DTM will return in May. Until then, TBP is on tour:
13 Oakland, CA -- Yoshi's
14 Oakland, CA -- Yoshi's
15 Oakland, CA -- Yoshi's
18 Davis, CA -- UC Davis Mondavi Center
19 Davis, CA -- UC Davis Mondavi Center
20 Davis, CA -- UC Davis Mondavi Center
21 Davis, CA -- UC Davis Mondavi Center
24 New York, NY -- The Blue Note
25 New York, NY -- The Blue Note
26 New York, NY -- The Blue Note
27 New York, NY -- The Blue Note
28 New York, NY -- The Blue Note
29 New York, NY -- The Blue Note
While I'm away:
Andy Gilbert has more on the BHQ at the Boston Globe. Thanks to everyone who came out to Birdland, the Falcon, and the Regattabar. It was a really nice run.
David Valdez put up a great post about Charles McPherson. The more I check out McPherson, the more underrated I think he really is.
I'm meeting Don Herron in a couple of days. Herron knew Charles Willeford and became his biographer: Willeford has been absolutely invaluable as I plan an essay about this frequently misunderstood writer.
Willeford is simply the greatest author to be read aloud. Recently I offered a poetic rendition of the following bit to my wife and she couldn't stop laughing. It's from The Woman Chaser (admittedly not my favorite book overall):
I had joined one of the Toastmaster clubs in San Francisco and I was in full accord with its principles.
There are no—isms in Toastmasters. Each club consists of a membership of thirty determined men, in various occupations, who gather together once a week at a luncheon or dinner meeting for the purpose of learning how to speak better. It is a practical organization. The man who is unable to talk to his fellow−American today is unable to eat. The better a man can speak, the better he can eat. It isn't what you say; it is how you say it. A simple, straightforward proposition. All of us are born with a tongue, but how many of us know how to use it effectively?
In the glove compartment of my car I carried a booklet listing all of the Toastmasters Clubs in the United States and their meeting places. It was a handy booklet to have. When I got the opportunity I dropped into a meeting, knowing that I would be welcomed as another Toastmaster in good standing. There were more than a dozen such clubs in Los Angeles; the thirty−member limit of each club and the dire need of ambitious men to make more money will increase the membership of Toastmaster's International a thousandfold in the next decade.
My day had been a dull one, and at five o'clock I had called the Sergeant−At−Arms of a Telephone Company Toastmaster's Club and asked him if I could attend their evening meeting. His friendly welcome chased away the cares of the day, and with my TM button on my lapel I entered the dining room of the Robert Fulton Hotel promptly at 7:30 p.m. There were twenty members present and three guests, counting myself. After the brief invocation I was introduced to the club by the Sergeant−At−Arms, along with two aspirants for membership. Unlike many clubs, prospective Toastmasters are allowed to attend two meetings as guests before making up their minds—to join or not to join. Those who do not join sink back into the faceless mass and the chances are excellent that they will never be heard from again, at least in the competitive world of money−makers.
One of the ironies here is that Willeford really did join the Toastmasters to become better socially. According to Herron, Willeford genuinely appreciated decent small talk. I plan to ask Mr. Herron about this more when we meet...
More crime: Uh, what am I doing, not linking to Sarah Weinman's tumblr? I met Sarah recently, that was really fun. Her new introduction to the reissues of the Alan Grofeld novels by Richard Stark really nails it, I think. I may have more to say about these books and The Comedy is Finished later on. In related matters, Nick Jones reviews Killy, my favorite early Westlake. Love those cover scans!
And, what I am doing, not linking to Lawrence Block's blog? The piece on blurbs was really interesting. (I confess to buying many books based on a blurb.) When I recently re-read Block's excellent Hit List the following paragraph stood out:
At home, he [Keller] paged through one of his stamp albums. Many of his fellow hobbyists were topical or thematic philatelists, collecting stamps not of a particular country or time period but united by what they portrayed. Stamps showing trains, say, or butterflies, or penguins. A doctor might choose stamps with a medical connection, while a musician could seek out stamps showing musical instruments, or those with portraits of the great composers. Or you could collect rabbit stamps for no more abiding reason than that you just plain liked to look at rabbits.
See you in May.