Lost & Found at the Movies: All That Glitters

“I love watching movies. It’s my drug of choice,” award-winning filmmaker Miguel Arteta once confessed in an interview. This Monday, June 30, Arteta—a self-professed Turner Classics addict—will join Lost & Found at the Movies in the first of three summer programs at the downtown Central Library. Curated by John Nein, the upcoming edition of the Library Foundation’s new series on film culture will feature a conversation with Arteta on some of his favorite classics from Hollywood’s Golden Era. From groundbreaking women’s roles to undiscovered works, Arteta (Cedar Rapids, The Good Girl, Chuck & Buck, Star Maps) will share his passion for the great films of the classical era as Nein digs up some rare home videos from the UCLA Film & Television Archive to take us behind-the-scenes of moviemaking during that time. Before we revisit some glittering moments of cinematic history, here’s a look at a few Hollywood gems to get you ready for Monday’s program.

Clash by Night with Marilyn Monroe

Possessed with Joan Crawford

A Letter to Three Wives with Ann Southern and Jeanne Crain

Beyond the Forest with Bette Davis

Samuel Fuller’s Shock Corridor

Learn more about Lost & Found at the Movies and make your free reservation!

Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America

From 1953 to 1967, ONE Magazine, America’s first openly gay and lesbian periodical, reached thousands of readers each month—many who were isolated and in search of community.  Those readers wrote back to ONE seeking counsel and advice, or friendship and understanding. Subjects ranged from family life to coming out stories to tales of harassment. In 2000, historian Craig Loftin was working on his dissertation at USC when he came across a collection of these letters, stored at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives – the oldest LGBTQ organization in the Unites States, and the publisher of ONE Magazine. Many of the collections were unprocessed and uncatalogued. I became a volunteer and helped sift through boxes of mysterious documents,” Loftin explains. “Finding the letters was completely unexpected; I wasn’t looking for them. In fact, no one at the Archive knew they were there.”

The data he compiled on issues facing gay people in the 1950s and 1960s became the basis for his dissertation and his book Masked Voices, published by SUNY Press. The press suggested he also compile the ONE letters in a separate volume, which became Letters to ONE: Gay and Lesbian Voices from the 1950s and 1960s, published in 2012. ONE Archives then reached out to director Zsa Zsa Gershick about adapting the material for a dramatization to celebrate ONEs 60th anniversary that same year. Gershick, who had created other oral histories like, “Gay Old Girls” and “Secret Service,” about lesbians in the military, was familiar with transforming long letters into tight, poignant soliloquies. For the adaptation, Gershick faced similar challenges, “The task was to find each letter’s central theme, its heart, and seamlessly pare from that heart or essence everything that obscured it. I consider this a sacred endeavor, requiring a great deal of respect, focus and prayer to get it right,” she says.

On Saturday, June 28th Gershick will direct a dramatic reading of these letters for the ALOUD stage, in a production she titled “Dear ONE: Love and Longing in Mid-Century Queer America.” As Gershick worked her way through Loftin’s collection, she fell in love with each letter. “Each one gives us a window into an era of terrible prejudice. Many people today don’t know that American queerfolk of that era, if discovered, could be jailed, disemployed, imprisoned in mental hospitals, or lobotomized. The letters reflect this reality. Some letter writers boldly signed their names; others remained anonymous. But each correspondent, in the simple act of writing, asserts his/her right to be,” she says.

Despite all of the hardships facing gay people at the time, Loftin says he was surprised by the resilience and optimism of the letter writers, “So many letters had an upbeat tone even when they described tragic events. Some of them were hysterically funny. Instead of thinking about gay people in the 1950s as victims, I began seeing them as dynamic and creative historical agents carving out a niche for themselves in a hostile society. In these letters, one finds early stirrings of a gay rights consciousness at a mass level.”

From gay marriage to employment discrimination, the letters shed light on many issues still being confronted today. “No two letters are quite the same. Reading the letters, we try to imagine who these people were, what they looked like, where they lived, the details of their lives. We try to imagine how their voice might have sounded. We bring our own experiences to these letters and make sense of them in our own ways,” says Loftin. Gershick hopes her adaptation will capture these deeply moving voices, “Upon hearing these letters performed aloud, I hope that the audience laughs, cries, learns a little history and embraces our humanity.”

