Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Biography/Backstory | William Anthony Nericcio

note: a less wordy, image-saturated alternative to this site is here.


eliable dispatches from elite, embedded West Coast intelligence agents reveal that Dr. William Anthony Nericcio (aka "Memo," aka "Bill") directs an eclectic and innovative cultural studies graduate program at San Diego State University, aka MALAS, the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and SciencesHe also serves as a Professor in and former Chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature--"twas like juggling cats on fire," he has been heard to mutter of his work there. Other clandestine West Coast snoops confirm that he labors at SDSU in various academic disguises including: cultural studies scholar, American and Latin American literature prof, Chicana/Chicano Studies devotee, ALA/Choice Award-Winning Film Studies maven, American Studies lackey, and last, but not least, feverish rasquache Tejano acolyte of deconstruction

Tara Macpherson
Other embedded, shady scouts contend Nericcio's diverse academic pursuits are merely an ivory-tower nested front, a nefarious cover for the Chicano writer's true obsessions: graphic design, web-surfing, Man Ray's photography, Euro/Indy movies, Bill Elder, Remedios Varo, Jacques Derrida, Severo Sarduy, Rosario Castellanos, and Meret Oppenheim (of late, Haruki MurakamiTara McPherson, and Darren Aronofsky also draw his eye).

Before joining SDSU's crack team of talented, exegetic misfits, Nericcio held earlier postings at The University of Connecticut, his first, most infamous English Department posting, and at Cornell University, where, working with taskmaster mentors (Carlos Fuentes, Dominic LaCapra, Edgar Rosenberg, Wolfgang Holdheim, Nelly Furman, Enrico Mario Santí, Gayatri Spivak and Henry Louis Gates Jr.), he completed his doctoral degree in Comparative Literature with a dissertation entitled The Politics of Solitude: Alienation in the Literatures of the Americas

Our well-paid East Coast gumshoes and informants tell odd, whispered tales regarding Nericcio's time in Ithaca: his enigmatic midnight chats with Vladimir Nabokov's surly ghost far above Cayuga's waters; his now epic 2am street-fight with four drunk Cornell gringo frat-rats in a snowstorm near the corner of Court and Tioga; his critical theory lucha libre disputes with Derrida-glosser Jonathan Culler and his curious better-half, Cynthia Chase (a relative of once-funny, SNL-alum Chevy Chase), who deemed Nericcio's hieroglyphic notetaking a mark of incipient moronity (notes, opposite); his legendary tequila-induced, body-sculpture-snow-angel-making with LA playwright Oliver Mayer at the top of the Buffalo St. hill; and lastly, his boisterous conjunto dancing alongside Carlos Fuentes in an Ithaca Union hall. Sadly, our usually reliable 'townie' snitches loitering outside the Haunt have failed to document these claims. 

Our diligent Northern Mexican agents recently discovered that Nericcio, a recovering Catholic school boy from South Texas (seized 1st-grade snapshot to your left), received
his Bachelor's of Arts degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin (1984), this while working part-time at the Texas Tavern (now demolished) and The Cactus Cafe as a barrista/bartender and prowling posh 6th Street cocktail lounges. This was also the time when Nericcio, along with Jay Whitley aspired to 80s, new-wave, music stardom in the indy, third-coast, rock combo, The Dyed Blondes--de rigueur recording studio snapshot to your right.

Now headquartered near the California/Mexico border with SDSU, he serves on the faculty of the Center for Latin American Studies, The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (MALAS) and the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies in addition to his English and CompLit teaching shenanigans. A native son of Laredo, Texas, with assorted ancestors hailing from General Téran (near Monterrey, México), Partanna, Sicily, and (it is silently whispered) the merry ol' island of England, Nericcio tells anyone willing to listen that he is a post-Movimiento Chicano. In this vein, the testimony of well-placed former students is useful, with numerous depositions existing that attest to Nericcio being a 'a Sicilian Tejano' or to him publicly declaiming nostalgic, nationalistic odes to Flaco Jimenez, La Llorona, 'Tejas' and the Rio Grande river. Other witnesses speak of overhearing eloquent soliloquies in San Diego dive bars wherein Nericcio, between sips, confesses his obsessions with Sleestaks, The Get-Away Chase Game, Al Jaffee, Monty Python, Kurt Wiese, Captain Kangaroo, Mannix, The Banana Splits, Medical Center, Wacky Packages, La India María, Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, Land of the Lost, Dean Martin, Los Polivoces, Mil Mascaras, the late Edward Said, Gamera, and H.R. Pufnstuf.

