Where is the love, Los Angeles?

aloudOH, THERE’S been a big reason why things have been a little quiet around here.

Lots of deadlines and projects and talks but here’s the biggest endeavor that’s been occupying a lot of my brain space and is going to be taking off in about a week and a half.

I’ve been working on a collaboration for ALOUD with the poet Mariesela Norte about Los Angeles — life along the margins of the big frame. Also in the big mix is DJ Mark “frosty” McNeil of dublab who will be weaving a live mix to accompany our words and images.

This will be our kick off for the summer.

We’re completely sold out but you can try to fly stand-by.

Info here.

oh, and PS: I should be getting back to regular posting very soon.

Stay tuned.

Ornette Coleman, 85


Though his early work— a kind of personal answer to his fellow alto saxophonist and innovator Charlie Parker— lay right within jazz — and generated a handful of standards among jazz musicians of the last half-century — he later challenged assumptions about jazz from top to bottom, bringing in his own ideas about instrumentation, process and technical expertise.

— Ben Ratliff via The New York Times

He was always free. Now fly high. Farewell, Ornette.

On the Matter of LOCE-Anga-leeze

“There is no other city in the world whose inhabitants so miserably and shamelessly, and with so many varieties of foolishness, miscall the name of the town they live in,” Charles F. Lummis wrote to a friend in 1914. He was still shuddering at the memory of hearing Theodore Roosevelt refer to the city as “Loss-AN-gee-less.” Lummis advocated a pronunciation in which “Los” rhymed with “Dos,” and the A in Angeles was slightly broader than the A in “Arm,” the G was hard and the final “es” rhymed with “Yes.” He spelled it phonetically: LOCE ANG-ELESS”

from L.A. El Pueblo Grande by John D. Weaver, 1973

And finally a clip up on Youtube of Anjelica Houston as “Lily” from The Grifters having her fun with the city’s proper name:

(Los Angeles Pet-Peeves)

Navigating toward a new sense of home …

“If I could have fashioned a model of my own imagination, perhaps it would have resembled the telescope my father was working on: heavy, made of steel and glass, and run through with lenses …pointing off into a distance that had no shape. Perhaps there would sit, at the outer edges of that distance, something I was afraid to bring into focus, some knowledge or presence, the power or verity of which might cause the rest of me to cower. It felt like that sometimes, like there were limits to what I would let myself understand, limits to the whole to which I’d give myself access. I was ten years old, living with a vague knowledge that pain was part of my birthright, part of what was meant by a word like Home.”

— from “Ordinary Light” by Tracy K. Smith.

I’ll be in conversation with Tracy K. Smith tomorrow at ALOUD. Details and ticket information here:

Lit Fest SGV-Style

SOME MOMENTS from last weekend’s  LitFest Pasadena. 


Our LA On Foot Panel — with writer Geoff Nicholson, urban planer James T. Rojas and moderated by documentary filmmaker, Steven Reich — was well attenended and the audience asked great questions,suggesting there are a lot more of us out there who want to explore the urban environment without the barrier (and at the speed of) a car.  

Nice notes from Geoff about our conversational wanderings here.

We strolled around the theater district for the day-long event, taking in the renovations and additions — public art and new buildings designed to look older. There was poetry read on the steps, quick  lines written on-demand on the sidewalk– and lots of conversation swirling. (And in the grid above you’ll see Janet Fitch & Lisa Freeman, David Kipen, chef Roy Choi, Greg Nichols (and a side view of Mr. Nicholson. And Ms. Karineh Mahdessian at the lovely typewriter)  

Thanks to Jervey Tervalon for working tirelessly and on a shoestring  to make this event shine.