Q: Mark Russell Bell
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (April 19, 1997
D: Debbie, Different Drummer bookstore booth
B: Etan Boritzer, Veronica Lane Books booth
U: unidentified festival participants/exhibitors
P: Pat, In These Times newspaper booth
R: Luis Ramirez, KFWB news radio reporter
L: Elizabeth MacDonald, KCRW 89.9 FM booth
K: Kelly Lange, NBC4 booth
C: Carrie, Skylight Books booth
J: UCLA janitor
O: Lou Bank, Dark Horse Comics booth
A: Patrice Karst, author at Bodhi Tree booth
I: Bill Pfaw, Bear & Company booth
N: Aaron Silverman, SCB Distributors booth
S: Unidentified Labor Publications booth representative
W: Jerry White, 1996 Socialist Equality Party Presidential candidate


Q: (I’m preparing for the Los Angeles Times-sponsored) Festival of Books and I’m adding the picture of what is described as “the hourglass planetary nebula” from the Internet to each of my information packages attached with a purple rubber band to the book. I’ve added the comment in the space below, “Outer Space Phenomena! This is a cool website but don’t astronomers have eyes?” Signed Mark Russell Bell and I rubber stamped my eye in the pyramid beneath the page. How appropriate — they left plenty of blank space on this page. (“BECAUSE”) The other photos didn’t have that. God isn’t the only one who does the best He can with what He has to work with at the time.

( . . . )

Q: So I’m on my way to the book festival. The car in front of me is a Toyota Celica with a . . . sticker. The car is the same color as mine. California license plate beginning with the number three and MA. And then GO. So a “Go.” Twenty-five.

( . . . )

Q: (technical difficulties) . . . driver. If you know what I mean.

( . . . )

(song heard on CD)

The sun will shine

The bottom line.

I follow you.

Q: That’s a good ending. That’s the first time I heard that song.

( . . . )

(song heard on CD)

This is a soul dance

embracing me

this is the first chance

to put things right . . .

Q: Somebody really should do an investigative research paper on dance imagery in contemporary music. Not to mention the rest of the literature of the world.

( . . . )

. . . is rising within me

talking to you now . . .

Q: “Talking to you now”? Excuse me?

( . . . )

Q: The silent portion on the new Depeche Mode CD represents the silence of God.

( . . . )

Q: I’ve had one conversation and I’m already mad. I went to the Baha’i Faith and they’re a distributorship. And I asked them about distributing —

( . . . )

Q: . . . So I just gave a copy of my book to L.A. Youth magazine.

( . . . )

Q: So the booth . . . is sponsored by Permanent Charities of the Entertainment Industries. And it’s (“LIKE”) vacant. Excuse me but it opened at ten o’clock. Shows you what kind of commitment we have here.

( . . . )

Q: Is Loretta here?

D: No, she’s not here right now.

Q: Will she be here late — (“WHY”) I’m an author. My book . . . stock it at the store.

D: What’s the name of the book?

( . . . )

Q: Nice meeting you.

D: Debbie.

Q: Nice to meet you, Debbie.

D: You too.

Q: And if I’m ever in —

D: Laguna Beach.

Q: I’ll drop in.

D: Okay.

Q: This must be like the Bodhi Tree equivalent.

D: Well sort of. (“HERE”)

( . . . )

Q: Some bitch started giving me trouble so I almost turned around and left. She was upset that I might mess up her display if I put my bag on her table.

( . . . )

Q: Mark Russell Bell. I see a book called What Is Love? That’s definitely a hard-sell in this day and age.

B: Well you’d be surprised . . . Well this is doing great. We’ve sold thirty-five thousand . . .

Q: Wow. What’s your secret?

B: The secret is it’s a great book. . . .

Q: I’m having trouble finding a good distributor for my book. (“RIGHT HERE”) It’s all interviews with people who’ve experienced unexplained events, which is very hot right now. (“WOW”) It’s very long . . .

B: And you’re doing this. You’re self-published.

Q: Right.

B: You’re Oracle Press.

Q: Right. (“RIGHT”)

B: You’re right. That is the hardest part is getting that distribution. Who are you with now? (“MURDER”)

Q: Myself.

