On Vermont Boulevard, just south of Griffith Park, sits a bulwark of free thought and creativity called Skylight Book Store. It is the pulsing heartbeat of a great L.A. neighborhood; a vital organ of the community - and by gosh, the community knows it.
I met the owner, Kerry Slattery, last fall when I attended a gala opening of the store's spiffy new annex. Screwing up my courage, I pressed a copy of my book into her hands and introduced myself. Recognition lit her eyes and she graciously thanked me for the book, and said I could email her and ask for an event date!
I decided to throw myself a birthday party for my 73rd birthday on March 1st. That was cool with her.
The big event:
A goodly crowd gathered.
These were, as promised, cakes and ale..
The manager, Steven Salardino, and lovely sidekick, Kelly were amazing. They completely rearranged the interior of the store; setting up
chairs, table for "cakes and ale" (ok - Victor Bene's Bakery cookies - but they're boss
cookies), arranging a chair and table for book signing, and a chair for my pal Libbie Jo Snyder to entertain us with her fantabuous jazz/classical flute selections --- all within a half hour! My jaw was on the floor.
Once the crowd gathered, had their cakes and ale in hand, and found places to sit, Kelly said it was time to start and introduced me.
But I didn't want to start the reading until my 85-year-old buddy, Joyce arrived.
She has been my sounding board and booster from the start of my literary life.
I met her in the 70s when she was "the orchestra" for husband John's, improve group, War Babies.
As soon as she was settled comfortably, I launched into one of my favorite chapters, The Journey of the Dorabelladonna. That's the one that chronicles my trip from Maine to California in a 30-foot-long derelict school bus with a smokestack sticking out the back.
Then I signed books.
And book marks.
And really old pictures.
Then I just schmoozed with old friends and new.
Husband John took the pictures seen here.
All you guys who were taking pictures and said you'd email me copies...???
I haven't received any yet! Remember - the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org