Tag Archive | bookstore

A Cupcake Zine and Maia Kobabe at Book Soup

Last Sunday was the July zine workshop at the West Los Angeles Regional Library. Last month I mentioned I was working on a new zine that I hoped to reveal soon, and this month I finished it! A Cupcake ATM Misadventure tells the true story of what happened when I tried to use the cupcake ATM at USC at this year’s LA Times Festival of Books.

From the zine workshop, Isabelle and I took the bus to Book Soup, a bookstore on Sunset Blvd. Maia Kobabe and Samuel Sattin were there to talk about their recent comic books. They were joined by their respective collaborators, Phoebe Kobabe and Ian McGinty. Maia and Samuel met as members of the guinea pig cohort in California College of the Arts’ comics MFA program. Isabelle and I had discovered Maia’s zines at Comic Arts LA in December, and I was interested in eir debut book, the graphic memoir Gender Queer.

The event was pretty intimate, and the authors seemed to know a lot of the attendees. Maia and Samuel kind of interviewed each other, with Ian and Phoebe contributing their thoughts. They discussed the genesis of their books, the comic making life (taking care of your body is important too!), time management, themes (identity, climate change, anti-capitalism), and trusting that the time you’re investing in creating art rather than, say, registering voters is still worthwhile. (Or is it? Sometimes I wonder… Sarah McCarry’s diamond-sharp expression of a certain kind of hopelessness hit home this week.)

Afterward, I asked both Maia and Phoebe to sign my copy of Gender Queer, and I gave Maia a copy of my just completed A Cupcake ATM Misadventure. By the way, this zine, with all the others, is available to be printed under Other Writing.

Summer’s End in Minnesota

At the end of my summer, which for the rest of the world is mid-to-late September, I went to Minnesota and brought Isabelle along. We visited the cats at Wild Rumpus in Linden Hills.

We stumbled upon the Highpoint Center for Printmaking on Lake Street and saw the juried print exhibition and Michael Kareken’s black-and-white watercolor monotypes of majestic forests in the Pacific Northwest.

With my brother, we visited Minneapolis’s first cat café, Café Meow! We met a very sweet cat named Oreo.

Photo by Isabelle

We saw Minnehaha Falls in its late summer glory.

We attended the second day of the 29th Annual Minnesota Sacred Harp Convention, again at The Landing, and I led 547 Granville.

On our last day, we took a walk in my neighborhood and found this:

LSA in Salt Lake City

At the beginning of January, I attended the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in Salt Lake City. It was my second LSA; my first was Minneapolis in 2014, when I was a first-year grad student. As a fifth-year grad student, I did both more (presented, had more social meals) and less (didn’t volunteer, attended fewer talks, and certainly no sister society talks). The conference was also my second visit to Utah, the first being our road trip last summer.

My plane from Los Angeles flew in past pretty snow-dusted mountains and over a big lake that I thought was the Great Salt Lake. Looking at a map later, I realized it had almost certainly been Utah Lake; the Great Salt Lake would have been much bigger. I took the train from the Salt Lake City airport to downtown. A relative had told me that all Salt Lake City geography was structured around the Temple, and it was true! As I rode east, I saw through the train window the Madina Masjid, next door to the Pentecostals of Salt Lake.

The LSA was being held at the Grand America Hotel; the student rate rooms were across the street in the Little America (appropriate, eh?). I checked into the room I was sharing with my co-presenter and discovered that despite its younger sibling name, the Little America was probably the fanciest hotel I had ever stayed in. I headed over to the Grand America to register, spotted some familiar faces (as linguistics is a small field, the LSA feels like a family reunion), decided not to go to anything that evening, and set out in search of some dinner. I figured if I walked north into downtown I would stumble upon something.

Indeed, after walking for several blocks I noticed a sandwich board on the sidewalk advertising Curry n’ Kabobs, Indian/Afghan cuisine. I glanced through the door the arrow was pointing at and saw a restaurant counter at the back of a convenience store. This sounded perfect. But just ahead was Eborn Books, the used bookstore I’d glimpsed from the train coming in. I decided to check it out before eating.

Visiting local bookstores during conferences is becoming a habit. There was Caveat Emptor in Bloomington, IN, the Strand in New York City… Eborn Books was delightful: a quirky, labyrinthine shop stuffed with books. A sign over one doorway read: “Welcome to What We Call ‘The Ugly Room,'” which included self-help, politics, and religion. A sign pointed in one direction for LDS books while another pointed in the opposite direction for anti-LDS books. In the foreign languages section, I found a French book on given names, quite similar to one I bought at a used book market in Paris years ago, which said, of Eleanor (Éléonore): “Perhaps no other first name fascinates as much…” (clunky translation by me).

