Selina Phanara's art on the APA-L room door. Photo by Karl Lembke.
By John Hertz: (Reprinted from Vanamonde 952) When I saw an empty Moxie bottle at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society’s first meeting in our new Clubhouse, I should have guessed someone had been to Galco’s, a shop so much more famous for carrying five hundred kinds of soft drink than for its Blockbuster sandwiches that it’s less known as Galco’s Old World Grocery than as the Soda Pop Stop. Galco’s has as many beers, six dozen kinds of bottled water, a hundred candies including Clark Bars, Nik-L-Nips, and Sen-Sen, but soft drinks are its fame, almost any so long as bottled in glass. After guessing someone had been there, I should have guessed it was Marc Schirmeister. Both guesses would have been correct. But neither of those afterthoughts was a double-take – unlike understanding the empty bottle.
Among the points upon which I concur with Marv Wolfman is the assessment of this drink. Galco’s owner John Nese once told a visiting couple who’d driven sixty miles “Try a Moxie, then try a Coke. The taste is so pronounced, it just pops out.” That’s very true. Lloyd Penney says Klingons used to arrive from Montréal with cases of it. Moxie = courage may come from what’s needed to drink it; or may be like Old Infuriator, the Algerian wine which the British Navy supposedly served because it was so bad it would make men fight anyone, see e.g. I. Fleming, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service p. 145 (1963).
Someone must have actually consumed a bottle of Moxie. Well, astounding things happen at the LASFS.
This Clubhouse is roomy. It has space for our 20,000-book library. No patio; we left our home-grown lemon tree behind. Also the Star Wars wallpaper Marjii Ellers hung neatly in one of our bathrooms. The new painted-concrete walls are “live”, i.e. in the acoustic sense. Quiet is not a fannish virtue; we’re talkative; I’d not have it another way; maybe we’ll hang arras. Given our new neighbor across the street, we can tell people “Come to the LASFS and be close to power.”
Among the attenders was Dr. Melissa Conway, head of Special Collections at the Library of the Riverside campus of the University of California; among her six, with the Tuskegee Airmen and fifteen printing presses, is the Eaton Collection, world’s largest publicly accessible collection of SF, including the Terry Carr and Bruce Pelz and Rick Sneary fanzines. I introduced her to Karl Lembke, Chairman of the LASFS Board of Directors. During the meeting I sat next to Selina Phanara, who thanked me. “Why?” I asked. “Because I did something about your door?” In 1999 this talented artist painted the APA-L collating-room door (Amateur Press Ass’n – LASFS) with a space ship and suns. When I learned the Club was relocating I asked Dr. Conway if Eaton wanted the door. She said “Yes, please.” Lembke with a little help from his friends dismounted it and put in a plain one; he now arranged to get the Phanara door to Riverside.
In the festivities I brought greetings from Paul Turner and Tim Kirk. Kirk often drew APA-L covers in the years he won five Hugos as Best Fanartist. Turner had asked me to be sure and credit Pelz, who fanned Turner’s building-fund spark into flame. Jerry Pournelle said “Don’t forget to credit Chuck Crayne.” We all cheered Pelz’ widow Elayne, the LASFS Treasurer, who’d done more than anyone else to negotiate, close, and consummate the transactions that disposed of our second Clubhouse and brought us into this our third.
Freehafer Hall in the old LASFS clubhouse on Burbank Blvd. Selina Phanara's door art is visible to the right of the pillar. Photo by Taral Wayne.