acres of tears

July 10, 2010

As originally published HERE.

Although it was said many times during the slow and painful closing of Acres of Books (has it really been two years already?), Saturday is seriously the LAST CHANCE to troll around inside Long Beach’s beloved used bookstore. Whatever’s left will be permanently eliminated, and the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency will begin to erect the long-promised Art Exchange in half of its place—the facade will be incorporated into the new structure.

The RDA bought the cultural historic landmark from Acres of Books owners Phil and Jackie Smith in 2008 with the intention of using the land (along with that of the liquor store next door and Shades of Africa on the same block) for the site of an art complex meant to be the hub of the East Village’s revitalization.

But as the store was closing, the recession hit, and construction of the Art Exchange was halted, leaving the art deco building intact on Long Beach Blvd., inhabited only by the ghosts of unpurchased books and Ray Bradbury’s tears (it was his favorite joint).

Now, however, Art Exchange construction appears imminent again—summer 2011 is the new target date—and on Monday the RDA board voted to give the 30,000 leftover books and 1,500 vintage fruit crates to the Art Exchange’s governing body.

It quickly decided to host a fundraiser, where local bibliophiles can peruse the store’s near-endless aisles one last time. For three-and-a-half hours, the front doors of Acres will be open again and $25 will get you an empty crate with which you can create your own nostalgic grab box.

Immediately following the last hurrah, Summer and Music’s Swing Saturdays starts in the bookstore’s parking lot, allowing all those mourning the absolutely last day of Acres of Books to jitterbug away the sadness.

ACRES OF BOOKS’ ABSOLUTELY LAST DAY • 240 LONG BEACH BLVD • LONG BEACH 90802 • SAT JULY 10 • 3:30 PM TO 7 PM • $25

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