Oakland Noir

http://akashicbooks.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/uploads/OaklandNoir-509x800.jpgCity Lights celebrates a new crime anthology from Akashic Books, Oakland Noirwith Nick Petrulakis, Jamie DeWolf, Eddie Muller & Jerry Thompson.

California’s noir quotient continues to rise with Oakland Noir, which reveals all the dark complexities of this prominent city. Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

The anthology features brand-new stories by: Nick Petrulakis, Kim Addonizio, Keenan Norris, Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder, Katie Gilmartin, Dorothy Lazard, Harry Louis Williams II, Carolyn Alexander, Phil Canalin, Judy Juanita, Jamie DeWolf, Nayomi Munaweera, Mahmud Rahman, Tom McElravey, Joe Loya, and Eddie Muller.

Jerry Thompson is an accomplished violinist, playwright, and poet. He is the coauthor of Black Artists in Oakland, and owned Black Spring Books, an independent bookstore.

Eddie Muller, a.k.a. the “Czar of Noir,” has been nominated for several Edgar and Anthony awards, and his novel The Distance won a Shamus Award. He produces the San Francisco Noir City Film Festival, the largest annual film noir retrospective in the world, and is a frequent host on Turner Classic Movies.

Jim Nisbet 2

City Lights welcomes Jim Nisbet to celebrate the paperback release of The Syracuse Codex, published by the Overlook Press.

Over the course of http://www.citylights.com/Resources/titles/87286100478520/Images/87286100478520L.jpgthe last decade, The Overlook Press has brought into print, in quality paperback editions, the majority of the literary oeuvre of San Francisco literary great Jim Nisbet. The Syracuse Codex is the latest in the series of books that are essential reading for all lovers of fiction, especially of the “noir” variety.

In The Syracuse Codex, Nisbet returns in a wild tale of skullduggery, mayhem, and history peopled with a rogue’s gallery of the eccentric and unscrupulous.

San Francisco frame maker Danny Kestrel regularly rubs elbows with the rich and immohttp://www.citylights.com/html/WYSIWYGfiles/images/NISBET.jpgral at art openings and commissions. But he’s never dreamt of entering their lurid world until Renée Knowles―interior decorator, billionaire’s wife, nymphomaniac―asks for a ride.

When Knowles is murdered soon after their one-night stand, Danny finds himself a prime suspect. Renée’s death has stirred up a hornet’s nest of fabulously crooked and wealthy collectors of black market historical artifacts, all seeking the crown jewel: the eponymous Syracuse Codex, a secret account of Empress Theodora’s illegitimate son. Worse, everyone seems to think Danny has it.

Jim Nisbet is the author of twelve novels and five books of poetry. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times, shortlisted for the Hammett Prize, and published in ten languages. Visit his website at: http://noirconeville.com

Ralph Nader

City Lights Bookstore welcomes Ralph Nader for the release of his new book, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think  published by City Lights Books. Elaine Katzenberger, publisher and executive director of City Lights, opens the event. Matt Gonzalez introduces Ralph who talks about the main thrust of his new book, namely what normal citizens can do, right now, to break through corporate power and make change happen.http://www.citylights.com/Resources/titles/87286100290780/Images/87286100290780L.jpg

In Breaking Through Power, Nader draws from a lifetime waging—and often winning—David vs. Goliath battles against big corporations and the United States government. In this succinct, Tom Paine-style wake-up call, the iconic consumer advocate highlights the success stories of fellow Americans who organize change and work together to derail the many ways in which wealth manipulates politics, labor, media, the environment and the quality of national life today. Nader makes an inspired case about how the nation can—and must—be democratically managed by communities guided by the U.S. Constitution, not by the dictates of big businesses and the wealthy few. This is classic Ralph Nader, a crystallization of the core political beliefs and commitmImage result for ralph naderents that have driven his lifetime of advocacy for greater democracy.

Ralph Nader is a two-time Nieman Fellow who has been awarded for his political activism that focuses in the areas of consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform causes. His work has been affected the passing of several pieces of legislation, such as  the Freedom of Information Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the Whistleblower Protection Act. Nader was the subject of the documentary film, An Unreasonable Man, which showed at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006.


