Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A fantastic review in the San Francisco Bay Guardian!!!

“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore — outspoken queer anti-assimilation activist, genderblending thriftstore style icon, archetypal Mission District character, huge-hearted den mother, insufferable gadfly — is the posterchild for all that was culturally alternative in San Francisco in that pierced-lip poser decade, while at the same time possessing one of the loudest voices cutting through the bullshit clamor back then and questioning it all. She's also a brilliant writer… Her new memoir The End of San Francisco from City Lights Books is written in such a hypnotically elliptical style (summoning City Lights' Beat poet legacy) and contains so many spot-on observations and era-damning epigrams that anyone who lived through the period described will cling to its pages while wishing to hurl the book at a wall in embarrassed self-recognition. Searing, funny, maudlin, elegiac, infuriating, and confessional, The End of San Francisco is a deliberately disordered collection of vignettes dealing mostly with Sycamore's span living in the city… Along the way we get drug overdoses, AIDS, lesbian potlucks, heroin chic, crystal meth, ACT UP, the birth of the Internet, the dot-com boom, the dot-com bust, mental breakdowns, outdoor cruising, phony spirituality, Craigslist hookups, hipster gentrification, Polk Street hustling, fag-bashing, shoplifting, house music, the Matrix Program, crappy SoMa live/work lofts, "Care Not Cash," gallons of bleach and hair dye, and processing, processing, and more processing. It's definitely not a nostalgia-fest: Juicy passages about SF club history, '90s queer life in the Mission, and Gay Shame's internal dynamics and gloriously kooky pranks… are accompanied by an Oprah-load of issues including chronic pain, incest, personal betrayals, anorexia, depression… This, then, is the tenderness that drives [Sycamore] to keep speaking out, despite the personal costs. As we weather another dot-com boom of homogenizing gentrification, The End of San Francisco is a timely reminder of the community that can spring from resistance.”

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