David Sedaris needed to quit smoking - so he moved to Japan. The award-winning, best-selling, Grammy-nominated humorist believed it was the only way he could kick his habit. His quest is chronicled as part of his latest release, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. The collection of short stories covers all the usual bases - i.e., Sedaris revealing the embarrassing facts about his friends and family despite their protests - as well as his struggle to give up nicotine.
Japan makes things pretty easy. There's even a city ordinance that bans smoking while walking in order to keep children safe. This is hilariously illustrated, as Sedaris explains, through a street sign that shows a cigarette being plunged into the eye of a childlike figure. Watch out below.
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Fans of Sedaris know the only thing better than reading his work is hearing him read it aloud himself. In addition to recording audio book versions of almost all his volumes, he released Live at Carnegie Hall (that's where the Grammy nominations come from). Sedaris's timid, nasally voice, along with his sarcastic, couldn't-care-less tone, adds an extra dose of hilarity to whatever he's talking about. Hear what we mean when he reads from When You Are Engulfed in Flames at 8 p.m. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For tickets and information, call 713-227-4772 or visit www.spahouston.org. $22 to $52.
Tue., Oct. 21, 8 p.m., 2008