Tag Archives: books

L.A. Libraries reopen today!

It might not be big news where y’all live, but today, Monday the 18th of July, the libraries of Los Angeles will throw their doors open to the public, on a Monday, for the first time in months! That’s rights, thanks to the overwhelming voter approval of Measure L, the libraries have had enough of their funding restored so that they’ll be able to be open and fully-staffed on Mondays again. Hooray!

Greta and I already have very comprehensive lists prepared of all the books and movies we’re gonna check out today. So, see ya in the stacks, amigos!

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Save our libraries, vote “Yes on Measure L” today!!

Oh, man, you don’t even wanna know how bummed Christine and I are that we can’t vote “Yes on Measure L” today. But, because we live in Burbank, which is its own city, we cannot. But what we can do is urge anyone of voting age in Los Angeles to get out there today and save our libraries!

Even before Christine starting working at The Library Store, we used the hell out of the libraries in Los Angeles and beyond, and now that Greta is here, well, forget about it. Books and libraries are a huge part of our lives and let me tell ya, the libraries in Los Angeles are in serious trouble.

Shortened hours, brutal staff and budget cuts and a philistine mayor and city hall who care more about pricey, unproven after-school gang prevention programs than they do about libraries have driven the already beleaguered LAPL system even further into the ground.

Well, guess what else keeps kids off the streets and out of gangs, Mayor Villaraigosa? You got it, libraries! Los Angeles ranks last in per capita spending on library materials in the eight largest U.S. library systems…LAST! We are a major metropolitan city, amigos, that is just plain shameful.

Great cities deserve great libraries, they are the cornerstone of learning and a real beacon of light in our community, especially in these troubled times, so, please, please vote “Yes on L” today.

To read more about the awesomeness that is Measure L, please click here.

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The Library Store featured in Los Angeles Magazine!

Just found out that Christine’s store, aka The Library Store, is going to be featured in February’s “Hidden L.A.” issue of Los Angeles Magazine as one of their best “below-the-rader boutiques”.  Hooray!

Cooler still is the fact that the magazine only chose six stores to feature in the retail section of the issue. That’s right, amigos…of the hundreds, if not thousands, of super cool retail haunts in the Los Angeles metro area, The Library Store is one of the top six picks. How cool is that?

Oh yeah, and on top of all that, The Library Store was also voted Best Bookstore last year by the Los Angeles Downtown News. And, as anyone who has shopped there before can tell you, unusual books are only one of the many, amazingly-eclectic gifts on sale at The Library Store.

I dunno, I might be a little biased here, but, I don’t remember rad things like this happening before Christine took over the buying. So, rock on, sweetie. You and your super cool staff deserve every honor you receive!

For those of you who haven’t checked out the awesomeness for yourself, The Library Store is located in the heart of the historic Richard J. Riordan Central Library at 630 West Fifth Street in downtown Los Angeles.

And if you can’t make it there in person, check out the scads of groovy gifts available on their website here. Long live The Library Store!

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“The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition”

Even though Greta had a lot of fun opening presents and stuff last Christmas, this is the first year that she’s been really getting into all the cool holiday traditions and stuff — music, lights, Santa, etc. — so, needless to say, every day has been an adventure this December!

And adding to that holiday magic has been the super-cute Christmas book, “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell, with illustrations by Coë Steinwart. We bought this book and toy set (each book comes with a different looking toy elf inside) at a post-Christmas sale at Nordstroms last year, and, man alive, am I glad we did!

Here’s how it works. According to the story, every night, your personal elf (who you name and register online) heads home to the North Pole to tell Santa how you’ve been behaving that day. And every morning when you wake up, your elf is sitting in a new location in your house.

Our elf is named Paul (Greta named him, and we have no idea where the name came from) but lemme tell ya, watching her look for him every morning is hilarious and the look on her face when she finds him, well, if you could put Christmas in a bottle, that’s what it’d look like. Adorable!

I know it’s a little late in the season to start your own “The Elf on the Shelf” tradition, but, you could always do what we did and pick one up on the 26th for next year. Either way, this is a total holiday must-have for anyone with little kids…so cute!

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David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee

OK, first off, who even knew that David Lynch made coffee? I mean, I’m a David Lynch geek from way back, and even I had no idea that the multi-talented Lynch also roasted his own blend of gourmet coffee! Wow…so cool.

Anyway, my friend Ginger and I literally stumbled upon David Lynch Signature Cup coffee in the Book Soup booth at this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Apparently, Lynch had been there earlier in the day signing copies of his book on meditation, “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity”, which had just come out in paperback.

Seeing that stack of Lynch books with the little “signed copy” stickers totally threw me. Wait, whaaa? David Lynch was here at the Festival…signing books while Ginger and I waited in line for the Alicia Silverstone cookbook signing? Are you kidding me?! Urgh…damn you, Cher Horowitz!

Of course, it wasn’t really Silverstone’s fault. The Festival of Books printed catalog and website is almost impossible to decipher and Lynch was just one of many cool author events we missed that day. Thanks, Los Angeles Times!

