More About the Author
When I'm abroad, I usually tell people I am from California rather than the United States. I'm not just trying to be clever, or to slough off the increasingly heavy load of being an American in foreign climes. I actually identify that way.
I was born in the Bay Area in June of the Summer of Love, and grew up in Del Mar, a town of university profs and mellow longhairs name-dropped by the Beach Boys in 'Surfin' U.S.A.' When I was a teenager, my family moved to Rancho Santa Fe, into a rambling ranch house that lay about a mile from the Spanish Revival mansion where the Heaven's Gate UFO cult later committed mystic suicide. Since 1995, I have lived in San Francisco, where my great-great-great-grandfather I. C. C. Russ disembarked with his family from the Loo Choo in the fortuitous year of 1847. My roots lie in this rootless place.
That said, I spent a good ten years on the east coast, at Yale and then in the freelance trenches of New York City, where I wrote tons about music, philosophy, and television for The Village Voice, The Nation, Details, Spin, and other more or less glossy rags. I started covering virtual reality and Internet culture long before the World Wide Web hit, and wrote the first national piece about Burning Man. I have always been interested in exploring the margins where spirituality, media technology, and culture intertwine, giving us flashes of possible futures.
Essays about this sort of stuff have appeared in over a dozen books, including AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man, Zig Zag Zen: Psychedelics and Buddhism, and The Disinformation Book of Lies. For years I was also a contributing writer for Wired.
I have also spent a good deal of time traveling the world, playing music, and fitfully practicing yoga, martial arts, and meditation. In politics and philosophy, I strive to be multi-perspectival; in temperament, I am both enlivening and prickly. I am committed to the life of mind and soul, even in these claustrophobic, competetive, potentially catastrophic days.