Mothers and Daughters

Thanks, darling daughter, for a memorable Mother’s Day!  It was so much fun feasting at the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s superb Mom’s Day brunch, and even more fun trying to walk off all those carbs as Victoria Bernal took several of us on a dtla walking tour of sites connected with the famous and not-so-famous women in LA.

Bernal introduced herself outside the Pico Building by sharing that her mother’s vast knowledge of LA’s women might have made its way to a book had her mom not died of cancer last spring.  By the time we reached the Bradbury Building, Bernal had recruited several speaking experts who were also moms of young children–the lady in the dark hat was a Cal State Northridge professor who shared details of the Bradbury’s history while her infant snoozed peacefully on.  And the woman in colorful dress pictured bending over her daughter became our knowledgeable guide further down Broadway when we came to the Herald Examiner Building.

These women and my own daughters have shown me just how expert we are in multitasking!

 

 

Friendly Volunteers Get Fed and Feted!

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Monday morning at 9 o’clock we congregated on the Taper Patio, backgrounded by Ries Niemi’s Literate Fence.  Getting to chow down on scrumptious spinach and mushroom omelettes, we were told by John Szabo how much impact some 7100 library volunteers (both at Central and at 72 other branches) have had on the LA community.  Our library has welcomed more than 15 million visitors this past year–we will rock you!

LAPL Launches the Big Read!

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I can’t tell you how excited I am to be teaching for The Big Read–an amazing program made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts.  Beginning Monday at 2:00 in the Literacy Center classroom of Central Library, we’ll be moving from short stories to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451—a National Book Award winner with more than 5 million copies in print.  I predict my students’ enthusiasm for this book will ignite a desire to consume innumerable other books!

Schoolkidz +Art = Victory over Graffiti

IMG_3249IMG_3247How pretty!  It isn’t often that a dtla construction site gets that reaction, but leave it to the South Park Business Improvement District to tackle graffiti in a new way.  Knowing that the city last year spent $7.5 million, when the under-construction Onyx apartments (440 W. Pico) were tagged repeatedly, the District gathered $10,000 and asked the Do Art Foundation to work with kids from Metro Charter Elementary School. The result can be enjoyed in these photos:  lots of red, white, and blue designs with smiling strings of cans right in the middle!  Does this art deter taggers?  Let’s just say that before the children’s art went up for view, the site was being tagged about 25 times a month.  Now, two months after the installation, there have only been two taggings.  Maybe the “graffiti artists” so respect the work of their fellow artists that they’ve decided to LET IT BE.  What do you think?  Maybe we’re on to something here–maybe we ought to try this again.

Do Words Kill?

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Adolf Hitler said, “Propaganda is a truly terrible weapon in the hands of an expert.” He should know. John Szabo, City Librarian, tells us, “Social media plays such a significant role in our lives today. It’s important that people of all ages learn to evaluate what they’re seeing in print, or in digital or visual forms.”Although the Third Reich ended long ago, many of Hitler’s propaganda tactics are used today by far-right groups in Europe, as well as by ISIS in the Middle East.

Don’t miss this free exhibit at LAPL until August 31. You can participate in a tour with a trained docent by contacting events@alapl.org, or browse on your own. Be a part of the online conversation using #StateofDeception.

 

Thanks, Ahmanson, for Love and Murder!

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So glad dtla’s Ahmanson Theater was able to bring us “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”  I can see why this fast-paced musical won its Tony:  the audience has a roaring great time watching Monty Navarro figure out how he can eliminate all eight relatives standing in the way of his inheritance of a family fortune–never thought I’d cheer for a murderer, but it’s all in fun–what a great escape from today’s realities.  If you haven’t yet seen this show, there’s still time–it closes on Sunday, May 1.  And if you do see it, would you please let me know what you think?

 

“Literary Death Match” Revitalizes the Coolitude of the Printed Word

Okay, maybe you haven’t heard of coolitude, but Interview Magazine uses this word to describe the impact of this ten-year-old phenomenon that came to dtla’s gorgeous United Artists Theater last Friday, April 1.

A friend who was an AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) participant clued me in–actually her daughter tipped off my daughter, and somehow we were all able to get last minute tickets to this sold-out event.

What is it?  Created and MC’d by Adrian Todd Zuniga, the evening consists of four emerging authors who each perform their writing in seven minutes or less, alternating with all-star “judges” who, after each pair of readings, share off-the-wall commentary about each story.  One of the first two readers is chosen to advance to the finals, which ultimately determine who takes home the Literary Death Match crown.

Seem incredibly silly?  Well, I’ve seldom been more entertained, and judging from the 1600-seat audience reaction, others felt the same way.  Zuniga reports that his ultimate goal is to perform the Literary Death Match all over the world, and to continue to showcase literature as a brilliant, unstoppable medium.  Wow–I admire his vision!

The show itself was not the only element to dazzle; Lucinda Belle’s singing and harp playing were hypnotic, and the venue for this year’s match–Ace Hotel’s United Artists Theater–was breathtakingly beautiful.  Designed and opened in 1927, this Spanish-Gothic picture palace features arched vaulted ceilings, elaborately painted murals, and a massive dome covered with thousands of mirrored discs and crystal pendants encircled by an enormous sunburst.

I’m just sorry that next year’s LDM will no doubt be in another city.  If you want to be on their mailing list, here’s where to go:

literarydeathmatch.com