Name Dropping

I rarely see movies in the theater anymore. I don’t care how *wildly popular* it is–I’m not payin’ nearly $20 to sit in a theater with a bunch of strangers and watch a tired, painfully unoriginal film about all the wacky things that can happen during a booze-fueled Vegas bachelors’ weekend while the men field naggy phone calls from their shrill, shrewish womenfolk back home. No thanks.

But I’ve been looking forward to “Away We Go” for months. Without giving away any particulars that might incur the wrath of the movie production gods, let’s just say I might have a dear friend who used to work for the company that produced this movie, and (s)he might have sent me a copy of the script several months back when they were trying to come up with a decent title for the film to see if I might have a suggestion good enough to secure her/him the $100 Starbucks gift certificate that had been promised for the winning title.

I was thrilled for the task, even if it meant my victory would be anonymous. I came up with a handful of my best suggestions, to which my beloved pal might have replied, “Boring. Lame.  Did you mean this one as a joke? Jesus, I thought you were a writer.” The promise of a few months worth of free coffee can turn people ugly, I tells ya…

But no matter. I loved the script. I haven’t read many scripts since my miscalculated days in film school, but this one was just plain well-written–like a book with wonky page formatting. I mean, it was co-penned by Dave Eggers, so no surprise there. And when I found out “Away We Go” (a pretty dumb title, if you ask me, but I’m not bitter…) was playing in a theater near me, I gladly ante’d up the bucks to watch it on the big screen. Okay…well, my friend Thom ante’d up the bucks as a belated birthday gift, but I would’ve paid had he not been there…

Anyway, I’m not in the habit of turning movie-company-shill, nor do I want to give anything away (I’ve been known to be a bit of an unintentional spoiler), so I’ll just say this: GO SEE IT. If you’re anything like me and have been jonesin’ for a movie with a well-written script, a well-assigned cast, the perfect I’m-laughing-because-this-is-excrutiatingly-uncomfortable-and-spot-on-and-utterly-relatable humor, sweet without being cornball scenes about love and family, and a super duper soundtrack (well played, Alexi Murdoch…wait, does that count as a spoiler?), then you will love “Away We Go,” whether or not you agree with the chosen title…



3464559598_42cd4c2091Unique Los Angeles is hosting an event this weekend loaded with lovely offerings from some of the most amazing designers, artists and merchants around LA.

I’d like to give a special shout out to Kiki Designs, a gorgeous line of jewelry designed by a Hawaiian artist who lives in LA. Kiki’s newest pieces will be unveiled at the event this weekend! You can find her at booth 114.

Kiki Designs

Kiki Designs

If you’re around town this weekend, you should definitely stop by. It’ll be a great chance to pick up some handmade goodies just in time for Mother’s Day, or whatever reason you may have… Tickets are $5 (children under 10 get in for free), but 50% of the ticket sales are going to local charities. Perusing handmade goodies + stimulating the economy + contributing to charitable orgs = time very well spent.

Rhapsodomancy at the Good Luck Bar

Rhapsodomancy is a fabulous LA reading series that takes place every other month at the Good Luck Bar in East Hollywood. It was co-founded by the incomparable, Mama Bear a.k.a. Antioch University MFA program coordinator, Wendy Ortiz (a beautiful writer, herself). Each reading features a lineup of four readers—poets, fiction writers, and memoirists, respectively.

I was a fan of Rhapsodomancy even before beginning my stint as a grad student at Antioch, and now I look forward to every other month’s reading as an opportunity to meet up with old friends, chat with writerly folks, and steal gather inspiration from the brilliant scribes showcasing their work.

Tonight’s lineup promises to be a stunner–four distint poets with the skills to pay the bills…which is saying a lot…poetry isn’t always the most lucrative endeavor.

Jericho Brown worked as the speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans before receiving his Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. He also holds an M.F.A. from the University of New Orleans and a B.A. from Dillard University, and he has served as poetry editor at Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, The Iowa Review, jubilat, New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. The recipient of a Cave Canem Fellowship, two scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and two travel fellowships to the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, Brown is currently an Assistant Professor of English at the University of San Diego where he teaches creative writing. Western Michigan University’s New Issues Poetry & Prose published his first book, Please.

Ching-In Chen is the author of The Heart’s Traffic (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press), a novel-in-poems chronicling the life of an immigrant girl haunted by the death of her best friend. Daughter of Chinese immigrants and a Kundiman Fellow, Ching-In has worked in the Asian American communities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Boston. Her work has been recently published in Tea Party, Fifth Wednesday Journal, OCHO, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Water~Stone Review.

Sina Grace is the author of the comic book series Books with Pictures and The Roller-Derby Robo-Dykes versus The Cannibals. His work has appeared in several prose and graphic novel anthologies. He illustrated More Adventurous, the Rilo Kiley comic to the eponymous album; and also illustrated inserts and promotional material for Common Rotation, Finest Dearest, and others. Cedric Hollows in Dial ‘M’ for Magic is his first novel. He lives in Southern California.

Edan Lepucki has published fiction in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, CutBank, Meridian, Avery, Narrative Magazine, and the Los Angeles Review. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a regular contributor to The Millions book blog. She is the founder of Writing Workshops Los Angeles, private writing school for the brave, enthusiastic and talented. She’s currently at work on a novel.

I know this is late notice, but if you’re in the ‘hood and feel like having a cocktail (or two) and hearing some terrific poetry, ch-ch-check it out. Or stay tuned til next time.

Doors open at 7:00 – Reading begins at 7:30pm
The Good Luck Bar, 1514 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, 90027 (east Hollywood/Silver Lake: corner of Hollywood & Hillhurst)
21 and over only.
RSVP at (RSVP not required, but appreciated)
$3 suggested donation at door.
There will be a cash bar.

I’ve had some pretty rocky relationships in my life–there’s been backstabbing, blatant manipulation, close encounters with pet murder, destruction of personal property (including but not limited to: arson, theft, bodily fluids, party-related breakage), et cetera. And, no, I’m not talking about any sexual or romantic relationships. I’m talking, strictly, about friendships. Although, if you’ve gathered anything from the above, I use that term loosely.

At least I used to. After learning the same lessons time and again, burning bridges and having my bridges burnt (see: arson, above), I’m happy to say that I’ve arrived at a place in my life where I understand what REAL friendship is supposed to be like, and I’m lucky enough to have some pretty spectacular people in my life–people who are dazzling and creative and just plain good. So I’d like to use this space in my blog to promote these people’s work–be it artistic, philanthropic, deviant, or downright odd. Not only am I lucky to have them as friends, but each of them is doing such wonderful, inspiring work that makes me so happy I could pee my pants. I love them all, and you should too.