Sunday, August 26, 2007

January in Berzerkley

These are some photographs from Berkeley in January 2006. I gave a talk at Mrs. Dalloway's Books on College Avenue, a nice independent bookstore. The turnout was good and I met alot of interesting people that night.

My childhood friend Garrett Scott showed up, classically late as usual. It wouldn't be Garrett without him being a bit late. He was in San Francisco doing research on a documentary film about Jim Jones and San Francisco politics. He was an up-and-coming documentary filmmaker who did acclaimed documentaries Cul-du-Sac: A Suburban War Story and Occupation Dreamland, which won a major award from the Independent Spirit Awards in March 2006. He was also a semi-finalist for the Oscar's in documentary filmmaking. With much sadness, he died in early March 2006 before he could receive the award. He will be sorely missed, and I feel like I lost my left-brain when he died, his mind and way of thinking was so inspirational. I'll post on Garrett in the future, but it's been hard even to view photographs of him since he passed away.

Tabby and I saw our friends John and Katie Eller with Garrett while in S.F., so here's the picture.

Boy, I lucked out!

Now that I left university teaching for publishing, I feel quite lucky that my book has been reviewed well. Since it came out in October 2005, I have been busy, busy, busy with invitations to give talks to community organizations, historical societies, and historic presevation groups. Book signing and reading at an independent bookstore often brings surprises. When I did a reading at DG Wills Books in La Jolla, a woman who was over 80 years old showed up, and told this interesting story about going to the San Diego World's Fair of 1935. I like it when this happens, and if you don't take the time to speak publicly, you'd probably never hear these stories. I'll be consulting on an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution's National Building Museum, called Designing the World of Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s set to open January 2009. I'll have an article about social housing and the FHA in the museum catalog. It was nice they even bothered to contact me out of the blue

I was pretty psyched that people I don't even know professionally liked the book, since it covers alot of topics like urban planning, California and Southwestern history, anthropology and American Indian history, among other topics. I thought every discipline would think it was aweful, not enough in one humanities area for scholars. I never received funding for this book, and received comments like, "I vacationed in San Diego in 1990, and I didn't see any social conflict or problems, everyone seemed happy." At the last moment the San Diego Historical Society supported the project with a generous indirect subsidy, from Gregg Hennessey, the former editor of the Journal of San Diego History to successive directors of the research archives like Rick Crawford and John Panter. As public history, I guess if worked out best this way. Now that it's done, I can think about writing a book about politics and culture proper.

Here's two, public domain reviews of the book.

Strange Days

With the help of my friend Brad Hayes of Sharkbait Skate Zine, I decided to start this "blog" that is really my cheap author website. I'm too old to understand all the Macromedia software for creating websites and all the instructions were about 100 pages long. Forget it, so here I am in the "blogosphere." I will not be blogging about current events or politics or my writing so much as posting excerpts of new writing about conservatism and the politics of culture since 1970. I'm excited about this new book project since I'm out of academe now, so there's no pressure to publish anything before it's ready. I'll be posting an excerpt about every 2-3 months, so stay tuned.

I'll also try to make my published reviews and select articles available on the blog for mostly my friends and colleagues, and those who stumble across the site. I'll also include some book signing photographs, old band photographs, nostalgic photographs of cool people I knew, and skate-photos for my friends.