WEEKEND: Clemente series brings memoirist to Port Townsend on Sunday

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Walter Kirn, author of Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery and a Masquerade, is the next speaker in the Clemente Eclectic Lectures series at Port Townsend High School's auditorium, 1500 Van Ness, this Sunday.

In his 3 p.m. talk, Kirn, also the author of Up in the Air and Thumbsucker, will take people behind the scenes of Blood Will Out, his just-published memoir. It's the story of Kirn's friendship with a con man: an imposter who identified himself as Clark Rockefeller, art collector, “freelance banker” and bearer of the Rockefeller family mantle.

General admission is $15 at the door, while low-income patrons are welcome to make a donation of any amount. Students and graduates of the Jefferson Clemente Course for the Humanities are invited to come free.

As with the other lectures in this series, proceeds from Sunday's program will benefit the Jefferson Clemente Course, a program providing college classes to local residents who otherwise couldn't afford or attend them.

Kirn, who has been making the rounds of radio and television talk shows, is enjoying good reviews for Blood Will Out. Here's one from the New York Times' Sunday Book Review: “With its lurid title and bloodstained cover, Walter Kirn's latest book is bound to be shelved in the crime section. But it's actually about class.

“A novelist, journalist and memoirist, Kirn is his generation's aspirational Midwesterner, a boy who goes East and sneaks into the magic circle of the American aristocracy. But no matter how close to the center he gets, he still feels like the little match girl, nose pressed against the window.”

Blood Will Out is the tale of Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, the con artist who, for decades, fooled people into thinking he was a Rockefeller. Kirn's story about him, replete with kidnapping and art fraud, delves into the psychology of being had.

Then it culminates in Gerhartsreiter's conviction for the 1985 murder of John Sohus in San Marino, Calif., and Kirn's jailhouse interview with him.

To learn more about Sunday's program and the Jefferson Clemente Course, visit jeffersonclemente.org or phone 360-732-0007.

Last modified: April 03. 2014 7:33PM
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