Nericcio has published articles on Orson Welles's proto-Chicano masterpiece Touch of Evil (in Chicanos and Film: Representation and Resistance), Octavio Paz's shrouded schizophrenic political oscillations (Siglo XX/20th Century: Critique & Cultural Discourse, 10:1-2 1992-93), and Jorge Luis Borges's, Eugène Delacroix's, and Jacques Derrida's unlikely textual mènage-á-trois in Susan Daitch's LC. In 1996, Nericcio's "Artif[r]acture: Virulent Pictures, Graphic Narrative, and the Ideology of the Visual" appeared in the pages of Mosaic--the sprawling, illustrated essay was one of the first scholarly pieces to appear on comics in academe. In 1998, his illustrated exposé on Speedy Gonzales, "Autopsy of a Rat: Odd, Sundry Parables of Freddy Lopez, Speedy Gonzales, and Other Chicano/Latino Marionettes Prancing about Our First World Visual Emporium," was brought kicking and screaming into the world by Camera Obscura, A Journal of Feminism Culture and Media Studies--now distributed by Duke University Press.

2002 saw the appearance of three publications: 1) a revised and expanded essay on Rita Hayworth, electrolysis, and the existential in Violence and the Body: Race, Gender, and the State; 2) a gratuitously illustrated meditation on Gilbert Hernandez's illustrated biography of Frida Kahlo in NYU Press's Latino/a Popular Culture; and 3) a short rant on anti-undocumented worker violence, the Marquis de Sade, and California law enforcement for BAD SUBJECTS, UC Berkeley's HOT Lefty rag. A more recent opus (2004), ten years in the making, for The Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies examines the Paul Reubens' masturbation scandal back in the 1990s and is entitled "Watching Critics, Watching Journalists, Watching Sheriffs, Watching Pee-wee Herman Watch: The Extraordinary Case of the Saturday Morning Children's Show Celebrity Who Masturbated"--reliable snitches claim the highlight of the opus is some odd revelation about transvestites, transgendered bodies, Medical Center (The Fourth Sex, 1975), and Robert Reed (opposite), the pater familias on the Brady Bunch.

Other not-so-recent and recent scholarly gigs include Nericcio's London lecture, "In the Storm of the Eye: Pages Torn From a Voyeur Semiotician's Diary During the Plague of Bad Theory"(1998), for Goldsmith College and the Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA) and "Cinematography, Photography and Literature: Robert Frank's Aesthetic Triptych" (2000) for the Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA), San Diego. Nericcio's also has lectured abroad at the Freud Museum in London where he spoke on the 'fertile' connection between Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic work and the Viennese wizard's collection of erotic antiquities--this took place during a Fall 2001 Semester in London where Nericcio worked as a Visiting Senior Lecturer in Literature for the Foundation for Interational Education and SDSU (note the surveillance photo to your right, that's him with the strange expression standing by Freud's infamous couch). Apparently the Freud Museum guards failed to inform London authorities of various improprieties with Herr Sigmund's couch as in San Diego, Spring 2002, this candid shot was taken of Nericcio ranting about Nietzsche at a pacific REVIEW public reading. 2003 opened with Nericcio joining the editorial advisory board of Gobshite Quarterly an independent international literary magazine.

Travel also seemed to be on the agenda with lectures at NEMLA, The University of Connecticut's Department of English, and Brown University's Department of Africana Studies, topped off with a visit to the Netherlands where Nericcio chaired a panel and delivered a lecture at the first Congress of the International Association of American Studies in Leiden. Summer 2003 found him once again leading a group of adventurous SDSU students to London for the 1st annual LONDON CALLING, SDSU Summer Program. He has subsequently led UK-junkets in 2005, 2007, and 2009.

