Getting posh underground is a literary tradition that Babylon Salon maintains every season. Held in the swank Cantina, with its candlelit basement cash bar exotica, the series has an unusually strong assortment of literature on the menu for its winter rendition. Brilliant and absolutely crucial essayist Steve Almond will be in town from Boston. The author of God Bless America: Stories and Candyfreak, Almond is worth the trip alone: you'll laugh, you'll get pissed off, you'll buy his neat books and love them. Short fiction master Tom Barbash, author of the new collection Stay Up With Me, is also on the lineup; Dave Eggers called that collection "one of the most satisfying cover-to-cover short story collections I can remember." They're joined by Goodnight Nobody author Ethel Rohan, novelist Kevin Allardice (Any Resemblance to Actual Persons), and Steinbeck Fellow Vanessa Hua. Always intimate and somehow still raucous, Babylon Salon is one of San Francisco's gems.