Leonard Gardner’s Fat City

City Lights teams up with the Film Noir Foundation and NYRB Books to present author Leonard Gardner in conversation with Eddie Muller, celebrating the re-release of the literary classic Fat City.

Fat City is a vivid novel of allegiance and defeat, of the potent promise of the goleonardgardnerod life and the desperation and drink that waylay those whom it eludes. Stockton, California, is the setting: the Lido Gym, the Hotel Coma, Main Street lunchrooms and dingy bars, days like long twilights in houses obscured by untrimmed shrubs and black walnut trees. When two men meet in the ring—the retired boxer Billy Tully and the newcomer Ernie Munger—their brief bout sets into motion their hidden fates, initiating young Munger into the company of men and luring Tully back into training. In a dispassionate and composed voice, Leonard Gardner narrates their swings of fortune, and the stubborn optimism of their manager, Ruben Luna, as he watches the most promising boys one by one succumb to some undefined weakness; still, “There was always someone who wanted to fight.”

Leonard Gardner was born in Stockton, California. His writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Esquire, Southwest Review, and other magazines. His screen adaptation of Fat City was made into a film by John Huston. A Guggenheim Fellow, he lives in Northern California.

Eddie Muller is the Bay Area’s very own “Czar of Noir”. Impresario, author, publisher, and film preservationist, as Executive Director of the Noir City Foundation, he has done much to preserve historic noir genre films at risk. Each year he produces the Noir City film festival at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. He has been featured as a host on Turner Classic Movies and has presented numerous commentaries on noir video collections. He is the author of the noir classics The Distance and The Shadow Boxer.

Jim Nisbet

Master of hardboiled fiction Jim Nisbet returns to City Lights to celebrate the paperback release of The Price of the Ticket.

Pauley’s done a few bad things in his life. He’s been around the block quite a few times, spending most of his life inside the block. But now, age 52, he’s got an honest job making high-class torture racks and other exquisite playthings for an S&M outfit in downtown San Francisco. His only real problem is he needs a new set of wheels and he’s going to pick one up today, a beat up Ford from one Martin Seam. Sometimes a ticket to Hell only costs $600 . . . nonrefundable, of course.


Jim Nisbet is the author of twelve novels and five books of poetry. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times, shortlisted for the Hammett Prize, and published in ten languages. Visit his website at: http://noirconeville.com

What has been said about Jim Nisbet’s work:

“Nobody has Nisbet’s distinctive style, humor, and sheer craft . . . One of the finest masters of noir.” —Ken Bruen, author of The Guards

“Jim Nisbet has a voice so original . . . it might remind you of a younger Kurt Vonnegut.” —Chicago Tribune

“In the tradition of Jim Thompson and Damon Runyon, Nisbet is too good to miss.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Jim Nisbet—whose pen is mightier than a million swords—does it again.” –Michael Connelly

Speaking about The Spider’s Cage:

“An unheralded masterpiece of the noir genre. Everyone who loves Noir should read this brilliant book.” –James Ellroy

Nelson George

Nelson George celebrates the release of his two new books, The Lost Treasures of R&B and The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style with City Lights and Adam Mansbach.

Nelson George is an author, filmmaker, and lifelong resident of Brooklyn. His novels include the first two in his D Hunter mystery series, The Accidental Hunter and The Plot Against Hip Hop. Among his many nonfiction works are The Death of Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop America, and the recently published The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style. As a filmmaker he’s directed the documentaries Brooklyn Boheme for Revolt, The Announcement for ESPN, and Finding the Funk for VH1. The Lost Treasures of R&B, the third book in his D Hunter mystery series, is his latest novel.Adam Mansbach is a poet, novelist, and screenwriter. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, GQ,  the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He is the author of Angry Black White Boy, The End Of The Jews, Shackling Water, Rage is Back, and the New York Times Bestseller Go The Fuck To Sleep.  He lives in Berkeley, California.

