Visions and Revisions

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BOAT MAGAZINE docks in L.A. with the goal to explore a off-the-path Los Angeles.

I have a piece in this one, about the marks and impressions we Angelenos’ leave on a place that continually — rapidly — changes. Looking forward to seeing the other pieces when the issue lands in my mailbox.

A little preview of my page here.

Take Our Picture, Gary Leonard

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Vivid and far-reaching interview with photographer Gary moderated by LA Observed’a Kevin Roderick at DTLA’s Central Library yesterday afternoon.

Old-home week for me as well. I saw folks I haven’t seen for, honestly, I don’t know how long. Many of them from all corners of my journalism career. It was great to hear Leonard’s stories from his UCLA days and alt-press work which featured his punk club images (I first encountered him and his work at the LA Weekly) and now his “Take my picture Gary Leonard” body of work.
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And as promised in the press info, he did indeed from the stage turn the camera on all those assembled.

Can’t wait to see that moment.

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Adventures in the Book Trade: Convening Consciousness

MY PIECE about Eso Won Books in Leimert Park is now up at KCET Departures.
Great long afternoon spending time with Tom Hamilton and James Fugate talking about the changing landscape of book selling both here and across the country and why brick-and-mortar stores and the relationships they foster still very much matter.

To read the piece up at KCET Departures please click here.

(image by Alvaro Parra for KCET Departures)

Participant/Observer/Journalist

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I HAVE to say, it was quite odd to be a tourist/journalist in my own town. Late last month, I was part of a 15-member team of journalists selected to be Getty/Annenberg Arts Journalism Fellows. What that meant was ten days of deep-immersion in segments of L.A.’s art culture. As I say to anyone coming to Los Angeles for the first time — it’s impossible to sum it up in a sentence. Same would go for the art scene.

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I found myself criss-crossing familiar paths and meeting up with folks I have worked with, interviewed or have only known peripherally until now. It was a chance to reconnect with some of them and go behind the scenes, in some instances, in a fashion I hadn’t been able to until now. I’m still processing the experience which in certain ways, as couple of the journalists joked, was a lot like being on an episode on “Big Brother — ten days in a hotel and bus with folks you don’t know. I also had the extra-dislocating element of being “at home” but without my car. One of the strangest moments related to that was waiting on Halloween night for a cab that never arrived …

Also unusual, but helpful, was seeing the city through a set of 14-different creatively critical eyes and realizing the pressure that this city is under because it is often both over-exposped and under-clarified. I pulled back to try to make a mental map of where we’d been and the conclusions I might make. A good exercise for any long-time resident of any place — native or otherwise.

Below are just a few shots of some of the spots we passed through (Infinite City the opera based on Italo Calvino’s novel staged throughout the grounds at Union Station, the Watts Towers, the James Turrell show at LACMA, the Getty behind-the-scenes, the Bootleg theater, Disney Hall, Thank You For Coming, the Sheats/Goldstein House designed by John Lautner) — which honestly is just a tiny fraction of our ten days.

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(top image Edward Lifson)

Last Light Over Little Tokyo

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TEN DAYS of sort of being a tourist (with a purpose) in my own town. Just finishing the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Fellowship. I’m still processing. Much of it was spent rolling around town exploring theater, visual arts, music and architecture with more than a dozen other journalists. More in a bit, but I now need to catch up on assignments themselves, but here is a view from my HQ for the last ten days.

What a gorgeous perch I had over the Historic Core. L.A. looked at its best this week.

Thanks Fellows!

Stories vs. Content

IT’S BEEN couple of weeks of intense reporting and observation.

Storytelling happens on so many levels and I have had the luck of working with great visual journalists who are wonderful at interpreting nuance/different layers of the story.

I’m off to speak to a photojournalism class about storytelling — the many prongs of it. I’m focusing particularly on that sort of partnered-up-retro-style journalism which is fading. In preparing my little spiel, I’m realizing that while we have all acclimated to referring to what moves through the news-stream as “content”, at base we are still trying to convey stories. It’s a challenge to frequently rethink and re-imaginine the manner in which we work — but that is the nature of news. But I’m very thankful to have good working partners along the way who help me to think about stories in different ways.

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Thank you, Anne, Noe (and un-pictured 🙂 Genaro!)