The End of San Francisco

The End of San Francisco

"Pride Month Reading List"
Jun 25, 2015

The End of San Francisco included in the National Book Foundation's 2015 Pride Month reading list for nonfiction.


Jun 12, 2014

City Lights is proud to announce that Mattilda's The End of San Francisco is the winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction.

- Lambda Literary Awards


"In a world where AIDS, abuse, experimentation, gender expression, activism and public expression of queer sexuality continue to mean death—socially, politically, and otherwise—Sycamore's advice must be heard at all costs."—Matthew Halse

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore interviewed in The Brooklyn Rail"
Feb 5, 2014

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of The End of San Francisco, shares what she learned while writing, a really important part of the book and much more with Kathleen Rooney.

- Kathleen Rooney, The Brooklyn Rail


"But, some of my favorite writers and people released books this year. Like Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's beautiful book about queerness and community and lack of and disappointment and marginalization and gentrification and sex, The End of San Francisco. God, I love that book, on a sentence level it is just heartbreaking."—Jessa Crispin

Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"I have decided my favorite genre is the jeremiad, the infuriating lament…everyone should read Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, especially her most recent, The End of San Francisco."—Kate Zambreno

"Interview on the award-winning internationally distributed weekly LGBT radio program"
Dec 3, 2013

This Way Out: 10 Years of US marriage equality + "The End of San Francisco" A-Infos Radio Project

- Radio4all

"An interview with the rad queer author and activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore"
Nov 29, 2013

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore discusses how critique is an act of love, and much more from her book The End of San Francisco.

- Allison Francis

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore interviewed in In These Times"
Oct 23, 2013

Sycamore discusses queer politics and how San Francisco is a not a carefree utopia for queer people. 

- Yasmin Nair, In These Times

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore in The New York Times"
Oct 15, 2013

Sycamore discusses trans rights and gay rights in the opinion page in The New York Times. 

- Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, New York Times

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore interviewed in The Badger Herald"
Oct 3, 2013

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore talks with Aliya Iftikhar about her work and identity politics. 

- Aliya Ifthikhar,The Badger Herald

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore interviewed on ChicagoPride"
Oct 3, 2013

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, discusses her book The End of San Francisco. 

- Gregg Shapiro, ChicagoPride

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore interviewed in Windy City Times"
Oct 2, 2013

Sycamore talks with Yasmin Nair about her recent work, "faggot" as a word, and The End of San Francisco. 

- Yasmin Nair, Windy City Times

"Mattilda Sycamore in The Chicago Reader"
Sep 30, 2013

Yasmin Nair talks about Sycamore's new memoir, The End of San Francisco, as a text that remembers, but also as a record of historical and cultural forgetting. 

- Yasmin Nair, The Chicago Reader

The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide

"Author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the artistic love child of Jean genet and David Wojnarowicz, deconstructing language swathed in unbridled sensuality, while flinging readers into a disrupted, chaotic life of queer anarchy…Images cascade and collide with one another in an accomplished literary cadenza of salvation."—John R. Killacky

The Stranger

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's whip-raw memoir The End of San Francisco is all about…the need to discover who you are by defining yourself in a place. She avoids the clichés of other angry young memoirs by sharing her protagonist role with San Francisco."—Paul Constant

Tikkun Magazine

"Sycamore's associative, non-linear narrative is filled with sparkling language that illuminates the importance of reaching for connection and alive-ness in the face of brutality and loss."—Wendy Elisheva Somerson


"The End Of San Francisco, published by City Lights, is activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's denunciation of assimilation…This book is a useful reminder that the gay community is far from monolithic and that it is especially important to listen to the voices of resistance."—June Thomas


"The result is brilliant, a collection of unstructured vignettes about sex abuse, dying parents, feminism and veganism, Tracy Chapman and Le Tigre, dyke bars and gay tricks, AIDS and ACT UP that all weave together a life of hope in '90s San Francisco and the disappointment that follows."—Diane Anderson-Minshall

Gay and Lesbian Review

"Author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the artistic love child of John Genet and David Wojnarowicz, deconstructing language swathed in unbridled sensuality, while flinging readers into a disrupted, chaotic life of queer anarchy."


"It is so difficult to assess The End of San Francisco because it is a work of such blazing originality that one cannot compare it to anything else and say 'this is more or less successful than that.' The experience of The End of San Francisco simply bears no comparison."—Charles Kruger

Rain Taxi

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore has a model for relationships that says: 'First you reveal everything, and then when you can't think of anything else to reveal you go deeper.' In The End of San Francisco, Sycamore lets the reader feel the bitter sweetness of that relationship model, the 'push-pull of intimacy' that makes the process of excavating memories so painful but so cathartic, so difficult but so urgent."—Mariana Roa Oliva

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore interviewed on Berkeley's KPFA 94.1"
Jun 30, 2013

Dean Spade, Kenyon Farrow and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore discuss the focus on Gay marriage, gay's in the military and the mainstream of the gay movement on KPFA 94.1. 

