Uncharted: bits and pieces from The Litography Project

Come “Put Litography on the Map” – it’s a celebration!

Posted on September 4, 2014

Litography4x62 High-res version
Litography4x6

Join The Booksmith in celebrating
Litography’s debut into literary society!


The evening’s celebrations will include whimsical diversions,
a delightful raffle of literary goodies, the sublime musical stylings
of DJ Wam Bam Ashleyanne,
and complimentary bookish beverages with every ticket.


Tickets $10 – $25
available at Brown Paper Tickets here or 700-838-3006

Bibliohead or Bust

Posted on September 4, 2014

If you walk around Hayes Valley on any given day, you’ll stumble upon a clothing boutique with prices so high you wonder if it’s a joke clothing store, built just for laughs. And then you’ll run into another clothing boutique, and then another. But in the midst of the high end fashion, between the funky art galleries, and within the smell of pricey coffee beans, you’ll find a bookstore. It’s called Bibliohead, and the store’s owner, Melissa Richmond, is Madam Head Bibliohead. That means books and literature are always on her mind– mostly those old, rare, funky, and altogether lovable books she’s shelved herself. She’s got fiction, children’s books, occult, and even music scores for the concert-goers nearby.

 

But these days, Richmond’s brain is filled with thoughts beyond the power of the printed word. She thinks about earthquakes. She thinks about the fact that the city’s demand that her building be retrofitted will leave Bibliohead without a home for four months, and how once she comes back, her rent will double. Her store has had a 7% increase in sales each year, yet that might not be enough.

 

“I feel betrayed by the fact that I run a bookstore that’s doing well. I get by in an expensive city. We’ve always paid our bills. We have loyal customers,” Richmond said. “I have connections with these people.”

 
Melissa Richmond

It’s a tiny, general used bookstore that lures all Hayes Valley wanderers with its cheap, used books and 25 cent poetry gumball machine.

 

“There’s something about the neighborhood that there’s a confluence of different styles of living,” said Mark Jack, who works at the store. “This bookstore creates a community across boundaries, across class lines, across any kind of identity lines that you can think of. People here can get excited about some philosophy book and talk to each other.”

 
Mark Jack

A graphic designer walks in, then a student studying interior designs, then a tourist from Portland, and a woman and her dog, Casper. When Frances Neagley walks into Bibliohead, Casper gets treats from the owner, and she gets books.

“I have an entire To Read list that is basically this entire bookstore.”

“I’m in a couple book groups. Rather than going out and trying to find the little book for the book group, I tell Melissa and she gets them for me,” Neagley said. “I have an entire To Read list that is basically this entire bookstore.”

 
Francis Neagley

This is Carol Collier’s neighborhood bookstore. She’s been coming as soon as it opened.
“My husband and I walk around the neighborhood a lot, and we saw it. I said, ‘Look! A bookstore,’” she said. “And it’s got used books. There’s walls lined with books, narrow little aisles, and books on each side. It’s just a great environment to get inside.”
Carol Collier
Richmond says that’s what she enjoys most: watching people outside just strolling, strolling, and strolling when suddenly –
They stumble upon a bookstore.

 

“They cross the threshold and you can hear them exhale a sign of relief because they’ve had their SmartPhones strapped to their sides all day,” Richmond said. “Being confronted with real, tactile objects is a profound relief for people that have to deal with the digital world all day long.”
Elijah Ball discovered the store three years ago, and has been coming ever since. He likes to talk to Richmond about James Baldwin and interior design. “I love the variety of books,” he said. “And they’re all used. It adds something to the neighborhood. We have a lot of restaurants and clothing stores, but we also have a bookstore.”

 
Elijah Ball

Accidental discovers in the store include Graphic Arts of the Alaska Eskimo, Political Parties and Primaries in Kentucky, and Meatmen: An Anthology of Gay Male Comics. You don’t just spontaneously search for that stuff on Amazon.

 

Richmond has had over 30 years in the book business, working at Dog Earred Books and Green Apple, and can’t see herself leaving the book world anytime soon, even if it means moving to the East Bay where the rent is cheaper. She’s loved her store since she opened it in 2004, but now that she faces closure, even her fondest memories are dark ones. She remembers once when man who had just purchased a Kindle walked by the store, and yelled, “Your bookstore is going to die!” Richmond offered him a book.

 

“He wanted to feel like he was apart of the future, and we were apart of the past that was going to die,” she said. “But we haven’t died. Despite the advent of the e-book, we have prospered and thrived.”

 

Now, she just needs a bit of help. She’s launched Indiegogo campaign, and has raised over $4,500. But that’s only 8% of her funding goal of $60,000, money she’ll need to figure out how to lure people to her store all over again. But, she says, she doesn’t know how to run a successful crowd sourcing campaign.

 

All she knows is how to sell books.

California Bookstore Day

California Bookstore Day!

Posted on May 20, 2014

By Claire Mullen
On May 3 The Litography Project got to be a part of the first ever California Bookstore Day. We hung out at Green Apple Books from morning til night, taking in the festivities and reveling in the incredible turnout.
93 bookstores across California participated with readings, crafts, and a special line of books published just for the occasion.

On top of all this, The Litography Project brought our own fun to the party – madlibs! Here’s a taste of what we did that day.

A bookbinder

A Peek Inside One Of San Francisco’s Last Bookbinderies

Posted on March 10, 2014

By Angela Johnston and photo by Jasmin Lopez

Nowadays, most books are quickly put together, or bound, in large factories. Reams of paper whir through mechanized assembly lines, and huge blades slice thick piles of pages, shooting out best-sellers in minutes.

But there are still a few bookbinders who do it the old-fashioned way. They use tools with names like bone folders, job backers, and guillotines – along with sewing machines, glue and
paper – to make new books.And to restore old ones. San Francisco used to be a hub for the craft. Before the 1906 earthquake, there were over 30 traditional book binderies in the Bay Area. Today, only a few remain.

Litography’s Angela Johnston takes us to a workshop in the Mission where a bookbinder is keeping a centuries-old tradition alive.

Lunada at Galeria De La Raza

Lit On The Full Moon

Posted on March 9, 2014

By Claire Mullen

The Lunada Literary Lounge and Open Mic is a monthly gathering in the Mission District. It happens every full moon – people come together at the Galería de la Raza on 24th street and Bryant to share poems, stories, and songs. Lunada is one of the only regular bilingual open mics in the Bay Area, and it’s been happening for 14 years. The people who come to the Lunada every month say it’s important to have arts organizations that support Latinos, especially at a time when so much in the city is changing.

We went to check it out and produced this piece for Crosscurrents on KALW 91.7. This fall will be Lunada’s 15th season – look out for a year-long quinceañera bash!

  

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