… but I’m bursting to explain everything not even Big Sur but the past several years, but there’s no chance with everybody yakking — And in fact I can see in Cody’s eyes that he can see in my own eyes the regret we both feel that recently we haven’t had chances to talk whatever, like we used to do driving across America and back in the old road days, too many people now want to talk to us and tell us their stories, we’ve been hemmed-in surrounded and outnumbered — the circle’s closed on the old heroes of the night.
— Jack Kerouac
MORE SAD news. Avery Clayton, son of Mayme Clayton – founder of the Western States Black Research and Education Center, passed away yesterday — Thanksgiving Day. His mother housed three centuries of black literature, movies, music and other essential miscellany in a leaky garage, behind her modest home in Southwest L.A. What I held in my hands made the journey palpable — A Phillis Wheatley chapbook, crumbling Tin Pan Alley sheet music, heavy, brittle 78s. It was much more than sifting through memories; it was time travel, like eavesdropping on circling conversations above. I’d first met Clayton back when I was a reporter at the L.A. Weekly and did a small piece on her in the old Local Heroes column. Once at the L.A. Times, I revisited her and her collection in 2002. After decades of planning, fundraisers, nearly-closed deals, Avery was able to secure a spacious spot in Culver City in an old civic building along Overland Avenue. His mother passed away without witnessing the ribbon-cutting and now Avery won’t be here for the opening. I’d just received an email from him, not a month ago, saying that he wanted to meet, that he had a lot of new information to share, that we’d come a long way.
SURPRISED TO FIND this online. So much of being a journalist is also being an archaeologist.
This one is one of my best reporting memories, even though I almost got irretrivably lost driving east on I-10 almost to Palm Springs. Navagation off in areas so flat, dusty in all that harsh light. Ultimately all worth it to sit with Mr. Smock, a former Pullman Sleeping Car porter, still elegant and dapper, seated in his room full of sleeping car memories. He still plays host in grandstyle — In Safety and Comfort. <
REASONS to be thankful, even with a boulder-sized hole in the middle. Walked around nearly solely ghost-occupied Chinatown as twilight settled. Bumped into inspiration. Even I forget how L.A. is pulsing with it especially in its corner>And “snapped” these:
and this one …
& this ode to Jake Gittes
George Packer, in the New Yorker, points out something telling about GenY and the Millineals:
The Obama movement. The most disappointed people I meet are under thirty, the generation that made the Obama campaign a movement in its early primary months. They spent their entire adult lives under the worst President of our lifetime, they loved Obama because he was new and inspiring, and they felt that replacing the former with the latter would be a national deliverance. They weren’t wrong about that, but the ebbing of grassroots energy once the Obama campaign turned to governing suggests that some of his most enthusiastic backers saw the election as an end in itself.
I’ve been watching old YouTube clips of “To Sir With Love” and taking notes . . .
This week’s excuses included:
“I didn’t do it today, did I?”
“My stomach is really upset. I can’t leave the toilet.
“I have a very important meeting to go to. Urgent. It just came up. So I won’t be in class today.”
The idealized future of hip hop circa 1992. Bowing to the ancestors. All of them.