“Love and build, love and work, love and fight”: Celebrating Aquarius Writers

January 25, 2022
︎︎︎A Good Used Book

On the Northwest corner of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles sits the shell of Johnie’s Coffee Shop. Though technically empty since 2000, people can sometimes be seen gathering under the angular, space-age roof of this relic of Googie architecture. Passersby may be surprised to see the building lit on certain nights - what remains of its incandescent bulbs flashing, its neon glowing. Known today as Bernie’s Coffee Shop, it is a hub for climate change activists and socialists alike. They dot the orangesicle vinyl booths, planning the revolution.

In the Aquarian world of dreams, these people could be Yoko Ono or Miranda July. They could be Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison, sitting at the burnished steel restaurant counter, celebrating their shared birthday. Even William S. Burroughs and Gertrude Stein attend, after checking a gun and a poodle at the door. Richard Brautigan too nods a greeting - topping off his coffee with a splash from a silver flask.

As spirits swell, passions rise in a chorus along with the car horns outside, louder and louder as more people stall to see it: the zeitgeist, the enlightenment. Angela Davis, Germaine Greer, Frederick Douglass, Virginia Woolf, Judy Blume. Colette, taking a cigarette break on the sidewalk, illuminated by a bright Saturn in the sky.