Eduardo Santiago presents an exciting and varied lineup of authors for the third year of his popular Idyllwild Author Series. This May through July, the series will be held at Café Aroma, a change of venue from the previous two years. PEN Center has increased its funding to the series to include advertising and a new website, www.idyllwildauthors.com. Once again, Bill Sheppard will be providing sound equipment.
As he has in past years, Santiago imports a tantalizing assembly of authors writing about highly diverse subject matter — from an American NPR host helping to start a radio station in Bhutan, the difficulties a young girl encounters in emigrating from Mexico, to another young girl’s coming of age in the home of a celebrity movie star mother and a killing that transfixed the national media.
Santiago begins with Cheryl Crane, Lana Turner’s daughter, and Crane’s account of growing up in glitz and loneliness while her movie goddess mother ran a gauntlet of husbands and lovers. Covered in the book, “Detour, A Hollywood Story,” is Crane’s killing at age 14 of two-bit gangster and her mother’s then lover, Johnny Stompanato. Crane claimed, and courts agreed, that Stompanato had threatened to kill her mother and that Crane acted to defend Turner. The incident nevertheless propelled Crane into years of emotional instability. Crane appears at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 19.
Next, on May 26, is Reyna Grande discussing her book, “The Distance Between Us,” an account of being left behind in Mexico at the age of two with her uncaring and authoritarian grandmother after her parents left for the U.S. to look for work. The story follows her reunion with her parents at age 9 and the difficulties of adjusting to life in the U.S.
On June 2, Lisa Teasley reads from and discusses her debut novel “Dive,” the story of two lost vagabonds from violent pasts who find meaning in each other and in extreme sports. Intrigue, eroticism and oddball players make “Dive” as compelling a read as Teasley is a compelling presenter of her life and work.
One June 9, Lisa Napoli, National Public Radio host, tells her quirky story of decamping to Bhutan, known for measuring its national worth in the gross national happiness of its people, and her effort to bring her Western radio savvy to a startup Bhutanese radio station.
On June 16, actor, teacher and activist Michael Kearns discusses his career as an openly gay and HIV positive actor and his book, “The Drama of AIDS: My Lasting Connections with Two Plays that Survived the Plague.”
On June 23, Diana Wagman presents a brisk and involving kidnapping tale of a 38-year-old woman taken hostage by a somewhat deranged man whose home is overheated to sauna temperature to keep happy his 7-foot iguana and whose life centers on reptile trading. Her book is called “The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets.
On Sunday, June 30, Steven Reigns discusses his collection of poetry, “Inheritance.” A four-time recipient of Los Angeles County’s Department of Cultural Affairs Artist in Residency Grant, Reigns has taught writing workshops around the country to GLBT youth and people living with HIV.
Samantha Dunn, author of “Faith in Carlos Gomez: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex and Salvation” is often called the sagebrush equivalent of Candace Bushnell’s “Sex and the City.” In “Carlos Gomez,” Dunn chronicles becoming obsessed with salsa music and dancing after recovering from a near fatal horse-riding accident on July 7.
Duff Brenna wraps the guest author portion on July 14 with his memoir of his childhood, his distance from and reconnection with his mother as she disappears in the haze of dementia. His book is called “Murdering the Mom: A Memoir.”
And finally, series impresario Santiago takes the final spot to discuss his book “Midnight Rumba,” on Sunday, July 21.
All presentations are at 3 p.m. on the upper deck of Café Aroma. There is no charge for the events.