Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Celebration of Books

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This past weekend was the Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books.  Some friends and I spent most of Saturday at USC enjoying the many literary events. 

It was a beautiful day to visit the SC campus in the heart of Downtown.

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Authors from so many genres were brought together for topical panel conversations moderated by LA Times’ reporters, editors, and honored authors.  Our schedule began at 10:30 and didn’t stop until the festival was over.  The day started off with “The Body and The Brain: Food, Health, and Self Care”, a very interesting discussion about the socio-economic and cultural issues that may lead to lack of prevention and/or lack of care for our neediest communities. 

Next up, “History: American Arguments”, which was one of my favorites of the day.  The authors were truly experts on their subject matter but were also great speakers.  There’s something about people who are passionate about what they do.  They pull you in.  I could have listened to them all day.

That same passion continued into the conversation with three biographers, moderated by A. Scott Berg – a Pulitzer winner himself – called “Biography: American Icons, Complicated Heroes”.  The authors had various subjects – musician James Brown, television personality Julia Child, and obscure playwright Lillian Hellman.

stuff 036 I enjoyed learning about the amount of research that went into each author’s book, and there were some great stories about their “person”.

The next conversation was with Ed Bacon, a local Episcopalian priest among other things.  I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to spend an hour listening to a religious conversation, especially one centered around his new book.  Instead I took a bit of a break to look at some of the independent book vendors.  When I finished my shopping, the conversation was still in progress so I met my friends inside the auditorium.  I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised.  I enjoyed his point of view, his laidback personality, and his non-preachy preaching.  His views on current issues were very un-churchlike – liberal and accepting.  I’m glad I attended, even if I had missed part of it.

We quickly walked from one end of the campus to the other and just made it for the conversation “Humor: Vastly Inappropriate.”  Four women comedians discussed sex, politics, family, and their new books.  They were freaking hilarious. 

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The last, but certainly not least, conversation was with Gavin Newsom (former Mayor of San Francisco and California’s current Lt. Governor).  It was the one I’d been waiting for ALL DAY.  stuff 044As Mayor, he brought universal healthcare to San Francisco and has been an unwavering supporter of the environment and marriage equality.  He’s a typical politician who likes to talk, but throughout most of his conversation I shouted, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” (inside my head of course) for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of what he had to say.  His new book Citizenville How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government demonstrates how antiquated our government’s current technology is and how regular citizens can become more involved and engaged in what is going on with the use of technology.

Books and good conversation – what a nice way to spend a Saturday.

14 comments:

  1. I love books! I am glad you had an awesome day out. I think I would love something like this, although I would definitely be skipping out on the liberal politician's talk at the end.

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    1. Ha ha! I suppose you would. It was a great day.

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  2. We're having a YA book fair here and I can't wait to go to it! It's the first weekend of May.

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    1. Oh, that will be fun! Will your new book be there?
      The FoB has a huge children/YA section during the same weekend. Usually I spend some time there as well, but it was fun to have just the adult time this year. Plus, I can't possibly fit one more book in my children's book collection, so that had something to do with it too. I kind of needed to stay away. :)

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  3. Hmm, I wrote a comment, seems it didn't take. Must go to town now but I'll get back to you later.
    I'm trying firefox now.

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    1. I like when you can engage the talking heads after they're done. But sometimes you get the twinky who had read e-v-e-r-y word the person had produced and was wondering what on the shade of yellow on p78. Was it saffron or buttercup.
      But for the Hoplite it looks like Italy what with all the arches in arches.

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    2. Fortunately, we didn't encounter anyone too irritating. To be honest though, it was so nice not to be talking about students, or school, or my family the twinkies wouldn't have bothered me in the least. :)
      I've never once REALLY noticed the arches in the windows until you pointed them out. While architecture is a highlight when I travel, at home I barely give it a thought...Minus a handful of key greats, LA's not really a hotbed of architecture, a lot being mid 1900s tacky.

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    3. What struck me was that they were Italian. And a very Northern Veronese Italian at that. You could stage R&J. But I would have expected Spanish-Mexico-Franciscan mission. Failing that, then Rome or Paris.
      As far as I've seen when buildings are good design-wise in the US they are exceptional. Even the design of the tracts are generally good if you only saw 1 in every 100. But the déjà vu telegraph pole from a train hypnotic sameness. And that cruddy method begun in the UK after WW1 has been imported and exported all over the place. Jerry built was the phrase used back then. Mind you I made a good living designing the gardens of those places to make them individual.

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    4. Yah it's a very uncommon style here and I'm going to have to look it up and find out why...now I'M curious.
      And yes, the tracts...what can I say. I live in one, and I like my house but it looks like the neighbor's two doors down and four doors down and six doors and so on. They're not terribly original and even more so when every outside design aspect is dictated by the HOA. I can only paint it a certain color, use certain doors and windows, and landscape changes have to be approved by the board. To a point I get it, but it really limits any originality. I had not realized it was an idea from the UK. Here Levittown is the always mentioned as the "originator" from the 50s, I believe - ticky tacky little boxes. :)

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  4. It seems you had a wonderful day. We went several years ago and enjoyed the day so much. It looks like excellent weather.

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    1. It's only been at SC for a couple years now. It used to be held at UCLA. I'm not sure why it was moved but I'm glad it did. Getting in and out of Westwood is a pain when there isn't anything going. One year it took us 2 hours to drive from the Wilshire exit to the campus during the FoB. There are many more ways in and out of SC.

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  5. Hi Pumpkin! I'm commenting! Did you see my friend Jessica?

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    1. No, we didn't get a chance to stop by her area. Too tight of schedule.

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