Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Zorro Is in the Building

Tuesday morning was the first day of the bookfair´s Jornadas profesionales for librarian, publishers, and bookdealers. Angela, Adán and I shared a cab over to La Rural and got our credentials and bookfair bag in due time. As we finished, Jorge Gutiérrez came up so we were able to express our thanks for the bookfair´s continued willingness to host US librarians. Adán made introductions and I remember Jorge from past fairs. He smiled and remarked how he remembered my name and I assumed he meant because it`s not a Romance language based set of appellations ending in vowels, or at least because Williams is not too foreign in a country that saw its share of British and Welsh immigrants. However, it turns out he associates my name with Guy Williams of Disney Zorro fame (or head of the Robinson family on Lost in Space for those who´re a little younger)! I watched my share of Zorro episodes on TV as a child and remembered being amazed to learn that when Guy Williams passed away in 1989 he was living in Argentina (Recoleta per IMDB). Evidently he was born Armand Catalano in 1924 in New York to Italian parents who came there from Argentina. He travelled to Argentina in 1973 and liked the country and found he had a fan base there so he moved there in the early 1980s. He´s buried in the US.
Many things at the bookfair looked the same, the Centro Naval´s stand is always in the same corner but I couldn´t help noticing the Hermana Bernarda monopoloy on cookbooks and video seems to have been taken over by Doña Patrona whose photo on the books suggests a 1960´s era Betty Crocker. Is the Doña real or not? Further investigation awaits. Another change in the four years since my last bookfair is the notable absence of pens and other swag. Probably evidence of everyone´s economic struggles.
This first day it appeared my university credit card was going to be declined for a purchase and I´ve realized some of the publishers aren´t stocking the titles I saw online that fit in my purchasing plan. Plan B goes into effect where I´ll go through the list of publishers who indicate they specialize in journalism titles and visit those stands. I´d started some preliminary grouping of them according to location by pabellón but only did a small portion of the list before leaving Miami. If you haven´t been here, then you might not realize the bookfair is spread out over a good deal of real estate. The building is divided into zones (called pabellonespavillions) with banners indicating streets (one direction runs odd numbers, the other even) and the stands have individual numbers for identification. Some publishers stands are huge and you can´t help but see them. Some small stands stand out with a distinct display (I believe there´s an award given for best stand) and others stand alone, tiny and indiscript but you don´t want to pass them by in case they hold real treasures. Sometimes I wish I had inline skates or wheelie shoes to get around. I haven´t seen any Segways but the congestion would probably make them too dangerous!

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