Featured photo: Ladies and Gentlemen, start your scanners. The fragile peace is about to be shattered — the center cannot hold — in the final seconds before the opening of “largest used book store in Louisiana,” Version 28 from 2014. Photo (and cutline) by Randall Ross.
A note from 20×49.com: The annual Centenary Book Bazaar, coming up on September 11 & 12, 2015, may be the largest used book sale in Louisiana. We invited rare book collector, seller and enthusiast Randall Ross, of Shreveport’s Modernism101.com, to share some of his enthusiasm for the event.
The ever-promised death of print media and vinyl recording has been staved off for another year courtesy of the Centenary Muses and their twenty-ninth Centenary Book Bazaar at the Gold Dome on Friday, September 11, 4-9 p.m., and Saturday, September 12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For one weekend every year the tireless Muses stock the Gold Dome with a years’ worth of media — books, records, DVDs, VHS, CDs, cassette tapes, puzzles, etc. — donated from the Shreveport community and the rest of the Ark-La-Tex.
There is no better place to stage this literary Utopia—aka “the largest used book store in Louisiana”— than the Gold Dome. Geodesic dome architecture—a sphere constructed of triangles or polygons—dates back to 1948 when the design activist R. Buckminster Fuller ran Summer School classes at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina. Fuller worked with a student, Kenneth Snelson, on the development of the geodesic dome, as a rapidly assembled structure, making the first experimental ones from Venetian blind slats. Hundreds of thousands of geodesic domes have since been built, many of them by people in desperate circumstances, making it one of the most successful humanitarian design projects ever. And we have one right here in Shreveport. How’s this for humanitarian effort: the Centenary Book Bazaar features free admission, no alcohol sales, air conditioning and no inappropriately amplified music? Sounds downright Utopian to me.
And speaking of Utopia—before inviting the aforementioned Bucky Fuller to Asheville, Joseph and Anni Albers emigrated from Germany for the United States in 1933 to teach at Black Mountain College, an art and design school that had opened a few months before on a shoestring budget in rural North Carolina. Founded by a radical educationalist named John Rice, Black Mountain was committed to experimentation across disciplines and the idea that everyone should pitch in, whether it was to teach a class, or fix the plumbing. The Alberses were defining influences on the school, whose students and teachers included many of the most influential US artists, designers and artisans of the late 20th century, from Cy Twombly and Robert Motherwell, to Willem and Elaine de Kooning. Merce Cunningham formed his first dance company there, John Cage staged his first happening, and they began lifelong collaborations with Robert Rauschenberg. The Alberses persuaded friends to help out, either by teaching like Xanti Schawinsky and Lyonel Feininger, designing buildings like Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, or donating books to the library like Alfred Barr and Walker Evans.
What is more American than everybody pitching in for the common good? Low prices, of course! The already low prices on Friday are obliterated on Saturday when everything is reduced to half-price after 12:30 p.m. Pitch in by bringing your own bags and boxes.