B: But I’m saying distributor.

Q: Oh well — no one. . . . (“I’M AT”) Bodhi Tree and Psychic Eye.

B: Are you looking for a distributor or wholesaler?

Q: Distributor.

B: You want a single distributor?

Q: Well (“OR”) I don’t know. Are they exclusive? . . .

( . . . )

B: Well that’s how it’s pronounced but it’s spelled Etan. Well I was born in Israel and it’s a biblical — Etan is the Egyptian (“ONE”) . . .

U: Well I have that one — What Is God? This is the new one — What Is Love? Yeah — What Is God? It’s good.


Q: One of my past reincarnations — one of the things I’ve learned through talking to people about these things is that sometimes people will choose names (“PEOPLE”) of who they were in past lives.

B: You know what’s weird about that? (“I”) They’ve always been someone famous. It’s not like they were a janitor but they were — (“I”)

Q: Not everyone.

B: Well a lot of them. Like they’ll be Cleopatra or whomever.

Q: Well they don’t like to be . . . What’s your last name?

B: Boritzer . . .

( . . . )

Q: I’m doing an article about my day here so tell me a little bit about . . .

P: Alright. In These Times is an independent bi-weekly news and opinion magazine twenty years old published in Chicago and nationally distributed. We’ve won alternative press awards in cultural coverage and investigative reporting.

Q: Sounds right up my alley.

P: Great. We have several issues . . . globalization issue — special issue. The most recent issue is our spring books review issue . . . (“I WOULD SAY”)

Q: I’m an author so I wish I had known. I would have sent my book in for a review.

P: Oh really? Oh you’re kidding.

Q: Do you take review copies?

P: Yes, we sure do.

Q: Can I leave one with you today . . .

P: Yeah, sure.

Q: It’s a really neat book. It’s all interviews with people who’ve experienced unexplained events. It’s very unusual . . . so on the cover letter I have the people interviewed, . . . ad in Daily Variety to give some background.

P: Oh okay.

Q: . . . and I’m (“WORKING”) working the festival, you might say.

P: Right. Well we all are.

Q: Okay, so let me take —

P: This is the book review. There’s a women issue —

Q: I’ll buy a copy of that.

P: The book review?

( . . . )

Q: Thank you.

P: Thanks very much.

Q: You’ve been very nice and helpful. What’s your name?

P: Pat.

Q: Nice to meet you, Pat.

P: Yeah. Nice to meet you.

( . . . )

Q: I’m an L.A. romantic author.

U: You are? You are? Okay.

Q: What if I was —

U: What?

( . . . )

Q: I hate my life.

( . . . )

Q: Well I’ve been sending my book out. The reviews (one) have started to come out and there are some really scandalous things in here. (“N”) It’s a very long book so people haven’t gotten to those parts yet obviously. What’s your name? You get a free copy — complimentary press copy.

R: Appreciate it. Luis Ramirez. Thank you. Can we use you in our rolodex in case we —

Q: Sure.(“WELL YOU”) All the information is right here.

R: Great. Do you comment about things . . .

Q: Yeah well let’s just say that Sherry Lansing won’t be very happy about this book. And I’m writing a follow-up book about Hollywood. My next book will actually — I’ve been interviewed by a few radio stations so far: one in San Francisco, one in Florida and one in Philadelphia. And my next book is outing a lot of people. A very controversial event. Yeah, exactly. So —

R: (small laugh) You better go incognito after that one.

Q: No, I don’t care. So, anyway, you can read my book.

R: Who are you going to out? Can you tell us?

Q: Are you on the radio? I’m live on the air. Well actually I outed a few people on those radio stations when I went and did interviews on the radio stations. (“BECAUSE” “HAVING WORKED”) I worked at Paramount Pictures for seven years so — (“NO”) working as a publicist, you’re al(ways aware) of what goes on. It’s important to look at the context of the gossip. It’s not so much (“TO MAKE”) to make an accusation (“HUH”) but if you really — that’s why I prefer to let the interview speak for itself because you see the context. You see (“HOW”) where they got this information. The context is much more important than saying (“LIKE”) “Demi Moore is a lesbian.” (“QUICKLY”) See the context like —

R: So what kind of stuff do you have in this book? I mean like —

Q: Well it started as a true poltergeist case. (“SO” “YOU KNOW”) Anyway, it’s a wild story.

