Westside 101: West Hollywood Bookfair


Some stupid company once put West Hollywood on an eastside map, which was a laugh riot. But after a ritual burning and casting of spells, they saw the error of their fake eastside ways and have now given West Hollywood their own map. Good for them. It’s not often I find myself in this community but how can anyone resist a bookfair? Pa’ los libros!

Even though this post is about a bookfair, there is a fair amount of pictures up ahead. You’ve been warned.


It’s slow going getting my donkey over to the western parts of our city. On my travels I get to see lots of things, like these jerks on a billboard that think they are being cute. Hating LA is like old, dudes. Get a new fake pose, kiddies.


Didn’t we all take a vote sometime ago to declare that celebrity culture is dead? I think I read that in People mag, or was it on TMZ? In any case, I can’t imagine that you can still make a living selling directions to the front gates of useless people.


We almost considered taking the bus to the bookfair, cuz I figured there would be no parking. But the ad in the LA Weekly said there was free parking, so donkey mobile it was. And sure enough, you can park in the lot for the Pacific Design Center. Which we did. Bring your own hay and water though, cuz they foolishly don’t provide any for our green form of transport. Haters.


I’d never been inside this place, I always thought it was some sort of architecture firm. But it turns out to be just another mall, albeit for those with refined tastes, aka another consumer temple. But it looked like the janitors had some fun overnight, putting together a sculpture made of brushes, sponges, and plungers. As soon as I took this pic, the rent-a-cops let us know you can’t take pictures in this place. Figures.


Considering they call this the Design center, don’t you think they can get some better plants into these planters other than stupid pansies? They look terrible and you have to keep replacing them, what’s the point? I call this bad design.


Whatever, on to the bookfair! What’s this, a taco truck? A fancy taco truck? Will these fad trends never end?

Let me just say this: if you can afford to customize your pristine truck, then in all likelihood you are part of that wave of new fancy trucks.


We will meet up with that taco truck later. But on to the books, cuz that’s why we are here, que no? I like reading but I think statements like these are created by nerds trying to convince themselves it’s equally sexy cuddling up with a book instead of a human. I’ve done both, and humans are way sexier. Shower up fool, and make the rounds.


A few minutes into the bookfair I run into an old comrade from the FYC days whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. Sean of Gorsky Press puts out books cuz he values the power of words, and he said he’s not losing money on the project, which is a plus! If you want to make money, the book business is certainly not the place to invest, believe you me. But if you like books, then that financial aspect will only matter later.


The Poetry lounge.


Some couches randomly placed in appropriate resting spots. A nice touch.


“Impulse buyers can’t resist book jackets.” I was just barely able to resist the temptation for a fabric jacket. Guess I’ll stick to library issue brodarts.


Bookfair ballons. I mean, who doesn’t like balloons? Nazis, that’s who.


The Chicas, Chicana & Latinas panel. Seemed interesting but I had to keep moving.


Skylight Books was there, one of my favorite bookstores.


Looks like Bob Barker was going to be here too. Why does the book trade insist on such stupid titles for their wares? “Priceless Memories” for the host of the Price is Right? Just terrible.


Von’s had a booth were they gave out bags, a bottle of water, and a tasty chocolate cookie. And they didn’t even ask for my club card.


Eso Won Books were also there with a few well stocked tables.


The sadness that is the Ayn Rand Institute made an appearance. Hey, aren’t bookfairs just a bit based on the collectivist model? Plus, you should ignore the fact that they were on a public park, cuz then they’d get their lil’ Private Property chonies in a bunch.


Mr. Ancient L.A. with his select books about our city.


This creepy head in a booth promised to answer any question you might have. I almost asked about the meaning of life, but I got scared the answer would be so thoroughly disappointing that I decided not to ask.


Ha! A sign for the times. Intriguing.


The graphic style was interesting, plus there was a sign that you could get your book signed by the A-hole author. Sold! Here we see said A-hole signing my copy. His message? Enjoy my crap!


The shirkers manifesto.


A booth getting into the Halloween mood.


It seems even Yelp has to advertise. No books on sale though.


