Joshua Wheeler presents Acid West

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Acid West Acid West, Apoc­a­lypse of Ro­maine Field­ing. The Golden God, Pasatiempo Acid West The Lost

“When you hear I’m from New Mex­ico, you may have sto­ries of Al­bu­querque and Santa Fe and Taos, the fa­mous towns up north,” Joshua Wheeler writes in his de­but es­say col­lec­tion pub­lished this spring by Far­rar, Straus and Giroux. “There is no easy way to ex­plain that here in the un­der­belly, south of the 34th par­al­lel, which cuts the state in half, things are dif­fer­ent. We use the ab­bre­vi­a­tion SNM for our home, and maybe that is a good ex­pla­na­tion, how there is some­thing awk­ward but ac­cu­rate in the way it comes off the tongue like S&M.”

Wheeler, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of non­fic­tion writ­ing at Louisiana State Univer­sity, pop­u­lates the free­wheel­ing

with a cabi­net of cu­rios as­sem­bled from seven gen­er­a­tions of his fam­ily’s im­print on the south­ern New Mex­ico land­scape. His sprawl­ing es­says are writ­ten with a gonzo con­scious­ness that re­calls the nar­ra­tive di­gres­sions of David Foster Wal­lace — on such top­ics as the Trin­ity Test that bleached Wheeler’s great-grand­fa­ther’s cows, the toxic wounds of down­wind ra­di­a­tion, the buried ironies of un­earthing a cache of Atari car­tridges in the desert, and the disjointed rhythms of a small-town Ap­ple­bee’s. In April, praised Wheeler’s dis­junc­tive yet em­i­nently read­able style: “Con­junc­tions do some heavy lift­ing. Even sec­tion breaks and tenses be­come the ob­jects of dex­ter­ous play. The col­lec­tion seems to be a rau­cous mutiny against the no­tion that lan­guage should be sub­ject to in­flex­i­ble reg­u­la­tions.”

At 4 p.m. on Sun­day, Oct. 14, Wheeler presents at the Jean Cocteau Cin­ema (418 Mon­tezuma Ave., 505-466-5528), along with a new New Mex­ico project, a mul­ti­me­dia pre­sen­ta­tion en­ti­tled

Field­ing was an ac­tor, screen­writer, and silent movie direc­tor who com­man­deered the en­tire Plaza Ho­tel in Las Ve­gas for two years be­gin­ning in 1913, mak­ing sev­eral films that cul­mi­nated in a five-reel fu­tur­is­tic thriller set in 1950 that is now lost to time — the story of which is ripe for retelling to Jean Cocteau au­di­ences. The au­thor event is $10, and $23 in­cludes a copy of Acid West; tick­ets are avail­able at jean­cocteaucin­ema.com. — Molly Boyle

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