Author Jim Dawson is one of this burg's most boss, hepwise and blatantly brilliant literary forces. With his voluminous knowledge, expertly exhaustive research techniques, devastatingly bone-dry low-key humor and sweet yet stinging tone, Dawson deftly navigates a kaleidoscopic range of topics--from his invalulable R&B study Nervous Man Nervous: Big Jay McNeely and the Rise of the Honking Tenor Sax to his unforgettable Who Cut the Cheese: A Cultural History of the Fart -- and he invariably exploits each subject to the maximum degree (his tome on flatulence was so popular that one of two subsequent sequels was, no kidding, translated into Chinese). With his latest title, Los Angeles' Bunker Hill: Pulp Fiction's Mean Streets and Film Noir's Ground Zero, the author's characteristic mix of meticulously compiled background information, bold analysis and inarguably concluded extrapolations is aimed at rectifying the colorful myths and even wilder truths that have emanated from and been laid at the feet of this Los Angeles locus classicus. That's no small task and with more than 80 arresting photographs and equally compelling text, Dawson's crafted an entertaining, educational and invaluable work where fantasy and reality intersect in a riveting and ultimately tragic nature. That double edged whammy--the refurbished Angel's Flight funicular, f'rinstance, may be lethal but wasn't even installed on the original site -- defines our city, and Dawson's masterly application of historic context, grim truth and spiritual romance are beauteous in both their subtlety and reach. Tonight, the author dishes the downtown dirt and signs copies of the book. Gonna be a gorgeous gasser. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd. W. Hlywd.; Tues., Sept 4, 7 p.m.; free, book is $19.99. (310) 659-3110.
Tue., Sept. 4, 7 p.m., 2012
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