By Jan Worth-Nelson
Ben Hamper, author of a classic best-selling account of “shop rat” life in Flint in the 1980s, returns to his hometown June 5 for a reading and book signing from 2-5 p.m. at Totem Books, 620 W. Court St.
His appearance celebrates the 30th anniversary of the publication of Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line, Hamper’s vivid, scathing, irreverent, hilarious and occasionally heart-rending tale of working class General Motors life.
Now of Sutton’s Bay, Hamper was early on associated with Michael Moore on the alternative magazines Flint Voice and Michigan Voice, appearing as one of the memorable characters in Moore’s 1989 film Roger & Me. He eventually took on a persona in his own right, hosting the beloved radio show “Take No Prisoners” on the former Flint public radio station WFBE from 1989-1988. When Michael Moore took over Mother Jones magazine in 1986, he enlisted Hamper as a writer and put him on the cover–but after Moore was fired, Hamper departed as well. He currently hosts two radio programs on WNMC in Traverse City.
When Rivethead emerged as a surprise best-seller, Hamper appeared on the cover of the Wall Street Journal, and was interviewed by NBC and CBS. A movie version was optioned, directed by Richard Linklater and starring Matt Dillon, who came to Flint and circulated among some of Hamper’s favorite haunts, but it never came to be.
Hamper has appeared in several other film and TV projects, most associated with Moore, including Canadian Bacon, The Awful Truth and TV Nation.
More information is available from Totem at 810-407-6402, at firstname.lastname@example.org, @totembooksflint, or http://www.totembooksflint.com
The bookstore’s hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
EVM Consulting Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at email@example.com.