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May 23-30, 2007

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Summer Lit Issue:
'Requiem for an Assassin' | 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' | 'Lime Kiln Legacies' | 'Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl' | 'After Dark' | Literary shorts | 'The Other End' | Harry Potter | 'Red Eye, Black Eye' and 'Gangster Film Reader'

'Sit Down and Shut Up'

Literary Shorts

Brad Warner's first book, Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality, purportedly "blew the top off the Buddhist world"--or so says the jacket of his new book, Sit Down and Shut Up (New World Library, Novato; $14.95 paper), which sports an even more ambitious subtitle: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death & Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye. It's a sort of punk-rock idiot's guide to the Shobogenzo, a Zen Buddhist text written by the Japanese Zen master Dogen. At times Warner comes off as pandering, with his cutesy pop-culture tangents and I-know-what-you're-thinking-right-now comments, like "Why in the hell is this damned Shooby-dooby-whachacallit book by some crazy dead Japanese guy so freakin' important?" But if his tactics to engage the reader feel somewhat manipulative, they are also successful, breathing new life into 13th-century Buddhist wisdom and throwing in some compelling lessons from his own colorful life as a hardcore punk rock bassist. Warner appears June 14 at 7pm at Gateways (1126 Soquel Ave.) in Santa Cruz.

Mike Connor

In some other Zen-related moments, Gateways also hosts Jampa Kalsan discussing Tibetan astrology and medicine on May 23 at 7pm. On June 1 at 7pm, Tulku Orgyen Zangpo gives a dharma talk about how meditation can help people see the beautiful illusion that is life. Also of interest this month at Gateways is Paradiso, who demonstrates the ways in which natural frequencies can promote healing; May 24 at 7pm. For details on these events, call 831.429.9600.

Zen is in the air all over in May, as Zen teacher Cheri Huber, author of Making a Change for Good: A Guide to Compassionate Self-Discipline (Shambhala) appears to sign copies of her book at Bookshop Santa Cruz (1520 Pacific Ave.; 831.423.0900) on May 30. On June 7, Charles Canfield himself (along with the other authors) will talk about the centenary of the Boardwalk and the publication of The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: A Century by the Sea (Ten Speed Press), a colorful celebration of the seaside attraction.

Two venerable local poets are set for readings next month at Bookshop: Ellen Bass presents her latest volume, The Human Line, on June 12. Morton Marcus--teacher, film historian, novelist and raconteur, as well as well-bearded bard--offers parables from his new collection, Pursuing the Dream Bone, on June 28. All these Bookshop events start at 7:30pm.

At Capitola Book Café, on Friday at 7:30pm, Natalie Angier, Pulitzer-winning science writer, stops by to discuss her new book, The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science (Houghton Mifflin). In concise and verbally engaging fashion, Angier lays out the core issues that anybody who hopes to keep pass with scientific advances should know--in physics, chemistry and biology. Angier makes a strong case that this country needs a dose of scientific literacy, and in a hurry. Judging from the Republican presidential debate in which three candidates freely and proudly confessed that they don't believe in evolution (Tancredo, Brownback and Huckabee, in case you're wondering; with McCain parsing his answer), she's right.

In Capitola's June lineup, look for Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Esalen: American and the Religion of No Religion (University of Chicago), for a discussion of the far reaches of nondogmatic spirituality--June 6 at 7:30pm.

On June 7 at 7:30pm, Alan Snitow, Deborah Kaufman and Michael Fox discuss Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water (Jossey-Bass), a sobering look at how the most basic of human needs has been hijacked by big corporations. The subject should be of special significance to locals fighting to retain control of their water systems, and representatives of Felton FLOW and the Water for All Campaign will talk about their efforts. On June 13, Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris will talk about Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts (Harcourt). This would be a good time to ask if they sent autographed copies to Bush, Cheney and Wolfowitz. On June 19, Khaled Hosseini makes an appearance (see page 20). Finally, local author Noah Levine discusses Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries (Harper San Francisco) on June 25. All events are at 7:30pm and are free (except for Hosseini's appearance.)

Michael S. Gant

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