This year, Bookshop Santa Cruz turns 50!
Celebrations have been going on all year, as befits such a momentous occasion. To thank the community, BSC has commissioned and installed three "Artful Reading Benches" in parks and playgrounds around the county. Poured by concrete meister Tom Ralston, each bench is designed and painted by a local artist. The store has also been celebrating all year with monthly giveaways and raffles.
Santa Cruz's own Wallace Baine has just hit the bookshelves with A Light In the Midst of Darkness, a history of BSC in our community. Published by Steve Kettner, founder of the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, it's a non-fiction memoir as told to Wallace by the people at the epicenter of BSC history — former owner Neal Coonerty, his daughter Casey Coonerty Protti, current owner of the store, and dozens of local lights and ex-employees, working with and for the Coonertys, who helped shape BSC into the cultural hub it is today.
Wallace, Neal and Candy appeared before an SRO crowd of well-wishers at a book launch at the store last week, to tell their stories. It was more of a love-fest than a traditional book-signing. Wallace read some entertaining passages from the book, and Casey spoke about growing up in a world of books.
|Neal and Wallace: Boyz n the Hub|
In 1969, the store moved across the street and down the block to 1547, Pacific Avenue, where it stood for the next 20 years. In 1973, Neal and Candy bought the business from owners Ron and Sharon Lau.
Sharon continued to work at the store for years. Ron could often be found outside, on the deck of the first incarnation of Caffe Pergolessi (built in the courtyard behind BSC in 1974), holding forth on a variety of inflammatory topics.
|Bookshop basement: way, way back in the day|
Books and movies: two obsessions I never got over!
|Artful Reading Bench by Terra Dawson, San Lorenzo Park|
I loved it! There was no dress code — I got to wear my embroidered overalls and Monty Python T-shirt to work. (Hey, it was the '70s!) And we got to borrow books.
As long as we weren't too grubby, and left the pristine dust jackets in the safety of the storeroom, we could take books home to read! (Well, I don't know if we "could," but we did!) It was all good!
BSC will be throwing its own birthday bash in the store on Friday, November 4, starting at 8 pm. And you're invited! Music, cake, raffle prizes, and a proclamation from the mayor are on the program, and who knows what other surprises?
If you've ever bought a book, browsed through a magazine, or attended an event at Bookshop Santa Cruz — or you just want to say "Thank You!" — come join the celebration.