I hated reading as a child. It was a chore and I felt I was constantly being told what to read by grown ups who didn't take my interests into account when picking books. High School came and went and I rarely read a book cover to cover. It was only until college when I realized what a library can be really be. I could take classes on what I wanted and professors assigned books that I actually liked. I couldn't stop reading. I actually enjoyed reading. It was a bizarre change for many (including my parents) to come to terms with.
During my senior year, Dave Eggers released "A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius" which I consumed in one sitting. Upon completeing it, I thought it was an incredible book that was one of the best things I had ever read. (The other day, I was thinking about this and tried to find my original copy, but couldn't. I am not sure how amazing I would think it was now, but still think it holds up pretty well). Through Eggers, I learned of McSweeney's (his publishing company/quarterly magazine), the Believer (a monthly literary magazine) and 826 Valencia.
As many of you know, 826 Valencia is an after school writing and tutoring program based in the Bay Area. The 826 program has since grown to LA, NY, Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Seattle. 826LA, based in Venice, is incredible. They do wonders for the students of LA by providing a safe haven for kids to learn, explore and expand their writing. They also do a great job of putting on great fundraisers.
Over the summer, the Revenge of the Book Eaters tour stopped at UCLA and raised a boatload of money. The night featured an perfect combination of comedy, music and literature. Any Richter, Jenny Lewis, Aimee Mann, and Sarah Vowell all performed and put on a great show.
A few months back, they did it again at Largo. Only this time it was an incredible night of music featuring Fiona Apple, Jon Brion, Mike Elizando and others. The show was such a success (it raised $1800) they have worked with Largo to do three more of the next three months.
The first is next Wednesday and, like The Book Eaters show, it will feature a night of Music, Comedy and Literature. Word on the street is that night one will be Ben Lee, Aimee Bender and a comedian to be named later (Margaret Cho is no longer confirmed) . Tickets are $25 and all the money goes to 826LA. Please call Largo and reserve a table for this great show.