R: Great.

Q: Okay. (“THANK YOU”)

R: Give me a call on it. Thank you very much.

Q: Okay. (“GOOD LUCK”)

R: Thank you.

( . . . )

Q: I think he was taping me. And I was taping him so — you never know when you’re going to get publicity for your next book.

( . . . )

Q: Can you explain to me why Vroman’s and Simon & Schuster are linked together?

U: No. It’s just . . .

Q: I see. (“NO”) No one from Simon & Schuster is here.

U: No, there are no representatives here. There wasn’t enough . . . (“WELL TELL”)

Q: Tell hello to Stan for me.

U: Okay. (“YEAH”) Actually he’s wandering around. He might be down there.

Q: Okay. Well I’ll come back and maybe visit and say hello to him.

U: Okay.

( . . . )

Q: I just saw a button that says “RELAX DAMN IT” and my reply is “You fucking relax.”

( . . . )

Q: I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be doing this.

( . . . )

Q: Is Michael Silverblatt going to make an appearance here?

L: He’s doing a panel and . . . He’ll be here in the afternoon.

Q: I sent a copy of my book . . . to review or whatever so let’s see what happens. By the way, it was very nice of you to give that T-shirt to that woman like that.

L: Oh I just —

Q: You’re an angel (who practiced) a random act of kindness.

L: It occurred to me that I had one sitting here and I thought that he would want the T-shirt . . .

Q: That’s so nice. (“THE[SE]”) Are these stickers for free?

L: Yes . . .

Q: I might — you know how when you have an old one that you want to get rid of on your car and you put something over it? (“SO”) Now these interviews by Robert Segal — is he — who is he? (“A”)

L: He’s a — (“I WILL HEAR”) you’ll hear him in the — “Hi, I’m Robert Segal.” He does morning news and it was actually edited by him and it’s the best of the interviews of NPR. You know — kind of things they thought were great all the way from the arts.

Q: Unfortunately, these cassettes aren’t free, are they? . . . I might be on his show sometime. You never know. If he’s lucky. What’s your name? You’ve been very nice.

L: I’m Liz.

Q: I might mention you. (“NICE TO MEET YOU”)

L: Very nice to meet you.

Q: I’m writing about this . . . somebody almost ran me over when I was crossing the street illegally.

L: You got to write about that.

Q: I gave him the finger.

L: (laughs)

Q: An author can’t do that because they always have a photographer waiting to take a picture of you.

L: And you always get caught. (“YEAH” “NO”)

Q: But sometimes you say screw it. (“YEAH”)

L: Right.

Q: You do it anyway.

L: Like this morning I was down getting — talking — bargaining with Starbucks . . .

Q: Oh really?

L: Yeah. You know. Just sort of saying , “Well I like this. Not for that price . . .”

Q: So he (Silverblatt) actually interviewed Michael Ondaatje, the author of The English Patient. And Margaret Atwood. Hmm. She wrote Lady Oracle and my publishing company is Oracle Press. Isn’t that interesting synchronicity?


L: Have you been a writer in the city for a long time?


( . . . )


Q: I’m just going to say hello. (“I’M”) I’m writing my own tell-all book about Hollywood. You fictionalized yours.

K: Yes.

Q: Congratulations for putting up the good fight.

K: Thank you. I didn’t know it is a fight. (“YOU”)

Q: Were you married to —

K: Yes.

Q: William Friedkin? So is this what the book’s about or something else? Did you use some of that experience?

K: No, this (is) a murder mystery. A Hollywood murder mystery.

Q: Oh. Trophy Wife? (“YEAH” “TITLE” “YEAH” “YEAH”)

K: No, I was not a trophy wife. I worked. (“I WORKED”) Good hair.

Q: I think his new wife is, though.