Critical praise for The Hippest Trip in America:

“A kaleidoscopic trip through one of the brightest zones in the evolution of American culture.” —Booklist

“George’s in-depth look at a revered TV show is one of those rare music-centric books that will transcend its subject’s core fan base. Even those with just a casual interest in Soul Train will be happy to take this trip.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“30 years of rapier-keen social history and street-savvy cultural criticism.” —USA Today

“George’s book does a great job of assessing the sociological, stylistic and economic power of ‘Soul Train.'” —New York Daily News

“The definitive book on ‘Soul Train’” —New York Times Book Review

“George is one of the best music writers around… he crafts a compelling narrative.” —Andrea Battleground, AV Club

“A loving history.” —Pitchfork.com

“An engaging read for those wanting to understand more clearly why Soul Train is such a monumental part of popular-music history.” —SoulTracks.com

William Vollmann

VollmanGhost StoriesWilliam Vollmann reads from his new collection of short stories, Last Stories and Other Stories.
His first novel in nine years, published by Viking Press, comprises numerous ghost stories linked together by themes of love, death and the erotic. In this reading session set in the Initiation Chamber and Library of Lodge No. 15 of European Oddfellows, Vollmann reads Widow’s Weeds, a story about Weneke Lea McLeod.

William T Vollmann is an award winning novelist, journalist, war correspondent, short story writer, essayist, and painter. He is the author of ten novels, four short story collections, nine works of non-fiction, and numerous limited special editions. His novel Europe Central won the 2005 National Book Award.

Howard Norman

Howard Norman reads from his new novel Next Life Might Be Kinder from Houghton Mifflin HarcourtHowardNorman

Sam Lattimore meets Elizabeth Church in 1970s Halifax, in an art gallery. The sparks are immediate, leading quickly to a marriage that is dear, erotically charged, and brief.  In Howard Norman’s spellbinding and moving novel, the gleam of the marriage and the circumstances of Elizabeth’s murder are revealed in heart-stopping increments that ultimately complicate Sam’s life with grief, hallucination, and desperation.

Next Life Might Be Kinder is a story of murder, faith, the afterlife, and of love as absolute redemption—from one of our most compelling storytellers at the height of his talents.

about Howard Norman:

Two of Howard Norman’s novels, The Northern Lights (1987) and The Bird Artist (1994), were nominated for the National Book Award. His other novels include The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L, Devotion, and What is Left the Daughter. His books have been translated into twelve languages. Norman is the recipient of a Lannan Award in fiction, and he teaches at the University of Maryland.

Chris Desjardins reads from his new noir fiction

Chris D Portrait by Mark Vallen

Chris Desjardins came into City Lights Bookstore on November 28, 2012, to read from his exquisite new noir fiction pieces: Mother’s Worry and Shallow Water (A Southern Gothic Noir Western) (New Texture Books).

about Mother’s Worry:

The year is 1987, and outlaw Ray Diamond’s mother Lorna is the queenpin of a cesspool of crime and perversion in Mystic,
Georgia. When Ray is discharged from the Navy in San Diego, he absconds with a .45, planning to rob and drug deal his wayeast to his hometown. But when Ray arrogantly knocks over a mob-connected El Paso liquor store, he doesn’t count on the owner’s psychotic son Eli dogging his trail, and his life corkscrews deep into nightmare.

Back home in Mystic, Ray’s girl Connie Eustace resorts to stripping at Mama Lorna’s club to make ends meet. After
witnessing a murder by the local sheriff, she goes on a drug and drink bender, finally agreeing to courier Lorna’s payoff to
New Orleans crime lord Mr. Raindrop so she can flee until things cool down. Barely holding on until the long overdue Ray returns, Connie jumps from the frying pain into the fire.

about Shallow Water:

