Today I spent the afternoon in the most eclectic store I’ve ever seen in Los Angeles. (Yes, that is saying a lot). The Last Bookstore can be found in a converted Crocker Bank on 5th and Spring. If you are too young to remember Crocker Bank, here is their logo (still on the Spring St. entrance). My only memory of Crocker is that they used to give out stuffed Crocker Spaniels as part of a marketing gimmick….
Surprisingly, the owners kept the bones of the bank in tact and it is a sprawling metropolis of books and records. Many of the books are rare and out of print but they also have a good selection of new releases as well. The place has become a watering hole for community activism. Today the store held a community awareness event/rally/potluck featuring Sojourner Truth’s Margaret Prescod from KPFK among a bevy of other community leaders.
The store also carries a small selection of vinyl, which I must say was completely out of this world.
While my better half was listening to records on his portable turntable, I wandered about the store, and just like Alice in Wonderland, I stumbled upon a literary fantasy world unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. You walk up a narrow set of stairs greeted by the most curious of art installations. I can’t describe it any better than it’s identification card.
The entire second floor of this store features used books for only $.99. It is a heady collection that’s haphazardly catalogued (some sections color coded, others by genre). If you are prone to OCD or are afraid to watch the show Hoarders, I suggest that you limit your time up here. But if you are fearless and not easily overwhelmed, the second floor is utterly fascinating. There’s art, random ephemera placed in shelves, and you may stumble upon a book reading in a little enclave; this is why it’s called “the labyrinth”…take a look…
This was an absolutely captivating store and I am so pleased to see a place like this compliment the galleries, restaurants and bars in the Old Bank District/Gallery Row.
The Last Bookstore
453 S. SPRING ST
DOWNTOWN LA | 213.488.0599
(All photos are from CultureShockArt)