A look at the past, present and future as we launch our one-year anniversary issue.
“After our mother died, my three siblings and I went through all of the photos she’d left behind, separating them into stacks: Family. Friends. Men.”
“we’re foolish to not recognize
what can happen when we open
our screen doors to a desperate world”
A sweet summer’s beach trip, two girls and some filth washed in along the shore. A story of the pound and fury of an unexpected encounter, and the refusal to break.
Inside the dreamscape of the Hollywood sign, a love story unfolds, but as in all fairy tales, a villainess appears, and the stars begin to fall.
“His urge began in the mythic land of Florida,
where power surges from the steaming swamp.”
“Use the literature of Los Angeles as a guide. Read about Acosta’s cockroach people, Babitz’s sex and rage, Banham’s ecologies, Beatty’s white boy shuffle, Boyle’s tortilla curtain, Braverman’s frantic transmissions, Bukowski’s post office, Butler’s speech sounds and Brinig’s flutter of an eyelid.”
A heart-pounding-in-ears exploration of the fleeting possibility of a razor-sharp death, a grand, fiery death, in a wearisome and worn-out life. And what a thrill it could be.
In L.A.’s dating scene, the rules don’t apply. An excerpt, playlists and Q&A with the authors of an alternative guide.
“Together you sneak those tiny conversation hearts from a bowl at the librarian’s desk. You leave only a single heart behind. You sit beneath a table and read them to each other. Chalky dye covers your fingers, coats your tongues.”
Angels Flight • literary west has launched an emergency “Wall of Resistance” issue in response to the U.S. presidential election. We invite writers, artists and activists to contribute and have their voices heard.
Our post-inauguration event, in collaboration with David Rocklin’s Roar Shack, was a powerful night of resistance.
“There is a choice we must make: to be on the right side of history or the wrong one, to say, ‘I fought in the face of fascism’ or ‘I just went along for the ride.'” On resistance, black joy, disability and work to do by #DisabledAndCute creator Keah Brown.
“Hospitality is one of our most vital forms of resistance. Each of us must push past our hatred and fear to open a door, and each of us must find the courage to step in.”
Julia Ingalls has always reconciled difficult times through music. Hearing David Bowie’s “Modern Love” on the night of the election, “the song was now a lesson in how to battle alienation with a snazzy rictus, to stand among the brightest lights yet feel utterly alone, in the dark.”
“we, in the eye of the storm,
are a love letter, a prayer
that is more assurance than ask.
‘We will be ok,’ we say, we sing, film it,
play it back over and over”
“Poetry … must be tactless, falling down stairs like a toddler,
slipping into ravines like a dancer on high alert,
forgetting the words but remembering the way. Poetry must be.”
On the heels of the powerful Women’s March, when love trumped hate en masse, a message from the heart: Invest in love.
A call to action: “As the dark wings of native fascism threaten to blot out our sun, it is essential that American writers, artists, poets, journalists and musicians use their imaginative resources to push against that darkness.”
What does Donald Trump’s inaugural dinner reveal? We’ve obtained the top-secret menu and offer it up as an additional excerpt from THE POLITICAL COOKBOOK: A Compendium of American Dishes. Spoiler Alert: Misogyny Soup will be served.
In her latest acclaimed novel, LITTLE NOTHING, Marisa Silver compels us to look, and look deeply, at how hatred distorts not only those we fear, but ourselves. An excerpt and conversation with HAUNTING BOMBAY author Shilpa Agarwal examining the meaning of “other” and more within and without this extraordinary work.
Author and activist Désirée Zamorano questions how we go forward, but is determined to fight. “Each day the news can be petrifying, freezing us in steps. What good can I do? And since we cannot do this alone, to you I say, ‘Join us, bring your art, your talent, your compassion, your energy.’ Because there is no Wonder Woman. There’s only us.”
We have been honored to feature an array of tremendous titles from incredibly talented and diverse writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Here are some of our favorites published in the year we now leave behind.
“Our role to make our country great will never be easy, but the American way is to get back up and fight for what this country should and must stand for. I am not alone. We are not alone. Sending peace and love to my fellow Americans. We’ve got work to do.”
Visiting Manzanar, a former Japanese internment camp in the California desert, challenged one writer to ask how to move forward after witnessing the consequences of U.S. policies through the lens of history. “To realize that, no matter who’s in charge, this is our country. We, the people, play a valuable part in transforming it.”
