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The Holidays, Allan Milkerit’s Books, and The Abandoned Planet.

Abandoned Planet book store San Francisco
I just learned Scott Harrison’s bookstore — Abandoned Planet — will close on at the end of year. According to the flier posted on his door, the landlords are “Communists”, and they’re not renewing his lease; it’s going to be their new meeting place. He’s been there 16 years. I’m not sure if he’s going to open a store somewhere else. The sad thing, of course, will be the demise of the Jack Micheline Room — unless the Commies keep it, which, I suppose, is highly doubtful. I don’t know if I’ve ever really talked about Jack’s room, but he painted Scott’s back room, with poetry and pictures, and it’s really a site to see. One of my very favorite memories was spending a day with Jack in his room; he taught me how to read poetry there. We spent a few hours that afternoon, then walked over and had lunch. Jack Micheline lived across the street at The Curtis Hotel — Room #22. He died on BART not long after that day we spent in his room, reading poetry. I’m gonna try and make a trip up the coast mid-December and take some pictures before those filthy Reds seize the joint.

Allan Milkerit and I would walk around that very neighborhood during lunch break from Tall Stories. Tall Stories was the book co-op we both worked; a woman named Donna rented shelf space to anyone who wanted to sell their stock. It was a great atmosphere, and I learned a lot from Allen..but I’ve written about that already. My friend Joe, who joined Tall Stories right before its demise (and then started Valhalla Books with Allan) just sent me this David Streitfeld’s blog about Allan’s books. It’s a blog selling Allan’s books (well, not all of them) as well as describing Allan — both as a person and a bookseller. Which is probably a redundant way to describe it all. It’s a great read, so I’ll just leave it at that.

I’m home for the holidays, and I didn’t stray too far. I shoulda spent some time with my pal Mike from Big Dog Press, or Dale Dauten, or a few of my high school buddies; instead I stayed at my folks and spent time with them…and my little brother and his family, and my sister with hers. Although I did go to see my old friend Michele; she’s a long-time friend and a fellow reader and an ex-jock and now she legislates. We spent an hour or so wandering around Changing Hands, pointing out books to one another, and talking about what we have read, should have read, will someday read, or will never read. We both came to the same conclusion: if it doesn’t hold our attention out of the blocks, it gets shelved.

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