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 Archives: Oscar-Winning Screenplays

http://jpg1.lapl.org/00082/00082573.jpgOscar flown over the Hollywood Sign [graphic] / photo by Mike Mullen.

Hollywood is riding high this week on the heels of this Sunday’s Academy Awards. As you prepare your Oscar party menu and cast a friendly bet on what will take home the gold, here’s one more way to get into the spirit of the awards season. Did you know that the Los Angeles Public Library houses a vast collection of screenplays and scripts? Check out some of these Oscar-winning scripts to see the magic on the page before these stories were brought to life on the big screen. And for you aspiring screenwriters out there, the LAPL also has you covered on books about writing scripts.

Five Screenplays by Preston Sturges

Book Jacket for: Five screenplays

Chinatown by Robert Towne

Book Jacket for: Chinatown ; The last detail : screenplays







Oliver Stone’s Platoon and Salvador

Book Jacket for: Oliver Stone's Platoon & Salvador

Coen Brothers Collected Screenplays

Book Jacket for: Collected screenplays


Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino

Book Jacket for: Pulp fiction : a Quentin Tarantino screenplay

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Good Will Hunting

Book Jacket for: Good Will Hunting : a screenplay

Juno by Diablo Cody

Book Jacket for: Juno : the shooting script

The Hurt Locker by Mark Boal

Book Jacket for: The hurt locker : the shooting script

What’s your vote for this year’s best screenplay?

Top photo from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection: A helicopter is seen flying an oversized Oscar statue over the Hollywood Sign in preparation for the 60th Academy Awards presentation on April 11, 1988 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Who’s Reading What for the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball

Still figuring out your plans for Friday night?  How about staying home and reading a book?  So many of us are doing it.  Perhaps you’d like to join in the fun, too.  (You can check out these titles in the Library’s catalog.)

Who’s Reading                  What (or Who)

Karen Aguilar                       The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Mary Ambrose                      The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Catherine Arnold                  Julia’s Cats by Patricia Barey and Therese Burson
Sherry Bardack                    The Gardens of Evening Mist by Ronald H. Balson
Arnold Becker                      The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Marjorie Blatt                        The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Bonnie Brae                         The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
Douglas Buck                       Out by Natsuo Kirino?
Jack Carlyle                          Lots of books all the time!
Charles Duffy                       The Guts by Roddy Doyle
David Fein                            Toriko V. 20 by M. Shimabukuro & 1Q84 by H. Murakami
Rachel Finegood                  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Caroline Gill                          Young Adult books for school
Eric Goldman                        Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly
Donn Gorsline                      The Roberts Court by Marcia Coyle
Verlohn Guy                         A Week In Winter by Maeve Binchy
Lawrence Halperin               Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner
Annette Hartunian                Montserrat Fontes
Barbara Heitz                       The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Marc Hertz                            You Before Me by Jojo Moyes
Margaret Hudson                 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Florence Irving                     Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Victoria Jenkins                    Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Deanne Kass                       The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Paula Kleihauer                    Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Claudia Kreis                        The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis
Rachel Lamothe                   Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Anne Laskey                        Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Eileen Lau                            Book of Ages by Jill Lepore
Weldena L. Lightner             Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Kathryn Madara                   Wolf Empire by Scott Ian Barry
Silvia Mariscal                      I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Phoebe Marrall                    Winnicott: His Life and Work by F. Robert Rodman
Richard Martin                     Aviators by Winston Groom
Sandra Martin                      El Tercer Reich by Roberto Bolaño
Shelley Meena                     Proust
Niki Merrigan                        The Iliad by Homer
Elone Miller                          Someone by Alice McDermott
Susan Oka                           As You Like It by William Shakespeare
Madere Olivar                      On a Following Sea by Chang Rae Lee
Patricia Olson                      Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafiisi
Patton Oswalt                       Slayground by Richard Stark
Ilbert Phillips                         The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Jane Rieger                          Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Marna Schnabel                   Duty by Robert Gates
Julia Silverman                     Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
Barbara Simon                     Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem
Caroline Stevens                  Duplex by Kathryn Davis
Madeline Stuart                    Appointment in Samara by John O’Hara
Janis Terada                         A good mystery
Irving Tessler                        The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Vida Vida                              Man in the Universe by Aristotle
Mary Webster                       Rabble in Arms by Kenneth Roberts
Sallie Williams-Neubauer      Kent Haruf
Valerie Tracy Zografos          Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson

Let us know how you’re celebrating the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball this Friday.  You can leave a comment on this blog, tweet (#LFLAStayHome) or post a message to us on Facebook.  Photos are welcome!

