This is a past event.

Ruben Llamas 

When: Sat., Dec. 15, 2 p.m. 2012
Price: free

Ruben Llamas had the kind of upbringing that was ripe for a memoir long before the genre existed. Born in the Thirties to Mexican immigrants, Llamas spent his West Oakland childhood gallivanting around shipyards and railroad tracks, shining shoes in his parents' barbershop, dancing salsa and swing at Sweets Ballroom and various other long-gone artifacts of the neighborhood's heyday as an entertainment center, and -- though he didn't know it yet -- witnessing history, before growing up and becoming a successful drugstore executive. His new book, Eye from the Edge: A Memoir of West Oakland, contains story after story that elucidate, with earnestness, humor, and unflinching attention to detail, exactly what the neighborhood meant and means -- as a wartime port, as a hub for heavy industry, as a cultural center, as a haven for characters of all kinds, as a true melting pot long before racial integration hit the mainstream, and, most of all, as home. He reads on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Oakland Public Library's Bradley C. Walters Community Room (125 14th St., Oakland). 2 p.m., free.

— Ellen Cushing


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