[Editors' note: Steve Almond visits Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731) at 7 p.m. to read from his new collection, The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories. Almond and RFT editor Tom Finkel worked together at our sibling Miami New Times in the mid-'90s. In the interest of full disclosure: Potential conflicts of interest make Night & Day Global Industries crackle like a cockroach in a deep fryer. So we asked Finkel to blurb the event -- in our recently patented Reverse Q&A format!]
Steve Almond: Remind me: Have we slept together? Was I good?
Tom Finkel: No. And yes.
Reviewers have lauded my new book -- one very perceptive critic even compares me to John Cheever. So, what's your favorite story?
I'd have to say "Larsen's Novel," the one about the poor guy whose "best friend" bullies him into reading his miserable 600-page manuscript.
Does the fact that I continue to publicly refer to you as "my rabbi" influence your support of my career, or your hairstyle?
It's a handy icebreaker at parties: "Have you seen Steve Almond's new book? I'm on the acknowledgments page." People are only slightly less impressed when I produce my copy as proof and they see you've "acknowledged" half the sentient population of the United States.
What's the most important thing you taught me when you were editing me?
I'd like to think I harassed you into scraping the shit off your sentences. You always had the cheese, but it goes down better when you don't spread it too thick.
Am I the hottest writer you've ever worked with?
Broadly speaking, we share the same physical type -- the lean and hungry look. So, yes.
Why am I having so much trouble trying to write a novel?
It's an attention-deficit thing, don't you think? Also, you've always been more susceptible to instant gratification. Short stories are like sudden blows to the head; novels are like prolonged illnesses. Just embrace it.
Will I ever be happy?
The last story in B.B. Chow concerns a woman who has lost an eye, and, to coin a phrase, "socket sex." What in God's name was I thinking?
The simple answer: You're a pervert. A more nuanced interpretation: You were shooting for irony -- skull-sex is more penetrating than plain-old-sex.
Wow! Maybe I've got the stones to write a novel after all.
Nah. You're a pervert. -- Tom Finkel
Decade of Dissension
Confluence hits double digits
Rabble-rousers and independent thinkers celebrate ten years of rabble-rousing and independent thinking courtesy of Confluence magazine at 9 p.m. at Lemmons (5800 Gravois Road; www.stlim.org). Like-minded party people are welcome to get down and throw fists in the air for the music of Anna Roland (pictured) and our town's The Variety Group. Being all-inclusive by nature, Confluence is charging nothing particular at the door; rather, whatever you feel is just gets you in. -- Paul Friswold
Kann Film Festival
Stan Kann has spent the last 55 years working the organ and enjoying life at the Fox Theatre; Mike Steinberg celebrates Kann's life behind the keyboard in his loving documentary Stan Kann -- The Happiest Man in the World, which screens at 2 p.m. at Kann's home-away-from home, the Fox (527 North Grand Boulevard). After enjoying his moment on the screen and a group serenade by the Gateway Men's Chorus, Kann gets back to work, playing the Wurlitzer while Douglas Fairbanks Sr. swashes buckles in the 1920 epic The Mark of Zorro. All this music and joy and adventure can be yours for $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Call 314-534-1111 or visit www.metrotix.com for tickets. -- Jedidiah Ayres
Way Out West
Listen up, all you li'l cowpokes: It's time to get off your cow ponies and head to the annual Round-Up from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cornerstone Center for Early Learning (3901 Russell Boulevard; 314-865-5244). There, you'll find some good eatin' (a barbecue buffet) and some good drinkin' (beer, wine and margaritas); plus, everyone's favorite rancher, E.J. Glaser, will provide all the boot-stompin' live music y'all care to hear. Now listen up real good to this part: To enjoy all this fun, wranglers pay $30 and trail bosses pay $50 (and get some special treatment). And remember, this round-up ain't just so you can check out pretty faces -- the money raised will help Cornerstone build a new preschool playground. Now git along, li'l dogies! Git! -- Alison Sieloff