Congratulations are in order — Santa Cruz author Elizabeth McKenzie and the Gail Rich Awards

I returned to the Rio Theatre on Wednesday for the first time since that historic Lucinda gig. The big event was the Gail Rich Awards, honoring outstanding community builders and artists. For me, the standout moment was the fine speech/short story excerpt by my friend Elizabeth McKenzie, a fantastic writer whose fiction has appeared recently in the Atlantic Monthly and who has a piece up in the Saturday Evening Post (did you know that was still being published?? I’m very glad to hear it.) She read an excerpt from her story cycle, Stop That Girl, which should be on your reading list along with McGregor Tells the World. I was unfamiliar with most of the other award recipients except for the talented sign maker Steve Hosmer of Stokes Signs, whose funny and profane acceptance speech was one of the evening’s real highlights. He explains that his parents told him he could do anything he ever wanted in life “if I had enough ham and perseverance.”

Speaking of books that should be on your reading list — it was a real thrill to get a copy of Lise Pearlman’s brand new book The Sky’s The Limit, a fascinating nonfiction book that gives you a grand comparative tour of America’s ‘trials of the century’ with a special emphasis on Huey P. Newton and the Black Panthers. It was a real kick for me because I, along with the author Sara Houghteling took a look at early drafts of the work-in-progress. I hope to be there for one of the book-launch parties. Incidentally, Lise is a retired Superior Court judge and an absolutely tireless researcher, writer and interviewer. All for now.

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