Another reason to love our library: last night, Berkeley’s North Branch hosted the launch party for Tom Dalzell’s new book, Quirky Berkeley. Published by local Heyday Press, it is a collection of visual delights culled from the quirkiest of little cities–our own Berzerkeley. From Buldan Seka’s Giant Ceramic Freaks on Spruce Street to the whimsical steel structures of Mark Bulwinkle all over Berkeley, his book documents all those fun double-takes one experiences when walking Berkeley streets. The book is a natural follow-up to Dalzell’s wonderful blog of the same name. Rather than attempt to describe any theme myself, I am borrowing words from Heyday’s publisher emeritus Malcolm Margolin, who sums it up in his foreword so perfectly:
And then there’s Berkeley, and the pilgrimage of Tom Dalzell to what are, in my mind, shrines to the revolutionary and dangerous idea that we can build a vibrant community not by hiding our uniqueness but by sharing it with the world.
A slide show of highlights from the book ran continuously, and John Storey’s photos of selected art hung on the walls of the library wherever there was room. Besides the author, attending celebrants included Margolin, dozens of well-wishers from the community, and many of the featured artists themselves. The promotion provided by yesterday’s Berkeleyside article no doubt added to the throng of those who paid the library a visit on a Monday night.
Refreshments were served, which shouldn’t surprise me but still does because I think of libraries as sacred places unsuitable for Oreos and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Not that I don’t imbibe, mind you; I never pass up free food. . . Stacks of the feted volume were sold, and Dalzell signed each copy presented to him by appreciative fans. Since Tom pointed out two of the artists standing nearby, I got signatures from Doug Heines and Rob Garross too! Mark Bulwinkle was scheduled to be there, but we left before the merriment drew to a close, so I may have missed him.
Special shout-out to supervising librarian Jack Baur, who puts on events such as these at Berkeley’s North Branch. (No, not Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer from “24”…) You can see him behind the circulation desk in the far left of the panorama shot, sporting a ginger beard and a lavender shirt. You know, in case you want to recognize him and thank him for the lovely job he does.