Thursday, May 29, 2008

BEA Day 0: Some Assembly Required

This is proof that I am in Los Angeles.
Roll down the window, put down the top
Crank up the Beach Boys baby
Don't let the music stop
We're gonna ride it till we just can't ride it no more

From the South Bay to the Valley
From the West Side to the East Side
Everybody's very happy
'Cause the sun is shining all the time
Looks like another perfect day
I love L.A.!

BEA 2008 logoWelcome to Los Angeles, California, home of swimmin' pools, movie stars, and BookExpo America 2008, the trade book industry's annual big-ass trade show, party, and place to pick up roughly 500 pounds of free book galleys per attendee. Once a year they unbox Stephen King and James Patterson and wheel them out for this event, and everybody who's anybody in the book world attends with their eyes wide. None so more than a little stuffed bull, here for the fun and excitement of BEA. Also, for the giveaways.

Hi! Welcome to BookExpo America, in sunny Los Angeles.

Today is the aptly named "Day Before BEA Opens," or, as I like to call it, Day Zero, which is not the culmination of a DC Comics line-wide event but the day all the exhibitors arrive early to unbox and set up their booths. Since W. W. Norton, the publisher I help out at sometimes (I like to go into their offices and pile Norton books in shiny colorful stacks) is paying my expenses (including airline transportation via luxurious overhead compartment) and our stay in a fabulous fancy hotel, the gorgeous Kyoto Grand (where tonight's TV viewing actually included Planet of the Japanese), I'm spending the day helping out all my pals at Norton to set up our booth. I did spend a couple hours this morning going out to see the "Homes of the Stars," as seen in the map I purchased from that guy on the street, and of course I was excited on stepping out into Los Angeles and Beverly Hills to spy Bing Crosby stepping out to pick up his morning newspaper, Katherine Hepburn mowing her front lawn, and Jack Benny and Rochester working on the Maxwell in his front driveway, but then I discovered my map to the Homes of the Stars was dated 1953. All that was on display on the tour was Brad Pitt washing his car and Angelina Jolie sunbathing, and nobody is interested in seeing either one of those things.

Welcome to the brand-new W. W. Norton BEA booth!

So I headed over to the LA Convention Center to help with set-up day at the Norton booth. It's more exciting that usual, because this year, we have a brand-new booth, replacing the prestigious but outdated old "Grey Lady" battleship booth Norton has had for the past few years. This one is bigger and airier, with lots of plush carpet, big poster display boards, lovely modern podiums, and plenty of storage space. In fact, there are so many cunningly-concealed closets, cupboards, and cabinets that the new booth is an ideal place to play hide-and-seek:

There are all sorts of cubbyholes for me to play hide and seek in.

There are brand-new tables to set out, excellent for holding meetings, taking orders, or having lunch:

I set out all the tables for you. Are they too close together?

And crates to unpack and explore. I think this crate contains our book about bubblewrap:

Hello? Is there a vampire in here?

Our good pals at Fantagraphics are here as well, so I kept a close watch on their boxes of books to make certain that no one takes them. Everybody wants Fantagraphics books!

I have to unpack these boxes. I bet there are good books in here

As with all exhibition booths, some assembly is required:

Some assembly required

...but friendly and enthusiastic union teamster workers are on hand to help us set everything up with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of colorful language...

Friendly union guys hang our flying buttresses the whole booth the appearance of the bridge from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Our booth is taking shape

Captain Picard will not be appearing at the Norton booth this weekend, more's the pity, but yours little stuffed truly'll be here all the show, so if you're at BEA, stop by W. W. Norton (booth #1320) and ask to see John, my big pal with the snazzy necktie, and he'll bring me out (if I'm hunkerin' down in one of the new cupboards) so you can shake my hoof. I'll be giving away free Dracula teeth while they last! (Garlic not included!) In the meantime, there's still lots of work to do to get the booth ready for y'all. But that's no reason for me to...


See you at the show!


Eric Reynolds said...

Holy moses! FANCY!

Unknown said...

Nice. Enjoy L.A. The weather is getting pretty nice here right now and if you get a chance, check out Comics Ink in Culver City. And go Lakers.

Richard ED Jones said...

Have fun, Bully. It looks like you're off to a great start.

Chance said...

Hee hee! Look at his little name tag!

Richard ED Jones said...

Edited much, much later to add: And see if you can get a photo of your friend, John's, tie. You've mentioned it so often, I would love to see it.

Quasi said...

My humans saw you at BEA today! And wondered if clones of you were available in any booth! And decided: probably not because swag just can't get that good. If you get bored tomorrow, please swing by the Sterling booth. My human, Steve, and his female will be hanging around for parts of the day promoting my book, The World Is Your Litter Box. It's a hilarious how-to manual for cats. (I'll be home napping; I'm a cat and can't be bothered, if you know what I mean.) If you miss them, check out my website at or my blog (linked here).