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Ever since writer David Sedaris moved to France, children have teased him and adults have bullied him. Gallic urchins have taught him to say ridiculous things and then laughed at him, while his French teacher, who embodies everything that Americans both mock and fear in the French, has complained that teaching him the language has been about as pleasant as having a C-section. Lately he's been writing pieces for Esquire and NPR's This American Life about feeling like a stranger in a strange land.

Of course, that very same feeling led him to write The SantaLand Diaries, which remains one of his biggest hits three books later. In that screamingly funny account of holiday retail hell, which he read in installments for National Public Radio's Morning Edition, Sedaris wrung every last ounce of absurdity from his stint as a Macy's Christmas elf. His name was Crumpet, and he was forced to prance around in rented green tights, entertaining spoiled kids and placating their equally spoiled parents -- all for minimum wage. His essays, collected in Naked, Barrel Fever, and the Christmas-themed Holidays on Ice, contain the same satiric streak, written in a variety of voices, from the anguished teen whose elaborate funeral fantasy culminates in the stoning of a rival, to the man whose childhood desire to lick objects never leaves him. Solo Mio presents Sedaris, who reads new essays and radio commentaries and answers questions from the audience, beginning Friday at 8 p.m. (continuing through Sunday) at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason, Marina & Buchanan, S.F. Admission is $19-25; call 431-6765. (

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