Council Authorizes Modest Replacement for the WeHo Book Fair

Tue, Apr 08, 2014   By Staff    5 Comments

West Hollywood Book FairA modest celebration of literature, including a reading by a prominent author, a film screening and an event for families with children, will replace the West Hollywood Book Fair this year.

The West Hollywood City Council last night declined to endorse a proposal by Councilmember John Heilman that it appropriate $125,000 to relaunch the book fair, which it decided in February to put on hiatus, citing the rising cost of the event and its declining attendance.

A report by city staffers said attendance at last year’s fair fell by a third while city spending on the event grew by 38 percent to $150,000. While the book fair, which was launched in 2002, once attracted an estimated 15,000 people, attendance has fallen in recent years to 7,500, and last year it attracted only 5,000 people, the staff report said.

The Council did authorize spending up to $30,000, some of which will be used to begin working on a stronger book fair for 2015.

For the last three years, the city has contracted with the Authentic Agency, a West Hollywood-based event producer owned by Liam Lynch, to produce the book fair. John Heilman, a creator of the book fair, criticized Authentic at the February Council meeting for what he said was its poor management and promotion of the event.

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5 Comments

  1. wehoenthusiastTue, Apr 08, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Sad news but glad its not forgotten. The book fair is great for everyone, young and old. Thanks Heilman for putting this together and next year who knows? Maybe private donors will step in to help, but nonetheless its one event that the city needs to retain.

  2. Marne CarmeanTue, Apr 08, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    When this type of event reaches the semi-corporate sphere (according to article the attendance was ‘poor’ too expensive and not well publicized) and almost completely removed from the ‘follow your heart’ of a devoted interest that is the nexus of these events, whether it’s guns or books, the ‘failure’ is built in. I know there are any number instances which disprove this but still, . . . . Thanks John!

  3. jhenehanFri, Apr 11, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Thank you to Councilmember Heilman for taking the beloved WeHo Book Fair out of the hands of outside consultants (under whom it went downhill) and returning it to the competent aegis of West Hollywood employees and volunteers. Fran Solomon, Larissa Fooks, Corey Roskin, Roz Helfand and others made the WeHo Book Fair the success that it became and we look forward to the return of those better days.

  4. SantiagogoMon, Apr 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I agree with above comment: Thank you to Councilmember Heilman for taking the beloved WeHo Book Fair out of the hands of outside consultants (under whom it went downhill) and returning it to the competent aegis of West Hollywood employees and volunteers. Fran Solomon, Larissa Fooks, Corey Roskin, Roz Helfand and others made the WeHo Book Fair the success that it became and we look forward to the return of those better days. I love our book fair and have participated as a panelist and all around cheerleader for the past eight years but I did notice something was…off… Please fix it and bring it back!

  5. BillTue, Apr 22, 2014 at 11:35 am

    The Book Festival was so much more vibrant when the city staffers ran it. Whose idea was it to eliminate a current affairs/politics stage? Hope for better times in 2015.

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Walter Annenberg
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