- Dean Spade, Kenyon Farrow and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, KPFA

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore interviewed in The Rumpus"
Jun 30, 2013

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore discusses  her book The End of San Francisco in The Rumpus 

- Mairead Case, The Rumpus

"Interview with Mattilda on CKUT-FM, Montreal"
May 21, 2013

Listen to an hour-long interview with Mattilda from May 2013 by following these instructions:
Click on 'Programming & Archives' and scroll down to "The Kitchen Bang Bang Law," which airs noon on Tuesda.  Click on the red speaker icon beside the show name & then click on the little square computer-icon (not the red speaker icon) for 'entire show' for May 21, 2013. You should see a Quicktime mp3 screen. It'll start playing the show.  If you want to save the mp3, go to 'file' on your menu and click on 'save as'. It'll download the mp3 somewhere on your computer.


Psychology Today

"…one of the most important memoirs of the decade…The End of San Francisco is one of the most vulnerable memoirs I've read."—Ariel Gore

San Francisco Chronicle

"It would be easy to describe The End of San Francisco as a Joycean Portrait of the Artist as a Young Queer (although the book's intense stream of consciousness is reminiscent of the later, more experimental, Joyce)…but this is misleading. This journey of a life that begins in the professional upper-middle class (both parents are therapists) and the Ivy League and moves to hustling, drugs, activism—Sycamore was active in ACT UP and Queer Nation—and queer bohemian grunge, is profoundly American. At heart, Sycamore is writing about the need to escape control through flight or obliteration."—Michael Bronski

Broken Pencil

"Sycamore identifies the complicated messiness of identities wrestling with belonging, activism and being instruments of gentrification…Her style—emotional and conversational—creates a rich, satisfying, evocative and deeply relatable world."


"This autobiography is a story of the way people fail each other, whether out of malice or exhaustion or just not knowing how to be there. It's a chronicle of the ways that we need each other, and the way that need can be turned around, inside-out, torn in all the wrong places but still the only blanket that you have. It's about critiquing out of love and loving despite critique, despite failure, until you can't do it anymore, until you genuinely feel as though an entire city has come to an end."

"Jessica Hoffmann and Peter Cochrane discuss Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's new memoir The End of San Francisco on Bombsite"
Apr 29, 2013

"The End of San Francisco begins and ends with intense wants for recognition and connectivity. Throughout, there isn't one part where she is disengaged from this intensity. But that want for more, for something deeper, for integrative relationships and structural change, which is so often mistaken for cynicism, is fueled by love and aspirations."

- Jessica Hoffman, Peter Cochrane, Bombsite

Lambda Literary

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's long awaited memoir The End of San Francisco will rip you open, crack your rib-cage and pour glitter into your heart. It's hard and captivating, a book that truly pulls you in and won’t let you go. Brutal and brilliant, the memoir weaves in and out of time, bringing readers into the intimate details of Sycamore’s adolescence and early activist days."—Sassafras Lowrey

"KQED's "To Do List" Recommends events with Mattilda"
Apr 26, 2013

The Austin Chronicle sums up Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore by saying that she's 'a cross between Tinkerbell and a honky Malcolm X with a queer agenda.' Now that's a Disney movie worth watching! Sycamore is back with a new memoir titled The End of San Francisco and you can be sure that the reading will be something to talk about. Check her out Sunday at Bookshop Santa Cruz, Tuesday at City Lights in North Beach, Thursday at Pegasus Books in Berkeley, and May 9th at the GLBT Museum in San Francisco. More info here.


"KALW's "Out in the Bay" interviews Mattilda"
Apr 25, 2013

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, the provocative, agitated, angry, queer anti-assimilationist writer, is back! With her latest . . .  manifesto? Or memoir? (even though she's still under 40!) In The End of San Francisco Mattilda deals with family, incest, gay sex work, the digital ruination of our City by the Bay, political correctness and its stifling effect on activism and even on simple conversation, and much more. Join Mattilda and host Eric Jansen for, in Mattilda’s words, another 'delicious conversation' about life, struggles, triumphs — ours and the cities we live in. (Brief audio glitch about one minute in. Keep listening, it’s worth it!)"

- Eric Jansen, KALW

"The Monterey Herald interviews Mattilda"
Apr 25, 2013

Wallace Bain's interview with Mattilda for the Santa Cruz Sentinel runs here, plus an excerpt from the book.