Post-Civil War, embittered Confederate veteran and sometime bounty hunter Santo Brady drifts from town to town in the rural Deep South. He reluctantly rescues half-breed Indian prostitute Lucy Damien from a backwater whistle stop only to have the whole world fall in on his head. They embark on a freight train-hopping odyssey to New Orleans, unaware that Lucy’s rich white father and psychotic brother from St. Louis are hot on their trail. Sidetracked by a band of sadistic train robbers, Lucy is kidnapped, and the wounded Santo goes on a harrowing mission to track her. Reminiscent of such classic period noirs as James M. Cain’s Past All Dishonor and Cornell Woolrich’s Waltz into Darkness, Chris D. delivers a tragic tall tale plunging headfirst into a wild heart of darkness.

what has been said about Chris D.s work:

“One sinister serpent of a story, an old Republic Pictures western serial scripted by James M. Cain and reimagined by Sam Peckinpah. I loved it. Dive in and wallow in Shallow Water.”   —Eddie Muller, author of Dark City Dames, Dark
City: The Lost World of Film Noir 
and the novels The Distance and Shadow Boxer

“It takes a sick mind to write a book as thoroughly warped as Mother’s Worry. How lucky we are that Chris D has turned his pathological impulses to creative, rather than destructive, endeavors. This novel is of a piece with Chris’ work in music, film, and poetry — a crazy dive into a universe populated largely by monsters — and is a classic update of the Gold Medal/Lion Library loser-noir tradition. Great work, man.”  – Byron Coly, writer for WIRE Magazine and co-author (with Thurston Moore) of NO WAVE: POST-PUNK. UNDERGROUND. NEW YORK. 1976-1980

“Mother’s Worry swaps midnight for high noon; Chris D. burns down the speakeasy and pool hall and drags the roman noir across the desert dirt beneath an unforgiving sun. This is my kind of crime novel.”
– Craig Clevenger, author of The Contortionist’s Handbook and Dermaphoria

Chris Desjardins is a writer, musician, and film historian. He is the author of the novels NO EVIL STAR and the collectionDRAGON WHEEL SPLENDOR and Other Love Stories of Violence and Dread, all from New Texture Books. His anthology A MINUTE TO PRAY, A SECOND TO DIE, a 500-page collection of short stories, excerpts from unpublished novels and scores of dream journal entries, as well as all of his poetry and song lyrics, was published in December 2009 from New Texture. His non-fiction OUTLAW MASTERS OF JAPANESE FILM was published by IB Tauris (distributed by Palgrave Macmillan in the USA) in 2005. He saw release of his first feature film as director I PASS FOR HUMAN, in 2004 (and its DVD release in 2006), and worked as a programmer at The American Cinematheque in Hollywood, California from 1999-2009. Chris D. is also known as the singer/songwriter of the bands, The Flesh Eaters, Divine Horsemen and Stone by Stone. He also was an A&R rep and in-house producer at Slash Records/Ruby Records from 1980-1984.
He currently teaches film genre and film history courses part time, commuting to San Francisco from his residence in Los Angele. Upcoming books include the long-in-the-works non-fiction GUN AND SWORD: An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980 and the novel VOLCANO GIRLS.

Chris Kraus celebrates Summer of Hate at City Lights Bookstore

http://www.citylights.com/Resources/titles/87286100616650/Images/87286100616650L.gifChris Kraus came to City Lights Bookstore to celebrate the release of Summer of Hate (Semiotext(e) Books).

Waking up from the chilling high of a dangerous sex game, art world insider Catt Dunlop travels to Albuquerque from her home in LA. It’s summer, 2005. While Catt’s stated goal is to reinvest some windfall real estate gains, she’s secretly seeking escape from her niche in the insular cosmopolitan bubble she’s strived so hard to attain. In Albuquerque, she meets Paul Garcia, a recently sober ex-con who has just served sixteen months in prison for defrauding Halliburton Industries, his former employer, of $873. Deprived on the most cellular level of knowledge and hope, Paul makes plans, with Catt’s help, to attend UCLA. But then he’s arrested in Arizona on a 10-year old bench warrant. Caught in the nightmarish Byzantine world of American justice, Catt and Paul’s empathic idyll of saving each other’s lives seems cursed to dissolve.

