energy apropos of any rock royalty, is juxtaposed with a seemingly unfitting title. Hunger could very well be the last word that could be used to describe the girl in that picture. And so it is that Brownstein rakes in an audience of beloved grunge-rock fans, Portlandia fans, or curious reader alike with a multi-dimensional memoir, cover to back page.
The memoir is already interesting in the sense that it seems out of character for Brownstein to open up so vulnerably about he personal life. As a musician, certain aspects of her life have been handled vaguely and poetically in her lyrics, but she admittedly hides behind a sheer veil by adopting a performance rock persona. Opening up to an audience on stage carries less gravity and emotional susceptibility than it does in a complex literary form. Hunger’s first section, “Youth,” reveals aspects of Brownstein’s childhood that were previously deemed esoteric. Brownstein admits that “for a long while (she) could share nothing more than the music itself,” afraid to open up to fans knowing how bottomless their need could be. In chapters 1-4, Brownstein does not put herself on a pedestal in that regard, questioning her mistakenly heightened self-worth by wondering whether or not she could help “them” if she was just like them. She admits to irony of being “not unique” but also parallels that realization with the realization that there is “no normal,” falling somewhere in the middle between two mistaken identities. Sleater-Kinney is often praised for the depth of their lyrics and skillful instrumentation, but Brownstein is quick to recognize that she does not fill in the gaps to justify the realities of her lyrics. Dressing up in character and performing allows you to hide ironically, it makes the audience recaliberate how they visualize the artist.
In “Youth,” Brownstein recalls a turbulent childhood of a girl desperate for light and exposure. After her mother was hospitalized for extreme anorexia, her father realizing he was a closeted homosexual and the subsequent divorce that followed, she unashamedly remembers that “this illness in the family felt like the currency I needed to make myself more interesting.” She describes the shallowness and emptiness of her home through memory, with one in particular recollection standing out as justification for her portrayal. Brownstein’s family dog, Buffy, was getting old, but was not sick by any means. Yet, the dog turned into a stray in her own home on account of everyone’s emptiness. Nobody said goodbye to her and even more distance and detachment brewed within their family circle; to feel like on outsider in your own family circle is a loneliness that corrupts a vulnerable soul. Everything was hidden, secretive, which explains the quietude nature of Brownstein when she could not divulge information from her past. She never wanted herself, nor anybody else to stay hidden, and always thought that her family would have led a happier life had her mother been honest about her illness, had her father ignored his mother’s plea to stay closeted until after she passed away, or if the Brownstein family had focused more on communication than on time-elapsing activities.
In 1993, where section two on Sleater-Kinney begins, Brownstein got involved with the Olympian Riot Grrrl, grunge rock movement with her first queercore band Born Naked. For the first time in her life, she felt the warmth of acceptance. She would listen to K Records singles, to Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, 7 Year Bitch, she would listen to every single one of them. In particular, “Feels Blind” gripped her as an act of defiance and of celebration; someone had put into words her alienation. She had found “a narrative I could place myself inside.” Brownstein’s growth is profound during this portion of her life, she was “a puppy dog for punk,” a real fan of music and of places and would float through space from “somewhere” to “nowhere” to “everywhere.” That year, she met Corin Tucker of Excuse 17, whose lyrics were rhythmically purging where she wanted to pour her guts out. Together, they formed Sleater Kinney and they immediately began learning about co-writing, restraint and arrangement for a trifecta female punk band sans bass. Brownstein, for the first time publicly at least, admits the gravity and inner turmoil that her romantic relationship and breakup with Tucker formalized. In the early days of Kinney, they were passionate and involved, their music taking on similar revolutions as their naive and booming passion. Brownstein’s rudimentary but melodic leads danced around Tucker’s crunch 3-4 chord progressions and liveliness of Janet Weiss’s stomping drum.