K: Do you know what — I — you know what I think you should — no, she works too. Are you kidding?

Q: Yeah, but she’s still a trophy.

K: Whatever. I guess we’re all trophies. (“OH WELL”)

Q: Sometimes the titles “work.”

U: Did you want a copy? (“NO”)

K: It’s been terrific. (“SHERRY’S BAD” “GOT ONE”) Want to buy one? (“A HOME SHE THOUGHT”) Want to pop for it?

Q: Um I’m — (“GOOD LUCK”)

K: It’ll bring you luck.

Q: — it’s simply because right now I don’t have time.

K: Okay. (“FEEL BAD I LOVE YOUR CRY” “BY THE WAY”) Thank you kindly. (“FOR MY NOVEL”) Oh how nice.

( . . . )

C: If you need this today —

Q: Oh no I don’t need (the book). I’ve got a whole trunk full of them.

C: Okay. (“BUT SO”)

Q: But — it was — the gentleman you mentioned was the one who I —

C: Tim.

Q: Tim.

C: Okay.

Q: Yeah, I sent him a press kit. What’s your name? You’ve been very nice.

C: Carrie.

Q: Nice to meet you.

( . . . )

Q: These are like dinosaur toilets.

J: (laughs)

Q: You almost want to see them in an Architectural Digest magazine or something.

J: Oh yeah.

Q: How old do you think those are?

J: Time it was built.

( . . . )

Q: By the way, I might admit when I was crossing the street illegally, I wasn’t even close to the car and the car honked at me. So I think it was Idiot trying to make a point.

( . . . )


Q: How is it that two people can block a path and not even realize you want to get by? Plus they’re overweight. It’s always the fat ones.

( . . . )

Q: So now I’ve got to traipse all the way back to the parking structure and get more books and traipse all the way back. Oh look, there’s a bus.

( . . . )

Q: So I picked up six more books. I feel more relaxed now. I’ll be good, Mighael.

( . . . )

Q: This van is going to the book fair. I got lucky.

( . . . )

Q: So when I was going to high school, Marvel was the big comic book company.

O: Well actually they’re still the number one company.

Q: And Dark Horse is affiliated?

O: No, not at all. We are the number four publisher. We are the number one publisher of non-super hero comics. What we do is primarily science fiction and horror, crime — that kind of stuff. Whole different category of publishing. (“MIGHAEL”) We don’t do comics for just like the twelve-year-old minds —

Q: Now the film industry is very — I mean everything’s very homogenized and mainstream. Are there interesting comics being done now?

O: Absolutely. Fax From Sarajevo. It’s the real life story of a guy whose family is trapped in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War and he — what he’d do is he had a fax machine and he hooked it up to his car battery because the phone systems didn’t work. And he was beaming fax messages off a satellite to Joe Kubert who’s a cartoonist — friend of his from years past. He ended up getting somewhere in the neighborhood of like a thousand faxes over a three-year period. And he turned them into this story.

Q: Wow.

O: With his updates — daily updates — actually almost like three times a day of what was going on.

Q: And now all this Star Wars stuff is Dark Horse?

O: Absolutely.

Q: And Mark Hamill will be here tomorrow.

O: Mark Hamill will be here tomorrow at three o’clock — a guest of Hi De Ho Comics.

Q: I can hardly wait.

O: (small laugh) Indeed.

Q: I think I was the inspiration for that movie series but it’s too long of story to tell anyone.

O: Yeah? One of those, huh?

Q: Right.

O: I hear you.

Q: By the way, what’s your name?

O: Lou Bank. (“HH”) And I’m taking the galaxy by force too, dang it.

Q: You’re taking this to the bank.

O: There you go. Get your free bookmarks! (“C U”)

( . . . )

Q: I can’t believe it. John Rhodehamel is here from the Huntington. I’m not saying hello.

( . . . )

Q: So, to give you an update, I dropped by The Nation booth and they gave me the name, (“UU”) the address and said to send the book to the literary editor. I got the name of the manager at Earthling book shop and cafe in Santa Barbara. And Michelle just gave me the name of the manager for the UCLA book store.

( . . . )

Q: Hi, Patrice. Congratulations.

