Reading Roundup: This Week's Top Literary Events
Each week, we offer a roundup of the best literary events in the city. All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. Want to submit an upcoming event for consideration? Go here.
San Francisco International Poetry Festival
Thursday, July 26-Sunday, July 29, various locations
Organized by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, this biennial celebration of poetry will take place all weekend long, with events like a Kerouac Alley kick-off party featuring readings by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Hirschman and a jazz concert starring Jonathan Richman. All weekend long, poets like Amiri Baraka (left) will read in Civic Center Plaza, capping off the event with a Sunday poetry crawl through North Beach galleries. Check their website for the full schedule.
John Brandon (A Million Heavens)
Monday, July 30, 6:30-8:30 pm, at Amnesia (853 Valencia St.)
A Million Heavens is the third of Brandon's novels to be published by McSweeney's, having been preceded by Arkansas and Citrus County. It's the story of an unlikely piano prodigy who slips into a coma and the unusual group of devotees who attend his bedside, including a small-town mayor, a roaming wolf, and a would-be angel who's trying to escape a holding cell in the afterlife. The launch party for the book will feature a reading, drinks, and live bluegrass music.
Mark Haskell Smith (Heart of Dankness)
Thursday, July 26, 6 pm, at Book Passage SF (1 Ferry Building)
While reporting a Los Angeles Times story on Amsterdam's Cannabis Cup, novelist Smith became fascinated with America's largest cash crop (marijuana is worth more per annum than corn and wheat combined), and set out to meet the people who grow and engineer it. Armed with a prescription for insomnia from a skeptical OB-GYN, Smith explores the culture of pot growers and botanists, the competitive nature of the Cannabis Cup, and the growing medical-marijuana and pot-legalization movement, all in a quest to discover the elusive property known to smokers as "dankness."
Rob Reid (Year Zero)
Thursday, July 26, 7:30 pm, at the Booksmith (1644 Haight St.)
Reid, the founder of the Rhapsody streaming music service, has brought his life's work to bear on an intriguing novelistic premise: what if pop-music hits were streamed into space, and aliens dug them so much that they committed the biggest copyright violation in the universe-- and subsequently owed humanity so much that we essentially owned them? Reid's hero, a low-level entertainment lawyer, has 48 hours to clean up the mess after a visit from two extraterrestrial representatives, using only his wits and the power of copyright law.