I think Hector Tobar is right about this:
Don’t ever say: “L.A. doesn’t have any seasons.” Our seasons just don’t look like New England seasons. Instead, we have a season when the jacarandas bloom (right now) and a season when ash falls from the sky. We have a season of gloomy mornings (which isn’t in winter) and a season of Technicolor sunsets. We have a season when Mt. Baldy is covered in snow — and a season when you can’t see Mt. Baldy at all.
But I love The One AM Radio’s song “In A City Without Seasons.”
Contradictions! We haz ‘em. The new album, Heaven Is Attached By A Slender Thread, is my first real ear crush of 2011. It’s ambivalent about L.A. through and through — in “Plans” Hrishi sings, “Fuck this town and all the things I have been / I am leaving here as fast as I can” — and I’m not. But I love driving the streets to his despair at them.
At a reading for her book of poems Earthquake Season, Jessica Goodheart read a new poem, an elegy for Jdimytai Damour, the Wal-Mart worker who died in a 2008 Black Friday stampede on Long Island. Of course there was a clear note of anger in the poem, but it wasn’t by far the loudest sound; the consumer megalith behind Damour’s death was too easy a target for the poet. (Which came as a nice surprise, because I know Jessica through economic justice work.) The poem looks past capitalism to look directly at the atavisms and animal currents it organizes.
Time and time again in these poems, the organizing fictions of civilization come to seem like a thin fence around the jungle. (Jessica lives near me in a woodsy corner of Northeast Los Angeles where coyotes regularly dine on cats.) Consider the concise, hopeless decree that opens “Caesarean”: “What’s inside must stay inside/what’s outside should be smooth.” The voice often seems like it is on the verge of abandoning the pretense that wildness can be suppressed from even the simplest interactions. “Instructions for the House Sitter”:
Refill the dog’s dish in the evening.
But do not walk him unless
you are prepared to go as he does,
on all fours, weathering hours of solitude
Until the very end, it’s a funny, charming picture of wildness, a child’s game; but for me, “hours of solitude” uncovers something terrible and unseen. That moment, deftly underplayed, of looking past the veil into the darkness comes up again and again in Earthquake Season.
Those of you who show up for the comic book reviews, political pique and local electoral guidance may be surprised to learn that the single biggest driver of websurfers to joshuamalbin.com is the thirst to know vampire dental anatomy. Go ahead, search it and see where you land.
In that spirit, we are proud to present friend of the blog Jake Fleisher — who, as discussed previously, believes the camera favors incisor fangs over canines — in “Intercourse With A Vampire”, produced for atom.com.
Happy Halloween an all that. More Fleisher flicks here.
My friend at Nutgraf has been collecting advice. Mine is up today, an offering slightly more specific and technical than previous entries. Friends and readers of friends–that is to say, you–are very welcome to contribute. Don’t you have any advice to give? Posterity will thank you. So will Nutgraf.
While you’re over there, don’t forget to check out her experiments and product comparisons. Which mineral water is the best? The results may surprise you.
There’s something a little freaky going on behind the doors of the inconspicuous suburban households of the San Fernando Valley. Blogger and friend L.J. Williamson discovers, in her own neighborhood… Buddhism.
When I rang the doorbell, I was greeted by a man wearing a flowing, saffon-colored Lakers T-shirt named Bill.
Read on for the most accurate description of meditation that this bemonkeyminded blogger has ever seen.
Also a treat: L.J. has a good eye for church signs.
The notion that one version of time travel is more accurate than another might seem ridiculous on its surface, but physicists actually have rather a lot to say about how time travel should work.
If you enjoy popular physics (“pop-fizz”? anyone?), check out his blog or sign up to be notified when A User’s Guide to the Universe comes out. Physicists actually have rather a lot to say, is my experience.