Bookwaves/Artwaves – August 17, 2023: Fritz Leiber – Tony Hillerman

Bookwaves/Artwaves is produced and hosted by Richard Wolinsky.

Links to assorted local theater & book venues


The Probabilities Archive:
Two Interviews conducted by
Richard A. Lupoff

The works of Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) seem to have fallen into some kind of unwarranted obscurity in recent years. An author of science fiction, horror and fantasy stories, during his lifetime he was considered a master of genre fiction.

It was Fritz Leiber, according to Wikipedia, who coined the term sword and sorcery to refer to fantasy stories set in medieval times involving knights and squires and castles and dragons and all sorts of magic. His own sword and sorcery duo, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser whose stories were collected in several volumes, along with characters such as Conan the Barbarian by his contemporary, Robert E. Howard, are considered among the most notable in the genre.

A stylist at a time when there were few stylists in science fiction and fantasy, his books often had social themes, including Gather Darkness, set in a future religious dystopia, The Wanderer, which explores what happens when a rogue planet comes near earth, and Our Lady of Darkness, which sets up a lovecraftian world inside modern day San Francisco.

Back in the very early days of Probabilities, the three hosts (Lawrence Davidson, Richard A. Lupoff, Richard Wolinsky) associated socially with Fritz Leiber. There were three recordings to emerge from that time. One of them, focusing on Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser, exists only as a reel to reel tape, still to be digitized. Another was recorded in Leiber’s apartment on Geary Street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, when Leiber was more expansive than usual. In that recording, only Fritz’s voice is intelligible. The third was an interview with Richard A. Lupoff, recorded in KPFA’s studios during Science Fiction Day on the KPFA fund-raising marathon in September 1977.

Digitized, remastered and edited in August 2023. Complete Interview


Tony Hillerman, who died in 2008 at the age of 83, was a master of the detective genre and an important writer in detailing life on the Navajo reservation. His several novels featuring Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee have been acclaimed for their accuracy and for their ability to combine Navajo history and thought into strong plot-driven novels.

There are four interviews with Tony Hillerman in the Probabilities and Bookwaves archive. This first interview, conducted by Richard A. Lupoff, the late co-host of Probabilities, was recorded on January 14, 1987 in a hotel in San Francisco while Hillerman was on tour for his novel, Skinwalkers, the seventh in the series, and the first to feature both Leaphorn and Chee. He would continue to write a total of eighteen books in the series, and his daughter, Anne Hillerman, has continued the series with eight more novels, the most recent being The Way of the Bear, which was published in April, 2023.

Tony Hillerman also wrote four novels outside the series, and several books of non-fiction and photography. The Dark Wind was adapted into a theatrical film in 1991. Three other novels were adapted as TV movies for PBS, and Dark Winds, a streaming series currently on AMC, is adapted from Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee novels.
Complete Interview.


Review of “Mahabharata” at Z Space through August 20, 2023.


Book Interview/Events and Theatre Links

Note: Shows may unexpectedly close early or be postponed due to actors’ positive COVID tests. Check the venue for closures, ticket refunds, and vaccination and mask requirements before arrival. Dates are in-theater performances unless otherwise noted. Some venues operate Tuesday – Sunday; others Wednesday or Thursday through Sunday. All times Pacific Time. Closing dates are sometimes extended.

Book Stores
Bay Area Book Festival  Event calendar and links to previous events.
Book Passage.  Monthly Calendar. Mix of on-line and in-store events.
Books Inc.  Mix of on-line and in-store events.
The Booksmith.  Monthly Event Calendar.
Center for Literary Arts, San Jose. See website for Book Club guests in upcoming months.
Green Apple Books. Events calendar.
Kepler’s Books  On-line Refresh the Page program listings.