I ran into some more comrades at the Pacifica Archives table. I guess this bookfair was already worth the visit, just to see some pals.


And right at the next booth, PM Press! Anarchos in the house.


The prettiest booth. All full of flowers. Hmm, I wonder who designed this?


There were food trucks in different parts of the bookfair, and it makes sense to spread them around. This snow cone one was quite demanding: Please give sizes first, please do not lean on the counter, no bills over $20. Thank you.


A human billboard. This is the strategy the ad companies are taking, hiring some poor dude to carry their signs so they can claim freedom of speech. That’s messed up, both for the guy having to endure the humiliation and for the public that has to endure yet more needless ads. Fuera!


Do you know what happens when you have a breakfast of coffee and bagels? At around 2pm, that magic energy starts to wear thin! Might as well check out that fancy “taco” truck. Plus they advertise tamales in a cone. How can you go wrong with food in a cone? It turns out, they’d already run out of the cone tamal. Rats.


But they still had salads. This one came with brown avocado and yellow lettuce. Plus it was packed with cumin. An overpowering cumin salad, this was. Oof, not my cup of lettuce.


The rest of the meal. Decent quesadilla with poblano chiles and a rancid pico de gallo. (Seriously, why do non-Mexicans think salsas can keep forever? They don’t.) Tiny potato tacos (at 2.50 each) with pickled onions that just do not work. The beans and rice combo is cheap, but bring some salt for the beans. The rice is no better than Pollo Loco’s. Serious. It curbed the appetite, but at almost 20 bucks, this is not like eating at a proper taco truck.


I don’t get cupcakes. Why are all you westsiders so enamored of this concept? Here we see yet another fancy truck with a new mobile food to market. Basically, there’s way too many kids with easy access to money, thus they can get funding for stupid ideas.


So this is a $4 cupcake. Lots of frosting on top to hide the tiny “cake” body underneath. The taste? It is fucking SWEET! And I don’t mean that in the annoying Bro lingo of the day. I mean it’s just way too sweet in the sugary sort of way, aka it hurts your teeth. Assuming you are not part of the ethnic group that favors this ethnic specialty.


After the bits of sustenance, we check out the kids area.


This seemed interesting, a signing for “My life as a chicken”. In which a chicken escapes from the farmer that wants to put her into a pot pie. A feathery hero, I say.


The Sheriff’s have a cook book of recipes available for $15. I can’t imagine a single reason why that would be of interest to anyone.


Fancy toilets. Oh la la.


Some people.


Even the RCP had a booth. Chairman Bob was nowhere to be seen.


The thing about bookfairs I love the most is that you can find out about someone that you maybe should have known about. Here we see Jim Marquez holding up a copy of his book “from: East Los”. He says he writes about people from East Los, from the perspective of someone from East Los, instead of all those Latino writers from Chicago or wherever else they’re from.

Good enough for me.


I pay the price for a personal message. It reads: Chavo! Be happy! JM

I’m gonna read this, but it better be worth it. Or else.


And finally, a view of some couches under a tent. Hmm, time for me to take a break. Cya later bookworms!

BTW, next weekend is the Latino Bookfair happening at CSULA, click here for some details.

5 thoughts on “Westside 101: West Hollywood Bookfair

  1. I hate the new cupcake trend. Overpriced, oversugared confections. I make some delicious vegan cupcakes that are always a hit with vehemently non-vegan types and on the cheap! There is a place in Pasadena that sells JUST cupcakes. It’s lame. I’d rather bake my own! All fancy with agave syrup and spelt flour. OOOOOoooOoOOOoOoo…

    And isn’t Chairman Bob running/hiding from the US Gov’t since he is SOOO revolutionary (er, not).

  2. Great pictures Chavo!
    I love book fairs, too bad i missed it.
    Hey this Latino loves cupcakes, I got a major sweet tooth especially since giving up-sobering up from alcohol.
    I rather eat sweets than be a smoker, which a lot of former alcoholics pick up.
    And you should know better…that Border Grill food truck is comida for gringos- its been whitewashed!!

  3. Thanks for the pics. I felt like I was right there with you moaning and groaning at the sites.

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