A Celebration of Bay Area Literary Magazines | Mechanics' Institute

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A Celebration of Bay Area Literary Magazines
Moderated by Kevin Smokler

Join Bay Area literati including Oscar Villalon, Managing Editor, and Laura Cogan, Editor of ZYZZVYA; Manujula Martin and Michael Ray, Editors, Zoetrope, and Wendy Lesser, Founder and Editor, Threepenny Review for a lively conversation on the mission and vision of three long lived literary journals and the state of the arts in San Francisco.


Kevin Smokler is the author the new book Brat Pack America: A Love Letter to 80s Teen Movies (Rare Bird Books) and the essay collection Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books you Haven't Touched Since High School (2013). His work has appeared in the LA TimesSalonBuzzFeedVulture, the San Francisco Chronicle and on NPR. A a two-time artist-in-residence of the Ragdale Foundation, in 2013, he was BookRiot's first ever Writer in Residence. He lives in San Francisco.

Oscar Villalon is managing editor of the San Francisco literary journal ZYZZYVA and former book editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. His work has appeared in VQR, The Believer, Zocalo, NPR.org, and other publications. He lives in San Francisco. 

Laura Cogan Laura Cogan is editor of ZYZZYVA, a triennial magazine that publishes the best prose, poetry, and visual art produced by West Coast writers and artists

Manjula Martin is the editor of Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living. She created the blog Who Pays Writers? and from 2013 to 2015 was the founding editor of Scratch magazine, an online journal about writers and money. Manjula has written for the Virginia Quarterly ReviewPacific StandardThe Toast, and other publications. She's worked as a copywriter, editor, in nonprofit performing arts, and also in a variety of low-wage service jobs. She is the managing editor of Zoetrope: All-Story, the art and fiction magazine published by Francis Ford Coppola, and she lives in San Francisco.

Michael Ray is the editor of Zoetrope: All-Story and a screenwriter whose films have been selected for the Venice, Telluride, Toronto, and San Sebastian film festivals, among others. His most recent film, While the Women Are Sleeping, debuted at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival.

Wendy Lesser, the founding and current editor of The Threepenny Review, is the author of ten nonfiction books and one novel. Her latest book, a biography of the architect Louis Kahn titled You Say to Brick, came out from Farrar Straus & Giroux in March 2017. She has received awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy in Berlin, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and many other institutions, and she is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences as well as of the New York Institute for the Humanities. Her journalistic writing about literature, dance, film, and music has appeared in a number of periodicals in America and abroad. Born in California and educated at Harvard, Cambridge, and UC Berkeley, Lesser now divides her time between Berkeley and New York. 

This volume explores the human stories of the California Gold Rush. In less than ten years, more than 300,000 people made the journey to California, some from as far away as Chile and China. Many of them were dreamers seeking a better life, like Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, who eventually became the first African American judge, and Eliza Farnham, an early feminist who founded California’s first association to advocate for women’s civil rights. Still others were eccentrics—perhaps none more so than San Francisco’s self-styled king, Norton I, Emperor of the United States. Sierra College historian and Grass Valley native son Gary Noy will present an illustrated talk on some of the unusual and lesser-known stories with a special focus on Gold Rush entertainment, including performers and dining habits.


Mechanics' Institute Members Free
Friends of Threepenny Review Free
Friends of Zoetrope Free
Friends of ZYZZYVA Free
Public $15
Register now ›
4th Floor Meeting Room
Pam Troy - 415-393-0116
Register now by using the form below or calling 415-393-0101.

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