Happy (day late) Pynchon in Public Day!
On Tuesday, select readers were invited to bring a book by author Thomas Pynchon to a garage on the east side of Los Angeles and, in return, get a free cup of micro-roasted coffee. The garage was marked only by a mailbox adorned with an obscure symbol -- obscure, that is, to those not familiar with Pynchon's novel "The Crying of Lot 49."
A secret location marked only by a mysterious symbol -- the reclusive, conspiracy-narrative-inclined Pynchon should be proud. The concept, and cappuccino, came from Trystero Coffee, a micro-roaster named for the muted post-horn symbol in "The Crying of Lot 49." The coffee is delicious -- it can be found, no symbols necessary, at Demitasse Cafe in downtown Los Angeles.
In a corner of the garage, a brand new roaster awaits its inaugural run; it's a far cry from the cast-iron pot and wooden spoon Trystero Coffee's Greg Thomas started out with more than two years ago. Thomas was featured in a December Times story about nano coffee roasting; he's the Pynchon fan. He also may be the person behind Pynchon in Public Day, or perhaps there are a number of loosely connected people who organize it, communicating only by a shadow mail service. Who's to say?
Armed with name tags featuring the Trystero symbol, fans drank their coffee, picked up their books and headed out, with plans to read some Pynchon in public. Perhaps we'll catch them in the act next year.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo credit: Carolyn Kellogg