- Wallace Bain, The Monterey Herald


"A trenchant observer, her denunciation of racism, classism and homophobia is fierce and she does not spare queer communities for their  refusal to reject hetero-normativity—marriage and children—or capitalist consumption."—Eleanor Bader

"The San Francisco Bay Guardian interviews Mattilda"
Apr 25, 2013

"The End of San Francisco takes us on an atmospheric, highly personal through the turbulent period of the '90s and early 2000s, while asking some hard questions about the queer activism, participatory gentrification, and 'alternative culture' of the period. Along the way, Mattilda intimately delves into issues like her recovered memories of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of her father; the rampant drug use, mental illness, and hostile attitudes of Mission queer culture; the gynophobia and transphobia of many "underground" scenes, and much, much more."

- Marke B, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"The Santa Cruz Sentinel interviews Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore"
Apr 24, 2013

"The enormous political gains of the gay movement in the last two decades have created a large and emerging gay mainstream in American culture. And that gay mainstream has left behind a large part of the marginal radical "queer" fringe from which it came. One of the prominent voices of that fringe is novelist and essayist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, whose latest book, 'The End of San Francisco' (City Lights Books), serves as an impolite reminder that queer culture is still struggling to be part of the cultural conversation on sexual orientation."

- Wallace Baine, Santa Cruz Sentinel

"SF Weekly previews Mattilda's return to San Francisco"
Apr 30, 2013

"There's a passage in Henry Miller's The Colossus of Maroussi that chronicles one of his major revelations as a writer, when a stranger challenges him to record what the wind is doing through the trees without at all talking about it. Sycamore’s prose recalls that passage: Drunk on language that ought to be incomprehensible but is somehow piercingly lucid, she wails elegiac for the dream of a transcendent queer culture once glimpsed with such promise here."

- Evan Karp, SF Weekly

"Mattilda's 2nd interview on KPFA's Flashpoints"

Mattilda discusses her memoir with KPFA's Dennis Bernstein.

- Dennis Bernstein, KPFA

SF Bay Guardian

"Searing, funny, maudlin, elegiac, infuriating, and confessional, The End of San Francisco is a deliberately disordered collection of vignettes dealing mostly with Sycamore's span living in the city and launching the highly influential Queeruption, Fed Up Queers, and Gay Shame activist movements…a brilliant writer…"—Marke B.

The Los Angeles Review of Books

"The End of San Francisco is the opposite of nostalgia. Nostalgia is fundamentally conservative, and its conservatism is often embedded in the form in which stories are told. The End of San Francisco seems to me radical, not just in content, but formally, in insisting on other ways of remembering and documenting."—Jessica Hoffman

"The Advocate: Conversation between Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore and Amber Dawn"
Apr 18, 2013

Authors Amber Dawn and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore discuss queer identities, cycles of violence, and how we're shaped by the people and places that surround us in this revealing author conversation.

- Sunnivie Brydum, The Advocate

KQED San Francisco Arts Blog

"The End of San Francisco could be the most insightful break-up memoir the city has ever received."

"Interview with the SF Weekly"
Apr 17, 2013

"I think we all need to get away from where we started, even if that place was wonderful. How the hell else can we figure out something defiant and flamboyant and transformative?"—Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore discussing her new memoir The End of San Francisco with SF Weekly's Alexis Coe

- SF Weekly

Elliott Bay Books

"This memoir oozes devastation and glamour, twirling around the Nineties like it's San Francisco, and San Francisco like it's the Nineties! Back when queers and anarchists fueled the political momentum in the Mission. But, honey, things are different now. The Nineties are over, and so is San Francisco. Maybe disillusionment and rejuvenation aren't so different when you're ready to go deeper still."

"Mattilda in The Los Angeles Loyolan, the campus newspaper at Loyola Marymount"
Apr 15, 2013

"A large group of communication studies professors attended the lecture and participated in the question and answer session following, expressing their enthusiasm for having such an accomplished speaker in her field come to campus. Communication studies professor Dr. Philip Wander was doubly impressed with the delivery of Sycamore's reading as well as the message of her work. 'She lapses into terribly profound moments, just deep and funny all at the same time,' Wander said. 'I love hearing the performance of the writing, and since personally spending time in San Francisco in the 1960s, I can say what she’s talking about is so accurate in its intensity.'"

- Khayla Golucke, The Los Angeles Loyolan

"Interview with Mattilda in The Daily Emerald"
Apr 4, 2013

The Daily Emerald, a student newspaper at the University of Oregon, Portland, interviews Mattilda about her activism, the role of the arts, differences in queer lifestyle between the 90s and now, and what she hopes to accomplish by visiting universities and speaking with students.

- The Daily Emerald

Capitol Hill Times

"The End of San Francisco has potential to enlighten individuals within a generation that has been told that 'marriage equality' is the ultimate right to be won by the LGBTQ community. Some readers won't like Sycamore for her social and political critiques, but she is an important figure who encourages a critical look at social action, and, for that, The End of San Francisco is an important book."

