The question of whether James Frey received redemption could not be answered by press time, for Frey's new publisher, HarperCollins, did not send us his first novel, Bright Shiny Morning. HarperCollins did send a few people the book (but not us), while demanding that no reviews appear before the official publication date, which was Tuesday. Certainly he took his own advice to F.T.B.S.I.T.T.T.D, or Fuck the Bullshit It's Time to Throw Down, since he has that tattooed on his arm. (Note to young writers: Don't get this tattoo.) Actually, we did see one review: Frey defender Sara Nelson of Publishers Weekly was granted the honor of releasing hers on April 14, and she called the book a "train wreck" and "unputdownable" in the same sentence, which is exactly what we think every time we open the latest James Patterson. It's quite possible that Bright Shiny Morning, a thick book about everybody in L.A., might not move Frey too far toward his goal (now long-term) of being the best writer of his generation. But something tells us he's going to be throwing down after fucking the bullshit for a long time to come. Take tonight, when he appears not under the guise of a put-upon writer but as, well, J.T. LeRoy circa 2003, booking a huge rock club and arming himself with local writer Stephen Elliott, writer and former drag queen Josh Kilmer-Purcell, photographs by Terry Richardson, and local metal band 3rdrail. Don't make him feel like he F.T.B.S.I.T.T.T.D'ed for nothing.
Fri., May 16, 7 p.m., 2008