A: Thank you.

Q: I’m an author too. (“GOES DICK”)

A: Oh hi.

Q: My book’s also at the Bodhi Tree. (“BUT UM”) Mine’s sort of like ‘God Made Difficult.’

A: Oh. (small laugh) (“YOU DON’T EVEN TRY TO GET A JOB” “YEAH”)

Q: That’s why you’re sitting there and I’m not.

A: (laughs)

Q: But it’s fine.

A: Well you know what? There are a lot of intellectuals —

( . . . )

Q: So I just gave — I was fortunate to meet the buyer/manager of the USC Bookstore and I gave him a copy of the book. Mark Ewalt. I gave him some of my background — that I went to USC.

( . . . )

Q: I went up to Bill Plaschke, the sports columnist, and I said, “My book has not yet been reviewed by the Los Angeles Times so I guess I can’t bitch to you because you’re in the sports section.” (“DELTA”)

( . . . )

Q: (Are you with) Bear and Company?

I: Yes I am.

Q: Do you know Barbara Clow?

I: Uh-huh. (“I — I”)

Q: Did she start — did she get her start by self-publishing her own books? Is that how it happened?

I: No, she was actually with Llewellyn.

Q: Oh I see.

I: Her first books were published with Llewellyn and then — she knew Mat(thew) — Matthew Fox started this company. Matthew Fox taught her.

Q: Are you based here in L.A.? Are you —

I: Santa Fe.

Q: Because — (“I”) I guess I’ll have to — because I’ve been trying to — I published a book recently that’s involved with Zechariah Sitchin’s work. (“AND”) I think I found his Marduk the twelfth planet.

I: Okay.

Q: See? It’s in the Orion nebula. (“AND”) Doesn’t it look like a UFO? So anyway I want to write to him, I think, to see if he’d be interested in this information.

I: Great. You could — did you get our catalog?

Q: Yeah, I did.

I: Because that has our address. (“YEAH”)

Q: See? And look — and I also — look at how some of the neat things that — these are brand new. Like Io — it does look like a UFO in that picture. (“NOW”)

I: Now it looks metallic.

Q: And look at this one. Isn’t that cool?

I: Wow. What is that?

Q: I don’t know. It looks like the eye of God.

I: (small laugh)

Q: It looks like ‘scares me.’ But — okay, so anyway so I’m going to — I — I — (“I KEEP”) he’s never spoken in L.A. (“NO HE’S”)

I: Are you sure? (“NONE”)

Q: He’s never been to any of the book festivals —

I: Expos?

Q: So I don’t know. Okay so —

I: Well I’ll talk him into coming next year.

Q: Should I maybe write down — should I send the letter to you or her? And pass it on to Zecharia?

I: You could send it to his attention at our address.

Q: Okay. (“SO HE CAN GET”) He gets mail that way?

I: Yeah.

Q: Okay, good. I’ll just do that then. (“BACK HERE”)

I: Yeah — no — also — (“R R”) yeah, call me at this number.

Q: Okay.

I: My name is Bill. My last name’s P like Peter, F like Frank, A, U. And I’ll give you his business address in New York.

Q: What a weird name. Pfau.

I: Pfau.

Q: What does that mean?

I: Peacock.

Q: Oh my God.

I: A German word. (“EXCELLENT AREAS”) But if you call me at that number

in —

( . . . )

Q: Hi, Aaron. I’m going to buy this, by the way — this Tofu Cookery (“GREAT”) is great. (“YEAH”) I mean Jack Palance — ? — but Tofu Cookery — I’ll take that any day.

N: Okay. (“BUT AN” “NOW”)

Q: I just was noticing — I jut published my own book and I realized this would be an ideal book for your distribution company.

N: Okay.

Q: So maybe I’ll send it to you. It’s basically interviews with people who’ve experienced unexplained events. I’ve been doing interviews.

N: Oh you have been.

Q: And it’s got like — it encompasses new age spirituality and — anyway.

N: We’re always — if you can — you have a — you can send it to us.

Q: Okay. If you want, I’ll even leave it with you now.