Live Theater Companies
Actor’s Reading Collective (ARC). 
See website for past streams.
Alter Theatre. See website for upcoming productions.
Actor’s Reading Collective (ARC).  See website for past streams.
Alter Theatre. See website for upcoming productions.
American Conservatory Theatre  The Hippest Trip: The Soul Train Musical,  August 25 – October 1, 2023.
Aurora Theatre  Born With Teeth by Liz Duffy Adams, September 1 – October 1.
Awesome Theatre Company. Check website for upcoming live shows and streaming.
BAMBDFest. Festival in Celebration of Black Arts and Culture, through August  31, BAM House (formerly Oakland PianoFight).

Berkeley Rep POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive, by Selina Fillinger, September 16 – October 22, Roda Theatre.
Boxcar Theatre. See website for calendar listings.
Brava Theatre Center: See website for events.
BroadwaySF: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, August 1-27, 2023, Golden Gate.
Broadway San Jose: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, August 29 – September 3.
California Shakespeare Theatre (Cal Shakes). No 2023 season scheduled. See website for events calendar.
Center Rep: Crowns by Regina Taylor, September 9 – October 6, 2023.
Central Works The Engine of Our Disruption by Patricia Milton, October 14 – November 12.
Cinnabar Theatre. The Sound of Music, September 8 -24.
Club Fugazi. See website for Club Date events in August. Dear San Francisco returns September 8, 2023.
Contra Costa Civic Theatre Sondheim on Sondheim, August 25 – September 10; Tintypes, October 20 – November 12.
Curran Theater: See website for upcoming live events and streaming choices.
Custom Made Theatre. Tiny Fires by Aimee Suzara, postponed to a later date in 2023.
Cutting Ball Theatre. See website for upcoming season.
42nd Street Moon. See website for upcoming shows.
Golden Thread  New Threads staged reading series, August 20 and August 27.
Landmark Musical Theater.  My Unauthorized Hallmark Movie Musical, extended to August 20, 2023.
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. See website for upcoming productions and events.
Magic Theatre. Josephine’s Feast by Star Finch, extended to September 27, Campo Santo at the Magic. See website for other events at the Magic.
Marin Theatre Company Odyssey written and directed by Lisa Peterson, August 31 – September 24.
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts Upcoming Events Page.
New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC)  Transnational Cabaret runs through August 20.  Before The Sword by Andrew Alty, September 15 – October 15.
Oakland Theater Project.  Mahabarata by Geetha Reddy, August 10 – 20, at Z Space, San Francisco. Gary, a sequel to Titus Andronicus by Taylor Mac, September 1 – 24.
Pear Theater. Noises Off by Michael Frayn September 8 – October 1.
PianoFight. Permanently closed as of March 18, 2023.
Presidio Theatre. See website for upcoming productions
Ray of Light:  Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical, September 8 – October 1, Victoria Theatre. The Rocky Horror Show, Oasis Nightclub, October 6  – 31. See website for Spotlight Cabaret Series at Feinstein’s at the Nikko.
San Francisco PlayhouseA Chorus Line runs through September 16, 2023.
SFBATCO See website for upcoming streaming and in- theater shows.
San Jose Stage Company: Sex with Strangers by Laura Eason, October 12 – 30.
Shotgun Players. Summer Salon: Various artists, July 23 – August 19. Wolf Play by Hansol Jung, Performances start September 2, 2023.
South Bay Musical Theatre: Rent, September 30 – October 21.
The Breath Project. Streaming archive.
The Marsh: Calendar listings for Berkeley, San Francisco and Marshstream.
Theatre Rhino  Streaming: Essential Services Project, conceived and performed by John Fisher, all weekly performances now available on demand, New performances most Wednesdays.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. New Works Festival, August 11 – 20, Lucie Stern Theatre, Palo Alto.
Word for Word.  See schedule for live and streamed performances and readings.

Misc. Listings:
On View calendar for BAM/PFA.
Berkeley Symphony: See website for listings.
Chamber Music San Francisco: Calendar, 2023 Season.
Dance Mission Theatre. On stage events calendar.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Calendar listings and upcoming shows.
San Francisco Opera. Calendar listings.
San Francisco Symphony. Calendar listings.

Filmed Live Musicals: Searchable database of all filmed live musicals, podcast, blog.

If you’d like to add your bookstore or theater venue to this list, please write [email protected]