Writers


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Consider taking a book on your ride to the Eastside. Josefina Lopez, CASA 0101’s artistic director and author of “Real Women Have Curves”  (the feature film started as a play which premiered at CASA 0101,) just published a novel with the tantalizing name of “Hungry Woman in Paris.”

HUNGRY 

Click here for an interview with Josefina Lopez about the writing of her first novel or search the web for reviews by bloggers and critics alike.

Now, be aware that taking the train to the Eastside might not be an option yet. According to this article found on LA.Curbed.Com, “it’s unlikely that the line will open in June.” You can check the MTA’s own Gold Line website for everything except an opening date. My favorite item on the site’s menu: the Eastside Flavors Map and the Station Overview. Each station artwork and design reflect the surrounding community. For example, at the Little Tokyo station, “the canopies represent a Zen archery bow” while at the Mariachi Plaza station, “the shape of the main canopy recalls the fans used by Mexican folkloric dancers” and that’s only two out of the eight new stations of the Gold Line extension to East Los Angeles.  

As far as I know, CASA 0101’s new play will open as scheduled on June 19th.

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Sam Cherry:Photographs of Charles Bukowski, The Black Cat, and Skid Row

Malcolm McNeill and William S. Burroughs:The Lost Art of Ah POOK

April 4th-May 2nd, Track 16 Gallery @ Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Bldg C-1, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Telephone: 310-264-4678

Sam Cherry’s photographs take the viewer on an historical journey through intimate moments with Charles Bukowski, the 1940s Bohemian scene at The Black Cat Café (San Francisco’s creative hub), and Los Angeles’ Skid Row in the 1980s. The gallery also presents the west coast premiere of The Lost Art of Ah Pook IS HERE, paintings, drawings and prints from the unfinished collaboration between William S. Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill. Named LA Weekly’s Pick of the Week last week, these are two exhibitions not to be missed!

For more information, go to http://www.track16.com

Jim Marquez. Photo by Rick Mendoza.

WAITING

by Jim Marquez

The silence of it all is the thing that first gets you. So fucking quiet at 2:37am on a Thursday or Friday or Saturday morning in Downtown Los Angeles.

The men wait at a corner, huddled in twos and threes and fours, the truly adventurous man waits alone. Dressed in white T-shirts with oil-stains, jeans, and trucking caps. Some are drunk, red eyes glisten under dull street lights; they waver in place, trying to remain upright, while others are wide awake, jittery, hands shoved in pockets, rocking back and forth on their heels, taking quick glances at their buddies, wordlessly asking each other in Spanish if they should leave or make their move.

It’s cold out this night, unusual for this time of year, but that does not deter them; they gather here on this corner and wait for the taxi dancers to come streaming out of their place of business on this and every other night and I know this because I’m the only drunk that bothers to look at them rather than push past as the amateurs do when they stumble out of a bar in their own groups of 17-30 deep, sloppy and loud and obnoxious, catching the ears of all the pigs that increasingly patrol the downtown streets now.

I’ve been to whorehouses and strip clubs and swingers clubs all over the world, but, I have never seen the inside of a taxi hall. Talk about old school. Buy tickets, pick a girl, actually slow dance, be close, pretend you’ve taken her out on a real, old fashioned date, then, if the friction is right, or not, retire to a back sofa, in the dark, and hope for a hand job or, for the truly adventurous woman, a blow job.

So I’ve been told.

But after is when the real money is made. When the real action takes place. And it’s all for the asking, apparently.

The women gather under the awning of their building. Wrapped in bad coats, holding big purses, teetering in cheap platform sandals, whispering in Spanish to each other about this guy or that guy that is standing across from them on the sidewalk. They don’t smile. They don’t wave or encourage. But they do await the first moves.

Christ, it’s like being at a junior high school dance.

From what I’ve witnessed before, it takes these men-lonely and plain looking, scared, skin dark from being in the sun or pale from being stuck in factories, hands rough, the men that work for our city when nobody else has the balls to-just a few words: ‘How much?’ & ‘Where?’ The reply is usually ‘$50’ & ‘My place’ or ‘A room’.

Simple enough. But sometimes a negotiation takes place, and more words are needed. Dammit, I wish I knew more Spanish. Not all the women are looking to be escorted though. Some are legitimately waiting for their husbands or their boyfriends or their brothers or their fathers to come pick them up after work. They know what kind of people hangout afterwards; they know what kind of men wait late at night on this corner in Downtown L.A.

Some women band together and grab a mini-bus taxi to come and take them away. Some have cars and scamper in pairs to a parking lot and dart off before anybody can ask them the questions. Those women are left alone. The ones that primp and preen and stand apart from the others… well, then.

This is done while the cops blow by chasing after amateurs swerving in their earth-killing SUVs. Never is a glance wasted on the flashing lights of a black & white. It’s ok. No problem.

The women see me standing there, smiling, erection visible despite the tight jeans, or maybe because of them, and they wait for me too to make my move.

Excerpt printed courtesy of the author.

Jim Marquez (www.myspace.com/jimmarquez) will be reading at the “Joe Bravo Museum of Tortilla Art” opening reception at the Mexican Cultural Insitute, on Saturday, July 12th, at 8pm. For more information go to www.myspace.com/mexicanculturalinstitute.

