Lies and Berries: Art Is Priceless Except When It Costs $1.75

BookSale. Two words together that make me smile, kinda like job and blow. I got up on Saturday morning, a lazy morning, the best kind. Exercise, wash clothes, check e-mail, blah blah. Looked at my calendar and saw that the week of April 12 – 18 was highlighted. Of course, National Library Week! Ok, they weren’t highlighted, just kidding. I promise.


But, isn’t it time to celebrate those 65 year old ladies named Myrtle, napping at the reference desk? I’m just pulling your girdle, Myrtle. By the way, (in my best Hammel Street Elementary first grade voice), “Do you have any books on… uhm… on… caterpillars?”


Then remembered I saw this sign on City Terrace Drive:



Everytime I go to one of these, I always find something good. I walked over but took time to check out the sights:


That nice view should silence those who disparage the name of Sh… City Terrace. Not bad, huh?  Except for the ugly freeway, the smog, the brooding electric wires, the paved roads, ugh, never mind. What? Do I sound like I’d rather be in a pueblito in Ecuador, outside of Quito? Hmmm.

Of course, City Terrace is home to the great murals of Willie Herron. Here is one of them:




City Terrace library is small but at least they have their own parking lot. Don’t get me started about the East L.A. library, ok? That’s a topic for another time. Believe me, I will get to it. Let me just say, it seems like the morons at the East Los Angeles Civic Center care more for idiots who ran red lights or drank and drive. Yes, the courthouse needs parking spaces but why do plaintiffs and defendants, much less “officers” of the court,  get preference over library patrons? Huh!? Who set up that standard? Them, with their silly laws and silly courts and that eternal dilemma: pay the Man or get holed up. What about parents hoping to spend an afternoon with their kids searching for books and then maybe hanging out with the ducks at the lake. Three-hour parking limit? How pathetic. For the library?! And the court and city hall and… How insulting to those who choose to utilize the mecca that is the library. Why can’t there be library-specific parking spaces? There used to be. And no, that neighboring parking structure doesn’t count, it is constantly filled and most of the spots are reserved. Plus, it is only open til 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Sucka, please.

Had to let that out.

Back to CT. As I walk in, I see this flyer:


Dancers at 2:30! It’s 1:45 so I check out the sale. It’s not a very large room, but I check out the mags, dvds, until I hit the mother lode. When it comes to books, I like hardcover books, I treat em like LP’s. Especially the good ones. I handle them often. These were offered at .25¢  each. Who said it’s the end of the world as we know it? Come on, take a gander:






Hey, you can’t put a price on art. Oh yeah, $1.75! I load those into my car and go back in and scribble some notes.

I’ll get to the books soon enough. Me like to read. Maybe I’ll put a couple in the can, what better place to read about Jane Austen’s mid-nineteenth century travails with English gentry then when I’m on the pot or powdering my nose?


That’s not what I meant. Hey, we go to the john more than you think. Well, I do. A page here, a page there. Next thing you know, you’re all done. I know some don’t go to the head for days on end. How tragic. Then how you gonna finish a book? If you are one of the relief-denied, I recommend these.


I’ll bet you a keg of metamucil they work on you. Hey, my mom, my aunt Ruby and I swear by these. I ain’t saying, just saying. I know I know, less reading time, but also less time with that hilarious, strained look on your face.



Just trying to regulate. Of course, don’t then take the books around with you. Keep em in the john, please. No need to share, thank you. No, you wouldn’t carry a book out of the water closet and into the unknowing populace. Would you?


But back to my regular programming: Pacific Island Dancers on a Saturday afternoon, blocks from my house? Ain’t that sweet? I asked the librarian if I could take some pics. Harmless, of course, but not completely because she had to ask the dance group leader and call her library supervisor regarding photographs in the library. This is understandable with all those kids around. You never know who is prowling these days?





The librarian, Jing, and the dance group leader were very kind. They both agreed I could take photos. Then 2 things happened. First, I reconsidered including the dancers in this post because of my joke at the beginning of this piece and the nose candy pic. I felt the troupe leader and Jing would not want to be associated with such humor, my crude attempt at a funny.  But you know I wasn’t going to give up that dumb word play or that funny pic for any one! It was moot as my batteries also refused to be part of this. They died on me. But, I could have at least put the dancers in another post, no? Not without pics! Oh well. They were quite a joy. This is what I saw:

The dancers were splendiferous, if you will. They are from the Downey and Norwalk areas. They performed 2 hulas. I clearly state: this is not a photo from the event.


