Archive for May, 2006

The Traveling Death & Resurrection Show

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Order The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show from your local independent bookstore or from

***A May Booksense Pick – On sale NOW***

“A savvy rebuke of religious bigotry and a fun, fast, memorable read. Highly recommended.”

“You’ll love Frankka’s “saint book” stories, idiosyncratic tales of the canonized…throughout the novel.”

“With a dash of mysticism mixed with the underground freak show scene, Ariel Gore creates a fascinating, inventive, and modern odyssey.”
–BETH LISICK, author of Everybody into the Pool

“Piercing and insightful.”

“A bold and imaginative story.”
–MICHELLE TEA, author of Rose of No Man’s Land

“This novel is a miracle–deliciously subversive and deeply spiritual.”
GAYLE BRANDEIS, author of The Book of Dead Birds

“An affecting tale about the search for home, connection, and authenticity.”
–CHRISTOPHER CASTELLANI, author of The Saint of Lost Things

Home for now

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Most excellent to see so many people on the road–apologies that I was so lost and overwhelmed by the time we got to L.A… but I guess that’s sort of the theme in L.A.

I was going to post updates from the road, but as soon as we got in the car, someone said, “God, I’m sooo glad we’re not blogging this book tour…”

Suffice to say: One amazing hospitality award goes to Tristan at The Saturn Cafe–you should eat there if you’re in Santa Cruz. The other amazing hospitality awards go to Wendy and Matt and EZ who didn’t mind us turning up in the middle of the night and taking over their living room and kitchen for two days, to Jennifer and Bobby and family and Sasha in beautiful Arcata, to Leslie in her sushi pants, to Nora who makes the most delicious vegetarian shepherd’s pie, to Scout and Susie and Mickey, and to Krystee–the most radically elegant hold-down-the-fort mama. Thank you!

The day after we got home I was sitting here going through the mass pile of paper that had accumulated on my desk in my absence (can you believe how much paperwork is involved in even a simple life?) and my phone rang. It was Christina with a clergy emergency! “Aren’t you an ordained minister?” She wanted to know. “Can you be at the top of Mt. Tabor at 5 p.m.?” See, she and her man, Matt, are moving to Kyrgyzstan on Friday and they couldn’t stand to leave our fair city before tying the knot. So I wiggled back into my pink tutu and ran up the hill to perform the nuptials. Congratulations, kids.

Moe & Maria & Nester & I intend to be rested and ready by next week and we’ll see you at our last two shows (last two for now, anyway) in Portland and Olympia. Do come!

The Traveling Death & Resurrection Show on Tour

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Stories, music, shadow puppets, mystery…

ARCATA, CA – Sun. May 14 – 3 pm – Northtown Books – 957 H St.
CORTE MADERA – Mon. May 15 – 7 pm – Book Passage – 51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
SAN FRANCISCO – Tues. May 16 – 6 pm – Cody’s – 2 Stockton St.
SANTA CRUZ- Thurs. May 18 – 7:30pm – Bookshop Santa Cruz
LOS ANGELES – Fri. May 19 – 7 pm – Book Soup – 8818 Sunset Blvd.

PORTLAND, OR – Wed. May 31 – 7 pm – In Other Words – 8 NE Killingsworth
OLYMPIA, WA – Fri. June 2 – 7 pm – Orca Books

Father Duryea

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

Q: It is a fact that Ariel’s stepfather was excommunicated? I will look it up in the annuls of the Chancery Office of the Catholic Church. I should like to know more about this fellow–why he was excommunicated, for example.

A: Yes. He was excommunicated in 1976 for marrying my mother. I was five years old. I’ll paste his correspondence with the Archbishop of San Francisco below. If you want to know more about him, you should read his autobiography, Alive Into the Wilderness, or pick up his photo book, Father D in the High Sierra.


Archdiocese of San Francisco
Chancery Office
445 Church St.
San Francisco, CA 94114

4 June 1976

Dear Mr. Duryea:

It is with deep sorrow that I am obliged to notify you that by attempting marriage you have incurred the automatic excommunication provided in Canon 2244 of the Code of Canon Law. In addition to the suspension which you have already received, under Canon 2244 you will be automatically excommunicated. Consequently, you are forbidden to celebrate holy Mass or to receive Holy Communion.

We have been saddened by the fact that many people are scandalized at St. Ann’s Chapel when they see you approach the holy table. I hope that you will respect the provisions of the law of the Church and not place any priest who is celebrating Mass under the disagreeable obligation of refusing you Holy communion.

Despite our sorrow over this situation, I assure you that we will keep you in our prayers, with the hope that through the grace of God you may be restored to full membership in the church and priestly activities, through your obedience to the laws of the church.

Yours sincerely in Christ,
Joseph T. McGucken
Archbishop of San Francisco


June 7 1976

Dear Mr McGucken,

Your letter, graciously timed to arrive on my wedding day, was so remote from the reality of the occasion that it could hardly arouse anger, much less fear. It reads like a document disintered from the age of the Inquisition, complete with stifling legalism, muted threats, and crocodile tears. I ask you to consider which spirit is represented by such a letter: the spirit of Christ, or that or the pharisees?

