2017 LA Vintage Paperback Show

2016 Vintage Paperback Show, panoramic view. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

Over 400 people came out to the 38th Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show on March 19 at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.

John King Tarpinian and the rest of the event staff did a really fine job, always aware of what was going on and nice to everyone. John spoiled me with a reserved parking space that helped make everything more accessible.

As I went around the tables, many collectible items caught my eye – none more so than a Duke Snider action figure (he was a big Dodgers star when I was a kid). I find at this point in life I don’t need to personally own things like that, I’m just happy they still exist.

I wasn’t even expecting to buy any books, which must sound blasphemous considering where I was, until I visited Marty and Alice Massoglia’s table. On top of a pile was a Christopher Anvil novel The Steel, The Mist, and the Blazing Sun. I didn’t remember seeing that title before, although I read literally dozens of the guy’s stories in Analog. It was an Ace book edited by Ben Bova. The description on the jacket didn’t ring a bell either, so I paid the $2 and started reading – indeed, despite being published in 1980 it’s new to me.

I had volunteered to help at the Loscon fan table. After Michelle Pincus set up, I had a chance to talk to Marc Schirmeister and hear the latest about Taral’s health and recovery. Craig Miller, co-chair of this year’s Loscon, arrived and we table-sat for awhile, discussing his guests and publicity plans. Michael Toman came by and introduced himself, saying he reads File 770 often.

The Civic Auditorium has a stage at one end, and that’s where the Loscon and Horror Writers Association had tables. With an elevated view of the whole event, during the 11 a.m. hour I could see throngs of collectors carrying small piles of books for Jason Brock, William F. Nolan, Mel Gilden, Barbara Hambly, Joe Lansdale, Tim Powers, John Shirley and others to sign. At noon the sf/f writers included Dick Lupoff, Michael Kurland, and David J. Schow.

Larry Niven, Mike Glyer, and Jerry Pournelle. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

After lunch I got to have a long talk with Jerry Pournelle about his recollections of working in defense and on the space program in the early Sixties. He and I also compared notes about getting around on walkers. Larry Niven joined us, and when Steven Barnes came to say hello they had an impromptu 30-second story conference about the book the three are writing. I also had a chance to greet Harry Turtledove and Gregory Benford.

The Paperback Show is a terrific one-day event with a great spirit that reminds everyone why they’re glad they found the sf/f community. If you’re local, be sure to come out when it’s held again next year.

2016 LA Vintage Paperback Show

2016 Vintage Paperback Show, panoramic view. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

2016 Vintage Paperback Show, panoramic view. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

The 37th Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show took place April 3 at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.

I finally made it!

It’s a great event. I really enjoyed it. Book dealers fill the exhibit hall, and at a row of tables next to the stage waves of writers and artists autograph their works for fans, free, throughout the day. Some of the people signing when I first arrived were Karen Anderson, Barbara Hambly, and Tim Kirk. Joe Lansdale and his daughter, Kasey, were at one of the dealers tables.

Kasey Lansdale and her father Joe Lansdale.

Kasey Lansdale and her father Joe Lansdale.

On the way in I met Tim and Serena Powers. Tim said he looks in on the File 770 blog, which was nice to hear. I had a long conversation with Marc Schirmeister, who I last saw at Sasquan.

I met artist Tony Gleeson for the first time – an artist often mentioned here in news stories — and he in turn introduced me to author Odie Hawkins.

Quite a few LASFS members were present — Matthew Tepper, Michelle Pincus, Karl Lembke – in addition to the member/authors who were signing. I hear Robert J. Sawyer visited the Loscon table later, after I had gone.

Robert J. Sawyer. Photo by Michelle Pincus.

Robert J. Sawyer. Photo by Michelle Pincus.

While touring the dealer tables I saw lots of classic old stuff — but got a giggle out of seeing a copy of Zotz! Among the precious wares in a glass case. That’s the book which became a (negative) legend and running joke in the LASFS Xmas Gift Exchange — even though it’s a hardcover, you couldn’t get credit for contributing ZOTZ! as a gift unless you included with it something else that was worth the minimum. One year I unwrapped a copy which came with a $5 bill…

The event staff were doing a really good job — seemed to have an eye open for everything, and treated people very nicely.

I can’t end without mentioning the Civic Auditorium’s rather odd parking structure. The property is built into a hillside. You enter the structure on the bottom level, as you would expect, however, to exit you have to drive all the way up to the roof — which puts you on a level with another driveway to the street.

