Saturday, May 03, 2008

the festival of books: alternative visions

My final panel of the festival was Alternative Visions with Shelley Jackson (in her second appearance in my schedule), Steve Erickson (without whom no Festival of Books would be complete), Zachary Lazar, and Nina Revoyr, hosted by moderator extraordinaire David Ulin.

Alternative visions discussed include literal realism, conjoined twins, Our Ecstatic Days, protopunks discovering movies, cineautism, listening to heavy metal instead of reading, The Rolling Stones, Japanese silent film stars, fake memoirs, working with well-known source material, the obsessive slog of a novel, mythic structure, the cliché of the late '60s/early '70s, The Melancholy of Anatomy, The Anatomy of Melancholy (David Ulin's favorite book), Patchwork Girl, Frankenstein, reading by typing vs. channeling Mary Shelley, identity politics as the topic of a novel, Hollywood as a non-topic, Southland, the Watts Riots, Keith Richards as Agonistes, writing about the most terrible topic you can come up with, Camille Paglia, the libraries of The Rolling Stones, misreading Los Angeles, Los Angeles willfully pretending it exists in defiance of history, Los Angeles as the end of history, history as a grand, messy expression of the personal, neighborhoods of color, the uncovered stories of Los Angeles, narrative as expression of the temporal, decaying body, mortal works of art, the zombie life of books, fleshy text, language as a physical presence, and the potential mass murder mystery of Shelley Jackson's Skin Project.