Sheila Heti « Tumbeliever (by evankarp)
If you were foolish enough to miss The Believer and Tumblr at The Make-Out Room last month, you are in luck! Here is Sheila Heti talking about fucking in the filthiest possible way for eleven minutes.
There are also terrific readings by Isaac Fitzgerald, Melissa Graeber, Joshua Heineman, and Mills Baker. Enjoy!
Thanks to Rachel, Andi, Isaac, Joshua, Melissa, and Sheila Heti and everyone who came to the Tumblr/Believer party last night. I think I was the only reader who is not, in fact, a writer, and I was grateful to everyone for their forbearance. I also want to apologize for not opening with my planned joke:Wit: Did you hear the story about the three holes in the ground?
Interlocutor: No, tell me!
Wit: Well, well, well…
A little consolation prize for those who missed it. Anyone tape or photograph the rest??
#LitBeat: Funny and Dirty in San Francisco
By Lydia Kiesling
Two weeks ago I finished school, packed it up, and returned to San Francisco after a three-year hiatus. My first event as a Californian reborn was Saturday’s “Tumbeliever Party” at the Makeout Room, a dark and venerable joint in the Mission. The party, built around Sheila Heti’s book tour for her new novel, How Should a Person Be?, was a dual effort between Tumblr and The Believer and featured readings by several local writers. Presiding was Rachel Fershleiser, an energetic person whose job at Tumblr (Literary and Non-Profit Outreach) seems to be using technology to make things happen with books to make things happen with technology by having parties—so, the best job in the world.
The Makeout Room is designed like a bottle, with the entryway and bar area its neck. Trying to get a drink to dull the pain of feeling like everyone knows each other except for you was a minor trial, solved by Black Star beers in cans. The Booksmith ran the book table, and there were drink tickets (thx TumBelvr!). Isaac Fitzgerald, of The Rumpus, began the readings with a vignette about his first tattoo, an expansion of his bio on Pen & Ink, the tattoo tumblr Fitzgerald runs with Wendy MacNaughton. His tattoo, “Forgive Me,” is an apology to a particular young lady for his fickle heart and the freckled charms of the other young ladies with whom he spent one New Hampshire summer.
Fitzgerald and the main event, Sheila Heti, formed a sort of bracket to the proceedings in that they did not read pieces about San Francisco. The artist and writer Joshua Heineman, of the site Cursive Cities and the joint New York Public Library project the Stereogranimator, had been instructed by Fershleiser to make it “dirty or funny.” While he told the assembled that he was accustomed to being neither in his work, he made a strong showing toward the latter with a true-life tale about being clubbed by a mentally ill fellow wielding Mickey Mouse statuary in a Mission Street bagel shop. Before giving up the stage Heineman took the opportunity to read a poem, not funny or dirty, but heartfelt, about Abroad.
While San Francisco is commonly held to be a city of transplants (cf. the recent burn on 30 Rock), Melissa Graeber, tumblr proprietress and world’s youngest English Department Chair, is a fifth-generation San Franciscan. She read a lovely piece about her family, parents who grew up in adjacent houses, and a box of dirt—a literal interpretation of Fershleiser’s charge to be dirty. She was followed by crowd favorite and genial presence Mills Baker of Aporia (where you can also watch his performance). The San Francisco vibe peaked with this reading, because Baker read from an iPad, indicating that it is the future, and relayed another story of a San Franciscan who marched to the proverbial beat of her own drum (this is the long way to say crazy). Then came a brief meditation on the bougie guilt and writerly predation and color-line anxiety of one city dweller for another.
Sheila Heti took the stage last, and told us that she would be dirty. And how. Reading from her new book about a divorced feminist playwright, Heti selected what can only be the dirtiest bits, an extended sex party between the protagonist and an artist named Israel (a name which sometimes made the passage seem like very oblique comment on the Israel-Palestine conflict, e.g., “She thinks she can go around…not having known the humiliation of being fucked by Israel”). It was a funny and provocative passage to mark the end of a rousing evening in the golden west.
Lovely write-up of our SF reading!
- an energetic person
How Should a Person Be? is the title of Sheila Heti’s new book, and the answer is, “They should start by being at the Make-Out Room this Saturday for one sexy, lit-ted out mashup brought to you by Tumblr and The Believer magazine.”
It’s the first time that our New York friends at Tumblr are co-hosting a West Coast writers’ party, and because we don’t have a chip on our shoulder, we need to show those East Coast bloggers that we are the rowdiest literary nerds around. It’s also Sheila Heti’s only S.F. reading on the tour of her book, which David Shields calls “funny and sexy and smart” and also aptly portends Saturday night’s mixer. There to accompany her in style are the lovely Melissa Graeber, Mills Baker, Joshua Heineman, and The Rumpus’s Isaac Fitzgerald, all fierce writers and culture-shapers in their own right.
Would you miss a new-fashioned night of booknerds and bloggers mingling over old-fashioneds? We didn’t think so.
The party starts June 23 at 6 p.m. at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St. (at Mission). Admission is free.
Finally, a Tumblr Writers party for the West Coast! We’re teaming up with our fabulous friends at The Believer to bring you a reading and mixer for the ages. Sheila Heti, Mills Baker, Melissa Graeber, Joshua Heineman and Isaac Fitzgerald will read. You will drink and chat and meet. We will all have a wonderful time! Hope you can make it…
Believer founding editor (and author) Heidi Julavits writes today in the New Statesman about moving The Believer online: “How, as editors, would we work within these perimeter-less perimeters? Especially those of us whose sense of essayistic architecture was honed in a different medium?”
And don’t forget to follow her on Tumblr!
Thanks to Chris DiBona, this is the most (really, the only) astounding book I own.
It’s never too soon to read Justin Taylor’s Believer piece again.