Upcoming Events

*Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at the Book Club of California and are free and open to the public. Please refer to the description under each event.

Email programs@bccbooks.org for any questions, or call (415) 781-7532 ext. 3

The Bible as Cultural Artifact
Monday, July 15, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

As Dominic celebrates thirty years as a full-time bookbinder, he will talk about his large collection of bibles that he has acquired since he started his bookbinding journey. These remarkable books, ranging from 1606 – 2006, tell the story of the evolution of book production over the past four centuries. They contain heart-warming inscriptions, hidden surprises and curious textual features. Each is unique is its own way, and together they show the wide variety of ways the printed word has been bound through periods of religious tension and change.

Dominic Riley is one of the most renowned bookbinders working today. His design bindings are in collections worldwide, including the British Library, the St. Bride Library in London, the Rylands in Manchester, the National Library of Wales, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Grolier Club in New York and the San Francisco Public Library. He is an elected Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and President of the Society of Bookbinders. In 2013 he was awarded first prize — the Paul Getty prize —in Designer Bookbinder’s International Bookbinding competition, and his winning binding was acquired by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The rest of his time is spent teaching, restoring antiquarian books, and lecturing.

An illustrated talk by Dominic Riley, bookbinder and artist.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

Hinge of History: How the Harrowing Events of 1769 Cemented California’s Place in the Spanish Empire
Monday, July 22, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

The summer of 1769 was the crucible in which California’s fate as a frontier cornerstone of the Spanish empire was determined. It was, as the Duke of Wellington said after the battle of Waterloo, “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life.” Two hundred and fifty years ago this July, the so-called Sacred Mission led by Gaspar de Portolá and Junípero Serra nearly foundered more than once, due to chronic food shortages, a ghastly death toll from scurvy, flawed maps, a disappearing supply ship, and a foreboding assault by Kumeyaay warriors. Through it all, Portolá persevered, Serra prayed defiantly, and the surviving troops remained steadfast. This talk will detail the harrowing events that, in the span of only a few months, cemented California’s place in history.

An award-winning journalist and independent historian, Robert A. Kittle is the author of “Franciscan Frontiersmen: How Three Adventurers Charted the West,” published by the University of Oklahoma Press. His forthcoming book details the little-known “trail of tears” inflicted on Cupeño tribesmen in Southern California in 1903.

A talk by Robert Kittle, historian and author.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

CANCELLED – Three Tales of Iconic San Francisco Foods and the American Dreamers Behind Them
Monday, July 29, 2019, 5-7 PM

*We are sorry to announce that this program has been cancelled.

The City by the Bay has been the site of great moments in history for more than a century. And its magnetism has drawn people from all over the country and the world to make their way and their dreams come true. Explore the American dream as realized through three stories of people, place and food in San Francisco, from the Gold Rush through the 20th century.

An illustrated talk by Laura Borrman, writer and editor.

Terrible! Thrilling! True! Collecting the Books, Brochures & Ephemera of the Donner Party
Monday, August 5, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

In the history of Westward Expansion, the Donner Party stands alone. Their story has been the inspiration for a bounty of books and pamphlets, both serious and some not so much. The literary history of the Donner Party runs the gamut from histories, biographies, fiction, epic poems, plays and even a cookbook! After nearly fifty years of collecting all things Donner Party, amateur historian and author Jim Hier joins us to share items from his collection and discuss the literary legacy of the Donner Party.

An illustrated talk by Jim Hier, historian and author.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

Windle-Loker Lecture Series on the History of the Illustrated Book: Woodcut Illustrated Books: The Stylistic Development of the Woodcut: From Simple Relief Printing to the Chiaroscuro Print
Monday, August 12, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

The art of the woodcut, as it developed during the 15th and 16th centuries, is the tale of two movements; one driven by printers and woodcutters producing images to illustrate texts for a growing literate public, the other by artists seeking to use the medium of wood block to create prints in multiple copies that resembled the qualities of drawing heightened with tones of color.