Learn more about the upcoming ALOUD program here.

Main image: ONE Magazine covers from the 1950′s and 1960′s, courtesy of ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries.

Shop for Father’s Day at The Library Store!

Have you thought about shopping for Father’s Day yet? We suggest letting your dollar do double duty by heading on over to The Library Store to get your dad a gift he’ll really love and supporting the Los Angeles Public Library with your purchase! It’s a far better idea than adding yet another tie to his collection…

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

 The Gentleman’s Handbook – $17.95

 Anywhere Travel Guide – $12.95 Whiskey Lover Set – $65 Beer Tasting Tool Kit – $24.95

And don’t forget! Come down to the Central Library and we’ll help you find the perfect card for the occasion too.

Help Feed Kids’ Bodies and Minds

To ensure that students who receive free school lunches don’t go hungry during summer break, the Library Foundation has teamed up with the Los Angeles Public Library and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to expand the Summer Lunch Program to 10 libraries. Volunteers are needed for all aspects of the lunch program—from serving food, setting up lunch and clean up to helping with kids’ activities and enrolling kids in the reading clubs.

Volunteer Dates: June 9 to August 1

Volunteer Hours: Monday through Friday, noon to 2:00 PM

Commitment:  At least 2 days (4 hours) a week for all 8 weeks of the program.

Requirements: Volunteers must attend an orientation and have a valid Los Angeles Public Library card.

Ages 14 and up may volunteer.

Participating Libraries: Central Library, Cypress Park Branch, Exposition Park Branch, Hyde Park Branch, Mark Twain Branch, Pacoima Branch, Pico Union Branch, San Pedro Branch, Van Nuys Branch, Vernon Branch

To learn more about volunteering, please contact the branch directly or Volunteer Services at 213.228.7540.

10 Ways to Savor the Summer with the Los Angeles Public Library

It’s the season of fun in the sun, far-off travel, BBQs, and of course catching up on some rest and relaxation. Here are some FREE ideas on how to use the Los Angeles Public Library to make the most of your summer.

#1 – Travel Light

Don’t overload your suitcase with travel guides. From Lonely Planet to Fodor’s, your favorite travel books are now available as downloads for your iPad or tablet.

 

 

#2 – Talk Like a Local

Preparing a trip to a foreign country? From Italian to Korean to Arabic to Russian, the Library offers online language courses through Mango Languages and Powerspeak Languages.

#3 – Photography 101

Before you take that scenic hike or light fireworks for Independence Day, learn how to better capture your summer moments. Through Gale Courses, you can take six-week interactive online courses on mastering digital photography and Photoshop, as well as other topics like computer programming, creative writing, and financial planning.

 

#4 – Cook with Class

The farmer’s market is in full swing in the summertime, so take your culinary skills to the next level. Enroll in an online cooking class with Universal Class, a continuing education program with over 500 online courses led by expert instructors.

 

#5 – Plan a Staycation

How do you take a docent-led tour of Central Library? What’s a good L.A. noir read? Where might you find maps of canyon trails? Use the Ask a Librarian tool to call, e-mail, text, or IM for answers to your library-related questions.

 

 


#6 – Easy Listening

Hoping to read the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Goldfinch, but don’t want to drag that behemoth book to the beach? Check out the audio version along with thousands of other books as CDs or downloadable forms.


#7- Get Crafty

Browse the Library’s calendar of arts and crafts activities to keep inspired this summer from the Crochet and Knitting Club at Valley Plaza to the LACMA Teen Art Workshops at Pio Pico-Koreatown.

 

#8 – Now Playing

If you want to curl up on your couch for movie night, or watch a film on a big screen, the Los Angeles Public Library has you covered. Stream movies at home through hoopla or OverDrive. Or visit a branch for regular and special film screenings like “Tuesday Night @ the Movies” at Memorial or “Saturday Matinees” at Los Feliz.