The Zine Artists Online Museum

saarahonourrole36Many notable fanzine artists have banded together to present exhibits of their finest work at The Zine Artists, where they hope others soon will join them.

Here are high-resolution scans of great cover art unimpaired by cheap paper repro, faneds’ peculiar choices of colored paper, or massive blots of zine title typography. Pristine! At last, no barriers between the artist and the audience.

Already available are dozens and dozens of examples of the funny and beautiful work by —

Taral Wayne forestalls the obvious question —

The first thing you will notice is how terribly incomplete the list of artists is. “Where are Jeanne Gomoll,” you may ask, or “Jack Wiedenbeck, Randy Bathurst, or David Vereschagin?” The answer is that it will take time to track these artists down and contact them.

Taral has also penned a detailed history of the evolution of fanzine art – including his lament about the current state of affairs:

Then, of course, came the digital age, which changed everything.  No longer was it necessary to print anything at all to publish a fanzine.  Fan editors could  manipulate words and images directly on the screen, and distribute them in whatever file format was convenient.  It was no longer necessary to limit illustrations in any way.  Colour became almost mandatory.   Photographs were a breeze.  Any image that was already digitized was fair game to import into your document.  You could search the entire globe, through the Internet, for the exact image you wanted.  In effect, fanartists became redundant.

The golden age of fanzine art represented here never really seems to have been accompanied by a golden age of appreciation for the artists. In every era there have been justifiable complaints that the artists did not receive enough egoboo to “sustain life as we know it.” So take advantage of this chance to leave an appreciative comment in The Zine Artists chat section!

Lou Scarborough, Animator (1953-2013)

Lou in May 1999.

Lou in May 1999.

By Taral Wayne: Upon returning home to LA from a business trip to New York, Louis Scarborough Jr. learned that he had cancer. It had not even been suspected when he left the West Coast, but had metastasized to a very advanced state in an appallingly short period of time. Lou was hospitalized for surgery to remove a tumor that was causing an immediately life-threatening blockage of his colon. The surgery was a success, but … as a result of it, Lou was far too weak to withstand the necessary chemotherapy. He could only wait and hope to get stronger.

Unfortunately, Lou died on August 5, 2013. He was a too-young 60.

Lou worked in the animation business all his life. He did storyboards as well as actual animation, and hoped one day to direct a property of his own.

Lou was born in North Carolina, but his father moved the family to New York City, where he became a successful businessman and raised Lou, a brother, Cecil, and three sisters. Lou didn’t like New York much, and one of his earliest jobs in animation helped him escape to Toronto, where he worked on Rock & Rule for Nelvanna. From Toronto he went to Los Angeles, spent some time in Seattle next, and finally settled down in “Hollywood” for good.  Even a partial list of Lou’s credits is impressive. Among the television cartoons and animated features he worked on were, Bravestar, Quest for Camelot, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Smurfs, Camp Candy, Taz-Mania, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas, Tiny Toons – How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Batman, Rock & Rule, Muppet Babies, Alvin and the Chipmunks and others. He worked for Filmation, Hanna-Barbera, Bagdasarian, Warner Bros. and Disney Merchandising.

In recent years, however, Lou had fallen on harder times. Work in animation had been more difficult to find since CGI swept most other forms of animation from the field, and Lou was often unemployed during the last few years. For the last few months of his life, he had been compelled to share living space with a friend while dealing with intense family issues.

Lou was a fairly private man, but one with a number of good friends that anyone could be proud of. He counted among his closest associates Marc Schirmeister, Mike Kazaleh, Wendell Washer, Robert Guthrie and others whom he grew to know and respect through his career. Marc seemed to be his especial friend, however. Not only did Lou and Marc spend good times together, Lou turned to Marc in hard times as well, even sharing cramped quarters for almost a year. He trusted Marc to give good advice, and to be the custodian of his worldly goods. Marc was at Lou’s side in his last moments, and it is currently Marc who looks after the art and other personal belongings that Lou left behind.

Some years ago, when he was a member of Rowrbrazzle and dabbling in the “indies,” Lou announced a new comic book, Dance of the Radio Men, to be published by MU Press. Advance glimpses revealed a tribute to the luscious curves, elegant shapes and freedom of space of the classic 1940s cartoons. Alas, the project failed in the face of Lou’s own unremitting perfectionism. He simply could not satisfy himself that the pages were absolutely as good as they possibly could be … and withdrew the book from the publisher, much to the dismay of waiting readers and MU Press owner Edd Vick.

