Richard Milner is equally versed in the theory of evolution and the songs of Lerner & Lowe. The singing Darwin scholar began writing amusing tunes about the origin of the species as a graduate student in anthropology at UC Berkeley in the 1960s. He sang them at student parties until he got kicked out of the doctoral program for writing the then-controversial book "Black Players: the Secret World of Black Pimps."
Co-written with Milner's then-wife, Christina, the book became a classic of gritty urban anthropology. It landed him on "60 Minutes" and is now, as he puts it, "a bona fide collectible" that sells on the Internet for as much as $300 a pop.
"I consider it a badge of distinction to have been thrown out of Berkeley for writing a book," says the roguish writer, who relishes the irony that his new book, "Darwin's Universe: Evolution from A to Z" is about to published by UC Press. An updated and expanded version of his 1990 "Encyclopedia of Evolution," it's the latest opus from a gifted storyteller who's been touring the world with his one-man show, "Charles Darwin: Live & In Concert." It plays San Francisco's Jewish Community Center on Thursday.
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