Your anxiety over scandal at St. Ann’s appears to be unwarranted. Some 500 people attended my “attempted” marriage in the Stanford Memorial Church. Most of them were practicing Catholics, and they made their warm support very evident.

I will continue to minister in all available ways, and my conscience is entirely clear in doing so. I am and will remain a priest; that is why I did not go through the procedure of laicization. I do not wish to be a layman. And I do not intend to admit the rightness of the law which denies the option of Christian marriage to priests. There are countless Catholics–I meet them daily–who are alienated by the rigidity and inhumanity of the official church and its representatives. I am finding a fruitful ministry among them.

Despite the hollow booming of your Automatic Canons, I am peacefully in communion with the universal Church, and shall receive communion when I please. If priests are too intimidated, I am sure the lay minister will not be.

Sincerely yours
John S Duryea

Step right up!

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

From the Seattle PI
Hip Mama Gore does it herrr way, even on a book tour

Step right up! Watch the continuing transformation of Ariel Gore!

See the Bay Area native turn her own single parenting into a growth industry, from zine to Web site to books to apparel, all bearing the unmistakable imprint of Hip Mama to the delight of her legions of fans. See the Portland resident turn her hopscotch, vagabond life into a well-regarded memoir.

Now watch Gore turn her latest book, “The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show” (HarperSanFrancisco, 234 pages, $13.95), into a West Coast book tour worthy of the novel’s road-show subject. Author doing solitary lecturer turn at the mike? Forget it.

Gore is accompanied by musicians (Maria Fabulosa on bass, Nester Bucket on sax, Moe Bowstern on fiddle), plus a pupperteer (Dwayne Hedstrom). Plus, her obliging partner at the University Book Store, events maven Stesha Brandon, has lined up a couple of fire-eaters to set the mood outside the bookstore’s entrance.

“The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show” is a May Booksense pick of national indie bookstores and is generating great buzz with its blend of outlandish characters, outsized happenings and surprising takes on Catholic faith.

The genesis of this unlikely amalgam, according to the ringmaster herself (daughter of an excommunicated priest), was twofold: “A West Coast book tour with a band and a shadow-puppet show, then a summer in Italy wandering saint sites.”

The show goes on. Be there or be dreadfully square.

Ariel Gore discusses “The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show,” plus assorted delights, at 7 p.m., Thursday, at the University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E.; 206-634-3400.

– John Marshall

Not as easy as being goth…

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

In the end, all books are written for your friends.
–Gabriel Garcia Marquez

It’s good to get reviews in newspapers and lit journals, but it’s way more fun to get reviews from friends. When I saw China’s review of my new book over on her live journal, it made me happy.


Anything Ariel Gore writes is good. You know. It’s like Aaron Cometbus. I love Cometbus, a lot of people do. But he’s good–that’s why.

Her new novel is a happy thing to come to this world if you are ready for some fiction; storytelling of wandering and seeking. I’m not so familiar with Catholicism or Saints, so this was really interesting for me. Her theme on religion is pure, thoughtful, questioning; and Frankka’s stigmata, the whole side-show story is entertainment, fraud or real?, personal mythology or what? I would go as far to say that this book could start a fad of following Saints except, uh… it’s pretty hard stuff; not as easy as being a goth, for example.

Ariel, for me, is part of a new generation–my generation–of women who write themselves into the story. We are writing our own books now. Those of us who grew up loving classics of the past, reading The Hobbit at 9, and On the Road, and all these boy’s adventures, but also reading My Life by Emma Goldman at 17. She’s part of the ‘old neighborhood’ for me: Those of us who dropped out of society early, if indeed mainstream society ever even had a place we could inhabit at all; and now growing older and putting our own mark on the world. There’s something very distilled in her blood (I feel it’s California, her hippie upbringing and not “punk as fuck” but punk youth, our outsider status: the other America–having seen the hopes of two generations reach for transformation ebb and wane–and clean in her words; sparse never fussy, magical.

Where she writes, you should follow, and be glad you did. It’s true stuff, she sets out on unpaved roads all her own, from Hip Mama to Atlas of the Human Heart now to The Traveling Death & Resurrection Show–but these are also “our” roads. Being a mama of today, being a girl-child, being on the road, wondering about the meaning of life and the religion you were raised with and what does it mean? And what happens when things fall apart? Plus she has the poetry. Ariel has heart but it’s never soggy. She’s one of our generation’s outstanding living writers.

writer bear

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Being a writer who publishes books is the strangest thing I know. It’s like being some rare breed of bear who hibernates for two years and then emerges to harass the tourists for just a few weeks.


The Book is Out!

Monday, May 1st, 2006

We’re rehearsing for tour–the musicians on their instruments and me wiring the shadow puppets… And my friend China says The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show is suddenly and mystically on sale! Available and a real thing in the world. She got her copy today at Atomic Books!

