by Chiwan Choi
A big and exciting opportunity has landed on our laps. We will be setting up and operating an all day pop-up bookshop at Grand Park in downtown LA during their planned books and literacy festival. There is great potential here, not only for the event itself, but for us as a press and for LA Writ Large. There are also a couple of big challenges.
Our good friends (and member of The Cartel) at Kaya Press have a book release coming up. Magnetic Refrain is the debut poetry collection from Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut. It’s on Saturday, February 9, 3PM, at The Last Bookstore. If you’re in LA, you should all come on out. Writ Large Press is doing our part in assisting the event, with Peter handling the logistics at the bookstore and for the after party, while I will be introducing Lee Herrick, the co-headlining poet who will be reading from his new (and second) book, Gardening Secrets of the Dead.
So now, back to our Grand Park Pop-Up.
For those of you haven’t been to it yet, Grand Park is a beautiful park that spans multiple blocks between the Music Center and City Hall. There’s a spectacular fountain and unlike Pershing Square, a lot of useful grass area. (The only thing I don’t like about the park are the garish pink furniture. Good god. I am told it was made that color to deter theft. I can’t argue.)
When the park decided to hold a day-long book festival there, it reached out to The Last Bookstore to set up tent/table and sell books for the day. This led to our involvement in this. The Last Bookstore will bring out used books for sale and we will take care of new books from local small presses and writers. This will be the first event under the banner of LA Writ Large. Hopefully, the festival will be a success and that our involvement in it will grow beyond running a pop-up store and we will help shape the direction of the entire festival.
Unfortunately, the festival is right around the corner. It’s set for Saturday, March 2, 2013. So we are in scramble mode.
Also, the space we have been given to sell books is 2000 square feet. Two. Thousand. I mean, we are glad it’s not just some tiny table and an umbrella, but that’s a ridiculous amount of space to fill with books!
The last bit of challenge is that, as is often the case with first attempts, it’s not clear what exactly the festival is supposed to be. We know that the morning part of the day will be dedicated to children’s authors and activities. We know they want a marketplace area where vendors and literary organizations can promote themselves and interact with the crowd. But other than that, we are not sure. This is not a bad thing necessarily, but it adds to the chaotic and rushed feeling.
We will be contacting small presses this week about participating, bringing books and possibly readers, using the list that Kaya Press put together last year for their Smokin’ Hot Indie Lit Lounge. Although we won’t be allowed to use amplifiers (that’s only for performances on the main stage), we will have chairs and couches and make a nice area to hold unplugged readings.
I think it’s going to be a great day. We will sell a lot of books for our fellow publishers and writers and in the process, learn new things to apply to our future projects. And most importantly for us, LA Writ Large will be introduced to the world.