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David Sedaris and the conundrum of popularity

June 24, 2008 |  2:24 pm


The good thing about living in a big, wonderful city like Los Angeles is that you can be sure that big, wonderful writers like David Sedaris will come through town. The bad thing is that there's no guarantee you'll get to see them.

Sedaris is visiting Vroman's Bookstore this Sunday at 5 p.m. on his book tour to promote "When You Are Engulfed in Flames." I'd be tempted to whine about all the restrictions placed on attending — if I'd gotten one of the free tickets, that is. But what's the use? The Sedaris reading is "sold out."

How do bookstore appearances sell out? Do guys in yellow security jackets guard the door? (They just might.)

Vroman's, a big wonderful bookstore, has tried to make it up to the ticketless masses by allowing anybody who can't get into the reading to join the signing line (also ticketed) and by posting a podcast interview with the author. It's a bit salt-in-the-wound, but still, it's there and it's free.

There is another way to see David Sedaris ... after the jump.

If your timing is good, you may still be able to buy tickets to his appearance at UCLA's Royce Hall on Saturday night.

Although that talk is officially sold out, extra tickets are making their way into the UCLA sales database; a few $55 seats in the orchestra had opened up this afternoon.

Other than magical timing, you may actually do better traveling to a place not quite so populous as Los Angeles (although this could mean Canada). In Pittsburgh, a grad student colleague of mine not only got to see David Sedaris earlier this month — but also got to talk to him before his reading.

At least he'll be on the radio: Sedaris can be heard Friday on Patt Morrison's show, which begins at 1 p.m. on KPCC-FM (89.3). 

Carolyn Kellogg