Happy Birthday, Queen of the Angels!

Today we celebrate the anniversary of Los Angeles’ founding on September 4, 1781 of El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, or “The Town of the Queen of the Angels.” To commemorate the birthday of our great city, we’re sharing a few “birthday” photos from the Los Angeles Public Library’s Photo Collection.

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Cleverly painted “I love LA” face at Olvera Street on the occasion of Los Angeles’ 214th birthday. Photo by Gary Leonard, 1995.

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“Mounted riders tomorrow will recreate the journey taken by the settlers who founded Los Angeles 200 years ago, on Sept. 4, 1781. City Hall will be the site of the city’s birthday festivities.” Photo by Paul Chinn, 1981.

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Spanish dancer Rosa Maria performs at the 193rd birthday party of the city of Los Angeles. Providing music is the Mexican Tipica Orchestra under the direction of Jose Gutierrez. Photo by Joe Messinger, 1974.

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Thousands march and thousands watch as city celebrates birthday. In foreground as the huge parade moves along Broadway is 72nd Army Band from Ft. MacArthur. Photo taken 1967.

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Unveiling a plaque at the statue of Felipe de Neve, a city founder, are, from left, Eduardo Toda; Consuelo de Bonzo; Frank King; Dr. Reynaldo Carreon Jr; Ernest Debs and Arnold Martinez. Plaque reads in part: At Mission San Gabriel, on Sept. 26, 1781, the governor of the Californias, Don Felipe de Neve, wrote and signed the order by which the Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porcincula was founded Sept. 4, 1781. Photo taken 1963.

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Rehearsing a dance number is Betty Ramirez who will take part in the “San Gabriel Mission Day” program of the Los Angeles centennial week celebration. Photo taken 1946.

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Retracing the path that the founding fathers took to start a city that has grown beyond their most grandiose dreams, riders and carriages are shown on the modern highway leading from San Gabriel to the Plaza for Los Angeles’ 160th birthday fiesta. Photo taken 1941.

For more great historic photos, browse the Los Angeles Public Library’s Photo Collection.

Celebrating Cesar Chavez at the Los Angeles Public Library

In honor of Cesar Chavez Day and The Crusades of Cesar Chavez, the just-released biography by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Miriam Pawel, ALOUD will be hosting a program celebrating the famed civil rights leader whose work has impacted the lives of millions across the world, including many artists who have been inspired to tell his story. On April 1 at ALOUD, biographer Pawel will be joined by renowned playwright and director Luis Valdez (Zoot Suit, La Bamba, and Teatro Campesinowhich has been in continuous operation since 1965 when it was founded on the Delano Grape Strike picket lines of Cesar Chavez’s United Farmworkers Union as a means to educate and empower workers). Pawel and Valdez will share their perspectives on the crusades of this unlikely American hero who ignited one of the great social movements of our time. As we get ready for this special evening, here’s a look into the Library’s archives at the myriad ways Chavez’s story has touched us.

Shooting Reflections: Film and Social Change

Actor, filmmaker, and activist Diego Luna visited ALOUD last year to discuss how storytelling can act as an agent for social change. Watch the program above or listen to the podcast. And keep an eye out in theatres for Luna’s latest feature, Cesar Chavez, which is now playing.

The Union of their Dreams: Power, Hope and Struggle in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Worker Movement

In 2010 at ALOUD, Miriam Pawel discussed the rise of the United Farm Workers during the heady days of civil rights struggles, the antiwar movement, and 60s and 70s student activism. Listen to the podcast.

The Los Angeles Public Library has an incredible collection of photos documenting Chavez’s activism around the city.

Cesar Chavez at GM Rally March http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics28/00033790.jpgLocal 645 President Pete Beltran, left, Cesar Chavez and Maxine Waters, march with GM workers, past the GM plant on Van Nuys Boulevard. Photo by Mike Sergieff, 1983.

 Cesar Chavez Pickets Supermarket

Father Luis Olivares (left) chats with Cesar Chavez while picketing in front of the Safeway supermarket at 3rd Street and Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles. Photo by Mike Mullen, 1979.

Brooklyn Avenue Becomes César E. Chávez Avenue
http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics03/00001218.jpgMembers of the Jewish Labor Committee participate in the renaming ceremony for Brooklyn Avenue to become César E. Chávez Avenue in Boyle Heights. The committee was asked to support the changing demographics of the neighborhood by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. 1994.

And of course, many related books for all ages, including Spanish language books, are available at the Los Angeles Public Library:

Cesar Chavez : A Photographic Essay, Cesar Chavez : Autobiography of La Causa, and A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez.

