Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, VANITY FAIR and celebrity vanity.

Here's a link to Mary McNamara's have-it-both-ways article in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES re the latest media controversy regarding Miley Cyrus posing for Annie Leibovitz photos in VANITY FAIR--with and without famous Stage Dad Billy Ray Cyrus: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv/la-et-miley29apr29,1,7312776.story

At this time, it wouldn't hurt if Tanya Tucker (who, in her teen-star prime in the70s, knew something about flaunting sexuality for the media) could talk to the Cyrus family about the risks of working Miley superhard and the Cyrus family's apparent belief that they can do whatever they damn well please (to the point of thinking they can sign on the dotted line with a squeeze-dollars-to-death, overcautious corporation such as The Walt Disney Company and sexualize Miley on the side for VANITY FAIR, thinking there will be no blowback because they've made mountains of money for Disney over the past couple of years).

And it's safe to say we all know how the media works: lots of apologies, things will blow over and Mary McNamara will probably write a puff piece about some other Disney Channel starlet--Demi Lovato is a likely choice.

These days, memories are short and everything happens for the very first time.

Update (4/30/08): Here's a link to a Slate.com article by Daniel Brook that discusses a Disney clothing ad in China which shows a reclining 12-year-old girl in her Disney bra and panties with cloth puppets of Mickey and Minnie Mouse on each hand:


Monday, April 28, 2008

An answer to the question: Why did Barack Obama join Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church?

From Alex Koppelman's THE WAR ROOM blog on Salon.com:

For me, Wright's comments lead to something I've been thinking for a long time about Wright, Obama and their relationship -- why did Obama join Wright's church? And just how close were the two? Yes, one of Wright's sermons was the inspiration for the title of Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope," and yes, Obama attended Wright's church for 20 years. But I think Matt Yglesias was on to something when he wrote, back in March, "Obama's going to have a hard time explaining [w]hat I take to be the truth, namely that his relationship with Trinity has been a bit cynical from the beginning." In Salon, Edward McClelland described the germination of the relationship between Obama and Wright this way:

In "Audacity of Hope," Obama is talking about networking when he describes what brought him to Wright's church in 1987.

He was a community organizer then, and one of the black ministers with whom he was consulting suggested that the work would go more smoothly if he joined a congregation. "It might help your mission," said the pastor, "if you had a church home ... It doesn't matter where, really." The pastor was talking about Obama's community organizing mission, but he was also giving him good advice about politics.

When Obama picked a "church home," he chose one that helped him with another weak spot in his biography. Before Obama joined Trinity United, Rev. Wright warned Obama that the church was viewed as "too radical ... Our emphasis on African history, on scholarship ..." But Obama joined anyway. With that act, he had become significantly blacker -- and more like local voters. Part of the cultural divide between the half-Kenyan Hawaiian and his Chicago neighbors, most of them products of the Deep South's black diaspora, was bridged.

Look, for better or worse, the reality is that politicians and aspiring politicians sometimes appear to make choices about religion based at least in part on political expediency. (Take John McCain, who last year had trouble with consistency on the issue of which branch of Christianity he belongs to; sometimes he identified as a Baptist, which would presumably be a boon in a Republican presidential primary.) The problem is that even if Obama did in fact join Wright's church for political reasons, or just to help with his community organizing, and even if he wasn't much for active churchgoing -- Wright certainly seemed to imply that in some of his comments on Monday -- Obama can't say that, even to distance himself from the growing millstone around his neck that Wright now represents. Much of Obama's campaign is based on the premise that he's the anticynic, a politician who doesn't act or think like one. If Obama were to admit that sometimes even he makes cynical decisions, that could backfire and undercut his central message.

