Books about the Inland Empire has been a running topic in this space, but here’s something we might not have expected: an entire event devoted to them.
The first Riverside Local History Book Fair takes place Oct. 3 with some 20 authors participating. Each will get a table from which to display, sell and sign books. (Thankfully, they’ll also get a chair.)
As the flier brags: “Dozens of local history books to choose from!” This sales pitch will divide the Empire into two types of people: those whose hearts are beating a little faster, and those whose hearts are beating a little slower.
Even if you’re in the latter group, you’ll likely recognize some of the participants’ names simply from reading this newspaper. Among them: Kim Jarrell Johnson and Steve Lech, who trade off on writing our Back in the Day history column; Dan Bernstein, the retired P-E columnist; and yours truly, who is merely tired.
Two other participants have appeared in my columns during 2021: Edward Chang, who has chronicled the history of Riverside’s Korean community, and Lorna Jenkins, founder of Explore Riverside Together.
Among the other authors slated to appear are Barbara Burns, Larry Burns, Michael Elderman, Vince and Cate Moses, George Harwood Phillips, Frank Teurlay, Cliff Trafzer and Glenn Wenzel. Wenzel, an expert on Mount Rubidoux, will give a talk about some of the notable people who have ascended it from his new book, “They Climbed the Mountain.”
His talk starts at 1 p.m., with the book fair from 2 to 4 p.m., at Crown of Life Lutheran Church, 5939 Magnolia Ave., Riverside. Attending is free.
The Riverside Historical Society is the sponsor and Lech, its president, is the organizer. He told me in conversation recently that this fair is a first, but if it’s a success, there will be more. (If it’s a failure, we will never speak of it again.)
Now, on a more personal note. Because the authors are listed in alphabetical order on the flier, your columnist gets top billing. This is a little ironic, since none of my three books so much as mentions Riverside. But by virtue of appearing in Riverside County’s newspaper, and being an author, apparently I qualify. I’m delighted to be included.
If you don’t want any of my books, and who could blame you, there’s no obligation. But if you like my columns, please make a point of stopping by purely to share a fist bump and say hello.
For one thing, it’ll be my first public appearance in 18 months, and my first ever in Riverside County; for another, it’d be great to meet some P-E readers. And while you’re there, maybe you’ll want some other authors’ books. After all, you’ll have “dozens of local history books to choose from” — and, as a hint, Christmas is coming.
If you can’t stand my columns, you’re welcome to say hello too. Just don’t stay long.
In the literary-minded Morongo Basin communities of Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms, they’re doing a Big Read of Joy Harjo‘s “An American Sunrise,” and it’ll kick off in a big way.
Harjo, who is poet laureate of the United States, and who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be there in person — not via Zoom — to read from her book and discuss its themes. She’s the first Native American to be our poet laureate, by the way.
The event is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, 59700 Twentynine Palms Highway. Registration is required at BigReadMorongoBasin.com/events due to limited seating.
That page is also where you’ll find a schedule of related Big Read events through Oct. 28. They encompass discussions, readings, an art exhibit, a theater piece, and screenings of the Indigenous documentaries “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World” and “Warrior Women.” A Big Read-style big thank you to reader Mike Vail for keeping me informed.
The Bite-Sized Fair, the placeholder event before the LA County Fair moves to May 2022, ends today. I didn’t see any particularly unusual items for sale, but they always abound at the full-sized fair. For instance, in 1955 the Pluto Platter, the prototype for the Frisbee, was demonstrated to startled fairgoers.
Reader Don J. learned of another unusual past product in an appropriately random way: He read Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s 2007 book “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.”
According to Bugliosi, Jack Ruby, the future nightclub owner who shot Lee Harvey Oswald to death, “for a short time in 1936…bought small turtles and painted their backs and sold them at a fair in Pomona, California.”
As people like to say on social media, I’m just gonna leave that right there.
Did you see how the Dodgers’ Sept. 15 home game was briefly interrupted by three fans running onto the field with banners? During a 40th anniversary celebration of Fernandomania, they wanted to remind everyone of the displacement of Chavez Ravine families — via the hashtags #Bishop, #LaLoma and #PaloVerde, the names of those vanished communities — to make way for Dodger Stadium. In interviewing all three protesters, Times columnist Gustavo Arellano happened to affirm my operating philosophy that there’s an Inland Empire angle to everything: One of them, Wendy Lujan, hails from Upland.
David Allen writes Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, more to protest. Email [email protected], phone 909-483-9339, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.
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