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Friday, September 25, 2009

Film From Inside the Madhouse: Literary Aficionados Swarm Fort Mason For Ongoing Library Book Sale

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 8:30 AM

Earlier this week, we wrote a guide on how to avoid being trampled beneath the Clarks-shod feet of book lovers driven to a frenzy by the wonders of the ongoing annual Friends of  the San Francisco Public Library book sale. We thought there might have been a touch of the theatrical in descriptions of patrons amassing outside the closed doors like Dawn of the Dead or filing through the aisles "like Supermarket Sweep" -- but videos sent our way by Friends of the SFPL spokeswoman Katie Ambellan prove it's all too true.

In fact, the video above captures the very first customer entering Fort Mason on Wednesday; he had been waiting since 10 p.m. the night before. Note his almost military gait as he marches forward and slams his cardboard box into a shopping cart. The expression on his face recalls that of Russell Crowe in Gladiator as he strode into the ring to fold, spindle, and mutilate human prey. This is a serious man -- and he's being seriously chased by throngs of other book lovers. In short, I adore this video.

But wait -- there's more!

Ambellan's references to the suprisingly long-running game show Supermarket Sweep are borne out in this not-quite Zapruder-quality video of patrons cramming into the warehouse to grab them some books.

This year, the Friends hope to sell about 300,000 books and top last year's $255,000 haul -- with all proceeds going to the library, of course, The sale continues through Sunday, with the final day featuring the popular "everything's a dollar!" format. For more information check here -- and watch your toes.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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