By this point, and even though he's no politician, Wright has to realize the trouble he's causing for Obama's campaign and the bind the Obama camp finds itself in. And yet he's hardly shunning the spotlight. That's prompted some to question his motives. (The Obama camp may even be pushing the questioning, it seems, and with good reason.) On his blog, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder wrote:

The Obama campaign knows that Wright is throwing Obama under the bus, and they're of two minds about the political repercussions. On the one hand, they want him to shut up, knowing that the press is likely to repeat the Crazy Uncle soundbites more than they are the intelligent, learned theologian soundbites ... On the other hand, Wright's decision to publicly break up with Obama by essentializing him as a politician may well generate some distance between himself and Obama; perhaps the public may perceive the distance.

For the complete text of Koppelman's blog entry, log onto


Saturday, April 26, 2008

How Al Franken is trying to avoid the fate of Carly Smithson.

"Talk about whatever you want in the comments. Be sure not to ruffle any feathers or show your tats or come off like you care too much. People don't like that. And remember, kids: No matter how talented you may be, life will eventually come down to a popularity contest. "

The above is from a recent edition of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's blog concerning all things AMERICAN IDOL--particularly the voteoff shocker concerning Carly Smithson on Wednesday because she was presumably not buttoned-down-in-personality-and-presentation enough (and picked a song from the still-controversial-to-fundamentalists JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR) for the voting public.

But it's likely that Ms. Smithson will sell more CDs/downloads as a result of doing the show (keep in mind that Chris Daughtry is having a more successful music career than some of the past IDOL winners)--so she can be counted as a sort-of-winner.

Back to the quote above: It's becoming clear that success in America involves not showing any kind of "unacceptable" emotions and making people feel comfortable with their biases.

Another case in point is this article from THE ATLANTIC regarding Al Franken's attempts to suppress his raucous SNL-comic/AIR AMERICA talk-show host/Bill O'Reilly-nemesis past in his effort to run for Minnesota senator and dethrone current Republican seat-holder Norm Coleman.  Here's the link: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200805/franken


Friday, April 25, 2008

Wesley Snipes: Why Time Warner might have zealously reported on his tax trial and sentencing.

Here's an entry from a Variety.com blog called BAGS AND BOARDS, written by Tom Mclean.  This may explain why Time Warner media (namely CNN and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY) have exhibited such a robust interest in Wesley Snipes' tax evasion charges, trial and prison sentencing.

April 22, 2005 "Blade" star sues

Wesley Snipes has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $5 million in damages from the makers of "Blade: Trinity," including New Line, writer-director David Goyer and exec producer Toby Emmerich. The suit claims the screenplay, director and co-stars in the pic were hired without Snipes' approval in violation of his contract. The film opened in December and pulled in a domestic gross of $52 million.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Robert Pinsky on contemporary and older poetry in SLATE.

Ex-national poet laureate Robert Pinsky, for some time, has chosen his favorite literary/academia-friendly poetry for the webzine SLATE.

As National Poetry Month nears its end, here's a link to his latest column--a fountain-pen-dipped-in-acid snarkfest taking potshots at people he perceives to have little knowledge of poetry past and present:


This one-finger exercise is redeemed at least somewhat by Pinsky's printing of some of his favorite poems.  For example, the Allen Ginsberg and Emily Dickinson pieces in the article easily trump a lot of the "modern" poetry that RP gives to the SLATE audience weekly.

And be sure to click onto the SLATE "Fray" message boards where there exists a lively-without-being-mean pro-and-con about RP's article.

As for me, I'll reprint this old poem of mine as a response to the SLATE piece:



I inhabit a cubicle on the 33rd floor

of the giant literary conglomerate

Poetry Inc.


Each day, I consult the corporate handbook

and churn out intricate, metaphor-laden and

purposely inaccessible poems loved by an Important few.


Lunches are spent with colleagues

denouncing “journal entry” poetry

and hailing rhyme-and-meter “new traditionalism."


In the break room, we are treated to tape loops

of Robert Frost intoning “free verse is like playing

tennis without a net” hundreds of times.


Occasionally, we meet in the auditorium for lectures

and Q and A sessions with the movers and shakers

of Poetry Inc.


