Showing posts with label and now for something fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label and now for something fun. Show all posts

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Five L.A. Ways to Plant the Seeds of Inspiration

Inspiration strikes randomly. Can you plan to to be inspired? Probably not, but you can certainly plant the seeds for it by getting out and experiencing life. Going to lectures, museums, nature walks, whatever gets your mind into that state of pensive equilibrium that you can later draw on. The key is to expose yourself to new ideas, places, things, and gain new perspectives. Bring your camera and take images that you can later pull up and use as inspiration, or bring your writer's notebook (you know, one of those 20 notebooks you have lying around words, phrases, story ideas, and even to-do lists in them). Here are five ways to plant the seeds of inspiration for your future creative productivity:

1. Buy a spoken word series at UCLA Live:

Buy a spoken word series for the upcoming UCLA Live Series and see:

2. Plan to go on an art walk.

3. Sign up for a walking tour of downtown Los Angeles with the L.A. Conservancy.

The LA Conservancy conducts some really fascinating tours of the historic buildings and sites in downtown Los Angeles. You'll come away from these informative walks just a little more in love with your city and full of Los Angeles-based setting descriptions. Don't forget to bring your camera.

4. Plan to visit a neighborhood you haven't been to for a while (or ever):

  • South Redondo Beach, Riviera Village - From the moment you pass the Redondo Beach Pier, air passes through you that makes you feel like you're suddenly on vacation. By the looks of this little town, you'd never know you were still in Los Angeles. This charming little beach side community is rife with comfy-couchy coffee shops, as well as bars, restaurants, and shopping, and is an easy two-block walk from the shore.
  • Agua Dulce - Home to Vasquez Rocks, the place where The Flintstones Movies were filmed, this teeny-tiny western-themed town is one of the best kept secrets within driving distance of Los Angeles, and even has it's own winery. You'll find more nature than art here, but it's worth checking out, visiting the local parks, and dining with the local cowboys.
  • Ojai - A totally doable day trip from anywhere in Los Angeles. Cute arty little town and if you take the back roads there (via the 150) it's a gorgeous drive, too. If you're a motorcyclist, then you'll love the drive even more and there are some biker enthusiast stops along the way where you'll see 50 - 100 bikes all lined up while the weary come in for a bite to eat.

5. Sign up for some upcoming lectures:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Pale King: Monologues from the unfinished novel by David Foster Wallace

This just in from Skylight Books:

PEN Center USA presents: THE PALE KING: Monologues from the unfinished novel by David Foster Wallace 

Rosemarie DeWitt joins Henry Rollins, Josh Radnor and Nick Offerman in the event cast. Los Angeles Times book critic, David L. Ulin, will host.

Beverly Hills, CA: PEN Center USA will present THE PALE KING: MONOLOGUES FROM THE UNFINISHED NOVEL BY DAVID FOSTER WALLACE at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on April 28, 2011. Doors will open at 7 PM with a cocktail reception in the theatre’s rotunda. The event follows the April 15 release of The Pale King (Little, Brown and Company), which follows the lives of the agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois. The Pale King, as well as Wallace’s backlist titles, will be available for purchase before and after the performance, courtesy of Skylight Books.

PEN Center USA is proud to make a follow-up cast announcement, adding Rosemarie DeWitt (Cinderella Man, Rachel Getting Married) and René Auberjonois (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) to the line-up, which includes Henry Rollins (Black Flag, Lost Highway, Get In The Van), Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), Adam Scott (Step Brothers, The Aviator), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, Sin City), Michelle Azar (Monk, ER), Brian Elerding (Mad Men), Rob Delaney (Nature Of The Beast), and Casey Wilson (SNL). Bonnie Nadell (Literary Agent) and Bruce Cohen (Producer, American Beauty, Milk) are co-curating the literary material for the evening.

Charlie Stratton (Naked Angels, New York Stage and Film, Wilton Project) will direct the performance. The event will be hosted by Los Angeles Times book critic, David L. Ulin.

David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois. He received
Bachelor of Arts degrees in Philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in Philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996. Wallace taught Creative Writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Oblivion, and the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award and a Whiting Writers’ Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008, leaving behind unpublished work of which The Pale King is a part.

To purchase tickets for THE PALE KING: MONOLOGUES FROM THE UNFINISHED NOVEL BY DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, please contact the Saban Theatre Box Office, Tuesday through Friday, 12 PM – 5 PM. The Saban Theatre Box Office is located at: 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Phone: 323-655-0111. You may also purchase tickets for the event online at Tickets are: $65 (includes admission, preferred seating and a copy of The Pale King) and $25 (includes admission).

