The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is an outstanding springtime ritual. Every April, authors, booksellers, readers (and, sometimes, a Meandering Mouse) come together on the splendid campus of UCLA to celebrate the joy of the written word. We listen to writers discuss their books and craft, buy out-of-the-way books from rare and independent booksellers that we would never have found otherwise, eat iced lemonade at the top of Janss Steps…
Not in 2011, we don’t.
It seems an earwig has crawled into the ear of the LAT which is telling it wrong things.
The Festival of Books will not take place at UCLA this year. Instead, it’s going to be at…wait for it, I’m trying to write this without headbutting the keyboard…USC. (At least there’s no earwig telling me wrong things, because I’ve resisted the temptation to forget the caps shift and type “usc”.)
According to the “official” explanation, “The move allows for increased attendance due to USC's central location, proximity to public transportation, abundant parking and newly enhanced campus facilities.”
Wasn’t Westwood “central” enough? How many buses stop at UCLA? (Nineteen, from seven different bus lines.) Weren’t these facilities good enough???
Can USC offer the experience of climbing towards the sky via Janss Steps?
How about these benches, perfect for sitting a spell and browsing through your purchases?
Or going into the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden and looking up, way up, at Gaston LaChaise’s “Standing Woman”?
And Deborah Butterfield's "Pensive" horse has far more character than that Trojan horse:
When you step off the campus of UCLA, you enter the charming town of Westwood. What happens when you step off the USC campus? You’re in the south part of downtown L.A…where the houses have bars on the windows .
I had been thinking about going back to the FoB this year. (The last time I went was in 2008.) But now…it’s not looking like a good idea. (As if Two Dogs would even let me go to downtown L.A. by myself.)
I’m bummed. I feel that something special has been taken away from me, and there’s no place to shout at about it…except this blog. Of course, why can’t I visit the UCLA campus without the lure of the FoB? (It still has an excellent student bookstore.) Beats spending one bitty penny at u…um, USC.
Good luck with this year’s FoB, LAT. Remember, if this USC experiment doesn’t work out, you still have a home in Westwood.
All photos taken at the 2008 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA by Jennie Brown Hakim, except the one of the bottom of Janss Steps, which is courtesy of Wikipedia.