•Intern Jane raves about the fascinating-sounding The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a non-fiction book about the African American woman whose cells provided the basis for the "first continuous human cell line cultivated in a lab," and "played a crucial role in developing the polio vaccine, treatments for cancer, and drugs for influenza, hemophilia, and Parkinson's disease." But as Henrietta's daughter points out, "if our mother cells done so much for medicine, how come her family can't afford to see no doctors?"
•Ned reviews Sam Cutler's You Can't Always Get What You Want, a memoir about his stint as tour manager for the Rolling Stones (circa Altamont) and the Grateful Dead. Ned says the book is "an ideal candidate for upcoming beach-reading season" because "it's devoid of the grandstanding and idolization of many rock bios, while also resistant to the lurid muckraking of other exposés."
•Bonus book event: William T. Vollmann is reading at Powell's tonight, from a book entitled (deep breath) Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement, and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater, with Some Thoughts on Muses (Especially Helga Testorf), Transgender Women, Kabuki Goddesses, Porn Queens, Poets, Housewives, Makeup Artists, Geishas, Valkyries, and Venus Figurines.
•Portland Playhouse and the new African American company BaseRoots team up for Radio Golf, a play about gentrification, police shootings, and Tiger Woods that features some of Portland's best black actors. In my piece I rag on Portland Playhouse a bit for not being as edgy as I want them to be, but one commenter has already noted: "I thought the decision of a theater company run by three white people to stage a play with all African American roles was pretty ambitious and given the proximity of the theater to gentrification on Alberta, pretty inspired."
•Andrew Tonry interviews "pot comic" Doug Benson, about touring with Tommy Chong, receiving gifts of free weed at his shows, and why his jokes are funny even if you don't smoke pot. Benson is performing in town tomorrow night at the Aladdin.