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.

In-person programs without a virtual component may be recorded for online viewing on our YouTube Channel after the event.

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.
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Bibliophiles Beware: The Situationist International and the Art & Politics of Cultural Hijacking

Monday, March 4, 2024, 6-7:15 PM (Pacific)
| In-Person and Virtual Presentation

5:30 PM Pacific – Reception
6:00 PM Pacific – Exhibition Opening and Remarks

Active between 1957 and 1972, The Situationist International (S.I.) was a revolutionary alliance of artists, intellectuals, architects and political theorists that is hailed as the “last avant-garde” of the 20th century. One of the organization’s core concepts is that of détournement, which can be understood as the subversion of established cultural commodities as a means of propaganda. This exhibition presents numerous examples of this innovative practice, from artist books to comic strips, and from leaflets to maps. In doing so, it also attempts to retrace the history of a movement that maintained an ambiguous relationship with their own material productions.

Exhibition opening and remarks by Mehdi El Hajoui, private collector.


Click here to REGISTER to attend in-person at The Book Club of California

Click here to REGISTER for the Virtual Presentation on Zoom

Empress San Francisco: The Pacific Rim, The Great West, and California at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition

Monday, March 11, 2024, 6-7:15 PM (Pacific)
| In-Person and Virtual Presentation

5:30 PM Pacific – Reception
6:00 PM Pacific – Program

When the more than 18 million visitors poured into the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) in San Francisco in 1915, they encountered a vision of the world born out of San Francisco’s particular local political and social climate. By seeking to please various constituent groups ranging from the government of Japan to local labor unions and neighborhood associations, fair organizers generated heated debate and conflict about who and what represented San Francisco, California, and the United States at the world’s fair. The PPIE encapsulated the social and political tensions and conflicts of pre–World War I California and presaged the emergence of San Francisco as a cosmopolitan cultural and economic center of the Pacific Rim.

Empress San Francisco offers a fresh examination of this, one of the largest and most influential world’s fairs, by considering the local social and political climate of Progressive Era San Francisco. Focusing on the influence exerted by women, Asians and Asian Americans, and working-class labor unions, among others, Abigail M. Markwyn offers a unique analysis both of this world’s fair and the social construction of pre–World War I America and the West.

An in-person and virtual presentation by Abigail M. Markwyn, author and professor of history at Carroll University


Click here to REGISTER to attend in-person at The Book Club of California

Click here to REGISTER for the Virtual Presentation on Zoom

Clubhouse Turn: The Twilight of Hollywood Park Race Track

Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 6-7:15 PM (Pacific)
| In-Person Presentation

5:30 PM Pacific – Reception
6:00 PM Pacific – Program

The Blinn House | 160 N Oakland Avenue | Pasadena, California 91101

On December 22, 2013, Hollywood Park Racetrack closed its doors permanently.
Comprising 500 photographs culled from more than 25,000 taken on location, Clubhouse Turn (2013-2016) is the final documentation of the historic landmark before its demolition. It is a portrait of not only the architecture and grounds of Hollywood Park, but of those individuals whose livelihood and identities were dependent upon it: a portrait of a quickly vanishing Los Angeles.

Constructed on a swampy landmass in Inglewood, Hollywood Park Racetrack was envisioned by entertainment moguls. Inglewood welcomed the executives, who had been excluded from other venues due to prejudice. The first turn on a racetrack immediately after the finish line, known as the clubhouse turn, is considered to be the best vantage point to see the finish of the race and is therefore where the privileged sit. Built with the values of a bygone era and the mythologies of the track, Hollywood Park was a place where the privileged and disenfranchised co-mingled; it epitomized the social complexity of a place of fantasy and dreams, winning and losing. Clubhouse Turn strives to produce a pictorial record of the inevitable amalgamation of imagined and actual realities, environment and circumstance. By grouping the images into framed constructions, the work functions like memory—consolidating, diffusing, and reorganizing what has now disappeared.

An in-person presentation by Michele Asselin, editorial photographer and author


Click here to REGISTER to attend in-person at Pasadena Heritage | The Blinn House

Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California

Monday, March 18, 2024, 6-7:15 PM (Pacific)
| In-Person and Virtual Presentation

5:30 PM Pacific – Reception
6:00 PM Pacific – Program

An essential piece in California Studies, Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California offers the first critical engagement with the vision of California’s most ambitious interpreter. While Starr’s multifaceted and polymathic vision of California offered a unique gaze—synthesizing central features, big themes, and incredible problems with the propitious golden dream—his eight-volume California Dream series, along with several other books and thousands of published articles and essays, often puzzled historians and other scholars. Historians in the contemporary school of critical historiography often found Starr’s narrative approach—seeking to tell the internal drama of the California story—to be less attuned to the most important work happening in the field. Such a perspective fails to acknowledge key developments in historical subfields like Black and African American Studies, Chicana/o/x Studies, Asian Studies, Native Studies, and others that draw from the narrative in their critical work and how this relates to Starr’s contribution. Along with being a major figure in California institutional life, with literary output spanning genres, it is through the lens of his lived experience as a devout Catholic that this critical sociological perspective sheds new light on his project. With contributions from sociology, history, and theology, akin to investigations appearing in Theology and California: Theological Refractions on California’s Culture (Routledge), Redemptive Dreams offers interdisciplinary perspectives that highlight key features inherent in interdisciplinary theological reflection on place and illuminates these diverse disciplinary discourses as they appear in Starr’s articulation of the California Dream.

An in-person and virtual presentation by Jason S. Sexton, author and professor of sociology at University of California, Los Angeles


Click here to REGISTER to attend in-person at The Book Club of California

Click here to REGISTER for the Virtual Presentation on Zoom

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