Bookwaves/Artwaves – January 5, 2023: Vanessa Veselka – Robert B. Parker

Bookwaves/Artwaves is produced and hosted by Richard Wolinsky.

Links to assorted local theater & book venues



Vanessa Veselka, whose latest novel is “The Great Offshore Grounds,” in conversation with host Richard Wolinsky.

“The Great Offshore Grounds” is an epic novel about two sisters on a quest to find themselves during the upheavals of the current era. It’s a detailed examination of feminism, of lives lived on the edge, and of life in the parts of America we hear little about.

Vanessa Veselka’s first novel, “Zazen,” has just been reissued by Vintage. Published by a small press over a decade ago, it looks at the travails of young adults set against the backdrop of an ever-increasing political violence in America. Both novels are available in trade paperback.

Vanessa Veselka, the daughter of journalist Linda Ellerbee, left home at the age of fifteen and early in her life lived the life of a homeless vagabond, eventually becoming a professional musician in the Pacific Northwest, a union organizer, and a writer of fiction.

Complete 51-minute interview.



Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) is known today as one of the most important writers of detective fiction during the final quarter of the 20th Century. His wise cracking Boston private eye, Spenser, Spenser’s sidekick Hawk, and girlfriend Susan Silverman have become iconic figures. When Parker died at the age of 77 in 2010, 38 Spenser novels had been published. Two more came out posthumously, and a third was completed by his agent. Novelist Ace Atkins has now written nine more Spenser novels. The series Spenser for Hire, starring Robert Urich and Avery Brooks ran for three seasons, and Brooks had a spin-off that ran for half a season, A Man Called Hawk. Several television movies were also made from Parker’s Spenser books, the most recent, Spenser Confidential, is actually based on one of Ace Atkins’ Spenser novels.

This interview hosted by Richard Wolinaky and Lawrence Davidson, was recorded in the spring of 1981 while Robert B. Parker was on tour for his novel, Early Autumn, and marked the first Probabilities interview with a mystery writer. His career hadn’t advanced under his first publisher, Houghton-Mifflin, and he switched to Delacorte, and Parker’s audience began to grow. This was his seventh Spenser novel, and his eighth over all (Wilderness had come out late in 1980 and Looking for Rachel Wallace was his first under the new contract. At the time of the interview, his first five novels were all out of print in paperback.

Though he says in the interview his detective fiction would be limited to the Spenser series, eventually he branched out to write another series of nine books featuring Jesse Stone, a former LAPD detective who becomes the police chief in a small New Enngland town, and six novels featuring Sunny Randall, a female detective. Eventually there was some crossover between the three series. Along the way, he also wrote a handful of westerns, the Cole and Hitch series, and two books featuring Raymond Chandler’s detective, Philip Marlow. When Parker died in 2010 of a sudden heart attack, the family decided to let other writers continue the Spenser, Stone and western series, which go on to this day.

Complete 40-minute Interview.


Review of “As You Like It” at San Francisco Playhouse through January 14, 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. All times Pacific Standard Time.

Book Stores
Bay Area Book Festival  Highlights from this year’s Festival, May 7-8, 2022 and upcoming calendar.
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 Calendar. On-line events only.
Center for Literary Arts, San Jose. See website for Book Club guests in upcoming months.
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. Upcoming: Snag by Tara Moses, Pueblo Revolt by Dillon Chitto
American Conservatory Theatre  The Headlandsl February 9 – March 5 by Christopher Chen, Toni Rembe Theater.
Aurora Theatre Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau, Opens January 27, 2023, streaming February 21-26.
Awesome Theatre Company. Check website for upcoming live shows and streaming.

Berkeley Rep Clydes, by Lynn Nottage, January 20 – February 28, Peets Theatre.
Boxcar Theatre. See website for events.
Brava Theatre Center: See website for events.
BroadwaySF: RESPECT, A Celebration of the Music of Aretha Franklin, January 6-7, Golden Gate; The Simon & Garfunkel Story, January 18, Golden Gate; Bluey’s Big Play, January 21 – 22, Golden Gate; Dear Evan Hanson, January 24 – February 19, Orpheum; Mean Girls, January 31 – February 26, Golden Gate. Bill Maher, live on stage, March 12, 2023.
Broadway San Jose: Annie, January 10-15, 2023.
California Shakespeare Theatre (Cal Shakes). 2023 Season to be announced.
Center Rep: Red Bike, by Carldad Svich, directed by Jeffrey Lo. February  4 – 25, 2023.
Central Works Mondragola by Gary Graves, March 18 – April 16, 2023.
Cinnabar Theatre. Daddy Long Legs,  January 6 – 22, 2023.
Contra Costa Civic Theatre To Master the Art by William Brown and Doug Frew, April 21 – May 21, 2023.
Curran Theater: Into The Woods, direct from Broadway, June 20-25, 2023.
Custom Made Theatre. Tiny Fires by Aimee Suzara, February 3 – 36, 2023.
42nd Street Moon. Anything Goes, February 23 – March 12, Gateway Theatre.
Golden Thread  See website for upcoming productions.
Landmark Musical Theater. See website for upcoming shows.
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Next show to be announced.
Magic Theatre. The Travelers by Luis Alfaro, February 15 – March 5, 2023. See website for other theatre events at the Magic.
Marin Theatre Company Justice: A New Musical by Lauren Gunderson, February 16 – March 12, 2023.
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts Upcoming Events Page.
New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC) Getting There, Jan. 20 – Feb. 26. Tick, Tick … Boom March 3 – April 1, 2023.
Oakland Theater Project.  Exodus to Eden by Michael Socrates Moran, in theater, February 3-26, 2023.
Pear Theater. In Repertory, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a new physical adaptation, Dontrell Who Kissed The Sea by Nathan Alan Davis, February 3-26. 2023.
PianoFight. Calendar of shows.
PlayGround. See website for upcoming shows.
Presidio Theatre. See website for upcoming productions
Ray of Light: See website for upcoming productions.
San Francisco PlayhouseAs You Like It, a musical adaptation of the play by William Shakespeare, November 17, 2022 – January 14, 2023. Cashed Out by Claude Jackson, Jr., January 28 0 February 25.
SFBATCO See website for upcoming streaming and in- theater shows.
San Jose Stage Company: Strange Courtesies by L. Peter Callender February 1 – 26, 2023.
Shotgun Players. Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy. Extended to February 25, 2023.
South Bay Musical Theatre: The Spitfire Grill, January 28-February 18, 2023.
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.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. In Every Generation, by Ali Viterbi, January 18 – February 12, Mountain View Center for the Arts.
Word for Word. See schedule for live and streaming works.

Misc. Listings:
On View calendar for BAM/PFA.
Berkeley Symphony: See website for listings.
Chamber Music San Francisco: Calendar, 2023 Season, starting February.
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.

Playbill List of Streaming Theatre: Updated weekly, this is probably the best list you’ll find of national and international streaming plays and musicals. Each week has its own webpage, so scroll down.
National Theatrical Streaming: Upcoming plays from around the country.
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]







Artist Song Album Label
Matthew MontfortAmberNarada GuitarUMG - Narada Productions, Inc.
Grateful DeadCold Rain And SnowComplete Studio Rarities CollectionGrateful Dead/Rhino
Eric FeeneyIrresistibleBurnt OrangeEric Feeney
Isaac HayesMedley: Monologue: Ike's Mood I / You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'Stax Chartbusters, Vol. 5UMG - Stax
Isaac HayesIke's Mood 1The Rza Presents Shaolin Soul: Vol 1ORCHARD - Soul Temple Entertainment