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May 1, 2012 · Posted in Commentary · Comments Off on DENIS JOHNSTON ON SHAW 

Denis Johnston was an Irish playwright who knew George Bernard Shaw and wrote about him. This article was compiled and edited by his son Rory Johnston, who works as a wire service editor in Los Angeles. Johnston (1901-84) was the last of the generation of Sean O’Casey, Micheál MacLiammóir, Barry Fitzgerald, F.J. McCormick and others who brought the Irish theatre its world-wide fame. He was a protégé of Yeats and Shaw. His first play The Old Lady Says “No!” took Dublin by storm in 1929 with its extraordinary originality and put the Dublin Gate Theatre on the map. His second play The Moon in the Yellow River (1931) established his international reputation. It has been performed on many stages around the globe in five different languages and in various mediums, its cast including such names as Jack Hawkins, Errol Flynn, James Mason, Claude Rains, and James Coco.

Denis Johnston (L) directing Shaw's 90th birthday BBC telecast, July 1946.


When I was a schoolboy in Dublin I went to the Abbey Theatre one evening expecting to see an amusing play by Lady Gregory called The Workhouse Ward. I was disappointed to find there had been some mistake, and that instead I was in for a debate between a fat man called Chesterton and a thin man called Shaw. What the subject was I don’t remember, but the fat man was very bluff and jolly, and tried to raise a laugh at the expense of the thin man by praising drink and overeating and good living generally. But then the thin man got to his feet. Read more

Photog Susan McRae Captures An Illusion From The Past

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May 1, 2012 · Posted in Miscellany · Comments Off on Photog Susan McRae Captures An Illusion From The Past 

Photog Susan McRae captures an image from the past.


A faded image amidst the gritty urban truth

Spain, Again…

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May 1, 2012 · Posted in Commentary · Comments Off on Spain, Again… 

The Spanish countryside today


Dan Bessie (left) with Oriol Porta, director of "Hollywood Contra Franco" in the Ebro River Valley


Dan and others walk through the Ebro Valley, the scene of some of the great struggles of the Spanish Civil War


An Abraham Lincoln Brigade landmark, from 1938, is still there


The same Lincoln Brigade headquarters in 1938

The dead sleep cold in Spain tonight. Snow blows through
the olive groves, sifting against the tree roots. Snow drifts
over the mounds with small headboards. For our dead are a
part of the earth of Spain now and the earth of Spain can
never die. Each winter it will seem to die and each spring it
will come alive again. Our dead will live with it forever.

–Ernest Hemingway


Don Quixote, had he ventured out of La Mancha today and into the Ebro River valley from whence we’ve just returned, might well be terrified by the 150 or more gigantic white windmills dotting the landscape. Installed to generate electricity for Spain, the workers constructing these behemoths also uncovered the unmarked graves of hundreds of Catalan and Spanish, as well as American, British, Canadian and other international dead of whom Hemingway speaks—some of the 35,000 or more volunteer soldiers who came to the aid of the Spanish Republic during the late 1930s, in its heroic but failed effort to prevent the country’s takeover by the Falangist general Franco—aided by his fascist pals, Hitler and Mussolini. Read more

God Damn The L.A. Dodgers

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May 1, 2012 · Posted in Commentary · Comments Off on God Damn The L.A. Dodgers 


Magic Johnson doesn’t come across as a Frank McCourt, so maybe he will be successful in his effort to rebuild the Dodgers, but I don’t necessarily wish him luck.

In the relatively short time Frank McCourt owned the Dodgers and that valuable real estate in Elysian Park near downtown, he managed to trash the franchise. He was such an obvious repulsive billionaire slimeball, people stayed away from his enterprise in droves. From my standpoint, that wasn’t necessarily bad. Because people stopped going to the ballgame, I was able to commute from downtown Los Angeles home to Atwater late at night without getting stuck in all the traffic leaving the stadium.

McCourt was good for the traffic patterns on the freeways around his property. Now I fear the old days will return, and I’ll be sitting there in traffic in that series of endless tunnels just before you go north on the Golden State. Read more

Shaggy Man’s Ramblings – New from Boryanabooks

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May 1, 2012 · Posted in Commentary · Comments Off on Shaggy Man’s Ramblings – New from Boryanabooks 

We are please to announce the publication of a new paper book from Boryanabooks: Shaggy Man’s Ramblings: Essays by Leslie Evans.

The book is 342 pages and lists for $12.95 at Amazon.

Click here for the Amazon sales page.

Below is the full Preface

The majority of these essays first appeared on my website, The Shaggy Man’s Place ( All but one were written between 2006 and early 2012. Just over half are biographical sketches of people who interest me: Sayyid Qutb, the central theorist of jihadi Islam, polemicist Christopher Hitchens, George Bernard Shaw, and a group of figures prominent in Los Angeles history who lived or are buried in my turn-of-the-twentieth century West Adams neighborhood. Read more

The Last Edendale

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May 1, 2012 · Posted in Edendale by Phyl M. Noir · Comments Off on The Last Edendale 

Phyl M. Noir

On April 10, 2011, Sam Garfield was dying. Even before senile dementia made him crazy she knew he’d write her off like he’d written off Uncle Max over the milk. It took nothing at all for Sam to cut people off. He refused to see her.

She did surface streets with satellite radio turned up as high as she could stand it but could not prevent herself from thinking about the neurasthenic Maria Wyeth in Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays who hears about her mother’s death and drives the freeways. Cyd was actually remembering the movie with Tuesday Weld and the actress’s little white hands steering through diffused sunlight.

She parked in front of the old house on Chapman Avenue. A man in his thirties came out of the house. He looked at her sitting in the car. Read more

Honey Explores Echo Park Addresses

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May 1, 2012 · Posted in Notes from Above Ground · Comments Off on Honey Explores Echo Park Addresses 

By Honey van Blossom

(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste.)

Lionel Rolfe’s remembrance of meeting Jake Zeitlin touches on Zeitlin’s arrival in Los Angeles from Texas in 1925.

When Zeitlin first moved to Los Angeles, he sold books at Bullock’s downtown. After that, he sold books from a valise, working from his home. He “found a foothold” in a converted hallway on Hope near Sixth Street. Then he moved to 705-1/2 Sixth Street.

Zeitlin’s first home in Los Angeles was on 1623 Landa. That portion of Landa is at the top of Echo Park Avenue. Read more

International Reaction To The Raymond Avenue Murders

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May 1, 2012 · Posted in Commentary · Comments Off on International Reaction To The Raymond Avenue Murders 


Sorry to read about the murder of 2 students in your city. Thanks for informing me. Actually, I only passed through LA twice. LA geography and crime is pretty distant.
I sure join in hoping that USA political economy and culture turn around and there’ll be less crime, drugs, guns, unemployment, vacant houses and homeless people…
Dont use new expensive cars or sit in any car or outside especially not after dark… Scary stuff. Read more