Upcoming Events

The Book Club of California is offering in-person and online programs and activities. Hybrid events with in-person attendance and a streaming element are also held.

Please note that event times for in-person and online programs may be different. In-person events may require proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks. Capacity may be limited and advance registration for in-person events is required.

Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public and take place at the Book Club of California located at 312 Sutter Street, Suite 500 in San Francisco.

Please refer to the description under each event.

Email programs@bccbooks.org for any questions, or call (415) 781-7532 ext. 2. Many of our staff will be working remotely so please contact them by email or phone. Staff contact information can be found on our website.

Sharing Our Desert’s LGBTQ+ History: How It All Began

Monday, May 16, 2022, 5-6:15 PM | Zoom Webinar

* Presented in association with Rare Books LA – Palm Springs

Begun in 2019, the LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert is dedicated to collecting, preserving and making accessible the LGBTQ+ History of the Greater Palm Springs Area. This presentation provides a brief overview of how and why the Archives began, what their current collection houses, their exhibitions, and future plans.

A live online presentation by David Gray, co-founder and co-chair, LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert

Click here to REGISTER for the ZOOM WEBINAR


2022 Oscar Lewis Awards

Monday, May 23, 2022, 6-7:15 PM
| In-Person event & Livestream to YouTube

The Oscar Lewis Awards were established by the Book Club of California in 1994 in honor of Oscar Lewis (1893-1992), San Francisco author, historian, and club secretary from 1921-1946. Awards for achievement in Western History and the Book Arts are awarded each year.

This year Charles Wollenberg will be recognized for his contributions to Western History and Mary Risala Laird will be recognized for her contributions to the Book Arts.

A ceremony to celebrate the honorees will be held at the Book Club. Space is limited and reservations are required. This event will also be live streamed on YouTube. Details to follow.

This event was originally scheduled for April 11, 2022 but based on honoree availability and other factors we needed to move the event to May 23, 2022. 

Click here to REGISTER to watch the Live Stream on YouTube/Zoom

Click here and REGISTER to attend the IN-PERSON event.
(Space is limited. Your registration will be confirmed if space allows.)

American Dude Ranch: A Touch of the Cowboy and the Thrill of the West

Monday, June 13, 2022, 6-7:15 PM
| In-Person event & Livestream to YouTube

Viewers of films and television shows might imagine the dude ranch as something not quite legitimate, a place where city dwellers pretend to be cowboys in amusingly inauthentic fashion. But the tradition of the dude ranch, America’s original western vacation, is much more interesting and deeply connected with the culture and history of the American West. In American Dude Ranch, Lynn Downey opens new perspectives on this buckaroo getaway, with all its implications for deciphering the American imagination.

Dude ranching began in the 1880s when cattle ranches ruled the West. Men, and a few women, left the comforts of their eastern lives to experience the world of the cowboy. But by the end of the century, the cattleman’s West was fading, and many ranchers turned to wrangling dudes instead of livestock. What began as a way for ranching to survive became a new industry, and as the twentieth century progressed, the dude ranch wove its way into American life and culture.

Downey follows dude ranching across the years, tracing its influence on everything from clothing to cooking and showing how ranchers adapted to changing times and vacation trends. Her book also offers a rare look at women’s place in this story, as they found personal and professional satisfaction in running their own dude ranches.

However contested and complicated, western history is one of America’s national origin stories that we turn to in times of cultural upheaval. Dude ranches provide a tangible link from the real to the imagined past, and their persistence and popularity demonstrate how significant this link remains. This book tells their story—in all its familiar, eccentric, and often surprising detail.

A live presentation by Lynn Downey, author, archivist, and historian

Click here to REGISTER to watch the Live Stream on YouTube/Zoom

Click here and REGISTER to attend the IN-PERSON event
(Space is limited. Your registration will be confirmed if space allows.)

Visual Poetry

Monday, June 20, 2022, 6-7:15 PM
| In-Person exhibition opening & Livestream to YouTube

Poets, scribes, and printers throughout history have taken advantage of the fact that poetry is both a visual and a verbal art. From the collection of the Book Club of California, this exhibit looks at some of these multi-sensory works from the earliest known shaped poems, over twenty-three thousand years old, up to modern experiments in textual design.

Exhibition Opening with remarks by Elizabeth Newsom, librarian, Book Club of California

* Exhibition on view June 20 through September 2, 2022

Click here to REGISTER to watch the Live Stream on YouTube/Zoom

Click here and REGISTER to attend the IN-PERSON event
(Space is limited. Your registration will be confirmed if space allows.)

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