N: No, it won’t work. I’ve —

Q: Okay, fine. You have too many books already.

N: Definitely.

Q: Okay, well you’ve been very nice. (“I’LL”)

N: Okay. Here, I’ll — you want me to write this up? Is this the only thing you’ll be getting?

Q: That’s the only thing.

N: And how — you want to pay in cash, credit card —

Q: Yeah, I’ll pay cash.

( . . . )

Q: So what are some of the big sellers at the moment?

N: Jack Palance’s book.

Q: I was looking at that. What is that? Aquarian Gospel?

N: Oh that does well. Oh those books — Aquarian Gospel, Cosmic Conspiracy, Underground . . . — all those things do extremely well. UFOs and Anti-Gravity does extremely well.

Q: Are you into that subject?

N: Not that much. (“BUT HERE” “BUY”) Eric? (“GREAT” “WELL” “TOFU”)

( . . . )


Q: . . . Okay so let me know if you . . . I’m starting to give interviews . . . so there’s a demand for it . . . No, just the metaphysical so far . . . the Bodhi Tree and the Psychic Eye and PRS. I would like — I always went to Vroman’s when I was growing up in Pasadena so — I’m not Fergie (her appearance at the store to sign copies of her book attracted an enormous crowd) . . .

( . . . )

Q: That was sort of a good interview. If you know what I mean.

( . . . )

Q: I’m a socialist myself. I’m writing a tell-all book about greed . . . So, okay, I’ll drop by the booth and look at it. What’s your name, by the way? . . . Nice to meet you. How is that — spell it . . . and what does that mean? . . . oh how great. I love it . . . okay so nice meeting you.

( . . . )

Q: I am a socialist myself. Can I interview you real quick?

S: From which party?

Q: Socialist party. (“WELL AND WHAT”)

S: The Socialist party? Like using the —

Q: My own Socialist party. (“YOU KNOW”) Whenever — everything else is greed, greed, greed but there are usually no Socialist candidates for anyone to vote for.

S: We ran in these last elections but we ran in a few states on the East Coast and the West in the last elections.

Q: For the presidential election I voted for Perot.

S: (small scream)

Q: Well what else are you going to do? I’m not going to vote for Clinton or what’s-his-name. Bob.

S: Please. Perot is another capitalist politician. Anyway —

Q: Of course they are. (“BUT”)

S: This really goes into the elections. Several — oh but still I mean this goes into the foundation of the Socialist Equality Party. We used to be called the Workers League. We’re part of the Trotsky’s Movement International.

Q: Oh great. Okay.

S: We’re part of it. Okay?

Q: Great.

S: That’s one part. That’s our newspaper. Check us on the website. And we have these that have to do with the struggle of today, the questions that are opening up —

Q: Are these free here?


S: No, because, you know, we don’t make any profit.

Q: Right, (“NO”) you have to pay your expenses. I know. That’s what I — I’m an author myself. I know.

S: In order to create Socialists, we have to build a business that will destroy business. (laughs)

Q: My theory is that something major has to occur almost like the Second Coming to wake people up. (“REALLY”) I mean because it’s just — (“THEY [J]US[T]”) there’s no lesson that ever seems to be learned throughout history. Things get worse and worse and worse.

S: But, you know, we have — was there an alternative to someone who’s in the U.S.S.R. I mean this is a thing that I think . . .

Q: Yeah. Right.

S: We’re here in a way selling ideas. We’re not making a profit of you.

Q: Well I’m just (“AND”) sort of interviewing and trying to promote my book today.

S: I’ll tell you he ran for President of the United States under the Socialist Equality Party.

Q: Oh I’ll have to talk to him.

S: Yes.

( . . . )

Q: Now were you a Presidential candidate?

W: Yes I was.

Q: Were you on the ballot?

W: Not here in California but in a number of other states.

Q: And how did you find the whole process?

W: (small laugh)

Q: You’re laughing.

W: Completely restricted every effort made to prevent any opposition to the Democrats and Republicans — (“AND”) any raising of essential social questions. We focused on the question of the growing economic inequality in America and the great concentration of wealth at the expense of the living standards among —