The San Francisco Writers' Grotto is a place where professional storytellers practice their craft. Here you'll find the latest news about the Grotto and its inhabitants.

March Grotto Notes

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 PO’S “NURTURESHOCK” GARNERS BOOKS FOR BETTER LIFE AWARD AND MAKES OVER 30 BEST OF 2009 LISTS

Last Monday in New York City, Grotto co-founder Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman's NurtureShock won the Books for a Better Life Award. NurtureShock also made over thirty Best of 2009 lists, including those from Library Journal, iTunes, Discover, and The Onion's AV Club. It was one of Amazon's top 100 bestselling books of the year. Huge congratulations to Po and Ashley!



MARCH CLASSES AT THE GROTTO - TWO TERRIFIC WEEKEND WORKSHOPS!

- Travel Writing - From Pitching Editors to Deciding what to pack with Laura Fraser (laura@laurafraser.com) and Janis Cooke Newman (j-newman@comcast.net), Saturday & Sunday, March 13 & 14, 10 am - 4 pm, $275

In this weekend-long workshop, we'll cover everything you need to know to become a travel writer - from how to decide where to go, to coming up with an irresistible angle, to knowing where & how to pitch your story. We'll also do some in-class exercise to help you hone your travel writing skills. And we'll throw in a lesson on travel photography (from a nationally-known photojournalist). Whether you're interested in writing destination pieces for newspapers and magazine, travel essays, or even a full-length travel memoir, this class will give you the tools you need to become a travel writer.

- One-Day Story Story Bootcamp with Elizabeth Bernstein (ebernstein@aol.com), Saturday, March 20, 10 am - 4 pm, $155

In one information-filled Saturday, learn everything you need to know about writing, revising and publishing your short stories. This hands-on workshop will cover every aspect of the craft, using fun in-class exercises and discussion. You’ll learn about all about character, voice, story arc, and point of view, plus how to get started, write convincing dialogue, and create believable heroes and villains. You’ll discover how to use setting to underscore your story, how to fictionalize real people and events, and how to write powerful endings. We’ll talk about the revision process and editing and sharing your work, as well as overcoming procrastination and living the writer’s life. Finally, we’ll talk about publishing and selling your work, including contests and the growing market for flash fiction.

(To register, contact the instructor. For more information, visithttp://www.sfgrotto.org/classes.html



GERRY INTERVIEWED IN THE EXAMINER, PLUS HE’S FEATURED IN THE NEXT MONTHLY RUMPUS ON MARCH 8

Grotto dweller Gerry Jones is reading at the Monthly Rumpus on March 8 at The Makeout Room (see below). He also was interviewed recently in the online edition of the San Francisco Examiner, Examiner.com; check it out at http://www.examiner.com/x-37296-SF-Events-Examiner~y2010m2d23-What-do-comic-books-immigrants-imaginary-violence-and-the-Monthly-Rumpus-have-in-common?cid=email-this-article



SLEEP WITH FRIENDS AND GERRY AT THE MARCH MONTHLY RUMPUS THIS MONDAY

The Rumpus and McSweeney’s Proudly Present: 

Sleeping With Friends

March 8th at The Makeout Room, 3225 22nd Street, 7pm.
Get Advance Tickets! Click Here! http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/99612

Featuring authors Jesse Nathan, Jami Attenberg, Mark Morford, and The Grotto's own Gerard Jones!

With Performances by Chicken John and comedian Nato Green. Music by the one and only K. Flay. And food provided by The Girl From Empanada. Also chances to win great prizes in our monthly porn raffle. 

$10, cheap! You can’t afford not to go. Hosted by Rumpus editor, Grottoite Isaac Fitzgerald.

Order your tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/99612



STEPHANIE’S “OFFICE MATE” CONTINUES TO GET GREAT PRESS, AND SHE GETS TO BE ON CBS

Chronic subletter Stephanie Losee’s two-year-old book “Office Mate” continues to generate press, possibly because the media seems finally to agree that office romance is losing its stigma. The book appeared in Sue Shellenbarger’s column in the Wall Street Journal[http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704182004575055191587179832.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines], which prompted CBS to ask Stephanie to appear on The Early Show[http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6231179n] to talk about the increasing acceptance of workplace relationships. Then the web show “Daytime in No Time” performed a skit [http://tv.yahoo.com/daytime/video/oprah-ellen-wendy-williams/17861278/] based on Stephanie’s remarks. Look for Stephanie’s review of Anne Lamott’s new novel “Imperfect Birds” next month in San Francisco magazine.



