A darker side of the surf scene

August 27, 2004


If you are among those who think the surfing culture means Beach Boys

happy music and young dudes with limited vocabularies, meet Sam


Fahey is the hero -- and yes, despite a meager existence hazed by

drugs and alcohol, with only the memory of his golden youth on a

surfboard to keep him company -- the aging ex-con is the hero of


"Tijuana Straits," written by Laguna Beach resident Kem Nunn. Nunn

will be signing copies of his book at 2 p.m., Saturday at Latitude 33

bookstore, 311 Ocean Ave. He might even read from the book if asked.

"It all depends on the crowd and what they want," Nunn said.

Nunn, author of five books, has been reviewed as the "the most

accomplished practitioner of California noir writing today, the

principal heir to the tradition of Raymond Chandler and Nathanael


"Tijuana Straits" is certainly noir.

"Surfing, like the rest of life, has its dark side, but it is

often treated frivolously in pop culture," said Nunn, a rider of the


He loves surfing and enjoys the company of surfing icons who read

his books, but he reveres the "waterman" concept. For watermen, the

ocean is a way of connecting with the environment, and they try to

live in harmony with it.

The title of his latest book comes from another of what Booklist

calls Nunn's "near mystical surfing scenes," in real life the Tijuana


However, unlike his previous books, "Tijuana Straits" is less

about surfing and more about the ocean environment that is being so

polluted that fish, surfers and life as we know it are at risk.

Nunn also was intrigued by the assaults on women in Mexico,

something he treated sensitively in his book.

Nunn is a third generation Californian and a resident of Laguna

for three years. His previous books include "The Dogs of Winter,"

"Pomona Queen," "Unassigned Territory" and "Tapping the Source,"

which was one of three finalists for the National Book Award.

"Tijuana Straits" was published by Simon & Schuster.


The Festival of Arts was the stage for the marriage of festival

exhibitor Evgenia Gennadia and Bruce R. Fink.

"We chose to exchange our vows at the festival because my art is

there, and because we wanted to merge our private happiness with the

positive energy at the Festival of Arts," said the bride.

The couple exchanged vows Aug. 22. A wedding dinner was held at

Tivoli Terrace. Relatives of the couple attended the Pageant of the

Masters after the ceremony, which was also attended by exhibitors and

festival employees.

Gennadia's work blends European training in the fields of

architecture and engineering with an American fine arts education.

She grew up wanting to be an artist but was persuaded to pursue

higher education in a more practical field. The dream of being an

artist still lived in her heart, and a trip to the United States with

the first Russian/American film production company gave her the

chance to achieve her heart's desire.

This is her second year in the Festival of Arts.

* OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline

Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box

248, Laguna Beach, 92652, hand-deliver to 384 Forest Ave., Suite 22;

call (949) 494-4321 or fax (949) 494-8979.

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