Everything considered, and given the problems which might have interfered with her visit, yesterday's San Francisco and West Coast launch of Christopher Welles Feder's IN MY FATHER'S SHADOW appears to have been quite successful.
Chris's flight was a bit late, and she had been forced to check her carry-on bag. So she called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that she was still at the Airport, that she might have to cut short our interview.
Larry French and I were in the lobby of the Orchard Garden Hotel on Bush Street to welcome her when she arrived, and after freshening up, she generously gave us as much time as she could spare before friends picked her up to take her to San Rafael. She promised to finish answering Larry's remaining questions by phone when she gets home to New York, later in the week.
Chris is a petite, pretty, soft-spoken woman, dark-haired, with a kind but direct manner. She told Larry French among many things that her original publishing contacts had wanted her to include "dirt" about otherwise innocent people she had met through her father, Orson Welles. She was unwilling to do that, and said she could not be happier with how the book has eventually been edited and published.
We gave her a number of small gifts in commemoration of her visit, you may assume on behalf of all Wellesnetters. She was delighted when shown the full page ad for ME AND ORSON WELLES in the New York Times, which featured a blurb from Mr. French's remarks on the film here at Wellesnet.
I should also think that you may expect a transcript of his total interview with her to be posted when it is completed.
The initial portion of our conversation was recorded partly in video and the rest in photographs by intrepid Wellesnet Staff Photographer Matt Demadi. Some of those photos may well appear in time on the Wellesnet Facebook Page.
Fortunately, the Bay Bridge, closed for several days because of structural fatigue, had been re-opened, and the anticipated traffic snarl on the Golden Gate did not occur. The evening was clear and warm, with a nearly full moon rising in opposition to the sunset. Chris was able to reach the San Rafael Film Center on schedule, where she introduced THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI from the stage to nearly two hundred fans. After the movie (which was in a splendid, complete Sony archival copy), Chris was interviewed by the self-effacing director of the Mill Valley Film Society (whom Mr. French had persuaded to co-sponsor the event), and she took questions from the audience.
Welles' biographer Joe McBride and Wellesnet Moderator Lawrence French were publicly recognized for attending the screening and book-signing.
Copies of IN MY FATHER'S SHADOW, stacked high in ranks on a long table in the lobby of theater, were pretty much depleted by the time Larry and I bought the book for our old partner in crime, Todd Baesen, and said goodnight to Chris Welles Feder, busy autographing her memoir for a line of buyers.
It had been quite an evening.
Chris will be signing books tonight at Book Soup in LA.