Monday, April 26, 2010
Back home in Oxford tonight with great memories of today's Memphis signing at Davis Kidd. A packed house with non stop signing for more than an hour. But the real fun was getting to meet folks with personal connections to INFAMOUS.
Tonight, I met a man whose father worked on Raynor Street and witnessed the bust by G-Men in 1933. Another woman who attended the signing was the daughter of Memphis detective who busted MGK! *She confirmed the story about ole George taking aleak.
Another brought photos and rap sheets of the Kellys -- her father had worked for the Memphis Police Department and had saved the documents from destruction. *Check these priceless photos out below.
One of my favorites had to be meeting Jeff Bailey with the Central High School Alumni Association. He wanted me to join in honor of "Machine Gun" Kelly. It turns out George is now distinguished alumni.
I'll be appearing on FOX-13 in Memphis all morning tomorrow. The station is broadcasting LIVE from the city's MGK sites. From there, I head direct to New York for this year's Edgar Awards. Look forward to catching up with all my pals up north.
Thanks much, Memphis for giving INFAMOUS a hell of a launch today.
Machine Gun Kelly is back on 1-A where he belongs. Check out the fantastic story by James Dowd and also a great piece by Leonard Gill in the Memphis Flyer.
I'll be on Book Talk later today and then INFAMOUS will be featured on WKNO -- Memphis NPR -- this afternoon. All good things in crime.
I head to New York tomorrow for some quick signings and the annual Edgar Awards. "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" -- featured in the Crossroad Blues 10th Anniversary Edition -- was nominated for Best Short Story.
Looking forward to seeing my friends in the city. Only two stops left on the 15 City Tour!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
beer -- not an uncommon occurrence -- and talking a little bit about this new novel I had just wrapped up called INFAMOUS. Slade is a terrific jazz musician who's played in not only some top bands but has also has penned some first-rate scores for documentaries.
We both thought it would be pretty cool if we could somehow turn the idea of INFAMOUS into a throwback 1930s radio serial -- like "Little Orphan Annie" but with more sex and violence. Slade plays bass in the Thacker Mountain Radio band -- The Yalobushwackers -- and brought the concept to the folks putting the show together.
They all loved the idea and several months ago, the serious work set in of me turning a novel into a radio script and the harder work of Slade arranging the music and also putting together an expanded house band to perform.
Well, last night after flying back into Memphis, I was able to see the full dress rehearsal and it is killer. The radio serial is quick and funny and the music just awesome. Musician Bryan Ledford -- one of Mississippi's best -- helped Slade out with the show and performs a Jimmie Rodgers song as if he's channeling the ole Singing Brakeman.
We have a terrific sexy Mae West number performed by beautiful and talented Clarissa Romano -- who also plays Kathryn Kelly -- and a bring-the-house-down, big, brassy and bold version of "Minnie the Moocher." Jeff Calloway just nails the damn thing.
My part will be to introduce the show, tell the good folks a little bit about the bankrobbing/kidnapping couple -- the Kellys -- and their local connection to Memphis and Mississippi and then the show heads back in time to 1933 where everything is of the period.
If you can't make it, I'll make sure I post a link to the rebroadcast in the coming weeks. But if you're anywhere in the MidSouth, it will definitely be worth the drive.
** Check out today's Mississippi Daily Journal for more on INFAMOUS, including a trip the bank vault MGK robbed in 1932. Photos are from last-nigh
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The last few days I've been out West in Houston and Phoenix -- terrific readings at Murder By the Book and Poisoned Pen. I was fortunate to meet a lot of loyal readers but also have some great food. (Eating good is a key point of book tour.) Check out the photos from the Southside Market in Elgin, Texas and grabbing a little Mexican food last night with my old Auburn teammate Jason Stoft in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Now it's back to my hometown of Oxford, Mississippi where we prepped for Thursday night's Thacker Mountain INFAMOUS show. More on the rehearsal tomorrow.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Second week on tour for INFAMOUS and about to leave Austin for Houston. I don't get much downtime between stops but being able to upload a few items from the coffee shop at Bookpeople where I read last night with musician Jesse Sublett.
One of the highlights has been meeting folks with personal connections to the story. The photo of me is with the niece of Oklahoma oilman J.G. Catlett who was the man who paid the Urschel ransom to George Kelly. For more on Catlett's role in the kidnapping affair, check out FBI records.
Earlier that day I met a couple who'd driven from Paradise to Plano to attend the signing. He'd actually grown up in the house where Urschel had been kept.(See details of the house in the INFAMOUS extras.)
Got to spend some quality time last night at the Texas Chili Parlour for several cold Shiners. (Lone Star is no longer made in Texas!) This was the bar where Tarantino filmed parts of Death Proof -- a terrific short film.
I bought a couple of terrific CDs -- including the new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club -- at Waterloo records. The only disappointment in Austin was missing the Hatch Show print exhibit at the Austin Museum of Art. I found out they were closed Mondays . . .
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Headed to Texas this a.m. I have two dates on Sunday. I'll be in Plano at 1 p.m. at Legacy Books and then headed to Austin for a signing at BookPeople at 7 p.m.. (Do check out the fantastic article on INFAMOUS in today's Austin American-Statesman).
Texas is deep INFAMOUS territory and I'll be driving down those same roads as George and Kathryn, eventually leading to tonight's Murder Ballad Show -- I imagine plenty of tunes by our friend, Johnny Cash -- played by Texas music legend, Jesse Sublett.
My great thanks to the good folks in Texas rolling out the red carpet including my annual stop on Monday night at Murder By the Book where I'll be promoting not only INFAMOUS but the 10th Anniversary edition of CROSSROAD BLUES.
More pics and stories from the road . . . here are a few I snapped while on the LOST HIGHWAY from Montgomery today. See y'all in Texas!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
After two years of research and writing, the authentic story of gangster George "Machine Gun" Kelly finally hits stores across the country. My first stop Thursday will be in Huntsville, Alabama to pick up Book of the Year honors for Wicked City from the Alabama Library Association. Then it's onto Birmingham to be interviewed for PBS's Book Notes hosted by Don Noble and then a signing at Alabama Booksmith at 6 p.m.
The big event takes place Friday night in Atlanta at the Decatur Public Library at 7 p.m. This will be a short talk on the "most inept of the Depression-era criminals" with a signing to follow. I'll also be reading and signing on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery.
The next leg of the tour takes me to Texas. Check out the posted schedule for more events in Plano, Austin and Houston. Earlier today, the first major review for Infamous by syndicated book reviewer Oline Cogdill hit the national wires. Read it here!
Meet the Press already started Monday. Here I am in Elvis's hometown of Tupelo with Patsy Brumfield of the Daily Journal. This is the very vault MGK robbed in 1932. Patsy helped me break into the building for this photo. Look for Patsy's story on the book and Tupelo's connection to the Kellys on April 21 or 22 on www.nems360.com. The bottom photo is of me being interviewed by Karen Brown -- the voice of Mississippi Public Broadcasting in the morning. The MPB interview airs April 22 on all public radio stations in Mississippi.
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