Then they brought out Sean, this young, tall man-child. Nice-looking kid performed a Tahitian dance. You can tell he loves to dance. Then this group of girls/angels came out in red wrap arounds, yellow and red leis and green head pieces. We are talking precious little girls, they used shells for instruments. Those infrequent gestures of uncertainty were delightful displays. “Oops I did it again.” They’d look at one another during a slight mishap. Man, is there such a thing as too innocent?

The turn-out wasn’t bad for a Saturday afternoon. Some kane but mainly wahine. And lots of kids.

The dancers wore a variety of outfits. They changed costumes like it was a Chinese wedding. Maybe 5 times. For one particular dance they had the baddest blue outfits, shimmering, just like their faces. The lead woman, I’m telling you, she was a throwback, a very gentle and sweet woman. Fragile but strong.

For the New Zealand dance, well, I have no more superlatives for these little walking feathers. They twirled some ropes that  got entangled with each others, several times. Oh man, even the women dancers laughed. It was too much.

Another funny thing, this guy in the second row, constantly laughed, not too loudly, but I could tell he was responding to the girls’ gestures and expressions. It was funny. But some woman kept dogging him, oh man, that made it funnier.


So, I’m siding with the guy in this epic battle of Proper Etiquette during a Pacific Island Dance. I say, let him laugh, he ain’t that loud and there’s no mockery in his tone. So, Miss Puritanical backs off. Then homeboy gets up to change seats and he got a forty dog in a black bag in his right hand! Oh man, now I’m really on his side. How perfect is that? Now, if I only drank.


They later brought out puili sticks (made of bamboo) and performed a hula auana (modern hula) and a hula kahiko kane (ancient hula). No, these are not actual pics from CT Park.



Let’s review: had a nice walk, got some good books on the cheap, and a dance group enlightened me and gave me some of the greatest smiles and giggles imaginable. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon.

Alrighty then. CT reporting live from CT library. And that’s the way it is.

(Off camera but mic still “live,” talking to production crew) “Damn those kids were too much. And that snotty lady, oh man. But, I am starving. Let me make a quick call.”


7 thoughts on “Lies and Berries: Art Is Priceless Except When It Costs $1.75

  1. Another great post! Oh how I love the “lieberry!” 😉
    BTW, the water closet is the best place to get in some reading – whether you’re fiber friendly or not!

  2. You had me rolling at “he got a forty dog in a black bag in his right hand!” The whole image of your day at the library is priceless even though you were out $1.75!!! And, don’t knock Jane Austen–she had her own trials and tribulations within that English gentry!!!! I’m sure she had to powder her nose plenty to get through it all.

    Oh, and there’s no place like Quito, Ecuador…you know that better than I do.

  3. I used to live straight down that street, right by the Slowz hangout pad. Maybe I should stop calling it Sh..City Terrace, but I think I’ll just take an insult leave of absence.

    Nonetheless, the library was the only saving grace during my time on that block. It seems libraries are the only place for kids to go to get a glimpse of the possible. Not sure if those books are still there, but the ones on PCP were proudly tagged by said Slowz. Sadly hilarious.

  4. I live by Benjamin Franklin “lieberry”. I think it might be the loudest “lieberry” in this city.
    Thank goodness for free WiFi and laptops for if it weren’t for these two things, some people would have to wait days to get on the internet waiting list.
    One of the nice things that BF library does is to post up the long width RHS senior class photos.

  5. Lesly,

    Yes, it’s all relative and I don’t mean to mock J.A. too much, but reading about her trials with the gentry while conducting “business” would be funny to me.

    As for Quito, that is another story. Don’t know what made my eyes water more: the intense smog or the intense kindness of those Ecuadorians. That baptism reception, I will never forget. My new friends laughed and danced like it was going out of style. Is it traditional to dance on top of tables? HaHa

    El Chavo,

    The Slowz. I remember them. Maybe the greatest name for a stoner crew! Johnny used to hang out with my cousin. We were on the other side of the park hanging with another stoner crew.

    I didn’t really hit the CT lie berry. Since I went to Belvedere, I relaxed in the Belvedere, I mean, Anthony Quinn Lie berry. The AQ lie berry was more spacious and we had a cool lie berrian we called Sasquatch.

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