This presentation examines the development of both movements and illustrates some of the most sublime printed images produced during the late Medieval and Renaissance periods.

An illustrated talk by Dan De Simone, proprietor, De Simone Company, Bookseller and former curator of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection at the Library of Congress and the Eric Weinmann Librarian at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

From Cows to Concrete: The Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles
Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 5:30-7:30 PM
*A Southern California Program

Hospitality at 5:30 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

From the earliest pueblo cornfields to the struggles of farm workers to the rise of the environmental movement, From Cows to Concrete tells the epic tale of how agriculture forged Los Angeles into an urban metropolis, and how, ultimately, the Los Angeles farm empire spurred the very growth that paved it over, as sprawling suburbs swallowed up thousands of acres of prime farmland. And how, on the same land once squandered by corporate greed and “progress,” urban farmers are making inroads to a greener future. More than 150 vintage images enhance and expand the fascinating, detailed history.

An illustrated talk by Rachel Surls, sustainable food systems advisor and author, and Judith Gerber, farm and garden authority and author.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

At the Women’s City Club of Pasadena, 160 N. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

Exhibition Opening: Zamorano 80
Monday, August 19, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Remarks & Discussion at 5:30 PM

In June 1945, the members of the Zamorano Club issued the Zamorano 80, a listing with biographical data on the 80 books that the members unanimously agreed were distinguished and important in understanding California. Currently, there are only four known complete collections. The collection on display will include about 40 of the Zamorano 80 in first editions.

Remarks by Bill Donohoo, collector and former president of the Zamorano Club, with Q&A and discussion moderated by Susan M. Allen, director, California Rare Book School.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

An Evening in the Library: Pulp Nonfiction: Papermaking Around the World
Monday, September 9, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 5:30 PM

A members-only talk by Elizabeth Newsom, librarian, Book Club of California.

Details to come.

Reservations not available at this time.

Woody Guthrie L.A. 1937 – 1941
Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 5:30-7:30 PM
*A Southern California Program

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 5:30 PM

Woody Guthrie L.A.: 1937 to 1941, edited by historians Darryl Holter and William Deverell, argues that the famed folk singer’s brief residence in Los Angeles in the later years of the Great Depression forever changed his music, his politics, and his legacy. Those changes became the basis of his incredible influence on the world’s music.

The book is the product of many years’ work and close cooperation with members of Woody Guthrie’s family and estate. Lyrics Guthrie wrote about Los Angeles, many of which he never set to music, are published here for the first time. The book also features more than a dozen of Guthrie’s brilliant cartoons—his quickly drawn satires on politics, the wealthy, and the future of Los Angeles.

Because Woody Guthrie came to Los Angeles when he did, his music stridently addresses inequities and inequalities amplified by the Depression. In Los Angeles, the ever-observant Dust Bowl troubadour became the urban folksinger. His time in L.A. created the Woody that—eighty years later—bears witness to America’s promise and its problems.

An illustrated talk with music by Darryl Holter, musician, singer-songwriter, and author, and William Deverell, professor of history and director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West at the University of Southern California.

At the Women’s City Club of Pasadena, 160 N. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

To RSVP, please complete this form.

Vance Gerry: An Overview of a Life in the Arts
Monday, September 16, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Vance Gerry was an artist who applied his creative talents to many different interests and pursuits. Perhaps best known for his successful career at Walt Disney Productions, Vance also operated various presses during his lifetime. Although he produced stunningly beautiful books and ephemera, Vance remains largely unknown and undervalued as a fine printer. Please join us for a glimpse into the private life of Vance Gerry, one of Southern California’s premier fine press printers.

An illustrated talk by Robert Bothamley, author and collector.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

A Co-presentation with the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America: Collecting Spectacular Commodities: Guy Debord and the Situationist International as Cultural Artifacts
Monday, September 23, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Founded in 1957, the Situationist International (S.I.) was one of the foremost Post-war European avant-gardes. Led by Guy Debord, Situationists rejected the curation of cultural objects and attacked the notion of copyright, viewing the former as a noxious byproduct of the “spectacular-commodity” economy and the latter as a means to constrain ideas within controlled, commercialized distribution channels. Collecting the S.I. could thus be construed as a duplicitous, counter-revolutionary act. This talk will attempt to unpack the complications inherent to archiving artifacts that both embrace and reject their own materiality.