November 2003 saw Nericcio working as the warm-up act (spycam shot opposite) for the Ballet Nacional de Cuba for the La Jolla Music Society. December 2003, Nericcio delivered a harangue for Affirmative Action at the San Diego MLA for its ADE/ADFL enclaves. In February 2004, Nericcio enjoyed his Spring sabbatical--but took a break from

occasional naps by jetting up to the East Coast in February for a cool Gangster Symposia at the SUNY Stony Brook Humanities Research Institute--click young John Gotti's mug to your right for more info.

In Summer 2004, Nericcio, taking a break from the vagaries of the University Lecture Hall, traded chalk for pine tar as he played utility outfielder for the league-leading National City Dukes in the San Diego Adult Baseball League. Fall 2004 he started up with his Sinematic Bodies: Intro to Lit and Film circus (which featured, among other things, a mad dash across campus by mimes (chapeau Antonioni) and started overseeing the production of cultural studies tomes with Harry Polkinhorn for Hyperbole Books--touted by the one and only, notorious and untoward Playboy Magazine as one of the reasons SDSU won best "party school" in 2005. Spring 2005 saw the startup of his Freud's Bastard Children class and the Literature After Derrida lecture series. Fall 2005 saw Nericcio lead a graduate seminar on his fallen guru Jacques Derrida (Chasing Derrida) and teach a comedy seminar (Naked, Loud, & Broken) in honor of his mentor, Richard Simon. 2006 was filled with flights of sinemadness with Michael Powell and Walker Percy; frolics in the imperial bedroom, with James Joyce, Homer and Carlos Fuentes; prowls down the alleyways of film noir and pulp fiction with Orson Welles and Quentin Tarantino; and ended explosively with seductive hallucinations with a 500 student introduction to literature delirium in Wiik Auditorium.

Original cover proposal, Tex[t]-Mex

2007 began with a bang as Nericcio finally finished his 16-years-in-the-making magnum opus for the University of Texas Press, Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America--it appeared January 15, 2007. Since 2007 and into 2008, the Laredo ex-patriot has been spotted at Oberlin College, Purdue University, USC, Los Angeles's Skylight Books, The Universty of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas, San Antonio, and the University of San Diego hawking his wares and generally trying to invoke academic mischief. In October 2010, Nericcio invaded Ohio State University for a lecture and book-signing; Janurary 2011 found him hanging with donkeys in Santa Monica while March was spent talking about televisual psyches at the University of Michigan and April sped by with Nericcio talking space and Mextasy at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Latest rumors center around the existence of some character named Guillermo Nericcio García and an traveling art show named "Mextasy" and "Xicanoholic"--but reliable sources for these shadowy whispers are proving hard to find.

Indulgent visitors to this page waiting for hell to freeze-over can peek at online syllabi from Nericcio's collection of past courses or sample this alternative index of WWWeb-based mischief where many of his essays are available in Adobe's ubiquitous pdf format. Also available are two illustrated fragments from his theoretical memoir on the US/Mexico border: "Re-membering Laredo" and "Almost Like Laredo"; book reviews of Charles Bukowski's finale Pulp, Rudolfo Anaya's new age weeper Jalamanta, and Richard Rodriguez's bizarre smash bestseller Days of Obligation (these pieces originally appeared in World Literature Today);an illustrated transcript of Nericcio's Museum of Photographic Art introduction to Pull my Daisy (a collaborative oddity by Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg); and lastly, a scathing send-up of Ray Bradbury's, Edward James Olmos's and Disney's cine-chimera, The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit.

Lastly (for the poor, misbegotten soul who has scrollled this far down the page!), do please click below to view the birth of Nericcio's efforts as a Ford Focus Spanish-language voiceover star and would-be commercial actor--directed by Print Magazine superstar Sean Desmond. Or, alternatively, click this link to see a San Diego City Beat story for which Nericcio SWEARS he did not pay or another yellow press wonder that documents the trials and tribulations of teaching 500 student classes at SDSU.

Lastly, there's more information, here, from wikipedia.

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