For more information on this event, please contact Michelle Meyering, Director of Programs and
Events, at PEN Center USA:

Other books by David Foster Wallace:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why Los Angeles is the Best Place in the World for Writers

Where else can you find something this unique?
On Saturday, March 26, 2011, Heritage Square Museum’s annual Vintage Fashion Show and Tea will take a bold step forward, presenting “Fashions from Literature”.
Beginning at 11:00 a.m., see what Elizabeth Bennett, Dorian Gray, Scarlet O’Hara, Jane Eyre, Daisy Buchanan and other favorite literary heroes and heroines would have worn in their respective eras. Learn why only in the imagination of the printed word could there be such a thing as a bodice ripper! Excerpts from some of the most famous works ever written will come to life as historically accurate recreations of the costumes of the period are displayed before you.

With the museum’s historic Longfellow-Hastings Octagon House as the backdrop for the show, models will promenade in men’s and women’s vintage or period accurate reproduction clothing based on historical patterns from the 15th Century through the 1940s – all with a literary twist. After the show, visitors may also sample items commonly enjoyed at an afternoon tea, view a vintage clothing display inside the Hale House, shop in our Museum Store or Vendor Market, and much more. The annual fashion show is sponsored by Costumer’s Guild West, Folkwear, the Perfume Station (Alhambra) and Councilman Ed Reyes, District 1.

As the Vintage Fashion Show and Tea often sells out, reservations are required. Call (323) 225-2700 ext. 223 to secure your seats, as no tickets will be sold at the door. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children 6 to 12. Heritage Square Museum members receive a 25% discount on the ticket price. As this is a special event, no regular tours of the museum’s historic structures will be given on the day of the fashion show.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Makes LA Fabulous? The Library!

A friend who moved to Los Angeles from back east once told me that, "Los Angeles is a great town to be broke in." I have to agree. Yes, rents are high. Yes, owning real estate is out of practical reach for most people who live here. Yes, gas is expensive and owning a car cleans out your bank account. However, free and low-cost entertainment and fun awaits in nearly every LA neighborhood. Free movie screenings and interviews with industry folks are available on practically any day of the week. We have parks, hiking, lectures, roller blading along beaches, snow-filled mountains that a mere couple hours drive away, museums, piers, live music, movie screenings in cemeteries, all things that are absurdly cheap and/or free.

As great as these options are, none of them are as awesome as the Los Angeles Public Library system (LAPL). Housing nearly 7.5 million volumes, our library system stands as the single greatest free resource in our city. As of July 2010, it became the 4th largest Public Library in the United States in terms of volumes, and the largest public library system in the Western United States. The LAPL system alone makes living in Los Angeles worth all the high rents and the time sitting in traffic. This should-be-legendary library system offers a comprehensive collection with branches in nearly every neighborhood, free internet access, free movie rentals, free book borrowing,
and free delivery of anything in their catalog for easy pick-up at to your local library.

Central Library is the LAPL headquarters stands sphinx-like on West 5th between Flower and Grand and is both is parking friendly and public-transit friendly - just two short blocks from the 7th Street Metro station. This easily-accessible library houses art exhibits, free lectures, a video-lending library, an awe-inspiring multi-storied atrium, seemingly endless rows shelves - 90 linear miles of shelves to be exact, and nearly 7.5 million volumes. It is apropos that it sits on a street between Flower and Grand, because it is just that, beautiful and grand. This enormous block-long building feels both historic and new all at the same time. Inside, murals depicting California history, mosaic wall-art, and modern art sculpture chandeliers all proudly nod to one another, artistic reminders that we can all live together in harmony. After the 1986 fire, architects Pfeiffer Partners redesigned and restored the library. They also designed the Boston Public Central Library and their website contains gorgeous photos of Los Angeles Central Library's interior and exterior. If you've never been to the downtown Central Library, take a day trip and go see it. You may never leave.

The LAPL online catalog will take your breath away, not only because of its comprehensive vastness but because it is digitally connected. The behemoth catalog integrates with social networking - you can tweet or create a Facebook post about nearly any item in their online catalog. Many items display links to amateur reviews on and to professional reviews from publications like Publisher's Weekly and the Library Journal. Options to view a book's table of contents comes in handy when perusing anthologies. Many books even outline the characters in the book and have handy excerpts. The catalog lists how many available copies are available and at which branches you can find them.