Robert Pinsky shook my hand and called me a “mainstay”.

Billy Collins said I should write a poem for the next company picnic.

These accolades mean a lot to me.


It’s now time for me to get back to work.

Our new supervisor is NEA chairperson Dana Gioia.

If we’re caught doing nothing, he’ll transfer us to Los Angeles.


If that happens, you’ll never hear from me again.



Sunday, April 20, 2008

Quincy Jones will not quit the Summer Olympic Games.

Here's a press release about music legend Quincy Jones' refusal to back out of his participation in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic games ceremonies:


A question you must ask yourself when making the decision to try to "change from within" instead of "boycott":

Will conditions change at least slightly as a result of your efforts, or will the organization honor your participation, pat you on the back and respond with the nonanswer, "we'll think about it"?


Film critic Michael Atkinson on the decline of full-time film critics/reviewers.

Film critic/writer Michael Atkinson, someone I remember reading in THE VILLAGE VOICE pre-Mike "NEW TIMES" Lacey's reign-of-a-thousand-layoffs, has printed this take on the pinkslipping of full-time newspaper/magazine film critics/reviewers on his blog ZERO FOR CONDUCT:

...a cynical voice from the film-reviewing wilderness in regards to the recent Night of the Knives for American film critics, a bloodletting that seemed to begin with me when I was dumped, from the PTSNBN, in '06 (or maybe it just looks that way from here)... Essentially, I cannot be terribly surprised; the existence of full-time staff film reviewers is a nutty aberration in the history of periodical publishing, just as are (or were) book reviewers and theater reviewers, from a business point of view. I'd love to see every magazine employ an army of full-time culture reviewers, and pay them millions, but it doesn't make very much sense, for the simple reason that it's not truly a full-time job.  If you're David Ansen, say, you might see three or four movies a week, and be asked to generate maybe a 1000 or 1500 words of unchallenging copy reviewing them, and the time thus taken shouldn't take you more than ten, eleven hours, max. That's a part-time job. I treated it, and continue to treat it, as just one part of my work-life and income, because I've had to. But when I was handed a staff position, I felt as if I was running a scam. All of the hubbub surrounding the firings and buyouts seems, from anywhere out there in the real world, like a lot of whining, about how certain writers won't be paid a full-on living wage for watching a movie a day and then writing for a few hours about them, every week. The cops, bartenders, union agents, managers, editors and public school teachers I know would look on that job as a vacation.

Of course, those jobs existed to begin with because publishers and editors thought writers were valuable, and paid them to sit on their asses (like they still do at The New Yorker) because they wanted those writers' availability and flow of copy. But today that's far less important. The pancaking financial burden, and quarterly losses, of newspaper and magazine publishing is certainly one aspect of it. So is the undeniable sense that critics in general, being the last independent defense standing against a full-court press of consumerist ideology, may be doomed because of their adversarial position toward the corporate sell-machines that pay them.

But there's also this: the writing isn't valued anymore, and not only because there's a certain amount (not much) of decent writing to be had on the net, for free. Interesting expository writing, the kind that only a few writers can write, the kind that takes a retained high school education to read and understand, is just not considered of value in our culture. By evolution or design (I'd vote for the latter), we're much stupider now than we were 40 or 80 years ago, a simple fact that can be proven to any fool by a comparison between 1968 and today, by way of the two eras' political speech rhetoric, song lyrics, movie content, fiction bestsellers, primetime TV programming, magazine syntax, school curricula, so on and so on. If we as a culture couldn't find the interest and patience for, say, A.J. Leibling or H.L. Mencken or George Santayana or Rebecca West or Bertrand Russell or George Orwell — and, if they were writing today, no interest or patience would be expended upon them at all — then paying talented writers a staff wage nowadays makes no practical sense. Writers who can hit that middle ground, the one without demanding subclauses or allusions, etc., are a dime a dozen, and do not need to be kept on retainer. If writing in America is a matter for the common denominatorship, then we're all freelancers, and we'd better face up to it.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

George Stephanopoulos boldly steps over the line of journalistic ethics.

