Sunday, April 29, 2007
Bookworms of the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area Unite!
Now, I've attended the Festival for pretty much every year since my UCLA days; however, I decided that the usual day of shady Westwood parking garage nightmares followed by bookish shopping and slumber followed by more shady Westwood parking garage nightmares wouldn't quite pass muster this year.
Therefore, I astutely went on Ticketmaster the week before and reserved admission for three author panels, an act which gave me a slight feeling of mature responsibility(Thanks Ticketmaster), a feeling which promptly evaporated when I realized in medias res the realization that author panels, unlike UCLA basketball games or the Long Beach Grand Prix, are basically starving for people to attend, so I would have easily gotten in anyhow. Also, people who attend book events are incredibly-punctual and generally-polite, so forget about people "rushing" the door, etc.
The first panel was alliteratively-titled "The Sands of Strife: The Middle East," and it happened to feature Mark Berman, the author of Black Hawk Down, who was simultaneously both the most-famous and least-interesting of the four panelists. The other panelists, whose names now escape me, managed to engage the audience both through witty anecdotes and, also, through dissing the Bush decision to commence the Iraq War.
Unfortunately, a group named the Democratic Revolutionary Communist Party hijacked the Q&A afterward, so my question about the future of Arab media in forwarding democracy went unheard amid denunciations of the capitalist status quo in the United States and exhortations to vote for somebody named Bob Avakian as President of the United States.
Speaking of politics, the ever-prescient Gore Vidal remains a great speaker, although at his age, it's more about applauding him for a life's work than for caring about whatever he's writing now. There is something of a last hurrah feel to seeing the author of "Myra Breckonridge" and "Lincoln" taking the Bush administration to task.
Alas, Gore, we shall not see the likes of you again.