Book Jacket for: Cesar Chavez : a photographic essayBook Jacket for: Cesar Chavez : autobiography of La CausaBook Jacket for: A picture book of Cesar Chavez

Learn more about the upcoming ALOUD program and make your free reservation here. And remember the Los Angeles Public Library will be closed on Monday, March 31 in observance of Cesar Chavez Day.

Lost & Found at the Movies: Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

At each Lost & Found at the Movies event we choose a theme to explore. On the heels of Valentine’s Day, during an evening called Love is a Many Splendored Thing, we looked at love in movies and love for movies.

The opening clip reel featured moments from a handful of cinema’s great love stories (too many to list). When Ken Brecher and I first spoke about this series, he encouraged the notion that I make the events ‘personal’ and that was the case with these clips – excerpted from a longer half-hour piece that served as an ‘installation’ at my wedding reception, playing in a loop and projected inside a gazebo on the grounds. In the tradition of reading poetry at weddings, romantic films are part of the way we think (or maybe idealize) love.

In putting together those clips, I noticed a lot of patterns: there’s invariably the first moment the lovers see each other, there’s the first time they meet, a declaration of love (not without some difficulty for many), then tension, discord or even a break up. Often times that leads to running (possibly precipitated by a revelation) and then a speech, and of course the ending, for better or worse.

Show Me Love

On the eve of both the Independent Spirit Awards and Academy Awards, it felt appropriate to look back at the year of film and acknowledge that some of the best films (and some of the most overlooked) were love stories.

I’m not big on superlatives, but if pressed the best film of the year for me was Spike Jonze’s Her, an artful story of loneliness, love and a near future world (drawn in brilliantly evocative detail) in which a romance between man and a computer operating system is not only possible, but seemingly an opiate for a sadly solitary society. There was also Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, the third part of his trilogy and, for me, the strongest and most complex; a portrait of mature love and marriage that looks not at falling in love, but staying in love. And of course, Frances Ha, the wonderful collaboration between Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig and what struck me as a truly contemporary story – a woman working her way through a set of identities in a search of a figurative and literal room of her own.

There were also a handful of exceptional films that were overlooked and really deserve attention. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, a film that begins as a Bonnie & Clyde outlaw romance, but moves to a deeply moving reflection on love changing over time. Cutie and the Boxer, which although it was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, it was not widely seen and really should be. Not only one of the best verité docs in years, but a richly layered love story between a married couple, two Japanese artists and their lives together in New York over the past 40 years. For completely unique love stories there was Fill the Void, a film that tells the story of love and marriage within an ultraorthodox community in Israel – subtle, moving and unlike any film you’ve ever seen. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who won an Academy Award for The Separation, made The Past in France. It explores the relationship between an estranged couple as they formalize their divorce and is told with the same amazing observation and compassion as his earlier films. A high school love story with real honesty and edge was James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now, an adaptation of a Tim Tharp novel. And Shane Carruth’s second feature, Upstream Color, which developed a dedicated following both here and internationally, pushes the boundaries of filmmaking, envisioning love within the framework of poetic, non-narrative and largely non-verbal experience.

We also turned toward the future and the abundance of interesting films that will make their way to theaters this year (Indiewire ran a great list of highly-anticipated 2014 films). With Sundance and Berlin having just wrapped, we rushed through a few highlights:

Damien Chazelle’s debut feature was made in a remarkably short period of time, an extension of his short that screened last year at Sundance, Whiplash won both the jury prize and the audience award for US Dramatic Competition. Craig Johnson’s The Skeleton Twins, a poignant, superbly crafted story of a sibling relationship, features outstanding dramatic performances from Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been anticipated for most of the time it has been shooting – over 12 years! A completely unique film, chronicling the life of a young boy as he grows up (played by the same actor, Ellar Coltrane, over that time), was worth the wait. A few other stories of boyhood (and fathers and son) were Kat Candler’s fabulous Hellion with Aaron Paul and Imperial Dreams from Malik Vitthal. For the best Iranian vampire Western, you could turn to the fantastic genre mish mash of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night from upcoming filmmaker and force of nature Lily Amirpour. Two remarkable films from Ireland were Calvary, a profound, layered reflection of faith and human nature from John Michael McDonagh (The Guard) starring Brendan Gleeson in what one hopes is an Oscar-worthy role as a priest, and Frank, a completely unique and subversive look at creative ambition, bands and belonging from the very talented Lenny Abrahamson.

As always a number of foreign language films stood out, including Blind from Norwegian writer/director Eski Vogt (writing partner of Joachim Trier on Reprise and Oslo, August 31; Difret (a riveting story of tradition and modernity in Ethiopia); To Kill A Man, another fine film to emerge from the burgeoning Chilean film movement, which won the Grand Jury prize; The Lunchbox, a classical romance set in bustle of modern Mumbai and recently released by Sony Pictures Classics; and finally, Ida, a Polish film from Pawel Pawlikowski and perhaps the most beautiful, meditative film you’ll see this year.