Perhaps that’s as good a note as any to end an obituary. Not on sad memories of unhappy times, but of a time when the world was a little younger and Lou’s art gave everyone the hope that there was something marvelous like Radio Men waiting for us all, just around the corner.


Last and First Meetings

The first meeting in the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society’s new clubhouse is tonight, September 1, at 8 p.m. I plan to be there.

The new place is at 6012 Tyrone Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401, one block north of Oxnard and one block east of Van Nuys Blvd. That’s not very far from where I formerly lived on Woodman Ave., a return address familiar to some of you long-time File 770 subscribers.

The LASFS ended a 34-year run at the old clubhouse last Thursday night. Taral Wayne happened to be in town and Marc Schirmeister took him to the meeting. Taral documented the evening with a few photos.

Before the club bought the property in 1977 it was owned by a leatherworking business. There also was a radio mast beside the back building serving a nurses’ beeper alert service. It was an attractive nuisance — Frank Gasperik once climbed it – so the club eventually took it down.

The front building was used for socializing and to house the library.

The back building was the meeting room, shown in the photos below. Looking at them brings back memories. You can see the paneling Jerry Pournelle helped install, and the free carpet that Gary Louie salvaged from his employer. The column supporting the roof beam used to be covered with plaques honoring two members who qualified as Pillars of the LASFS, Bruce Pelz and Michael Mason.

When LASFS bought its first clubhouse in 1973, over 100 people came to the first meeting. The club grew so quickly that members were able to buy a larger place in 1977. For many years weekly attendance averaged around 150, though it has since dwindled.

Meeting room at old LASFS clubhouse on Burbank Blvd. Photo by Taral.

Marc Schirmeister (center) sits in front row at LASFS' last meeting in its old clubhouse, August 25, 2011. Photo by Taral.

Anticipation Is Makin’ Me Wait

Actually the waiting is over! Chris Garcia has posted the highly entertaining Fanzine Cover In An Hour featuring art improvised at Anticipation by Taral, Marc Schirmeister and Steve Stiles.

The zine’s official title is rather longer and here is Chris’ explanation of how he ended up with “Go Drop Dead” An Anticipation Fanzine in an Hour…kinda

The theme for the art, which I got from the audience was…tentacles and airships! It did my heart good, being such a fan of both Cthuhlu and Steampunk. I asked folks for a suggestion for a title, particularly bothering Marc [Schirmeister], who told me to ‘Go Drop Dead”. That is how titles are made!

In one of several short articles between the drawings of tentacles and airships Chris Garcia pays tribute to poutine, a Canadian comfort food that may possibly taste good but does not photograph well. It looks a lot scarier than all those sketches of Cthulhu.

LASFS at 75

The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society threw its 75th anniversary bash at the Castaways in Burbank on October 23. Perched high on a hillside our banquet hall had a vast scenic window opening onto a magnificent view of twinkling city lights. It was the perfect place for us, halfway to the stars.

Master of ceremonies John Hertz had not dressed like Beau Brummell (though he sometimes does) which he emphasized by pointing out “This is one of the rare occasions when Len Moffatt is better dressed than I.” John did wear his beanie, however, when he introduced our first speaker, Roy Test.

Roy at last got the attention he’s always deserved as one of the club’s founding members. The late Forry Ackerman was also present at the club’s creation in 1934 and was such an influential part of LASFS history as well as its most polished raconteur that he was able to fully satisfy people’s curiosity about the past. (I snapped a photo of Ackerman waving for the camera at the club’s 70th anniversary, only later discovering Roy Test was there and by luck I had captured Roy walking past in the background of the same picture.) However, Roy’s story is quite interesting in its own right.

After Hertz helped him up to the dais Roy joked, “I was a little more agile when I first started reading sf stories.” He remembered a preliminary club meeting at a movie theater one afternoon. And most of his memories are of meetings at Clifton’s Cafeteria when he was 13 or 14 years old. He remembered the green drink circulating in Clifton’s fountain. He said his mother, Wanda Test, volunteered to be club secretary as a way to come to the meetings “and see what kind of oddballs I was associating with. Maybe it didn’t occur to her I was the oddest one there.”

(According to Forry Ackerman in Mimosa: “That very first meeting of all was attended by nine people. There was a young fan named Roy Test; he was interested in Esperanto, so we called him ‘Esperan-Test’. His mother, Wanda Test, was our first secretary. In those days of the 1930s, Thrilling Wonder Stories was on our minds, so her minutes became known as ‘Thrilling Wanda Stories’.”)