A talk by Mehdi El Hajoui, private collector.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

Junipero Serra: The Man Behind the Myths
Monday, September 30, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Pope Francis’s decision in 2015 to canonize Junípero Serra sparked a storm of controversy, especially in California. There were serious disagreements between those who believed Serra should be canonized as an intrepid and even heroic evangelizer of the New World and those who believed that Serra was a central figure in the destruction of the Native American way of life and thus is unworthy of the honor of sainthood.

In this presentation we attempt to get behind the controversy and look at Serra the man. In our judgment, the two major forces in Serra’s life were a) his personal identity as an 18th century Catholic missionary, and b) his relationship with the native peoples he encountered in central Mexico, Baja California, and Alta California. We believe that approaching Serra in this fashion throws considerable light upon the early history of Spanish and Mexican California.

An illustrated talk by Rose Marie Beebe, professor of Spanish literature, and Robert Senkewicz, professor of history, emeritus, both at Santa Clara University.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

2019 Litquake Literary Festival at the Book Club of California: Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad
Monday, October 14, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

From across the sea, they came by the thousands, escaping war and poverty in southern China to seek their fortunes in America. Converging on the enormous western worksite of the Transcontinental Railroad, the migrants spent years dynamiting tunnels through the snow-packed cliffs of the Sierra Nevada and laying tracks across the burning Utah desert. Their sweat and blood fueled the ascent of an interlinked, industrial United States. But those of them who survived this perilous effort would suffer a different kind of death—a historical one, as they were pushed first to the margins of American life and then to the fringes of public memory.

In this groundbreaking account, award-winning scholar Gordon H. Chang draws on unprecedented research to recover the Chinese railroad workers’ stories and celebrate their role in remaking America. An invaluable correction of a great historical injustice, The Ghosts of Gold Mountain returns these “silent spikes” to their rightful place in our national saga.

A talk by Gordon H. Chang, professor of history at Stanford University.

Reservations not available at this time.

The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice
Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 5:30-7:30 PM
*A Southern California Program

Hospitality at 5:30 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

The Missing Pages is the biography of a manuscript that is at once art, sacred object, and cultural heritage. Its tale mirrors the story of its scattered community as Armenians have struggled to redefine themselves after genocide and in the absence of a homeland. Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh follows in the manuscript’s footsteps through seven centuries, from medieval Armenia to the killing fields of 1915 Anatolia, the refugee camps of Aleppo, Ellis Island, and Soviet Armenia, and ultimately to a Los Angeles courtroom.

Reconstructing the path of the pages, Watenpaugh uncovers the rich tapestry of an extraordinary artwork and the people touched by it. At once a story of genocide and survival, of unimaginable loss and resilience, The Missing Pages captures the human costs of war and persuasively makes the case for a human right to art.

An illustrated talk by Heghnar Watenpaugh, Ph.D., author and professor of art history at the University of California, Davis .

To RSVP, please complete this form.

At the Women’s City Club of Pasadena, 160 N. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

Books and Biography: A Case Study Based on Iliazd (Ilia Zdanevich)
Monday, October 21, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Ilia Zdanevich, known as Iliazd, was a Russian Futurist writer, typographer, and book designer who moved to Paris in 1921, published the first anthology of experimental visual and sound poetry in the late 1940s, and became a producer of livres d’artistes until his death in 1975. His books included collaborations with many celebrated modern artists—Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and others—and are much sought after by bibliophiles and collectors. But does appreciation of the books depend upon information about his life? And what are the practical and critical challenges in constructing a biography? What is the relationship between archival evidence and narrative? How do we read an individual life in relation to enormous forces and events of history (Revolution, world wars)? What taboos and lines of privacy need to be respected and when? What relation does the constructed persona of a biographical subject have to their work? The recently completed, Encountering Iliazd: Memoir of a Biographical Project, addresses these and other issues and forms the case study for considering these questions more broadly.