On the documentary front there was Steve James’ profile of Roger Ebert, Life Itself; the story of Sepideh a teenage girl in Iran who wants to be an astronaut/astronomer; and Edet Belzberg’s stunning Watchers of the Sky about four people who have devoted their lives to the pursuit of international criminal justice. From Berlin, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel played to rave reviews and has just opened here. Praia di Futuro from Karim Ainouz was a poetic reflection on love, and the jury prize winner was a Chinese crime story, Black Coal, Thin Ice, but the standout for me was the astonishing debut film from Yann Demange, ’71, about a ‘night in the life of’ a British solider caught on the wrong side of Belfast during the Troubles.

And there are so many more things to look forward to this year: Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt), The Cobbler (Tom McCarthy), The Rover (David Michod), Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson), The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos), Far From the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg), Carol (Todd Haynes), Two Days, One Night (Dardennes brothers), Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan), Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh), The Cut (Fatih Akin) and Assassin (Hou Hsiao-Hsien).

True Romance

In a film town like Los Angeles, we’re fortunate to be surrounded by a particular kind of library: film archives. For each Lost & Found at the Movies events, I like to go foraging through a library or archive.

This time, I spoke to May Haduong at the Academy Film Archive, part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. It’s the third largest film archive in the country; they have 222 million feet of film. We took a look at only a couple hundred feet (all 16mm). Appropriately, the footage brought us “true romance”: home movies of notable Hollywood couples. There were three segments:

James Wong Howe and Sanora Babb. Home movies have an edge when shot by renowned cinematographer. James Wong Howe who worked on over 100 films during the golden age and won 2 cinematography Academy Awards for Rose Tattoo and Hud, also made many home movies throughout his career. Probably 1937, this footage features Howe travelling in the San Francisco Bay Area by car with his partner and future wife, Sanora Babb, her sister Dorothy, author James Hilton and his wife Alice, and actor Charles Korvin.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Shot in the mid-late-1940s this footage shows Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, who had been married a few years on their boat, the Santana. Bogart sailed quite often – 40 weekends a year – and taught Bacall, who joined him less after the birth of their first child. Joining them is Richard Brooks who directed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Lord Jim and Looking for Mr. Goodbar and wrote Key Largo. Bogart was once quoted saying, “The problem with having dames along is you can’t pee over the side.”

And finally, Alfred Hitchcock, Alma Hitchcock and their daughter Patricia. It’s likely that Alfred and Alma Hitchcock, collaborators and husband and wife, acquired a camera when Pat was born in 1928. The bulk of these were shot near London at Shamley Cottage, a country home. Hitchcock shot many of them, handing the camera off to Alma on occasion. This is the earliest known color footage of Alfred Hitchcock – probably shot in 1929. It’s Kodacolor, a process involving a filter and black and white stock to render color – not as vibrant as Kodachrome. Most notable is the playful, quirky side of Hitchcock revealed in these movies.

Picture above courtesy of the Alfred Hitchcock Collection at the Academy Film Archive. Special thanks to the Academy Film Archive and the estates of James Wong Howe, Alfred Hitchcock and Richard Brooks for allowing these home movies to be used in the collection.

Where’s the Love?

We shifted gears from love in the movies to love for the movies.

In the first Lost & Found at the Movies event, I had rummaged through the Los Angeles Public Library’s breathtaking photography collection to find a number of images of Los Angeles’ movie palaces over the years, beginning with the openings of famous theaters like Grauman’s Chinese and the El Capitan all the way through the construction and opening of the Cinerama Dome. You can’t help but feel struck by the majesty of those spaces and what that brought to the experiences itself. And with that grandeur in mind, it’s tough to survey the city’s theater landscape today – the countless defunct theaters and empty marquees – without a certain sadness. That is until you look a little closer….

There’s a thriving culture of theatrical exhibition across Los Angeles and vibrant community waiting for you to be part of it. So I decided to spend a day trekking across town and talking to people whose passion is for showing movies. The day trip was chronicled by filmmaker Michael Bodie in this 8 minute piece “Where’s the Love?”

Where’s the Love? from Library Foundation of Los Angeles on Vimeo.

So in addition to great first-run venues that feature interesting films (Landmark’s venues, Laemmle Theaters, Sundance Sunset, and others), we can take hope in places like the Academy Film Archive, American Cinemateque at the Aero and Egyptian theaters, Billy Wilder Theater (UCLA Film & Television Archive), Cinefamily, Cinespia, Downtown Independent, LACMA, New Beverly, Redcat and occasionally the Getty and Skirball. Also both UCLA’s Melnitz Movies and USC Stark Family Theater can be counted on for interesting specialty films.

