BY CHANCE, I began my reading (or re-reading) of this early work just as we hit peak Santa Ana season.
The winds yowling and the fires zipping across the county. I’m a native and yet it never ceases to be frightening. Knowing the potential keys up everything. Didion writes with the edge of a knife:
“I have neither heard nor read that a Santa Ana is due, but I know it, and almost everyone I have seen today knows it too,” Joan Didion writes in ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem.’ ‘We know it because we feel it. The baby frets. The maid sulks. … To live with the Santa Ana is to accept, consciously or unconsciously, a deeply mechanistic view of human behavior.’
I review the new Library of America collection of her work “Didion The 1960s & 70s, ” for the Los Angeles Times. Click here to read the full review.
TWO EVENTS this week as we ease into the end of the year:
On Thursday evening, I’ll be heading over to the Pasadena Central Library to join our lively and opinionated crew for a far-ranging conversation. We’ll be discussing and reading from the anthology: L.A. Baseball: From the Pacific Coast League to the Major Leagues. We get started at 6:30pm in the beautiful Donald R. Wright Auditorium. There will be a reception afterward and we’ll be signing books.
On Sunday afternoon, Angel City Press will be hosting a holiday party and signing, featuring books honoring Los Angeles’s rich history and culture.
Bill Bradley, Los Angeles Union Station: Tracks to the Future
Stephen Gee, Los Angeles City Hall: An American Icon, Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Central Library: A History of its Art and Architecture
Rachel Surls and Judith Gerber, From Cows to Concrete: The Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles
Jim Harris, Santa Monica Pier
Robert Landau, Rock ‘n’ Roll Billboard of the Sunset Strip, Hollywood Poolside, Tales from The Strip: A Century in the Fast Lane
And, I will be there as well signing and discussing After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame.
Join us from 2 to 4pm at Traxx Restaurant in Union Station (we’ll be gathering inside, adjacent to the concourse) near the Alameda entrance to the terminal).
I HAD one of my first birthday parties at the Bob Baker Marrionette Theater, oh so many years ago. Puppets and sugar, who wouldn’t be happy? So it will be a thrill to be part of this event next Wednesday evening, November 14. Join me and these fine folks for a new episode of “Tom Explores Los Angeles” for an evening of puppetry and storytelling, “told through the windshield.”
This will be one of the final performances at the treasure of an old space that miraculously still sits at that busy crossing where Glendale Boulevard meets Second Street at the edges of downtown Los Angeles.
To purchase tickets, follow this link.
We will have a reception afterwards and books will be available for purchase.
“I walked up a hill, up California past Chinatown, someplace I came to a white garage….and this guy in a swivel chair wanted to know what I wanted, I understood all of my moves as one obligation after another to communicate to whoever not accidentally but by *arrangement* was placed before me, communicate and exchange this news, the vibration and new meaning that I had, about everything happening to everyone all the time everywhere….” — Jack Kerouac born OTD 1922 .
.. Image: Jack Kerouac by Jerry Yulsman, 1957
WHAT A GREAT, YouTube find. I had no idea the whole film was up here. With Truman Capote narrating himself. All six parts are up.
“But one way and another we do each year accumulate Christmas savings, a Fruitcake Fund. These moneys we keep hidden in an ancient bead purse under a loose board under the floor under a chamber pot under my friend’s bed. The purse is seldom removed from its safe location except to make a deposit, or, as happens every Saturday, a withdrawal; for on Saturdays I am allowed ten cents to go to the picture show. My friend has never been to a picture show, nor does she intend to: “I’d rather hear you tell the story Buddy. That way I can imagine it more.”
Always, look up for the kite….
Merry Christmas, from Native to the Place
Photo by Edie Vonnegut
“So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel in time back to November eleventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-two.
I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.
So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.
And so is music”
From Breakfast of Champions
Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut