An Unintentional Literary Pilgrimage of Los Angeles

 

I’ve been to Southern California many times, and yet, I’ve never quite seen the Los Angeles that I wanted to. As a book nerd, I’ve always dreamt of doing a book tour, visiting famous literary sites. But Los Angeles County feels unwieldy. However, on this last trip, I lucked out. I stayed in downtown Los Angeles proper, with my friend, Erin Eyesore (check out her post-punk feminist radio show, erineyesore.tumblr.com). While she attended a conference for work, I did some sight-seeing. First on the list, The Last Bookstore which I’ve seen photos of on friends’ Instagram feeds. We were staying just blocks away from this heavenly place. It’s like the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in The Shadow of the Wind by Arturo Perez Reverte—you enter a noir bookstore, a space selling books in another realm, a fictional place that you wish existed—touching things seems unreasonable because they will flitter away in smoke because they exist in another dimension. But the  labyrinth you wander is real and if you go on a slow day, which I did, you find yourself in mazes all alone, which of course, makes things more surreal.

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T2 Trainspotting—Living With but Not in Your Past

Trainspotting, Porno, Irvine Welsh, Renton, Begbie, Spud, Sickboy

T2 Trainspotting, based on the novel of the same name and the sequel, Glue, was released last week. I was so obscenely excited that I started to question why. Have I truly not grown since I saw the first movie? What does this say about me that I’ve become so invested in some characters from my past?

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Chuck Palahniuk Gets Meta and Looks at the Legacy of Tyler Durden in Fight Club 2

Fight Club 2, Chuck Palahniuk, Cameron Stewart, Tyler Durden
Chuck Palahniuk‘s Fight Club 2 begins ten years after Fight Club the novel ends. The artwork by Cameron Stewart is amazing: at times I feel I’m experiencing a movie. The set up scenery is dizzying. The narrator Sebastian works a 9-5 job, is married to Marla Singer, and together they have a son. Sebastian sees a therapist weekly and is heavily medicated to keep Tyler Durden at bay. He suspects his wife is cheating on him and discovers that she is: Marla has been messing with his meds, resurrecting Tyler Durden.

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Chuck (Palahniuk) in SF? Check, I was there.

Chuck Palahniuk was in San Francisco again. This time he was signing comics at Comix Experience. This was probably my seventh time seeing him. He’s one of my favorite writers (but also one of my favorite readers. However, since this wasn’t a book tour,  he didn’t read.) Thanks to our friend Dom alerting us to the event, Gib and I were one of the first 40 people to get our comics signed. My friend Jenifer brought Frankie the dog along as well.

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Beatnik Shindig in San Francisco: Bringing together the Beat Generation, their families, and readers

Christine, Jerry Cimino, and soifollowjulian

Christine, Beat Museum Founder and Director Jerry Cimino, and SoIFollowJulian

This week was the first ever Beatnik Shindig, hosted by The Beat Museum in San Francisco. I’m a huge Beat fan and have been since I was 19 years old. I’m so very fortunate to have worked with and become friends with Director and Founder of the Beat Museum, Jerry Cimino and his wife Estelle (whom he met in a bookshop after graduating college!).

For me, The Beat Museum is much more than a museum: it’s a gathering place, one that draws people in and invites them to be comfortable and share their stories. It is an all important archive of all things Beat. Someone called Jerry up and said, hey I have an old piano that used to be Allen Ginsberg’s. If you drive up here and pick it up, you can have it! People want to contribute to the Museum and help preserve this literary history. The Beat generation were a bunch of miscreants (I say this with love as I would identify myself and many of my friends as thus) who moved around a lot and couldn’t seem to settle down. As a result, things they owned, touched, used, are all over the country. People don’t know what to do with these items, but they realize this Beat history is a large part of our American literary canon, and they want to contribute. Continue reading →