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OFFSITE: An Evening with Mikel Jollett / Hollywood Park

May 2, 2020 @ 7:00 pm PDT


Booksmith and Quiet Lightningpresent The Airborne Toxic Event’s Mikel Jollett for his only San Francisco/Bay Area. He will be reading from and discussing his memoir, Hollywood Park.

Tickets on sale now

Please note: This ticketed event will be held at First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco: 1187 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94109Tickets can be purchased in advance here and are not guaranteed to be available at the door. Please read the ticketing information carefully and direct any questions to events@booksmith.com.

We were never young. We were just too afraid of ourselves. No one told us who we were or what we were or where all our parents went. They would arrive like ghosts, visiting us for a morning, an afternoon. They would sit with us or walk around the grounds, to laugh or cry or toss us in the air while we screamed. Then they’d disappear again, for weeks, for months, for years, leaving us alone with our memories and dreams, our questions and confusion …

So begins Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir. His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults.  Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s “School.”  After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother.  But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.

In his raw, poetic and powerful voice, Jollett portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty, trauma, emotional abuse, delinquency and the lure of drugs and alcohol.  Raised by a clinically depressed, narcissistic mother, tormented by his angry older brother, subjected to the unpredictability of troubled step-fathers and longing for contact with his father, a former heroin addict and ex-con, Jollett slowly, often painfully, builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and, eventually, to finding his voice as a writer and musician.

Hollywood Park is told at first through the limited perspective of a child, and then broadens as Jollett begins to understand the world around him. Although Mikel Jollett’s story is filled with heartbreak, it is ultimately an unforgettable portrayal of love at its fiercest and most loyal.

photo of Mikel JollettMikel Jollett is the frontman of the indie band The Airborne Toxic Event. Prior to forming the band, Jollett graduated with honors from Stanford University. He was an on-air columnist for NPR’s All Things Considered, an editor-at-large for Men’s Health and an editor at Filter magazine. His fiction has been published in McSweeney’s.

This event is held at First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco: 1187 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94109.

Doors at 6:30pm. Program at 7:30. Program includes signing. Duration of event is up to the author.

Important signing and photo details to come.

Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. All ticket sales are final.

Accessibility is important to us! If you have any special needs, please write to events@booksmith.com no later than 48 hours before the event and we will do our absolute best to accommodate you.

If you can’t attend the event but would like to order a signed copy of Hollywoord Park, order below and add your request in the special field.

RSVP is not required, but always appreciated.


May 2, 2020
7:00 pm PDT
Event Category:


The Booksmith
Quiet Lightning


First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco
1187 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94109 United States
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