By LIONEL ROLFE
Having just turned 70, I’ve been swimming in reveries about folks who affected me a lot. Which got me to thinking about Art Snyder, my debating coach at Los Angeles High School in the late ‘50s. A random thought crossed my mind–I wondered if he were still alive. I wasn’t young anymore, so he certainly wasn’t.
The next morning–it was a week ago–I woke up and read that Art Snyder had died the previous day. He died just shy of being 80. Read more
By Bob Vickrey
I must confess that I discreetly borrowed the expression “literary valet” from the memoir of distinguished former Random House editor, Jason Epstein. Although my career hardly paralleled his, I liked his analogy of our two distinctly diverse job descriptions.
I spent most of my working life as a field representative for an East Coast publishing house, which incorporated the duties of sales, marketing, and promotion of books for my company—a decidedly dry and ordinary business definition of a job. It wasn’t that way at all. Read more
IT’S A WONDERFUL COUNTRY
Immersed in it, rehearsed in it,
Everyone’s well versed in it,
Railing and hailing their flag waving, hand shaking, back slapping, good old party plan.
Bigger than you, better than you,
Glad to undo your fetters for you,
By railing and hailing their flag waving, hand shaking, back slapping, good old party plan. Read more
My wife Jennifer and I have lived in the old West Adams section of Los Angeles, not far from the University of Southern California, for almost twenty-five years. Once, from the 1880s through World War I, this was a prized neighborhood for the affluent. It faded when Beverly Hills was opened in 1917. Despite the hundreds of architect-designed mansions, the area decayed in the Depression, when many of the grand old homes were cut up into boarding houses, with heavy-duty locks cut into the bedroom doors. When, in Shelley v. Kramer in 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial housing covenants, the area turned mostly black. The Santa Monica 10 Freeway was the white bureaucracy’s revenge. Its route was chosen to slash its way through the center of the most concentrated stretch of historic two-story mansions, the pride of the black middle class. Thereafter the freeway marked the dividing line between L.A. proper and the feared South Central. In the 1990s Latino immigration again transformed West Adams, as Spanish-speakers became the plurality ethnicity.
By LIONEL ROLFE
Sonji Kimmons, one of the last great but mostly unheralded blues pianists and singers in the world, made a rare appearance at MJs, a gay nightclub in Silver Lake one recent Saturday, and was set to appear the following Saturday.
But due to a not untypical fight between the promoter and the owner, that appearance, which had been scheduled, was cancelled. It wasn’t that Sonji had played unnoticed–she had a large turnout who hung on her every note.
Hopefully this misstep will not occur again. Sonji has been of of sight recently because of medical problems. Now she’s waiting to start playing around town again.
By Honey van Blossom
(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste.)
The inquiry began when I wrote Lionel to ask where California photographer Edward Weston (1886-1958) lived.
One of Weston’s pupils, Ansel Adams wrote: “Weston is, in the real sense, one of the few creative artists of today. He has recreated the matter-forms and forces of nature; he has recreated the matter-forms and forces of nature; he has recreated the matter-forms and forces of nature; he has made these forms eloquent of the fundamental unity of the world. His work illuminates man’s inner journey toward perfection of the spirit.”