Kraus’ 1997 debut novel I LOVE DICK was hailed by Rick Moody as “one of the most important literary events of the past two decades,” and has become a cult classic. New York Times critic Holland Cotter has called her “one of our smartest and most original writers on art and culture.” In SUMMER OF HATE, Kraus turns her attention to the glaring disparities in expectations and consciousness that have come to define American life.

Baudrillard meets Breaking Bad in Catt’s stark and bleakly hilarious descent into an underclass world of born-again Christianity, self-help, and crack.

Chris Kraus is the author of the trilogy I Love Dick, Aliens & Anorexia and Torpor, and two books of art criticism, most recently Where Art Belongs.  Summer of Hate is her fourth novel.  Chris teaches at European Graduate School and lives in LA, where she is a co-editor of Semiotexte.




Jim Nisbet Reads From Old and Cold at City Lights Bookstore

The riveting Jim Nisbet visited City Lights Bookstore, Wednesday, July 18, 2012, to read from Old and Cold (Overlook Press), his new noir tour de force.

What’s a guy to do, when he lives under a bridge and has an unshakeable thirst for martinis? Kill for cash. So goes the logic at the heart of Old and Cold, leading to a spree of hits that are sometimes perfectly executed, sometimes messy, set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s beaches, bars, and murky darkened streets. Told at breakneck speed in a bravura voice, this novel is Jim Nisbet’s finest work yet, reminiscent of Jim Thompson at his best and Tarantino at his most irreverent. A tough and tender love letter to a city’s underbelly, this is a shockingly funny tale of suspense that won’t let you go.



Praise for the work of Jim Nisbet:

“An unheralded masterpiece of the noir genre. Everyone who loves Noir should read this brilliant book.” –James Ellroy

“Nobody has Nisbet’s distinctive style, humor, and sheer craft … one of the finest masters of noir.” –Ken Bruen

“Truly, hellishly gritty.” –Los Angeles Times

Jim Nisbet is the author of twelve novels and five books of poetry. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times, shortlisted for the Hammett Prize, and published in ten languages. He resides in San Francisco.

Also visit: http://noirconeville.com/

Charlie Newton and the RE/BEAT Manifesto

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, Charlie Newton stopped by City Lights bookstore to discuss his novel, Start Shooting and “Beat-Noir” as a form of literary alchemy — burning away at the veneer of consumer culture and impacting America’s inner life just like the Beats did in the 1950s.

about Charlie Newton’s Start Shooting

Officer Bobby Vargas and actress/waitress Arleen Brennan understand hopes-and-dreams, the bet-it-all kind that either propel you through the fire or burn you to death. At age thirteen a gruesome rape/murder rocked their lives and the unforgiving streets of Chicago’s Four Corners. Now, twenty-nine years later, a dying Chicago newspaper plans a serial exposé on that “solved” case, threatening to implicate Bobby and his older brother, Ruben—a decorated detective, patron del barrio. The “exposé” will lead Arleen and the Vargas brothers down an increasingly twisted and terrifying path, where the sins of the past threaten to destroy what remains of the truth.

As readers and critics discovered in his first novel, Calumet City, Charlie Newton’s Chicago is a landscape as brutal and poignant as any in modern crime fiction—a multi-faceted, shockingly violent labyrinth of gangland politics, political backstabbing, corporate malfeasance, and, possibly, hope.

Newton was joined by author of City of Secrets Kelli Stanley.

City of Secrets is a powerful, heart-pounding sequel to Kelli Stanley’s scorching thriller and first-in-series City of Dragons, which introduced her unique and unforgettable series heroine, Miranda Corbie. Stanley writes 1940 without gloves on, without censorship, evoking the beauty of Benny Goodman swing and the brutality of a synagogue stained by a swastika. Against the backdrop of a Europe defeated by Nazi Germany, the world on the brink of total war, and an America unsure of where to turn, Miranda Corbie fights on, a lost soldier … but never a lost soul.



Charlie Newton (photo courtesy of Lisa Law)

Charlie Newton‘s first novel, Calumet City, was a finalist for the Edgar, International Thriller Writers, and Macavity awards, among others. Start Shooting is his second novel.








