A 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.
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.
SCENES FROM last week’s opening festivities for “Octavia E. Butler — Telling My Stories” at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.
A special thank you to curator Natalie Russell who carefully selected 100 objects out of a vast archive of 8,000 to illustrate Butler’s life, work and struggle. It’s a beautiful survey of a singular life. We are all grateful to Butler for gifting her papers to the Huntington so that so many more people can learn about her way of looking at and being in the world. Most affecting is her depth of curiosity, her blinders-on focus. For all the sacrifice and sense of mission, her dedication at moments feels matchless.
The exhibit is up through August. Come early. Give yourself enough time to wander through. There is much to linger over, digest and celebrate.
JOIN US tomorrow afternoon at 826LA Echo Park for Roar Shack. On the bill: Chip Jacobs, Dana Johnson Geza X, Steve Hodel, David Kukoff and yours truly. The event: “I Remember That: L.A. in the 70s.” We’ll be reading pieces looking back at when L.A. was a bit more open, wild and it took only 30 minutes to get just about anywhere…. See you there.