March/April, 2020

"A Last or a New Look at Lhooq?"

Written by Wendy Hinman

"Carlsbad Magazine" March/April, 2020


LHOOQ BOOKS (pronounced "look") is a corporeal gathering site for ethereal discoveries. Reading books takes us time traveling in ways the digital experience cannot. When we sink into a book we're made a soul connection to a protagonist, a storyteller, another world. Walk into Lhooq and the residue of those worlds comes back in the presence of many books. Conversations are born. What was at first felt alone now has a table to share. 

Just off Elm Avenue - now called Carlsbad Village Drive - Lhooq sprang from the vision of fourth-generation Carlsbadian Sean Christopher. Like book reading, his idea was tended alone until he hand-built his desire. "I built a place I wanted to go to," Christopher says of what has become a treasured cultural hub for locals and visitors, nerds and skaters, artists and scientists, millennials and boomers. 

Lhooq sells books, of course. Christopher is a frank and amerible curator of books deep and rare. That's inside. Outside, there is a co-op library free to mental wanderers. Lhooq also sells coffee, as any shop worth its salt would. On the back patio Christopher has created a portal of art and space to tend to the collective mind.

"From the table in the corner they could see a world reborn and they rose with voices ringing," the librettist of Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" mused. He may have been describing the 'intellectual salon," as Christopher calls it, of Lhooq - a wonder-filled juxtaposition of patrons.

Flogging Molly's Matt Hensley brought his friend, David Lally, for an evening of Irish folk songs and the next morning Brittany McGregor was there singing Parisian street songs. A Cambridge physics professor gave a lecture one day and on another there was a movie night.

But this community hub of the arts is in trouble. Christopher was promised a long-term lease, but that gentleman's agreement was broken. Some dodgy development will tear down Lhooq's building so Christopher is in the market for a new Village space. "I want to stay in Carlsbad," he says. 

What was born at Lhooq raised the cultural status of Carlsbad. In this winter of discontent Lhooq is in need of culture capitalists. Christopher's hope is that the move will raise the status higher. He is shopping for a place to rebuild and turn Lhooq into a public franchise - much like the Green Bay Packers - with local investors. He also wants to expand the cultural space with a larger salon, a museum of Carlsbad cultural history and an art gallery. We want to keep singing "Here they talked of revolution, here it was they lit the flame, here they sang about tomorrow and tomorrow never came." Let's help Lhooq build tomorrow and tend culture well."

*note: there is a typo in the article, Christian instead of Christopher, in the current text it's fixed. 



Category: Lhooq Books in magazines and newspapers | (22 March 2020)