Kelli Stanley is the author of a critically acclaimed Roman Noir series. The first book in that series, Nox Dormienda, won the Bruce Alexander Award for best historical mystery. The second, The Curse-Maker, was also published by Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books. The first book in the Miranda Corbie series, City of Dragons, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was also named one of the 2010 Top Ten Mystery Thrillers by Oline Cogdill and one of the Top Ten Best Fiction by Bay Area Authors by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Percival Everett reads at City Lights


On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, celebrated author Percival Everett stopped by the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco to celebrate the release of a tryptych of new books from Graywolf Press: Assumption, Damned If I Do, and Erasure.

About Assumption: “Half zen koan, half Jim Thompson, and 100% Percival Everett, the twined mysteries of Assumption provide all the lively satisfactions of ‘genre’ fiction, while describing yet another arc in the trajectory of Everett’s brilliant and protean career.”—Christopher Sorrentino

About Damned If I Do: A cop, a cowboy, several fly fisherman, and even a reluctant romance novelist inhabit these revealing and often hilarious stories.

About Erasure: Percival Everett’s blistering satire about race and writing, available again in paperback.



Percival Everett is a professor of English at the University of Southern California and the author of sixteen books, including Wounded, American Desert, Erasure, and Glyph. He lives in L.A. and British Columbia.




Nelson George Reading from The Plot Against Hip Hop

On Thursday, December 1, 2011, Nelson George stopped by City Lights Bookstore to read and discuss his new novel, The Plot Against Hip Hop (Akashic Books).

The Plot Against Hip Hop is a noir novel set in the world of hip hop culture. The stabbing murder of esteemed music critic Dwayne Robinson in a Soho office building is dismissed by the NYPD as a gang initiation. But his old friend, bodyguard/security expert D Hunter, suspects there’s much more to his death. An old cassette tape, the theft of a manuscript Robinson was working on, and some veiled threats suggest there are larger forces at work.

D Hunter’s investigation into his mentor’s murder leads into a parallel history of hip hop, a place where renegade government agents, behind-the-scenes power brokers, and paranoid journalists know a truth that only a few hard core fans suspect. This rewrite of hip hop history mixes real-life figures including Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Russell Simmons with characters pulled from the culture’s hidden world, as the Illuminati, FBI agents, and West Coast gangstas roam the hard streets D Hunter walks down.

D Hunter is a tough black clad product of crime-ridden Brownsville, Brooklyn, a man whose family has been devastated by violence and who has dedicated himself to protecting people in an age of insecurity. Hunter has his own secrets, his own vulnerabilities, which he fights to overcome as he becomes a reluctant private eye. After reading The Plot Against Hip Hop, you’ll never hear the music the same way.


Nelson George is one of the first writers to document hip hop culture and is the author of several award-winning books on the subject, including Hip Hop America and The Death of Rhythm & Blues; he also coauthored (with Simmons) Russell Simmons’s autobiography Life and Def. He directed Queen Latifah in the HBO film Life Support, and is an executive producer of VH1’s long-running Hip Hop Honors broadcast.

What has been said about Nelson George’s work:

“One of our coolest cultural critics has written a mystery page-turner about the underbelly of hip hop, and it’s woven with signature whip-smart insights into music. Nelson George’s smooth security-guard-turned-detective, a.k.a. D, scours a demimonde as glamorous as Chandler’s Los Angeles. This plot has more twists and turns than a pole dancer, and D definitely needs an encore–he’s destined to become a classic.”
–Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club

“There are few people who can put the past seventy years of urban reality into the perspective of the most recent hip minute like Nelson George. The Plot Against Hip Hop is no exception. Nelson George braids actual facts and fictional characters flawlessly into a time-tunneled walk along various developments in this now-megabusiness called hip hop. For those that say they love hip hop as well as the total legacy it evolved from, it bodes well for them to keep this very close to their head, heart, and attention.”
–Chuck D, Public Enemy

“Nelson George is one of my greatest influences as a writer… He inspired me in many ways, and he continues to inspire with The Plot Against Hip Hop.”
–Talib Kweli