Here's a link to an article about Wednesday night's Disney/ABC debate, which I suffered an hour of before turning the damned thing off:


Given the stupidity pills that Disney/ABC newspeople seem to consume, it shouldn't be surprising that ex-Bill and Hillary Clinton employee George Stephanopoulos was chosen to be one of the two moderators.

Given the tabloidization of Disney/ABC news, it would have made more sense to use Cynthia McFadden, Martin Bashir or even right-wing snarkster John Stossel as Charlie Gibson's wingperson.

Leaving aside the horrible deficit in journalism ethics of having someone connected to the election of presidential candidate Bill Clinton as a debate moderator, one can only marvel over Disney/ABC's decision, in focusing heavily on "character", "past associations" and "gotcha" questions (more at Obama's expense than at Hillary's), to aim even lower than CNN's use of the above-mentioned modus operandi.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

One year since the V-Tech killer's rampage.

CNN is marking the one-year anniversary of the V-Tech murders by showing the given-to-NBC photos of the killer brandishing his weapons.

Here's a poem I wrote last year about cable news and eagerness to fill airtime with sensational footage:



If we don’t show it, someone might bootleg it

and put it on YouTube.

If we don’t show it and someone bootlegs it and

puts it on YouTube, then it will become a story on

competing networks.

If we don’t show it and someone bootlegs it and

puts it on YouTube and it becomes a story on

competing networks, we’ll lose valuable ratings points.

If we don’t show it and someone bootlegs it and

puts it on YouTube and it becomes a story on competing networks

and we lose valuable ratings points, we’re losing millions of dollars.


And we can’t lose millions of dollars when the news division

is always expected to be profitable.


We’ll give our anchors the company line that broadcasting the killer’s ranting videos

and pointing-9mm Glock-at-camera photos are vital to understanding

the workings of a disturbed mind.


And if we make the grieving families and friends of the thirty-two

murdered people cry a lot harder and have sleepless nights and suffer

traumas for years, then that’s just too bad for them.


We can reach—and hold onto—millions of eyeballs.


We WILL show it.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What I learned from Billy Collins.

Earlier tonight, I saw former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins read at the Skirball Center [named after Jack Skirball, film producer probably best known for producing Alfred Hitchcock's SHADOW OF A DOUBT] in West L.A.

Collins breaks two rules of academia-related poetry:

1. He's not afraid to be accessible to people who aren't steeped in extensive knowledge of poetry and poets.

2. He's not afraid to be entertaining and make people laugh.

There are poets in the Los Angeles/Orange County communities who can be entertainers.  But it too often seems that poets feel they have to go to the Right workshops, get the Right degree from the Right university's MFA program and study with the Right private instructors to be considered a Real poet (and that's not mentioning all the tsuris that formal poets get about finding the Right publishers to submit their manuscripts to).

When Billy Collins answered some audience questions, I was tempted to ask him about where he thinks the Los Angeles formal poetry community (who believe in all the Right things) falls on his scale of worthwhile poets/poetry.

But I knew it wasn't the Right question to ask.  After ten years of writing and reading poetry in Los Angeles, I've learned to reflexively censor myself where public gatherings of literati are concerned.

Re Barack Obama and the "bitter" remark

Yes, I have contributed to Barack Obama's Presidential campaign--and will continue to do so.

But I don't always agree with everything he says and does. 

Obama recently made a rather pandering remark about finding a place for Al Gore in his administration (don't get me started on Gore--or, as I call him, Shallow Al).  And it seems that Obama, speaking behind closed doors in San Francisco on April 6th, missed the point in ascribing small-town behavior and customs to "bitterness" over the current economy.