Johanna Drucker is a writer, scholar, and artist who began making books in the 1970s. Her work is represented in major collections and archives. She has published widely on topics related to the history of the book, visual poetry, digital humanities, and graphical forms of knowledge production. Titles include: The Century of Artists’ Books (Granary, 1994), The Alphabetic Labyrinth (Thames and Hudson, 1994), SpecLab (Chicago, 2009), Graphesis (Harvard, 2014), and Downdrift (Three Rooms Press, 2018).

A talk by Johanna Drucker, writer, scholar, and artist.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

The Bookseller as Amenity: Experiences in running downtown San Francisco’s last used bookstore in Trinity Place alley
Monday, October 28, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

A talk by Natalia Kresich, writer and owner of 34 Trinity Arts & News, and Rick Wilkinson, owner of G.F. Wilkinson Books.

Details to come.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Lecture on the History of the Book Trade in California and the West:
The Lore & Lure of Literature on Early Yosemite Tourism

Monday, November 4, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Following the first tourist party visit to Yosemite in 1855, literature–whether pictorial, photographic, or printed–enticed sightseers to visit the sublime Valley. Tracing the evolution of this relationship provides an insight into early Yosemite ephemera, books, and lithographs. The literary lure of tourists to the Valley has worked so well, that today Yosemite is painfully loved to death.

An illustrated talk by Dennis Kruska, author of Bibliography of Yosemite, the Central and the Southern High Sierra, and the Big Trees, 1839-1900 (1992) and James Mason Hutchings of Yosemite: a Biography and Bibliography, 2009.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Lecture on the History of the Book Trade in California and the West:
The Lore & Lure of Literature on Early Yosemite Tourism

Thursday, November 7, 2019, 7:30 – 9:30 PM
*A Southern California Program

Following the first tourist party visit to Yosemite in 1855, literature–whether pictorial, photographic, or printed–enticed sightseers to visit the sublime Valley. Tracing the evolution of this relationship provides an insight into early Yosemite ephemera, books, and lithographs. The literary lure of tourists to the Valley has worked so well, that today Yosemite is painfully loved to death.

An illustrated talk by Dennis Kruska, author of Bibliography of Yosemite, the Central and the Southern High Sierra, and the Big Trees, 1839-1900 (1992) and James Mason Hutchings of Yosemite: a Biography and Bibliography, 2009.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

*At Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108

Pasadena Printmaker Frances Gearhart Celebrates California
Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
*A Southern California Program

6:00 PM refreshments | 7:00 PM lecture | 8:15 PM book signing

An exhibition of Gearhart’s work and a talk by Susan Futterman, author.

Details to come.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

*At Pasadena Central Library, Donald R. Wright Auditorium
285 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91101

The Artist and the Printer: The Book Club of California’s Quarterly and Two Lifetimes of Image Making
Monday, November 18, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

A discussion with Michael Schwab, graphic artist, and Richard Seibert, letterpress printer

Details to come.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

Paul Robertson Endowed Lecture on the History, Art, and Literature of California:
A Fair View of Progress: The Evolution of Innovations from the 1915 San Francisco Exposition

Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 5:30-7:30 PM
*A Southern California Program

Hospitality at 5:30 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

An illustrated talk by Laura A. Ackley, author of the award-winning book San Francisco’s Jewel City: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

Details to come.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

At the Women’s City Club of Pasadena, 160 N. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

Paul Robertson Endowed Lecture on the History, Art, and Literature of California:
A Fair View of Progress: The Evolution of Innovations from the 1915 San Francisco Exposition

Monday, December 16, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6PM

An illustrated talk by Laura A. Ackley, author of the award-winning book San Francisco’s Jewel City: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

Details to come.

To RSVP, please complete this form.

 

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