I wished I could have lingered longer in Eborn Books, but I had things to prepare that evening, so I left and went next door to order takeout. The man behind the counter was very nice and friendly, and I took an order of Afghan mantu and a mango lassi back to the Little America. They were delicious.

The LSA is an enormous conference (for our field), and I had resolved not to try to do too much. My poster was in the Friday morning session, and I gave a joint talk on Saturday afternoon as big snowflakes fell gently outside. On Saturday evening, we had a Swarthmore linguists dinner at a Nepali restaurant. There were six of us alumni, including my friend Andrew, from the classes of 2007 through 2016, and also a former Swarthmore professor who taught me semantics and typology/conlanging and also helped me navigate getting into grad school. There are a lot of young Swarthmore alumni in linguistics Ph.D. programs across the country; there were more at the LSA who couldn’t make the dinner.

On Sunday, I had lunch with Andrew and then squeezed in a last bit of sightseeing. First, I went to the public library, a five-story building with glass walls on one side that funnily enough hosted a linguistics conference (that I did not attend) a couple of years ago. The rooftop terrace was closed, to my chagrin, since I’d hoped to take pictures of the mountains from there. Still, it was a beautiful, very modern library, and there was a mobile in the atrium that consisted of many small blue book/butterflies suspended from threads that together formed a child’s head (I think). There was also a little boutique that sold vintage Utah postcards, stationery, and literary gifts.

Finally, on my way to the airport, I stopped in Temple Square and walked around. A young woman asked me if I’d like to go into the Tabernacle for the organ concert, but alas, I didn’t have time.

The Assembly Hall

The Mormon Temple

Downtown Salt Lake City had been bright and sunny, but the airport was plunged in thick fog. It created travel problems for other linguists, but I was lucky, and my flight departed. We flew out of the fog very quickly, and below, the mountaintops looked like islands in a milky ocean.

A Night Heron in Central Park

First off, 中秋節快樂! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! I can’t believe I only discovered my (new) favorite Chinese bakery in LA Chinatown in what might be my last year here.

In mid-September, I went to New York City to present at the Annual Meeting on Phonology. Shortly before my trip, I realized it would be my first time on the East Coast since I graduated from Swarthmore, which seemed unbelievable. It was my first time in New York City (not counting layovers) since the fall of 2008. I stayed on the Upper West Side with a family friend, her son, and their two cats. It was a weekend filled with meetings and reunions with linguists and friends from Swarthmore, the intersection of which is not insignificant.

But first, on Friday morning, I met my agent in person for the first time! I figured I should take advantage of being in the capital of the publishing industry. I got to visit Writers House and see where all my e-mails, manuscripts, and envelopes go.

After meeting my agent, I had lunch with my friend Eugenia, who had also studied linguistics (and folk danced!) at Swarthmore. We had taken a translation workshop together, and she’s now a professional freelance translator. We correspond by snail mail and had discovered we’d be in New York City the same weekend (neither of us lives on the East Coast), and luckily our schedules aligned.

I finally made my way to NYU, where my conference was being held. There I found my friend Chris, another Swarthmore linguist (and shape note singer, surprise, surprise), now at Yale, whom I hadn’t seen since I’d graduated. Chris and I had taken Field Methods together. We were both glad to see each other again.

The conference was great. I ran into many graduate students from other schools whom I’d met when we were prospective students together, or when I’d hosted them when they’d visited UCLA, or at past conferences. It’s always nice to see friendly faces and have a chance to catch up in person. I also saw (and sometimes even spoke to!) Famous Linguists (often East Coast ones) I hadn’t met before. There were interesting talks and posters.

On Saturday evening, after the conference reception, I discovered completely serendipitously that my friend Leland, yet another Swarthmore linguist, now at UMass Amherst, was also in New York City. The conference was crawling with his colleagues, but I had had no expectation that he would be attending (and indeed he was in New York for entirely unrelated reasons). We made plans to meet up on Sunday.

I gave my talk on Sunday morning, I think to my largest conference audience ever, and after catching up with another fellow grad student over slices of pizza in Washington Square Park, I headed to the Strand to meet Leland.