Whether it's in Pennsylvania, Texas or Oklahoma, people in small towns/cities who opt for gun ownership, conservative politics and unquestioning obedience towards church doctrine tend to do so out of a "don't get above your raising" ethos.  And sometimes this will translate into open irritation towards people who have more broadminded beliefs and tendencies to think for themselves.  Of course, it doesn't help that Fox News and CNN [yes, CNN tilts right a lot of the time] plus certain talk radio outlets inflame small-town people's resentment towards anyone who acts "better" than they are. 

It has absolutely nothing to do with the state of the economy.

Cable and print pundits want to believe they know what goes on in the hearts and minds of the small towns they fly over in first class.  And it's sad and irritating that they're keeping Obama's "bitter" remark in play to fill column inches and airtime until next week's Pennsylvania primary.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Snapshots of America during the days of April 10-13.

Here are some more random entries:

1. The Miss USA pageant on Friday at Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood casino (formerly the rebuilt Aladdin) was a rather mind-blowing experience mixing diverse luminaries such as Donny and Marie Osmond (doing a middle-aged version of their 70s wholesome variety host stuff that I thankfully avoided back in the day), Donald Trump, Heather Mills, Rob Schneider and a semi-striptease strut-in-bikinis interlude where the contestants peeled off their faux furs and paraded their frontal, backal and sideal assets.  No further comment is necessary--other than to mention that the whole two-hour affair had a turbo-charged pace reminiscent of AMERICAN IDOL.

2. I noticed that the Borders in Northridge, CA (close to my home) isn't really into celebration of National Poetry Month 2008; the poetry section in the store has been somewhat reduced recently.  No further comment necessary--except to note that corporate balance sheet thinking is obviously in play and it might be fun to guess which section will shrink next (bonus: grade the store's employees on their recommendations to customers to log onto the website for books too unprofitable to carry in the store).

3. Six Flags, the amusement park conglomerate that recently decided (for their current TV commercial campaign) that a young Asian man speaking what sounds like phonetic English--apparently intended as a racist laugh-getter--is just as hilarious as a bald, bespectacled old man dancing to generic techno, is currently being sued by a 14-year-old girl and her parents over cables that snapped on the Superman Tower of Power ride.  This horrific incident happened at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, KY.

For more details, click onto this AOL link:


4. Commie Girl Rebecca Schoenkopf has made her first huge splash at CITY BEAT LOS ANGELES by targeting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Here's a sample paragaph for those of you who either are non-Angelenos or don't bother going home with copies of the city's declining alternapapers:

The subtitle for “Phantom Sightings” is “Art After the Chicano Movement,” and it is right. There is no movement here, because the curators couldn’t even commit themselves to “the viability of race and ethnicity as a curatorial framework” while curating an ethnic exhibit. It’s the worst kind of pussyfooting, a pathetic inability to commit, the biggest kowtowing to an invisible (ineffable!) correctness. Chicanos are not all the same, they must have been keening to themselves, and that is true! Black people do not speak for all black people, either, no matter how many times Barack Obama is grilled about Harry Belafonte’s “traitorous” statements. I can also see the point in a postfeminist show, where nobody’s marching in lockstep, and that – the “post-” – is exactly the message. Hey, it’s unruly, a hurly-burly out there! But even in a postfeminist show, you’ll still have lots of paintings of ’gina, and if your thesis is that your artists’ names all end in ‘z,’ you’d best find the Latin equivalent of the universal cooch.

And here's a link to the rest of the article:


You have to give Rebecca props: the "death to lacma" schtick is a catchy hook for people who haven't been to LACMA in years, but are eager to smirk in unison with anyone calling an artistic institution stodgy and clueless. 

But this is safe safe safe--like the fake rebellion slogans plastered on billboards and buses for the hit-singles-from-various-decades "JACK-FM" radio format.

If Rebecca Schoenkopf uttered similar epithets about, say, the Museum of Contemporary Art or even the saved-from-loss-of-location Beyond Baroque--or, God forbid, wrote a piece trashing Radiohead's KID A/AMNESIAC/HAIL TO THE THIEF avant-garde period--then she might actually be the rebel she pretends she is.