Now, our fabulous library system has stepped even further into the digital age with downloadable digital content: E-books, electronically rentable movies, downloadable music, and audiobooks. With a library card number, renting online to an iPhone, iPad, Android device, Mac, or PC (just to name a few), can be a few clicks away once you've invested the inevitable learning time that necessarily accompanies new uses of new technologies. There are no late fees because when your time is up the download disappears like a self-destructing message right out of a Get Smart episode gone digital.

It takes a bit of time to master the whole digital borrrowing system, but the culprits are not the libraries - although it would be nice to be able to search by digital format - nor is it the fault of the companies that provide the digital content to the libraries, but the frustration comes from the digital e-reading devices, such as Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Android devices, etc., because certain types of content isn't available on certain devices.As far as what content is available on what device, the short answer is: If you have a Kindle, you can't (yet?) borrow an e-book. If you have anything else, you probably can borrow an e-book. The long answer is that E-books (for reading, not listening as you would with audiobooks) are generally available in two formats: EPUB format or PDF format, so you need to have a device (Mac, PC, iPad, Kindle, Nook, iPhone, Android phone) that can read at least one of these two formats. Sadly, neither EPUB nor PDF is currently supported by one of the most popular e-book readers, Kindle, so you can't rent e-books from LAPL if the only device you own is a Kindle.

Whether you groove on that irreplaceable smell and feel of a book in your hands at home, prefer sitting in a gorgeous library for hours, or you geek-out on the ability carry 150 e-books at all times, the Los Angeles Public Library awaits, ready to accommodate your every bibliophilic, artistic, or researchable whim.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


A. How can we not love someone who uses an interrobang as their logo?

B. Fake anything often rules. Hello... Fake fur. Fake purebreds (muts). Fake milk (soy). Fake eyelashes (ok maybe not so much fake eyelashes).

C. Fake AP Style handbook on twitter? We're in love.

Check them out: Here are a few sample @FakeAPStylebook tweets:
To denote air quotes, "use quotes."

"Buggy jockey" is an insulting term to the Amish and should only be used in the online edition.
And while you're in the mood to laugh, run on over to our other favorite tweeter: Justin from It's a 29 year old guy who moved in with his with his dad (so he says) and tweets what his dad says, which rumor on the internet street says it apparently got him an agent and a possible book deal. The tweets are hilarious. The guy has nearly 700,000 followers. Impressive.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Free Screening: "The Battle Over Citizen Kane"

Citizen Kane is on many people's list of Top 10 movies, and even if it's not on yours, chances are good that you've seen it, and probably more than once. If it's been too long since you've seen it on a big screen, LACMA is providing the opportunity to view it as it should be viewed this November 29th, at 7:30PM. Prior to the showing of Citizen Kane they are offering a free screening of the documentary: The Battle Over Citizen Kane at 5:00PM. This Academy Award-nominated documentary tracks Citizen Kane's passage from script stage, through early previews (Hedda Hopper called it "a vicious and irresponsible attack on a great man") up to its release and devastating aftermath, and seems like something no movie buff would want to miss.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Beautiful Vowels

Take a quick peek at this BBC News article about a new fiction book that manipulates the use of vowels. Entitled "Euonia", the only word in the english language that contains all five vowels, the author has divided the book into five sections, each section using only one vowel in every word. The article quotes from each of the books sections - it's quite a feat. The comments are fun to read, too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Theater for the Quick Minded

Whether you suffer from ADD (don't we all on some level?) or can concentrate for hours, or if you just need a break from all that pre-Halloween candy you've been chowing down on, the folks at ACTober Fest have put together two weekends of 10 minute plays around town that sound like they might be fun to check out, and feature several Los Angeles based writers. If you go, drop us a comment and let us know how you liked them.

Group A (Oct. 17- 19):