DON’T MISS MOLLY’S “THE QUIETEST MAN“ IN ONE STORY MAGAZINE

Grottoite Molly Antopol sends news that she has a new story in One Story Magazine – read about it at: http://www.one-story.com/index.php?page=story&story_id=132 



CATCH THE LAST DAYS OF JD’S LATEST PAINTING/PHOTO/FILM/VIDEO COMBINATIONS AT MERIDIAN GALLERY THROUGH THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 6

Grotto dweller JD Beltran’s new series, two years in the making, uses a novel combination of painting, photography, Super-8 film, and high definition video to evoke portraits of people and place. JD juxtaposes all of these materials in a single composition to explore how each material evokes its own singular language of meaning. View it at the Meridian Gallery through this Saturday. Meridian Gallery, 11 am – 5 pm, 535 Powell Street (between Sutter and Bush). Phone: 415.398.7229 or seehttp://meridiangallery.org/en/exhibitions/unexpected_reflections.htm

Preview the show at http://vimeo.com/8989596 

You can also read about the making of this body of work at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/beltran/detail??blogid=85&entry_id=58004 , and see more of JD’s work athttp://www.jdbeltran.com



KATIE’S NEW NOVEL “MEN AND DOGS” WILL MAKE ITS DEBUT ON APRIL 12TH

Grottoite Katie Crouch's new novel, Men and Dogs (Little, Brown) is coming out on April 12th. (Early feedback: "accomplished and darkly funny" -PW). 
Some good-time events include a reading and launch after-party at the Booksmith on Haight Street (Wed., April 17th) and a kid-and-dog friendly cocktail hour at Charlie's Cafe on Precita Park (Sunday, April 25th). Mark your calendars!



TRAVEL TO LAURA’S WRITER’S OASIS IN SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, AT A TERRIFIC DISCOUNT

Casita Laurita: Writer's Retreat in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Grotto Notes subscribers get a 25% discount if they rent Casita Laurita April 15-May 31. Go to www.casitalaurita.com for pix and info. Email phraze@me.com

 

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You're invited to a reception at the Grotto for our latest exhibiting artist, Jill Storthz! This Thursday, February 25 from 6-8 pm. 

Jill uses a reduction method in which a single block of wood is used to print multiple layers of color and texture, as opposed to traditional Japanese woodblock printing, in which more than 75 blocks may be used to create a piece. With this approach, there is no way to reverse the process and fix mistakes made in carving the wood, which is why it is also known as the "suicide" method. This process lends itself well in Jill’s playful approach to carving wood and printing.

 

Grotto Notes for February

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 ETHAN BANTERS WITH JON STEWART ON THE DAILY SHOW

Grotto Co-founder Ethan Watters graciously held his own recently on The DAILY SHOW with Jon Stewart, in discussing “Crazy Like Us,” his new book. See Ethan and Jon Stewart at 02:51 of the recap athttp://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/fri-january-29-2010/recap---week-of-1-25-10


JD DISCUSSES HER LATEST BODY OF WORK, “MATERIAL LANGUAGE” AT MERIDIAN GALLERY THIS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH

Also this Thursday, Grotto dweller JD Beltran will be discussing latest body of work, “Material Language” at an artist panel discussion, from 7:30 – 8:30. Her new series uses a novel combination of painting, photography, film, and video, whereby JD juxtaposes all of these materials in a single composition to explore how each material evokes its own singular language of meaning. JD’s work is featured on the entire first floor of the gallery. The exhibition “Unexpected Reflections,” curated by Terri Cohn, also highlights the work of artists Jim Campbell, Gigi Janchang, and Marion Grey on the other floors. Preview the show at http://vimeo.com/8989596 , and you can get more information athttp://meridiangallery.org/en/exhibitions/unexpected_reflections.htm See more of JD’s work at http://www.jdbeltran.com

Ethan and Todd in conversation, February 4th!