But Rebecca is likely to remain a fake contrarian and not piss off those who count (though there may be some advertisers who may fall for the "burn it down" silliness and pull their accounts). 

And one wonders if CITY BEAT's previous mix of liberal-to-neocon coverage of Los Angeles city issues will lose column-inches to Commie Girl's craptastic-for-capitalist-gain worldview.

5. 30 years on, things still stay the same: In 1978, Keith Moon died and ROLLING STONE paid tribute to him on the cover....by putting a headline in the corner, while the cover photo was a then-young Linda Ronstadt in a sensuous "come and get me, boys" pose.  In 2008, Charlton Heston [admittedly a more controversial figure than Moon] dies and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY pays tribute to him on the cover....by putting a small headline on the left margin, while the cover photo is Tina Fey in a sensuous "come and get me, boys" pose.

Sidebar: Tina's one-time comic partner before and during SNL, Rachel Dratch, seems to have been erased from Tina's current career narrative.  Ms. Dratch has some interesting things to say about her current career status--namely being unconsidered for the recent VANITY FAIR Women In Comedy cover, which pictured, among others, a glamorous Tina Fey--in a small article in last week's issue of NEW YORK magazine:


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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Michael Lacey--this year's Michael Richards.

Michael Lacey--the lord of all things NEW TIMES, including the LA WEEKLY--made this racial gaffe at a Phoenix journalists' function recently:


In other Mike Lacey news, veteran classical music critic Alan Rich (who I remember from his days writing the classical column for the defunct L.A. magazine NEW WEST, long before I ever moved to California), has been fired--perhaps so there will be more column inches in case legendary blowhard Rick Barrs (remember his "The Finger" column for NEW TIMES L.A. with the overuse of words like "freakin"?) is lured to L.A. WEEKLY.

Here's a link to the LAist blog's announcement about Rich's sacking:



Sunday, April 6, 2008

More random entries.

In no specific order:

1. Passing this link from the Long Beach alternapaper site DISTRICT WEEKLY.  It mentions a rather distasteful Pat Buchanan diatribe that he wouldn't say on MSNBC, but concisely summarizes the it's-not-my-fault attitudes of sixty-and-seventysomething white people regarding black people and continued reminders of past racism: http://thedistrictweekly.com/daily/staff-infection/briefing/pat-buchanan-fed-up-with-ungrateful-negroes/

Buchanan's column reminds me of Old Hollywood columnist Army Archerd braying in DAILY VARIETY in 1992 about how Archerd went off to Palm Springs to get away from the racial unrest in L.A.

2. It's rather sad that CNN devoted some of its death-of-King-in-1968 coverage to Soledad O'Brien doing a who-killed-King documentary.  Does this mean we can look forward to John King or Anderson Cooper or Kyra Phillips anchoring a similar one for the 40th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination in June?

3.  Charlton Heston has passed away; I'm expecting a lot of self-righteous progressives to overlook his decades-long career as an actor and dismember him in absentia for the past-and-present excesses and sins of the National Rifle Association.  For those who want to track it down on used-book sites or eBay, Heston's first memoir in diary format--THE ACTOR'S LIFE--covering his career from 1956-1976, is a book worth reading.

[Update: The posthumous bile towards Heston is already flowing.  Here's a reader's comment from THE NEW YORK TIMES website posted after the TIMES obituary: Vile, laughable movies; vile, unlaughable politics. Time now to RIP.]

4. AOL now carries a reminder that Kurt Cobain died around this time fourteen years ago.  As I perceive it, Nirvana seems to be fondly remembered but doesn't have the eternally-new-to-future-generations status of Jim Morrison and The Doors.  Maybe it's time for Courtney, Krist and Dave to agree to put out remastered-and-expanded definitive editions of NEVERMIND and IN UTERO to remind youngsters about a seminal band they're not listening to at present.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Dean Singleton effect on L.A. journalism.

