March's Literary Events

Wednesday, March 9
As the cofounder of a magazine called Narrative, local writer Carol Edgarian ought to know how to get a story started. Well, how's this? “The modern marriage has two states, plateau and precipice, and in the winter of our recent crisis — with markets plummeting and even rich folks crying poor; with the dark reign of one tinsel president finally ending, and the promised hope of a new man about to start; yes, with hope rising like a cockamamie kite and fear more common than love — Charlie Pepper forgot his wife.” So begins Edgarian's second novel, Three Stages of Amazement (Scribner, $25), the tale of a challenged San Francisco marriage in a challenged national economy. And what happens next? Find out when Edgarian reads from and discusses the book at the Marina branch of Books Inc., 2251 Chestnut (at Avila). 7 p.m., free; 931-3633,

Thursday, March 17
Strangely enough, the Naked Girls Reading series is not indigenous to San Francisco. But it's here now, every third Thursday at Viracocha (998 Valencia at 21st St.; 374-7048, At press time, specifics of the March event had not been publicly announced, but if you're actually sitting there thinking, “Well, before deciding whether to go see naked girls reading, I'd like to know what they'll be reading,” I must congratulate you for your literary discernment. Perhaps this supplemental information from Twitter, via @NGRSF, will be helpful: “Naked (nude, nudity, in the buff) Girls (ladies, women, femme fatale) Reading (literature, book, read aloud) Monthly (San Francisco) Lady Monster (hostess).” Also: “Love Stinks!” was the theme for last month's event, which took place just after Valentine's Day; maybe this one will involve St. Patrick. Doors at 8 p.m. for an 8:30 p.m. show; admission is $15 for general seating and $20 for the front row, which I think we can expect will fill up fast.

Thursday, March 24
Whether you know him as the editor of Lapham's Quarterly, the former editor of Harper's, the author of several books, or just an essayist of unnerving felicity with highly literary epigraphs, you should also know that Lewis Lapham is a San Francisco native, and that he'll be back in town for a few days to discuss current affairs. Laphamapalooza begins with tonight's free event at 7 p.m. at City Lights (261 Columbus at Broadway, 362-8193, and continues at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, when the Jewish Community Center (3200 California at Presidio, 292-1200,, with the San Francisco Waldorf High School Lecture Series, presents Playing with Fire: Education for the 21st Century,” a public conversation between Lapham and Michael Krasny, the host of KQED's Forum. A donation of $10 is suggested for admission, and presumably the discussion will not be about inculcating our children with pyromania.

Friday, March 25
Recently in these very pages, syndicated advice columnist Dan Savage wrote, “The website that's still giving Rick Santorum fits — — hasn't been updated since 2004. But we're going to be relaunching the site in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!” This is a man — Savage, I mean — with long-term vision, a man who knows how to keep the glass at least half full. And so last fall, when he couldn't stand hearing more stories of gay teenagers driven by bullying to suicide, Savage took to YouTube, reaching out to LGBT kids in crisis with the It Gets Better Project, a gathering of adult role models with hopeful stories to tell. The stories keep coming. “I know how you feel,” Ellen DeGeneres says. “There is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities,” Barack Obama says. “With the exception of owning a proboscis monkey, everything I wanted when I was a teenager has come to pass,” David Sedaris says. Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, have edited a book full of these encouragements, called It Gets Better: Coming Out Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living (Dutton, $22). They'll be at SF State (Jack Adams Hall, 1600 Holloway at 19th Ave.) at noon to share more, for free.

Friday, March 25
Or, if social responsibility isn't really your thing, there's always Sammy Hagar. And isn't that fact sort of hope-generating too, in its way? Yes, in addition to being the New Coke of Van Halen frontmen and a purveyor of ridiculous Mexican intoxicants, Hagar, now of Mill Valley, also is (listed as) the author of a new book called Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock and Roll (It Books, $27). Here he is on David Lee Roth: “First of all, the guy's not a great singer and he acts like he's the coolest, hottest guy in the world when, to me, he looks gay.” Right, okay; sometimes it doesn't get better. Hagar poses with and presumably reads from his book tonight at 7 p.m. at Books Inc. in the Marina, 2251 Chestnut (at Avila), 931-3633,, unless of course he blows the roof off the place. No cover!

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