Saturday, April 27, 2013

The City Prolific: Weekend Events April 27 - 28

Summer is coming, can you feel it?


River Bike + Walk Spectacular

This is such a good idea! The wonderful folks of the L.A. River Revitalization Corporation have combined a day of exploring one of L.A.'s greatest treasures by bicycle with an outdoor movie screening. Bike valet provided.

4 pm: Bike+Walk
Expore the River and its neighborhoods via the L.A. River Greenway Trail, participate in a live mapping project.

6 pm: Community Fair
Enjoy art and educational activities and bike-powered music.

8 pm: Bike-in Movie
Enjoy a free outdoor screening of "Beetlejuice" in the park. It'll be chilly so bring blankets!


Marsh Park
Elysian Valley
Check the website for meet-up details.

Food Truck Haven

Food Truck Haven, presented by Angel City Brewery in downtown, is a gathering of LA's best food trucks on the parking lot of the historic John A. Roebling Building.  Each month, the trucks will gather on the last Saturday of each month, from noon to 10 p.m. In addition to eating and drinking in a lovely outdoor urban setting, you can take a tour of the brewery, given throughout the day.

Free (just bring cash for beer and food!)

12:00pm - 10:00pm

Angel City Brewery
216 S Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Spirit of Salt Lake

The Salt Lake City Marathon began at 7:00 a.m., in a light rain that waited until after "Sweet Caroline," a tribute to Boston, to begin falling.  Spectators, moms and dads with their children wrapped in blankets, stood on the side of the road spinning noise makers, clapping their hands, and holding up encouraging signs.  The ran came down harder, but the spectators didn't seemed fazed.

Massive crowds aren't something you'll find in Salt Lake. It is not a dense city, and therefore doesn't exhibit much fan fare around any events other than home court Jazz Games, and even the crowds at those are manageable.  The Salt Lake City Marathon only just celebrated it's 10th anniversary. The inspiration must have come from The Olympics, which the city hosted in 2001, just three years before the first Marathon. All major cities have a major race, and the honor of hosting The Olympics had given Salt Lake the notion that it might be able to apply such an adjective to itself.

The spectators did not need to be contained behind barriers - there weren't enough of them. Just small families every block or so, and a couple of yard parties of between five to ten attendees playing music on radios, barbecuing breakfast, and a few individuals, still in their pajamas, standing on their porches, coffee in hand, watching out of simple curiosity.

Their cheers made my heart leap. They shouted words of encouragement, and I pumped my fists and yelled, "thank you!" And I meant it. The connection I made with each of them felt personal and significant. These strangers were my friends.

My dad dropped me off at the starting line in the morning, and then just under an hour later met me in Sugarhouse Park, at mile five. He stood in the biggest crowd I'd seen yet - about fifteen people deep. I ran up to him and gave him a big hug.

At mile seven, a spectator - not a volunteer - handed out slices of apples. She had gone to the store, purchased boxes upon boxes of apples with her own money, had set up a little card table in front of her house and was speedily slicing them up.

At mile eight, a little boy standing near his father handed out whole bottles of water.

At mile nine, a young woman started running alongside me. "I have a question for you," she said. "Are your hands cold?" Indeed, they were. "I have this two-dollar pair of gloves. You can have them and just throw them away when you don't want them anymore." They were black chenille winter gloves. I put them on a gave her a hug and an almost tearful thank you. I wore them for the next five miles.

Along that same stretch of road, a woman had set up a soft-serve ice cream machine in her front yard and was handing out small cones of sorbet. "I hope this helps!" she said as I reached out for one.

At mile 15, I found my dad standing on the side of Van Winkle and 5100 south, just east of my old high school. He handed me half a banana and a cheese danish.  These boosted my blood sugar and are, I believe, the reason I was able to finish the race (I'd hit a wall and was near to giving up).

At mile 20, as I ran through a surprisingly rural part of town just west of where my parents live - little rambler homes with empty lots scattered between and no sidewalks - my dad stepped out from behind a cherry tree. Giving him a hug and hearing his strengthening words made me feel like I could in fact finish this thing.

