Monday, October 5, 2009

w00t: WeHo Book Fair

After a busy day of getting flu shots for the kids, attending a classroom school picnic, and a 3-D Toy Story double feature (which I highly recommend, btw) on (the Roman god) Saturn's day, I took some time for myself come Sunday. I left my poor spouse late in the morning to fend for herself, to deal with our children and their homework (seriously, I have no scruples), and I selfishly headed out to West Hollywood to attend an event, all by lonesome.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Just across the street from the Pacific Design Center, at the West Hollywood park, was the site of the 9th annual West Hollywood Book Fair. Previously, I was so clueless about this event and that it has been running as long as it has. This was my first visit to this book fair (and I only found out about it by stopping at author Sophie Littlefield's web site). Brilliant. Pretty soon now, I'll be able to dress myself and find my way to the beach one of these days. That's pretty pathetic (I've only lived in this city my entire life). Sheesh! Anyway, I did make it to this event and really had a great time - mainly for the book panels hosted at the festival, and the people I either met for the first time or the friends/authors I got to hang with for a short while.

From Lazy Thoughts From a Boomer
From the book fair's web site on its history:

The West Hollywood Book Fair was founded by the City of West Hollywood in May, 2002 as a means of continuing West Hollywood’s history of participating in reading and literacy programs. The inaugural West Hollywood Book Fair was held on Saturday, October 5, 2002. The Fair was a tremendous success as a community literary event.

The Book Fair has grown in size and prestige each year since. It is now known as one of Southern California’s most eclectic literary events, and is inclusive of nearly all genres and age levels. The 8th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair, held on September 29, 2008, drew over 30,000 guests, 400 participating authors and artists, 150 volunteers and over 180 exhibitors. The authors appeared in panels, live storytelling and theatrical and poetry performances and in writing workshops on 12 stages.

Luckily for them, they weren't depending upon the likes of me to get the word out before today. How did I ever miss this? Anyway... here are some of the pictures I happened to take while I wandered around the event:

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From left to right, top to bottom: that's comic book artist and writer Mike Mignola (right after he signed a Hellboy comic for my teen son), author Charlie Huston (third from the left) at the Ghosts & Goblins: Exploring the Supernatural in Mystery Fiction panel, author Sophie Littlefield (seated center) at the Take Back the Night: Feminism and Powerful Women in Fiction panel, thriller and comic author Gregg Hurwitz (rightmost) at the Wonderful Words & Worlds: New Fiction From Great Writers panel. Author Julienne La Fleur in her Lessons from Oz booth (before she autographed her book for my daughter), and author Charlie Huston (again) attempting to hide from a stalker with a camera. All very gracious and fun people.

Gregg Hurwitz, who I've met more than a few times this year at other events, was the same very

Promotional art of Moon Knight descending from...Image via Wikipedia

approachable and genuine cool dude he's always been. He autographed both copies of his Vengeance of the Moon Knight (#1) comic for my teen (and I) after his really lively and fun book panel. Charlie Huston, and it seems like all of those who write crime fiction in general have this trait, is very considerate to his fans and the people he meets for the first time (he also wrote for Marvel and the same Moon Knight character that Gregg now has taken up). I was late to his panel, but when I arrived it was very interesting hear his and the other panelists thoughts concerning Richard Matheson's seminal story, I Am Legend, and its impact on their and other's work.

But, the person I came to meet and hear at the fair was simply the showstopper. Sophie Littlefield was as great as bloggers Jen, Pop Culture Nerd, and Corey have written about her and her debut book (yes, Corey, she is somethin'). She's one of those magnetic people that have that rare mix of considerable wit and charm about them while also remaining very accessible. She also hung out with the people below with no qualms, and even showed up to Gregg Hurwitz's book panel just to meet the guy (who knew she's a fan). Plus, she writes crime fiction. What else do you need? Years from now, I can tell my kids I knew her before she got all rich and famous (and bounded off to Monaco for the tax break). It won't even bother me when they roll their eyes in disbelief. I'm really looking forward to finally reading her book, A Bad Day for Sorry (once I pry it away from my wife, who now has it). As well, PCN graciously provided the following shots from yesterday, too:

(photo © pop culture nerd of some old guy hitting on Sophie)

Say... isn't that golfer Corey Pavin talking to Sophie? See, you can meet all sorts of people here in the City of the Angels. Not that you should go by what I know (it seems). But I have to add what really made it an even more special book fair was joining up with the Pop Culture Nerd herself (below and center) and her dear friend (the resident U2 expert, and the one who was in (vicariously) Robert Crais' The Last Detective) Debbie (left). Not only are they both great, interesting, and friendly folk, but they make quite a beautiful and vivacious set (especially when you add Sophie {on the right} to this group), don't you think?:

(photo © pop culture nerd {but cropped by le0pard13})

I've always liked that word... 'vivacious'... so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence. [yes, I'm still channeling Kill Bill] And I better stop there because I'm a married man and running around with other beautiful women can cause conflicts. So, after returning home from the event and spreading around the items I picked up at the book fair with the family, life in my household returned to normal. Later, when the kids were in bed, I attempted to resume my accustomed domestic partnership (and tranquility) with my bride of 20 years and tried to thank her (and snuggle) for letting me attend said fair (all while she watched The Next Iron Chef). To which she-who-must-be-obeyed responded:
You know, you have evil children who don't finish their homework. And one of them lies about washing his hands.
Uh, oh...

