Continuing the run-up to the book festival, Thursday's Calendar Weekend in the Times runs a piece by Scott Martelle that grasps for the soul of the city through literary references to the streets of Los Angeles. He cites Pynchon and Chandler and Didion and Mosley and Kerouac, and even delivers some Bret Easton Ellis, from the character Clay's descent into the Valley in Less Than Zero:
After leaving Blair I drive down Wilshire and then onto Santa Monica and then I drive onto Sunset and take Beverly Glen to Mulholland, and then Mulholland to Sepulveda and then Sepulveda to Ventura and then I drive through Sherman Oaks to Encino and then into Tarzana and then Woodland Hills. I stop at a Sambo's that's open all night and sit alone in a large empty booth and the winds have started and they're blowing so hard that the windows are shaking, and the sounds of them trembling, about to break, fill the coffee shop.
Many local media and literary figures are taking part in the festival, despite its unfortunate scheduling on Passover weekend (the Book Prizes were moved to Friday to miss the first night of seders, but still people are talking about the timing.) After the jump is my opinionated guide to the most interesting panels from an Angeleno media hound's point of view, other than the David Shaw panel already mentioned. Time and ticket info are at the festival website.
"Creative Nonfiction," moderated by Kit Rachlis, editor of Los Angeles Magazine, with former New York Times executive editor Joe Lelyveld and others.
"The Real Crime Writers," moderated by Denise Hamilton, with Barry Siegel of UC Irvine and Steve Oney of Los Angeles Magazine, and others.
"Not Your Usual Suspects," moderated by Tod Goldberg, with authors Kem Nunn, T. Jefferson Parker, Roger Simon and Marcos McPeek Villatoro.
"To Live and Die in L.A.," moderated by David Ulin with authors D. J. Waldie, Norman Klein and Richard Rayner.
"Hollywood Behind the Camera," moderated by Thomas Greanias with authors David Ehrenstein, Maureen Orth, Leonard Maltin, David Rensin and Scott Eyman.
"On the Front Lines," moderated by LAT Foreign Editor Marjorie Miller, with journalist-authors Mark Bowden, Chris Hedges, P.J. O'Rourke and Times staff writer Terry McDermott.
Liz Smith in conversation with David Ehrenstein.
Carrie Fisher in conversation with Sandra Tsing Loh.
Ron Kovic in conversation with Robert Scheer.
"Fiction: Hollywood Confidential," moderated by Rachel Resnick with authors David Freeman, Terrill Lee Lankford, Jerry Stahl and Seth Greenland.
"Fiction: Rethinking Los Angeles," moderated by Susan Salter Reynolds of the LAT Book Review with authors Michelle Huneven, Peter Lefcourt, Steve Erickson and Michael Jaime-Becerra.
"Searching for a Civil Society," moderated by LAT Opinion Editor Michael Kinsley with authors Tom Hayden. Kay Mills, Matthew Miller, Tamar Jacoby and Katrina vanden Heuval of The Nation.
"The Movie Biz: Making Deals and Cutting Throats," moderated by Lynda Obst with Variety Editor Peter Bart and authors Peter Biskind and Nicholas Meyer.
"Writing and Reading: The Future of Literacy," moderated by Michael Silverblatt of KCRW with authors Dana Gioia, Adam Kirsch and Caitlin Flanagan of The New Yorker.
"A Sense of Place: The Literature of Cities," moderated by Tom Curwen, editor of the LAT Outdoors section, with authors Marc Cooper, Joel Kotkin, Herbert Gold and Robert Alter.
Authors and former Times staffers Miles Corwin and Michael Connelly in conversation with each other.