Introducing Café Gaga, the Podcast

I am thrilled to finally be launching this podcast, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while. The basic idea for the show is “a periodic podcast about what’s on my mind or what’s fallen into my lap.” In each episode, I’ll be talking about projects that I’m working on, things I’ve been thinking about, and media and ideas that have been landing on my virtual desktop and physical doorstep. I’ll also have guests on from time to time, mainly casual conversations with friends to find out what sorts of trouble they’ve been getting up to.

In this first episode, I talk to my pal Michael Taft. Michael is currently writing a book, called The Mindful Geek, that he’s also crowdfunding on Indiegogo. Michael is an accomplished mindfulness meditation teacher, who teaches in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. I talk to him about his history with meditation, his teaching practice, and his forthcoming book. It was a fun, I hope interesting, conversation and I think a great way to inaugurate the show.

I’d love to get your feedback on the show and if you find it entertaining and useful.

Here are the show notes with links to the things we discussed:

A very special thanks to Michael Taft for being on the show, sound and video editor, Anthony Sunseri for fixing my horrible audio and mixing the show, and AdamD for the the Café Gaga theme song, “In Bright Axiom.”

WINK Review: Remembered for a While

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When English singer/songwriter/musician Nick Drake tragically died in 1974 (ironically from an overdose of anti-depressant medication), he was not tremendously well-known. But in death, his hauntingly beautiful compositions have transformed him into a highly influential musical figure who’s inspired generations of musical artists. In Remembered for a While, his sister, Gabrielle Drake (perhaps best known as the purple-haired Lt. Ellis in the cult-fave 70s British TV series, UFO), has put together a touching and beautiful anthology of all things Nick Drake.

Read the full review here.

Boing Boing Feature: All Quiet on the Martian Front

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Last week, I had the pleasure of writing a piece for Boing Boing about my favorite new tabletop sci-fi wargame, All Quiet on the Martian Front.

It’s 1908. Earth has finally recovered from the terrifying shock of the Martian attacks of 1898 that nearly laid waste to London. While a few of the world’s more cautious leaders, intellectuals, and industrialists call for continued vigilance and defense preparations against the possible return of the deadly mechanized Martian horde, most of the world has fallen back into complacency. Under the cover of this collective sleep, once more, Martian cylinders begin to fall from sky. This time, the Martians land in largely uninhabited areas of the globe, and this time they’ve inoculated themselves against the earthly microbes that proved their undoing in the first invasion. The second wave of the Great Interplanetary War has begun.

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Read the full piece here.

WINK Review: The Think The Book

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WINK is a site that’s dedicated to the unique and glorious qualities of the print book. Similarly, The Thing The Book celebrates all aspects of this amazing medium that revolutionized the world. Created by John Herschend and Will Rogan, the Bay Area artists behind one of my favorite subscription-based art projects, The Thing Quarterly, The Thing The Book gathers together over 30 well-known writers, artists, photographers, and thinkers, and asks them to riff on some traditional element of the book: cover, bookplate, table of contents, footnotes, endnotes, index, endpapers, etc.

Read the full review here.

Last Kickstarter Backer Report of the Year

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Here is the last KS newsletter with a round-up of my Borg Like Me activities for the year.

What’s in Store for 2015

I’ll do some more book readings next year, but mainly I’ll be moving on to other projects. I’m currently working on “The Eros Part: Further Writings on Love, Sex, and Muses,” the third volume in the Borg Like Me chapbook series. This was a reward for a KS backer level and so is my top priority. Realistically, it may not be out until Spring, but I think it’ll be worth the wait. I’m also working on “Sucks-Less, Too,” the follow-up to “Gareth’s Tips on Sucks-Less Writing.”

I might also be launching a casual, periodic podcast, called Café Gaga, that will cover what’s going on at Sparks of Fire Press, weird and wonderful things that are crossing my transom, some conversations with interesting friends doing interesting things, etc. I also have at least one Sparks of Fire collaborative art project I’m planning. And those are just what’s swirling around SoFP and Borg Like Me. I have several other projects in the pipeline I’m pretty excited about and will tell you more about them as soon as I can.

Read the full newsletter here.

Wink Review: Syllabus

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My latest review on WINK, of Lynda Barry’s intensely inspiring Syllabus:

Professor Lynda Barry has been on a roll of late. First, she published her astonishing and inspired writing-workshop-in-a-book, What It Is. She followed that up with Picture This: The Near-sighted Monkey Book, which covered drawing in much the same way that What It Is approached writing. In Syllabus, Barry has published her actual hand-drawn lesson plans from her popular college class entitled “Drawing the Unthinkable.”

Read the entire review here.

Tom Igoe Reviews Borg Like Me in MAKE Magazine

I was thrilled to get my latest copy of MAKE and to discover this review of Borg Like Me by maker icon Tom Igoe (co-creator of the revolutionary Arduino microcontroller).

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WINK Review: Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia

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We all know the multimedia artistic brilliance of pioneering New Wave band Devo. And many of us know that Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh is an artist who works in other media. But even other moderately devoted fans such as myself may be surprised to realize just how multiple Mothersbaugh’s artistic talents are, how persistent, or how significant when surveyed as a whole. This is all remedied in an impressive new volume, Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia, assembled by Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Denver Director Adam Lerner.

Read the complete review here.

RU Sirius Interview Me for H+ Magazine

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From Sirius’ Intro: Gareth Branwyn’s latest book, Borg Like Me, takes a slightly unusual route to tell us the story of his Cyborgification, a process that started, of necessity, when he was very young. By combining memoir-style segments with articles published in various periodicals ranging from my own MONDO 2000 through Wired, Boing Boing and Make, the book both reflects back on various periods in counterculture/technoculture and reflects them directly via writings that appeared at the time.

The result is surprisingly coherent. It’s also a serious read that touches on some dark and difficult days. Gareth loses control over his body and he loses his wife, first to the touring life of a rock musician and then to suicide. Through it all, his spirit of romanticism, experimentation, curiosity and hackers/tinkerers’ ethics persevere.

Read the entire interview here.

WINK Review: Beyond The Dark Veil

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My most recent WINK review, of a book of Victorian post-mortem photography is now live.

Beyond the Dark Veil is a handsome new volume from Washington state’s Thanatos Archive, published by Last Gasp (perfect casting there!), exploring this fascinating, now seemingly macabre death practice. This is a gorgeously-produced hardbound volume with an embossed, gold-foiled black leather cover and golden-edged pages. Photography comprises the bulk of the content, but there are also essays from Jack Mord (owner of the Archive), author and death researcher Bess Lovejoy, artist Marion Peck, poet Joanna Roche, historian of photography Joe Smoke, and others.

Read the full review here.