Last year, with her debut book The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club, Valley humorist Laurie Notaro hit the New York Times best-seller list right about the same time her long-running column for the Arizona Republic was unceremoniously canceled. Much of the book, and its just-released follow-up, Autobiography of a Fat Bride -- True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood, was derived from those columns, which made it all the more sweet when Notaro got the call from her editor announcing her newfound best-seller credibility. "It was the equivalent of winning the Miss America pageant," Notaro says. "I was like Miss America, but in a girdle. It was like getting hit with a sack of potatoes and a stun gun." Fat Bride, which continues Notaro's misadventures through the years, is likely to follow in its precursor's path of popularity, owing to the cult of female readers she's established.
"Basically, it's just where Idiot Girls' leaves off. I'm not in college anymore, just dealing with more humiliation -- but on a different level. Humiliation follows me like a dark cloud. It's just I'm a little bit older, and alcohol doesn't play as big of a role."
Notaro's already wrapped work on her third book, to be published next year at this time, titled I Love Everybody, and Other Atrocious Lies of a Loudmouth Girl, wherein, thanks to freedom from newspaper column space and subject restraints, she takes the gloves off and shows her misanthropic side.
Notaro signs Fat Bride at Borders in Tempe at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 7, and Borders at Biltmore Fashion Park at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 9. - Brendan Joel Kelley
A WHOLE NEW MALL GAME
A farewell to summer
Putting the "cool" in "back to school" (phonetically speaking, of course), Mesa's Fiesta Mall invites teens to experience "The Scene" this Saturday, August 9. From 2 to 5 p.m., the free so-long-to-summer event mixes music, sports, shopping and fashion in the mall's lower-level parking lot, just off U.S. 60's Alma School exit. Kids can rock out with a battle of the bands, wipe out with Racegirl BMX and Build-a-Bike ramp demos, and glam out with makeovers by Toni & Guy stylists and henna tattoos. Need an economic incentive? The Pepsi prize wheel kicks out freebies, and mall retailers offer special savings. See www.shopfiesta.com for more information. - Jill Koch
Slice of Life
Adam Saaks has style
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Adam Saaks is the Edward Scissorhands of style. With strategic snips, braids and knots, Saaks transforms common cotton tee shirts into intricate, sexy works of art that he calls Couture Tees. And true to the customized spirit of couture, each of his pieces is unique, cut and crafted on the individual wearer's body. Saaks is a former designer for Von Dutch Originals, one of the hippest denim brands du jour, and his sexy shirts are popular with celebrity fashionistas like Pink, J.Lo and Lil' Kim. On Thursday, August 7, the designer visits Electric Ladyland, 15435 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, to create custom pieces from 1 to 5 p.m. Call 480-948-9341 for details. - Michele Laudig
Weekend festival on tap
They've got kegs, and they know how to use 'em. More than 50 breweries are on tap to pour at the Made in the Shade Beer Festival this Saturday, August 9, at the Coconino County Fairgrounds, just south of Flagstaff off I-17. The suds flow from 3 to 7 p.m., the hours also made happy by food vendors and the blues of HoneyBoy Dupree & the Smokehouse Players. General-admission tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of the event; VIP tickets are $50 and $55. Proceeds benefit the Sun Sounds of Arizona, which provides the disabled with printed information via radio, telephone and the Internet. See azbeer.com/mits/index.htm. - Jill Koch