The InsideHook Guide to the L.A. Times Festival of Books

Crime writers, chefs and the Shakespeare of comic books

By The Editors
April 5, 2016 9:00 am

There will be more than 500 authors and speakers at the 2016 L.A. Times Festival of Books.

Can you feel the knowledge yet? How ‘bout the traffic? It’s also at USC, which doesn’t have a lot of great dining options.

That’s why we went ahead and made you this guide full of shortcuts, nearby eats and the festival’s must-see events. Here’s to navigating it with professorial aplomb.

Don’t drive. It’s the weekend and if you think the traffic downtown and around USC is maddening, wait until you see the parking. We suggest using a combination of the Metro (the rail runs straight through campus) with Uber or Lyft. There’s even a new app called Citymapper that will tell you the most efficient way to combine public transport with cabs. If you must drive, use Luxe. They’ll make parking a million times easier by picking your car up from wherever you are.

It’s the most important meal of the day. Seeing as USC is near downtown, why not stop by the Grand Central Market for a soft-cooked egg sandwich on an even softer brioche bun by the spatula-wielding cooks at Eggslut (Broadway side). Grab some coffee from G&B Coffee (Hill side). Enjoy the spring breeze running through the market.

With a lot to take in, it’s best to know who you want to see ahead of time (schedule). Here are our picks:

Luis J. Rodriguez, L.A.’s poet laureate, will be reading poetry. TC Boyle will be speaking about his latest novel, The Harder They Come. KCRW’s Michael Silverblatt will be interviewing Joyce Carol Oates about her upcoming novel, The Man Without a Shadow. And TV writer and novelist Jerry Stahl will be discussing his work on Hemingway and Gellhorn and IFC show Maron.

Michael Connelly will be interviewed by Titus Welliver, the star of Connelly’s Amazon show, Bosch. Novelist Marcia Clark, who also prosecuted OJ Simpson, is sitting on a panel called Crime Fiction: The Long Arm of the Law with T. Jefferson Parker and Lee Goldberg. Another panel, Crime Fiction: Echoes of the Past, features drug-war writer Don Winslow (Savages; California Fire) and Attica Locke, the creator of Fox’s Empire and author of Black Water Rising, which won the L.A. Times Book Award.

Los Angeles Times culture writer Steve Lopez will be discussing his new book, Dreams and Schemes. Stan Lee, the Shakespeare of comic books, will be talking about how his empire, POW! Entertainment manages to create such lucrative characters.

The train from USC lets out right by Broken Spanish, Chef Ray Garcia’s highly lauded restaurant. Post up at the bar or the patio for a spicy and refreshing Cazuela (mezcal, pineapple, chili) and an order of warm tortillas with refried lentils.

Festival After Dark
The Festival of Books is generally a family-friendly event, until after dark, when it leaves USC’s campus for other spots around town.

Go to the Largo for The Literary Death Match, a literary smackdown where four writers read an original piece with gusto in under seven minutes. Before hitting this, grab a stool at the bar at Terrine for an Improved Cocktail (whiskey and absinthe) and some truffle agnolotti.

Go to Nerd Meltdown Showroom for Nerdist’s “The Objectively Hottest Authors on Earth Live,” where comics and authors play a game of hyperbole. After this, cross the street to The Pikey for fish and some of the best chips in L.A. Pro tip: they have a list of vintage whiskeys, but you have to ask your bartender to see it.

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