Making baby Jesus cry

It isn’t long into Luke Breit’s new novel that the son of God makes an appearance, rather unceremoniously, in a dive bar. “He looked different from the hippies, rednecks and motorcycle types,” Breit writes. “For one thing, he was dark, Mexican maybe, his hair long and jet-black. He had a beer and a shot glass on the table in front of him, and he was smoking a filterless cigarette.” His acolytes, it turns out, include a hooker, an agnostic lefty political consultant, a supermodel and America’s first Latina/Native American presidential candidate. What raptures emerge from such fertile literary ground will be elucidated, at least partially, by the author during his free book-release party, in the Art Foundry Gallery (1021 R Street) at 8 p.m. this Friday.

The book is called The Tumultuous Times of Jesus in the 21st Century and is described by the author as a “satiric tale of a God grown angry and impatient with modern-day moneylenders who have bent Christianity all out of shape for the almighty buck and turned it into the indispensible component of the Republican Party’s extreme right wing. You won’t believe what God and His Son decide to do about it.”

Breit put in a 12-year stint as president of the Sacramento Poetry Center’s board of directors and continues a stint as host of this gallery’s monthly poetry series. The novel, his first, has already won faint praise from Norman Mailer: “I think the book is going to do very well. Liberals are going to love it.” It’s OK; Mailer has said nicer things about Breit before. What really matters is that Jesus is cool with it. Call (916) 446-POET (7638) for more information.