Some highlights: the Academy Film Archive has several programs in the works, from a Jim Jarmusch retrospective to Penelope Spheeris’ Decline of Western Civilization trilogy (with special guests) and some not-to-be missed live events including Ennio Morricone in conversation with Quentin Tarantino. Shannon Kelly and the UCLA Film & Television Archive will be presenting a Robert Altman retrospective from April to June. The American Cinemateque has just started a Jean-Luc Godard series and will offer their famed Film Noir series again this spring. And in addition to Cinefamily’s upcoming runs of Alan Resnais’ Je t’aime, je t’aime, you can find their long running series like Friday Night Frights, The Silent Treatment, Lost and Found Film Club and The Doug Benson Movie Interruption.

The Happiness Quotient

Love makes us feel good, maybe it’s the only thing that mitigates the world we live in. But does cinema show us real love – or just movies love. Is it all just warm and fuzzy? We break for statistics….

I used three sample sets: AFI’s 100 Greatest Love Stories, Sight & Sound’s Top 100 films, and all the winners of the Best Picture Academy Award.

What percentage of the great romances actually have a happy ending? In a non-scientific statistical analysis, I found the following:

AFI 100: 62% of the couples in these films end up together in the end, 38% do not (and for 26% it’s because one or both are dead). Noteworthy is that in seven of the top 10 films the couple does not end up together.

Sight & Sound. I considered 26 of the Top 100 films to be veritable love stories. Of those 12 end happily (46%), 11 unhappily (42%), of those 5 are a result of death. That leaves 3 in the murky Gray Zone – although the couple is together, whether they are happy is debatable (e.g. L’avventura).

Best Picture. Subjectively, 30 Best Picture winners are love stories.  Of those, 16 end happily, 11 unhappily including 8 deaths. 2 I put in a fourth category in which the female object of affection dies at the beginning in order for the male protagonist to grow as a person (usually by exacting bloody revenge).

Dark Side of the Human Heart

In our final segment with writer/director Stacie Passon the conversation about love stories explored the depths of human nature, mature relationships and marriage. We looked at clips from Passon’s Concussion, Rossellini’s devastating Journey to Italy, which Cahiers du Cinema called the first modern film, Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage and Godard’s A Woman is a Woman, at which point we ran out of time before getting to Alan Alda’s The Four Seasons and Linklater’s Before Midnight.

So, moving from the most romantic moments of cinema to the more profound and dark contours of the human heart, I think it’s fair to say we found quite a lot of “splendor”.

–Posted by John Nein, Senior Programmer at the Sundance Film Festival and Curator of Lost & Found at the Movies

From the Archive: Olympic Fever

With the Winter Olympics just underway, the hometown host of Sochi has already found itself among the constant buzz of front-page news. As we watch to see how Sochi will leave its final mark on the 2014 Olympics, we thought we would look back 30 years at some of the headlines from when Los Angeles hosted the 1984 Summer Olympics. From a not-yet-tarnished O.J. Simpson carrying the torch, to the first-ever female marathon event, here’s a few memorable moments we’ve dug up from the Los Angeles Public Library’s photo collection. Let the games begin!

O.J. Simpson Carries Olympic Torch http://jpg2.lapl.org/pics29/00049044.jpg
It took a chain of 4,200 runners–running one-kilometer segments over 82 days–to deliver the Olympic torch across the U.S. to Los Angeles. Just days before the Opening Ceremonies at the Coliseum, O.J. Simpson carried the torch in Santa Monica. Runners are shown on the California Incline, connecting Ocean Avenue to the Pacific Coast Highway.

 

Peristyle End of Coliseum During Olympicshttp://jpg3.lapl.org/pics20/00029892.jpgPeristyle end of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

 

1984 Olympic Starshttp://jpg2.lapl.org/pics40/00054661.jpg
Before there was a “Dream Team,” 1984 Olympic stars Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Wayman Tisdale and Patrick Ewing made it easy for the United States to win big.

 

Mary Lou on the Balance Beamhttp://jpg2.lapl.org/pics36/00052556.jpg
In the all-around finals, Mary Lou Retton strikes a delicate pose on the balance beam en route to a gold medal in the all-around.

 

Greg Louganis Wins Gold Medalhttp://jpg2.lapl.org/pics29/00049050.jpg
By the age of 16, diver Greg Louganis had won his first Olympic medal. Eight years later, at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, he won gold in both the platform and springboard events, becoming the first man in 56 years to do so.

 

Carl Cruises to Victorhttp://jpg2.lapl.org/pics36/00052532.jpg
Haseley Crawford (#850) of Trinidad, left, and Michael McFarlane (#379) of Britain watch Carl Lewis (#915), right, who cruised to victory this morning in a 100-meter heat in 10.32.

