Writers with Drinks

Amy Tan’s characters are so formulaic, she makes Dan Brown look like William Burroughs. Pow! Tan better get used to it: She’s the guest of honor at Litquake’s Amy Tan Tribute/Roast, which means elite scribes like Andrew Sean Greer, Michael Krasny, and Ben Fong-Torres will pay homage to the beloved local author by firebombing her, her work, and hopefully her band, the Rock Bottom Remainders, which can’t keep a beat steady without a tincture of heroin and a naked rent boy intoning the Kabbalah. Double pow! The nine-day event is stocked with author readings (James Ellroy, Sarah Vowell, and Tracy Kidder, to name a paltry three out of dozens) but so is every week in the city. It’s the oddball stuff that makes Litquake so special, such as tonight’s Book Ball, which requests that attendees don masks, à la Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, and mingle semi-anonymously. On Oct. 12, Porchlight focuses on Bay Area punk history; the lineup includes Litquake co-founder Jack Boulware and SF Weekly contributor Silke Tudor, whose book on that very topic hit stores last month (see our music editor’s take here). Ending the event is the ridiculous Lit Crawl (Oct. 17), in which organizers stuff countless authors (Loren Rhoads, David Henry Sterry, Vendela Vida, and Alan Black, to name a paltry four out of many dozens) into Mission bars and venues, waves the public over, and watches everybody try to make sense of it all. Forget about finding a seat, just stand in back and eat street food — this year, more than 20 local food vendors plan to attend, making it delicious as well as thrilling, maddening, intoxicating, claustrophobic, and, for the yet-to-be-published, quietly devastating.
Oct. 9-17, 2009

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