"Where Demetre might see himself as a fast-talking Bourdain
or Gonzo apprentice, he comes off as something much more
refreshing, an original."—Kurt McVey
(Superchief, T-Magazine, Vanity Fair)

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My first book, Drinking and Driving in Ürümqi
(Strangers Gate Books, 2014)is available in both softcover ($10, see below) and now as an eBook ($4.99):

Buy the eBook now, $4.99 via Paypal:

If there are any problems with your transaction or download, please email strangersgatebooks@gmail.com

Hardcopy, softcover available via Amazon (4.6 stars) here.

PR/Media/Book Sample kit .pdf available here

“A lively travelogue Anthony Bourdain would kill for . . .”
Leah Taylor, Flavorpill

"Writing in a persona somewhere between Candide and Sal Paradise, Andrew Demetre's short narrative doesn't quit its forward propulsion." —Hassan Melehy

Buy the signed hardcopy direct from the publisher for $10 including shipping: Paypal purchase to


Please include shipping address.

*Available for $10.00 @ live appearances, readings.





The Darién Epiphanies
Andrew Demetre

This is life in high gear.

Self-effacing humor, insights, and a sharp memory for detail fuel "The Darién Epiphanies," Andrew Demetre's live depiction of his transformative 2015 experiences along two migrant paths: maneuvering around the Darién Gap via Ecuador, Colombia, and Panama, and traversing the volatile Balkans from Greece into Macedonia and Kosovo—wracked economies and infrastructures, abandoned buildings, migrants, graffiti, refugees, tear gas, protests, and all—juxtaposed against his culturally precarious experiences in the employ of some of cutthroat Downtown Los Angeles' wealthiest property owners, while residing in purportedly haunted hotels and flophouses, some of literary fame.

Delivered extemporaneously, "The Darién Epiphanies" also explores the nature of fear, inspiration, loss, displacement, memory, greed, the concept of home, and the connections between the notorious Darién Region of South and Central America, and staid, suburban Darien, CT.


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Drinking and Driving in Ürümqi is the highly personalized, debut nonfiction book by American author Andrew Demetre. A spirit of adventure and nimble prose transport the reader through a sudden, precarious night out into the obfuscated culture of the riot-scarred capital of Xinjiang, China's remotest province, as the author becomes the unmonitored, unofficial guest of a local family and Uyghur minority Chinese Communist Party members. Within a narrative mixing elements of memoir and reportage, the author balances a journalist's eye for detail, the sensibilities of a novelist, and doses of self deprecating humor to capture an evocative portrait of a place, a time, and its characters--most notably the troubled mood and texture of the wounded city, along with a captivating depiction of Rihangül, a liberated Uyghur woman straddling disparate worlds.

Drinking and Driving in Ürümqi by Andrew Demetre
Paperback, 88 pages.
Publication date: October, 2014, Strangers Gate Books
Categories: Travel, Creative non-fiction
ISBN-13: 978-0-615-76625-6
ISBN-10: 0615766250
Retail price: U.S. $11.95

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Raconteur, seasoned solo traveler, writer, music curator, performer, and admittedly restless soul Andrew Demetre (pronounced dĕ-mĕ-tər, with short "e" sounds) has lived and worked in cities across the United States—and when he's not doing that, makes a point to travel out into the world as much as possible. So far he has taken journeys into North America, Eastern and Western Europe, South and Central America, Greece and the Balkans, Scandinavia, Asia Minor, China, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and points in between. Along the way he has engaged with a panorama of local cultures, artists, cuisines, indigenous and oppressed peoples, transportation modes, acrobats, guerrilla fighters, real estate magnates, criminals, protests and protesters, difficult terrains, musicians, and migrating refugees. These experiences color his work.

His first visits to the outer reaches of China compelled him to organize, appear at, or otherwise contribute to numerous events bearing witness to and presenting little known aspects of the threatened Uyghur culture of Xinjiang—China's still restive, far Western province. It was (still is) a vibrant, if troubled place whose culture and people he felt a deep connection with.
These experiences culminated in Andrew's first book, the travel novella, Drinking and Driving in Ürümqi, published by Strangers Gate Books in 2014.

For Demetre, the hard won pleasures, evanescent dramas, unpredictability, and human encounters (or lack of them) of low carbon footprint, bare bones travel not only offer a personal challenge, but also demand humility, cultural sensitivity, a yogic sense of humor, and a constant state of presence. "Traveling is a great teacher, takes some skill, and, to me, traveling alone, especially in undeveloped or vaguely recognized regions, brings to the surface everything it means to be human, positive and negative. It's a form of sustenance, and I experience a lot of parallels between the struggles of writing, going off alone to some unfamiliar place, and getting up in front of people in order to connect with them. There are so many discoveries to be made outside your comfort zone, and they change you—and this might sound weird, but sometimes I would rather travel the thirty hours to, say, Tiraspol, than the forty five minutes to Brooklyn or Queens, though I enjoy getting out there too. I can't imagine calling anywhere else other than New York home, but I draw inspiration from the back and forth, and it certainly keeps the creative pressure up."

The frequent trips abroad plus an amalgam of natural-born curiosity, New York City life, personal relationships, world culture, current events, dreams, an ear for words and information, and an, at times, painfully uncanny memory breath life into Demetre's own unique form of off the cuff, candor filled, often tragicomic, sometimes interactive, spoken performances—or "expressive sharing," as he refers to it. "What I'm trying to do is not straight monologue, and not straight narrative storytelling, because I don't script or rehearse the material. It's focused but I like to shake it up a bit, change the entry point or order of things, challenge my memory and imagination, allow myself subtle artistic license, as well as generate ideas and boomerang them out to the audience for feedback. I like the exchange. If an interesting anecdotal digression appears, I try to creatively ride it out and steer it back into the thrust of the context. Ultimately, the priority is to be fully present, and freely express my unadorned self."

Currently, Demetre is working on another bookl, and an extemporaneous talking piece called The Darién Epiphanies, which will juxtapose recent experiences working in cutthroat Downtown Los Angeles with experiences maneuvering around the Darién Gap via Ecuador, Colombia, and into Panama. The Darién Epiphanies will also explore the nature of fear, inspiration, loss, displacement, memory, greed, and the concept of home.

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Andrew Demetre has been at venues such as Barbes, Nuyorican Poets Café, WNYC’s Greene Space, The Half King, Pete's Candy Store, The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles), Cornelia Street Café, Bowery Poetry Club (w/Gyan Riley), Book Culture, KGB Bar, Word Up! Community Bookstore, on radio such as 91.1 WFMU, Denmark's Norient, Arshia Haq's Radio Discostan, and in print in the pages of Superchief as the subject of an article and interview by Kurt McVey. His own curated radio program, Radio XUAR: The Unheard Music, an almost three hour long discussion and survey of the surprisingly eclectic, often censored Xinjiang Uyghur music scene, with WFMU Radio's Rob Weisberg, was one of the inspirations behind the award winning film The Silk Road of Pop, directed by Sameer Farooq.


RADIO DISCOSTAN interview, reading, and appearance with Arshia Haq here

RADIO XUAR: THE UNHEARD MUSIC on 91.1 WFMU's Transpacific Sound Paradise with Rob Weisberg here

SUPERCHIEF interview with Kurt McVey here

KGB Bar past event page here

Barbes past event page here

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ALL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2015-2016 Andrew Demetre, No Unauthorized Reproduction. All Rights Reserved.