OA DEEPLY involving and bittersweet presentation at #LAPL’s Central Library on Saturday afternoon. Annie Laskey and her mother Marlene hatched a plan to walk the stretch of Wilshire Boulevard from its downtown high-rises and mid-town department stores to the edges of the sea. Annie mentioned that the thrill at first was less about the walk and more about getting to operate the Minolta SLR. Annie shot and Marlene made note (see the notebook in the grid below). While Marlene and many of the iconic locations that the Laskeys recorded are no longer with us, the absences were filled with vivid stories. Grateful for the Laskeys and their. sticktoitiveness Hundreds of sites have now been preserved on Kodachrome slides. The Wilshire Boulevard — the Carnation Building, Mutual of Omaha, Ambassador Hotel– that still exists in my head flickered to life with her stories. You can glimpse 100 of those images in a new book, “The Wilshire Slides 1978–1979” put out through LAPL’s Photo Collection and Photo Friends the nonprofit organization formed to support & promote the collection.
i.m Gwendolyn Brooks 1917-2000
“There’s nothing left
to say. You have done
your dance away —
to the place we never thought
would gather you
though somewhere we knew
how days grow shorn. Unbrittle,
brave, graceful yet laceless,
you struck the stone till you were
the stone, or the face
each dark rock hides, if only
from itself, somethin else. The water
wears over us —
headed home salt-ward.
We wade in your wake
& pray. Forever
bendable, you never did stoop
whenever sidewalks hard heart
met your dandelion wild.
You fought that white
A thankful while, the wind
our way blew.
Without you, we might not know
what wind must do
it too refuses to remain
unseen, keeps many names
Gust, bluster, hurricane
Bronzeville’s heavy Hawk
You swirl and save us
from standing still
unsailed. What the devil
are we without you?
I tuck your voice laced
tight, in these brown shoes”
— Kevin Young
(happy 100th gwendolyn brooks)
ON TOP of the world!
So I’ve got some news. Excited to report that Angel City Press will be publishing my new book, “After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame” For more info you can check out ACP here.
Looking forward to the adventure.
AND THE NEWS keeps coming today —
I’ve been trying to get all the blogs caught up with upcoming projects. It’s been a bit of a logjam lately around here and so I hope to be getting back to some regular posting.
I’m happy to announce my new (and very first!) chapbook, “Shifting Tenses” from the wonderful Writ Large Press, Founded in 2007 by Chiwan Choi, Peter Woods, Judeth Oden Choi and Jessica Ceballos, the press’ mandate has been to publish, connect and promote overlooked voices and communities across the region and beyond. A limited number of copies will be available today at L.A. Zine Fest in downtown Los Angeles. 100% of the proceeds go to nonprofit/social justice organizations.
If you’re not able to make it downtown, you can still order it directly from Writ Large by clicking over here.
Grocery on Venice Beach
by Denis Johnson
Thank you salesperson I see your heart
quivering redly in its gossamer
I with this fiery whirling atomic
symbol where I used to have a stomach
lighting my dead shoes
down the aisle
Briefly the gauzy but legible
future veils the place and is beheld
I can talk inside the mind
of my great-grandchild Oh unconceived
monster hurting your teeth on our dead Disneylands
we were here we touched this radioactive food
We didn’t have the claws and then something in our hearts sufficed
We didn’t have X-ray eyes we knew what was inside of everything
I have paid and I have left
walked out of the little store onto a white beach
the light declining and lavender
walked past two women
as they knelt covered with gooseflesh
beside the Tarot dealer
past a man pretending to be a machine in a circle
alongside but not too close
to people who no longer
live indoors or hide their thoughts
past the child
born in a towaway zone
the mother’s eyes like
and curses going by in the water
I leave you this record
of an invisible monstrosity and this
report of sadness
a semi-truck against the bruised roses
emeralds in the velvet wound
of Malibu the cold
from –The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly — Poems Collected and New
Excited to now officially report that I’ve been awarded the Huntington Library’s Alan Jutzi Fellowship to support the next leg of my research this summer in the Octavia E. Butler archive. I’m so grateful that she’s left so much of her story to learn from. Now looking forward to delving deeper.
It has been an honor to spend time in the archive and see a much more complex portrait of this Southern California native slide into view.
Stay tuned for more info about Butler here.