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Ben Fong-Torres's Blog

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Dec.23.2011
Well, not really. But close. In October, I had two books out -- Eagles: Taking It to the Limit (from Running Press) and The Rice Room: Growing Up Chinese American (a reissue, with new material and a photo gallery) from University of California Press. Now, there's San Francisco and the Bay Area: The...
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Dec.23.2011
Well, not really. But close. In October, I had two books out -- Eagles: Taking It to the Limit (from Running Press) and The Rice Room: Growing Up Chinese American (a reissue, with new material and a photo gallery) from University of California Press. Now, there's San Francisco and the Bay Area: The...
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Oct.24.2011
I just flew in from Canada and a few dozen other cities, and boy, are my ears tired. Let me explain: It was a radio tour, as it’s called, for my new book, Eagles: Taking It to the Limit. The publisher, Running Press, set up 20 stops – mostly morning shows from coast to coast – from 5 to 8:20 a.m...
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Oct.22.2010
My certificate, C-I-R-C-A 1956.
Fatigue. That's the word that stumped me in the Oakland Public Schools' spelling contest of 1956, when I was eleven and attending Lincoln School, near our home in Chinatown. What kind of word is that to pose to a kid, anyway? No matter.  Although I  blew "fatigue," I won my school's...
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Dec.22.2009
Uncut's Unkept Promise.
Grrrrr.  That’s about all I can say right now, after dashing off an e-mail to a magazine in London that, appropriately enough, royally pissed me off earlier this year.  The e-mail from the editor of Uncut, a rock publication, bears some footnote about the contents being confidential, etc. etc., so...
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Nov.19.2009
It’s been a rough year for most of us, but I guess I should count myself among the lucky ones. When Chronicle Books began mapping out promotional plans for the Grateful Dead Scrapbook, in late summer or early fall, I turned down one of the first bookstores to invite me for a signing. Lord knows, it...
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Oct.23.2009
Want a video of your readings or signings? Sometimes, they’re being recorded without your even knowing about it.    That was the case the other evening when I showed up at The Booksmith in the Haight-Ashbury to flog The Grateful Dead Scrapbook. There was a camera set up, for Fora.tv. And, sure...
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Oct.02.2009
Don't let me forget: I've got to mention that my new book is out--it's the Grateful Dead Scrapbook--and I'm giving it a light push; mainly at The Booksmith on Haight St. October 7 (a Wed.) at 7... Anyway: The Banned Books concert at the Main Library here in SF was fun, considering the subject was...
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Sep.12.2009
Well, this should be fun. Or a complete disaster. Either way, Alan Unger asked for it. He's a friend of mine, and husband of a long-time buddy, Ruby, who I knew from her nights as a talk show host on KCBS. For over a year, Alan's been after me to kick off a speaker series he was organizing at The...
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Aug.09.2009
 Have you ever had one of your books banned? Me neither. But, every year, usually late in September, an organization known as the ALA (I'll guess it means the American Libary Association) observes "Banned Books Week." I was invited to take part this year in San Francisco, at the Main...
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Jul.05.2009
When Writers Make Music, It's 'Stranger Than Fiction'
Lots has been happening, but not that much connected with books … until I got this e-mail from Kathi Kamen Goldmark (who’s added “Barry” to her name, having married HarperCollins SF’s Sam Barry recently). She is famously the creator of the Rock Bottom Remainders, the garage band comprised of best-...
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Mar.02.2009
I'm not sure what this means, except that I probably shouldn't expect any royalties for my book on the Doors. Here's what happened: I got this email today from someone named Kelly, asking if the surviving members of the band--and I--ever signed copies of our book, The Doors by the Doors (Hyperion...
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Feb.19.2009
So, I'm getting the idea that one can blog about damn near anything here in the red chamber. Great. Last week, while I was at El Rio, in SF's Mission District, doing another of my parody songs, to the tune of Dylan's "Rainy Day Women (12+35)," a guy asked if he could post a copy of it...
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Feb.19.2009
Don’t you hate it when you read a book—or see the title of a book—and say to yourself, “Dang! I could’ve written that!” Happens every day, doesn’t it? Happened to me just recently, when Da Capo Press sent me a copy of Don’t Stop Believin’:  How Karaoke Conquered the World, by Brian Raftery. It’s...
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Jan.17.2009
Not every author can do this. You need a big name, connections, or both. But at the end of 2008, I attended two book events that didn’t take place in anything resembling a bookstore. The first one was for Grateful Dead 365, by Holly George-Warren, a dear friend of mine dating back to the early ‘...
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