|Along a quiet, tree-lined street doth lurk...|
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.|
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).