All posts by LARB Blog

larb blog hobbies

Taking the Edge Off in Troubled Times: Healthy Habits for Conscientious Cadres

By Austin Dean

It can’t be much fun to be a Chinese Communist Party official these days. On the one hand, pressures from the job just keep growing, since their main charge is to maintain economic growth and social stability and this has been especially challenging of late. On the other, they don’t have as many privileges as they once did, thanks to the anti-corruption campaign waged over the past year and a half by Xi Jinping and Wang Qishan, the head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection: no more personal use of government cars, no more fancy dinners out on the public dime, and, apparently, no more mahjong, a popular game akin to gin rummy. Party cadres now carouse and cavort at their own risk; each week brings news of another official carried off on corruption charges. Continue reading

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Phil Klay’s Redeployment Wins National Book Award for Fiction

Congratulations to Phil Klay, who was recently announced as the winner of the National Book Award for fiction for his debut short story collection Redeployment. The collection centers around the Iraq War and its aftermath for the soldiers who fought in it. We’re proud to say that we published three pieces on Phil Klay and Redeployment, in May:

“The Tender Underbelly of Soldiers: Phil Klay’s Lives During Wartime” by Nathan Deuel

“The Things We Wrote About: The Author of Redeployment on Military Conflict, the Craft of Fiction, and Coming Home,” an interview with Phil Klay conducted by Michael Lokesson

“Horn! Reviews Redeployment” by Kevin Thomas

Check them out, and also check out the book itself, published by Penguin.

larb blog redeployment

larb blog deep springs syllabus

Our Deep Springs Syllabus

Today’s post was originally published on LARB Channel Avidly

By Sarah Mesle and Sarah Blackwood

AMERICAN ENCOUNTERS

Drs. Sarahs
Office Hours: 9-midnight
Office Location: Cabin, fireside

Note on Class Policy: Never, ever email us. We will not respond.

September 7: Methods
Introduction: How to Do Things with Words
Herman Melville, “A Squeeze of the Hand,” Moby-Dick
Jacques Lacan, “The Signification of the Phallus”

September 14: Concepts
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish
Donald Winnicott, on The Good Enough Mother Continue reading

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This Week’s Triptych Artist: Otto Schubert

Otto Schubert is one of several soldier artists profiled in Postcards from the Trenches, a new traveling exhibit of art German and American soldiers created in the midst of the First World War.

The exhibit, which commemorates the war’s 100th anniversary, is curated by Dr. Irene Guenther, History Professor in the Honors College, University of Houston, and Dr. Marion Deshmukh, Professor of History and Art History at George Mason University. Click here for more information. 

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larb blog cheap talk

Clockshop Cheap Talk Conversation Series

Editor’s Note: Below is information about an upcoming conversation series run by Clockshop. 

Cheap Talk is a conversation series where interesting people talk to each other about what they do. Happening intermittently since 2007, Cheap Talk pairs pioneering thinkers from divergent and complementary disciplines in conversation, where they present ideas both finished and in incubation. The series has explored a wide range of topics, including food production, immigration reform, grassroots economies, and the contemporary urban condition. All events are open to the public, and the elysian bar will be serving beer and wine.

For the Fall 2014/Winter 2015 series Josh Shenk, author of the recently published book, Powers of Two, Seeking the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs will curate three Cheap Talk conversations focused on collaborations with, in and around Los Angeles, a city that presents many challenges.

Event Link: http://clockshop.org/cheaptalk.html

Doors Open @ 7:00pm

Talk @ 7:30pm
$5-10 Suggested Donation

Events are held at Clockshop at 2806 Clearwater St., Los Angeles, CA 90039.

