Yesterday, I went to the Bay Area Book Festival over in Berkeley. I sleep drove to it, actually. I meant to take BART, our local light rail system, from one of the nearby towns to avoid parking in downtown Berkeley, but I sleep drove well past my exit. I came to in Berkeley parking ten blocks away in a no time limit parking neighborhood and walking to the book festival.
In my defense, I was up well past my bedtime Friday night. C.J. and I spent the evening in San Francisco eating at a trendy Valencia Street restaurant then seeing Heathers: The Musical. We had a great time, loved the dinner, loved the show, but the trains in and out of the city took their sweet time so we didn’t get to bed until almost one in the morning. Heathers: The Musical is based on the 1980’s cult film. Like the film it was not a big hit in its initial run but has developed a dedicated following over the years. The musical has all of our favorite lines from the movie with some wicked rock music, Broadway rock music that is, thrown in.
Here’s “Candy Store” from the original cast album recording. The lyrics are not really safe for children. The Heathers sing this song to Veronica who is having some doubts about the way the Heathers treat the other students at Westerberg High School.
The non-traditional audience ate up it all night. It was very.
I attended two panel discussions at the book festival yesterday morning, one on books for middle grade readers because Jennifer Choldenko who wrote Al Capone Does My Shirts was on it and one on the Hedgebrook retreat for women writers because Karen Joy Fowler was on it. I enjoyed both discussions, though I left when the audience question time began. I find the questions from the audience are almost always uninteresting or agenda driven, certainly in Berkeley, or both, so I always skip that portion of the show.
There were a very impressive number of panels and solo presentations at the Bay Area Book Festival–and, yes, I couldn’t get tickets for most of them. If you’re into that sort of thing, it’s well worth going to, but I doubt I’ll go again next year.
Trouble is I have found that most artists don’t have much of interest to say about their own work. This goes for all forms of art. Listening to them talk about how they paint or prepare or edit only very rarely produces something insightful. If you want to know more about a book or a body of work, the best thing to do is to read it and then to reread it. Asking the author about it isn’t all that helpful in my experience.
I would like the discussions more if they focused on books in general. I do find that many authors have interesting things to say about the work of other people. Plus, this would give the discussion a gossipy edge that would make for an entertaining round table. Who do you think is currently doing good writing and what makes it good is where I’d focus the discussion. Give me some more titles I can read.
So, I was home by one in the afternoon, basically vegging out in front of Netflix the rest of the day. I hope to do some reading this afternoon, but nothing too ambitious. There’s still one week of school to go here in California, then the summer reading can truly begin.
I’m talking a week-and-a-half’s worth of art classes this summer, but I’m hoping for lots of reading time. I’ll be taking the ferry into the city every day for two weeks which will give me lots of extra reading time. I think I can do two books a week, at least.