LéaLA 2011: Unas Fotos

Since you all were clamoring for an update from the Spanish Language bookfair I went ahead and prepared this post for you. See how nice I can be?

You can’t go to a bookfair without a proper breakfast. Knowing that the Convention Center/LA Live area is a food desert for working people I made sure to Power Up at a spot I like in Lincoln Heights, Martita’s recently known as Lencho’s. Norteño style Mexican food. Not the greatest food but I love everything about this place. I hope Martita does well with her restaurant.

Parking in El Centro is a scam: pay the lots or pay the ticket. Either way the car driver loses. You used to be able to catch the 83 on Broadway all the way to the Convention Center but some knuckleheads at the RTD decided that was too convenient so they went and fucked it up. I was gonna take the Gold Line but there was some stuff happening on the train about transferring to a shuttle, so I trekked it to the 81 instead. Transfer? We don’t need no stinkin’ transfers!

During my 10 minute wait…

…the price of gas went up 2 cents and diesel went up 6 cents! Wait, let me make sure, 123456, yes 6 cents. The math checks out.

Here comes the people’s limo! No not that one, the orange one behind.

On the way to the book fair alone I get burned with this sign telling me I should “read together” with someone. Way to rub it in Chimpy George.

There was a bunch of Spanish speakers on the bus with me but I turned out to be the only one getting off at this stop. Hmm, maybe nobody is going to check it out. How sad that would be. I got inside and didn’t see anything about the bookfair. The information desk was missing an information provider. There was some Catholic convention happening so I asked their desk and they pointed me in the general direction. Gracias hermana!

After a fair bit of walking I see this. Hmm, that looks like it might be the right place.

Ha, I guess I was at the wrong hall. I wonder if I should be doing this post in Espanish instead since it is a celebration of the language? As Cervantes would say: Nah, ey.

Finally, we are in! Let’s get down to business! The Proceso magazine stall seemed quite busy, I’ll come back to check it out later.

Hmm, this stall is quite packed too. But they seem to have some good stuff. I’ll come back after.

That is a pretty cool graphic, an Azteca biciclero.

Sirenas al Ataque: A book on Mexican Rockeras. With fotos too.

Desayuno? Why yes, I do like that topic.

Chanfle! Una receta para HR’s! Ta bien, I’ll take it. My lil’ stash of Mexican cookbooks just keeps growing.

This book looked really cool, Un Viaje. A ride on the Mexico city subway. Lots of cool pics. I don’t want to go down that road of buying photo books, slippery slope, etc.

50 years of experimental theater in Jalisco. Yup, this bookfair does cater to some very particular interests. And no Condorito or Libro Sentimental in sight! Damn Literati.

I kept hoping it would get easier to get into the stalls but the people kept coming.

This looks interesting.

Oh yes! I like Trino. And this one just spoke to me: “Va solo! Solo! Esperemos que no la cague como siempre, amigos!” Too late.

I took a lil’ break and was reading the program guide when I noticed there was going to be a seminar on Mexican Gastronomy in 10 minutes! Yes, I have a slight interest in Mexican food. Vamonos! Looks like a bunch of foodies had beat me to the punch.

Hey look, its Lupillo Rivera! And a look alike.

Oops, I guess I don’t watch enough television. These are the dudes involved with La Casita Mexicana over in Bell, and they show up on the Univision morning tv shows. Not sure which one but its probably extra peppy and cheerful as you try to get your shit together to head to an 8 hour session of doing something you would rather not do. Work is our enemy.

Oh wait, I wanted to comment on Monica Lavin, the speaker in the center that gave an inspiring presentation on Mexican gastronomy and a rousing case for the value of mestizaje in food practices. She went through a list of foods that we now consider Mexican but that came through the process of incorporation, of mixing foreign food traditions with native practices. Frying is a Spanish introduction. I’m waiting for the day that the Mexica Warriors that criticize Flamenco as “Colonizer music” (you think I’m kidding?) decide to give up on that crispy aspect of Spanish influence. She explained Mexican food as a living culture, open to change, and not as “cocina de museo” which is closed to further interjections. My vegetarian friendly Mexican recipes fit nicely within that framework, at least I think so. She even mentioned vegetarians in a discussion about enchiladas.  I liked her line “no soy chef, soy comelona” the most. Ima have to look her up.

I will upload a short clip of her talk soon, but give me some time.

Here it is, just so you get a sense of the talk. It turns yellow towards the end cuz my battery ran out.

There were other book stalls I wanted to check out but as you can see here, they were quite crowded.

After some time of trying to deal with the wild popularity of this bookfair I decided to just give up. I don’t want to elbow old ladies. Well not today at least. I guess its a good sign that people are crowding me out from checking out books at my usual pace. But at this rate, this first bookfair is too popular, it needs to be in a bigger space.

I need to buy a coffee table just to show this off.

It was slim pickings over at the $3 shelf.

Oof. I think I will skip this booth.

Chale! This whole row is lined with miserable books. Get me out of here!

Mexican jigsaw puzzles. I love that they are called rompecabezas, head breakers.

Geez. Can’t a guy find some space to browse in here?

That book on Tepito is quite interesting. But I already read it cuz they have it at the Lincoln Heights library, that modern institute of pirateria otherwise known as sharing.

World’s biggest trompo? They wouldn’t let me test it out.

And a gigantic balero to go with it. Don’t know what that is? Check out this video.

Impressive skills.

On the way out I spot this creepy flier.

Somehow they keep trying to tie this concert series with the book fair. Yes, these bands sing in Espanish but other than that?

Its the chef dude again! Wait. That ain’t right.

Next door at LA “Live” they are still keeping it ugly and totalitarian. Avoid this area at all costs.

Today Sunday May 1, 2011 is the last day of the bookfair. Go check it out! Tell them I sent you and you’ll get in free.

5 thoughts on “LéaLA 2011: Unas Fotos

  1. That’s awesome that someone else acknowledges that Mexican culture is this dynamic beast and not a static statue in the park. And to introduce any sort of change shouldn’t be greeted with the sense that it is treasonous. I did see those “LéaLA” signs around but it seemed that they were just logos and did not have any further information: bad publicity?

    And I like the old-school RTD reference but get with it it’s MTA now! But really, when it comes to going to El Centro by day, or night the BUS is the way to go. Paying for the parking in Downtown has become atrocious.

    And I love going through Mexican cookbooks. My dad, on the bus, found a great big one. One of those huge-hardcover-full-page-color-photos beauties. Not everything in it is vegetarian, but at least I learned how to make TEPACHE for this summer! That photo of those huevos rancheros looks a-fucking-mazing.

  2. Oooo, my anti-spam word was flamenco! Hehe. Lupillo Rivera, hehe! I like La Casita Mexicans, well, sorta. Well, I like it cause I saw two dudes breakdance battle on the street while I was eating there. One of one side of the street and the other guy on the other side of the street. It was pretty awesome. It’s also awesome to see our gente reading and/or looking at books!

  3. The event is still going on today. You can take the 81 and visit LeaLA, the LA Times Bookfair and the Mayday March.

  4. I updated the post with some more pics towards the end (too tired to finish it last night) and with a clip of the gastronomy talk. Enjoy! I mean, provecho!

  5. best post yet El Chavo
    reading and seeing the pics was like being there without actually being there

    this was like your “digital book” about the book fair

    chido! 🙂

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