Monday, April 27, 2009

L.A. Times Festival of Books

I'm trying to return from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. That's not as easy as it sounds. My Sunday night flight was delayed several hours, so I decided to bunk in Burbank last night.

But the festival is hard to leave for another reason. It's glorious to see so many readers and writers strolling the UCLA campus. Plus the panels are great, and the weather was gorgeous.

I also ran into a lot of friends: Malcolm Margolin, Sasha Abramsky, Frances Dinkelspiel, Cherilyn Parsons, Adrian Maher, etc. And I connected, in some cases for the first time, with some fellow authors. That includes Gustavo Arellano and Ernie Freeberg, whose Gene Debs bio I reviewed for the L.A. Times. That book, Democracy's Prisoner, was a finalist for the festival's book award in biography.

I also saw Randy Shaw, editor of Beyond Chron and author of Beyond the Fields, the UC Press book on the UFW organizers and their lasting influence. Randy and Ernie were on the same panel.

On Saturday night, Sasha and I attended a Truthdig panel and fundraiser. The featured guests were Amy Goodman and Chris Hedges, both of whom had plenty to say about American media and politics. Bob Scheer hosted the panel. Stanley Sheinbaum, Zuade Kaufman, and Peter Scheer were also there, and afterwards we repaired to Bob's digs for the post-panel wingding.

Unfortunately, I missed Frances's panel with Bill Deverell. I really wanted to make that--it also included D.J. Waldie, whom I've never met--but I ended up battling traffic to the Truthdig event downtown. It took me well over an hour (on Saturday afternoon) to get there. I arrived 30 minutes late, but I didn't miss anything, since Amy and Chris were caught in the same traffic. But I was riding good in my rented Mustang, so what the hell.

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