gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
My story "Don't Look Back" will appear in Not One of Us in 2017. It's a first-time sale to a publication I greatly admire.

It is officially autumn, so of course we are bracing for another heat wave. But my kitchen is well-stocked with pumpkin products.

I am finally reading Gemma Files' Experimental Film, and it's even more brilliant than I had been led to believe.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I am hennaing my hair on a pleasant LA day, after a spate of unwelcome heat. Also unwelcome was the smallish earthquake that woke me (and half of LA) around 4 a.m. last night.

Yesterday was both Free Comic Book Day and Independent Bookstore Day. I somewhat failed at Free Comic Book Day. There was a line around the block at Legacy Comics on a blazing hot Glendale day, and I hadn't eaten yet; I eventually opted to forgo the free stuff so I could go inside the air-conditioned store (and then go home and make brunch).

My Independent Bookstore Day trip to Skylight Books was much more successful. I bought the new book of Kathy Acker letters. After the bookstore, I went next door to the Los Feliz 3 to see the very impressive and intelligent Ex Machina. After which, I got a delicious burger and fries from Juicy Burger (conveniently located between Skylight Books and the movie theater). Days like this are part of why I enjoy living in Los Angeles (in spite of earthquakes).
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Wow, I'm posting two days in a row. It's Henna Day, on a mild summer LA afternoon. I've been reading Mary Shelley's The Last Man as preparation for a Readercon panel.

Yesterday I had some sad news: Brand Bookshop, one of my favorite bookstores, is closing. An old-school used bookstore located in downtown Glendale, it will be much missed. I've been going there for over twenty years and have spent many happy hours there. It's hard to imagine Los Angeles without it.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I found out this morning that the poet Scott Wannberg has passed away. He was a kind and generous man, and an expansive, uproarious poet. He worked for years at Dutton's Bookstore in Brentwood (now gone). He'd left Los Angeles years ago, but in recent times I'd enjoyed seeing his poetry and his commentary about film and politics on his Facebook page.

I've been trying to remember the last time I saw him in person. It may have been as long ago as 2000, when I did a poetry reading with him at a little space that used to be next door to Rockaway Records in my neighborhood.

Here is my favorite poem of Scott's. I remember him reading it at Beyond Baroque many years ago:

Cassavetes )
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, and the henna is on my head. We're having gorgeous summer weather this weekend, though it's supposed to cool off again tomorrow. A bad headache ate part of my Saturday (I took Advil yesterday morning, went back to bed, and woke up at a quarter to one in the afternoon), but I have since worked on the Jo book, read a bunch of [personal profile] seanan_mcguire's terrific Late Eclipses, and continued my Dark Shadows rewatch. (Barnabas brought Josette back from the dead, but she Came Back Wrong!--i.e., disfigured from her fall from Widows' Hill--and he had to let her go be dead again.)

After I rinse out my hair, there will be more Jo book/Late Eclipses/Dark Shadows, plus a trip to Trader Joe's. Oh, and tonight, Upstairs Downstairs.


Apr. 10th, 2011 11:08 pm
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Yesterday I went to the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown LA, I think for the first time since the late seventies. (I used to go there for Beatlefest back when John Lennon was alive.) I did a quick walk through the Romantic Times Book Fair, which was WAY too crowded. Then I had a great visit with my agent [personal profile] dianafox, in town for the RT Booklovers Convention. Then, when I was waiting for the valet to return my car, who should appear right in front of me but Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes, i.e., Doug and Julie from Days of Our Lives (arguably the first soap supercouple of all time)!! I managed not to blurt out, "You're Doug and Julie!" I did think it a good omen for the Jo book. (The only soap actor sighting to beat this one was when Heather Webber and Rose Kelly [actors Robin Mattson and Loanne Bishop from General Hospital] sat in the row right in front of me during a two-act play of Plath's Letters Home, in 1983 or so. They only stayed for the first act.)

