After a fabulous hometown L.A. launch week, with readings at Barnes & Noble on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Book Soup in West Hollywood and Village Books in the Pacific Palisades — it was time to celebrate.
Where better than the heart of Chinatown, legendary cinematic metaphor for the city’s secret dark and twisted self.
Better yet, the party erupted at KGB Studio, where garish blue and red curtains cut the space into strange arterial corridors, bisected by disturbing paintings titled only “Dementia.” One of the scintillant guests, Tiffany Naiman, fresh from a stint at Oxford, pierced the demented veil, telling us that the artist doubled as her kitty litter salesperson. Only in L.A. Only in Silver Lake. The party plot thickened.
As authoress of LOVE JUNKIE, I was exiled to a corner, bound by scary clown portraits on all sides. As I sat in my red silk sheath dress, a lurid blue sky background serving as kitsch backdrop — a snaking line of lovely and supportive and generous friends wound around the bowels of KGB bearing books in hand for me to inscribe. As I inked, a looping brand new VidLit of “Blind Date,” an excerpt from Chapter 4, played on a laptop. This was a sneak preview peek of the fantabulous VidLit which has yet to be released!
Skylight Books manned the book sales table. Flaunt Magazine, helmed by Andrew Pogany, sponsored the party, offering free copies of their current mag issue, which sports a review of LJ. Valley Diva Sandra Tsing Loh and her mysterious manservant Frier McCollister slung delicious and lethal drinks concocted with Sandra’s persona vodka sponsor, Modern Spirits, especially for the party. The list included: TK (Must check with Frier for exact names, ingredients…) So the line was jolly and well-lubricated — for those who could drink spirits. Helping sling cocktails: Lou Mathews, my writing mentor, car mechanic and master chef. Camp Phyxion proffered the musical dimension, playing old skool love addiction tunes on a monster boom box. They kept the aura of L.A literary love aurally ashimmer.
We spotted luminous artistic spirits & glitterati guests amidst the red-blue curtains such as: Janet Fitch, Mark Danielewski, Samantha Dunn & Jimmy Camp, Dr. Suzy Block, Chloe Webb, Ann Magnuson, Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, Bruce Bauman, Emma Forrest, Lori Precious, Hope Edelman, Seth Greenland & Susan Kaiser Greenland, Stan Kent, Alan Wieder, Gary Phillips, Blair Tindall, Pam Ward, Malina Saval, Jim Stein, Bloomsbury heavyweights Peter Miller and Sara Mercurio. The place was packed, and pulsing at the outerlimits of L.A. with many people having bravely crossed the La Cienega/Rubicon demarcation line between West and East side of the city. Straight into Love Junkie territory.
The committee who made this party happen: spearheading the whole shebang: the Belle and Beau of the bookish ball: Linda Renaud, Daryl Reynolds. Other crucial members: Paulette Bartlett, Anthea Raymond, Lisa Firestone — who generously supplied cases of wine from Firestone Vineyards — Marilee Albert, Jamie Rose, Chris Solimine, Kristin Herbert, Alexandra Booke, Dale de la Torre, Laurie Traktman. Several of these people sashayed through the crowds, serving steamy Chinese fingerfoods from Empress Pavilion. Cookies were cracked, and fortunes consumed. At KGB, even in the afternoon, inside all was pure night.
After three and a half hours of constant signing — my hypergraphia takes hold when I sign books, beware! — with a numb arse and a now wrinkly red silk sheath dress, I drifted to a back area to read to the remaining diehard crowd. There, the last Love Junkie partygoers lounged, and listened, sprawled on a circular black bedlike thing, while I stood in front of a painting of a woman with red outstretched legs and a stitched-up corseted cooch and read. I read, while Jesse Rhines kindly shined a flashlight on the pages. I chose to read a piece set in nearby Chinatown, one of the most perverse and painful sections of the book, and one I had never read in public before. It only seemed fitting to share something that intimate with the friends who’d made the long trek and been so beautifully supportive. As I read, without knowing it I kept knocking the painting behind me, so there was an odd and oddly synchronous and serendipitous moving backdrop to the electro-lit words.
At this point, words fail. Now I am going to shift into visual mode, and share a series of pics I shot during the party. While I was exiled, and unable to join the festivities — I did insist on taking portraits of most of the party guests who came to see me in Clown Country. Here are the photos. I hope they give you a little taste of the surreal only-in-L.A. launch of LOVE JUNKIE. Consider them an homage to all of you who came, and all of you who have supported LOVE JUNKIE. It’s hard out there for a book. If you dug the book, please spread the word…
Mark Danielewski and Janet Fitch getting jiggy at the private reading
Sandra Tsing Loh tending bar in demure moms-afire costume
Frier McCollister, Sandra’s sidekick, manservant and cocktail creator extraordinaire
Liz Dubelman, lovely mastermind and techno-mistress of VidLits, and editor of What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories — coming soon! Includes “Blind Date” excerpt from Love Junkie also a VidLit!
Cosmic supadivas Chloe Webb & Ann Magnuson make the love junkified scene
Meri Nana-Ama Danquah channeling regal
Michael Shaner, warrior writer, and yours truly
Emma Forrest lovely in polka dots
Rocket scientist/erotica writer Stan Kent, his lovely better half Cyn, and coolgrrl blogger Kastle Waserman
Dr. Suzy Block, fellow Yalie: “Lust et Veritas!” and “Boo-Lah-Lah!”
Hope Edelman and Bruce Bauman join the fiesta
Wendy Merrill is NOT Falling Into Manholes at this party
Lou Mathews, rico suave in an apron
Lisa Firestone, scribbler, surfergirl and super-philanthropist
Linda Renaud and Daryl Reynolds, the dynamic duo behind this whole party machine!
Gary Phillips, don’t mess with my social activist/noir writing badass self!
Mike Welch, foreground, Sam Dunn and Jamie Rose, fierce and gorgeous redheads, lurking…
Sam Dunn eight months pregnant! All the way down from Sacramento. Her son’s first literary event!
Bloomsbury duo, Peter Miller all the way from NYC, and Sara Mercurio, also radiant and pregnant!
Alan Wieder wonders, how am I going to explain the title of my forthcoming book, Year of the Cock, to my adorable son? Perhaps the saucy mermaid in the painting has the answer.
Let’s get down to the private reading! Jesse Rhines, Susan Bernard, Marilee Albert, Dawn Kim and others…
Marilee Albert and Laurie Traktman showing sisterly solidarity
Femme Quartet of Trouble: Tiffany Naiman, moi, Bett Williams and supergalpal Margaret Wrinkle who flew all the way in from Santa Fe to help celebrate…I am supremely blessed in friends…RRxoxo