Roy remembered discovering a used bookstore with a trove of very early sf pulps selling for 15 cents each. He worked at a gas station for 10 cents an hour, so every hour-and-a-half he could buy another copy from the magazine’s first year of publication.

Within a few years World War II started, and Test went into the Army Air Corps and piloted B-17 bombers. He is, in fact, still an active flyer in the Commemorative Air Force (see photos of him in uniform here and here.) Roy said he occasionally flies a Russian paratroop plane, the largest single-engine biplane in the world. By coincidence, my family had toured the Planes of Fame museum in Chino a year or so ago and I saw some items donated by Roy on exhibit — the first time I knew that part of his story.

Roy was followed by Len and June Moffatt. It was great to see them together – they’ve been part of LASFS for around 60 years. Other speakers included John DeChancie, Karl Lembke (Chair of the LASFS board of directors), Mel Gilden, Laura Brodian Freas, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Larry Niven said in 1963 he decided he was going to be a writer and took the Famous Writers School correspondence course. He was then 25 years old. Having met Ray Bradbury years before (when they had the same doctor) he wrote for advice, was referred to Forry Ackerman and ended up attending LASFS meetings at the Silver Lake Playground. That opened the way to all kinds of adventures, and to meeting his future wife at the 1967 Worldcon. Larry said that Fallen Angels (written with Pournelle and Flynn) embodied what he felt about fandom.

Jerry Pournelle quoted Heinlein to the effect that authors who read their own works in public probably have other nasty habits, but he agreed with Niven’s sentiments about Fallen Angels. He too had joined LASFS in the Silver Lake days, when Paul Turner was promoting the idea that we’d someday own our own clubhouse. Jerry said he grew up with a future – “I knew in the 40s I would live to see the first man on the moon. I didn’t know I’d live to see the last one.” Although the future isn’t what it used to be, “I think it’s still there… One of these days we’ll find people who do believe it and we will get our future back.”

Fannish entertainers provided a change of pace between the speakers. Lynn Maudlin sang “Gotta Kill My Clone” and “High Frontier” (her response to the space shuttle tragedies). Storyteller Nick Smith spoke. Charles Lee Jackson II reminisced about Forry Ackerman. And throughout the evening letters were read from our absent friends: Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, Paul Turner.

I shared a table with Milt Stevens, Marc Schirmeister and Joe Zeff, and also enjoyed seeing a lot of other long-time friends.

Thanks to Christian McGuire and Arlene Satin for their excellent work organizing the event. And also for publishing the incredible 75th Anniversary Memory Book. What a treasure that is!

Taral, Tourist Guide

Taral helped LA fanartist Marc Schirmeister see the sights after Anticipation. His good deed, making the rounds with Marc, was rewarded by the discovery of a prime collectible:

Another memorable moment occurred when I browsed the table of a dealer in bubble-gum cards. As a kid I owned a complete set of the centennial year Civil War set, but had long ago (and stupidly) outgrown them. I recovered a few over the years, but despaired of ever owning a complete set. To my surprise he had one for sale, and it was in perfect shape. I won’t mention what he wanted for it — the price was outrageous of course, bur reasonable for what the market would bear. Nor will I go into how I raised the money. I did, and took home with me all 88 glorious pasteboard paintings of men being bayoneted, shot, blown up, impaled, burned to a crisp, and occasionally playing the harmonica.

I collected these, too! The set was published during the Civil War centennial. Most unforgettable of all the cards was the one showing the “wall of corpses” at the Battle of Fredricksburg. I never accumulated anything close to a complete set and the ones I had vanished in the Sixties.

2010 Westercon in Pasadena

Westercon 63 logo by Schirmeister

Westercon 63, Confirmation, will be held July 1-4, 2010 in Pasadena, CA. Pro Guest of Honor: Rudy Rucker; Fan Guest of Honor: John D. Berry; Artist Guest of Honor: Marc Schirmeister. Membership info is at the website.

Site selection voting, in a race where Pasadena was not officially opposed, went as follows according to Christian McGuire’s memory:

Out of 114 ballots cast, 99 were for Pasadena in 2010, 9 were for Kevin’s Pants, 2 were for Tonopah, 1 for Tahoe, 1 for Casa de Fruita, and 1 no-preference. These numbers are from memory so I expect any errors to be corrected by people with notes or the last Daily Newszine, which I never got a copy of.

Update 7/10/2008: Added site selection voting figures.