Lost & Found at the Movies with John Nein

Last fall, the Library Foundation launched Lost & Found at the Movies, a new series to celebrate the art of cinema and the vitality of film culture. John Nein, a senior programmer of the Sundance Film Festival and curator of this new series, is focusing on lesser-explored areas of filmmaking to cultivate a conversation around film beyond the buzz of new releases. From unearthing historic photographs and film books from the Los Angeles Public Library’s archives to talking to some of Los Angeles’ biggest film nerds, Nein is combing the whole city for film treasures and bringing them to the stage. Free and open to the public at the downtown Central Library, the next event will take place this Friday, February 28th at 7:30 pm. All the events are built around a theme, so on the heels of Valentine’s Day this upcoming episode, Love is a Many Splendored Things, will explore love at the movies. We talked to Nein about some of his own movie loves and what movie-lovers can look forward to this Friday.
John Nein with Kenneth Turan.

Where did the idea for Lost & Found at the Movies come from?

Nein: Ken Brecher [President of the Library Foundation] first suggested doing a film culture series. There’s no shortage of great film-related events on upcoming releases, award seasons, and so on, but what excited me was the idea of bringing in anyone who has a passion for film—directors, writers, journalists, cinematographers, costume designers—to talk about personal cinema passions, perhaps even arcane interests that they don’t often have an opportunity or platform to talk about in any real depth. For instance, a filmmaker may get the chance to talk about their current work, but they don’t get the chance to talk about how much they love the Czech New Wave. We’ve imagined the series to be very eclectic in nature. You should feel like you’re flipping through a film magazine, but there’s a thematic connection within each event like an episode of “This American Life.”

You kicked off the first event by talking to film critic Kenneth Turan—a beloved and longtime voice in the film community. What “new” things did he have to say about film?

Nein: Kenneth Turan makes his living talking about films that are coming out, but what we talked about was Miyazaki, Max Ophüls, and how he loves this old 1920s French serialized film called “Fantomas.” We even got a chance to talk about Casablanca. We both appreciated that we could use clips and that’s what makes it engaging and fun for the audience.

Speaking of Casablanca, the upcoming event will take on the love story. What do you plan to explore?

Nein: The idea is to look at different kinds of love in movies and love for movies. Each segment of the night will have a different way of interpreting that. For example, we’ll be showing a couple of home movies of famous Hollywood couples like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall courtesy of the Academy Film Archive. In another segment, I just spent a day driving all over Los Angeles to as many theatrical exhibition venues as I could manage in search of people whose passion is to show movies—places like the UCLA Film and Television Archive, Cinefamily, and the American Cinematheque.

Also, the special guest of the night is Stacie Passon who is the writer/director of Concussion, which I thought was one of the strongest films of last year that was overlooked by many. It’s a film that deals with love in a really sophisticated and difficult way. This is not movie warm and fuzzy, but Passon shows a way of depicting how profound cinema can be about human nature and relationships, and marriage in particular and we’re going to look through film history for the really rigorous takes on mature relationships (Rossellini, Cassavetes, Bergman).

Besides Concussion, what are some of the other movies you loved from last year that maybe we haven’t heard of?

Nein: We’ll talk about some of these on Friday, but Fill the Void is a completely unique love story that takes place in an ultra orthodox community in Israel—by virtue of being set there, I’ve never seen this type of film before and it’s a wrenching love story. The Spectacular Now is one of the most honest portrayals of teenage romance with all the edges. Cutie and the Boxer is one of the best documentaries from last year, and even though it’s nominated for an Oscar, it was overlooked by many. It’s so observant of mature love about a tumultuous marriage between two artists.

You spend the year travelling to film festivals around the world in search of new work to screen at Sundance. What are some great films we should be on the lookout for this upcoming year?

