Voted “Best Store Staff” by the Bay Guardian “Best of the Bay” readers poll for 2018, we’re justly proud of our wonderful staff and welcome the acclaim! Check out that award here!
Short bios of the staff of our retail bookshop (Bird & Beckett Books & Records, or “B&B”)Â and our allied nonprofit performing arts entity (Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project, or “BBCLP”) are presentedÂ below:
Angela Bennett, BBCLP Publicity, Booking, Documentation & Operations
Our sound guy, Angie, once known best as an innovator in the use of the disco lamp in jazz and the allied arts, brings over 25 years of experience in the local music scene to Bird & Beckett. For six years, 2010-2015, she was the music booker for the best little street fair in town, our own Glen Park Festival. Although Angie has been involved in the store in varying capacities since first discovering B&Bâ€™s live jazz in the fall of 2002, she was brought onboard in a more official capacity in July 2014 to handle the BBCLPâ€™s publicity, to add depth and breadth to our music bookings, to develop our Saturday night “jazz club!” programming, and to aid in the BBCLP’s documentation and archiving functions. She has maintained our Facebook page for almost 10 years now. A skilled photographer, Angie shoots most of the pictures youâ€™ll find here on our website and on our flyers. Although she tries to keep a fairly low profile in the store, you may have seen her performing around town with her band the Bad Mommies or marching with the Ukulele Resistance Brigade when duty calls.
Jerry Ferraz, BBCLP Poetry Series Coordinator
Native son Jerry Ferraz was born into a musical family. A musician and poet of the Troubadour persuasion, he has wandered, guitar in hand, the streets and bus routes of San Francisco ever since his childhood. He knows San Francisco like the back of his hand and is equally familiar with every nightclub and honky tonk where musicÂ has served the delight of many a culture-hungry local. Lyrical in nature as well as political, his music and writing has always been about the most immediate realities confronting human complexity, and always from the heart. He’s performed at art shows, cabarets and poetry venues all over the city. Presently the impresario of the poetry scene at the Bird and Beckett Bookstore, he’s also an artist and aficionado of philosophic dispositions, and at heart a real Buddhist (not a “resumÃ© Buddhist”). The author of this all too brief biography of Mr. Ferraz has derived great pleasure by simply being with him in his car driving from one corner of the city to another, as he seems to know every charming street and by-way normally remote to those driven to get where they’re going with blind determination. Humor and grace with eyes wide open is the heart of his methodology.
Stay tuned for the next B&B benefit party in Jerry Ferraz’s backyard! Here’s some video of the last one!
Michael Koch, B&B Operations, Buyer
Michael is a poet, visual artist, amateur percussionist and grandfather who lives in the Mission with an imaginary dog.
Jenna Littlejohn, B&B Asst. Mgr./Operations; BBCLP Grants Coordinator
Jenna is the shopâ€™s assistant manager. Sheâ€™s the resident young person around here, our handy-dandy-millennial, seeing as everyone else is 50+ but donâ€™t let the age difference fool you – sheâ€™s wise as hell, and it’d do you well to get a book recommendation from her. Besides keeping the place â€œorganized,â€ she also works as the grants coordinator for our little non-profit thing you may have heard of, the BBCLP.
Lorretta Marcel, B&B Operations, Buyer
Lorretta is our stealth colleague just now, but don’t let that fool ya! She’s likely hiding in the stacks somewhere! Lorretta brings a degree in library science and a lifetime of experience to her job at Bird & Beckett. Born and raised in Chicago, she made her way to the 1960s Northern California wonderland, hitching out from there with a girlfriend to Llano, New Mexico, where Wavy Gravy’s Hog Farm was getting its southwestern scene going, and thence with the Hog Farm to Woodstock, where she worked in the free kitchen alongside a legion of beautiful hippies. After the festival, she flew home to San Francisco sitting next to the legendary photographer Robert Frank. And after that, it was San Francisco all the way… dance, jazz, the Blue Dolphin, her daughter Carmen, the little triangular house with elves in the garden at the corner of Diamond and Surrey… she was at Bird & Beckett day one, and joined the staff five or six years ago when she returned from England, where she had earned her library degree (after embarking on that course at CCSF several years earlier).
Lily Bennett, Nascent Jack of All Trades
Lily can do it all, or will soon! They’re just getting started! Lily is our newest and youngest staff member, although they’ve been around the store her entire life. Lilyâ€™s a champion cable-coiler and shelf-straightener, and when not at the store can be found studying theatre tech at Lowell or drawing dragons at home.
Sherman was a cat. Well, he was obviously more than a cat, but he’s still just a cat. He keeps his own counsel. He was found in Tujunga, California on a New Year’s Day a half dozen years ago in the arms of a panicked mother/daughter duo who didn’t know what to do with the critter they’d just found. After alternately charming and terrorizing a screenwriter in Nichols Canyon above Hollywood, he was driven up to enjoy the calming influence of San Francisco’s Glen Park, and installed as Bird & Beckett’s majordomo and bookstore cat, where he’s been mean to the neighborhood’s dogs and threatening to its children and other unsuspecting humans ever since. Probably more so now that they just think they see him. But really, he’s a pussycat! Wherever he is, he’s still just a pussycat.
Eric Whittington, Proprietor
Eric took on and reconfigured an existing Glen Park bookshop back in May of 1999 to create Bird & Beckett Books & Records — he’s grateful for the wonderful bookshelves and computer system he inherited and proud of the store he’s put together with the help of a lot of great staff along the way: Blanche Bebb, Justin Desmangles, Nicholas James Whittington, Steve Choisser, Jackson Whittington and several others. He’s grateful to Manhal Jweinat for housing the store until 2008, and to the Tietz family for maintaining him now in the space that the family built to house the neighborhood’s public library for 30 years. He thinks his current staff is peachy and figures he’s got it pretty good now.
He got his first bookstore job in the summer of 1975 after his freshman year at UC Berkeley, shipping UC Extension correspondence course books for Ed Hunolt’s Berkeley Book; dropped out after his sophomore year and found work at Green Apple on Clement, when it was small, from 1976-1977; and helped almost launch a massive used bookstore that would have been called the Bookdome on Westwood Blvd (it closed before it opened) in LA in 1978. Then, he returned to San Francisco and commuted to finish a BA in Film Studies at UCB.
Bird & Beckett owes everything first of all to Eric’s family and friends, and then to his experience in those bookshop jobs and as a customer in his late teens and 20s at Moe’s, Cody’s and Shakespeare & Co. in Berkeley, City Lights and a whole passel of wonderful used bookshops in San Francisco, etc. He also credits a great, formative stint as operations manager with the San Francisco International Film Festival for a couple of seasons at the beginning of the 1980s; co-founding a music promotion partnership in SF called Carnaval that taught him what he knows about booking and presenting live music; toiling for half a dozen years co-writing and co-producing an (ultimately unmade) indie teens-in-trouble feature film that lives only in memory, a jumble of file boxes andÂ this promo trailer; and then helping spin out of that a little record company which lasted for a handful of vinyl and cassette releases that he’s still proud of… His employers and partners in all of these episodes deserve thanks and acclaim. He’s paid his personal bills as a typist (read: word processor/editor) ever since his second son was born in 1983. He’s got three adult children who are amazing and a couple grandkids that look on course to put his kids to shame. Other than living in America in this ugly era, he’s pretty pleased with and proud of his personal state of things, and grateful to the shop’s loyal & growing base of patrons.