Saturday, September 30, 2006

Buy a Friend A Book Week October 1 - 7

As a friendly reminder, no sooner does Banned Books Week end, than Buy A Friend A Book Week begins! I think I may have to propose a "Buy a Friend New Book Shelves Week" to follow... actually, I could use that now. Maybe I should just get registered at IKEA or Design Within Reach.

...and if anyone is interested, I have a wishlist of titles I could send you, or just surprise me...

Some slight confusion as to where to go...

The Smithsonian link and MuseumsLA both listed some of the same museums --but on different days-- participating in this weekend's celebration of cultural institutions. I'm going to go with the MuseumsLA list, since the LA Times (as if in their current state of disarray they'd know) also went with them.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Finally, someone posted something about that dress. It was a Nicole Miller imported strapless wedding gown in silk charmeuse, "softly shirred at the bodice and waist The seamed dropped waist falls to a floor length A-line skirt, and a godet inset creates a small train in the back, with boning in the bodice and sticky elastic on top for a secure fit." And of course, it is now available at Nordstrom, according to the ABC website. I'd have to turn in my gay card and be banished from crossing the MacArthur Causeway or the Bay Bridge if I didn't say that this was one of the most spectacular pieces of couture I've seen in on the small screen. And I'm a former shmatteh, mind you. Normally I could care less what the actors are wearing, but every rule has its exceptions.

Credit to for the mesh.

We now return you to our normally scheduled mad left-of-center rant: So, didya hear about the Kazakh comic who does an imitation news shtick that was refused admittance to a White House press conference? Male prostitutes, no problem. But no comedians. I guess the press secretary didn't want the competition....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Museum Day, Saturday, September 30th

Museums all across America will throw open their doors for free on Saturday, September 30th as part of the observance of National Museum Day. Click on the header for more information.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

This is too funny...

Click on the header above for this and other animated stuff.

...unless you're a mouse.

I'm gonna have to throw a Red Bull in my espresso next Sunday...

Twenty museums across Los Angeles will throw open their doors next Sunday for free, some offering special programs for the day. This tradition started years ago on the Miracle Mile; I'm glad to see it has been kept alive... only, how am I gonna get to see everything?!?

Click on the header above for a link to MuseumsLa and a full listing of the various itinerary at the participating museums.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

By the way - could someone tell the producers that Kansas is as flat as a pancake.

Momma said there'll be days like this, there'll be days like this my momma said...

"Where they have burned books they will end in burning human beings." --Heinrich Hesse

A none too subtle reminder that Banned Book Week is about to begin... the American Library Association has a full range of events and lists of banned books right here in America --some of which are certain to have you think, "they're joking, right?" But they aren't.

On a more pleasant note, this Sunday is the annual Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice. For more information, click on the header at top.

The series premiere of Jericho last night was interesting enough. Not as dark as other post-apocalyptic dramas, and not (yet) as twisted as Lost. Wish I could have seen it on my folk's big ol' flat screen, though, just for the CGI of the mushroom clouds...

Grey's Anatomy proved to be less interesting in the romantic twists than it initially was in the dramedy. But I still liked certain moments -- most notably Katherine Heigl in her formal dress with her hair done up like she was on her way to Versailles. I'm not exactly one of those Miss America lovin' child of the 60s; most of the time, I could give a flying ferret who-was-wearing-what.
She was might purty. The redemption of Justin Chambers' character was a relief. He was every bit the good old fashioned leading man from days of yore when he got the chance to eat up the screen with his big scene. When he delivered his monologue then scooped Heigl up and held her was a nice, --very nice, piece of television. And of course Fierce Reigning Diva Sandra Oh with her simple act of holding the hand of her beloved was cool. All of the principal actors on Grey's Anatomy boast some pretty remarkable credits on stage, and it shows.

Considering I was balancing a book in my lap for most of the evening, I don't think I gave myself over to the idiot box too much. Let's just see what tonight's My Name is Earl and The Office have to bring us, eh?

