Michael Bess grew up in the Sixties in Marin County, California, just north of San Francisco.  His dad was a journalist who covered the counterculture for the San Francisco Chronicle, so he really lived the Sixties in all its intensity, creativity, and out-of-the-box-ness.  His mom was an Italian-born free spirit who threw herself with extraordinary passion and generosity into every encounter that came her way.  It made for a lively upbringing.

Today he lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife Kimberly, who is a psychology professor at Vanderbilt.  His favorite activities are fiction and poetry writing, photography, sharing meals with friends, a daily meditation practice, bike riding, experimental mixology, playing with his hilarious dog Zuzu, walking the beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore, debating and learning from his students, discovering new kinds of music, stargazing, making terrible puns, and spending time whenever possible with his daughter and son, Natalie and Sebastian.

Some other random favorites:


  • The Gold Rush
  • Her
  • Gandhi
  • Pig
  • Lonesome Dove
  • The Marseille Trilogy by Marcel Pagnol
  • Amarcord
  • Babe
  • Molokai

TV Series:

  • Breaking Bad
  • Reservation Dogs
  • After Life
  • The Bureau
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Wire
  • The Office


  • Box of Rain
  • Bach’s Cantata #140, Wachet Auf, Ruft Uns die Stimme
  • No Hard Feelings 
  • Beethoven’s Fifth
  • Bajofondo Pa’ Bailar
  • Big Eyed Fish
  • Bocca di Rosa
  • Old reggaeton
  • Disko partizani
  • Your Mother’s Eyes
  • Suzanne (Cohen)
  • Queen Bee (Taj Mahal)


  • Gouache cutouts (Matisse)
  • Goya’s black period paintings
  • Anything by Van Gogh (I don’t care if some of his work has become “over-exposed”)
  • Stairwell in Guggenheim Museum New York
  • Pacific Northwest Native American art
  • The Four Sleepers (Tawaraya Sotatsu)
  • Irises (Ogata Korin )


  • A Path With Heart
  • W.B. Yeats, Collected Poems
  • All the Pretty Horses
  • Jayber Crow
  • Time of Wonder (children’s book)
  • Tolkien trilogy
  • Leaves of Grass


  • Subwoofers (no such thing as too much bass)
  • My 2006 Prius (with 1300 watt sound system which lowers gas mileage but is worth it)
  • My 1963 Volvo, inherited from my Dad
  • Suzi aluminum garlic press
  • iPhone macro photography lens
  • Skull Candy headphones with sensory bass tremor

Some least favorite things:

  • Traffic jams
  • Fish skin
  • Nuclear warheads
  • Wordle
  • Political arguments when people don’t listen to each other
  • Mosquitos
  • Advertisements (except those on the Super Bowl)