Author Colson Whitehead has an endless capacity for penetrating, downbeat observation, and his latest tome, The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Death, provides, from its opening salvo, a bounty of this dry style: “I have a good poker face,” he writes, “because I am half-dead inside.” The fruit of a journalistic assignment that landed him a chair at the World Series of Poker, the book is a riveting, illuminating and amusing glimpse into poker pathology – a mixture of ego, sportsmanship, greed and deceit, all fueled by the essentially fraudulent criminality common to the game's biggest players, along with bales of tattered, self-projected romance, sophisticated hustle and the skin-of-the-teeth desperation that characterizes any serious bout of Texas Hold 'Em. Whitehead, who was scarcely qualified to compete yet still managed to go the full route, will discuss the experience and the book with Laurie Winer, founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, herself a poker player of no little skill. Expect a gloriously skewed and satirical examination of this strange, all-American sub-culture. Mark Taper Auditorium, Los Angeles Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; Tue., May 13, 7:15 p.m.; free, RSVP required. (213) 228-7025, lfla.org.
Tue., May 13, 7:15 p.m., 2014
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