Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Delectable Darkness: Dark Delicacies Keeps Los Angeles Quaking, and Bibliophiles Booked

Along a quiet, tree-lined street doth lurk...
As much as it brings convenience to our silly, self important lives, technology kills a great many beautiful things.  The hiss of steam engines.  The clack of a typewriter.  Actually looking at your surroundings while outside, instead of staring down at that glowing rectangle clutched in your hand.

But one of the greatest harms wrought by the explosion of Electronic Everything is the slow bloodletting of the local bookshop trade.  What Amazon couldn't kill by making an impulse book purchase just a mere  click away, eBooks have nearly snuffed by beaming printed page into another one of those damnable glowing rectangles.  Your average Joe Ma & Pa book retailer - hell, even the gargantuan book chains - just can't keep the lights on in an environment such as this.  Humans are fickle, easily distracted water sacks, jonesing for the next toy rather than realizing the toys we already have are more than could possibly ever need.

So how wonderful is it that not only is an independent bookseller thriving in media-addled Los Angeles (okay, Burbank, to be exact), but an indie book shop devoted entirely to horror fiction and related ghoulish media.  That's what Dark Delicacies does, and has done, since 1994, when Del and Sue Howison creaked open the crypt doors and shared with the lighted world one of the most comprehensive shops devoted to the gruesome and macabre the west coast had - and has - ever seen.  Dark Delicacies is the home for horrorheads in Los Angeles.

I'm not proud to say that up until about a month ago, when chum and colleague John Palisano had his book signing there, I had not yet darkened the door of Dark Delicacies.  Ives and I had been meaning to get out there several times, but the vagaries of schedule, and weekends devoted almost entirely to either family or writing/editing the last few years, have kept casual browsing time among haunted stacks to a nearly non-existent minimum.  So, I was super excited and happy for the excuse that John's release and signing of his debut novel Nerves afforded me.  To the darkest heart of Burbank I sojourned....
This is Dark Delicacies - HorrorHead ground zero in L.A.
I was not disappointed.  After queuing up and waiting while John chatted with fans new and old, I ducked down aisles and poked around in corners, finding pretty much anything a devoted fan of horror would ever want.  Books, toys, movies, t-shirts, fragrances, collectibles, graphic novels, antiques, oddities, bizarrities, rarities, and novelties.  And lots and lots of signed merchandise, as all dark roads through Southern California eventually travel through Dark Delicacies, bringing in hundreds of individuals devoted to horror and dark fantasy in fiction, film, television, and the visual arts to launch and/or sign their creations.

This place had - and has - everything I've always wanted in one store but dared not dream to discover.  I felt like a gearhead at Pep Boys.  A stoner in a donut shop.  A redneck at a gun show...  I felt giddy, and in between reaching for my wallet as yet another coveted item caught my eye, I felt like I had come home.

To give you a better feel of this unique hollow of beautiful shade, please enjoy a mini-gallery of photos, without the cloying nature of my reportage:

Readers really fucking rule.
This is the closest Cthulhu has stood next to Sweeney Todd without violating a restraining order
The inestimable Jeffrey Thomas gets some well deserved top-o'-the-stacks rack space.
If they can sell 'em, why the hell not make 'em?
We do love our toys, don't we?
'Dark Delicacies III' gets my hornish seal of approval.  
Every horror film worth watching, both great and small
Doing my best to insert myself in the cabinet of interesting horrors
The Dark Del Himself - as in Howison
Every bookstore I enter must endure the Laird Check.  Dark Delicacies passes with flying colors.

Meanwhile, at the signing...

Stoker Award nominated author John Palisano, signing my copy of his debut novel 'Nerves.'
I paid Palisano 60 bucks and Coffee Bean Groupon to stick his hand up my bum and make me his Puppet Boy

Go here for more information on Dark Delicacies, and here for more on John Palisano's Nerves, published by the esteemed Bad Moon Books.  Go here for pictures of a dude pulling his eyes off of his face, and here for a delicious green been casserole recipe (you're welcome).


  1. I love this store... What a great post!

    1. Thanks, Dana!

      Dark Delicacies is a little slice of monstrous paradise, isn't it?

  2. Replies
    1. And great writers.

  3. Oh how I'd love to visit there one day -- could there be a cooler bookstore in the world? Thanks for the pic, Ted! ;-D

    1. You're so welcome, JET.

      I was pretty stoked to see "Beautiful Hell" resting on top where it belonged.