 

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Olympic pin trading area on Figueroa during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Large Budweiser advertising balloons are in the background.

 

Joan Benoit Wins Women’s Marathonhttp://jpg2.lapl.org/pics29/00049042.jpg
Until 1984, the Olympic program for women did not include running events longer than 1,500 meters, in part because of the outdated belief that they were too “fragile” for such distances. In the inaugural women’s marathon, Joan Benoit put an end to such talk as she raced away from her chief rival, Norway’s Grete Waitz. Spectators lined the 26.2-mile route to cheer on the competitors, the exception being a three-mile stretch along the Marino Freeway that was closed to the public. Behind Benoit, Switzerland’s Gabriela Andersen-Schiess staggered to the finish.

Browse more photos at www.lapl.org.

From the Archive: The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year’s observance of Martin Luther King Day is made especially momentous as it also marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington. Here then are a few incredible moments from the Los Angeles Public Library’s photo collection looking back at the rich legacy of MLK and how he impacted our city. Also, LAPL will be hosting Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, a new program series developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history. Check out the schedule of free film screenings at several library branches here.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Addresses Students
http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics25/00032094.jpgMartin Luther King speaks to a crowd of 4,500 on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Here, he called for students to join a “Domestic Freedom Corps” to work in 120 counties of the Deep South to help increase the number of registered African American voters.

Honored at the Hollywood Palladiumhttp://jpg1.lapl.org/00082/00082910.jpg
Martin Luther King is honored by the City of Los Angeles and the World Affairs Council during a luncheon held at the Hollywood Palladium. Here he is pictured with (from left), Councilman (and later mayor) Tom Bradley, Supervisor Warren M. Dorn, King, Harold C. McClellan and Mayor Samuel W. Yorty. King arrived in Los Angeles under heavy guard following the assassination of Malcolm X. An anonymous bomb threat was made during the luncheon. When addressing the group, King said, “Before the victory is won, some of us will have to get scarred up a little bit.” Photograph caption dated February 26, 1965 reads, “City and county officials presented a proclamation to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in ceremonies preceeding a World Affairs Council luncheon yesterday at the Hollywood Palladium at which King, the Nobel Peace prize winner, spoke.”

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A chartered bus with 37 aboard leaves the Federal Building under strict security measures. The Los Angeles civil-rights partisans were on their way to Alabama to participate in Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Negro vote” march. 1965.

Los Angeles Sports Arenahttp://jpg1.lapl.org/pics25/00032084.jpgMartin Luther King and Governor Edmund G. Brown during a Freedom Rally at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. An audience of 12,000 was expected at the 18,000-seat venue. When over 25,000 people showed up to hear King speak, many remained outside and listened to the speech over loudspeakers. Photograph dated June 18, 1961.

Chavez Gives King Tribute http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics25/00032092.jpgCesar Chavez, standing next to a large wreath, pays tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a memorial service at the Los Angeles Coliseum on April 7, 1968.

King Memorial Service http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics25/00032082.jpgClergy and mourners march to First Methodist Church, 8th and Hill Streets, on April 8, 1968, where services were held for Dr. Martin Luther King. View is from the top of the church.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Honored  http://jpg1.lapl.org/00092/00092142.jpg
A grandmother explains to her grandson who Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was, in front of a display in the lobby of Curtiss Middle School in Carson. Photo by Ken Papaleo.

Browse more photos from the Library’s online collection here.

Libraries Are Back in Business on Sundays!

Some think of Sundays as a day of rest, but everyone can rest assured that the Los Angeles Public Library is reopening on Sundays! Thanks to Measure L, Central Library and eight regional branches will once again be open for business on Sundays from 1-5 p.m. beginning January 12.

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Re-opening on Sundays is made possible by Measure L, a ballot initiative overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2011. Measure L reverses cuts to the library’s budget and gradually restores hours and services at the city’s 73 libraries over four years. The return of Sunday library service comes one year ahead of the schedule promised to voters, ensuring that critical resources will be available to the people who depend on the Los Angeles Public Library the most.

