My Sunday at the BEA

Marcel Dzama

Last weekend was the Book Expo America, the book publishing world’s big annual convention where booksellers and librarians get to hobnob with authors and celebrities. It comes every four years or so to Los Angeles and for the second time, I was able to score a free ticket, yay! The perks of attending the convention are the free books, the author signings and the so-called parties. If standing in line for an hour to get Garrison Keillor’s autograph sounds like a good time to you, the BEA just might be your thing. Personally, I can do without the James Pattersons and Dean Koontz of the literary world and I had no inclination to listen to Anderson Cooper blabber on, so my quest was to search out the hidden booths of indie publishers, while trying to stay clear of the Harlequin Romance aisle. I scored a few good books along with some cool Marcel Dzama trading cards (above) from Mc Sweeney’s and a nice Bookforum tote bag.

Here are some titles I found at the event that looked promising, some are new and some have been around for awhile:

Granny Made Me an Anarchist, General Franco, The Angry Brigade and Me by Stuart Christie, reprinted by the fine folks at AK Press.

Crazy Loco Love by Victor Villasenor, a free book from the nice ladies at Arte Publico Press.

The World of Lucha Libre, Secrets, Revelations, and Mexican National Identity by Heather Levi and Mexican American Mojo, Popular Music, Dance and Urban Culture in Los Angeles, 1935-1968 by Anthony Macias, both published by Duke University Press.

Frezno by Tony Stamous, Process Media.

Protest Graffitti: Mexico: Oaxaca by Louis E. V. Nevaer , Mexican Blackletter by Cristina Paoli and Arabic Tattoos by Clayton Patterson, Mark Batty Publisher. I’ve been wanting the Mexican Blackletter book forever! NPR interview here.

Brown Acres, An Intimate History of the Los Angeles Sewers by Anna Sklar and Paradise Promoted, The Booster Campaign that Created Los Angeles, 1870-1930 by Angel City Press.

A Slight Epidemic, The Government Cover-Up of Black Plague in Los Angeles by Frank Feldinger, Silver Lake Publishing.

Chocolate, Pathway to the Gods by Meredith L. Dreiss and Sharon E Greenhill, The University of Arizona Press.

Old Rare New, The Independent Record Shop by Emma Pettit and Making Stuff, An Alternative Craft Book both titles by Black Dog Publishing , UK.

50 Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International by McKenzie Wark, Princeton Architectural Press. Another book on the Situationists! So far nothing compares to The Most Radical Gesture The Situationist and After by Sadie Plant, one of the best analysis and historical overviews of this extremely influential French political group.

I came across this strange comic book by IDW Publishing called Chicanos. I’ve always preferred my Chicano characters in graphic novel form, most likely due to my lifelong obsession with Love and Rockets but this series seems a bit strange. Anyone familiar with it?

Readers, any other books worthy of a mention? What are you reading?

7 thoughts on “My Sunday at the BEA

  1. I just finished reading “In Defense of Food” and I highly recommend it, basically an indictment of our modern corporate “food” system. It has me rethinking my daily diet of Kraft Cheez and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

  2. The Chocolate book from the University of Arizona Press looks fabulous! I saw it too, and as a curious reader of all things related to chocolate, I’m intrigued. At $30 for a hardcover book WITH a DVD, it’s an awesome value too.

    Some of us knew chocolate was meant to be a spiritual experience all along!

  3. Is ‘A slight Epidemic” about the blubonic (was it?) outbreak in east l.a. in the early 20th century sometime?


  4. cwm,
    I’m not familiar with that book, looks good!
    In Defense of Food is next on my list. I also want to read his other book, Omnivore’s Dilemma.
    yeah, can’t wait to get the Skylar book. I’ve been interested in what runs underground in the city for the past few months now. I’m hoping the book might help me in my research.
    Yeah,the representative mentioned the book came with a CD. I always say chocolate is part of my heritage and if my ancestors ate and cultivated it, I should be able to eat it in unlimited quantities. The spiritual experience is another good excuse. 🙂
    Yes, the title refers to the bubonic plague that severely impacted the Mexican community here in Los Angeles in the early part of the last century. I think I read somewhere that the disease was used as justification to tear down the homes in the old Sonoratown neighborhood (now Chinatown) and deport Mexicans. I don’t have the book yet so I’m not exactly sure of the author’s focus.
    Thanks for all the comments! I’m looking forward to hearing more book recommendations.

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