#9 – Stay Current

With free downloads of your favorite magazines through Zinio, you won’t need to hang out in waiting rooms to stay in the know. There’s Newsweek and The Economist for your news fix, or Us Weekly and Rolling Stone for your pleasure, among many more popular titles to choose from.


#10 – Real Research

For the more serious-minded, use the new Book a Librarian service to schedule a half-hour session with a reference librarian or subject specialist at Central Library. From starting your own business to digging into your family genealogy, it’s never been easier to learn how to use the resources of the Library.

 

 


Visit lapl.org for more info on all these resources.

Art work by Florian Brozek.

A Summer of Learning at the Library

The Library Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the Summer Reading Club — Los Angeles Public Library’s longest running program — and this year it will be easier for more participants to engage with than ever before. Mayor Garcetti has announced that this summer will be a “Summer of Learning” in Los Angeles, based on Chicago’s model in 2013. The reading clubs, which foster literacy and learning when students are out of school, will be a core component of “Summer of Learning,” offering students the chance to earn digital badges through a City website for completing game boards, for volunteering 20 hours, and for participating in science workshops.

Pause to Read Artwork

Running from June 9 to August 2, this year’s reading theme is “Paws to Read,” and will feature a range of fun animal activities like origami, puppet shows, crafts, robot building, science workshops, and more. The game boards that help guide students through a fun reading journey will be more readily available this summer—in the branches, at schools, and online.

Paws to Read LogoPlus, the Library has teamed up with the Los Angeles Zoo, along with The Getty Center, The Skirball Cultural Center, LACMA, the California Science Center, and the Natural History Museum to make the game boards more interactive through animal photos and artwork, and to encourage kids to visit all of these important educational institutions.

For a full schedule of all upcoming programs for children and teens, visit lapl.org/summerreading.

The Library Store Summer Sale!

The Library Store will be holding its annual sale starting this Friday, May 30! Stop on by The Library Store for a huge selection of items marked down 50% to 75% off. Sale’s on while supplies last, so shop early for the best selection. New items will be added daily. The selection will include jewelry, cards, books, children’s toys, t-shirts, and much much more! See you there!

Questions? Call The Library Store at 213.228.7550.

Bookmark This #20

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!  Here are a few reading recommendations for you to consider as you gather with family and friends for beach excursions, barbeques and bonfires.

If you’d like to contribute a reading recommendation to an upcoming issue of Bookmark This, contact Erin Sapinoso at erinsapinoso@lfla.org.

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Marisela Norte is an author of poetry and fiction.  Her poems have been featured on MTA TV as part of the “Out the Window” project and were recently selected among the best transit poems in the world by The Atlantic Monthly.

Marisela recommends Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick.

“Beyond the deep Morroccan blue window sill, the chipped paint overlooking another row of windows and the rusted  movie marquee on the cover of Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights, are her stories.  Like broken pieces of jewelry tucked away for safe keeping should they ever be put together again, Hardwick’s scattered gems, her reflections, girlhood memories, and stories are a late night phone call that invites the strongest black coffee and cigarettes to listen in.  Observations of family, husbands, lovers or strangers on train platforms, in candlelit dining rooms or on vacation inside their own loneliness.  ‘If only one knew what to remember or pretend to remember,’ she writes ‘Make a decision and what you want from the lost things will present itself.  You can take it down from the shelf like a can.  Perhaps.’  I have chosen Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights as my personal surveyor, all of her questions laid out like a map of where I am going.”

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Barbara Bilson is an 80-year-old Californian, born in Long Beach, raised in Los Angeles, educated at Fairfax High School, Stanford, and UCLA.  Though officially retired, she still teaches–memoir writing and Jewish literature at Leo Baeck Temple–and leading book-discussion groups.  In addition, she has a wonderful time with family, including 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and bird-watching, stamp collecting, and travelling.

Barbara recommends Mary Coin by Marisa Silver.

