5 Questions with Bradley Spinelli, Author of The Painted Gun

City Lights is proud to present Bradley Spinelli on Thursday, March 30. This event is part of the Subterranean SF Reading Series and is being held at several undisclosed locations. Admission is free, but the locations are only revealed through mysterious black envelope. Ask for the envelope at the front counter of City Lights Bookstore. Attendance is limited and by invitation only.

Bradley will be reading from his new book, The Painted Gun (published by Akashic Books). We asked Bradley our five questions–more about him, and his answers, below.

The Event: Thursday, March, 30th at 7:00PM. Undisclosed locations.

About The Painted Gun: It’s 1997 at the dawn of the digital age in San Francisco. Ex-journalist and struggling alcoholic David “Itchy” Crane’s fledgling “information consultancy” business is getting slowly buried by bad luck, bad decisions, and the growing presence of the Internet. Before Itchy can completely self-destruct, a crooked private investigator offers him fifty grand to find a missing girl named Ashley. Crane takes the job because the money’s right and because the only clue to her disappearance is a dead-on oil portrait of Crane himself painted by the mysterious missing girl–whom he has never met.

As Crane’s search for Ashley rapidly becomes an obsession, he stumbles upon a series of murders, gets slapped around by thugs and intimidated by cops, and begins to suspect he’s being framed for the murders by a psychotic Guatemalan hit man. Left with no avenue but survival, Crane goes on the offensive, fighting to clear his name, solve the murders, and find the beguiling portrait artist Ashley, who may have a few surprises of her own.

BRADLEY SPINELLI is the author of the novel Killing Williamsburg, and the writer/director of the film #AnnieHall, which the Village Voice called “fascinating.” He contributes regularly to Bedford + Bowery and lives in Brooklyn. The Painted Gun is his latest novel. Visit his website at 13spinelli.com.


City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit?  If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Bradley Spinelli: I’ve been to City Lights. My family is from South San Francisco, and my Great Aunt Cookie lived in North Beach. I finally moved out there in the late ’90s. I was instantly turned on to Vesuvio by a former professor, and read The Subterraneans, where Kerouac claims to be living in South San Francisco—though the book was based on events in New York. I was already a massive William S. Burroughs fanatic, and would pop into the store to snoop around. As far as expectations . . . we’re doing such an unusual event, I reckon by the time we get to City Lights, I’ll be exhausted.

CL: What’s the first book you read & what are you reading right now?

BS: I have no idea what the first book I read was. Reliable sources intimate I devoured everything. I recall being knocked out by Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater. Right now I’m still reading The Painted Gun for the zillionth time, prepping reading excerpts for the spring tour.

CL: Which 3 books would you never part with?

BS: I’d probably never part with my first copy of Tropic of Cancer, even though I’ve already replaced it because it was falling apart. Ditto for my copy of Naked Lunch, which I stole from a bookstore in Dallas, which seems somehow fitting. And Don DeLillo’s Underworld, which was a gift from the director Jeremy Cole—who’s directing our SF Underground event—after he did a play of mine in Denver. Those three writers are my trinity, like onions, bell peppers, and celery.

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

BS: My book totally has a soundtrack—I must have listened to Rachel’s Selenography a thousand times in the last year of editing. Try it out—especially the songs “An Evening of Long Goodbyes” and “Cuts the Metal Cold.”

CL: If you opened a bookstore tomorrow, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?

BS: My bookstore would be a popup coffee and eggs joint, moving from New Orleans to Guatemala to Bangkok to Brooklyn by the season, wherever we happened to be. It would probably be called something silly like “Pulp ‘n Eggs” or “Ham ‘n Page,” and our bestseller would be eggs over easy.

Join Bradley Spinelli at our special Subterranean SF event this Thursday, March 30th at undisclosed locations. To gain access, come to City Lights Bookstore at 261 Columbus Ave. and ask for the mysterious black envelope!

For more about Bradley, follow him on Twitter. Get his book, The Painted Gun direct from Akashic Books, from City Lights, or at your local independent bookseller.

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