Steven Raftner, Brian Castro, David Francis. Steven walked from Beverly Hills to the store, much to everyone's shock. His fictional history is about the one Australian passenger on the Titanic. He's a trooper. Courtney Love also crashed the reading, parading back and forth with an armful of titles while sporting a lacy pink dress.
To reach the reading for Brian, Andrew Allport, and Colin Dickey at Betalevel, we had to walk two very dark alleys, then head downstairs into the basement of an actual factual Chinese restaurant. Betalevel was a literary speakeasy and my favorite venue so far, cuz we got to drink very good dirty martinis while talking about literature with USC grad students.
Our final event in Southern California was really quite gorgeous. South Pasadena Public Library is lucky enough to have the magnanimous Steve Fjeldsted on staff as a librarian and event programmer. He brought Brian in and arranged for an opening musical performance on a traditional Chinese zither, had the event sponsored by the Pasadena Chinese American Club, and also arranged for Brian to stay at the nearby Bissell Bed and Breakfast. It was a golden night, enhanced by many familiar Kaya friends (hi Sesshu! hi Naomi! hi Cheryl! hi Sam's mom and aunt!) and this amazing guy on meds in the back who air guitared HEAVILY to the traditional folk music and yelling inappropriate things like "HOT!" after each song.
The inimitable, adorable Jane Marla Robbins in Santa Monica. We brunched on the beach with her dog, Camilla and talked about chapbooks and publishing, boyfriends and music. This is NOT Camilla the dog. This is a statue of a dog.
Before I could leave, I had to stop and say hi hi to performance artist/writer/actress/bicyclist Kristina Sheryl Wong, who graciously allowed me to stay at her apartment, catsitting Oliver while she was out conquering the world during Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Kristina likes West LA Japanese snacks, and so do I. We talked about boyfriends, publishing, Silverlake, Minnesota, and how things change even in three weeks, which is about how long I was on the road, doing book work.