I had never been to the Strand before, and I was duly impressed. Leland and I wandered very slowly through the SFF section, half catching up, half discussing books. Then we nipped up to Children’s for a bit before returning downstairs to pick up the books we wanted to buy. I got Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning, which I am currently reading and enjoying (lots of worldbuilding to sink my teeth into).

After leaving the Strand, we almost slipped into the Organ Meditation at Grace Church, then changed our minds and just went to get ice cream.

On Monday morning, before I had to head to the airport, I took a walk in Central Park. I chose trails somewhat at random in the Ramble and eventually hit the lake, where I witnessed this charming tableau:

Ducks and turtles living in harmony!

I’d been focused entirely on the reptiles and waterfowl on the submerged rock, but suddenly something in the tree on shore beside me caught my eye. For a moment, I thought a duck was perched in the tree; this struck me as unusual, and I wanted to take a picture. But then I realized it was not a duck but something far more interesting!

The bird’s shape reminded me of a night heron, but its plumage was totally different from that of the black-crowned night herons I’d seen in Minnesota. I didn’t figure it out until I got back to Los Angeles, but I think this is a black-crowned night heron–just a female one! Anyway, I stared at the poor bird for a long time and kept trying, mostly in vain, to take a decent picture of her. I think she was watching me too.

YALLWEST 2017

This past Saturday was YALLWEST, a massive YA book festival held at Santa Monica High School. I went last year and had a great time seeing tons of authors I admire on panels. This year, Isabelle and I went together. I had two authors I wanted to get books signed by and a whole itinerary of panels planned out.

The first thing I did upon arriving at the festival was to buy Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. I had already read (and loved) both books, and both authors have more recent books, but those were the ones I wanted signed. From the Mysterious Galaxy bookselling tent, we went straight to the signing line for Benjamin Alire Sáenz. And after I got my book signed, we started the panel marathon.

Kingdoms & Quests: Epic Fantasy Roadtrips

S. Jae-Jones (moderator) [I’ve read her posts and podcast notes on PubCrawl–I think she’s into baby seals too!], Roshani Chokshi, Jessica Cluess, Heidi Heilig [a hapa author whom I saw at AWP and whose The Girl from Everywhere I’ve read], Linda Sue Park, and Erin Summerill

  • Jessica Cluess introduced herself as a Gryffindor while acknowledging that “it’s more posh to be Slytherin these days” (judging by the audience’s relative enthusiasm for the four houses, we Ravenclaws were the most numerous).
  • Erin Summerill said that after she creates a map of her world, she chooses the bleakest place on the map for the story’s setting.
  • It sounds like Linda Sue Park has a new book in the works about a hapa dragon (my term)!
  • Jessica Cluess told an anecdote that left me quite dismayed: Her fantasy novels have a Victorian setting, and so she once wrote in a manuscript that the characters danced a mazurka. She said her editor, who normally asks questions in the margins or makes gentle suggestions, simply crossed out “mazurka.” Later in a phone call, Jessica Cluess asked her editor offhand why she’d done that, and her editor said, “No one cares about the mazurka!” My jaw may have dropped, and Isabelle patted me consolingly on the shoulder. See, I learned the mazurka at bals folks in Grenoble and am rather fond of the dance. Plus the characters in my current project actually do dance the mazurka (under a different name). Now it’s my mission to make sure the mazurka makes it to the final draft!

Yallcraft: So You’re Thinking of Writing a Series?

Traci Chee (moderator) [I read her novel The Reader, which is also on the hapa book list!], Kasie West, Evelyn Skye, and Lindsay Cummings

  • I didn’t take a lot of notes at this one, but I remember the authors discussing whether they knew in advance which characters would die in the series or whether they impulsively decided to kill characters along the way.

Writ Large: Myths, Folk Tales, and Modern Retellings

Zoraida Cordova (moderator), Megan Whalen Turner, Wendy Spinale, Cecil Castelluci, Natalie C. Parker, Tracey Baptiste, and F.C. Yee

  • I may have been following Megan Whalen Turner throughout YALLFEST… This panel and the previous one were both in Santa Monica High School’s Gallery, and behind the panelists’ chairs were these two big boards covered with fan art for various books. Isabelle and I had already taken a look during the break between panels. One of the pieces was a portrait of the Queen of Eddis from Megan Whalen Turner’s books. As the authors began to arrive, I thought I recognized MWT, but I knew for sure when she went to examine the fan art and exclaimed, “This is from my book!”
  • Megan Whalen Turner talked about how wonderful it is that we still read about friendships in stories written hundreds and even thousands of years ago. She mentioned the Epic of Gilgamesh, and at the time I thought she said “romance” (and I wondered what romance she was referring to), but Isabelle later told me she’d said “bromance.” Anyway, the enduring power of literary friendships is beautiful.

