Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Misread City at Festival of Books

THIS weekend your humble blogger will be around the LA Times Festival of Books at USC... That is, if I don't accidentally end up at UCLA.

I'll be there both days, and on Sunday at 3 p.m. will moderate a panel on authors with backgrounds in music. The panel -- I don't name these things, folks, is called "A New Chord: From Stage to Page."

My three panelist:

Nathan Larson was lead guitarist for Shudder to Think - one of the key bands on Dischord Records -- and has since written the scores to the films Boys Don't Cry, Dirty Pretty Things, and The Messenger. His novel, The Dewey Decimal System (Akashic), is tense, taught and set in a post-apocalyptic New York: It's been compared to Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn and the work of Philip K. Dick.

Rob Roberge is a longtime L.A. writer and musician; he plays guitar in punk pioneers The Urinals. The short stories in Working Backwards From the Worst Moment of My Life are often fragmented or defined by wild leaps. Steve Almond calls him "a modern master of the down-and-out-that-just-got-worse." He's also working on a memoir about his life in music: Excerpt here.

Kristin Hersh is known to many readers of The Misread City for her years in Throwing Muses, one of the key bands of the '80s alternative movement. (They played my alma mater the weekend I was a prospective student, in 1987, so they will always have a place in my heart.) Her memoir, Rat Girl, is based on diaries she took as a teenager and the year, as a bohemian musician, she was diagnosed bipolar.

Like her songs, Hersh's book is so vivid in its imagery it can be uncomfortable at times. "But Rat Girl is also a startlingly funny and touching memoir... a gripping journey into mental chaos and out the other side."

On that inspiring note... See you all at UCLA; er, I mean, USC!

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