This moment in human history has the word gender turning over and over in its mouth, the sandstone of the modern tongue stripping away the callouses on the word “woman.” On October 3rd at Skylight Books, author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl heralded the word “woman” in the presentation of their new book Rad Women Worldwide. The book is a celebration of amazing women throughout human history, like activist Malala Yousafzai, novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and British punk rocker Poly Styrene. It is sequel to the duo’s first work, Rad Women of America, and a very considerate and artful archive of global femininity. The widened scope of subject matter was approached with great attention to diversity; of skill, of global recognition, of race, and of creed. By acknowledging each rad woman’s unique tribulations on her way to triumph, they have created not only an artifact of female excellence, but of female strength and tenacity in the face of patriarchy, racial oppression, and war. Continue reading
By Imogen Teasley-Vlautin
At most punk shows, or any alternative music show, there are only a few other black people amidst a sea of white faces. But during one extraordinary weekend each year at Commodore Berry Park in Brooklyn, the Afropunk Festival brings all of these few black people from scenes all over to this one place. It is the only weekend where we get to see the evidence that, yes, all different kinds of beautiful black people exist, and here they celebrate their art and culture with love. It is a celebration of the freedom to be you — while also being black — and that is revolutionary. Continue reading
Herb Alpert said of the 2015 HAAIA winners, “It’s exciting to be able to support these five unique artists who are always on the hunt for something they don’t yet know, something real that touches us in a deep place. Whether they are writing a concerto, making a film, an installation, a ruckus or a dance, they always look for something special and original to say. These are artists with the passion, talent and the restlessness that never makes them stop. They HAVE TO make art not just for themselves… but for all of US.”
The awards recognize past performance and future promise to artists working in Dance, Film/Video, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts; an outstanding candidate in each genre receives a prize of $75,000. Continue reading
LOS ANGELES, 10265 CHEVIOT DRIVE – HOME TO RAY BRADBURY
CONSTRUCTED 1937 – DEMOLISHED 2015
10265 Cheviot Drive, Los Angeles, home of fifty years to National Book Foundation medal winner Ray Bradbury, his wife Maggie of fifty-four years, and their four daughters. Basement office to Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles, and myriad other works. Demolished by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Thomas Mayne. Artifacts from Bradbury’s basement office may be permanently viewed at The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Survived by the homes of Carl Sandburg, Mark Twain, Robert Frost, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickerson, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, and Frederick O’Douglass and others.
In lieu of flowers please send contributions to The Los Angeles Review of Books.
Image by Stefano Galli.
Victoria Dailey, the author of “Piety and Perversity: The Palms of Los Angeles,” which was part of our recent collaboration with Flaunt Magazine, is giving a talk (the talk has the same title as the piece) today at UCLA. Information on the talk is below.
Piety and Perversity: The Palms of Los Angeles
Thursday, January 15, 2015
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, William Andrews Clark Library – Facility
Free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. Please be aware that space at the Clark is limited and that registration closes when capacity is reached. Confirmation will be sent via email.
This illustrated lecture seeks to analyze, document, and interpret the history of palm trees in Los Angeles and how they came to dominate not only the landscape but also the cultural mythos. Although the palm tree is not native to the Los Angeles area, it has become accepted as a regional icon. More recognized than native sycamores, oaks, or willows, palms have become a visual synonym for Los Angeles. An explanation of this phenomenon and a suggestion about a new horticultural future for the city comprise the talk. Continue reading
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.
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.
A few weeks ago I found myself in Bangladesh for the Hay Festival. I was visiting the capital Dhaka at the invitation of our friends at Bengal Lights, a literary journal and book publisher affiliated with the University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh. In the typical Western imagination, a literary festival is not what crops up first at the mention of Bangladesh. Instead you get, if anything, a Third World potboiler of cyclone disaster, garment industry horror, and political unrest, backed by a George Harrison soundtrack (if you’re old enough to remember).
