Villainy By Andrea Abi-Karam, 136 pgs.

Jan 06, 2022

Frantic feedback, but not the kind that drives queer and trans people out of the bar; a new kind, one that draws us in, that scares everyone else away, commanding attention and making us look at the back of our own mind in new ways, pushing us into questions and discomfort the way we push our own bodies to the limits, the way we push our own bodies into pits and protests and leather and classrooms without abandon, but with the weight-of-the-world that AAK seeks to destroy/interrogate, and replace/interrogate with both revelry and reality.

Villainy quotes and fucks Courtney Love against a SF dumpster, feels through Fanon, gesturing towards becoming the “tape that sets fire to your tape player,” while questioning literary arrogance and corporate pride in liberation work. It grapples with death and sex and implosions and limits and sweat as glue and the tension between orgies and evictions and art and memory. If Extratransmission killed the bro in your head / at the noise show, Villainy is living on the run, dancing on the graves of colonialism and the state, anxiously writing maps, reflections, and phone numbers on napkins and set lists from New York to the Bay Area, fucking using the cops’ headlights to illuminate it all.

Although this was written mostly between 2016/2017 in the wake of the Ghost Ship Fire and the 2017 Muslim Ban, it feels as urgent as ever. Put this book on a loop pedal and let the words fall against your rhythm, echoing, shifting, and driving you away from the grooves you already know. Villainy should be read like a trans chain punk abolitionist manifesto for the world we are inhabiting right now—distorted, fragmented, and liminal, barreling out of extreme tragedy without a destination but with deep commitments to justice and nothing to lose. –Candace Hansen (Nightboat Books)

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