After this panel, it was Megan Whalen Turner’s hour in the signing area, so Isabelle and I went to get in line. The woman behind us engaged us in conversation for a bit; she was an MWT fan on another level. She seemed to know that there would be a sixth book in the series, another one after Thick As Thieves, which hasn’t quite come out yet! When it was my turn to have my book signed, I managed to tell Megan Whalen Turner how I’d come to read her books and that The Queen of Attolia had blown me away.

Writing the Resistance: World Building IRL

Daniel José Older (moderator) [I seem to go to a lot of his panels–witness AWP!] , Marie Marquardt, Victoria Aveyard, Angie Thomas [she burst onto the scene with The Hate U Give, which I hope to read very soon], Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and Sona Charaipotra

  • Daniel José Older had apparently managed to get through his morning keynote with Cassandra Clare without swearing once, so he opened this panel with, “If you don’t like swearing, just leave now.”
  • A lot of this panel was what you’d expect from the title. A lot of it was also Benjamin Alire Sáenz being jaw-droppingly eloquent about his ideals and what it is we do when we write. Also, when an audience member asked the panelists if they’d ever been criticized by their own communities for the way they’d written about them, he said, after acknowledging that he had received such criticism, “I’m not afraid to be criticized. I’m not afraid of anything.”
  • The guy sitting next to me asked the panelists if they’d ever considered writing utopian fiction, as opposed to dystopian fiction, and their general reaction was: What would be the point? Where’s the conflict? But I kept thinking of Neal Shusterman’s Scythe (which, for the record, I have not read). Perhaps that’s an example of a utopia that has its dark side (after all, doesn’t The Giver start out utopian?). I also wondered about something else, though. Isn’t one of the great things about speculative fiction supposed to be that it can show us possible futures that are better than our present? There’s still conflict, of course, but set against an optimistic backdrop.

Fantasyish: The Role of Fantasy in the New Surreality of 2017

Alex London (moderator), Cassandra Clare, Danielle Paige, Daniel José Older, Megan Whalen Turner, and Zoraida Cordova

  • By now you may be able to tell which authors I was stalking.
  • Alex London opened the panel with a longish quote from Ursula K. LeGuin and then said, “Now be smarter than Ursula LeGuin.” Megan Whalen Turner joked that they could be done now.
  • MWT remarked that “we don’t often talk about the roots of conflict [i.e. war] in our fantasy for children.” And she also said that none of the people in her world are happy to take on responsibilities, but, for instance, Sophos, in A Conspiracy of Kings, reaches a point where he realizes he can’t make the decision he wants to, and he steps up. I pondered this because I’ve been interested in writing characters who choose duty over other things. Such as love.
  • Daniel José Older wondered aloud how fantasy writers can tell the truth while still giving people a happy place to go to.
  • MWT talked about reading the Chronicles of Narnia when she was six and never having grown out of the desire to check the back of the wardrobe (I like to think I haven’t either).

Ask Me Anything: The LGBTQIA+ Edition

Sam Maggs (moderator), Jeramey Kraatz, John Corey Whaley [I loved his Where Things Come Back–I think I said so last year too], Adam Silvera [I read his More Happy Than Not, and during this panel I think I learned that we’re the same age], Natalie C. Parker, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and CB Lee

  • I’ll just sum this one up in one quote. Sam Maggs: “I’m from Canada, where everyone is 30% gay.” To which someone responded, “That’s why they’re so nice.”

After the last panel, Isabelle and I decided to visit Small World Books in Venice because in addition to being YALLWEST Saturday was Independent Bookstore Day. We walked along the beach to get there, skirting sand castles and watching adorable sandpipers chase the retreating waves. We even stumbled upon a bizarre, pulsing, pink, translucent creature that was sort of shaped like a shell but decidedly gelatinous. Later research suggested it might have been a burrowing sea cucumber. At Small World Books, the bookseller behind the counter indulged us by showing us the timid new bookstore cat. The shop is really lovely and has a nice selection; there was a display of Hugo and Nebula nominees, and I picked up Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit. We lingered until closing.

