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July (credit Todd Cole) for Kroll Project

I reviewed Miranda July’s new novel The First Bad Man and Joshua Davis’ Spare Parts for KQED Arts Do List.

Body Talk: Miranda July’s Unsettling, Dirty, and Triumphant New Novel 

Robots Can Only Get You So Far: ‘Spare Parts’ and the American Dream

boyhood_0

A short list of music, books, and films I loved in 2014.

BOOKS

Roxane Gay – Bad Feminist

Naomi Klein – This Changes Everything

Rebecca Solnit – The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness

Amy Poehler – Yes Please

Leslie Jamison – The Empathy Exams

 

MUSIC

Angel Olson – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

 

MOVIES/TV  (Disclaimer: I watched about three movies this year)

The Punk Singer

Boyhood

Transparent

 

I’m happy to be a new contributor over at The Do List, part of KQED Arts.

Here are links to some of my pieces from the past month:

The Marvelous, Complex World of Rebecca Solnit’s ‘The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness’

If Hamlet Had an iPhone: Talking With Mallory Ortberg About ‘Texts From Jane Eyre’

How to Blend In With tUnE-yArDs Technicolor Trip

Cold Beat’s Surreal, Frenetic Pop Comes to Leo’s

A Hopeful Defiance: Angel Olson Talks ’90s R&B, “Women in Music,” and Her Whirlwind Year

I have a story up at Civil Eats, also running online at Time Magazine.com, about new data and guidelines on rice

All rice and rice products are not created equal, according to a new study released today by Consumer Reports. Some types of rice, and some rice grown in specific regions, contain much higher levels of inorganic arsenic (IA) than others.

-How Much Arsenic is in Your Rice? 11/18/2014

Elsa_Gidlow_1974_by_Lynda_Koolish

The Rumpus is excellent and I’m super happy that they published my essay ‘Like Elsa’ last week.

A few summers back, I received a letter from one of my best friends, written from Prospect Park in Brooklyn. She wrote of blue herons, boys in horn-rimmed glasses, our dreams of moving together to a communal property, and, towards the end, of a writer she thought I would like: Elsa Gidlow. My friend had been particularly inspired by Druid Heights, the unfettered bohemian community just outside of Muir Woods in the San Francisco Bay Area, where this radical feminist anarchist lesbian poet had lived for the last half of her life. A copy of Gidlow’s autobiography would arrive on my doorstep within the week, my friend wrote.

From ‘Like Elsa’ – The Rumpus, November 13, 2014

schoolgarden

On the stands at Oliver’s Market, Copperfield’s, Healdsburg SHED and lots of other locations:

On a sunny Friday morning in the Wright Charter school garden, first graders bustle about between rows of lettuce, dried sunflowers, corn, scarlet runner beans, and cabbage. The students tease and jostle, watering and tending plants. The scene looks straight from Anne of Green Gables or any one of those other classics about the simple pleasures of rural life. But this isn’t 19th century Nova Scotia and no one, except possibly the scarecrow, wears calico. These kids live in Roseland, a low-income, unincorporated area of Sonoma County, where high density housing and little access to parks and open space is the norm.

-Learning to Eat: The school garden movement could end diabetes and does provide Common Core curriculum. So why is it still viewed as a hippie’s daydream? – Made Local Magazine, Nov/Dec. 2014

Morris_Ranch-e1414540931508-680x388

New piece up at Civil Eats today:

As one of two counties with fracking bans on the local ballot this November, San Benito County has also become the site of a heated political battle between oil companies and anti-fracking ranchers, farmers, and residents. A similar fight is going down in Santa Barbara County, where oil companies have funneled $7.6 million into a campaign against Measure P, a citizen’s ballot initiative that would ban future high-intensity petroleum operations on unincorporated county land.

Earlier this month, actor and well-known “fracktivist” Mark Ruffalo tweeted: “Hollister (the county seat) is ground zero in the California fracking fight.” And while famous actors aren’t always considered the best source for real talk on climate legislation, Ruffalo is right.

