In her new travel guide "Great Escapes Southern California," Donna Wares describes author D.J. Waldie's ritual for the weekend of the L.A. Times Festival of Books. He takes the bus from home in Lakewood to Westwood and checks into the W Hotel, enjoys a celebratory martini at the lobby bar, then strolls over to UCLA for the Friday night book prizes. Over the next two days he hangs out in the author green room, checks out the bookseller stalls and attends some of the 100+ panels. The event is free and huge, with more than 450 authors on hand, so Waldie's advice is "you've got to have your game plan for the festival."
With that in mind, here's an opinionated itinerary of panels that should interest LA Observed readers. I already posted where LA Observed contributors, including me, can be found. (My KCRW piece at 4:44 pm this afternoon also discusses the festival and literary L.A.) Everything is free, but tickets are required except at the outdoor stages.
10 am — Tod Goldberg gets the party started moderating a panel called "Fiction: The Long & Short of It" that includes L.A. authors Tara Ison and Susan Straight, among others. Or check in on "Nonfiction From the Streets," where Times reporter and homicide blogger Jill Leovy moderates a discussion with journalists Miles Corwin and Celeste Fremon and former Blood gangster Dashaun Morris. Or there's Bill Boyarsky in conversation with former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown in Korn Hall.
10:30 am — David Kipen, who posted on LAO about his 2006 book tour of California, moderates "Literature & Technology: Breaking the Mold."
11:30 am — Times editor-at-large Tom Curwen, a Pulitzer Prize finalist this year, moderates a panel on non-fiction that includes Pico Iyer and LAO contributor Jenny Price. There's also Gay Talese, host of the of this year's LAT Book Prizes, in conversation with Times columnist Tim Rutten in Schoenberg Hall.
Noon — In the Ackerman Grand Ballroom, Jon Weiner moderates "Current Interest: Defining American Character" with Tom Hayden, Hugh Hewitt, Howard Fineman and Amy Goodman of KPFK's "Democracy Now." Or there's "L.A. Fiction: City of Neighborhoods," moderated by Richard Rayner with Paul Beatty, Seth Greenland, Richard Lange and Diana Wagman. On the outdoor Etc Stage, KPCC's Kitty Felde presents L.A. 36's Book Club for Young Adults.
1 pm — Leonard Maltin moderates "Reinventing Hollywood: The 1960's and Beyond" with Peter Biskind, Mark Harris and Kenneth Turan.
3 pm — I know where I'll be: moderating "California: The Great Experiment" in the Fowler Museum's Lenart Auditorium with Waldie, historian William Deverell and author Matthew Jaffe. Here's a post about it by Los Angeles Metblogs city captain David Markland.
3:30 pm — Novelist and "Frida" screenwriter Clancy Sigal joins a panel titled "Current Interest: Lessons from the 20th Century."
4 pm — The panel on "Immigration Beyond the Border" includes moderator Marcos McPeek Villatoro and "Ask a Mexican" columnist Gustavo Arellano.
4:30 pm — Ray Bradbury speaks in Royce Hall, introduced by Sid Stebel.
10 am — "The Future of News" is moderated by former Times editor Michael Parks and includes current Times editor Russ Stanton, NPR's Cinny Kennard and Salon.com founder David Talbot.
10:30 am — Pulitzer-winning author and former Times book editor Jack Miles moderates "Poetry & Criticism," a panel that includes New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear.
11 am — Ex-Dodger Steve Garvey talks on the LAT Stage about his book, "My Bat Boy Days: Lessons I Learned from the Boys of Summer."
11:30 am — Authors Carolyn & Lisa See in conversation with Veronique de Turenne of Here in Malibu. Or Times columnist Steve Lopez in conversation with KCRW's Warren Olney, about Lopez's book "The Soloist."
Noon — Two LA Observed contributors are up: In "Biography: California Powerbrokers," Marc Cooper moderates Bill Boyarsky, Margaret Leslie Davis, Jim Newton and Richard Rayner. In "Surf Culture: Shooting the Tube," Antoine Wilson guides David Rensin, Steve Hawk, Steven Kotler and Kem Nunn. Outside on the LAT Stage, Patt Morrison chats with Maria Shriver about "Just Who Will You Be?"
12:30 pm — Times national editor Scott Kraft moderates "Campaign 2008," with David Frum, Garrett M. Graff, Hugh Hewitt and Robert Scheer.
1:30 pm — LAO's David Davis moderates "Sports: Playing the Field," with panelists who include John Scheibe, author of a memoir on his time driving legendary sports columnist Jim Murray. There's also "Latin American Identities," moderated by LAT foreign editor Marjorie Miller and including Jorge Castañeda, Ann Louise Bardach and Pamela Starr.
2:30 pm — Take your pick between LAO's Erika Schickel moderating "Laughing Between the Lines," with Steve Almond, Meghan Daum, Stacey Grenrock Woods and Marc Porter Zasada...or Times publisher David Hiller introducing a conversation between Paul Conrad & Al Martinez....or Walter Mosley in conversation with Michael Silverblatt.
3 pm — "Biography: Literary California," moderated by Richard Rayner with Anthony Arthur, Philip L. Fradkin and Judith Freeman.
4 pm — They save the agents for the end. Kim Dower moderates a panel that this year includes Betsy Amster, Georges Borchardt, Sandra Dijkstra and Bonnie Nadell.
Noted, a couple of cancellations: Peter Matthiessen in conversation with Susan Salter Reynolds at 10 am Sunday, and Jim Lehrer in conversation with Karen Grigsby Bates at 11:30 am Sunday.