Monday, September 18, 2006

The California African American Museum presents an afternoon with Pamela Samuels-Young, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2 - 4 pm

Want to write a novel but don't think you have the time? Then meet Pamela Samuels-Young at the California African American Museum. More information is available at the CAAM link to the left. The On Ensemble performed at the API/2 Gathering Saturday night and blew me away. Click on the header for more information about the group.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Buy a Friend A Book Week October 1 - 7

A lotta great new literati sites to the left. As if there wasn't already too little time to read everything as it was...

A great deal of information for writers --published or not-- by writers who've been there and done that.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sparks from the Anvil: In Honor of David Reed Gamboa-Brandhorst

Sparks from the Anvil: In Honor of David Reed Gamboa-Brandhorst

Art Crawl 9 Friday, September 15th, Saturday, September 16th & Sunday, September 17th

Sept. 15, 1963

The Art Crawl 9 through Silver Lake and Echo Park kicks off tonight at over 20 galleries, performance spaces, and just about any pole or wall in the neighborhood that some artist can stick some work on.

There was a great piece by Ann Herron on the
Silver Lake garden of Alberto Hernandez featured in the movie Quinceanera in the Home section of yesterday's LA Times. In the past, Albert has often opened up his garden --and front lawn, even-- for artists to use as exhibit space during local events. Alberto deservedly has a nice collection of those official proclamations from just about every level of government and has been featured on Huell Howser's California Gold, but I hope that it will be protected as cultural landmark. The folk art-filled garden, as Ann Herron noted, has often been compared to the Watts Towers.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Brewery Art Walk October 7 & 8

I've been obsessed with my map on most of this week. I almost didn't notice that there's a new Borders opening at the Century City Shopping Center (I'll be damned if I'll call it Westfield Shoppingtown. What kind of idiot company destroys all sense of identity of the properties it absorbs, giving all of them from coast to coast the same name.) tomorrow through Sunday. Saturday night there will be the API/2 Artist Gathering at the Japanese-American Cultural and Community Center (it actually runs all day, with the performance in the evening free to all).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

West Hollywood Book Fair this Sunday, Sept. 17

The schedule of events has been finalized and may be found via the West Hollywood Book Fair link to the left near the end of my links.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 - Thoughts and Observations on the Fifth Anniversary

6 am

Today began with a beautiful sunrise, pinkish-orange, to the East; clean, clear blue skies to the West.

Dawn is reflected off the windows a thousand times over. The maids, housekeepers, and nannies fill the bus, even before the schoolchildren are on their way.

The streets facing East are enveloped in a golden blast of light; today it will be from the 70s at the beach to over 100 degrees inland.

A single yellow ribbon hangs from a porch. As I reach the church, the sun is already climbing over rooftops.

9 am

All morning, the anniversary is scarcely even alluded to. People rush about as usual. It is in so many ways reflective of that morning, before it happened.

The news ticker reports that Americans across the country will be observing the anniversary in somber ceremonies. My path this morning won't take me anywhere near the closest observance. Only headlines of newspapers trumpet an ongoing reminder of the day's significance.

The tourists, as usual, are on the streets before most shops have opened. They are all off to see the sights, either in defiance of, in denial of, or oblivious to any commemoration.

Not until the subway station is there a pronounced police presence, including police dogs and atypical police officers whose body language indicates they are quite serious.

This morning my thoughts went to Father Mychal Judge, Mark Bingham, and David Reed Gamboa Brandhorst.

Most people have forgotten that most of those aboard the doomed aircraft on 9/11 were from California, the original destination of the flights. Even tiny West Hollywood was represented among the victims or their families. Television programs abound of "the children of 9/11," yet seldom are viewers reminded that children were among those who perished.

At the downtown portal to the Metro, again there are police with dogs, and patrol cars following patrol cars.

At City Hall, flags are at half-mast. Security around the Civic Center is a given, if purposely not visible. No other indications that it is 9/11 are in sight.

I pass the Higashi Hongwashi Buddhist Temple and two of Little Tokyo's most prominent churches, the Japanese-American National Museum and the Japanese-American Cultural and Community Center, and there is nothing.

At First and Main I return to the Civic Center by City Hall South, by the sister-city sign post and the clock which for months was frozen at the exact moment of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

A lone policeman on the city hall steps is smoking a cigarette, half-bored, in front of a NO SMOKING sign.

