Bay Area Switchblade LaunchLast night near downtown Berkeley, a small Victorian house was crowded with well-wishers for the launch of Switchblade Books and the publication of The Jook by Gary Phillips and I-5 by Summer Brenner. Usually, a sizeable party would spill onto the back porch and into the yard, but the night was cold and smokers few.
Next to the wrap-around windows that overlooked the garden was a makeshift bar. There, award-winning mixologist, Jacqueline Patterson, stirred her creation for the occasion: a specialty Switchblade cocktail made with gin, absinthe, and a tell-tale drop of grenadine and served to dozens in a six-ounce martini glass. Walls and floors vibrated with everyone's high spirits.
When Gary and Summer stepped beside the bar to say a few words, the silence was a stunning contrast. Ramsey Kanaan introduced PM Press, the Switchblade imprint, and the two authors to the crowd. Summer opened a copy of I-5 to read a short passage and found herself utterly speechless. However, the moment demanded at least a line or two, and Gary followed suite. Then, like a train car ablaze in the night, the party hurtled on until morning.