Join us as we celebrate at these libraries on January 12, starting at 12:30 p.m.with a ribbon cutting and continuing with refreshments and special family programs throughout the day:

Central Library
1:15 p.m. Storytime  (KLOS Theater)
2 p.m. Performance by INCA Peruvian Ensemble suitable for all ages. (Taper)

Arroyo Seco Regional Branch
1:15 p.m. Storytime & crafts
2 p.m. Thor’s Reptile Family program
All day  STAR volunteers reading to children

Exposition Park Regional Branch
1 p.m. Face Painting with Marquita
2 p.m. Thor’s Reptiles: arthropods, amphibians and reptiles of all sizes.
3:30 p.m. Storytime

Goldwyn – Hollywood Regional Branch
1:15 p.m. Storytime
2 p.m. Magic Show with Tony Daniels

Mid-Valley Regional Branch
1:15 p.m. World Music Sing Along with Thalia and her guitar
2:30 p.m. Magic Show with Allen Oshiro

North Hollywood Regional Branch
1 p.m. Storytime with Councilmember Paul Krekorian
2 p.m. Puppet show by Swazzle, a comical retelling of Aesop’s fable “The Grasshopper and the Ant”

San Pedro Regional Branch
1 p.m. Geebo the Clown
2:30 p.m.   Teen Game Night featuring X-Box 360, refreshments and prizes

West Los Angeles Regional Branch
1:30 p.m. Storytime
2 p.m. Bubblemania presenting a program about the fun and science of bubbles

West Valley Regional Branch
1 p.m. Storytime
2 p.m. Ahoy Me Matey’s: pirate magic show with audience participation, sword fighting, pirate music, talk like a pirate lessons, pirate stories and more

Thanks to all the supporters of Measure L! For more information visit: www.lapl.org/sunday.

Historic image from the Library’s photo collection.

This Year’s Highlights of Membership

Members of the Library Foundation are a dedicated group of people who share a deep commitment to helping the Library provide all Angelenos with access to ideas, information, and lifelong learning. We are so grateful for their support, and in return, have spent 2013 hosting a range of events to celebrate their love for the Los Angeles Public Library. Before we look ahead to 2014 and invite Members to join us for a new slate of special events, here’s a look back at some highlights from this truly remarkable year. If you are not a Member already, please consider becoming a Library Foundation Member today to take part in these special events.

2013 marked the debut of “The Writer’s Cut.” This new program brings today’s most well known television writers and showrunners to the Central Library to discuss storytelling for the small screen. Members heard behind-the-scenes tales from Dan O’Shannon (“Modern Family”), Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead”), and, pictured above, Vince Gilligan (“Breaking Bad”).

After the coziest of all fundraisers, the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, took place last year, writer Mark Salzman, chair of the event, invited Members to participate in a private writing workshop.

Members were also invited to many other exclusive events with celebrated authors including these Leadership Circle receptions and private events:
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Sharon Rising, Marlene Billington and Patt Morrison gather for a reception with Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California.

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As part of What Ever Happened to Moby Dick?, D. Graham Burnett with Douglas Murray, Bernadette Glenn, and Ken Brecher.


Songs in the Key of LA performance with Van Dyke Parks and special guests.

Membership also comes with some special savings benefits. This year, Members received early access to the Summer Sale at the award-winning Library Store and discounts at other Los Angeles organizations as part of May and November’s Member Appreciation Days.

As always, Members received priority notice of the ALOUD lineups throughout the year, and this past September Members also received priority notice to the launch of “Lost & Found at the Movies,” a new series celebrating the art of cinema and the vitality of film culture. Curated by John Nein, senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, the program kicked off with Los Angeles Times and NPR Film Critic Kenneth Turan talking about how and where we watch films in L.A. (pictured above.)
The Young Literati’s annual Annenberg Beach House party was the perfect kick off to “Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?”. Members were treated to readings by Moby, Mark Z. Danielewski, Colin Hanks, and Attica Locke; a DJ set by Shepard Fairey; and a special acoustic performance by thenewno2.

Young Literati also enjoyed cocktails with Roy Choi after a particularly mouthwatering edition of ALOUD. During the evening, Roy Choi discussed his fascinating journey, which has culminated in his critically-acclaimed Kogi BBQ Trucks and several much-loved restaurants. He then joined Young Literati Members in the courtyard for a private reception featuring tacos and beer!
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And the Young Literati’s Private Party at Subliminal Projects was an evening of literary inspiration at Amanda and Shepard Fairey’s Echo Park gallery space. Kai and Sunny’s literature-inspired artwork provided a beautiful backdrop for Young Literati to mingle and enjoy special cocktails from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Thank you to all of our Members for spending the year with us! If you are looking for some last minute holiday gifts, Membership is the gift that keeps on giving. For a limited time this December and January, a generous Member of our Board of Directors will match your gift dollar for dollar when you join the Library Foundation.

For more information about Membership contact Erin Sapinoso at erinsapinoso@lfla.org. Or for more information about the Young Literati, contact Jennnifer Kondo at jenniferkondo@lfla.org.

