The opening party for Casa de Pueblo on May 3 was packed, as people came to check out the opening of a new community center in the Echo Park neighborhood of LA. Many locals came to check the center out, the result of a concerted outreach effort to meet and greet with neighbors. Early in the day, an activist capoeira class did a demonstration of the Brasilian martial art, capoeria.
Also on this day, anti-authoritarians at the REACH Center in Long Beach, also known as the Long Beach Infoshoppe, drank beers and cried as their project shut their doors. They were the target of two years of police harrasment starting after the May Day police riot of 2001. A prominent fixture in the southland and nation's anarchist scene, the center was the victim not only of a concerted effort by the LBPD to defame and harrass, but also constant internal strife.
The other two anti-authoritarian infoshops in the area, Flor Y Canto, and the shop at Luna Tierra Sol, didn't have any unusual drama. I don't get the impression the other radical bookstores (Pathfinder and Revolution Books) had anything weird going on either. I just mention them all because someone out there might want to know these resources exist.
As long as I'm at it, I'll mention Bohemia Books, Espresso Mi Cultura, and that shop Luis Rodriguez is involved in up in San Fernando. They've got books too. Bohemia, especially, has a nice selection. I also like the gift shop at the Japanese American Natl. Museum, which has an excellent Asian-Am studies selection, and Eso Won books for Afro-Am and African books. Beyond Baroque in Venice is the mecca of poetry -- and John Doe and Exene met there. (I bet the Chinese American and Latino museums also have good book selections. I also like(d) House of Fiction in Pasadena, and that post-Iguanaland shop in the Valley.) If you want more mainstream books, or GLBT focus, there's Skylight and Book Soup, and for strictly GLBT, Different Light in WeHo.
Midnight Special, RIP, may you rise again.
Screw Amazon.com and the big chains. These are enough great books at these independent booksellers to keep you reading all your life! These places aren't just about books, but the ideas they contain, and the people they affect, coming together in one place to share space.
What are some other good bookshops? I know I didn't get them all.