Old Books and New (Lunar) Year

Long recognized as one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of highly valued and collectible books, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair returns to Oakland this month.

The popular neon dragon dance opens the Lunar New Year concert on February 4 at the San Francisco Symphony. Moanalini Jeffery

By Paul Duclos

Published: February, 2017


Long recognized as one of the world’s largest and most prestigious exhibitions of highly valued and collectible books, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair returns to Oakland this month. The event, which marks its 50th anniversary this year, takes place Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 12 at the Oakland Marriott City Center.


The book fair’s venue in downtown Oakland is an added convenience for bibliophiles, as it is a short distance from ferry service to Jack London Square.


Sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers and featuring the collections and rare treasures of nearly 200 booksellers from over 20 countries around the world, the three-day fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about and purchase the finest in rare and valuable books, manuscripts, maps, autographs, graphics, photographs, fine bindings, children’s and illustrated books, and ephemera from many centuries and countries.


This year’s book fair will include a special exhibit from the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, which has a long history of collecting the literary fiction of California. In more recent years, that scope has expanded to include mystery and detective fiction, fantasy and science fiction, and western fiction. This special exhibit will highlight California authors’ notable contributions in genre fiction and will emphasize recent donations to the library by featuring materials from the extensive collection of influential author, critic and literary mentor Anthony Boucher, first editions by early members of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (MWA), selections by popular western and adventure writer Kenneth Perkins and MWA Grand Master Ross Macdonald, and more.


The book fair will also work with local “book art” artists and organizations to create an interactive, informative and entertaining area at the Fair. Local libraries and universities will be exhibiting one-of-a-kind works from their collections. Calligraphers, bookbinders and a small press operator will once again be creating unique souvenirs for attendees to take home.


The book fair’s schedule will also include events and special exhibits, free with fair admission. For more info, see www.cabookfair.com.


The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) welcomes the year of the rooster with a Lunar New Year concert and celebration on Saturday, February 4 at Davies Symphony Hall. Conductor Mei-Ann Chen leads the SFS in a concert with special guest soloist Tang Jun Qiao performing the dizi, a Chinese bamboo flute. All ticketholders are invited to a free Festival Reception beginning at 3 p.m. in the Davies Symphony Hall lobbies with family-friendly entertainment and activities including arts and crafts, lion dancing, games, complimentary food, desserts and tea bars.


The 4 p.m. concert opens with the popular neon dragon dance and features a combination of traditional folk music, alongside orchestral works by Asian composers, and nods to the year of the rooster. Concert highlights include “Raise the Red Lantern” and “Plum Blossom Variations” performed on dizi by Tang Jun Qiao with the San Francisco Symphony; SFS cellist Amos Yang performing selections from Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations; and a celebration of the year of the rooster with selections from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Le Coq d’or [The Golden Cockerel] Suite.


The elegant Lunar New Year Imperial Dinner, inspired by the rich visual pageantry of traditional Lunar New Year celebrations, is at 6 p.m. in Zellerbach Rehearsal Hall, located at 300 Franklin Street at the rear of Davies Symphony Hall. Dinner packages that include access to the festival reception, premiere concert seating, and the Imperial Dinner are sold separately. For more info, see www.sfsymphony.org.


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