A poet’s reflection on fear, written on 11/9, after the dismaying results of the election.
For the first time in her life, writer Alana Saltz is afraid of being Jewish. She isn’t alone. Yet history has taught her not to give in to fear, but to fight back and to survive.
Prose incantations written pre- and post-election by L.A. poet and author Rich Ferguson. All selections part of his collection in progress, “Everything Is Radiant Between the Hates.”
“We live inside stories. Stories we tell ourselves about who we are, about where we come from, about what the world is.” Now, more than ever, author Samantha Dunn is committed to telling her story and to helping others tell their stories, too. “This is a long game, folks. Be the storytellers.”
Ryann Perlstein, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, learned a tough lesson in adult politics when she interviewed a parent for her school paper. The parent turned out to be celebrity Republican Scott Baio. The experience made her realize how critical it is now to take action to make a difference.
A holiday toast to fighting the good fight. Get a taste of THE POLITICAL COOKBOOK: A Compendium of American Dishes by humorist George R. Wolfe. First, we whet your appetite with satirical cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Then, main dishes and desserts. Vive la Revolution!
When the Electoral College cast its vote, our collective loss on 11/9 resonated doubly. How do we continue to hope when hope seems lost and far off?
Read an excerpt from “Wedding Bush Road,” a new novel by David Francis on the complexities of the journey “home,” and a Q&A with the author exploring the freeing power of distance and how the change of regime now challenges writers to “be more aware of the ‘political'” in their work.
“I hadn’t noticed the accumulation of paper cuts until now. All those moments when I gave a man something he wanted. I carry around these memories like a jar of stones that dream of shattering windows.”
An excerpt from the fiery, acclaimed debut novel by Jade Chang, “The Wangs Vs. the World,” and a frank Q&A with the author post-11/9.
“I wish I could make the piñata’s vibrant colors fade to pale nothingness, but I still see that mouth. It haunts me like a giant black hole, hungry to suck the entire universe into its grim, empty abyss.”
“I grieve for Los Angeles
Left behind me.
I grieve for Obama’s America
Soon to be gone.”
“Can you imagine a Saddam-like statue outside the White House — a massive, gold-plated tuft of hair blotting out the view from the Jefferson Memorial — bearing the words ‘Donald J. Trump, Leader of the Free World?’ Don’t laugh. It could happen.”
In his poems, Sergio A. Ortiz explores a range of roiling emotions post-11/9: feelings of longing and regret, resentment stirring at the emerging depravity, and warnings about remaining silent. But there is also hope in resistance: “Listen to how frozen hurricanes emerge from the dew!”
“I am Her. Every woman is, whether she knows it or not. And the tears keep falling.”
A poignant letter and apology from a journalist and writer to his daughter in this tenuous and frightening time mounting in our country, a promise to do all he can and a message for her: Resist.
The premiere of the lyrics video for “I’m Not My Friend,” the first single off Ruby Friedman Orchestra’s powerful debut album, GEM, reveals haunting, true stories of those vulnerable to predators and a vigilante determined to seek justice outside the law. In the post-election glare, the revenge anthem takes on new meanings.
A pledge we make. “Hope is no superficial undertaking, but demands absolute allegiance even in apocalyptic times.”
A new, post-election song by Peter Harper calls on the need for all to fight for freedom.
A instant bestseller, LOS ANGELES IN THE 1970s, an anthology edited by David Kukoff, gives an insider’s look into the good, the bad and the ugly of L.A. in its heyday, with contributions from The Doors’ John Densmore, Matthew Specktor, Luis Rodriguez, Susan Hayden, Deanne Stillman, Dana Johnson, Jeremy Rosenberg and more.
A glimpse into the whimsical, weird and compelling debut collection of crafted and surreal stories by Meredith Alling.
Henry Hoke’s dazzling and daring new fiction challenges the concepts of memoir and dreamscape, reality and surrealism, literature and sexuality.
The debut of the Angels Flight • literary west Salon Series at Clifton’s illuminated the need to come together in community and resistance, in celebration, still, in this darkness. Together, we write, we read, we talk, we touch, we create change, we hope. Together. We do.
A glimpse into Dana Johnson’s acclaimed new collection of stories set in the heart of Los Angeles that explore love, class and race in intimate and daring ways.
“Some people will backpack or scale mountains to remember who they really are. Some dive to the blackest ocean depths or don boxing gloves or parachute into thin air. I found a different way.”