Here's Cleveland's New Independent Bookstore in Gordon Square

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Detroit-Shoreway is getting hipper and hipper by the month. The latest retail storefront to join the gang is "Guide to Kulchur," a bookstore-cum-zine-making-paradise-cum-hangout helmed by the blissfully wedded academics Liz Bly (Ph.D!) and RA Washington.

Washington, seated outside his shop during the pARTy in Gordon Square on Saturday, said his wife Liz was the creative force behind the shop. "If it's just me out here, people would think it's some Rastafarian thing. But I'm a modernist."

That might explain the independent shop's name, a nod to Ezra Pound's 1938 volume of essays loosely connected by a theme of cultural commentary.

Washington was by the way bedecked in a truly lovely scarf.

Bly, engaged at the register, found time to post her thoughts on Facebook after Saturday's festivities:

...There is a need for a place where classic literature, pulpy-campy fiction, theory, and zines and the DIY ethos can coalesce. People were happy that there's a bookstore in GS... they were excited about the collection of books that we amassed... Clevelanders are smart and hungry for creativity and ideas. Yesterday proved that for me, for sure.

Despite a fairly small square-footage, the collection was diverse and gratifyingly middle-brow — enough J.G. Ballards, Dostoevskys and Roberto Bolanos to satisfy the ambitious or historical readers, but an equal dash of Khaled Hosseinis and Alice Sebolds to reaffirm that this place isn't above addictive bestsellers.

I picked up Uwem Akpan's 2009 reportedly breathtaking collection Say You're One of Them. It was in terrific condition, but priced at only $2.

"I priced it that way because I wanted someone to read it," said Washington. "Anyone. I just wanted it in someone's hands."

About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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