Welcome to “Life’s Rich Pageant,” a month-long celebration of dazzling, provocative, whimsical, bold and resonating stories. Come on!
A selection of poems by Lisa Mecham deftly explores the haze of infidelity, deflections that bring us back to ourselves and the anguish of facing a partner’s mental illness.
Read a haunting excerpt from GRACE, the debut novel by Natashia Deón universally hailed as a new, essential slave novel, and a revealing Q&A with the author on how her work delving into our country’s dark past relates to Black Lives Matter, sex and love.
In a pulsing excerpt and personal Q&A, John Doe, from X, recreates an unforgettable night at the Whisky a Go Go and reflects on his journey from the early days of punk L.A.
A searing series of narrative prose poems by Ashaki M. Jackson offer observations from her childhood and document the painful commonness of devaluing Black lives.
An excerpt from Deanne Stillman’s epic MUSTANG, with excerpts from the just-released audio version, narrated by Anjelica Huston, John Densmore, Frances Fisher, Wendie Malick and Richard Portnow.
“Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’ /
I was layin’ in bed /
Wonderin’ if she’d changed at all /
If her hair was still red.”
A first-look excerpt from Chris Morris’ candid memoir, “Together Through Life: A Personal Journey with the Music of Bob Dylan,” published on Dylan’s 75th birthday.
“Southern California was the perfect place for show business to sink its shallow roots in the era of silent film. Of course, at the time they weren’t actually known as ‘silent films,’ since there was no other kind of film. They were instead called ‘no-talkies.’”
After a traumatic adolescence and seeking shelter in a “safe” life that no longer fit, writer Bernadette Murphy found her way back to her true self through risk taking. In a riveting excerpt and Q&A, she describes crossing paths with her childhood idol character, The Fonz, in a surprising way.
The temptations against staying clean start the moment Dean gets a ride out of rehab.
The art of Los Angeles isn’t just in our museums, it’s in our murals, our family’s artifacts and where we take cover, as Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo reveals.
Lauren Eggert-Crowe disarms us, brings us closer, unveiling heartbreak and beauty.
Robin Rinaldi’s crafted, riveting and honest memoir, recently released in paperback, follows her self-ascribed, year-long open marriage project she felt compelled to undertake at the apex of midlife. The experience profoundly changed her, as a woman, writer and wife.
In his acclaimed debut novel just released in paperback, author Christopher Noxon depicts the flawed transition for an ad exec-turned-househusband to a Hollywood powerhouse wife, and the machinations of the L.A. lifestyle.
Marina Muhlfriedel invites us to shed the past, if just a moment.
The voices in Nikki San Pedro’s poems search for soothing in the chaos of L.A.
Three intense, crafted poems, on love for men and words, from C. Russell Price’s acclaimed new debut, TONIGHT, WE FUCK THE TRAILER PARK OUT OF EACH OTHER.
L.A. noir-inspired drama hits Miami streets in Alex Segura’s mystery series. A peek into the world of a down-and-out journalist turned accidental PI, and a Q&A with the author, ARCHIE MEETS RAMONES comics creator by day, crime writer by night.
In his brazen debut novel, Matthew Binder evokes the romance and revulsion of the image of the debaucherous, celebrated author, grasping to make life work off page.
“As the Magic 8 Ball says:
‘All signs point to yes’
That you stole my Klonopin
I’m talking evidence not voodoo.”
“When I pictured New York, I must have envisioned something like Wilshire and Fairfax, only with more people walking around, a shootout in progress and some meatball saying ‘fuggedaboutit’ while my wallet was nicked.”
Karen An-hwei Lee shows us the angels that fly and float through our city. Her assured writing trusts us with the complexities of racism in the judicial system and shows us how far we’ve come and how far we’ll go.
Poetry by Richard King Perkins II evokes the hardship of poverty, the beauty of pleasure and the emptiness of a couple out of sync.
Lydia K. Valentine’s pantoum takes us to the spaces between the spaces.