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Diary of a Summit: Thoughts on Life in Beijing During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum

By Mengfei Chen

Last week, China’s President Xi Jinping hosted the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Beijing. For Xi, it was a diplomatic coming out party. Like every debutante, he left nothing to chance. In the weeks leading up to APEC, Beijing implemented a comprehensive plan aimed at presenting its best face to the foreign visitors. Much of this plan targeted Beijing’s infamous smog. As the forum opened, it appeared the efforts had payed off. Beijing residents dubbed the color of the sky during the forum APEC blue, a color one popular commentator called “beautiful but fleeting.” Continue reading

D.E. May in his Studio

This Week’s Triptych Artist: D.E. May

Time is important to D.E. May. His work resembles found objects and documents for some long-ago half-completed project. It is difficult to tell which marks were left by a previous writer and which were added by the artist’s own hand. Using paper, cardstock, cardboard and a variety of other common materials, May explores universal ideas of history and memory on the personal scale.

D.E. May lives and works in Salem, Oregon and has exhibited widely in state and throughout the country. He is included in numerous public collections including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Boise Art Museum, Portland Art Museum and the Seattle Art Museum, as well as the private collections of Blake Byrne, Werner Kramarsky, Beth DeWoody, Brad Cloepfil and Driek & Michael Zirinsky. May has been written about in Artforum, Artweek and New American Paintings. He is represented by PDX Contemporary gallery.

May received a 2013 Hallie Ford Fellowship, was one of seventeen Oregon Artists in the PORTLAND2014 Biennial and he is currently exhibiting in a solo show at LAXART in Los Angeles, CA. 

D.E. May Untitled, 2003 Cardboard and graphite 12” x 12”

D.E. May
Untitled, 2003
Cardboard and graphite
12” x 12”

D.E. May TESTBED (Q), 2014 found papers and materials, cardboard, plaster of Paris, acrylic, watercolor, ink and graphite 6” x 4” x 9/16"

D.E. May
TESTBED (Q), 2014
found papers and materials, cardboard, plaster of Paris, acrylic, watercolor, ink and graphite
6” x 4” x 9/16″

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ON WAITING AND SUGAR

Photo: Awaiting Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” (June 2014) 

By Magdalena Edwards

“Waiting too long poisons desire, but waiting too little pre-empts it: the imagining is in the waiting.”

Adam Phillips, Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life (FSG 2012)

I.

Lately I have been thinking about waiting, specifically the act of choosing to join a long, slow line of people to do or get something that is not a necessity. Continue reading

larb blog blacktop

Blacktop Ecologies

Blacktop Ecologies: Los Angeles Poetry and Poetics is a one-day symposium of writers active in Los Angeles today. Though largely drawn from the interaction of poetry and teaching, the poets range from highly experimental, even “conceptual,” writers of lyric, narrative and political poetry, as well as translation and performance writing. There is no “subject” for the symposium — it is not concerned with Los Angeles or even its poetical history — but a snapshot of poets in Los Angeles today, how they think and make their work. Each poet will make a short presentation of their recent thinking and read selections of their work; each “lane” will be followed by a question and answer (for passenger loading only) period. 

Presented by the English Department of UCLA, the Friends of English, the Dean of Humanities and the Modernist/Experimental Literature and Text-art (M/ELT) Colloquium.

Date, Location and Schedule

Parking and Public Transportation

larb blog islam

Genius Denied and Reclaimed: A 40-Year Retrospect on Marshall G.S. Hodgson’s The Venture of Islam

Today’s post was originally published on LARB Channel Marginalia

By Bruce B. Lawrence

Marshall Hodgson was both a genius and a visionary. While he may have seemed to be just another university professor, at once restless, innovative, and genial, he was also an academic Übermensch with a global agenda. He wanted to change the world by changing the way we saw, understood, and engaged Islam within world history. Born in 1922, he was drafted but as a Quaker refused to fight in World War II. After serving five years in detention camp, he returned to school, graduating from the University of Chicago with a PhD in the early 1950s. He had been teaching from the notes that became The Venture of Islam for over a decade before his demise in 1968. Forty-six years after his death, and 40 years since the posthumous publication of his magnum opus, his legacy remains puzzling. Was he ahead of his time, or has he been overtaken by the Cold War and its aftermath, including the horror of 9/11, along with its own, persistent aftermath? Continue reading