-How a Tiny Farm County Became Ground Zero in California’s Fracking Fight

As one of two counties with fracking bans on the local ballot this November, San Benito County has also become the site of a heated political battle between oil companies and anti-fracking ranchers, farmers, and residents. A similar fight is going down in Santa Barbara County, where oil companies have funneled $7.6 million into a campaign against Measure P, a citizen’s ballot initiative that would ban future high-intensity petroleum operations on unincorporated county land. – See more at: http://civileats.com/2014/10/29/how-a-tiny-farm-county-became-ground-zero-in-californias-fracking-fight/#sthash.nqZYexdA.xWkczMGf.dpuf

As one of two counties with fracking bans on the local ballot this November, San Benito County has also become the site of a heated political battle between oil companies and anti-fracking ranchers, farmers, and residents. A similar fight is going down in Santa Barbara County, where oil companies have funneled $7.6 million into a campaign against Measure P, a citizen’s ballot initiative that would ban future high-intensity petroleum operations on unincorporated county land.

Earlier this month, actor and well-known “fracktivist” Mark Ruffalo tweeted: “Hollister (the county seat) is ground zero in the California fracking fight.” And while famous actors aren’t always considered the best source for real talk on climate legislation, Ruffalo is right.

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2014/10/29/how-a-tiny-farm-county-became-ground-zero-in-californias-fracking-fight/#sthash.nqZYexdA.xWkczMGf.dpuf

As one of two counties with fracking bans on the local ballot this November, San Benito County has also become the site of a heated political battle between oil companies and anti-fracking ranchers, farmers, and residents. A similar fight is going down in Santa Barbara County, where oil companies have funneled $7.6 million into a campaign against Measure P, a citizen’s ballot initiative that would ban future high-intensity petroleum operations on unincorporated county land.

Earlier this month, actor and well-known “fracktivist” Mark Ruffalo tweeted: “Hollister (the county seat) is ground zero in the California fracking fight.” And while famous actors aren’t always considered the best source for real talk on climate legislation, Ruffalo is right.

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2014/10/29/how-a-tiny-farm-county-became-ground-zero-in-californias-fracking-fight/#sthash.nqZYexdA.xWkczMGf.dpuf

Extrativism takes a steep toll on the environment at the Alberta Tar Sands.

Extractivism takes a steep toll on the environment at the Alberta Tar Sands.

Capitalism is on a death ride, and it’s taking all of us with it. So argues Naomi Klein in her new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.

The book is a galvanizing and potent dose of real talk, filled with harrowing stories of the immense damage done by free-market capitalism gone amok. But there’s still time (not much) to stave off a fossil-fuel driven endgame, argues Klein.

“Nothing is going to change until there are broad-based, muscular mass movements that are fighting for change,” says Klein, on the phone from Portland, Ore. “And not just polite NGOs having meetings with lawmakers. These should be political communities deeply invested in social change, much like the labor movement and the Civil Rights movement.”

- My interview with journalist Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine, No Logo) about her new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate  appears in this week’s North Bay Bohemian.

Civil Eats: Locavore losses

At Nopalito, if the local corn runs out, you might as well shut the doors. It’s typical for the restaurant’s two San Francisco locations to go through 200 pounds of California-grown organic masa in a single day. The grain is at the menu’s core, used in everything from tamales, to tortillas, to house-made chips.

In mid-September, Nopalito’s owner, Laurence Jossel, learned that Giusto’s, the Northern California grain processor and wholesaler from which Nopalito sources its flours, had run out of corn after severe drought conditions caused the product to dry up. “It’s been a mad scramble,” says Jossel. He and his head chef called restaurants all over the city, searching for a locally-grown equivalent, without luck. In a pinch, they settled on more expensive organic corn flour from Montana and some from as far as Mexico.

“We can’t run a restaurant based on [corn] without it,” says Jossel. With no end to the California drought in sight, chefs like Jossel, and many artisan food makers who rely on local food, are feeling the squeeze.

 

- Locavore Losses: California Chefs, Artisans Feel the Drought – Civil Eats, 10/1/2014

Radio Radio

index

Finally, I can use the Elvis Costello song in context! Last Tuesday, I was a guest host on Less Rock, More Talk over at KWTF  with The Lila Cugini and Your Old Pal Will.

On Friday 9/12, I was a guest on The People’s Voice on KBBF with host George Alfaro. We discussed the story I wrote for the North Bay Bohemian (as part of my USC health reporting fellowship project) about Roseland and health. George questioned me about how I became a writer and for words of advice to those just starting out. It was crazy to be on the other side of the mic. Usually, I’m the one asking the questions!