Thursday, March 20, 2008

New California Literature at California Studies Conference

I'm organizing a "New California Literature: Breaking into the Future" panel

with Judy Juanita, Rip Rense, and Owen Hill
at the California Studies Conference in Berkeley April 12, 1:45-3:15.

I wanted to present work that is innovative and shows a path into future literature.
So why these three?

Judy Juanita is a brilliant poet/playwright/novelist who has 11 plays produced.
She's also a stunning performance poet whose poem "Bling" tells who fought for African-
American freedom so the present generation can have bling. She lives in Oakland.

Rip Rense is a journalist, record producer, and novelist whose 2nd novel "The Oaks"
tells how a teenage boy struggles to survive the collapse of his middle class
suburban family by identifying with California's native oaks. He lives in Los Angeles.

Owen Hill is a Berkeley poet who has published six books of poetry, a book of
short stories, and a brilliant mystery novel "The Chandler Apartments" set in
contemporary Bay Area. He's from Berkeley.

Everyone is inviting both to the New California Literature panel and the whole conference.

>The California Studies Association, in conjunction with the California
>Studies Center at UC Berkeley, and the Institute for Research on Labor and
> Presents the 18th Annual California Studies Conference:
> Changing Climates: Class, Culture, and Politics
> in an Era of Global Warming
> April 11-13, 2008
> Berkeley City College
> 2050 Center Street
> Keynote address by Matt Gonzalez
> 7pm, Friday, April 11th
> Wine and cheese reception to follow
> Luncheon address by Jackie Goldberg
> 12:30, Saturday, April 12th
>Saturday night entertainment by Ian Ruskin, performing “From Wharf Rats to
> Lords of the Docks: The Life and Times of Harry Bridges."
>Panels on: Coping with Climate Change, Working in a Green Economy,
>Immigration, Community Organizing in Silicon Valley, Green Media, In
>Praise of Taxes, People & Water, Arts & Activism, New California Literature,
and more.
>Speakers: Rick Wartzman, Margaret Gordon, Peter Schrag, Raquel
>Pinderhughes, Judy Juanita, Owen Hill, Rip Rense, Tom Athanasiou, Sasha
>Abramsky, David Bacon, Richard Walker, Norman Miller, and more
>For additional information, go to:
>Conference contact: Lindsey Dillon at

Sunday, March 16, 2008

March 15 anti-war march Los Angeles

On the right, a woman with a "stop Bush" sign in
a wheelchair at Hollywood at Vine at the beginning of the march on the 5th anniversary
of the War in Iraw.

Kids and moms for peace.

Clowns for peace.One great sign was "Make balloons not war."

Lots of veterans were there. Also man on right wants habeus corpus, the right not to be imprisoned forever.

Labor unionists for peace. San Pedro neighbors as well as neighbors from
Topanga, Bakesrsfield, and Pasadena

In yellow t-shorts Bus Riders union who rock!

Korean-American peace marchers on left

Here is a dog at the march in his own anti-war costume. His sign on the other side says, "yes, you can." I saw the anti-war dog at the end of the march.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dutton's bookstore is closing

Dutton’s Is a Limb , a Main Branch

The closing of Dutton’s bookstore feels to me as if one of the limbs of literary Los Angeles is getting chopped off. If literary L.A. is a huge tree, Dutton’s for decades has been one of the main branches. I always loved Dutton’s in Brentwood, loved going there and saying “hi” to Scott Wanberg, a fellow poet I know from many years ago at the Venice Poetry Workshop at Beyond Baroque. Dutton’s was always a home to poets, a bookplace which sheltered us—so very rare in this city.. The readings were terrific. I saw Margaret Atwood in a courtyard stuffed with people. I was Australian novelist Peter Carey before he was famous with only a few people in the front room.

I had the readings for my last two books of poetry there. I remember reading in the courtyard, happy to be alive, happy to be welcoming my new book of poetry into the world in Dutton’s. One person who came to the reading was a UCLA student of Carolyn See’s. The student had to write about a poet, so she was writing about me. Dutton’s was a place where people made connections. The little cafĂ© at Dutton’s was where my friends and I often would gather after a reading. Dutton’s was a place I will miss. Soon one of the main branches that sheltered us in the literary L.A. tree will be missing.