I’m safely back in Maine, unpacked, and should be doing my book fair follow-up–but wanted to get this post up while things are relatively fresh (and as I promised to get some of these images up as soon as I was east). In brief: it was a really great trip. The selling was strong (our best CA adventure to date), the buying was strong (picked up some outstanding material in a number of areas…most of which I hope will finds new homes during the NYC fair in April), and I had a great time catching up with friends (who all live too far away) and meeting new humans.
Pasadena was, as previously mentioned, a great “new” show. There has not been a ‘shadow show’ to the San Fran ABAA fair in a number of years and it was great to have it return (when you are shipping 500 pounds of books across the country, two shows in two weekends is pleasingly efficient). Better yet, the show was at the same venue where next year’s LA ABAA Book Fair will be held. While it is nice to allow dealers to get a sense of the new location, the real value is in letting those in SoCal get the venue on their radar screens. If the turnout for this show is any indication, next year’s event should be outstanding. We had steady crowds for both days…and interested & buying crowds at that. Lovely. This leg of the trip was made extra-special-fun as I stayed with Brad and Jen (The Book Shop) and their two ridgebacks. Don’t miss their shop if/when you are traveling through SoCal. They were wonderful (as always) [now I just need to coax them to the east coast to reciprocate]. The only miss was that Xeni and I failed to find time to meet (though the reason will, I hope, turn out smashingly well…we shall see)-she did, however, make my mom very happy.
I headed to the LAX at 3am to catch a flight to SFO. I had a lovely nap on the plane, having paid the $20 to upgrade to First Class (I checked two bags, which would have cost $50, so the FC upgrade (and free bags) had an incremental cost of $20. Woot!). BART delivered me to Berkeley in time for the first session at CODEX. The presentations were generally very good and interesting (though a handful of speakers did not seem comfortable speaking before crowds). The book fair was absolutely amazing. I caught up with old friends and, better still, met a number of remarkable young fine press(wo)men.
I was especially pleased to meet Didier Mutel. I have had a few people tell over the past year or so that I really needed to meet him for one reason or another and I’m pleased to say that they were so very right. A brilliant, young(ish…as in my age) printer, Didier has done some remarkable work and I can not wait to see what else will emerge from the press. His work runs the gamut from extremely fine, delicate work to the brilliantly [and quickly] executed My Way [part of Didier's Acid Brut project]. This last, I think, is a great way to de-mystify “fine press” printing for new/young collectors. Each of the 10 abstract prints in the collection go from polished copper plate to first print in the 3 minutes and 56 seconds it takes Sid Vicious to sing My Way (via fire, explosives, and acid):
CODEX finished Wed just in time for Thur.’s set-up in SanFran for the “Largest Book Fair in the World”…and it really is. Drop off went smoothly (and in my absence, as I was cab-bound on the Bay Bridge-thanks again to Brad, Kent, and Josh who made the LA-SF overland journey). Setup started at 12 noon and ran until 7pm…and again Fri. from 8am until the opening at 3pm–this was good, as I needed far more of this time than I rationally should have required. In my defense, I was setting up alone. Admittedly, it would have taken me about as long with assistance. Pathetic, really.
For those who have not attended this fair, it is held in an old railway terminal, about 3-4 times longer than it is wide and we fill the entire block-long length. Even if you attend all three days, you have to be a bit selective in who you visit. You can almost suffer bibliophilic overload. We had a nice, central location and opened up two 15 foot booths into a very inviting 30 foot booth (with lots of area to flow in and out and-more importantly-not let people feel trapped). We shared the space with Sunday and Josh (B&B Rare Books) and Matt (Raptis Rare Books) and were across the aisle from the ever-covet-worthy Bill Reese. The fair had steady and engaged crowds all three day and the majority of people seemed really pleased with both the buying and selling. Personally, we had our best SF show (admittedly, of a small number-all post crash) and bought some great material, too (special thanks to Adam and Kate (Division Leap)). Simply put, it was a great fair.
The food, throughout, was amazing and shared with many people of whom I’m extremely fond. It is hard to have a bad time under such circumstances. Especially nice meals were had at Vanessa’s Bistro, Chez Panisse, Zuni Cafe, and Fang. Somehow I even managed to loose a few pounds…don’t ask, I’ve no idea. Now to continue the downward spiral until the NY ABAA fair in April. I’ll leave you with a smattering of images from the final days of the trip. Enjoy.