An Awkward Evening with David Duchovny in San Francisco

David Duchovny isn't just that guy from The X-Files, and perhaps it's time more fans acknowledge that. I say this because earlier this week, I spent an evening at a book signing with the author of the newly released "Miss Subways", his third published novel.

To explain: I was really excited to attend this event, as Books Inc. Opera Plaza is one of my favorite places in San Francisco, and my second favorite bookstore (Kepler's in Menlo Park takes that honor). Previously having spent an evening with Anne Rice in the same location, I had really high hopes for the evening.

Duchovny seemed lethargically distracted, something that certainly wasn't helped by the moderator of the evening, John McMurtrie (book editor at the SF Chronicle). Nothing against John personally, but the energy level was severely lacking, and moments of awkward attempts at brevity did not connect with the gathered crowd.

The staff at Opera Inc. did their best, as they always do, to accommodate requests from the guest and his management, there were no items signed other than the new book (totally understandable) and no photos allowed (more on that later). I completely agree with the hardline on "no memorabilia" for this particular time, because the assembled audience had a decidedly X-Files bent.

"Good luck asking me anything I haven't heard before," he said when the Q & A started. The spread-out chuckles of the listeners more polite than actually humored.

Imagining what it's been like for Duchovny for almost 20 years as this recognizable face from a tv series, I can again understand his hesitation and outright dismissal of questions about his FBI character. While not 'rude' per say, you could tell he was mostly done with the subject. There were, of course, audience questions that he's heard thousands of times — "how did you rattle off all those long lines of dialogue," stuff like that. The two Twin Peaks questions seemed to have delighted him, though.

He only really came to life when asked about his family, and about the future of a film adaptation of his second book, "Bucky F*cking Dent". Long in the works, the film (written and directed by Duchovny) is making slow moves towards production starting.

Probably the worst-most-embarassing moment of my photography experience came at the beginning of the event, when David asked what the loud sound was (it was the shutter of my Canon) and called it annoying.

"It's my camera," I said sheepishly, cheeks blazing and wanting to crawl into the bookshelves to hide. "Oh, it's YOU," he exclaimed, and made a dismissive hand waving motion towards the back of the room. I took the hint and sat in the back for the remainder of the talk. (Yes, I was approved to be there by his management and the store, so this wasn't a "this fan is too close" thing.)

"I see you trying."

I did manage to sneak one last photo during the signing portion though, and his expression sort of says it all. Sorry not sorry, Hank Moody.

"Miss Subways" is available now, as is David's most recent album release, Every Third Thought. Thanks again to Books Inc., love you guys.

About Mary Anne Butler

Bleeding Cool News Editor Mary Anne Butler (Mab, for short) has been part of the fast-paced world of journalism since she was 15, getting her start in album reviews and live concert coverage for a nationally published (print) music magazine. She eventually transitioned to online media, writing for such sites as UGO/IGN, ComicsOnline, Geek Magazine, Ace of Geeks, Aggressive Comix (where she is still Editor-in-Chief), and most recently Bleeding Cool.

Over the past 10 years, she’s built a presence at conventions across the globe as a cosplayer (occasionally), photographer (constantly), panelist and moderator (mostly), and reporter (always). 

Interviews, reviews, observations, breaking news, and objective reporting are the name of the game for the founder of Harkonnen Knife Fight, a Dune-themed band with an international presence. 

Though she be but little, she is fierce. #MabTheProfessional

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