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Ethan Watter's has been getting a lot of national attention (including a recent appearance on The Daily Show) for his new book Crazy Like Us. But this Thursday, February 4th, will be a unique event that promises to be particularly fascinating: Ethan will be interviewed by his fellow Grottoite Todd Oppenheimer for Berkeley Arts & Lectures

Tickets are $12 in advance; $15 at the door. The conversation begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Hillside Club (2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley. For more information, see the Berkeley Arts & Letters site,  brownpapertickets or call (800) 838-3006.

In case you haven't tapped into the buzz yet, nere's an overview of Crazy Like Us

American culture is homogenizing the way the world goes mad.  Our exportation of everything from movies to junk food is a well-documented phenomenon.  But neither our golden arches nor our bomb craters represent our most troubling impact on the world: the bulldozing of the human mind itself.  In CRAZY LIKE US, leading trend-spotter and science writer Ethan Watters shows that we are  not only changing the way the world treats and understands mental illness, we are actually changing the symptoms and prevalence of the diseases themselves.

In CRAZY LIKE US, Watters reveals how:

  • American versions of depression, post traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders are spreading around the world like contagions -- and we are the ones spreading them.
  • Western trauma counselors rush to far off countries to save the day without taking into account that the psychological reactions to trauma vary dramatically from culture to culture. (What would we have thought if New Guinea shamans arrived in New Orleans to counsel Katrina survivors)?
  • Anorexia rose in Hong Kong over the last two decades not only because of western fashion and diet crazes but because we exported the idea of the illness itself!
  • Our Western biomedical conception of mental illness has been show to increase the social stigma placed on the mentally ill around the world.
  • America believes it has a rightful place as the therapist to the world.  Given the state of mental health in our culture, Watters argues it is time to rethink our generosity.
  • Watters travels the world to illustrate the ways in which Western influences have changed mental illness.  In Hong Kong, he meets teenagers who have learned from American culture that anorexia is the modern way to express distress, and who began refusing food after a wave of Western celebrities and researchers began raising awareness.  In Zanzibar, he witnesses a much milder and more bearable form of schizophrenia than what we have in the States.  In Sri Lanka, he sees western crisis counselors bungle the treatment of tsunami victims and actually cause the community more distress. And in Japan, he tells the story of the drug companies selling depression itself to create a market for a new drug. 

Ethan Watters is the author of Urban Tribes, an examination of the mores of affluent “never marrieds” and the coauthor of Making Monsters, a groundbreaking indictment of the recovered memory movement.  A frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Men’s Journal, Details, Wired, and NPR, he has appeared on such national media as Good Morning America, Talk of the Nation, and CNN. 

Todd Oppenheimer works as a journalist at The Writers Grotto. During his 25 years as a journalist, Oppenheimer has won a variety of national awards for his writing and investigative reporting and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including ABC's "Nightline." His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, Mother Jones, and an assortment of daily and weekly newspapers. He is the author of The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology, a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Book Award.

 

 

 

It's that time again -- the Grotto's annual LitQuake/LitCrawl show!

PSYCHO BABBLE: STORIES ABOUT CRAZY PEOPLE AND CRAZY IDEAS
Saturady, Oct. 17
Casanova Lounge (527 Valencia, bet 16th and 17th)
Time: 6pm (sharp!) to 7pm

Come out this Saturday evening and enjoy some true--and truer-than-true--stories about crazy people, including sneak peeks at highly anticipated new books from Grotto writers! Grottoites are also reading at other LitQuake/LitCrawl venues, so check the schedule:

http://www.litquake.org

 

 

September Grotto Notes

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PO’S ALREADY SUCCESSFUL “NURTURESHOCK” HITS THE AIRWAVES AND SOON, THE BOOKSTORES

If you didn't catch Grotto co-founder Po Bronson talking about his new book, NurtureShock, last Thursday on All Things Considered, he also was on Good Morning America Monday morning (this morning), and will be on CNN with Campbell Brown Monday night (tonight) at 8 pm. NurtureShock has already hit #15 on Amazon and surely will go higher as next week one of his and Ashley's chapters, "Why White Parents Don't Talk About Race," will be on the cover of Newsweek. Next Thursday night he'll be on Nightline and early the following week on Fresh Air. Po's events in the Bay Area don't start until the end up September, when he'll be with Ayelet Waldman ("Bad Mother") at the Commonwealth Club September 30th. Then he's at Book Passage October 4th and then doing a KPFA event with Berkeley Arts & Letters on October 6th. You can follow it all on http://www.nurtureshock.com.