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  1. As usual you've given me a wonderful chuckle this evening. This post is magnificent and I'm very envious! Gregg, Sophie and Ellyse! No fair! :) And why do you need to be able to dress yourself? You have a wife and children to help with that!

    Too cool!

  2. you are way, way, waaaayyyyy too kind! I was feeling so lucky myself to finally have some people to hang around with. usually I feel kind of shy and adrift at these things. This was a *great* book fair, though. The organizers really took it seriously and made it run incredibly smoothly. Everyone I met was a pleasure. The women on my panel awed me. Elyse, well, she's just a magnet who seems to draw everyone to her, everyone fun and smart and creative.

    Do we have to wait a whole year for the next one??!!!

  3. What a GREAT post and what a super fun event you attended!! I felt like I was right there, and having a ball. thanks!!!

  4. Ah, MOON KNIGHT! I remember collecting that comic book when it first came out when Bill Sienkiciewz did the artwork. Loved that one...

  5. Jen: if I keep getting older at the rate I am going, they will need to dress me, soon.

    Sophie: great to have you stop by, and it was a real pleasure to meet you. Yes, we have to wait for the next WHBF. But, the L.A. Times Festival of Books is in April (and if we have you, along with Jen who came out like she did last year, Elyse (and/or some of the other bloggers who stop by on occasion), we could have our own entourage for the event ;-)

    Kaye: it was a blast. Perhaps, not as big as the Festival of Books but certainly as fun! And, required decidedly less walking ;-).

    J.D.: I going to have to look at the older issues and storylines for the Moon Knight. Plus the past (Charlie Huston) and current (Hurwitz) writers are just very cool people. BTW, the Festival of Books also has a good amount of book panels dedicated to film/cinema (this is very much a movie town) and authors covering the subject (in case you'd like to visit).

    Thank you all for stopping by and leaving some great comments.

  6. Michael, I'm getting tired of thanking you for being so nice to me all the time!

    Sophie, if we have a shy-and-awkward contest, I would win. You just bring out the best in people.

    That was a gloriously fun day and I'm so happy we all got to hang. Thanks for helping me relive it through this post, Michael. And yes, let's increase the size of Sophie's entourage next time! You up for another trip out here in April, Jen?

  7. PCN: well, since you're on a first name basis with 'Bob' [he demands I call him Mr. Crais, sir, and only refers to me as, "You, again?!"], perhaps you might suggest to him that his next Fest of Books panel should include someone like Sophie on it. Not only would it shake up the boys camaraderie there, but it'd be fun to watch them all try to sit next to her on stage ;-)

    Tired of moi? Already?

    Thanks, Elyse [there I go again :-)]

  8. I paid him a LOT of money, plus a year's supply of cheese, before he let me call him that.

    Your idea of Sophie being on a panel with the guys is an excellent one. Not only would it be interesting for us, the men would probably fall all over themselves flirting with her.

    I don't think the panelists have much say in who their co-panelists are, though (I could be wrong). I think they just get asked if they want to be on a certain panel and they say yes or no.

  9. Oh I am totally up for another trip out. As long as my sister is still livin' out there I'm gonna do everything in my power to be there! That was the greatest time...and I have to go back and visit my friends at The Mystery Bookstore. "Mr. Crais, sir" that's too funny...

  10. OMG, Michael, what have you done??? Never mind eyeing Sophie, though that would be enough to land you in a world of hurt at home, BUT -- your wife is reading 'A Bad Day For Sorry,' and you have NOT? Because if you HAD, you would not have left it laying about for SheWMBO to read. All I can advise you at this point, man, is don't leave handtools hanging about where SheWMBO can use them on you.

  11. PCN: might be worth a mention, since Mr. Crais' panel is one of the most popular at the Festival. He might have some pull ;-)

    Jen: everybody meet up at Mystery Books' pre-fest party!

    Corey: ah... CRAP! What have I done?!?!

    BTW Elyse and Corey, have you submitted your Joe Pike is so tough... joke to RC's contest? Jen and I have.

    Thanks, guys, for the all the fun comments.

  12. FYI, Soph... er, Ms. Littlefield (as my wife has instructed me to call her, now) did a blog post on the WeHo Book Fest yesterday.

  13. Have I submitted my joke? Is fried chicken delicious? I was all over that like the nerd I am.

  14. I guess I lack imagination. I can't think of a joke good enough for Pike; all I come up with is those recycled Chuck Norris jokes.

  15. It sounds wonderful! I have ordered Sophie's book for the library and can't wait to read it myself!
    Thank you for sharing you day, and I am jealous.....

  16. PCN: I should have known ;-)

    Corey: see, you already guessed what was mine.

    Bev: since I can't pull it away from my wife, at moment, it's that good.

    Thanks to all for your comments.