Bibliophiles, this week is for you! Blame the school calendar, or the slightly crisper weather, because October is ushering in a bevy of word-related events. There will be something to suit every taste — book launches, storytelling workshops, the spooky Gothicism of Edgar Allen Poe and even a convention for paper and typeface enthusiasts. Browse through these five belletristic events and you're bound to find something more enticing than a night at home with the e-reader.
5. Tell Your Own Story
The key to great storytelling, says the Moth founder George Dawes Green, is vulnerability. Great storytellers “always focus on weakness and loss, and their own humanity, their own clownishness.” Well, get out the makeup kits, because the circus is most definitely in town. Those narrative addicts at L.A. Story Works, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading the storytelling bug, have organized a weeklong event at multiple venues around town. The Los Angeles Storytelling Festival, which kicks off tonight, will undoubtedly be the best place to find folks recounting their most horrible and embarrassing moments in the name of public sharing and human togetherness. In addition to the already established and beloved storytelling shows on the roster (UnCabaret, Show & Tell, the Trunk Show and WRITE CLUB, among others), there will be an intensive workshop led by Deana Barone of the TellTale Company/the Trunk Show, focused on expanding the outlook of novice raconteurs, which culminates with a performance by workshop participants on Sunday. The opening-night party takes place at the festival's hub, Hollywood Boulevard's iO West Theater, at 7 p.m. Visit lastoryworks.org for a complete schedule of the hilarious, traumatic and cringe-inducing events. iO West Theater, 6366 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; Fri., Oct. 4-Thurs., Oct. 10, times vary, see online schedule for details; $10 for individual shows, $30 for a festival pass. (323) 962-7560, lastoryworks.org. –Rena Kosnett
4. See Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo
Throughout much of her career, Pulitzer Prize-winning author (and former alt-weekly scribe) Katherine Boo has written about the hardships of the downtrodden, whether that meant shedding light on the impoverished in America's heartland or in one of the most populous cities in Asia. Her first book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, was honored with a National Book Award last year. As part of the Los Angeles Public Library's ALOUD series, Boo will discuss the three years she spent in the slums of Mumbai chronicling almost unimaginable poverty. She'll converse with fellow writer Pico Iyer, whose ancestry is Indian, and whose global perspective will help to illuminate the far-reaching issues. Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St, dwntwn.; Wed., Oct. 9, 7:15 p.m.; free. (213) 228-7000, lfla.org. –Sean O'Connell
3. Attend a Poe-themed Poetry Slam
Sure, for most people, the Halloween season is about free candy and costumes that are made by adding the word “slutty” to just about anything. But for all you Gothic, literature-nerd, gaslamp kind of bohemians, October means it's time to get macabre. That's where the Eighth Day Arts, Poetry and Wine Salon comes in. The salon always happens on the first Friday of the month, but the October edition falls within just a few days of the mysterious death of the master of the macabre himself, one Edgar Allen Poe. The coincidence proved too much for event organizers to resist: The salon invites you to get in the spooky mood with a program of classic dark and dramatic literature called, after Poe's poem, The Raven. Ricardo Lira Acuña is the author of the groundbreaking ghost adventure graphic novel The Realm, and no stranger to the strange; tonight he heads a bill of local writers reading and enacting works both classic (“The Raven,” of course, but also “The Tell-Tale Heart”) and original, along with some electric violin, free blood wine and a little open mic at the end. Scary, in a good way. Cat in the Lotus, 123 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale; Fri., Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m.-late; free. (818) 357-9949, rickyluv.com. –Shana Nys Dambrot
2. Study the “Lost” Art of Letterpress
Anyone searching for proof that the printed page is alive and well amid all the public mourning for its digitally induced demise should head down to the International Printing Museum on Saturday for a dose of analog optimism. The L.A. Printers Fair is being called a celebration of paper and printing — but it's no eulogy. The museum's array of elegant industrial monuments to paper and ink, housed for the past 25 years in what is one of the world's largest collections of antique printing equipment, is an impressive destination on a normal day. But on fair day, the place welcomes hundreds of contemporary practitioners of the art of letterpress printing, as well as the hand-making of books, prints and artisanal paper. Like so much else in the contemporary slow-movement zeitgeist (vinyl records, growing your own food, etc.) new generations fervently embrace the romance of paper and ink. From brand-new shops like the artist-run originals of Intellectual Property Prints to heroes of the modern genre, such as featured vendor Kevin Bradley, of the aptly named Church of Type, this tactile gathering is sure to inspire some object-lust and plant the seeds of inspiration. To nurture your paper fetish, many of the vendors will be demonstrating, as well as helping you make your own prints and books right on-site. Besides the doing and the buying, there's a font swap, museum tours and a silent auction to benefit the museum. Warning: Papyrophilia is extremely contagious and there is no known cure. 315 W. Torrance Blvd., Carson; Sat., Oct. 5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m; $7. (310) 515-7166, printmuseum.org. –S.N.D.
1. Embrace Your Inner Underdog with Malcolm Gladwell
Are you feeling dejected, discouraged and listless? Tonight's cure for your existential malaise: Author Malcolm Gladwell talks to writer Tim Long about Gladwell's latest book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. This meeting of the minds finds Gladwell — author of such meditations on the modern-day as The Tipping Point (about the wisdom of the crowd) and Blink (about the brilliance of the unconscious) — demonstrating how the weird and marginalized triumph over pushy loudmouths. From the guerrilla tactics of the IRA and the Viet Cong to phoenixes rising from the ruins of various annihilated childhoods, he shows how struggling against the conventional and the unkind makes heroes out of those who'd otherwise just dry up and blow away. Long worked on The Simpsons and was a head writer for Letterman, so you know he probably got bullied a lot; now he can discuss his ability to triumph over such intimidation with the man who wrote the book on it. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 3663 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; Mon., Oct. 7, 8 p.m. (reception from 6:30-7:30 p.m.); $20-$105. (213) 388-2401, livetalksla.org. –David Cotner
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