Lit Picks: Kaui Hart Hemmings, Serial Attorney, and Porchlight's 14th Anniversary

Rabia Chaudry appears in Petaluma on August 13. (Photo Credit: Hira Kahn)

Tuesday, August 9: Kaui Hart Hemmings at The Booksmith, SF

kauiharthemmingsIn her latest novel, How to Party with an Infant, Kaui Hart Hemmings takes on the big bad Paige jeans-clad world of wealthy San Francisco moms. It's a brutal, superficial place filled with classist and racial micro-aggression, day-drinking, affairs, sexless marriages, surly toddlers and judgmental babysitters. The plot is thin, but it still works.

Mele Bart is a single mom living in San Francisco, thanks to family money. She's got some kind of background in food though it's not quite clear what. Something about being a former menu writer? When Mele meets Bobby, a chef at "one of those old, manly steak houses in Union Square," she thinks she's found the man of her dreams.  Pregnant and ready to settle down in Sonoma, Mele is blindsided by Bobby's revelation that he already has a fiance: a Paltrow-esque artisan cheese maker from a Petaluma wine-making family (ha ha!) Luckily, Mele's sanity is saved by a group of honest, flawed moms (and one hot dad) from her San Francisco Mommy Club play-date group. BTW, you might already recognize Hemmings as the author of The Descendents, which was made into a darkly funny Oscar-winning George Clooney vehicle.

Details here

Thursday, August 11: Why There Are Words at Studio 333, Sausalito

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For six years, the Why There Are Words monthly literary series has been the place to go to experience cutting-edge literature north of the Golden Gate Bridge. This month's session  proves no exception. It features Alexandra Naughton, Jesse Prado, Janice Lee, and other writers reading work on the theme "Provenance." Details here

In other big news, WTAW curator and founder Peg Alford Pursell has announced the launch of Why There Are Words Press.  The press plans to publish two full-length books of prose in 2017. They welcome subm13083333_1117501188313730_3890009059706410305_nissions from published and unpublished writers, and previously unpublished manuscripts of both fiction are nonfiction are welcome.  No poetry, yet. The current submission period is open through September 15, 2016.  Details here.

Thursday, August 11: Porchlight's 14th Anniversary Romp at the Verdi Club, SF

Moon Zappa, the original Valley Girl, reads at Porchlight's 14th Anniversary.
Moon Zappa, the original Valley Girl, reads at Porchlight's 14th Anniversary.

Let's hear it for long-standing literary events in San Francisco! This month, Porchlight, the storytelling series founded by Beth Lisick and Arline Klatte in the early aughts, celebrates its 14th birthday. Anyone who has tried to coordinate any kind of arts series for any amount of time knows that this is a big deal. The series asks that readers of all stripes tell ten-minute true stories without using notes or memorization. This month's motley crew of readers includes Mary Roach and her bookbinder cousin Dominic Riley, Adam Savage from Mythbusters, Moon Zappa, Karla Martin, Ben McCoy, and Bawdy Storytelling founder Dixie De La Tour.  Tickets will go fast for this.

Details here

Saturday, August 13: Turk and Divis (Evan and Miles Karp) at Lone Glen Reading Series, Oakland

Turk-Divis-•-Jul-16Lone Glen quarterly reading series is curated by Alexandra Mattraw with the goal of "rendering a space in which diverse artists and genre-bending creators can mingle, share and inspire." Held in a performance space in Oakland, it's a place for art that defies categorization. Prime example, Turk & Divis, an exploration of tone, sound and words from brothers Evan and Miles Karp.  They describes themselves thus:

An intersection where chance, rhythm, and processed repetition collide with modified fragments of language to form serendipitous anthems and intimate, often polyvocal meditations inside of those anthems. Old school samples and some of tomorrow’s most unusual hits

Evan Karp is well-known in the Bay Area as the founder of  LitSeen, director of Quiet Lightning and chronicler of the local literary scene for the San Francisco Chronicle and other places. He's also an accomplished poet, a skill that will be on display at the summer installment of Lone Glen.

Sunday, August 14: Rabia Chaudry at Copperfields Books, Petaluma

5262599To be perfectly honest, I haven't listened to more than two episodes of the Peabody award-winning podcast Serial. But, I'm definitely in the minority.  With that, I'm sure most KQED readers already know who Rabia Chaudry is. If you don't, here's a quick rundown. Chaudry is an attorney and family friend of Adnan Syed, the imprisoned young man's whose story made up the core of Serial's first incredibly popular season.  In fact, it was Chaudry's investigation and conviction that Syed was innocent, despite his conviction by a jury for the murder of former girlfriend Hae Min Lee. In Chaudry's book Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial, she revisits the case, making a case for her friend's innocence through new evidence and commentary from legal and investigative sources. She'll discuss this, along with the recent decision to hold a new trial, with Press Democrat columnist Chris Smith in Petaluma. Details here