The Complete Fear of Kathy Acker (Paperback)
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The first complete edition of this notorious novel which maps the 1980s anarchic underground of Los Angeles.
Published in excerpts over almost four decades, Jack Skelley’s “secretly legendary” novel is at once an homage to the thrillingly inventive spirit of Kathy Acker’s cut-up novels and a definitive history of LA’s underground culture of the mid-1980s.
Composed in bursts, Fear of Kathy Acker depicts Los Angeles through the eyes of a self-mocking narrator. Shifting styles and personae as he moves between Venice and Torrance, punk clubs and shopping malls, Disneyland and Dodger Stadium, Jack Skelley pushes the limits of language and identity while pursuing—much as Kathy Acker did—a quixotic literary mix of discipline and anarchy. In this adrenalized, cosmic, and comic chronicle of Los Angeles, Skelley’s “real life” friends make cameo appearances alongside pop archetypes from Madonna to Billy Idol.
This first-ever complete edition of the book includes new essays, playlists, and a map of the 1980s Los Angeles in which its manic protagonist lives and loves.
About the Author
Poet, journalist, and musician Jack Skelley is the author of Monsters, Dennis Wilson and Charlie Manson, and the forthcoming Interstellar Theme Park: New and Selected Writing. During the years when Fear of Kathy Acker was written, Skelley produced the music series and coproduced the reading and performance series at Beyond Baroque while editing and publishing Barney: The Modern Stone Age Magazine, featuring major artists and writers. He is a songwriter and guitarist for the psychedelic surf band Lawndale.
Sabrina Tarasoff is an independent writer and critic formerly based in Pasadena and now in Paris. In recent years she has focused on the nebulous “poet gang” that formed around the poetry workshops at Beyond Baroque Literary Art Center during the period from 1976 to 1986. Founded in the early 1960s by George Drury Smith in a storefront in Venice, California, Beyond Baroque quickly became a site for gathering, workshopping writing, art performances, and conversation and is still active today.
"Deft, deadpan, dreadful, deliberate, delirious. Perfect adult bedtime reading."
—Jane Rankin-Reid, White Hot Magazine