 

Tying the Room Together; Highlights from ALOUD

The year brought many unexpected surprises to the ALOUD stage: a first-ever live rap with local hip hop stars backing author MK Asante; Quetzal bringing vintage music from the Los Angeles Public Library sheet music collection to life; Persian short story master Goli Taraghi slyly comparing Tehranian and Parisian cabbies; the late Wanda Coleman delivering one of her last public readings—a passionate poetry tribute to James Weldon Johnson. We sampled sustainable Congolese coffee before a panel on coffee culture, and blissed out when The Dude himself (Jeff Bridges) ruminated on how “love is the rug that ties the room together.”

Please join us once more before the year’s end to laugh, question, savor, and reflect on some of our favorite ALOUD moments from 2013:

Three accomplished short story writers—George Saunders, Bernard Cooper, and Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, unpacked the challenges of the short story form explaining how they work through their own daunting personal doubts.

“Language is like a sword that can defend you.” Iranian writer Goli Taraghi shared this wisdom along with other fascinating insights into how creativity and ingenuity can flourish despite censorship, oppression, and the struggles of an exile living far from her home and mother tongue.

MK Asante and Nick Flynn gifted us raw wisdom in their memoirs, both soaring meditations on the power of poetry, writing, and filmmaking as tools for transmitting universal truths, emotional healing, and unlocking individual freedom.

“Is this your first book in a box?,” asked graphic novelist Gene Yang of fellow illustrator Joe Sacco. Yang dove into a fascinating discussion with Sacco on process, while looking at how artists deal with the ethics of converting history into graphic narratives. Far from being contained within the boundaries of a box, these two artists showed how storytelling is illuminated through diverse forms.

The Feminine Mystique, a panel of multi-generational activists, expanded upon Betty Friedan’s seminal book by exploring the evolution of the feminist movement, and why feminism is still considered a “dirty word.” Highlights included learning about the radical and exploratory approaches women took to protect their health in the sixties (the first time anyone produced a speculum on the ALOUD stage!), and consensus from all participants that feminists today are in favor of a more inclusive movement encompassing class and racial equality for both women and men.

The Library jammed to the jazz and world music tunes of Don Cherry in a live tribute honoring an L.A. genius who spread his cosmic musical talent far and wide. In a first-ever hometown tribute, his talented family of fellow musicians—conducted by his son David Ornette Cherry— shared candid stories from his career while also introducing a new generation to his work.

The ALOUD audience was enlightened by a rich bilingual experience about the life of the late poet and novelist Roberto Bolaño. Here’s a gem from an audience member: “Otherness becomes familiar as the magic of unattainable syllables is rendered even more magical with the conveyance of heart pulse, bone and marrow intentions.”


Activists Albie Sachs, Eve Ensler, Jody Williams and artist Shirin Neshat—all by example—showed what we can do as citizens and artists in service of reconciliation, social justice and as agents for positive change in the world: “You cannot not respond to the world around you—culture has to be morally conscious.” —Shirin Neshat (pictured above)

Thank you for spending the year with us! We look forward to seeing you in 2014. Learn more about our 2014 program calendar here.

Looking at the Past and Present; A Year of Special Projects

The Library Foundation has spent the last year envisioning the role of the 21st century library by launching a range of special projects that celebrate the rich history and culture of Los Angeles in today’s world. Before we head into 2014, we wanted to share some highlights from these projects that we hope have offered Angelenos a chance to experience our city in new and unique ways.

Songs in the Key of L.A.

Photo by Gary Leonard.

Over the summer, this special project brought to life the Los Angeles Public Library’s sheet music collection, including the publication of Angel City Press’ beautiful anthology curated by USC Professor Josh Kun. The First Floor Galleries of the Central Library also opened an exhibit of 46 pieces of the cover art from the sheet music, and ALOUD hosted Kun and GRAMMY-winning L.A. band Quetzal for a look at L.A.’s musical history. Listen to the podcast here.

The project closed with what Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic Randall Roberts called “a truly memorable moment, one that many in attendance won’t forget.” East L.A. band Ozmatli and fellow artists took the stage at Grand Performances to resurrect the historic songs from the collection. The evening featured special guests Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, and Cheech Marin filling the California Plaza with a new take on its SoCal roots.

Check out KCET’s Artbound special series for short films documenting the new recordings of songs from the collection below, and download some of the songs here.

 

Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (His transformation is), 2009. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles ©Raymond Pettibon

Throughout the fall, the Library Foundation teamed up with the Los Angeles Public Library to invite readers to take a look at Herman Melville’s masterpiece through a Southern California lens. Over 90 librarian-created events across the city offered Angelenos of all ages to chance to interact with the great white whale, including a special reading of Moby Dick by actor, comedian, and Melvillian enthusiast Patton Oswalt.

Photo by Gary Leonard.

