We were in our cups, it should be said, after several swift ones imbibed at the Dresden prior to heading over to the Skylight Bookstore on a recent Friday to listen to, no! Witness the extraordinary author and extremely low-rent almost vaudevillian in a good way, all-round entertainer, Jonathan Ames', read from his novel WAKE UP, SIR! which has just been put out in paperback.
If you haven't read Wake Up, Sir - well it's the story of Alan Blair and his valet Jeeves - (yes, by name and very much by nature the archetype). (This from publishers weekly: a week in the life of Alan Blair, a 30-something novelist and booze hound coasting along thanks to a fall on the ice that netted him a hefty lawsuit payout. Said quarter-million means that Alan can avoid employment and hire a valet named Jeeves, who inhabits the spare bedroom in the modest Montclair, N.J., home of Alan's uncle and aunt ("the old flesh and blood").) The book is hilarious although for us with Ames' stuff, there's often that sweet but disturbing feeling that this is a little too close to our bones. In the Alan Blair case, the denial that we oh too readily are aware of.
At Skylight books, Ames, beaten back by the heatwave and a timid air conditioner, made quick work of his reading program and rapidly moved on to regaling his audience with tales of acupuncture and a good cupping he'd received when his short reading tour took in San Francisco's Booksmith a few days earlier. The cupping I hasten to add did not occur at the bookstore. Forewarning those brave enough to brave the heat that he would be soon be taking off his short to show evidence of the cupping. You may have seen The Madness of King George, or maybe Apple's mom, Chris Martin's wife, Bruce Paltrow's daughter, Blythe Danner's stepdaughter's - oh what's her names' back, in the paper in a very revealing dress not so long ago, two examples, centuries apart of the enduring appeal of this ancient art.
Following his 'reveal', Ames also entertained us with 'The Hairy Call''. This, my friend Walt told me, had previously been 'performed' on Letterman. The story of The Hairy Call cannot be repeated here, to quote Jonathan's website "The Story of 'The Hairy Call' recounts how the sound came into being and its unusual healing powers, but it is an oral tale that I've never written down, which is par for the course for oral tales." But you can listen to The Hairy Call on Jonathan Ames' site - http://www.jonathanames.com/hairy_call.html
Afterwards, Andree, Walt, Cecilia and I headed over to the always excellent Tiki Ti on Sunset where first I had a Pain Killer, then a Himalayan then the Missionary's Downfall and after that, I don't know. I vaguely remember, later on, back at the Loft, being much more hopeless at Scrabble than usual.
Visit Jonathan Ames home page: http://www.jonathanames.com
BUY WAKE UP, SIR! from Amazon: Wake Up, Sir! : A Novel