Monday, October 19, 2009

L.A. Love Bazaar

Having missed the first three events, I finally was able to stop by the 4th Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar at USC this weekend.

It's no secret I'm obsessed with L.A. history -- as my growing collection of books about our city attests. But sad to say, I wasn't able to stay long enough to attend the panels or documentary screenings -- so as a result, was a tad underwhelmed by the bazaar's proceedings.

I strolled from booth to booth in the three rooms that featured countless Southern California historical, preservation and heritage organizations. Yet didn't really see much I hadn't seen before. I did pick up an old book for $5, as well as pamphlets and handouts from several groups.

Don't get me wrong, it was a well-done event, and several of the panels -- particularly "From Noir to the News at Ten: Writing Los Angeles" -- sounded great. But since I only had the time to check out the booths, I noticed that most organizations focused on their own operations, leaving little room for actual historical documents and other things to gawk at.

One of the exceptions was the booth operated by Wally G. Shidler, who calls his collection "Southern California Ephemera: A Collection of Pamphlets, Folders, Maps, Broadsides, Books, Etc. Relating to the Development of Los Angeles City and County and Adjacent Areas." Shidler had a nice collection of classic Red Car and Yellow Car timetables to look at, as well as early 20th century flyers promoting communities like Glendale.

Shidler says his interest in L.A. history was piqued in 1953 when he was handed a copy of "La Reina," the booklet about L.A. history first published by the Security Trust and Savings Bank of Los Angeles. (Shidler's collection runs the gamut, from the 19th century up to today.)

Coincidence or not, I recently bought a copy of "La Reina" off eBay.

Organizations participating included the L.A. City Archives, the L.A. Public Library, the Orange County Archives, USC Libraries Special Collections, the UCLA Film & TV Library, the Glendale Public Library, the Pasadena Museum of History, and many, many more.

Like I said, a fine event... but to get the most out of the $8 fee, I needed to do more than just check out the booths. Maybe next year.

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