Death's a bummer for everyone, especially John Fante. The late author penned some of the most visceral stuff ever committed to print, but never became the household name that he should have been. Toward the end of his life — when diabetes claimed his sight and his legs — Fante began achieving the sort of recognition he deserved, but he passed away in 1983 at the age of 74, just before he was about to explode onto the literary community. His legion of devoted fans has grown steadily since, and all it took was dying for him to become a bona fide must-read author. Gone but certainly not forgotten; an event celebrating John Fante's 100th Birthday is sure to entice those who worship at the Fante altar. Moderated by David Kipen, director of literature at the National Endowment for the Arts, a panel consisting of Fante biographer Stephen Cooper, KCRW's Frances Anderton, Esotouric co-founder Richard Schave and daughter Vickie Cohen will discuss the writer's legacy and how much he would have reveled in the notoriety he's enjoying today. And if there's an afterlife that allows the dead access to the modern world, fans know that Fante's wine drunk and grinning ear to ear over what's become of his career.

Tue., April 7, 7 p.m., 2009

LA Weekly