Category Archives: LARB Main Site

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Letter From the Chairman

Wouldn’t it be of great interest and value if we could watch filmed interviews with our favorite authors from previous eras? Who would you want to see? Tolstoy? Melville? Proust? Dickens? Jane Austen? Henry James? Anaïs Nin? Emily Dickinson? F. Scott Fitzgerald or Nathanael West? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a library of filmed author interviews and short documentaries on literary and cultural subjects, including the rich literary history of LA? That is exactly what the Los Angeles Review of Books has set out to do in launching the LARB Audiovisual Library.

To date, LARB has filmed and posted some 125 professionally edited author interviews, including such luminaries as Margaret Atwood, Judith Butler,T.C. Boyle, David Shields, and Leo Braudy, along with mini-documentaries such as “Living History: The John Feathers Map Collection.” To view these and other projects from our audiovisual division, LARB AV, please click here. We have set for ourselves a goal of building a library of 500-1,000 interviews and short films by the year 2020. This means we will need to do at least 100-200 filmed interviews per year, at a cost of $50,000+ per year. The result will be a library that benefits not only LARB readers but also students, teachers, academics, librarians, and cultural historians worldwide.

LARB was conceived as a digital online magazine dedicated to playing a prominent role in the literary community by connecting with the people, books, and ideas that enliven and explain our world. Today it is that and more. Since launching our full website in 2012, LARB has a print publication program, including the LARB Quarterly Journal and the Los Angeles Review of Books: The Magazine; we hold and participate in various kinds of events, including our LARB Luminary Dinners and Tom’s Book Club; we have a weekly radio show on KPFK called the LARB Radio Hour; we produce podcasts and short films; we serve as the home base for an array of independent literary and cultural websites that operate as LARB Channels; and much more. The LARB Audiovisual Library is an important component of our multidimensional program.

As a nonprofit, LARB is funded by your donations. It is not only tiresome to you, our friends and readers, to be solicited for donations throughout the year, it is tiresome and difficult for us. But we have no choice. LARB is independent, provocative, timely, and free of charge. We publish digitally, in print, and in audiovisual forms the best thinking and writing about books and culture today. In 2014 we published some 1,500 reviews, essays, podcasts, and short films! Fundraising is what makes this possible. Our members make this possible. Giving to our cause – whether through a single donation or by signing up to be a member – matters.

We are asking you today to please show your support for LARB in general and the LARB Audiovisual Library project in particular. Please donate as generously as you can, whether that be $5 or $5,000, by clicking here or by sending a check made payable to the Los Angeles Review of Books to Los Angeles Review of Books, 1614 S. Central Ave., Glendale, CA 91204.

We are making literary and cultural history. Please take this exciting journey with us. On behalf of the LARB staff and board, we thank you for your involvement and generous support.

With appreciation,

Albert Litewka

Chairman of the Board

Los Angeles Review of Books

 

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A Letter from Editor-in-Chief Tom Lutz

Hello friends of LARB, 

I’m writing you from Iowa City, which, primarily because of the legendary Writers Workshop and its International Writing Program, was named a UNESCO “City of Literature” – a distinction it shares with seven other cities, including Dublin and Prague, for instance. (It’s the only city in the US with the distinction, but it seems to me Los Angeles should be on that list…)

I’m here for the Mission Creek Festival, a music and arts festival with a lot of literary activity – Lorrie Moore read last night; Eula Biss, Kiese Laymon, Ander Monson, Luis Alberto Urrea, and others are taking part. I’m reading from a new travel book I’ve just finished, and sitting on a panel on publishing “in a digital landscape.”

I’ve sat on a number of panels like this over the last several years, and what always comes up, not surprisingly, is the question of the basic economic problem of the web: how do you pay for quality content when the old methods of doing so – advertising and subscriptions – no longer work. Our answer at the Los Angeles Review of Books has been to appeal directly to our readers; thousands of you have responded over the years and pitched in. We thank you, and literary culture thanks you.

