Downtown BookFest: A Walk in the Park

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Last week, the staff at Grand Park met with us to go over some details about the upcoming Grand Park Downtown BookFest and take us on a walk-through of the grounds. It was a beautiful day, after a stretch there that was quite cold, at least for Los Angeles.

There was a child, a little girl, playing barefoot at the fountain as her father stood watching a couple of feet away, and we joked about how we should have all the readers stand in the water like that to read their work.

Finally getting to see where we’ll be setting up our pop-up shop to present and sell books from the many local small presses and authors excited us. There are still details we need to figure out regarding the layout of the tables and how to maximize foot traffic, but overall, it’s a great area of the park, with nice grass and trees and an incline that would be a perfect spot for people to sit and listen to the readers.

When we were done with our tour, we sat there for a while in the sun. It was kind of beautiful being together for this moment of rest since we’re usually only gathered for meetings or events.

Like so many of our colleagues and friends in the city, we’ve been going pretty hard these past weeks and months. We’re all trying to juggle so many things, not only with all the different projects for Writ Large Press, but apart from each other in our respective lives.

I’ve been in the middle of a stretch where I’ll be doing about a dozen readings from now til the end of March. But I’ve had it easy.

Conrad was at home hustling to make sales and pay bills and getting ready to put on this month’s edition of Tongue & Groove, which he’s been hosting for 10 years now.

Judeth has been neck deep preparing and rehearsing (and doing a million other things) for a middle school/high school production of Wizard of Oz that she’s producing and directing (and doing a million other things) at Rolling Hills Prep.

Peter was about to go into Art Share LA to volunteer for a couple of hours before going into work his shift as manager of The Last Bookstore. Not only that, he’s currently producing too, an incredible theater project called Tree of Fire, written and directed by Jesse Bliss, a talented playwright who is married to Peter. Oh, and by the way, they’re also expecting a child.

The show is going up starting the second weekend of March (Friday, March 8, to be exact) at the Rosenthal Theater in Inner-City Arts. We had a chance to see a staged reading of the show a few months back. It’s a powerful story that takes place in a women’s prison, exposing the inhumanity and brutality of prisons. It’s definitely a must-go event.

As rewarding as all of his projects are, Peter was obviously exhausted. We all were. After a few more minutes of sitting and fading in the warm sun, we made our way over to Redwood Bar & Grill for lunch, a pirate themed bar that serves one of the best burgers in the city.

I don’t know. It’s like we are some weird publishing version of the Wu-Tang Clan, where we go off to do our solo projects, showcasing our individual talents, passions, and commitments, then returning to join forces to put out a new album as a group.

Anyway, sorry about the Wu-Tang sidetracking there. Halfway through our lunch, we got some of our energy back. We started thinking of ways we could work with Art Share LA. We discussed a possible space on Broadway near 6th Street for our HQ/Lab/think tank. We started planning our upcoming King Eddys Saloon project.

There is always so much more to do, so much more we want to do in this life. It’s good. Really good.

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About the author

Chiwan Choi

Chiwan Choi is the author of two poetry collections, The Flood and Abductions. He is also Co-Founder and Editor of Writ Large Press, a downtown Los Angeles based literary small press.

  • http://www.adeshkaur.com Adesh Kaur

    Chi, as always, you blow me away with your large grinning creative heart. I love following the adventures of you and your clan of literary chess players. Inspiring. And I'll be wandering Grand Park next Saturday appreciating you.

  • http://www.architectureawareness.com Rick Meghiddo

    People in the park is what parks are for. Thumbs up fpr March 2. If you want to expand your promotion, you may use CW's http://www.culturalweekly.com/architecture-grand-