Over 200 folks took part in the Summarizing Moby Dick Twitter Contest winners, which offered hilarious and thoughtful micro takes on the epic story, including this favorite:

http://lfla.org/mobydick/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Twitter-Winner-1-copy.jpg

The project culminated with “My Moby Dick,” a grand finale of theatrical performance, sea shanties, and cutting-edge science at the Broad Stage, including a special film by the directors of Little Miss Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Watch parts of this video here, including food critic Jonathan Gold’s retelling of eating whale balls.

 

Lost & Found at the Movies

This fall, we debuted a new series celebrating the art of cinema and the vitality of film culture. Curated by John Nein, senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, the program is eclectic in theme and varies in form, exploring how we lose ourselves and find ourselves at the movies. The first installment unearthed some historic photos of theaters from the Library’s archive and featured Los Angeles Times and NPR Film Critic Kenneth Turan talking about how and where we watch films in L.A.

Check back with us in the new year for upcoming special projects, including the next installment of Lost & Found at the Movies.

Making History Graphic

Over the past two years, ALOUD has featured two separate programs that have explored the graphic novel as a unique form of storytelling. First, Alison Bechdel amazed us with her unique use of the graphic novel format for her memoir Fun Home; then we saw how great works of literature could be reinterpreted by illustrators, cartoonists and graphic novelists to create The Graphic Canon, a new visual way of experiencing the classics.

On November 12, ALOUD will present acclaimed graphic novelists Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese; Avatar) and Joe Sacco (Journalism; Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt) in a discussion exploring their innovative approaches toward “Making History Graphic” – both will be joined in conversation by Charles Hatfield, Professor of English at California State University, Northridge (Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature; The Superhero Reader).  Both authors have newly released books that tell historically accurate stories in beautifully illustrated comic form, to create an altogether new and exciting way to experience and learn about events of the past. In advance of this program, we wanted to give you a better idea of just how special and inventive these new books by Yang and Sacco are. Read more below, and join us at ALOUD on November 12th!

Joe Sacco’s The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme 

This stunningly illustrated panorama by Joe Sacco can be difficult to describe, because we have never quite seen anything like it. Unfolding all 24 panels of Sacco’s exceedingly detailed masterpiece reveals a complete re-telling of the events on the first day of the Battle of the Somme during World War I. The accompanying booklet, On The Great War, includes an authors’ note explaining the importance of the WW 1on Sacco’s life and psyche, a forward by author Adam Hochschild which includes excerpts of his acclaimed book, To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (which he discussed at ALOUD in 2011)  and a fully annotated version of the whole illustrated panorama, which allows the reader to visually experience every step of the battle by explaining and contextualizing exactly what you are seeing, giving real insight into the lives and conditions of the soldiers. Examples of Sacco’s annotations:

Plate 9, #15: Breakfast arrives though not all the troops get a chance to eat”

“Plate 11, #23: At precisely 7:30 am, the attack commences.”

“Plate 21, #42: A battery of 6-inch howitzers fires at German positions.”

The detail in this book must really be seen in person, as photos cannot do it justice- but we’ve included a few for you below, as well as a short video that shows the unfolding of all 24 panels of The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints

Gene Yang has written a number of successful graphic novels, including the award-wining Avatar which became a popular television series on Nickelodeon, but his newest work, Boxers & Saints, for which he was just nominated as a 2013 National Book Award Finalist, is his historic depiction of China’s Great Boxer Rebellion from perspectives on both sides of the battle. Not only does Boxers & Saints teach about real events of the Boxer Rebellion, it also makes both sides of the story relatable because the reader experiences each story through the eyes of  the main character.

Boxers, the first volume of this series follows the main character Little Bao- a young Chinese boy living in the countryside, whose life drastically changes after the arrival of western missionaries who try to insert their beliefs by force and intimidation. After witnessing a series of injustices on his village and his own family, we see Little Bao change from a boy to a warrior determined to set things right. Bao joins a group of vigilantes called The Righteous and Harmonious Fist, and together they set out to banish the “foreign devils” in order to reunite China, showing no mercy along the way. Storytelling and the importance of cultural history plays a huge role in Boxers & Saints, and there are even a few scenes that take place inside a library (which we loved of course!)

Images from Boxers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Saints, the second part of this two-volume set, we witness the other side of the Boxer Rebellion by following the story of an impoverished young girl who has converted to Christianity, by giving up her family and her past as an outcast,for the prospect of starting over with a new life and a new name. We see her struggling along the way- battling her own confusion over religion, family, and searching for meaning in her life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re sure you’ll enjoy hearing more about the process behind these stunning works as much as we’ve enjoyed reading them.  See you on Tuesday, November 12th as we explore “Making History Graphic.”

 

By Sarah Charleton, Cultural Programs Coordinator