Few book titles are as encapsulating as Keith Morris' new biography, My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor (Da Capo Press). Within the first few chapters, one immediately gets the sense the iconic L.A. punk-rock frontman (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, OFF!) never expected to live as long as he has. Lucky for readers, he did live to tell about it.
"All of the drug stories and survival stories, I've been through a lot of stuff," says Morris, who was inspired to write the book after the death of a friend who owned a Los Angeles punk-rock club. "Maybe I'm blessed. Maybe there's somebody looking down on me. Maybe I'm here to be a guiding light or a detour sign. The fact of the matter is that I've been through all this crap and I've managed to basically navigate my way through it."
My Damage's greatest strength is how Morris manages to balance brutal honesty without sounding like he's glamorizing a drug-and-alcohol-fueled lifestyle. Sober for more than two decades, Morris spent a year with My Damage co-author Jim Ruland (full disclosure: Ruland is CityBeat's book critic) parsing through the many tales of life lived on the road.
Even if readers aren't familiar with the now iconic hardcore bands that Morris started, he thinks the book can appeal to any reader. When asked what he ultimately wants the reader to take away, he answers in typical Morris fashion.
"A headache," Morris says, somewhat jokingly. "Diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, fever. You know, I hope that they like it and think it's pretty colorful and think, 'Wow, this is a pretty interesting guy. He's done a lot of wicked, wacky and goofy things. This is a guy who's lived a very interesting life.'"
Morris will sit down with Ruland for a Q&A—style discussion at the Whistle Stop (2236 Fern St.) on Friday, Sept. 23, at 9 p.m. followed by a performance from Peter Case of the Nerves and The Plimsouls. Admission is $5. Morris will also sign books on Saturday, Sept. 24, from noon to 2 p.m. at Golondrina (2148 National Ave.).
Spank the monkey, flick your Bic, tickle the pickle—whatever you call it, masturbation has always been a touchy subject. But, writer and director Nicholas Tana hopes to change the way society shies away from the taboo topic with his documentary Sticky: A (Self) Love Story. After being shamed in school for admitting he performed the act, Tana decided to interview 60 sexologists, authors, religious figures, porn stars and entertainers about self-loveís bad rap. The doc configures his findings, and it makes a San Diego debut at AMN Healthcare (12400 High Bluff Dr.) on Friday, Sept. 23, at 6:30 p.m., followed by a Q&A with Tana. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $7.50 for students, with all proceeds benefitting the Center for Community Solutions. stickythemovie.com
Let's face it: reading a literary journal is often a drag. Sure, having a story published in one carries a certain amount of prestige for an emerging author, but more often than not, they're pretentious bores that look like they were designed by your grandma. San Diego-based publication The Radvocate, on the other hand, breaks that mold via innovative fiction, nonfiction and poetry that pushes boundaries beyond what's acceptable by the hegemonic literary elite. To celebrate the release of its 14th issue, The Radvocate Launch & Reading will feature performances from contributors Sara Morrison, Karl Sherlock, Anthony Martin, Dania Brett and Ryan Hicks. This radness goes down at The Glashaus (1815 Main St.) on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. and costs $5 at the door. sosayweallonline.com