Cal Performances: Humorist David Sedaris to speak November 9
By Lou Fancher
If you have the opportunity to see New York Times best-selling author and social commentator David Sedaris in person, to hear his irreverent storytelling firsthand and witness the wry facial expressions that accompany his humorous and edgy observations and opinions — about family, love, life, religion, politics, shopping, human rights, society and whether or not to give up your seat on BART — take it.
On November 9, Cal Performances presents Sedaris as part of the 2019-20 Speaker Series at Zellerbach Hall. The series features seven leading thinkers who provide commentary on contemporary culture and politics. Sedaris is author of Barrel Fever, Holidays on Ice, Theft By Finding, Diaries (1977-2002), among others; and several collections of personal essays, among them, the best-selling Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. Over 10 million copies of his books, translated into 25 languages, are in print. He can be heard on radio on This American Life and on television’s CBS Sunday Morning. Also a playwright, Sedaris and his sister, Amy Sedaris, have collaborated on plays under the name, “The Talent Family.” He is currently working on Volume II of his diaries.
A highlight of a visit by Sedaris is his habit of speaking about books he himself is reading. In a past Bay Area appearance — tickets to the 2014 Cal Performances event with Sedaris during the series’ inaugural season sold out rapidly — he said the question he is asked most often is “What are you reading?” Typically, he showcases a lesser-known writer whose work he admires. It’s an indication of generosity that Sedaris would likely downplay with self-deprecating humor if it were to be pointed out. The last time he spoke and signed books in Berkeley, long lines extended throughout Zellerbach Hall, winding down staircases and around corners. Sedaris signed extensively, chatting patiently with each reader and writing in one woman’s book when asked for an inspirational inscription, “Don’t die today.”
The message therein was and is signature Sedaris: double entendres that blend patient action, cleverly chosen words, blunt truth, sincerity, kindness, black humor and silliness. Expect to hear all those and more when Sedaris once again, takes the stage to tell stories at Cal Performances.