“The most accomplished black music critic of his generation.”
–Washington Post Book World

“Perhaps one of the seven greatest books ever written. It has the realness of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the warmth of The Color Purple, and the page count of Tuesdays with Morrie. It’s a must read.”
–Chris Rock, on City Kid

“Reads like a hip-hop answer to Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity.”
–New York Times, on One Woman Short

Tav Falco with Erik Morse and Jello Biafra reading from Mondo Memphis

On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, Tav Falco, Erik Morse and Jello Biafra stopped by the Fiction Room at City Lights Bookstore to celebrate the release of  Mondo Memphis (published by Creation Books).

Mondo Memphis is a dual, 450-page encyclopedic history and psychogeography of the city of Memphis, written by legendary performer Tav Falco and cultural critic Erik Morse. Mondo Memphis is both an original history of the gothic South and an intertext of the urban legends, rural fables and literary clichés that have made the Bluff City simultaneously a metropolis of dreams and a necropolis of terrors. Mondo Memphis is a major work on American history and culture.

What has been said about Mondo Memphis:”Mondo Memphis, the singular hybrid that is Morse & Falco’s roman noir/history of Memphis, steeps the reader in the most occult nectars of a place, a city evoked in line after tumescent line of haunted prose. Southern gothic ghosts scramble across each rippling page in mad dashes, hurtling across corrugations of text swollen with the satiety of its subject’s past, redolent corrugations tilled up out of a soil engorged with lust, madness, music and febrile civic histories. Plunge into this wealthy and eccentric masterpiece and dissolve yourself for delicious eternities in mythic Memphis.”
–Guy Maddin, film director

“this book is the bible of dixie fried rockabilly psychosis & memphis beat art underground true crime history myth. jam packed with a cast of shamanic visionary heroic characters like alex chilton, james luther dickinson, william eggleston and charlie feathers, tav falco brings to life an alternative history of the bluff city, memphis tennessee, birth place of rock and roll. read it and scream for hell”
–Bobby Gillespie, Primal Scream

Tav Falco is an American-born musician/performer, film-maker, and photographer. He has led the psychedelic rock-and-roll group Tav Falco’s Panther Burns since 1979. Their first LP, “Behind The Magnolia Curtain” (1980), featuring Alex Chilton, is now regarded as a rock and roll classic. Panther Burns still tour the world and release records regularly. Memphis has long been Falco’s adopted home town and spiritual sanctuary.


Erik Morse is a renowned American underground author, rock writer and journalist. He is a contributing writer for FriezeThe BelieverBookforum and Modern Painters, and the author of “Dreamweapon – Spacemen 3 and the Birth of Spiritualized“.

Valentine’s Day Noir: Domenic Stansberry & Don Herron

City Lights celebrated the release of San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics (published by Akashic Books) with a Valentine’s Day reading inside Tenderloin’s wonderfully seedy Ha Ra Club bar.

Some like to spend this romantic holiday amidst candles and soft music. Not us. It was an evening of passionate heckling and literary transgression as Peter Maravelis, the editor of San Francisco Noir, hosted a release party for a second volume of hardboiled fiction celebrating the underbelly of our city-by-the-bay.

Authors from San Francisco Noir, Volumes One and Two read selections from their works and the works of noir masters of the past. The evening included readings by Craig Clevenger, author of The Contortionist’s Handbook and Dermaphoria; David Corbett, author Blood of Paradise and Done for a Dime; Don Herron, original Suicide Club member & creator of The Dashiell Hammett Tour; John Shirley, cyber-punk trailblazer, author of Black Glass; Sin Sorrocco, original Black Lizard author, author of Low Bite and Edge City; and Domenic Stansberry,
author of The Last Days of Il Duce and The Ancient Rain

We couldn’t include them all (owing to limited space and an uncooperative and very loud refrigeration system), but we present for you here two readers from that evening:

Don Herron, original Suicide Club member & creator of The Dashiell Hammett Tour, & Domenic Stansberry, author of The Last Days of Il Duce and The Ancient Rain.