Mark O'Connor, teacher of physics, expert on beer, books and baseball, and author of "Tweaker" and "Lonnie's Ride" in Out of the Gutter 2 and 4, respectively, came down for the Gutter Books launch of Will Viharo's Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me and T. Fox Dunham's The Street Martyr, Saturday Night at 50 Mason Social House in San Francisco's Tenderloin district. Following is his field report.
|50 Mason Social House|
|The Aqua Velvets|
The event was a book release and signing party. The star was local author and celebrity Will Viharo, whose Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me was just re-issued by Gutter Books. He was joined by Philadelphia-based author T. Fox Dunham, whose debut novel The Street Martyr was also hot off Gutter's presses. Entertainment was provided by San Francisco's own Aqua Velvets, surf band extraordinaire. Apparently Mr. Viharo wrote much of Love Stories with the band in the background, and they get a mention in the book as well. I got the chance to talk to guitarist and songwriter Miles Corbin and his musical partner and the band's bassist Michael Linder, telling them how much I loved their music, particularly the 1997 album Guitar Noir. Both were gracious and friendly. I bought two CDs from Miles and Michael gave me one of his own, a collection of bands he produces. If the Tenderloin was the perfect neighborhood for a noir fiction event, the Velvets were the perfect soundtrack.
|Pitts, Clifford, Viharo and Louis|
|Will Viharo delivering thrills|
After the readings, book signings, and musical interludes, the party ended. I was fortunate to spend some time with Fox Dunham, who is a fascinating man. Originally from Scotland, he trained in the ancient bardic traditions with his grandfather, learning not only Scots Gaelic, but about the awen, the source of poetic inspiration. A cancer survivor and denizen of the mean streets, Fox has a palpable empathy for the dispossessed and disenfranchised. His reading from The Street Martyr had the crowd mesmerized. He inscribed my copy of his book "Speak for those with their mouths torn out." What a powerful sentiment!
|T. Fox laying it down|