Anyway, back to the coffee. So, right beside the pile of signed meditation books at the Book Soup cash wrap was a tiny pyramid of David Lynch Signature Cup coffee cans. Seriously, I just about died. I mean, right there before me was the perfect marriage of two of my lifelong passions…movies and coffee…in a darkly-beautiful, collectible can to boot!  How insanely awesome!

I immediately purchased a can of the Organic House Blend — David Lynch Signature Cup also makes an Organic Espresso and Organic French Roast Decaf — and popped that thing open the minute we got home. I didn’t make the coffee for a few more days, but, I just about died (again!) at what was inside the can. Nestled beneath the bag of coffee beans at the bottom of the can was a very cool “Eraserhead” coffee coaster!

Like the nerd that I am, my first thought was: “Wow, I wonder if the other coffee flavors have different coasters! I must buy them all!” Cooler heads prevailed and I decided to try the coffee first. And thank God I did, because that shit was nasty! Blech…watery, flavorless, probably one of the weakest cups of joe I’ve ever had. I tried making it several different ways too…regular drip, press pot, blended with a darker roast…but it always tasted the same.

If I had to pick a Lynch film to describe that gunk, I’d probably go with his bloated, big-budget disaster “Dune”. I know that sounds harsh, but, I was expecting something dark and murky, like “Twin Peaks”, but what I got was straight-up “Dune” in a cup. Only, you know…wetter.

So, if you’re on the market for a groovy collectible coffee can and “Eraserhead” coaster, by all means, order yours today! But if you’re looking for great gourmet coffee from a great filmmaker…keep on waiting.

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Trailer Thursday: “Never Let Me Go”

Thanks to a certain video clip that our friend Danielle recommended for Greta, I have been spending a lot of time on YouTube these days and…wow, there are some cool-ass movie trailers out there! So, starting today, I am going to share my favorite new movie trailers with you every Thursday. Pretty exciting, huh?

To launch this bold, new venture I’ve chosen a trailer for the upcoming Oscar-bait drama, “Never Let Me Go”. Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro — one of Christine’s favorite novelists, Ishiguro is probably most famous for writing “The Remains of the Day”“Never Let Me Go” follows three characters from childhood to young adulthood in a mildly futuristic England where human clones are “grown” to adulthood and then harvested for their parts.

Most of that stuff is hinted at in the trailer, so, I hope I’m not giving too much away, but, wow, this book absolutely floored me! Yes, Wendy, I read a book, and it was beautiful. I actually dreamt about  this one several times while reading it and even now, I am totally haunted by the strange, delicate beauty of this novel. Seriously, if you haven’t read it, amigos, you gotta check it out. Amazing…

Or, you could just wait for the movie, which, judging by this awesome trailer, seems to capture at least some of the wistfulness of the book. My only concern about the movie is that it’s directed by Mark Romanek, who is a former music video guy and that always scares me a bit.

But when you have Oscar-nominees Carey Mulligan and Kiera Knightley starring alongside the dude who will be the next “Spiderman”, and a script from “The Beach” and “28 Days Later” scribe, Alex Garland, it’d be pretty hard for Romanek to screw this one up. That said, great books become horrible movies everyday in this town — um, hello, “Atonement” anyone? — so, you never know.

Either way, this trailer rocks. So, enjoy!

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John Waters night @ the Aratani

OK, I’ll say it…last night kinda rocked. Not only did Christine manage to score my friend Arturo and myself two free tickets to a super cool John Waters reading and booksigning event downtown, but, in between the reading and the signing, Mr. Waters was interviewed onstage by none other than Princess-freaking-Leia herself…Carrie Fisher!

Waters started the night off by reading some very funny selections from his new book “Role Models”, which is his literary tribute to the people, both famous and not, who inspired him during his lifetime. And the list of inspirational people truly runs the gamut here, with legendary crooner Johnny Mathis sharing equal space with a buxom Baltimore barmaid. Awesome!

And then, the real fun started when Carrie Fisher took the stage and the two talked like the old friends they are for the rest of the night. There was a brief Q&A peppered with the usual wacky questions from the crowd — one chick asked Waters about the quality of the mussels at some dive in Baltimore! — and then all the crazy folks in the Aratani/Japan America Theatre (myself and Arturo included) got into line to get their books signed.

Unlike most booksignings I’ve been too, Waters really took his time with his fans and lemme tell ya, they ate it up. People brought him gifts of food, music, movies, you name it, it was there on the table beside him.

So, yeah, we waited in line for a long-ass time, but, wow, what a line it was. Drag queens, older gay men, younger gay men, lesbians, hipsters, Hollywood types, four very strange people in wheelchairs, two people hobbling around on broke-ass crutches, Johnny Knoxville (yep, he was there too!) and a morbidly obese one-armed woman in a halter top. I’m not kidding, amigos, that line looked like a John Waters movie come to life!

When we finally reached the amazing Mr. Waters he looked a little tired from all the craziness, but, ever the trooper, he not only signed, but, personalized both of our books, posed for individual pics with each of us and even signed my DVD copy of his film “Cecil B. Demented”. Hooray!

Now, if I could have just talked Carrie Fisher into signing the lightsaber collection in my backpack, all would truly have been right with the world…

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