We also continue to write grants and go after advertising dollars and corporate sponsors, and we continue to rely on an enormous amount of volunteer labor. But until “the digital landscape” changes, we will continue to need you to donate, as you have done so far, to keep us growing and thriving. We are launching our spring fund drive today, and hope you will once again help us do our part to build not just a city of literature, but the world of literature.

With very best wishes,

Tom Lutz

 

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Hey Phil

By Juan Felipe Herrera

for Phil Levine, RIP

 

They are writing about you Phil – you know
good stuff — the prizes Detroit and that
poem where you said in past lives you
were that wild sun-crested fox being chased
by “ladies and gentlemen on horseback” —
you said you would wake up with the poem
ready that it slipped untangled from a dream
all you had to do was sit up and write
the stage was a poem too – even though
most of us were too prepared you
preferred to joke before we went on
before the poetry light hit us on the face
it did not matter to you – you just carved
chiseled punctured rotated danced
and whirred past a distant gate

 

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This Week’s Triptych Artist: Claude Viallat

Born in Nimes, France in 1936, Claude Viallat last exhibited in New York in 2002 at Cheim Read Gallery. He attended the Ecole de Beaux Arts de Paris (1962-3). His first solo show was in 1966. By the beginning of the 70s, he became one of the leaders of the group “Support-Surface.” He founded the group with fellow artists such as Bioulès, Cane, and Dezeuze after a period of intense experimentation in the south of France, where he installed his works in various non-institutional spaces such as farms, a beach, the bed of a river, etc. In a context of radical questioning social norms and values, this group of artists attempted to break up the convention of painting by deconstructing the concept of the stretcher (support) and canvas (surfaces). The group had its first show at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1971.

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Claude Viallat is known for his emblematic “shape” which evokes both a net or a flat knot. Applied with a brush and a stencil, this shape acts as a signature of his works, which are never signed. By repeating this shape on a variety of surfaces, the artist frees himself of the limits of composition to focus on the combination of colors and its optical effects.

Claude Viallat is in numerous museum collections including Musée National d’Art Moderne, Fondation Cartier, CAPC Bordeaux, Museum of Modern Art, The Kunstmuseum Basel, and the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montreal.

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The LARB Quarterly Journal: Winter 2015

The LARB Quarterly Journal is a testament to the fact that print is still thriving as readers continue to have a profound appetite for curated, edited, smart and fun opinion, written by the best writers and thinkers of our time.

We’ve carefully selected these articles, poems, interviews and essays—all written exclusively for this publication—for readers of just about any interest. The new issue of the LARB Quarterly Journal includes:

  • Feature essays by Sven Birkerts, Carmen Petaccio, M.P. Ritzger, Sarah Tomlinson, CA Conrad, Ananya Vajpeyi, and Kim Barnes.
  • Original poetry by Ada Limón, Bruce Bond, francine j. harris, and Jenny Johnson.
  • Short-takes written by Amy Gerstler, Marjorie Sandor, Peter Trachtenberg, Rachel Pastan, Benjamin Weissman, Gabriel Mason, and Susanne Berne.
  • Including an Artist Portfolio and profile of Emily Mast.

HOW TO PURCHASE

Become a member of the Los Angeles Review of Books at the $15 monthly level or order a copy at amazon.com, indiebound.com or b&n.com.

PURCHASE THE
PREVIOUS ISSUE

Order a copy at amazon.com, indiebound.com orb&n.com.

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No Crisis: A LARB Special Series

“No Crisis” is a Los Angeles Review of Books special series considering the state of critical thinking and writing — literary interpretation, art history, and cultural studies — in the 21st century. A new installment to the series will be released at the beginning of each month through the fall of 2015. Our aim, as our introductory essay explains, is to “show that the art of criticism is flourishing, rich with intellectual power and sustaining beauty, in hard times.”

The editors of “No Crisis” are Caleb Smith, Sarah Mesle, and Merve Emre. Comments, questions, and responses can be sent to nocrisis@lareviewofbooks.org.

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LARB’s Top 25 Most Read Articles of 2014

1. Young Adult Cancer Story by Briallen Hopper, July 16th, 2014

Author John Green called it his “favorite essay on The Fault in Our Stars yet.”