Adventures and African Linguistics in Bloomington

For the third year running, I spent the end of my spring break at the Annual Conference on African Linguistics, which was held at Indiana University in Bloomington this year (previously I’d gone to the University of Oregon and Berkeley). Leading up to my trip, I was unknowingly checking the weather for Bloomington, Idaho instead of Bloomington, Indiana, so I was excited to potentially see some snowflakes until I realized my mistake. It did not snow in Indiana (it hailed!), but I did get a dose of proper spring: daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, irises, grape hyacinth, redbud, forsythia, all manner of other flowering trees, and burgundy peony shoots, against a backdrop of mostly leafless trees and mostly gray skies. Plus robins and cardinals!

By now, ACAL feels a bit like a reunion. I gave a talk on tonal alternations in compounds in Efik, a language of southeastern Nigeria I worked on in my second round of Field Methods at UCLA. I also went to several talks that at least touched on Maragoli, my first UCLA Field Methods language and the language I presented on at my last two ACALs. There’s always such an interesting variety of talks at this conference, from “Common Plant Names in South Nilotic Akie” to “Monsters in Dhaasanac and Somali” (where monster is a technical term). There are also always wonderful examples and glosses; for instance, I learned that in Maniŋgaxaŋ (if I got the name of the language right) the compound formed by the words ‘tapeworm’ and ‘person’ means ‘public nuisance.’

I also took the time to explore Bloomington. I didn’t arrive with any expectations, but it turned out to be a lovely college town with nice coffeeshops, interesting cuisine (I had kham amdo thugpa, a Tibetan stew with homemade noodles, and lahmacun at various conference meals), and, best of all, bookstores! On Saturday morning, after the plenary on Luyia tone, I set out on my bookcentric itinerary. I first took a look in the university bookstore. Then I started walking west toward downtown. I stopped at the Monroe County Public Library, which turned out to be having a book sale! There was quite a large selection of former library books. I found some old, probably out-of-print children’s books and some French works, but I didn’t buy anything.

In the middle of downtown Bloomington is a square in the middle of which sits the handsome county courthouse. On the first morning of the conference, when two of my UCLA colleagues and I walked to campus, I’d noticed two bookstores within a few doors of each other on the eastern side of this square and made a mental note to return. After the library book sale, though, I first checked out the farmers market we’d seen from a distance on our way in on Saturday morning.

It was April 1st, and it may have been the first market of the season. I was surprised by the number of produce vendors. There were potatoes, fennel, mustard greens, and other vegetables, as well as eggs, meats, goat cheese, soaps, seedlings, cut flowers, and pussywillow branches! A guitar/fiddle duo was playing old-time tunes at the edge of the market. Their instruments were attached by strings to two free-standing puppets that were also playing the guitar and the fiddle, respectively, so that when the musicians played the puppets played too. In the other section of the market, there were vendors selling beer, kombucha, tacos, pizza, coffee, and pastries. And nearby there was a man with a large red, blue, and green parrot.

I returned to the courthouse square and walked first into Caveat Emptor: Used and Rare Books. It reminded me a little of Alias Books, but it was bigger. Behind the deceptively small storefront was a very deep shop. The lefthand wall was covered in bookshelves from floor to ceiling, with several rolling ladders for reaching the upper shelves. The selection was huge, with sections for everything from botany to women’s studies. I lingered over the Francophone African literature before moving on to the back of the store, where there were half a dozen or more small rooms housing children’s books, poetry, drama, science fiction and fantasy, psychology, foreign languages, and so on.

Caveat Emptor

Making my way back to the front of the shop, I found the music section. There were miniature scores of orchestral and choral works of the kind I used to shelve at the Swarthmore music library. And on the floor there were a few crates of music, which I started to go through with some care. I eventually found David Popper’s “Wie einst in schöner’n Tagen”, a piece I have played and may or may not already have the music to somewhere. This version was printed on two pieces of paper glued in a flimsy brown paper folder. I also found two short collections of cello sonatas, one by Handel and one by Loeillet, who I think must be a French Baroque composer, although I’ve never heard of him. I took all these to the counter and asked how much they were. The bookseller thought the Popper was something I had brought in myself, not something I’d found in his shop. He gave me both sets of sonatas for the price marked in the Handel and the brown paper Popper for free! I must say one thing I like about used bookstores is they tend to have at least some sheet music tucked away somewhere.

I had spent more time at Caveat Emptor than I’d intended, but I still walked down the street to the Book Corner and took a look. I think by then my book browsing hunger was sated, though, and I didn’t stay very long.