Meet the Teacher Night - Wednesday, Sept. 9th

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Join us at the Grotto for a glass of wine and the finest snacks Trader Joe's can offer.

This is a terrific opportunity to check out the Grotto, as well as chat with some of our teachers (and their students) about all our upcoming classes. 5:30 pm until 7:30 pm. No need to register, just come on by.

 

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Grottofilms' whimsical road comedy "Full Grown Men" will have its home video release August 25th through Liberation Entertainment. Winner of the 2007 Undiscovered Gems Sundance Channel Audience Award, the film was written by Grotto filmmakers David Munro and Xandra Castleton, directed by David and produced by Xandra. "Full Grown Men" tells the story of a hopelessly nostalgic man who learns the hard way that the best years of his life may still lie ahead. Stars Matt McGrath, Judah Friedlander (30 Rock), Amy Sedaris (Strangers With Candy), Alan Cumming (X-Men 2, Cabaret), and Deborah Harry (Blondie). You can pre-order on Amazon or save on your Netflix queue by clicking links below. If it's not at your neighborhood video store, contact us via our website and we'll make sure it is. You can read about the "making of" in our series of Filmmaker Diaries for the SF Chronicle (see the link below), and there's a new blog about the current state of indie film distribution at Filmmaker Magazine blog. More information at http://www.fullgrownmenthemovie.com.

Amazon, Netflix, Filmmaker Diaries, Filmmaker Magazine

MELANIE’S “THE SLIPPERY YEAR” GARNERS STELLAR NEW YORK TIMES AND NEW YORKER BOOK BENCH REVIEWS – DON’T MISS THE BOOK LAUNCH ON AUGUST 12-13

We're in for a new spate of Grotto books this late summer and fall, and the accolades are already coming in. Hot off the press is Melanie’s profile in the July 30th New York Times (see link below). And Andrea Walker reviewed Melanie's book in the online New Yorker Book Bench, stating, “By the end of the book I felt like I had just spent several hours knocking back drinks with an especially funny friend. Which is some of my highest praise.” (As Grottoite Caroline Paul remarked, “I like the way the reviewer starts her review all crotchety and at the end wants to have a drink with Melanie. Wait in line, girl. We all want a drink with Melanie.”)

July Grotto Notes

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DON’T MISS JILL SOBULE, COMEDY, MUSIC, AND SEX AT THIS TUESDAY’S RUMPUS SHOW

This Tuesday, July 7, 7pm The Rumpus and Kink.com present:

Sex-Music-Comedy Night featuring JILL SOBULE

Hosted by Grottoite Stephen Elliott and Co-sponsored by The Center for Sex and Culture

WHERE: The Makeout Room, 3225 22nd Street, San Francisco

Featuring readings and performances from sex worker authors: Zak Smith, Kirk Read, Michelle Tea, and Madison Young

Comedy by Los Angeles based comedian Kyle Kinane

Songstress burlesque by Mariel a la Mode

Music by Sig Hafstrom

And Special Guest Musician JILL SOBULE

Purchase Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/70578

Catered reception, 5pm at The Latin American featuring the artists and special guests from Kink.com

$20 event, $55 event and reception. More information at http://therumpus.net/sections/rumpus-events/


JULY IS THE MONTH TO TAKE A SUMMER WRITING CLASS AT THE GROTTO!

This summer, we're offering a terrific bunch of one-day and shorter multi-week classes. And the Grotto was just awarded a mention in the 2009 BEST OF THE BAY: BEST WRITING CLASSES [see the link at http://www.sanfranmag.com/story/write-novel ], so check it out for yourself!


Contact

San Francisco Writers' Grotto
490 2nd Street, 2nd Fl.
San Francisco, CA 94107
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Email: the word "info" followed by "@" and "sfgrotto.org"
Phone: There is no Grotto phone number.