But get this: Bangladesh, the People‘s Republic of Bangladesh, is a nation of Muslims with a secular constitution. It provides more U.N. peacekeeping forces than any other nation in the world. And since the Liberation War with Pakistan in 1971 (the same year Ravi Shankar got his buddy George to write a song about it) Bangladesh has made great strides in primary education, gender equity, population reduction and health services.
The capital Dhaka is also home to one of the many Hay Festivals that have proliferated around the world. Now in its third year, I arrived at the Hay with a contingent of Americans, including Mario Bellatin, the Mexican novelist, David Shook, poet and translator, and Eliot Weinberger, the essayist and renowned Octavio Paz translator. Dhaka, a megacity, teems. With a population of 15 million, it is perhaps the densest city in the world. It surprised us at every turn.
Tariq Ali, the British Pakistani journalist and novelist headlining this year’s Hay Festival in Dhaka, had not been been back to Bangladesh since before the ’71 Liberation war. At that time, he predicted that anything short of independence for what was then East Pakistan would not be enough. His return was, to say the least, well received. He appeared several times on panels and speaking engagements and each time the Q&As had to be cut short due to time constraints. His rather grim assessments of global capitalism’s destructive path – Ali’s unrelenting focus – were incapable of dampening the enthusiasm of the Hay attendees. But this iconic figure was not the only one to enjoy such a reception. Other panels were equally enthusiastic, whether the topic was translation or Latin American fiction or “world literature” – Tariq Ali or no Tariq Ali – Dhaka’s literary and intellectual scene is engaged, opinionated and focused on a global discourse. It was inspiring to witness such involvement given what so often feels like a parochial and self conscious community back home. Even the headliner Ali, who lives in London and clearly brought a very contemporary brand of First World pessimism, could not dampen the mood. In fact, his pessimism seemed, refreshingly, out of place.
In the street, the bicycle rickshaw prevails in Bangladesh though it’s virtually disappeared in other South Asian cities. Confiscated rickshaws get impounded by the police and sit, waiting to be recouped in lots outside the city. You can buy a new bicycle rickshaw for about $300, but a majority of the drivers rent their rickshaw for a few dollars a day. In trying to wrap your mind around Dhaka – an impossible task to be sure – it might be best to simply ride with the rickshaws.
The sheer awesome human effort of the drivers, collectively, might just power not just their own movement but the city’s daily electrical output as well. Even in nightmare traffic, even in the chaos of streets without apparent rules, some of the happiest faces I’ve seen in any urban setting are passengers on the bicycle rickshaw – mothers and children, friends, lovers – when they are suddenly breaking free onto an open stretch and sailing in the open air with a contentment you never see inside a New York City cab. Dhaka never lets you forget what a city is for.
Like other “emerging market” cities, Dhaka (and its economy) grew from a provincial capital to an unplanned megalopolis in less than forty years.
Dhaka’s architecture defies easy category, then – finished, unfinished, ruined – it’s not always immediately clear. But the primacy of rebar is without question – sprouting like weeds from concrete pillars and pilings on rooftops of apartments and office buildings wherever you look. At first, you think every building is perpetually under construction, or in the process of demolition.
A masterful dystopian effect, it has everything to do with lax construction practices though not what I first guessed was a kind of rainy day move: why finish a building when you might want to add on a story or two later? It should have been obvious there was no intention of adding to the weather-beaten urban-stained buildings, the kind which you mostly see in Dhaka. Instead, the city’s tax code – which collects only on completed buildings – compels the rebar rooftop style. It’s hard not to wonder at such monumental tax evasion. It’s also hard not to see that this endemic kind of corruption will be solved as the Bangladeshi middle class continues to grow and prosper.
And this is the thing about the Hay Festival Dhaka, and Bangladesh generally: though the political and social realities are still very difficult, there is ambition, and energy, and debate. Returning from Dhaka, back to our own problems in this country, I was reminded that the future is still a possibility.
Thank you, Dhaka.