“Now here she stood, on a balcony overlooking Adams Boulevard at a party on a warm Thursday night in June. If her flight hadn’t been delayed she would already be halfway around the world.” LAX to India.
Ed Ahearn on a child’s wish to fly, and a man’s knowledge of being tethered to earth, for now.
Rachel Toles’ poetry reaches beyond obligations of intimacy.
Mike Sonksen, aka Mike the Poet, tunes into the heartbeat and history of Los Angeles.
“Sometimes you don’t have the touch.
Now the best tenderness is whatever you try
when it’s not enough to say how could you have known.”
Ruth Nolan shows us the layers of our lives and our loves in a roadtrip across the ocean of the desert.
The prose poetry of Andy Lara captures the sights and sounds of the City of Angels, from the buoyant energy of schoolkids to the shuffle of homeless street scavengers.
“When some air’s displaced, other air rushes in. Does one soul’s absence make room for another?”
“‘Stanzi. You should know who you are,’ he said.
I shook my head, though he was right. But who was I? I held out my hands and pleaded with my eyes.”
Brad Rose shows us to the dark of night and dark of soul in the corners and outskirts of our city. His audio recordings of his readings lend a gritty, raw intimacy to his words.
“Dearest L.A., with your light and your wings, shadow-love of my life. I’ll always be back, Los Angeles. Because now I know: ‘You like me, you really like me!'”
“Someday, I’ll return to the land of hiking and green juice, but until then it will remain the ex-lover I left because of bad timing.”
“I would like to light a lantern and watch it float off into the night sky — leading the spirits safely to their homes. I would like to see the ceremonial dance.”
“I get impatient for the pill to kick in, because this bitch is growing, it’s blossoming. Xanax is next. Two hours later, I pop another. It’s time for ER. And not the one on TV. My brain is about to explode.”
“Cells beget cells
extending into light
drinking photons with the rest
as sugars accumulate
at the ends of buds
ideas rolling into acts
“I’m a hot flash, molten gold
drawing your eye up
from poor and rocky soil
to my perky chocolate brown cones
call me gloriosa daisy
but don’t compare me to
that pale cousin of mine
prey of ambivalent lovers”
“The full moon will slip off my shoes.
The longest day of the year will give way.
You nuzzle my nape under luminescence.
You ran your finger along my forehead,
tucked my bangs behind my ear.
Gravity is a force that draws two bodies.
The axis is about to shift.”
“Los Angeles doesn’t demand your love.
If you don’t understand her, she’ll bow her
head, say ‘Namaste,’ and she’ll rise above.
Not everyone gets her, she’s not bitter.”
“Couple of mothers, aren’t we?
Just look at us,
still breathing strong,
when we swore there wasn’t a chance.”
Author Wendy C. Ortiz gives a visceral exploration of love, loss and transformation in the hills and streets of L.A. in an excerpt of “Hollywood Notebook,” a memoir of her 20s and 30s coming-of-age in Los Angeles.
“Hiram ‘Doc’ Hollywood had come to California from the Topeka World’s Fair of ’88 to build a dream factory that would bear his name. But dreams were a rough business. In his years of efforts he could never figure out the formula to get the dreams into the heads of the sleeping people (something his protege Leonardo ‘Leo’ DiCaprio would one day do), and when the dream market took a beating in the Panic of ’96, Doc Hollywood switched to movies.”
A fast-moving excerpt from Shanna Mahin’s acclaimed debut novel, tracing the ups and downs of Jess, third-generation Hollywood trouble.
“My little terrier mutt is quintessentially L.A. This is not to say that she’s an item I throw in a $1,500 handbag when she matches my ensemble, but she was born here and by the end of her first year she had already left home and walked more L.A. streets than Charlie Sheen’s last ‘girlfriend.'”
In Rachel Sona Reed’s meditation on history and loss, a neighborhood’s wartime homes are stripped to their bones.
Every woman knows the memories and meaning that a dress can carry. Saryn Chorney’s poem gathers those ethereal, delicate threads.
Author Joel Harper pens a beautiful allegory about preparing those we love to deal with the adversities of life, and then letting go.