2. We Need To Talk About Tyrion: How HBO Failed George R. R. Martin’s Iconic Character by Ilana Teitelbaum, November 21st, 2014

“What is most remarkable about this moment in the TV series is that the show gets it wrong.”

3. Hitler, Continued: Afterword from the Updated Edition of “Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil” by Ron Rosenbaum, July 10th, 2014

Ron Rosenbaum’s characteristically brilliant response to all the important updates that have occurred in Hitler studies in the past 15 years.

  1. Sarah Mesle on Texts from Jane Eyre by Sarah Mesle, November 6th, 2014

Texts from Jane Eyre is not only a major work of bathroom humor reading, but also a significant contribution to feminist literary criticism.

5. The Posthuman Scar-Jo by Sophia Nguyen, September 12th, 2014

Scarlett Johansson in Her (Spike Jonze, 2013), Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013), and Lucy (Luc Besson, 2014). Continue reading

in Port au Prince, Haiti, Friday, February 26, 2010.

Haiti: Then and Now

The following are selections from a photo essay by Allison Shelley titled “Haiti: Then and Now,” documenting Shelley’s time both covering Haiti on location in 2010, and then just recently, 2015 during her trip back there. The photo gallery includes 32 photographs presented in pairs: one from 2010, another from 2015, typically of the same scene or subject. The full photo essay, along with an essay by Allyn Gaestel titled “Still Fissured: Haiti’s Health System, Five Years After the Earthquake,” is located on our main site. 

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A water tank in a tent camp behind the Notre Dame de l’Assomption Catholic church sports a message from its inhabitants, in Port au Prince, Haiti, Friday, February 26, 2010. ©Allison Shelley

 

Five years after the quake, a tent camp behind the Notre Dame de l’Assomption Catholic church still houses the displaced, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 4, 2015. ©Allison Shelley Continue reading

Keep us flying

Letter from Editor-in-Chief Tom Lutz

Dear LARB supporter,

I know you are getting a lot of emails like this, as am I, as many nonprofits rush to meet their goals.

We are very close to securing all the funds for this, our most ambitious matching grant fund drive to date. All we need to do is match what we raised in the last two days of our drive last year – and so if you gave last year and haven’t done so yet this year, we urge you to chip in what you can; if you’ve been thinking about becoming a member, or re-enrolling at a higher level, do it today or tomorrow and we get two bucks for every one of yours.

During our fund drive campaign, you’ve heard from Margaret Atwood about why she supports LARB. You’ve heard from James Ellroy, Reza Aslan, Janet Fitch, Jamie Wolf, Albert Litewka, the LARB staff themselves, and so many more.  Now it’s time for us to hear from you.

Click here to donate. Whether it’s $25, $50, $150, $200, or more, make a statement that you support Los Angeles Review of Books‘s mission to keep critical thinking alive and well in this increasingly atomized digital age.

This is your Review – we wouldn’t be here without your support, and we won’t continue to be here without it. To everyone who has given, thank you so much for bringing us this close. I’m proud of what we accomplished this year, and we hope, with your help, that next year will be even better.

Thank you so much,

Tom Lutz

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The LARB End-of-Year Editor Interviews: Michelle Huneven

Editor’s Note: This is the ninth interview of several we’ll be publishing this month, all with our section editors. Like the rest of the LARB ecosystem, their work depends on the generous support of everyday readers who keep LARB going;  we hope you’ll consider giving this month for our winter fund drive. Here we present Michelle Huneven, a Senior Fiction Editor. 

Give us some background – how did you end up working at LARB? What do you do for LARB? What do you do when you’re not working for LARB?

I had been eyeing LARB since its inception, and finally asked if I might step into the drink. I am a Senior Fiction Editor, which means that I assign essays about fiction, reviews of fiction and interviews with fiction writers, which I then edit and, eventually, shepherd into production.When I am not editing and shepherding, I am trying to write fiction. I also teach creative writing at UCLA.  Continue reading