VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?
SOTHERN: I collected signed first-edition contemporary fiction for many years and so went to a lot of readings before I ever had one of my own. A lot of book collectors would come to events with bags of books to be signed and I always thought they were kind of nerdy. There was this one guy who kind of became a friend who I didn’t really like. He was in his late seventies and wore a bad toupee and always sat next to me. In a conversation about NYC, where we had both lived in past years, I mentioned a time I’d been mugged and he said he had been mugged as well. He asked if my mugger had a weapon and I said no but there were two of them and I gave them my money and told them to have a nice day. I asked did his mugger have a weapon and he said yeah, a knife. I asked did he give the guy his money and he said no, I took his knife away from him and then killed the son of a bitch. He said it was no big deal, he’d been in the Korean War and killed a bunch of commie bastards. I still think of book collectors as kind of nerdy but with the knowledge that some are killer nerds.
Writer-photographer Scot Sothern spent 40 years hustling photography and drifting from job to job. His first exhibit, “LOWLIFE,” was held at the notorious Drkrm Gallery in Los Angeles in 2010. His first book, LOWLIFE, was published in the U.K. by Stanley Barker in 2011. Sothern has since had solo shows on both coasts of the U.S. as well as in Ottawa, Paris, Basel, and London. The British Journal of Photography called LOWLIFE, “The year’s most controversial photobook.” From 2013 to 2015, Scot wrote more than fifty photo-illustrated twice-monthly columns, “Nocturnal Submissions” and “Sothern Exposure,” for Vice. In 2013, CURB SERVICE: A Memoir was published by Soft Skull Press. PowerHouse Books will publish STREETWALKERS, thirty years of stories and photographs in February of 2016.
Come see Scot read at Book Show in Los Angeles on Friday, February 19 at 7:30pm.