Sure, it’s unusual to throw a book launch 18 months after publication, but that’s the way the brownie crumbles during a pandemic…
Co-presented safely outdoors by City Lights Books and Vesuvio Café, this will be the first opportunity to celebrate the bestselling memoir, Home Baked, in person. Alexis Madrigal from NPR’s Forum will interview Alia alongside her parents Doug and Meridy Volz (co-owners of Sticky Fingers Brownies and stars of the book). We’ll have a short reading and book signing, plus more surprises and special guests TBD.
Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020) was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award, winner of the 2020 Golden Poppy Nonfiction Book Award, and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. It was the inaugural pick for the citywide Total SF Book Club, and an SFPL “On the Same Page” selection. This unique story has been featured of Snap Judgement, Criminal, and NPR’s Fresh Air.
Join us in Jack Kerouac Alley to meet the people behind the wild stories.
About Home Baked:
A blazingly funny, heartfelt memoir from the daughter of the larger-than-life woman who ran Sticky Fingers Brownies, an underground bakery that distributed thousands of marijuana brownies per month and helped provide medical marijuana to AIDS patients in San Francisco.
During the ’70s in San Francisco, Alia’s mother ran the underground Sticky Fingers Brownies, delivering upwards of 10,000 illegal marijuana edibles per month throughout the circus-like atmosphere of a city in the throes of major change. She exchanged psychic readings with Alia’s future father, and thereafter had a partner in business and life.
Decades before cannabusiness went mainstream, when marijuana was as illicit as heroin, they ingeniously hid themselves in plain sight, parading through town—and through the scenes and upheavals of the day, from Gay Liberation to the tragedy of the Peoples Temple—in bright and elaborate outfits, the goods wrapped in hand-designed packaging and tucked into Alia’s stroller. But the stars were not aligned forever and, after leaving the city and a shoulda-seen-it-coming divorce, Alia and her mom returned to San Francisco in the mid-80s, this time using Sticky Fingers’ distribution channels to provide medical marijuana to friends and former customers now suffering the depredations of AIDS.
Exhilarating, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreaking, Home Baked celebrates an eccentric and remarkable extended family, taking us through love, loss, and finding home.
Alexis Madrigal is the co-host of KQED’s Forum and a contributing writer at The Atlantic.
Alia Volz is a homegrown San Franciscan. Her bestselling memoir Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the 2020 Golden Poppy Nonfiction Book Award. It was chosen as the inaugural pick for the San Francisco Chronicle’s citywide Total SF Book Club and was an SFPL “On the Same Page” selection. This unique San Francisco story has been featured on Snap Judgement, Criminal, Forum, and NPR’s Fresh Air.
is a professional Visionary Realist oil painter, living in Lake County, California. At 67, as a retired nurse, he devotes his time to producing works of art that inspire and elevate, assisting the viewer to leave behind the dark encumbrances of the physical, and to focus instead on a personal spirituality, and a Light which frees the Spirit and heals the Heart and Mind.
Meridy Volz is a working fine artist and art activist. She resides in Desert Hot Springs, CA, where she runs her art program, Art with Heart, mentoring incarcerated and at-risk teens. Her award-winning artwork is figurative, colorful, and Expressionistic.
Winner of the California Bookseller Association’s Golden Poppy Award for Nonfiction
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography
One of Entertainment Weekly’s “Books to Read in April”
One of Lambda Literary’s “Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books of April 2020”
“The subtitle, ‘My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco’ tells you much of what you need to know in terms of content. But as a portrait of a heroics, innovation, grit, and pot-baking in an epidemic (in this case, the AIDS crisis), it’s also strikingly relevant. And beautifully written, too.”
—Entertainment Weekly, “Books to Read in April”
“A beautiful evocation of the Bay Area in the years before tech bros and big money changed the city…Like Stefan Zweig’s The World of Yesterday, this is a narrative about a time that is now gone: San Francisco as circus, where pot was both ubiquitous and as illegal as heroin. Under Volz’s careful attention, all of it—the era, the place, and her own parents—is rendered clear, bright, and beautiful.”
—Paris Review, Staff Pick
“An earnest yet comic memoir by the daughter of the owner of the Sticky Fingers bakery, purveyor of pot brownies and crusader for legalization.”
—New York Times, “New and Noteworthy Audiobooks”
“A raunchy and rollicking account of a vanished era told by someone who paid very close attention to her larger-than-life parents. I gobbled it up like an edible.”
“I devoured this book! Sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, a savvy business woman, a social and medicinal revolution: What’s not to love? This is a story Alia Volz was born to tell.”
—Rebecca Skloot, bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
“[A] nostalgic, thoroughly entertaining new romp of a memoir…[An] intensely personal portrait of an unconventional childhood, as well as a rigorously reported account of a kaleidoscopic time in San Francisco history, an era of exuberant highs and pitch-black lows.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“While a memoir, Home Baked is also an intensively researched book on San Francisco and the burgeoning cannabis culture surrounding Sticky Fingers Brownies, based on archival research and hundreds of hours of interviews with LGBT activists, cannabis advocates and, of course, Volz’s parents. Home Baked also provides a timely contrast with both modern San Francisco and the blossoming cannabis industry, which can now offer safe and legal access to the drug, although significant reforms to the war on drugs have not materialized.”
“Ample, skillfully researched, and cleanly narrated, Volz’s debut is really five books in one . . . Alia in tow, Mer and her peers travel among San Francisco, Humboldt County and Marin, connecting an essentially agricultural project to an urban counterculture; they also weave together less and more responsible ways to raise a kid, almost as Volz herself weaves together her archives of the post-hippie-era Bay Area with her own vivid memories.”