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The brutal breakup  was void of any bright-red poetic extension that she could harness in her writing, it was something she was going to have to push through for the sake of their new creation. “Call the Doctor” had no frills, it was the perfect cool grey ribbon amongst the monolithic, realistic sturdiness of the nineties. Janet Weiss bashed out a body, a spine with her drums and made the title of “Dig Me Out” feel like an order, and not a pitiful plea. Brownstein continues to recall specific memories from Kinney’s international touring, but takes the time to distinguish between a “sell-out” and the desire to expand your brand if it is so desired. To her, it all boils down to identity. To court fame and money should feel dirty and sweaty if you lose your identity along the way. Brownstein intermingles tales from the road with realistic depictions of her former life. “Dig Me Out,” she explains, was actually a phrase used to describe the shallow panic she felt when she got stuck in the snow at her mother’s house. Kharma, she assumed as she gauged her mother’s health and weight extemporaneously. But, now that Brownstein was becoming a seasoned writer and musician, she was able to process the end of her relationship, her relationship with her family, and her own personal health issues through songs about lost and found love and desire.
Their album “Hot Rock” was the reach of a desperate hand to “Dig Me Out’s” punch in the face. This album was Kinney’s most idealized collaboration of songs about falling in love and getting hurt and wanting to steal your heart back and maintaining closeness despite geographical disparities and then finding inspiration again…and so on and so it goes.

The process sucked them dry and the bands hiatus followed shortly thereafter. Their next album, “All Hands on the Bad One,” was came with mixed critical acclamation, but a tough acclaim to swallow. Brownstein, and many members of the Riot Grrrl movement, believed that in 1999, feminism was being dumbed down as a marketing ploy. People do not need to be reminded of obvious facts constantly, and critics seemed to be hung up on the fact that all-female bands were getting so popular. Their goal, however, was to not deny their femaleness but to expand the notion of what it is to be female. The song “#1 Must-Have” is a commodification of once-radicalized tenets of Riot Grrrl and feminism by the mainstream.
The final section of the novel, “Aftermath,” chronicles the band’s hiatus and the life that slowly introduced itself back into Brownstein’s soul. When she once used to have to adopt animals and hire people to take care of them when she was on tour, just so there would be some sort of evidence of life when she got home, she was now free to experiment with different career paths, one of which leading to the well-established acting career she has today. The hiatus gave them time to establish lives outside of Olympia, outside of their tour bus. This final chapter is explanatory for the many Sleater-Kinney fans who may have wondered about the circumstances surrounding the band’s hiatus, and leaves us with the idea that even rock gods and goddesses are human, with imperfections that both drive and hinder the creative process.

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Buy Hunger Makes a Modern Girl on Amazon

And find Sleater-Kinney albums and new tour dates here

by Meg Zabriskie

Mission Statement

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said on the purpose and beauty of literature: “You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

PRESSBOX provides an avenue for intriguing discussions that encompass art, music, and literature; an eclectic melting pot of diverse media and conversation. Through book reviews, commentary on concerts, art shows, and interviews with creators, this journal offers insight to multi-dimensional art featured in California.

PRESSBOX is a platform for all things experimental, imaginative, and inventive. No matter the creative media: modern art, new literary classics, underground music, or anything in between, PRESSBOX invites you to become advocates for artisanal revelry. Join the discussion and provide your input on local artists who need a microphone for their voice to be heard.

As native Californians, we are devoting this journal to the discovery of artistic capability of our Golden State. Your creative input is welcomed with celebration at PRESSBOX: Local. Innovative. Art.

From Monologue to Dialogue: On the Importance of a Creative Writing Collective

by Victor Hernandez

cw2004I first took a creative writing class almost 10 years ago when I was a young, melancholy poet in training. Afraid of any form of criticism, I was insecure and quickly took any negative comments toward my precious creations as a personal affront. I was so certain that any story worthy of being written would very simply have to change the world. If I wasn’t capable of creating some grandiose philosophical piece of “literature” baring my soul in the process, then I had no business making any attempts at being a real writer. It’s apparent to me now why I could never develop characters that were unlike myself and engaged in some way in the same melodramatic dilemmas with no ending in sight. Continue reading

Facing True Wilderness: Tom Killion and Gary Snyder Reunite in a Collaborative Exploration of California’s Untamed Coast.

by Victor Hernandez

61oNZCw9tLL._SY390_BO1,204,203,200_Tom Killion’s new book California’s Wild Edge: The Coast in Poetry, Prints and History, is as ambitious as it sounds.  Edge is filled with essays, history, poetry, and vibrant images that are as varied as the California coast itself. Killion’s purpose is two-fold: “This book is about finding the song of the California coast. It is a personal quest, pursued through years of sketching and meditating on the coastal land-and sea-scape; but it is also a search through the words of others, and the stories they tell.” Continue reading