Articles About LitFest Pasadena 2012
Altadena novelist Michelle Huneven on the writing life and LitFest Pasadena
Book It: LitFest Pasadena, May 12th
Cookbooks Panel at LitFest Pasadena
Daina Beth Solomon
Tabula Rasa: Book festival could write new chapter in city’s literary history.
By Patt Diroll
Aside from Jan and Dean’s iconic “Little Old Lady From Pasadena,” Pasadena is famous for its parades, orchestras, museums, and the foremost institution of higher learning in the world. But what it doesn’t have is a major book festival. Now, at last, three local illuminati have set out to change all that. A few months back, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jonathan Gold, author Jervey Tervalon, and Star-News Public Editor Larry Wilson – aided and abetted by Hizzonner Bill Bogaard – convened to hatch a plan for “LitFest,” aka our own literary powwow.
The date has been set for March 17, in Pasadena’s Central Park. “And it ain’t gonna’ be your grandmother’s book club,” Wilson told more than 100 supporters who turned out for “Singing the Bawdy Electric,” a kick-off bash and erotic poetry reading held at Castle Green last month. “People will take their clothes off,” he said. “LitFest is going to be way more Doo-Dah and Burning Man than that other festival of books, and it isn’t going to be boring. There will be lots of drinking, eating, and – if Jervey has his way – a plethora of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and sex . . . not in the park, of course, but someplace.”
“Some of us have become writers to get out of work,” Wilson noted in introducing the program, which showcased two local bards: former PCC Prof Ron Koertge who recited Andrew Marvell’s old standard, “To His Coy Mistress” and Gold who read his own work, “Fallen Fruit,” a somewhat salacious ode to Zubaran’s “Still Life with Lemons and Oranges.” All this was accompanied (God knows why) by a gaggle of gyrating, stark-naked nymphs including one who sawed away on a violin. The scenario was redolent of the whacko primavera bacchanals of yesteryear hosted by the late Bohemian bon vivant, Jirayr Zorthian. Wilson reports that the “unveiling” party raised $14,000, and backing has already come from Koertge, Adelaide Hixon, Pasadena Arts Council, Mary Blodgett, Pasadena Community Foundation, Mary and Bill Urquhart, Peggy Phelps, Michele Zack, Louise and John Brinsley, Peter Moffatt, Cynthia and Bradford Thiel, Jeanne and Martin Kelley, Raleigh Renick Young, Denise Hamilton, Janet Fitch, Ann Erdman, Jan Sanders, Lainnie Capouya, James Duck, Diane Bedford, Rosey Bell, Rick Gough, Elaine Ahmad, Paddy Hurley, Peggy Sue Davis, Mary Lea Carroll, Mark Goldschmidt, Virginia Paca, Colleen Bates, Lian Dolan, Berick Treidler, Jim Martin, William Goldstein, and Chris Kornish.
The Crown City and its environs have a provenance of prestigious authors – Upton Sinclair, Zane Grey, Julia Child, Olivia Butler, Joseph Wambaugh, and even Albert Einstein. Hopefully, LitFest will attract the best and the brightest and, come next St. Patrick’s Day, Pasadena’s classy image will not be bruised by bareness, booze, and bawdy buffoonery.