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Saturday, April 18, 2015

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Lieu--San-Franciso








Lieu, co-owner of The Basement, a hip, happening new bar in the Tenderloin. Lieu and I went to the same high school in East San Jose, and he's roughly my age, 51 or so, although, with my white hair, I look like his granddad next to him. The Basement used to be occupied by Club 222, with the legendary Black Hawk jazz club next door. (It's now a parking lot). Musicians from Miles to Coltrane used Club 222 as a green room before they exited its back door to enter the Black Hawk.

At The Basement, all the beers are microbrews, with nothing under $5. Lieu doesn't want the Tenderloin's riffraff to wander in to order a can of Bud or Miller. "This neghborhood is moving up," he said.

"Ah, man, won't you miss people defecating on the sidewalks?"

"Get that shit out of here!"

This night, there was a comedy open mike. I asked Lieu if the poetry slam crowd had approached him.

"Yes, but I turned them down."

"Why?"

"Poets don't drink enough."

Man, that's a sure sign of a collapsing society! The two bartenders were young, pretty women, with one white, one Chinese. The Basement also has a hunky Swedish guy to attract the ladies.

There are a lot of Vietnamese in the Tenderloin, by the way, and my stepmother even had a restaurant here two decades ago. She made most of her money as a sports bookie, however.



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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.