Last Saturday, I read my piece "Tony Takitani" at an open mic. Sponsored by the California Writers Coalition, it was held in the mammoth Barnes & Noble in Encino. I've always thought it was great that book stores hold so many events, but there are definitely some downsides. After all, it's a sharing of private space and any event has to compete with the raison d'etre of a bookstore, better known as commerce, especially on a busy Saturday night, especially during the oh-so festive Christmas season.
Barnes & Noble decided to tuck the open mic way back in the hobby section. It was the kind of open mic where anyone who wanted to perform was welcomed. That night included a comic singer and two stand-up comedians. And a persistent Book Browser. Who kept creeping closer and closer towards the stage. While one of the stand-up comics was performing.
Maybe the browser was hoping for that unspoken social contract which says, "if I act oblivious of you, you will act oblivious of me". Or he might actually have thought he was invisible (this is LA). Unfortunately, he wasn't invisible. Especially to the stand-up comic. A confrontation ensued.
If the comic thought he'd humiliate the Browser into submission, it just didn't work out that way. This is LA. Everyone in LA is a performer. The Browser embraced his chance at improv. Jumping in with both feet, the Browser became the classic straight man and a comedy duo was born. Much to the comics chagrin.
Many thanks to the California Writers Coalition for hosting the event. They're trying to get some much needed community money from Chase so if you're on Facebook, please click on http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/968447.