my body is an underfunded museum
Back from L.A. and BEA--jetlagged, grouchy as hell, but back.
Book Expo America seems to get bigger, physically, every year; this year it was in the L.A. Convention Center, and occupied three gigantic display floors in two separate buildings--55 aisles of displays, 60 or so booths per aisle, I think. Plus a whole lot of meeting rooms. Nearly every major and minor American book publisher comes to BEA (and quite a few European and Asian publishers, too), and they're all desperately hawking their wares. The big publishers put bound galleys of their big summer and fall books in mountainous arrays for people to take, and every morning when the doors open there's the first wave of the feeding frenzy. (I kept thinking of the one line I really liked from The Corrections, which had been the most mountainous array two years ago: "Pyramids. Pyramids of shrimp.") I returned home with my suitcase and my backback both loaded to bursting with books, all of which were freebies. Have only read three things so far: the new issue of The Believer (excellent), from the cleverly designed McSweeney's booth; Alison Bechdel's Dykes and Sundry Other Carbon-Based Life Forms to Watch Out For (not as good as her last one, but still very funny), and A.A. Clifford's Sex Life (possibly the worst science fiction novel I've ever read, though that's sort of why I read it: the concept is that in 2268, the world is a high-tech utopia, except that if you don't have sex five times a day you'll die from this bizarre disease--what can I say, it kept me conscious on the shuttle bus back from Newark).
Went to a bunch of parties in L.A. Most were book-business affairs, but (with the fabulous Alisa McCoy) I also went to a very strange thing called Cannibal Flower, at which I was one of maybe five people in normal-ish street clothes. Lots of bad-in-a-distinctively-L.A.-way paintings on the walls, loud trebly music, a room with a blacklit toy-filled (but dry) kiddie pool occupied by two starlets painting their nails, a Troma-girl hostess wearing some sort of contortionistic corset thingie and shoes that would've been 7-inch heels had they not also been 10-inch platforms, etc. I am attempting to recover.