Launch for Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader

Join us in celebration of Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader (Nightboat Books, 2019) edited by Jamie Townsend, with an afterword by Alysia Abbott. In this long awaited, first ever retrospective of Steve Abbott‘s work you’ll find writing, illustrations, and comics by this Gay Liberation hero and foundational Bay Area underground writer. Throughout the night we’ll hear from the book’s editor Jamie Townsend; Steve Abbott’s daughter, Alysia Abbott; as well as friends, correspondents, and admirers of Abbott including Nayland Blake, Luis JaramilloTodd Colby, Ariel Goldberg, Alissa Quart, Mathew Rodriguez, Hugh Ryan, and Sarah Schulman.

About Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader—

The first retrospective collection of writing, illustrations, and comics by a hero of the Gay Liberation movement and Bay Area underground writing.

Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader (Nightboat Books, 2019) is a landmark collection representing the visionary life’s work of beloved Bay Area luminary Steve Abbott. It brings together a broad cross-section of literary and artistic work spanning three decades of poetry, fiction, collage, comics, essays, and autobiography, including underground classics like, Lives of the Poets and Holy Terror, rare pieces of treasured ephemera, and previously unpublished material, representing a survey of Abbott’s multivalent practice, as well as reinforcing his essential role within the contemporary canon of queer arts.

Steve Abbott (1943–1992) was a poet, critic, editor, novelist, and artist based in San Francisco.

Jamie Townsend is a genderqueer poet and editor living in Oakland. They are half-responsible for Elderly, an ongoing publishing experiment and hub of ebullience and disgust. They are the author of Pyramid Song (above/ground press, 2018), and Sex Machines (blush, 2019) as well as the full-length collection Shade (Elis Press, 2015). An essay on the history and influence of the literary magazine Soup was published in The Bigness of Things: New Narrative and Visual Culture (Wolfman Books, 2017). They are the editor of Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader (Nightboat, 2019) and Libertines in the Ante-Room of Love: Poets on Punk (Jet Tone, 2019).

Alysia Abbott is the author of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, a recipient of the Madame Figaro Prix Heroine and the ALA Stonewall Award. Named a New York Times Editor’s Pick and one of the best books of the year by the SF Chronicle and Shelf Awareness, it was also finalist for the 2014 Lambda Literary Award and a Goodreads Choice Award. Fairyland has been published in the United States, the UK, France, Poland, and Spain; translations are forthcoming in Brazil and Italy. Her writing has been published in TriQuarterly, Lit Hub, Out, The Boston Globe, The NYTBR, Vogue, and elsewhere. The recipient of a fellowship from the Ragdale Foundation and an MFA in creative nonfiction from the New School, Abbott leads the Memoir Incubator program at GrubStreet.

Nayland Blake is an artist. They were born in 1960 in New York City and live there now, after taking a fourteen year sojourn in California. Since 2002, they have been employed as the chair at the ICP/Bard MFA program. For ten years, they shared their home with Lehigh, a very self possessed Boston Terrier. In 2005 they paid off their student loans. Here is their wikipedia entry. 

Luis Jaramillo is the author of The Doctor’s Wife, winner of the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Contest, an Oprah Book of the Week, and one of NPR’s Best Books of 2012. Luis’s fiction and nonfiction has also appeared in Tin HouseLit Hub and the Chattahoochee Review, among many other publications. He is the Director of Creative Writing at The New School.

Todd Colby has published six books of poetry: Ripsnort, Cush, Riot in the Charm Factory: New and Selected Writings, and Tremble & Shine, all published by Soft Skull Press. Most recently, he is the author of Flushing Meadows (Scary Topiary Press, 2012), and Splash State (The Song Cave, 2014). He was also the editor of the poetry anthology Heights of the Marvelous: A New York Anthology (St. Martin’s Press, 2001). Colby, also a visual artist and performer, has been broadcast nationally on PBS, MTV, NPR for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, and KCRW’s Bookworm, hosted by Michael Silverblatt.

Ariel Goldberg‘s publications include The Estrangement Principle (Nightboat Books, 2016) and The Photographer (Roof Books, 2015). Goldberg’s writing has most recently appeared in Afterimage, e-flux, Artforum, and Art in America. Based in New York City, Goldberg has taught writing at Pratt Institute, Columbia University, and The New School. They have been a curator at The Poetry Project, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, and the Jewish History Museum in Tucson, Arizona. Goldberg’s novel in progress, A Century, explores the intimate worlds of art critic Elizabeth McCausland and photographer Berenice Abbott in the context of the New York Photo League (1936-1951).

Alissa Quart is the author of four non-fiction books. She also writes the Outclassed column for The Guardian. Alissa’s latest non-fiction book, Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, will be published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June of 2018. The book has appeared on the top ten and best forthcoming books lists’ of Publishers Weekly, The Week, Library Journal and Nylon. Alissa is the Executive Editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a non-profit devoted to commissioning, editing and placing reportage about inequality. She co-founded its current incarnation with Barbara Ehrenreich. You can hear Alissa talking about her work and her ideas here and here. She is a 2018 Columbia Journalism School Alumna of the year. She has also been a Nieman fellow, an Emmy-nominated video writer and producer,  and a professor. She lives with her husband, her young daughter, and their hamster.

Mathew Rodriguez is a staff writer at INTO, an LGBTQ digital magazine, as well as an essayist whose work has appeared in Slate, the Village Voice and Mic. He hosts a podcast, Slayerfest 98, about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was recently published in the anthology ‘Modern Loss.’

Writer and curator, Hugh Ryan is the author of When Brooklyn Was Queer, the first ever LGBTQ history of Brooklyn. His writing has appeared in the New York TimesTin HouseBuzzfeed, the Los Angeles Review of BooksOut, and other venues. He earned an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and he received a 2016-2017 Martin Duberman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a 2017 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, and a 2018 residency at the Watermill Center. In 2010, Hugh founded the Pop-Up Museums of Queer History which spearheaded his organization to better represent communities and their history throughout the greater New York City area and across the country.

Sarah Schulman is the author of eighteen books: the novels The Cosmopolitans, The Mere Future, The Child, Rat Bohemia, Shimmer, Empathy, After Delores, People In Trouble, Girls Visions and Everything, and The Sophie Horowitz Story, the nonfiction works Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair, The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness To a Lost ImaginationIsrael/Palestine and the Queer InternationalTies That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences, Stagestruck: Theater, AIDS and the Marketing of Gay America and My American History: Lesbian and Gay Life During the Reagan/Bush Years, and the plays Mercy and Carson McCullers. She is co-author with Cheryl Dunye of the movies The Owls and Mommy is Coming, and co-producer with Jim Hubbard of the feature United in Anger: A History of ACT UP. She is co-director of the ACT UP Oral History Project . Her awards include the 2009 Kessler Award for “Sustained Contribution to LGBT Studies” from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and two American Library Association Book Awards, and she was a Finalist for the Prix de Rome. She lives in New York, where she is Distinguished Professor of English at City University of New York (College of Staten Island) and a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU.