May Literary Events

Monday, May 24
While we're on the subject of Booksmith events involving local author Glen David Gold (see above), allow me to point out another Booksmith event involving local author Glen David Gold. His recent novel, Sunnyside, new this month in paperback (Vintage, $17), explores what he calls the “mysterious alchemy” by which “Charlie Chaplin became the repository of the soul of the 20th century.” That sounds sort of painful, especially for one so delicate as the Little Tramp. But then, in addition to delicacy, the Little Tramp had resilience, as did his originator, whose experience of negotiating newfound world fame and elusive inspiration at a defining moment in American history Gold so vividly limns. Learn more at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Cole), S.F. 7:30 p.m., free; 863-8688 or

Thursday, May 20
Say, while we're on the subject of Booksmith events involving the Hollywood of yore, allow me to travel back in time a few days and point out that the venerable Upper Haight lit mecca has yet another big-ticket event in the works. It's such a big ticket, actually, that somebody else probably has already bought yours. (As of this writing, the first 100 tickets were sold out.) Such a big ticket that the store itself cannot hope to contain the event, so instead it will take place at the Swedish American Hall. I refer, of course, to the appearance of Chuck Palahniuk, here making his only Bay Area stop on tour with his new book, Tell-All (Doubleday, $25), a novel of Golden Age Hollywood. That is, a novel of celebrity-gossip gluttony and scandal-sheet scintillation. In this day and age, who better to pull that off than he of Pygmy-Snuff-Rant–Fight Club fame? Those are four separate Palahniuk books, of course, but I just like the sound of a pygmy-snuff-rant–fight club, whatever that might be. 2174 Market (at Sanchez), S.F. 7:30 p.m., $36 (includes signed copy of the book);

Tuesday, May 25
Just what, you may reasonably ask, is The Nervous Breakdown Literary Experience? You may figure you know what that might be, what with all the memoirs you've lately skimmed. But the Nervous Breakdown Literary Experience is something else. Is it the thing that happens to your brain when trying to choose among booky events on a given Tuesday night? Is it the related, more general anxiety about staying on top of the city's proliferation of local live literary events, like Pop-Up Magazine (Issue 3 sold out last month; Issue 4 is coming soon); the Monthly Rumpus (with “Fresh Starts and New Mistakes,” Monday, May 10, Make-Out Room; 7 p.m., $10); Writers with Drinks (Saturday, May 8, Make-Out Room; 7:30 p.m., $5-$10); Literary Death Match (Friday, May 14, Elbo Room; 6:30 p.m., $5-$10); Bang Out: A Quick and Dirty Reading Series (with “BFF: Best Friends Forever,” Saturday, May 15, Amnesia, 7 p.m., free); Porchlight (with “The Last Taboo: Stories About Money,” Monday, May 17, Verdi Club; 8 p.m., $12) and Instant City: A Literary Exploration of San Francisco (with Issue 7, “Bad Behavior,” Monday, May 17, Elbo Room; 7 p.m., $5-$10)? Possibly, yes. But also, the Nervous Breakdown Literary Experience is yet another local live literary event — this one associated with the Nervous Breakdown, an online culture magazine and literary collective. The event is hosted by local writer and ex–Jesus Jerk Tony DuShane and features fellow locals Penelope Houston, Johnny Genocide (aka Hugh Thomas Patterson), Stephen Elliott, and Paul Clayton, among others. It's at the Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St. (at Bartlett), S.F. 7 p.m., $5; 647-2888 or Try not to freak out. Much.

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