Saturday, Harriet and I got a chance to stop by the Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival. We’ve gone to this for several years now, and it just gets better and better. Eric Kelly from the Book Den is heavily involved, and this year it was across the street from his store, in the courtyard of the Santa Babara Public Library Main Branch.
The festival is a place for local authors, publishers, and associated service organizations to meet the public and each other. There are a lot of booths, and you can talk directly with Santa Babara’s literati. We have quite a few local publishers and I enjoy seeing what’s being produced by these small presses.
Two booths were particularly memorable. One was run by John Roshell, who is a principal at Active Images, which is the publishing arm of Comicraft, a lettering and design studio. They make COMICS! I had no idea they were in town, although their mailing address is in LA. They produce the Elephantmen graphic novels. I was recently introduced to them at the San Diego ComicCon this year, and they are woderful. Both the artwork and the stories are great, and it was pretty cool to know that there is a local connection.
The other fun thing I learned is that this publisher is married to Starshine Roshell. Harriet and I have become big fans and she’s one our favorite, local journalist/editorialists. She writes beautifully and just make us both laugh. Unfortunately, she’s lost her local editorial column as a side effect of a huge fiasco happening with our local newspaper, the News Press (not affectionately known as the News Suppress). That miserable fiasco is fodder for another post.
The other booth that impressed me was for McSweeney’s. They’re a small publisher out of San Francisco, and they produce the most amazing books and magazines. This is a publishing house where the book production is as much the art as the content of the books. Really wonderful graphics and packaging of some really quirky and delightfully written bits of fiction and non-fiction. They have a magazine for short fiction and art (McSweeney’s), a magazine for non-fiction (The Believer), and a Video Periodical (Wholphin) that delivers a DVD quarterly with short films. We bought a sample of each as well as a wonderful book called Your Disgusting Head, which is sort of a spoof on illustrated science books. We were assured that there are no true facts in that book.
These are really beautiful pieces that you need to see when you are next here, visiting.