Carwash, or in this town, you are what you drive by Stephanie Hutchinson (Los Angeles, CA)
Directed by Wynn Marlow
Saw what you did by Kyndall Amber Brown (Washington DC) - Youth
Mountain Road by Jan Michael Alejandro (Los Angeles, CA)
Directed by Lana Ford
Call me Comrade by Ross Peter Nelson (Sunnyvale, CA)
Directed by Karanai Ravenscroft
Life is just a bowl of cellos by Ann L. Gibbs (Los Angeles, CA)
Directed by Amanda Korpitz
Bed Scene by John A. Donnelly (Portland, OR)
Directed by Kristina Lloyd
O’Henry’s Shoe by Mark Saunders (Hillsboro, OR)
Directed by Diane Christiansen
Elevator by Natasha Yim (Ukiah, Ca)
Directed by David Robinson
Group B (Oct.24 - 26):
A Change of Plan by Dennis Jones (Powhatan, VA)
Directed by Samantha Brown
The Appointment by Jordan T. Maxwell (Los Angeles, CA)
Directed by Jonathan Hunt
Sea of Bitterness by Lauren O’Connor (Trussville, AL)
Directed by Pavel Cerny
The Basic 7 by Mark Troy (Burbank, CA)
Directed by Sal Romeo
Autodigesting by Bonnie Lake (Newburyport, MA)
Directed by Kaz Matamura
Somewhere between the Sky and the Sea by Alex Broun (Australia)
Directed by Steve Hibbert
War Letters by Umesh Yogesh Patel (Bogart, GA)
Directed by John Szura
Climb the smallest Mountain by Michael Gordon Shapiro (Los Angeles, CA) Musical
Directed by Derrel Maury

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gauge The Success of Your Novels' Title!

Are you trying to decide if the title of your novel will hook potential readers? The folks at commissioned a research team to analyze the titles of every book that topped the hardback fiction section of the New York Times Bestseller List from 1955 to 2004. They used the data gathered from over 700 titles to create the "Lulu Titlescorer," a program able to predict the chances that any given title would become a New York Times bestseller. Simply enter your choice of title in the field at the top of the page, make selections from 3 drop-down menus to define the title's attributes, and click on "Analyze my title!" The score represents the chances that your title will become a #1 hit!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Got Bad Poetry? No: Really Really Really Bad Poetry?

This one looks like too much fun! It's the Winning Writers 8th Annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. All you need to do is submit a really awful poem to one of those bogus "vanity" poetry contests whose goal is to sell you expensive products and attract you to conferences. (There's a link to "contests to avoid" so you'll be able to find one of those easily enough). After you submit your parody poem to a vanity contest as a joke, submit it to the Wergle Flomp contest. They are looking for poems that are 1) Inspired nonsense, 2) Spectacularly awful, and/or 3) Intended to make fun of "vanity" contests. Prizes:
  • First Prize: $1,359 and publication on
  • Second Prize: $764 and publication on
  • Third Prize: $338 and publication on
  • Twelve honorable mentions will receive $72.95 each and publication on
Winning writers and honorable mentions will also receive Winning Writers polo shirts. There's no entry fee, and the deadline is April 1, 2009. Even if the contest is not for you, you'll have a blast reading the previous winning poems.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Writer's Faire '08 ~

If you enjoy being surrounded by hundreds of fellow-writers who are interested in learning more about perfecting their craft, this Sunday's free UCLA Extension Writer's Faire, an annual gathering of the writer's community, is just the thing for you! Featuring 24 mini-panels that will focus on every aspect of writing, from "Getting Started as a Writer" (at 11:00 AM) through "Living Your Live as a Writer" (at 3:00 PM), this festive occasion will give you the opportunity to explore many different realms of writing. Screenwriting, fiction writing, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, writing for the youth market, getting published, getting produced, getting started, getting into an MFA program, getting to the heart of a story – all will be explored at the Faire! Six panels will be run simultaneously in six different classrooms, so you are sure to find discussions that will interest you! Seating is first-come, first-served, so arrive early to get a prime spot. After the panels, you can talk with the instructors in the courtyard, get writing advice, and have them sign a favorite book (their publications will also be available). This is also a great opportunity to meet and network with other writers and make new friends!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Calling All Writers!

Steve Lopez of the LA Times is inviting all LA Times readers to collaborate with him on a novel! His column in next Sunday's paper (March 30th) will be Chapter 1 of "Birds of Paradise: A Novel Collaboration," and readers are invited to contribute chapters 3, 4, 5, and so on until noon PST on Thursday, April 24, 2008 -- just in time for the LA Times Festival of Books on April 25-26! Entries must:
  • Be 600 words or fewer
  • Be entirely original
  • Be submitted under the entrants real name
The final chapter, to be published online on April 25th and in the newspaper on April 26th, will be written by Steve Lopez.
Winners will have their entries published online and in the newspaper, receive two tickets to the LA Times Festival of Books Prize Ceremony April 25th at 8:00 PM, and be invited to read their chapter at the festival. The contest is open to all legal California residents who are 18 years or older as of the first day of the contest period. Please go to the contest website to read the rest of the guidelines and who knows where this could lead you??