“It’s a pleasure to read a book that is beautifully written, tells an interesting story, and explores significant issues without being ponderous.  Marisa Silver’s Mary Coin is such a book.  Using spare, unsentimental language, Silver tells a fictionalized version of the momentary encounter between photographer Dorothea Lange and Florence Owens Thompson, the woman portrayed in Lange’s famous ‘Migrant Mother.’  Vera and Mary, their names in the novel, meet for the brief time it takes for Vera to snap pictures of Mary and her children at a migrant workers’ camp–a meeting that affects the lives of each woman.

Silver tells Vera’s and Mary’s story both before and after the photographic event, bringing into the plot the wholly fictional Walker Dodge, a social historian whose search for the ephemera of people’s lives leads us to issues Silver weaves into her tale: the ways in which an event changes depending on who is remembering it; the difference between looking at something and seeing it; and both the truth and the lie inherent in a photograph, a memory, time itself.  As Eugenia Williamson writes in the Boston Globe, ‘Mary Coin is a lovely and deeply satisfying read.’  I couldn’t agree more.”

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Dennis Signorovitch is a long-time Member of the Library Foundation.

Dennis recommends American Romantic by Ward Just.

“Ward Just’s American Romantic is a writerly excursion through familiar Just territory: Vietnam, Washington, D.C., American embassies with all the acute observations he can offer. The drama of his main character’s experience in the jungle early in the book and then again much later in the book when he suffers a personal loss is quite intense. There’s also a clear-eyed, unsentimental meditation on old age with its infirmities and losses.  And yet, the ending is unabashedly romantic.”

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Ela Jhaveri is a long-standing supporter of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and Member of The Council.

Ela recommends Stoner by John Williams.

“I just read a book that I highly recommend – a book that I learned so much from – Stoner by John Williams.  The main character fulfills his life doing what he loves and believes in despite all the disappointments and struggles of relationships and career.  It is so much about a character of a person and his inner life and not the way the society is today, where to many, what seems to matter is material success and what you project to the world outside on social media etc.  There is a fabulous review in The New York Times Magazine (May 9, 2014) that should be read before reading this novel.”

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Katie Dunham is Communications Director for the Library Foundation.  Originally from Tennessee, she loves dachshunds, loud music, and USC.

Katie recommends Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade by Walter Kirn.

“As an avid reader of true crime, I was excited when I heard that Walter Kirn would be on the ALOUD schedule this spring with his new book about the Clark Rockefeller case. His interview in April (which you can listen to in podcast) was riveting, so I ran home with my new copy of the book that night and dove in immediately. What I found in the reading though was less a documentation of sordid details than Kirn’s own exploration of his strange 15-year friendship with the conman and convicted murderer. Kirn wonders how he had been so easily fooled, why he had been so complicit in allowing the wool to be pulled over his eyes – making for a much more illuminating account. The way Kirn unfolds his story builds less to an unveiling of the criminal’s motive than to a self-realization.”

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These books – and more than six million others in print, audio and digital formats – are available through the Central Library, 72 branches and lapl.org.

Happy reading, and stay tuned for the next issue of Bookmark This!

Vote for Us!

Spread the word! The Library Foundation has been nominated in three different categories for the Los Angeles Downtown News Best of Downtown Readers Choice Awards: The Library Store for “Best Gift and Stationery Shop” and “Best Bookstore,” and Aloud for “Best Free Event Series!” Our beloved Central Library is also up for “Best Family Attraction.” So head on over to votebestof.com to cast your vote. Voting ends May 30, so don’t delay!

 

All Aboard! Don’t Miss the Trains at Central Library

Earlier this month a new exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of Union Station opened at the Central Library. No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station is the first exhibition to examine the significance of the architectural design and cultural politics of the historic station. The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular library hours at the downtown Central Library through August 10.

As part of the exhibit, the Library Foundation has made it possible for various train clubs–including the Southern California Traction Club pictured above and below–to have model trains running in the Getty Gallery on selected dates. Check out the schedule below and bring the family for this rare chance to see these incredible trains let loose in the Library.

No Further West is organized by the Getty Research Institute with the generous participation of the Automobile Club of Southern California.