Saturday evening was the conference banquet. It’s traditional to have some sort of African food and music at the ACAL banquet, but this year we’d heard there would be neither. Instead, there was soul food. And the music… When I walked in, I saw on the little stage at the far end of the room a man sitting on a chair with a hurdy-gurdy. I almost exploded with happiness. (My love of hurdy-gurdies should by now be well-known.) And then a second musician joined him with…bagpipes! It made my day. Actually, it probably made my conference. One of the conference co-organizers, who I knew from previous ACALs, told me that the piper was a professor in the linguistics department and the hurdy-gurdy player was from another department. They played on and off during the early part of the banquet; the piper played Samhradh, Samhradh, which it took me a few minutes to recognize and which I’d never heard outside this recording. It was lovely. The musicians left relatively early, though, so there was no dancing, as there usually is at ACAL. I for one didn’t mind.

On the last morning of the conference, as I was walking from one session to the next, I caught sight of a little cemetery through the windows of Indiana Memorial Union. The building was something of a labyrinth, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find the cemetery outside, but then I studied the building map and figured it out. So after the conference had ended, I went exploring. I found Beck Chapel and, finding the door unlocked, stepped inside. It was pretty, mostly light wood with a small pipe organ. In the chapel yard, there were three markers commemorating the February 10th, 1942 planting of three trees respectively representing Catholicism, Judaism, and Protestantism. Only the tree representing Judaism remained, however; the other two markers stood at the foot of tree stumps. The cemetery was beside the chapel, but it was surrounded by a low stone wall, and the gate was closed, so I did not try to enter.

BUSted!

On Sunday evening Isabelle and I went to BUSted!’s Third Anniversary at Stories Books and Café in Echo Park. BUSted! is a monthly storytelling show featuring “True Stories About Getting Around LA Told By People Who Don’t Drive.” It seemed like the perfect event for us, since we fall into the category of people who navigate Los Angeles without a car, plus we exchange stories of our weird encounters in LA, a rather startling number of which have taken place on buses or at bus stops.

We in fact had a little mishap attempting to get on the same bus to go to Echo Park, but all’s well that ends well: we ended up on the same 4, and though we arrived a little late, we hadn’t missed any of the stories. Stories Books and Café is another LA bookstore I’d wanted to visit for a while (like The Last Bookstore and Skylight Books), and now I’ve checked it off my list. It’s a long, narrow bookstore with a café in the back and a patio beyond; the show was on the patio.

BUSted! is hosted by Scott Schultz, who introduced each of the featured storytellers. Most of the stories were actually about bizarre experiences riding the bus, though there was some almost virulent anti-car spoken word and a reflection on how driving turns us into our worst selves while riding the bus inspires us to write poetry, among other things. Our favorite story was the one told by Horace, about (not) witnessing a crime on a bus and being rewarded for not telling the police anything with an invitation to what turned out to be a crack house. After the featured storytellers, members of the audience, both known and unknown to the host, got up to share stories, some of which were more to my taste than others. As I listened, I decided that some of my bus (stop) stories actually were good enough to share, were I the type to relate anecdotes to an audience of strangers. And I also found myself wondering what buses these people were riding (sometimes they would name the route, and sometimes they were routes I take!) because had never seen all these guns and drugs and whatnot. So much the better.

Between the two of us, Isabelle and I recognized two people in the audience from Alias Books. And one of them might have recognized us? The world can be small, even in Los Angeles.

After the storytelling, the Matthew Teardrop Orchestra performed. Their lead singer (Matthew Teardrop?) told some bus stories of his own while the sound equipment was getting set up. In one of them, he missed his stop because the back door didn’t open, possibly because no one had actually requested the stop (though people did get on and off). It was a long way to the next stop because it was an express bus, and Matthew was on crutches at the time, so he asked the bus driver if he’d just let him off between stops. The driver refused. Matthew acted like he was going to light a cigarette so the driver would have to kick him off the bus. The driver threatened to call the sheriff.

The music was nice (there was a violin!), and after the band’s set, the BUSted! host told one more bus story, about two guys who were spraying down seats with bug spray because they were convinced they’d gotten bedbugs from the last bus they’d ridden on.

After the show, we went back into the bookstore and browsed for a long while. Stories is small, but it has a nice selection. Eventually, we left to catch the 704 back to the Westside, and who should we meet at the bus stop but Scott the host and four other storytellers. Of course everybody was catching the bus. The host thanked us for coming and asked how we’d heard about the show; evidently we were recognizably new faces in the audience. Then the 704 came, and we went home without any BUSted!-worthy incidents.