Sunday, June 3, 2012

Gifford & Vlautin Read at City Lights Bookstore

Barry Gifford at City Lights Bookstore
 I went to see Willy Vlautin read at City Lights Bookstore last week, but it was the headliner that really took me by surprise. Barry Gifford, the author of Lost Highway and Wild at Heart, both adapted to the big screen by David Lynch, was confident, funny, and insightful. His short stories worked perfectly. I'm not much of a fan of "Readings," unless it's a self contained performance. I don't need anyone to read a chapter of their book to me, as I prefer to do that myself. But some authors -- I'm reminded of T.C. Boyle -- have a knack for making these events entertaining and so much more than recitation, Q&A, signing.

Willie Vlautin sings "Chinatown"
Willy was shy, sweet, and played a few nice tunes as well as reading his own work. I especially loved his song "Chinatown" that captured the feeling of quietly looking out the window in the district and watching the crowded streets flow. The clearly smitten Vlautin seemed in awe of Gifford. Their relationship is almost familial -- Gifford the proud Uncle and admirer of Richmond Fontaine, the band Vlautin assembled in Portland, Oregon in 1994; and Vlautin, the eager-to-please Nephew wanting to both impress and learn from the Man. He is hopelessly devoted to the Californian modern noir master, a hero the boy from Reno was destined to meet and spin into one another's tunes and tales.

1 comment:

Rachel B. said...

Willy! So sorry we missed him this time.