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thirty-two Statements About Writing Poetry ~

If you aren't familiar with Marvin Bell (and I wasn't until I came across this gem!), his Thirty-two Statements About Writing Poetry is a wonderful introduction to this astute and insightful man. This award-winning author and poet has succinctly and clearly enumerated several (thirty-two, in fact), thought-provoking observations. Different ones will speak to you each time you read through them.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What's Your Semicolon IQ?

It's not often that a punctuation mark makes headlines in the New York Times. How thrilling that not only was this particular semicolon noticed; it was found remarkable enough for a journalist to write about, and for the editor to accept that article for publication! Heartening, yes, that something as simple as this could bring fame to the writer; this can be an inspiration to us all!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Artists With Convictions

All writers know the power of words -- to transform, to inspire, to change a life. For writers with some extra time and looking to have a real impact, the Unusual Suspects Theater Company is looking for volunteers for their Spring cycle of shows.

This organization works with young men and women in detention camps and group homes. Volunteer artists work with these youth doing writing excercises, improv acting, and just showing up to help steer, mentor, and guide these young people to write and perform an original piece of theater. The writing is surprising, the effect is transformative, and the experience is both trying and exhilerating.

Email or call now to find out how to become involved. Either as a writing or acting volunteer, or even just getting on their mailing list to come to see these incredible shows.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where to Begin?

Sometimes it's hard to find a starting point to give focus to what we want to write. We feel like writing but don't know where to begin. If this is one of the demons that plagues you, than may be just what you've been looking for! Here you will find 302 (count 'em) prompts to create stories, poems and other creative pieces. We can be only grateful for that which eases the quest for inspiration!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


The Skirball Cultural Center, perched on Mulholland and Sepulveda, almost next to the Getty, is full of unexpected and great activities, lectures, exhibits, and film screenings. Whether it's a screening of "Rebel Without A Cause," a book group intriguingly entitled "Around the World in Five Books", the acclaimed Bob Dylan exhibit "Bob Dylan's American Journey" (complete with the ability to play along with Dylan!), a lecture and q&a on the recent Hollywood Writer's Strike, courses on mysitcism in contemporary art, or theater performances, the Skirball is a treasure trove of artistic inspiration.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Location Inspiration

Los Angeles is a great city for writers.

From Raymond Chandler to Asphalt Jungle, from Joan Didion to LA Story, the city has featured prominently in movies, novels, short stories, poetry, you name it. As a writer looking for inspiration, wanting to plunge a little deeper into the history of the city, or trying to find a unique backdrop for your work, it's well worth your time to check out the LA Conservancy's Walking Tours. With tours inside and outside of Victorian mansions in Angelino Heights, a historical walk amid the Art Deco and Baux Arts architecture of downtown (including the incredible, well-filmed Bradbury building), or an exploration of the old-school movie palaces on Broadway, you can immerse yourself in often-overlooked corners of Los Angeles that helps gives this city its rich texture.

Tours run every Saturday.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tongue and Goove Reading at Hotel Cafe

This just in from TONGUE and GROOVE- Readings:
TONGUE and GROOVE- Readingsat the Hotel Cafe, Sunday January 27th- 6:00 to 7:30pm

We're back with our monthly offering of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, spoken word and music.

This month featuring: Aimee Bender, the author of three books, including "Willful Creatures" and "The Girl in the Flammable Skirt"; writer and translator Sasha Watson, author of the forth coming novel, "Vidalia in Paris"; Milo Martin, veteran of the L.A. poetry scene and author of the soon-to-be-released "poems for the utopian nihilist..."; Doug Cordell, Emmy-nominated playwright and Marketplace radio commentator; Nikki Muller makes her West coast debut and will read from her manuscript and I, Conrad Romo , will rankly a few feathers with some stuff about a cult. Plus music by indie/alt country performer Chuck Lee Bramlet

See and hear what t&g is all about because as always it'll be. pound for pound, word for word, and beat for beat, a fine and cool experience.

Sunday the 27th of January
6:00-7:30 pm
The Hotel Café
1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd.
1/3rd of a block below Hollywood Bl.
Hollywood, Ca 90028

How 'bout parking? Free street parking if you can find it or for a few bucks use the secure lot, down the alley/behind the club.

Get there early. Seating is limited and we're starting on time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Looking For The Write Word?

This handy-dandy website, RhymeZone, that modestly bills itself as a mere rhyming dictionary, is really a doorway to sooooo much more!!! Here you can not only find words that rhyme: you can find definitions, synonyms, antonyms, related words, similar sounding words, quotations, match specific letters, and even search in Shakespeare! As if that weren't plethora enough, you can even type in a word, and search for pictures, which will bring up a whole slew of related links!