Speaking of the Jo book, this weekend I had a mini "What To Do When the Revolution Doesn't Pan Out" film festival: Sidney Lumet's beautiful Running on Empty (River Phoenix was still alive when I last saw it) and Tanya Hamilton's Night Catches Us (2010), set in 1976 Philadelphia, about former members of the Black Panther Party. I was particularly struck by how both movies show the children of former revolutionaries trying to come to grips with their parents' histories and how these histories have shaped and impinged upon their own lives.

Then tonight I watched episode one of the Upstairs, Downstairs reboot on PBS. It won me over, though now I want to play my DVDs of the classic series.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
My birthday's tomorrow, but since that's a Monday, I celebrated it this weekend. Yesterday I had brunch with my mom at Hugo's, where I had delicious Pasta Mama. Tonight I went to Taix for a birthday dinner with friends; I had salade nicoise with seared tuna.

Also this weekend I bought myself birthday cupcakes at Yummy Cupcakes in Burbank (a red velvet one and a Guinness cupcake). And, of course, I worked on the Jo book.

It's a bit odd to be celebrating while such awful things are happening in Japan. But I feel grateful to get to spend my birthday with family and friends.


Feb. 27th, 2011 04:30 pm
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
We actually had snow in Los Angeles yesterday--mostly in Burbank. Alas, there was none in my part of town, to my disappointment. (I have never seen actual snow, aside from a few blobs of it by the side of the road while driving to Vegas in the wintertime.) But today when I drove to Glendale the nearby foothills were very pretty and white.

This afternoon I traded in a bag of books at Mystery & Imagination Bookstore, and came away with the collected stories of Amanda Cross. A few blocks away, Borders Glendale was having its going out of business sale, but I didn't go. (I did stop at Lush for some nice bath products.)

At Trader Joe's people were busy buying snacks and wine for Oscar parties. Not sure how much of the Oscars I'll watch (though I am curious what film will snag Best Picture). All these years later, it's still pretty hard to top John Wayne giving the Best Picture award to my dad's movie!
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
Poet Akilah Oliver has died. I knew her slightly when she lived in Los Angeles, but my strongest memory of her is from when we both attended a summer session at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute (Boulder) in 1991. (She would later teach there, but I'm pretty sure this was her first visit, as it was mine.) She said to me very happily: "Allen Ginsberg just ripped my poem apart, and it was GREAT!"

More links on Akilah Oliver can be found here.

ETA: Also, audio of her reading from her work appears on the PennSound website.
gwynnega: (Jack/Siobhan balcony 2)
The worst of the much-publicized storm seems to have abated, I hope. The rain woke me up around 3:30 a.m. I was still awake when Ryan's Hope came on at 5, so I watched that, and then when that was over, I heard the dreaded "drip drip SPLASH" sound coming from my living room window. The windowsill got pretty soggy, but the Bounty paper towels kept things under control. Eventually I fell back to sleep and dreamed my living room was flooded, and woke up with an icepick sinus headache.

I've been lying around watching Ryan's Hope and One Life To Live and reading The New Yorker. Now I'm drinking some Darjeeling and reading my FL. Soon there will be noveling, despite my bedraggled state.

Last night I watched the first NANA live action film. It managed to be both incredibly (and delightfully) faithful to the look and feel of the manga (I kept going "OMG, he looks just like Yasu! OMG, it's the strawberry glasses!"), and to boil down the story into a gripping two-hour film. (Come to think of it, the first volume of NANA has a rather slow time getting going, and they fixed that problem in the movie.) It also managed to come up with something of a resolution, though it ends fairly early in the manga's ongoing saga. (I haven't seen the NANA 2 movie yet, and I'm not sure how far along in the story it goes.)

Yesterday I also finished reading Rosamond Lehmann's Invitation to the Waltz, which I'd started over the holidays but for some reason had trouble getting into. But once I got to the party section of the book (the last 100 pages or so), I was enthralled. Lehmann's such a fine, surprising prose stylist. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, The Weather in the Streets.

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