Thursday, October 11, 2012

West Hollywood Book Festival 2012

   It was going to be another scorcher, so  I visited the WesHo Book Festival early.  I was parked at the Blue Whale well before the event opened.
     The weather did not disappoint and, by the time I crawled back to my car, flattening my body like a flounder against the meager shade of nearby buildings in the noonday sun, I thought I might expire along the way. This, despite the fact I was "packing".
     Yes, that's right, gentle readers, I was armed-- with bottles of ice cold water and even my trusty pink spritz bottle, which gets a lot of laughs of derision, followed by, "Would you please give me a spritz of that?"
     My self-proclaimed mission was to "scheck it out", as my favorite disappeared comedian, Jesus Salazar, used to say, so that I could be a better volunteer for the much-anticipated, future, better-than-any-other-book-festival-or-fair San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival slated for Valentine's Weekend 2013 (February 15-17).  How was that for a swift, seamless plug?
     Stalwart but free of actual warts, I stalked the booths and the panels, casting a discerning eye and keen ear over all involved.  I was impressed with the stories that were being told, the poetry being read aloud, the rapt audiences and the merchandise being offered by various publishers and vendors.
     I snuck past my own Sisters in Crime, L.A. Chapter.  Coward that I am, I was afraid they might call me to fill in while hardworking volunteers in the stuffy white tent hiked back to the library for a pee-pee break.  It was already hot, I was already awilt and I can be lame, sometimes.
     I listened to one brilliant panel, Threats of Violence, which featured Gar Anthony Haywood, Jack O'Haloran, Dick Lochte and moderated by Tom Nolan.  T'was a good thing Nolan drew out Haywood and Lochte first, because once O'Halloran opened his mouth, we were all,  audience and panelists alike, glued to his stories of the rich, famous and infamous.
     Nothing, absolutely nothing, can compete with personal stories about dead mobsters, political families, athletes and movie stars.  By O'Halloran's reckoning, there are probably seven people alive in American today, who know the inside scoop on things like the Kennedy assassination, what really happened to Marilyn, RFK and the likes of Jack Ruby. One has the sense Mr.O'Halloran is a guy to have on one's side.
     There was one humorous moment.  Tom asked the authors on his panel if they enjoyed the act of writing.  Gar and Dick said, yes, they liked writing, though a lot of blood, tears and sweat were needed to bring forth their opera magna.
     Not Jack.  He was unhesitatingly enthusiastic about the process.  This, mere moments after he explained to us that he worked with a co-author, someone he had personally selected for his mastery of plot, character, form and style.  Did anyone say peep?  No.
  I was advised to keep my shut, too, but I say, "Horsefeathers.  It's too late for me to die young."