Tonight I will be attending and participating in the Litquake event honoring Amy Tan at San Francisco’s Herbst Theater. If you don’t know what Litquake is, you should check it out. Litquake makes San Francisco cooler than New York. In fact, Litquake makes San Francisco cooler than San Francisco.
Tonight’s occasion is the presentation of the Barbary Coast Award to Amy, a literary gem of this fair city and the world. This event is both a tribute and a roast. We are going to be “braising Amy,” in the words of one or another of Litquakes’ leading lights—possibly Jane Ganahl or Jack Boulware, the two saints (though not in the normal sense of the term) who have led the way in making Litquake grow and thrive.
The award is named for the Barbary Coast section of San Francisco, known in the nineteenth century for all kinds of licentious behavior such as prostitution, gambling, drinking, opium smoking, and the sale of inexpensive back scratchers. I can only assume that the people who were engaged in these activities were also big readers and that this is why the Litquake team chose to name the award for this place.
At any rate, in Amy’s case it is quite appropriate. One of the many public roles that Amy plays is dominatrix. (Should I have capitalized that? “Amy is a Dominatrix, and i am merely a speck of dust on a distant asteroid orbiting Her Magnificent Star . . .” whoa, that came a little too easily.) In that role Amy has whipped the butts of various and sundry male members (no pun intended) of the Rock Bottom Remainders, including my own. This side of Amy would have fit right in on San Francisco’s old Barbary Coast—which, by the way, was not a coast at all. But then, nothing is what it seems here in San Francisco. For instance, there are gaudily dressed tramps strutting around the streets of San Francisco who are, in fact, actual, biological woman. Go figure.
If you’re here in town and tickets are still available I suggest you come to the Amy Tan Tribute/Roast. In spite of considerable begging, I don’t think Amy will be whipping anyone tonight—not even honorary Rock Bottom Remainder Roger McGuinn, who will be joining us and doing some playing and singing. No, this is Amy’s night to sit back and be loved. I hope I see you there.