Monday, April 15, 2019

L.A. Times Festival of Books

I got home from the L.A. Times Festival of Books very late last night. It was a good, successful event and weekend, helped considerably by my sisters Elisabeth and Brenda, who pointed me to Los Angeles gems I never would have found on my own. The festival itself is huge; mid-Sunday I was still discovering new nooks I hadn't visited. They say 100,000 people attend but it never felt that crowded. Beautiful weather. Lots of good conversations with people who love books.

Nice theming throughout.

A representative stretch of the L.A. Times Festival of Books. There were a dozen boulevards like this lined with tents--mostly small publishers or even self-published authors, but also a few big companies. Not a bad showing by comics folks: DC, Marvel, and Oni Press sent small delegations and, again, there were a lot of small-press comics.

The L.A. Times printed a 28-page program that listed speakers, events, schedules, maps. I took up a big chunk of page 16.

The band showed up Sunday morning. Very entertaining.

Weekend highlight: I met writer Cory Doctorow! Cory wrote a really nice review of "Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?" a few years ago, and his love of retro-futurism is right up my alley. I'd planned to attend a talk he was giving Sunday afternoon in hopes of just getting a chance to say "Hi." Instead, I found him doing a spontaneous, unannounced booksigning Sunday morning, and we got to have a real conversation. And then I bought his latest book.

The panel I was there to do, "Earth, Air, Fire, Water--the Environment in Crisis" (I was "fire"), went great. The other panelists and I got on very well, and I think we hit a good balance of dread and hope. When I scouted out our panel's venue on Saturday, I was worried because it was a long distance from the rest of the festival action. I thought we'd be lucky to draw a dozen people. Instead we got about 150! The booksigning after was fine; they sold all their copies of "A Fire Story," which wasn't many--maybe 15 or 20?--but I was happy with that.

The lecture hall where my panel was held. This was early, when people were still trickling in. We got about 150 (that's what I do while other panelists are talking--count heads).

Before we began: our moderator Alan Zarembo of the L.A. Times and panelists, each of whose books represented one quarter of earth, air, fire and water. (NOT Earth, Wind and Fire--they're totally different people.)

All of the panelists' books for sale near the booksigning tent. A lot of the "Fire Story" copies were already gone.

Probably the best time I've ever had in L.A.! (Anaheim is arguably not L.A.)


Anonymous said...

I just finished reading your book, A Fire Story, and so much of it sounds like trying to rebuild one's life after the loss of one's spouse. Nothing is the same after losing a beloved spouse. Many of the feelings you experienced with the loss or your home are similar to the feelings I experienced after the death of my husband from ALS. Just wanted to share that with you. Certainly not the same but lots of the same feelings and loss. TK

Brian Fies said...

That's a parallel experience of loss that hadn't occurred to me. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.