At mile 22, a little boy standing next to a bucket of candy and a little table with a pitcher of lemonade on it shouted, "free treats and sugar water!"

A little girl, playing on the curb, handed me a dandelion. "Here you go!" she said.

At mile 23, my parents stood on the side of the road and watched me run by. It was raining, and my mom had her coat pulled up high around her neck.  A duck waddled across the street with five little ducklings trailing behind her.

At mile 24, my brother stood on the sidewalk of 600 East, just one block from his house. He carried a cup of coffee and had a smile of amazement on his face. "You hurting?" he said. "You've run a long way!"

At mile 25, the rain became torrential, falling in heavy sheets. Then, it became hard and hurtful and I realized it was hailing. I was alone on the road, the runners nearest me in front and behind a good twenty yards away. I started cursing at the sky, shouting a storm of obscenities about the pain, the fatigue, the wetness. Three twenty-somethings smoking cigarettes on their veranda heard me and started laughing. An old woman sitting on her enclosed porch said something that, although I couldn't hear, seemed encouraging. I smiled and said thank you.

As soon as I crossed the finish line, hugged my family and my best friend, my body went on recovery lock-down. I could barely walk. I was in such misery that when my sister texted me and asked which race I wanted to do next, I answered: "No next."

Now, less than a week later, I am excited to register for the Salt Lake City Marathon again next year. The spirit of Salt Lake City is one of love and friendship and neighborliness. I love it and it's people, and I can't wait to run through its streets again.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The City Prolific: Weekend Events April 20 - 21

Apologies for how late I'm getting to this. I was running a marathon. The Salt Lake City Marathon, actually, 26.2 miles through my homeland.

At mile 20 I thought I might die. Then, at mile 23, when it started to hail really hard, I thought I actually was dying. No filter on this pic, I really looked that beat up.

If you are in L.A., I hope you are already at or going to either of these things:


The L.A. Times Book Festival

This is one of my favorite events of the year, as is the following event. Fantastic authors of all genres descend upon the USC campus to talk about my favorite thing: books, writing, film and, yes, even theater.


Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

University of Southern California

Check the website for transit info and a schedule of events.



LA streets are transformed into carless thorough-fares for bicycles. It's a fabulous way to get some sun and see the city. This year, the route extends to the west side (it starts at City Hall and goes out to Venice). It's one long street party. I highly, highly recommend can't recommend highly enough that you dust off your bicycle and go to this.


10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Check the website for the starting point, and route.

Follow @LAhappenings for daily event updates.

Monday, April 15, 2013


My heart has been heavy since this morning, when I first received news of Boston. I've tweeted and Facebooked about it several times, I think as a way to release some of the overwhelming emotion. The thoughts I've shared have all been alike: love to all, love to everyone. It may seem sappy, or redundant, or naive or annoying, but my default psychological gesture is one of embrace. I believe that love nurtures, nourishes, and heals. I believe that if everyone made a conscious effort to love one another more - our own families and friends as well as the stranger across the planet -  the world would be a vastly better place. Yes, I do believe that love, purposely practiced, can heal all the suffering in the world, and that despite today's horrors, the runners, volunteers, first responders, and citizens of Boston proved this to be true.

The following Martin Luther King Jr. quote has been going viral on Facebook today, and it helped bring light to my mood. I share it here, against the skyline of Boston. This is as close as I can get tonight to skywriting my love over the city itself.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The City Prolific: Weekend Events April 12 - 14

The cherry trees and jacaranda's are a blossom, as we near summer in LA: the season of outdoor festivals and screenings.  This weekend's events are a little taste of what's to come. Most everyone's at Coachella this weekend, but I for one am glad I'm not, or I'd miss Sunday's event . . .


Southern California Review Launch and Book Party

My grad program, USC's Master of Professional Writing, is holding a book launch party tonight in the arts district. Food, drink, literature, all in the company of some heavyweights of the writing world.




Daily Dose
1820 Industrial St
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Dark n' Stormy

Since you're going to be downtown anyway, grab some laughs at The Loft! This is one of the best-run indie improv shows around. It's very fun.

Free (but you should donate a few bucks!)


929 E. 2nd Street