"Interview on KPFA Berkeley's Flashpoints"
Apr 2, 2013

Mattilda weighs in on the national legalization of gay marriage, and discusses her new memoir with Dennis Bernstein.


Velvet Park Media

"It's a trippy read—in multiple senses of the word—but at the same time profoundly honest and raw. Unlike many queers today, Sycamore doesn't write or live with a chip on her shoulder…and that's really refreshing and just nice to experience as a reader."—Marcie Bianco

"Seattle's 'The Stranger' previews Mattilda's book launch at Elliott Bay"
Mar 29, 2013

"Mattilda is a gender-fucking tower of pure pulsing purple fabulous…"

- The Stranger

"The End of San Francisco featured in The New Civil Rights Movement"
Mar 29, 2013

The New Civil Rights Movement previews Mattilda's new book and tour!

- The New Civil Rights Movement

HuffPost: Gay Voices

"…a fin-de-siècle late '90s narrative that captures the city's underground demimondaine of artists, punks, activists, anarchists and addicts whose ranks will soon be, if not completely swept away by the tech boom's false promises, then severely thinned by gentrification."—Tomas Mournian

New York Journal of Books

"The End of San Francisco recounts both joyful days and dark nights, and it's an important socio-historical account by someone who's been there and done all that."

"An excerpt from The End of San Francisco in Stance"
Mar 12, 2013

Stance: A Journal of Choreographic Culture based in Seattle excerpts Mattilda's new memoir and highlights her upcoming event at Elliott Bay.

- Stance

SF Weekly: Read Local

"The 'infamous radical queer troublemaker, organizer and agitator, community builder, and anti-assimilation commentator' brings you the story of her escape to San Francisco. This is a wonderfully messy mix of memoir, social history, and elegy."—Alexis Coe

Kirkus Reviews

"An outspoken, gender-ambiguous author and activist reflects on her halcyon days as a wild child in San Francisco…The powerful opening chapter of Sycamore's (So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, 2008, etc.) deeply personal portrait finds the author (then 'Matthew') alternately sobbing at her father's deathbed and demanding acknowledgment of the sexual abuse he'd visited upon his only son. It's a raw, sobering scene that sets the tone for this introspective chronicle charting Sycamore’s zany gay youth zipping from one coast to the other in the heady 1990s. Sartorially eccentric with pink dyed hair, the author spent her restless youth commanding a 'secret world' drugging and dancing in gay nightclubs and then cruising for men online and in sex clubs from San Francisco to Boston to New York City. She writes of becoming gleefully seduced by the gender fluidity of San Francisco’s house music–powered club scene circa 1992 and participation in AIDS activism with ACT-UP. Her efforts to create a San Francisco counterculture with political activist movement Gay Shame only reiterated how much she’d outgrown the Bay Area. There are moments when Sycamore’s youth captivates with unapologetic, stream-of-consciousness tangents about bygone club life or street hustling, while in other spots, she is poetic and tender, as in describing her own exasperation with gay attraction, wishing sexual desire would 'become something else like lying in the grass and holding the sky.' Delivered in a free-form, associative writing style, Sycamore’s effort to exorcise the demons from her past is blunt, dynamic and original…A blisteringly honest portrait of a young, fast and greatly misunderstood life."

"The Stranger, Seattle, previews Mattilda's new book and launch"
Mar 11, 2013

Possibly the only author on the planet who has received praise from both Howard Zinn and T Cooper, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is a queer activist who makes waves with even the titles of her books—her previous one was Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? Her newest, The End of San Francisco, is a crossbreed of memoir, social criticism, and a tender good-bye to a San Francisco that doesn't exist anymore.

- The Stranger

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore: Anyone You Come Into Contact With"
Feb 18, 2013

An excerpt from Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's The End of San Francisco, published in the California College of the Arts literary journal Eleven Eleven.

- Eleven Eleven, California College of the Arts

"Does Opposing "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell" Bolster US Militarism?"
Oct 22, 2010

In 2010, Democracy Now hosted a debate between Lt. Dan Choi and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore on whether the queer rights movement should be focused on repealing the Don't Ask, Don’t Tell law.  Celebrating the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Sycamore says, only makes progressive movements in the US complicit with American wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

- Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now

"SF Stories: Mattilda Sycamore Bernstein"
Oct 19, 2012

"When I arrived in San Francisco in 1992, the city sheltered outsider queer cultures unimaginable in most places. Twenty years of gentrification, homogenization, and assimilation later, and yes, these cultures still exist in some form, even if they have been decimated in both density and imagination. Perhaps what's changed the most for me is that now I need to live elsewhere in order to dream."

- Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore Reading"
Sep 28, 2012

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore reads excerpts from The End of San Francisco at Modern Times Bookstore.

- Mark McBeth Projects, Vimeo