“It’s really, really bad right now,” one said. “They pay us the equivalent of In-n-Out cooks, literally. They gut the newsroom, firing some of the best people we’ve got, and then turn around and expect us to be passionately motivated about our jobs.”

The above quote is from Mark Cromer's LA WEEKLY article about how (William) Dean Singleton, who I remember as buying and ruining THE DALLAS TIMES HERALD before it went out of business back in the long-ago day, is cutting the staffs and resources of his SoCal newspapers (including the like-them-or-not right-wing bastion LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS) to the point where they'll all be interchangeable like McDonalds or Burger King outlets.

At the rate the DAILY NEWS is being decimated in the name of profits, maybe it will revert to its handful-of-pages GREEN SHEET origins.

Here's a link to Cromer's complete article:


Steve Lowery and Rebecca Schoenkopf are out to make LA CITY BEAT dumber and snarkier.

I read this piece of information in LA OBSERVED a few minutes ago about Steve Lowery (ex-OC WEEKLY) swooning from exhaustion after his first week of editing LA CITY BEAT (the still mildly-progressive alternapaper that appears every Thursday):

Steve Lowery reported as editor in chief on Monday, put out his first issue of CityBeat on Thursday, then tendered his resignation last night. "I felt horrible when I called them. They were nothing but kind and wonderful," he tells me. But Lowery, 46, says the weekly is planning to reinvent itself over the new few months and he wasn't up for the grind, after having recently helped launch the District Weekly in Long Beach and, before that, the OC Weekly. "It's purely personal," Lowery said. "When I got there, it became immediately apparent that I just didn't have it in me....my body and my soul were telling me, hey bud, maybe it's time." Publisher Charles Gerencser told me that "no resignation has been accepted" and that nothing will be official until Monday. [Added: Lowery says they plan to meet then and see if there is some role for him going forward.] There's talk that Rebecca Schoenkopf, who came with Lowery this week, may be elevated to acting editor.

Here's the kind of reinvention that's already happening:  Rebecca Schoenkopf, snarkster in excelsis, used to write her COMMIE GIRL column for the OC WEEKLY.  If you remember the OC WEEKLY before Mike Lacey (a danger to SoCal-and-elsewhere journalism similar to Dean Singleton) came in and launched a staff purge of both the OC and LA Weeklies, there was a rather odious air of "we're so better than you" last-liberals-in-OC snottiness that made me want to go to the nearest restroom and retch into a commode.  Sure, there were some columns (including occcasional Victor Infante entrees) that were good and informative--one being Jaimes Palacio's weekly poetry reading picks--but the paper was at best a poor younger sibling to its elder up north.

Here's a link to Rebecca's first COMMIE GIRL column for LA CITY BEAT, where she imagines herself as Bugs Bunny urinating over all the Elmer Fudds she sees in the nowheresville-to-hercity of Calabasas during the recent Method Acting film festival:



Erika Schickel on Duttons Brentwood death throes.

Here's Erika Schickel commenting on the last days of Duttons Bookstore in Brentwood in a blog entry on LA OBSERVED:


National Poetry Month is here again.

Not to repeat myself too much, but here's another April--another National Poetry Month where people are encouraged to buy books of poetry by familiar names at chain bookstores around the U.S.

Here are a couple of books by poets who aren't household names that will be worth the money you'll avoid spending on the umpteenth Pablo Neruda or Robert Frost compilation:

Sarah Maclay--THE WHITE BRIDE http://www.amazon.com/White-Bride-Sarah-Maclay/dp/1597320420/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207340860&sr=1-2

RD Armstrong--FIRE AND RAIN SELECTED POEMS 1993-2007 VOLUME 1 http://www.lulu.com/browse/search.php?search_forum=-1&search_cat=2&show_results=topics&return_chars=200&search_keywords=&keys=&fSearch=RD+Armstrong&fSearchFamily=2&fSubmitSearch.x=10&fSubmitSearch.y=7

Remember, National Poetry Month should be about discovering new (or new to you) poets and their work.