Poetry, justice, rockers and romance: 6 unmissable book events this week
The upcoming week is teeming with scintillating author appearances: Gen X rockers, Korean American poet Cathy Park Hong, inclusive graphic novels and a big birthday for L.A.’s preeminent romance-novel bookstore.
As new neon-zapped skyscrapers showcase downtown’s “Bladerunner” envy and tech bros colonize the formerly funky environs of Venice, there’s a feeling that Los Angeles is losing its edge — and its most sacred endangered species: weirdos. Luckily we still have Rob Zabrecky, former front man for OG Silver Lake band Possum Dixon. His memoir, “Strange Cures,” recounts his early days palling around with Beck and Nirvana before growing older and flipping tricks at the Magic Castle. Times reporter Jessica Gelt writes that in Zabrecky’s book, “the Los Angeles of the 1980s and early ’90s is an alien landscape of raucous underground nightclubs, seedy Hollywood crack dens and low-rent Silver Lake duplexes; and the Valley is a place where errant teens roam free, sans supervision and GPS-tracking cellphones.” Zabrecky’s reading will inspire nostalgia for the heyday of Gen X, whether you lived it or not.
2 p.m. Saturday, Frances Howard Goldwyn — Hollywood Regional Library, 1623 Ivar Ave., West Hollywood. Free.
Rock, paper and printers
Bruce Licher’s Independent Project Records and Press began in 1982, creating fliers and letterpress album covers for his ethereal post-rock band Savage Republic. In the decades since, the press has produced an expansive body of work, with clients including REM, Stereolab and Camper Van Beethoven. The new book, “Savage Impressions,” features more than 1,000 images designed by Bruce and his wife Karen Nielsen Licher. The limited-edition handmade monograph will be signed by the couple at this one-day exhibition, followed by a performance of their band SR2.
4 p.m. Saturday, Arcana: Books on the Arts, 8675 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Free.
L.A. book events
While many bookstores have shuttered in the era of Amazon, an L.A. shop has found success leaning into a tastefully salacious subgenre: romance novels. The Ripped Bodice celebrates its fourth birthday in downtown Culver City, a landmark for the store founded by sisters Bea and Leah Koch. “No other genre has to defend itself as much as we do,” Leah told The Times in 2017. “Romance is hidden a lot,” said Bea, “and this store is not hiding anything.” Celebrate with the Koch duo on Sunday, and come early for an added bonus: the first 100 customers get a free swag bag.
11 a.m. Sunday, the Ripped Bodice, 3806 Main St., Culver City. Free.
Author and illustrator MariNaomi’s latest work, “Distant Stars,” wraps up her “Life on Earth” graphic series following teens who may have some supernatural encounters. In addition to her comic work, MariNaomi has worked to foster inclusivity in the cartoonist industry by curating the freelancer databases Cartoonists of Color, Queer Cartoonists, and Disabled Cartoonists. She discusses her latest effort with writer Myriam Gurba, her co-host on the Ask BiGirlz podcast, and subject of much drama surrounding her outspoken criticism of Jeanine Cummins’ book “American Dirt.”
3 p.m. Sunday, Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Free.
An overdue apology
From ages 3 to 6, John Tateishi was incarcerated at the Manzanar Japanese internment camp in the Owens Valley. In the years that followed, Tateishi fought for an official government apology for the thousands who were imprisoned during World War II. Then in late February, it happened: The California Assembly approved a formal apology to all Americans of Japanese descent for policies that culminated in their mass incarceration. Tateishi will discuss his book, “Redress: The Inside Story of the Successful Campaign for Japanese American Reparations,” with Steve Wasserman, executive director of Heyday Books and former editor of The Times Book Review.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Diesel, A Bookstore, 225 26th St., Brentwood. Free.
The best part of driving through Koreatown is the tapestry of multilingual store signs rolling past. In the motion blur of a morning commute, all the languages seem to blend into one, a kind of Angeleno language all our own. Like the Koreatown where she spent her childhood, Cathy Park Hong’s polyglot poetry provides a similar experience. “English was always borrowed, from hip-hop to Spanglish to ‘The Simpsons,’” she writes in her genre-mashing memoir “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning.” Hong discusses the book with Maggie Nelson, MacArthur-winning author of “The Argonauts.”
7 p.m. Wednesday, Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Free.
Tewksbury is a writer, editor, producer and the director of digital content at KCRW.
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