Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography
Not just anyone can throw a book party for someone as captivating as Kevin Sessums. It takes someone like Ken Fulk, who is pretty fabulous himself, to put on a soiree for his good friend Sessums as he did on Feb. 18 in San Francisco. Sessums’ name is most associated with Vanity Fair, where, as a Contributing Editor in the 90s, he wrote 27 cover stories and who became famously known as the celebrity journalist who interviewed Courtney Love while she soaked in a bathtub, smoked a joint with Heath Ledger and crawled into bed with Cher before crystal meth got the best of him. Now he’s sober and, as of 2013, living in the City by the Bay, where’s he’s the editor-in-chief of FourTwoNine Magazine. He’s also busy promoting his haute new memoir, I Left It on the Mountain, which was released on Feb. 24 and is a sequel to his New York Times best-selling memoir Mississippi Sissy.
How apropos that the recent cocktail reception, which kicked off Sessum’s book tour, was held in Fulk’s Peep Show in the base level of the event extraordinaire’s 7th Street studio. Guests, who included Sonya Molodetskaya, Brenda Zarate, Aubrey Brewster, Joy Venturini Bianchi, Eric Petsinger, Jennifer Raiser, Kurt Wooten, Douglas Friedman, David Nash, Ricky Serbin, Greg Lopez, Susan Magley and Michael Purdy, sipped specialty cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) by Rye on the Road and noshed on fare from Foxtail.
“Ken Fulk was my neighbor in Provincetown and I just always thought of him as a sweeter, less nosy version of Gladys Kravitz on the old “Bewitched” television show,” Sessums told Haute Living. “It wasn’t until I moved to San Francisco that I discovered he is really Samantha. That’s how magical he is. That’s how much the city of San Francisco is bewitched by his talent and his charm. For him to so graciously and generously throw me a book party was the perfect way to begin the launch of I Left It on the Mountain.”
Sessums, standing in front of a fireplace of books in the Peep Show, mesmerized the audience as he read a chapter of I Left It on the Mountain. Really, it’s hard not to be seduced by I Left It on the Mountain, whose description reads:
On his 53rd birthday, Kevin Sessums woke up in his L.A. hotel room wondering how he would get through his scheduled interview with Hugh Jackman. For years he had interviewed the bright lights: Madonna, Courtney Love, Jessica Lange, and all the other usual suspects; but, Kevin knew that his rapidly unraveling life was as shallow as the hotel’s hip furniture and he was hanging on by his fingertips. In I Left It on the Mountain, Sessums chronicles his early days in NY as an actor, his years working for Andy Warhol at Interview and Tina Brown at Vanity Fair, countless nights of anonymous sex, his HIV Positive diagnosis and his descent into addiction. It’s also the chronicle of one man’s spiritual redemption found while climbing to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostelo and trudging across the cold, lonely winter beaches of Provincetown. Peopled with the famous like Daniel Radcliffe and Diane Sawyer as well as anonymous companions corporeal and otherwise whom he met while mountain climbing and hiking, I Left It on the Mountain is the story of one man’s fall and rebirth, the next moving chapter in Kevin Sessums’ extraordinary life that takes him from the high to the low and back again. For readers who loved Mississippi Sissy and want to know what happened to that tenacious little boy with the baseball mitt, I Left It On the Mountain is the sometimes very dark, but ultimately hopeful answer.
You can meet Sessums at Books Inc. in the Castro, where he’ll read on March 24th at 7 p.m.
Eric Petsinger, Joy Venturini Bianchi and Ken Fulk
Jennifer Raiser, Aubrey Brewster, Sonya Molodetskaya, Joy Venturini Bianchi and Brenda Zarate
Ken Fulk and Kathy Geissler Best
Kevin Sessums signs
Matt Haber and Valerie Luu
Stephan Rabimov and Kevin Sessums
Aubrey Brewster and Joy Venturini Bianchi
Jona Collins and Stewart Gilchrist
Gina Jacupke and Matthew McCaul-Turner
David Nash and Ricky Serbin
Suzanne Coppola, Sabrina Riddle and Bill Hansen
Ted Hiscox, Derek Barnes and Jona Collins
Jennifer Raiser and Kevin Sessums
Bill Hansen and John Lake
Eric Petsinger and Joy Venturini Bianchi
Jennifer Raiser and Michael Purdy
Photos by Drew Altizer Photography