Jim “The Beast” Marquez reading from his latest book “L.A. Bitch IV” at the “L.A. Bitch IV DVD” release party last Friday night. The DVD is a slide show of Downtown life with words written and read by Jim Marquez, photography by Rick Mendoza, and paintings by Carl Ramsey. The DVD was produced by Dale Youngman and Gail Zone.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the candid, outspoken and poetic style of Jim Marquez’ “PG 13” book – in Jim’s own words – “East L.A. Collage,” I was looking forward to hearing The Beast unleashed in “L.A. Bitch IV.” Since the show, I’ve started reading his X rated tales. As disturbingly real and graphic as Jim gets, his heart is the leading force behind his unnerving depictions whether he rants against or achingly needs his fellow mortals as in “After the reading” (see excerpts below,) an undeniable proof that Marquez has mastered the art of the short story and is right to have moved on to writing his first novel. If I were you I would get a copy of his self-published books fast; in my opinion Marquez has already transcended his beginnings as an “East L.A. writer” to possibly become one of the most authentic recorders of our 21st American century.

“I should’ve been happy after the reading and signing of my latest book: big crowd, standing room only, college girls sitting on the floor and gazing up at me like I was the Mexican-Charles-fucking-Bukowski himself, but something was off…” Jim Marquez, “After the reading”

Paintings by Carl Ramsey.

“The booze flowed well, it always does when I read, and I read the fuck out of the material; freaked everybody out and even surprised myself with the ferocity and rage in which the words exploded off my tongue.”

Downtowner and “Bathroom Graffiti” author Mark Ferem with whom I got to sip iced coffee before the show. During our animated conversation, which I hope to continue with Mark soon and share with my readers, Mark waved and smiled at a friend across the street. “It’s Gronk,” he said. I grinned. How cool was that! Above him are paintings by Eric Jones from the Dale Youngman’s gallery’s closing exhibit: “Father.”

Sketch by Carl Ramsey from the LA Bitch IV DVD.

“Institution”

I found myself going back to this painting over and over again during the show. My photo didn’t do it justice. Fortunately I found it on http://www.downtownla.com. I couldn’t help sharing this other one with you because I believe it’s on the DVD and… well… it speaks for itself.

“Street Dance”

Photographer Rick Mendoza.

“I mean, I was running late because I had to pick up the chairs for the show, pick up a 20lb bag of ice, buy the drink bucket, and buy extra beers and, so, because all that shit was on my mind, and because I still had to fight rush hour traffic into Downtown L.A. in the fucking rain, and add to the fact that I had come to that afternoon with the sickness (hangovers to mortals, an entirely different and agonizing level of suffering to those of us who actually drink,) so, I guess I wasn’t in the best of moods come game time.”

Jim Marquez, Rick Mendoza, Carl Ramsey.

To find out more about the authors, go to: http://www.MySpace.com/JimtheWriter, http://www.rickmendoza.com, or click here for a link to Carl Ramsey’s work.

Rick Mendoza’s photographs were not prominently displayed during the show. The only way to experience his work was to watch the “LA Bitch IV” DVD on a small laptop. Fortunately there was that picture on the cover of the DVD and Jim’s latest book which left me wanting for more. Rick Mendoza’s work is currently on display at the First Street Studios, 2026 E. 1st Street, Boyle Heights, CA 90033.

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A few months ago I’m heading North on Lincoln Blvd. when, on an impulse, I jump out of my car to pixellate The Red Garter’ sex-appealing logos.

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As soon as I see the closed door and the yellow notice my natural born protector-of-the-small hops back into my car, grabs my cell phone and contact the real estate broker. “Hello, I’m calling about The Red Garter in Venice. I was wondering if you could put me in touch with the seller because I write for an LA blog and would love to preserve a little bit of LA history by photographing the interior of this vintage “cocktail lounge” (before it gets recycled into another retail store.)” I keep the last portion to myself as I hear a voice in my head arguing that what I call “a vintage cocktail lounge” most people would call “a dive,” including the real estate agent at the other end of the line judging by the awkward silence. “The property’s been sold.” “So maybe I could talk to the new owner?” Upon my insistence, the broker reluctantly gives me her e-mail address, gets mean on me when I ask her to repeat it and hangs up before I have a chance to deliver a spirited: “Thank you for your commitment to…” She didn’t commit to anything but I nonetheless rush home to pen a passionate appeal to the new owner while I fail to swat the annoying buzz in my head that keeps repeating “Frankie, it’s a dive!”

This incident takes an unpredictable turn when I learn that at about the same time, a young woman by the name of Lauren Everett answers her own maternal call for the preservation of the human over the commercial when she sees an ad on Craigs List for the sale of an apartment complex where LA’s own dirty old poet, Charles Bukowski, once lived. Everett and other preservationists contact the Cultural Heritage Commission and manage to halt the sale of the East Hollywood property long enough to attempt to build a case for the designation as Historic Landmark of the DeLongpre Avenue bungalow where USPS worker Henry Charles Bukowski became, at 49, a full-time writer. Just as I assume my e-mail to the Red Garter’s new owner was dragged across the real pain in the esstate’s broker desktop and dumped in her Trash Bin, I don’t believe for one moment the author of “All the Assholes in the World and Mine” will get the seal of approval from the City and when I see a picture of the building in question I even wonder: “Why? It’s a…”

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Photo by Zuade Kaufman for Truthdig.

I read on Truthdig yesterday a very honest rant from Gore Vidal in reaction to a comment made by the son of the late William F. Buckley about his father’s relationship to Vidal. What struck me while reading the story was Vidal’s total lack of concern for the effect his extremely blunt criticism of Bluckley’s character so soon after his death may have on Buckley’s mourning relatives and friends… who, as I think about it, probably don’t have Truthdig in their Favorites websites and may not have heard of the story. I definitely enjoyed Mr. Vidal’s bluntness but is it a case where he could have withheld his anger a little longer? Do we or do we not owe the dead special respect?

To read Gore Vidal’s piece, click here.

Click here to read the full story.

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