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Culture Lust by Angela Carone

Punk Rock Girls, a Playlist, and a Novel Called Lady Lazarus

Andrew Altschul is on These Days today talking about his new novel Lady Lazarus .   Andrew lived in San Diego for a stretch and served as editor of a music mag called Slamm.  He now lives in the Bay Area and teaches creative writing at Stanford.  Lady Lazarus is about many things and one of them is the roiling creativity of punk rock and what it's like to live in the world once you've tapped into it.  I asked Andrew to imagine his publisher asking for a companion CD -- what songs would he have included?  He was kind enough to play along and sent me the following kick-ass playlist of grrrl rockers.  Andrew also explained his choices:

Andrew Altschul In the years that I was writing Lady Lazarus , I listened to a lot of punk rock, mostly from the 1990s. I kept coming back to the women - the Riot Grrrls, the Suicide Girls, the angry, sexy, in-your-face girls. The runaways. The girls making records on 4-tracks in their bedrooms. The pissed off girls who refuse to keep their mouths shut or hide their appetites. The girls you can't fire because they quit. Whatever the label, I think female anger is just more interesting and complicated than male anger, which bores me at this point. So my main character, a young confessional poet named Calliope, the daughter of punk rockers, is in some ways a tribute to those women, and the book tries to show the ways in which it's always harder, more complicated, for them than it is for the men. These songs still sound as fierce and vulnerable and beautiful to me as they did back then.

P.J. Harvey, "Rid of Me"
Patti Smith, "Privilege (Set Me Free)"
Sonic Youth, "Kool Thing"
Sinéad O'Connor, "Jackie"
Hole, "Violet"
The Breeders, "Raw"
Tori Amos, "Me and a Gun"
Liz Phair, "Flower"
Fiona Apple, "Sleep to Dream"
Cat Power, "Metal Heart"
P.J. Harvey, "The Desperate Kingdom of Love"


Andrew will be reading from Lady Lazarus tonight at Winstons in OB.  Ed Decker , Sordid Tales columnist for San Diego City Beat , will also be reading.  Things get going at 6:30 - Winstons is totally chill... there's whisky and funny, smart people sharing good writing. Why would you ever pass this up?

Edwin Decker from ocean beach
May 19, 2008 at 07:42 PM
Andrew will not be showing up to the reading tonight because he's dead. He's been staying at my house since coming to San Diego so I was forced to murder him in his sleep. Yes, he is that obnoxious. I was thinking of maybe doing a Weekend at Bernies type deal and bring his corpse to the reading and prop him up on stage with a mic. It's not like anyone will know the difference. ed