And then I got a note from the Center for Visionary Activism on the derivation of the exclamation mark:
from Greek drama–If a line was to be delivered with force,  in the margins was written, “IO,” meaning “forceful expression of joy.” In time the “O” was written underneath the “I.” Kinda kinned to “all praise to the Divine!”

And from the I Ching (Stephen Karcher’s translation):

In an unexpected way, in an unexpected place, you meet with a spirit power of great importance… Bite through the obstacles! Gather energy for a decisive new move… The great Spring festivals united all after the Winter isolation…

This is the right time to embark on a significant enterprise or enter the stream of life with a goal. Bring people together, for Creative force is moving in the situation. Persist in your efforts to illumine the inherent beauty of things.

All praise to the divine death and rebirth!

See, I’ve been a little bit depressed and stressed–the old social anxiety disorder acting up–and feeling like the world is too mean for the kind of rent we have to pay to live in it–so all this is abundantly welcome. It’s a new day and I’m getting a tax refund(!) Praise all the wacky deep reverent saints. Things are moving and movement is good… Please tell all your friends to buy my new book.

I’ll see you on tour…OK?

Ladies and Gentlemen…

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Bringing together the traditions of Catholicism and the sideshow, Ariel and her motley crew of musicians and puppeteers will be performing live in Portland, Olympia, Seattle, Bellingham, Arcata, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles.

If you’re on the West Coast, please come and see The Traveling Death & Resurrection Show ON TOUR


Monday, May 1st, 2006

Oakland Tribune / Willits News:

A first novel certain to set off debates about religion — all views of the spectrum… The book raises questions about news coverage and the nature of celebrity, about true faith and religious fanaticism, about self-doubt and actual redemption…a book readers will love or hate but not ignore.

From Queen Anne Books

Portland author Ariel Gore has created an unforgettable group of characters in her novel which will be published at the end of April. As you might guess by the book’s title, The Traveling Death & Resurrection Show, the characters are a vaudeville-type troupe whose performance art is founded on the doctrines of Catholicism. Frances Catherine (aka Frankka or Saint Cat) is our narrator who is able (if hungry enough) to bleed from her palms (stigmata). It is through her eyes that we meet the rest of the troupe including a drag queen named Madre Pia, who wears a nun’s habit and is able to levitate; Paula, a bearded lady; Magdalena, the diva acrobat; and Barbaro, a gentle fire-breathing Italian; but it is Frankka’s story we get to know best. We learn about the first time she used her stigmata to manipulate her grandmother out of an ongoing depressive funk long enough to feed her young granddaughter. We learn about her obsession with the lives of Saints; in fact, this is one of the highlights of the novel–Frankka’s retelling of familiar Saint stories is really a hoot! We follow the show from tiny town, to small town, to city until a front-page story in the L.A. Times on the miraculous group creates some serious problems for the entertainers. Well-written, incredibly creative and surprisingly thought-provoking–this will be a fun novel to recommend, particularly to book clubs.

From Literati Illuminations

So just a couple of weeks ago, I picked up an ARC (advanced readers copy) of a book titled, beautifully, The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show. Look, even booksellers are swayed by book covers. Maybe more so than average Joe Q. Public because we have so many damn books to read or at least know something about in order to discuss intelligently with customers. So I picked up this book because of several factors.

A) The cover is awesome.
B) The title was intriguing
C) It was slim and I needed something smallish to get back into a fiction groove since I’ve been reading so little of it lately.

Anywho. I picked up this book and started reading it the next morning. I finished it after work that night. I could not put it down. Compelling characters, structured stream of consciousness writing and an interesting but simple plot. Perfect! A note of redemption and hope found. Some dashes of tragedy and hardness. It’s a dark tunnel with a bright light at the end. Maybe a few lanterns along the way. And you just keep going forward because you know eventually that light will reveal itself as something beautiful and open or a train. Either way, the darkness is over and you are satisfied. Incredibly satisfied.

So then I decided I needed to pick up Atlas of the Human Heart, Ariel Gore’s memoir. As soon as I saw the cover I remembered seeing it on shelves and wanting to buy it, but not – for whatever reason at the time I have since forgotten.

Dear reader, do you know how hard it is to find a writer whose fiction and non-fiction nearly reads the same? I mean this as a compliment to the writer’s voice. As an example, I love Anne Lamott’s non-fiction but I think her fiction is terrible. Seriously. Ariel Gore has this voice that is so tough and introverted and exploratory and un-self-conscious all at the same time. I love it. I love the rambles and rants as much as I love her descriptions of the places she visits and the people she meets. Atlas… reads like fiction in its journey forward but is so sincere and honest and revealing that it can only be real. How much of any biography is ever really real, though? With Atlas, it doesn’t matter. You don’t care.

Come Spring, when her novel comes out, explore for yourself and see if you can figure out which is more true to life than the other – novel or memoir?