It was marvelous to be asked to read a portion of my contribution to Paperback LA #3 (“Hey Hey They Wrote The Monkees”) at the launch party on Sunday.
Editor Susan La Tempa hosted all the local contributors at the event space in the Helms Bakery district, which gave us a chance to check out that lovely landmark. Then I had the chance to meet Lisa See – author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of 4 generations of her Chinese-American family living in Los Angeles and running a factory, an antique shop and a restaurant popular with the Hollywood crowd of the 1930s and 40s. We had first heard of her book when Doug and I were docents at the Autry Western Heritage Museum in Griffith Park and they had a whole exhibit dedicated to telling the story of the book (which it turns out Lisa curated!) It was so popular an exhibit that it hung around long enough for Joseph to be born and to become old enough to play in the little mini restaurant they set up with pots and plates and menus. So it was wonderful to hear Lisa read an excerpt from the book and then to talk to her during the book signing segment of the afternoon.
I was also deeply impressed by the way Susan opened the event with a native Tongva greeting – something I had only seen done at the public events we attended in New Zealand where everyone began events with the traditional Maori greeting where you introduce yourself in terms of what is your mountain, your river, and your ancestry. Beautiful! So hearing it in Los Angeles was a lovely idea we all ought to emulate.
Then the super cool thing was that several friends made the trip down to Culver City – thanks Duke and Dena Jackels and Dan and Liz Forer – and Euphemia – for coming to the reading, and for buying books!