"Raining in Paradise," my anthology of short stories and poetry, has now been published in both book and e-book format. You can find it, for now, by going to Lulu.com and searching the store. In the next week or two, the book and e-book should also be available via amazon.com and other online retail outlets.
This is a work that's actually many years in the making. Some of the stories date back, at least in early incarnations, to pieces that I wrote while an MFA student at San Diego State between 2008-2011. Others were written in just the past six months to a year. The title might suggest dark undertones about the content, and it's true that in this collection I address not only my own mortality but that of my parents, and in many of the stories the issue of loss pervades.
But "Raining in Paradise" is also a collective treatise on survival and perseverance, and more so on cherishing the life we have and its every precious moment. I hope you will read these stories and make discoveries of your own. One last note: the author of "Raining in Paradise" is Barrett McCloud, which happens to be my pen name. This is the first time I've used it in the public domain.
On Saturday, March 3 from 1 to 2 p.m. I'll be hosting a book chat and reading of my 2017 novel "There and Back Again." I'm the San Diego Public Library's Local Author of the Month, an honor for which I am very grateful and about which I am immensely excited. If you haven't been to the Central Library downtown yet, this is your opportunity to experience it in all its grandeur and beauty. The book event will be held in a room on the first floor, just to the west of the lobby entrance -- you can't miss it. But by all means stay afterward to visit and to tour the library. I'll see you there!
First of all, profound thanks to all who came out to Liberty Station Nov. 11 for the "Wine and Sign" for "There and Back Again." I really appreciate it. If I may ask another favor, not only of you good people but of everyone who's purchased and read the book, please post your comments/reviews on the amazon.com purchase-site for "There and Back Again." I look forward to your feedback!
In the meantime, I am hard at work -- well, at least as hard as I can be given the responsibilities (most of them related to grading) of the remaining semesters at SDSU and Mesa College -- on my next novel, for now titled "In Violet." Briefly, it follows the plight of a would-be Hollywood screenwriter whose obsessive project is a Marion Crane-oriented "prequel" to "Psycho."
But before that book is complete, I hope to publish under my little-used literary pseudonym Barrett McCloud a short-story anthology titled "Raining in Paradise."
Thank you for your interest and your support, friends!
My novel "There and Back Again," about a journalist who is brutalized and traumatized while on foreign assignment and then exiles herself in search of physical and spiritual reclamation, is now available via both its publisher, Lulu.com, and amazon.com. E-version of the book should be available, too, in a week or so.
One of the things that makes this book personally exciting is that it also pays homage to journalism the way it once was. The story is set in 1998, a time when newspapers were still relevant, the internet had not completely taken over the media landscape, the so-called reporter's instinct was invaluable, and social media did not yet exist. My two principal characters -- the aforementioned reporter who vanishes, and the old pro journalist who sets out in search of her -- are inspired by the kinds of reporters -- and people -- who I either learned from in my salad days in the business or I admired from afar, for their commitment, their passion, their guts.
I hope you'll read "There and Back Again," whether you have journalism in your soul or not.
The Without Walls Festival is one of San Diego theater's premier recurring events. Photo by Daniel Norwood.
This should be ultra-cool: La Jolla Playhouse has announced that its third Without Walls Festival (aka the WoW Festival), due this October, will be mounted not on its UCSD Theatre District grounds but around downtown San Diego. For those who already dig the WoW Festival – count me most enthusiastically among them – this only makes the return of this site-specific-theater adventure more exciting. Nothing wrong with the festivals staged, for the most part, at UCSD, but downtown would seem to offer greater and even more experimental site choices. All credit to the Playhouse for not standing pat. If downtown is a hit, and I’d be surprised if it isn’t, it might become a tradition, or, and this is equally fun to contemplate, it might betoken WoW Festivals in other parts of the city as well. Further details to come as we get closer to fall.
Jennifer Eve Thorn is Moxie Theatre's new artistic director.
Its 13th season of existence is bringing change at the top at always-adventurous Moxie Theatre. One of Moxie's original co-founders (along with Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, Jo Anne Glover and Liv Kellgren), Jennifer Eve Thorn has been named the theater company's new artistic director and will assume her responsibilities in July. She succeeds founding artistic director Turner Sonnenberg, who along with Glover, the company says, will take roles on the Moxie Advisory Board. Both will be involved, either directing or performing, during Moxie's 13th season. From the very beginning, Moxie has been producing some of the most thoughtful and provocative theater in San Diego, of which Thorn has been an integral part both on stage and as a director. I expect she will continue with distinction the high degree of excellence built by Turner Sonnenberg. Good luck, Jen!
Ian Merrill Peakes in "Timon of Athens" at Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C. Photo by Teresa Wood.
Timing is everything. I was fortunate enough to be in Washington, D.C. last week just in time to catch one of the closing performances of Shakespeare’s rarely produced “Timon of Athens” at the Folger Theatre, which regularly does some of the best realizations of The Bard’s work in the country. This “Timon,” directed by Robert Richmond, took a daring, techy approach to the play about an Athenian’s misguided generosity and the wrenching consequences that follow. In the title role, Ian Merrill Peakes is insouciant, desperate, manic and haunted in all the appropriate moments, and his steady Act 2 disintegration makes a potent point about the thin line between money and madness. Next up at the Folger: Richmond directs “Antony and Cleopatra,” Oct 10-Nov. 19. If you’re in D.C. this fall, check it out.
Join me on Saturday evening, June 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Hessian Global Goods Coffee & Tea in Hillcrest. I'll be signing copies of "The Romancer" and (at 7 p.m.) doing a brief reading from the novel.
So "Escape to Margaritaville," which features favorite songs (and a little new music) by Jimmy Buffett, opened last night at La Jolla Playhouse, much to the delight of all the Parrotheads in the audience. They weren't too difficult to spot: aloha shirts, sippy cups of booze in hand, and primed to sing along. You could also spot the non-aficionados, like myself: overdressed for the occasion, sans sippy cup, lost during the sing-alongs.
So what's the verdict on "Escape to Margaritaville?" Check out the review on San Diego CityBeat's website (www.sdcitybeat.com) or in the magazine itself when it hits news racks on Wednesday, May 31.
By the by, Jimmy Buffett himself WAS in the house on opening night. He came out on stage during the curtain calls and proceeded to lead the cast in "Margaritaville," which sent the Parrotheads into a frenzy. Good for JB: At 70 he still looks like he's having a helluva good time!
Alison Luff and Paul Alexander Nolan in "Escape to Margaritaville" Credit: Matthew Murphy