Forget it, Jake

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INSPIRING DAY at the Tales of Two Cities conference at the Central Library downtown. I was on a panel titled “Exiles & Place” with Lisa See, Naomi Hirahara and Hector Tobar. Moderated by Brighde Mullin, the panel was tasked with sorting out the idea of place in a city that constantly shape-shifts and whose “story” often is overshadowed by outsiders’ notions of it.

Great side-chats and vivid anecdotes collected in the common areas with rooms full of L.A. lovers. Wrapping it up, the big group took a quick walk over to the Oviatt and swooped up to the penthouse for an elegant indoor/outdoor after-party.

The above photo, a scene from the roof, was about as dreamscape-L.A. as it gets.

Thanks all for a great day.

Meet Me at the Station

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THE UNION STATION L.A. Conservancy Tour was today. Informative, but the huge disappointment was not being able to get access to two key areas of the grounds–the former ticket area and the beautiful Fred Harvey restaurant.

Really wish we had been warned, as those are the best perks of this behind-the-scene glimpse of North America’s last great railroad station. I’ve been there for events and parties but the journalist in me was hoping to see the working parts and connect the dots of the city’s past.

We fully understand there are scheduling mixups and logistical snafus, but an email warning beforehand or a rain-check or re-do offered would have gone a long way to ease the sting. It was just too bad.

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A Day at the Fair

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Crazy-wonderful turn out for the Los Angeles Art Book Fair at MOCA’s Geffen-Contemporary in Little Tokyo over the weekend. If you could squeeze through the curious hordes — those on a quest and those just browsing — you could check out all-manner of printed matter (posters, postcards, art books, curios, first editions, t-shirts and totes). There was a real emphasis on D.I.Y — projects and products — as well as some fascinating specimens of the art book re-imagined as a lavish multimedia event (one such vendor exhibited a sort of 3-D computer-generated viewing “experience” that was coupled with various folios telling different paths of the story).

I have to say that I was just as taken by the carnival swirl of the event as it spilled out onto the plaza. A band set up; a line to get inside snaked even further out the door. It felt a bit like a county fair, but instead of scent of burgers and fries churning out of the food trucks , onion, curry and turmeric smudged the air.

Just steps from MOCA’s front doors a white-gloved hand pushed a shiny postcard into my open right palm. The glove caught my attention. I didn’t bother to read the text. Instead I looked up and into the eyes of what was a pretty remarkable Michael Jackson impersonator, right down to the super-shiny, short, blue-black ponytail and the precisely penciled-in brows. I’d thought my reaction was somewhat discreet, but apparently it was enough prompt a comment in that familiar delicate whisper: “Sorry to startle you, but I’m just down from Heaven for a little bit .” With that, he turned was lost in the flow and vivid color of the crowds. Why not a little bit of performance art to top off the day?

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