A policeman naps at the wheel of a patrol car in front of the Union Church, now the Union Center for the Arts, one of the mobilization points for the Japanese-American community who were relocated to internment camps during the Second World War. I expected more of an ominous quiet in Little Tokyo because of that; it was more of a languid, sleepy calm along East First Street as the temperatures rose.

The LAPD does love its helicopters, though. Two fly overhead in the course of a few minutes. They are obviously circling over the Civic Center.

2:30 pm

There are flowers adorning the boulder by the playground in West Hollywood Park that serves as a monument to David Reed Gamboa Brandhorst and his parents, Ronald Gamboa and Daniel Brandhorst. For all its simplicity, the boulder with a brass plaque is possibly the most fitting and eloquent monument to 9/11 that I have yet to see. The last words at the bottom of the plaque are familiar ones of David's at the playground, frequently pleading, "Just five more minutes, Daddy."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

O Dia da Communidade Brasileira em Los Angeles

On September 30th, from noon to 6 p.m., the Brazilian Consulate is sponsoring Brasilian Day in LA 2006, in Hancock Park next to the Page Museum. Click on the header above for a link to all things Brasilian in LA! It's probably the closest I'll get to Floripa this year...

The Atomic Cafe

The music scene of the Atomic Cafe in Little Tokyo will be remembered on September 9th from 9 pm to 2 am at The Mountain, 475 Gin Ling Way, in Chinatown.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Art of Creating Peace Through Writing

Children, everybody, here's what to do during war: In a time of destruction, create something. A poem. A parade. A community. A school. A vow. A moral principle. One peaceful moment.

--Maxine Hong Kingston,
The Fifth Book of Peace

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tempus Libri

On September 17th, Eduardo Santiago will read from his novel, Tomorrow They Will Kiss, at the West Hollywood Book Fair.

On October 11th, at Skylight Books, Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons will celebrate the release of Gay LA: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians.

Books are being collected for the
library that serves the inmates at the Los Angeles County Central Men's Jail. Sheriff Lee Baca has noted that education (or more poignantly, the lack thereof) is one of the key factors in lowering the rate of recidivism. Information on how one may contribute is forthcoming.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Having a wonderful time... wish you were here!

Labor Day weekend kicks off a busy September:

September Third is the Target Sunday at the California African-American Museum, September Fourth is the 225th anniversary of the founding of Los Angeles, and maybe I'll make the walk from Mission San Gabriel to La Placita. Then on Sept. Ninth, Equal Writes Bookstore celebrates its anniversary; on Sept. 17th is the West Hollywood Book Fair; Sept. 21st is the International Day of Peace; Sept. 23rd through the 30th is Banned Books Week; and somewhere in all of that are a bunch of family birthdays!

Summer is winding down on the calendar, and I'm only just getting those Havaianas broken in! I'm going to get my mileage out of 'em before it's time to put 'em away!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Masumi Hayashi

I find this incredulous to believe that photographer Masumi Hayashi, 60, was found shot in Cleveland. Her documentation of the relocation camps which housed Japanese-Americans during World War II speak louder than words. In addition to clicking on the header at top, click on Masumi Hayashi Museum or Masumi Hayashi.

A bellwether of your humanity

So much has been written (and has yet to be) about Katrina and New Orleans. The header has a link to an essay by Toni McGee Causey that may be found in the excellent anthology, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans? edited by David Rutledge.

History will be selective, we know, as to what accounts of the tragedy of Katrina will be preserved. This selection is one that I would make required reading to every secondary (and college) student in the country.

What does it mean to be an American? A human being? A contributing member of society?

It may not be the end-all on the tragedy, yet I don't think anyone who considers themselves a member of the human race could read this and not get in touch with something inside of themselves.

O! Mein Papa --Eddie Fisher

Oh, my papa,
To me he was so wonderful,
Oh, my papa,
To me he was so good,
No one could be,
So gentle and so lovable,
Oh, my papa,
He always understood.

Gone are the days
When he could take me on his knee,
And with a smile he'd,
Change my tears to laughter.

Oh, my papa,
So funny, so adorable,
Always the clown,
So funny in his way,
Oh, my papa,
To me he was so wonderful,
Deep in my heart,
I miss him so today.