28 June 2008

The Real Conventioneers of Orange County

Greetings from Anaheim. Here 'Behind the Orange Curtain' for the Library Association Annual Convention. The bag given away to all registrants this year is orange (what a surprise, right?) Not just any orange, a bright 'We can see you from a mile away' orange. "You look like a crossing guard," the friend who picked me up from the airport said after I came back from registering at the convention center. Perhaps I've been watching too much Law & Order (or Baltimore's own "The Wire") but the color reminds me more of prison uniforms than anything else....

Beautiful day coming in yesterday, and except for some morning hazyness, a great day today. The relative flatness, wide streets, palm trees, and stips of restaurants, hotels, and motels reminds me of the Other 'OC', Ocean City, Maryland, or Rebhoboth Beach, Delwaware. I keep expecting to be told the ocean is only a few blocks away, while actually it is miles and miles from here (I have zero California geography other than knowing that I'm quite far from the Bay Area and Wine Country, the only other part of California I've ever been to).

Star gazing: The VERY cool Young Adult author Jacqueline Woodson (photo at left), who seems to be appearing at the booths of half the publishers this year; producer turned author Steven J Cannell, looking like a parody of a Hollywood Player with his deep tan and tinted sunglasses as he autographed books; and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who was also at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia (amazing to see someone who, sitting down, is almost as tall as most of the women who approach him for autographs). There was a long line for author John "An Abundance of Katherines" Greene, who my friend who is knowledgeable in the subject proclaims is "The Hearttrob of Young Adult Librarians" (who knew?). Lambda Literary Foundation Executive Director (and a heartthrob in his own right) Charles Flowers is here too, he and his partner recent transplants to Los Angles after over a decade in New York City. Sometime over the weekend I'm hoping to catch Mark Savaras, novelist known for his excellent lit-blog The Elegant Variation, and some of the poets around, like Mark Doty and Francisco X Alarcon.

My partner got a kick out of the fact that the not-too-Disneyfied area where I'm staying is a mix of Vietnamese and Mexican (us East Coasters think that's 'odd', and something we don't see outside of the kitchens of Asian restaurants). Other than having truly horrific wireless, the place is fine, and I feel somewhat 'at home' amongst la gente.

And although I tried, I couldn't hide this morning: Leaving for the convention with my then-empty bag stuck obviously not far enough down in my pocket, one of the hotel staff greeted me with, "Hello -- You're here for ALA!" Dang.....Outed by Orange!

Mas, mas tarde........

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