We began our day on Venice Blvd. in Culver City, lunching with Hedi El Kholti at Cafe Brazil. Hedi's a wonderful story teller and I was moved by his love of reality TV, how his enjoyment goes beyond simple irony to heartfelt identification with the artificially constructed realities of the participants. A reminder that you don't have to believe art in order to be moved by it. I adore Hedi's willingness to invest in the cheesy.
After lunch we drove over to La Cienega and stopped in at a few art galleries. Here's Hedi walking behind Jason Sherry orbs comprised of eyeglasses at Luis De Jesus gallery.
Since our next stop was Chinatown, which is on the way to Hedi's home, he led us there in his car. It was so much fun, following his Subaru, letting go of my agency, and cruising through backroads of LA that Mapquest would never suggest. Once in Chinatown, we ate more food with Vanessa Place and Christine Wertheim at Via Cafe. Vanessa instilled within me a great desire to hear Dolly Parton's cover of "Stairway to Heaven."
|Vanessa Place, Christine Wertheim, Kevin Killian|
Then we walked over to Poetic Research Bureau to hear Julia Bloch and Frank Montesonti. Here's PRB principal Joseph Mosconi proudly standing beside the placard in the plaza outside the venue.
Here's Frank Montesonti at a particularly dramatic moment of his text. Frank went to Indiana University, as did I, where he met Andrew Kenower before Andrew moved to the Bay Area. Small world. Frank presented two bodies of work. The first was comprised of well-crafted poems that he jokingly derided as "journal gems." The second manuscript, of newer work, was more experimental, looser, shaggier, much more out there. But he seems equally comfortable in both modes. It was a satisfying range of tone.
Julia read from her new book Letters to Kelly Clarkson, whom you'll remember was the first winner of American Idol. Julia began the collection 10 years ago in my private workshop. Kevin and I sat in the front row like proud hens as she gave a stunning reading. She ended with newer work, one poem inspired by Terry Castle's talk at the Q.E.D. panel I was on that launched the Summer Hotel Retreat series, so Julia brought my Southern California experience round full circle. I loved the Terry Castle poem.
Here's Diane Ward and Aaron Kunin standing in the courtyard after the reading. I dreamed about Aaron last night, so Kevin said I brought him to the reading. I've known both Diane and Aaron for many years, and it was a treat to get to spend time with them this evening.
The readers and most of the audience ended up at Hop Louie, a nearby bar. Here's Kevin, Diane, Julia, and Allison Harris horsing around outside.
And now, as I click away at the keyboard, Kevin's lying fully clothed on top of the kingsize bed doing heavy sleep breathing. I'm exhausted and can't wait to climb on there with him. Tomorrow night I'll be back in San Francisco, with my three cats, each in their own special way guilt-tripping me for being gone so long. Thank you all, whoever you are, for sharing my Summer Hotel Retreat with me. I couldn't have done it without you.