Nein: We’ll also talk about some of these films I’m most excited about this year on Friday, which won’t all be love stories like Calvary, which stars Brendan Gleeson as a good priest tormented by his townspeople. Lunchbox, set in Mumbai, is a love story between an accountant and a housewife that starts when the lunchbox she sends her husband inadvertently goes to the accountant. And Mike Leigh’s new film, which we assume will premiere at Cannes and is about J.M.W. Turner, the British artist.

Where do you see the rest of the series going this year?

Nein: We’re hoping to do an episode called “All About Evil,” which occurred to me when I was thinking about characters in the Coen brothers’ movies, but this will stretch way beyond that. I’m talking to Buck Henry about Shakespeare on film, and I think later this year we’ll do something about documentary portraits.

Last, but not least, the Oscars are this weekend. In your professional opinion, what’s going to win Best Picture?

Nein: Gravity. But I’m always wrong.

Learn more about the upcoming Lost & Found at the Movies. Admission is free and space is limited, so please make your reservations online early.



Guests of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball

Preliminary results are in!

Dorothy Parker is going to be a busy lady on Friday, February 28, 2014.  So far, the majority of Stay Home and Read a Book Ball celebrants have selected this witty wisecracker as their desired guest for this most highly anticipated “non-event”.  Runner ups are Edgar Allan Poe, Langston Hughes, Homer, and Phillis Wheatley.

We have also received a number of write-in Ball guests including: Jason Aaron, MK Asante, Jane Austen, Maeve Binchy, Jesus Christ, Charles De Lint, Roddy Doyle, Jane Gardam, Natsuo Kirino, Doris Lessing, Penelope Lively, China Mieville, Margaret Mitchell, Haruki Murakami, Kenneth Roberts, Grace Schulman, Donna Tartt, and Mark Twain.

Even Anjelica Huston let us know she’s got a sizzling escort for the Ball: “I am very excited because I have a hot date tonight with an extremely handsome companion.  We are going to share a bubble bath.  Although we have known about each other for a while, this will be a chance to get to know him better; after all, you can’t tell a book by his cover…”

Let us know who you’re staying home with!  #LFLAStayHome

Will you make The Library Store your Valentine?

Have you waited too long and still need to get that special person a unique gift that looks like you thought about it months in advance? Have no fear! The Library Store can fulfill all your Valentine’s Day needs. Whether you need a gift that says “I love you” or “I think I like you,” we have cards and a unique selection of items that will be sure to please. Just stop by and we’ll help you find what you need. We’ll even wrap it so you look like you are really on top of it.

Will you be mine?
The Library Store

A Message from the Chair of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball

Dear Reader:

I’m excited to officially invite you to celebrate the 2014 Stay Home and Read a Book Ball with me. Here’s an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and simultaneously keep alive the mission of the Los Angeles Public Library to “Provide free access to ideas and information.” By deciding not to get dressed up, not to drive across town, and not to valet park at some glittery ballroom, you’re playing a vital role in making available free cultural and educational programs for Angelenos throughout the city. Presto-digito!

Just think, when you contribute to the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, you encourage public discourse through programs like ALOUD, which presents more than 70 free author talks and conversations every year with internationally acclaimed novelists like Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood; human rights legends like Judge Albie Sachs and Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee; master short story writers like George Saunders and Lorrie Moore; and, great chefs like L.A.’s own Roy Choi.

For my own evening as Official Stay-At-Home Philanthropist, I’ve plotted a few scenarios. Take one: Brocade dressing gown. Apricot silk mules.  Seated at dressing table. Dostoevsky.  Or maybe Patricia Highsmith. Cigarette holder. Bushmills with one rock. Take two (more likely):  Old sweatpants. Curled up on couch under red wool blanket. Fat grey cat staring into my eyes. Rereading Charlotte’s Web. Mug of hot masala chai.

Remember, you are the key to making possible cultural and educational programs like ALOUD for the people of Los Angeles. So, just before you take the first sip or turn the first page, whip out your checkbook (or credit card) and please… give generously.  Then, turn out the porch lights. Put your feet up. You’re not expecting anyone – just a rendezvous with those clever, persnickety, angst-ridden characters in your favorite book.  Have a ball!


Louise Steinman, Chair

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.


Olympic Pin Trading Area, 1984 Olympicshttp://jpg3.lapl.org/pics20/00029872.jpg
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.