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Come out and celebrate summer with ALOUD in a festival-like atmosphere at one of our beachside library branches. The afternoon-long event will feature beach-themed author talks, a SoCal Summer Storytelling hour, and family-friendly activities. Food trucks will be available and The Library Store will offer a pop-up shop filled with souvenirs to remember this perfect summer day.


11:30 AM: Maddalena Bearzi in conversation with Beth Pratt about “Stranded: Finding Nature in Uncertain Times”: Marooned in Los Angeles by the pandemic, a marine biologist rediscovers the delights and wonders of the natural world in her own backyard.

12:40 PM: The Improviteers! Beach-themed, family-friendly improv show.

1:30 PM: Crystal Smith Paul in conversation with Traci Thomas about “Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?: A Novel”: A multigenerational saga that traverses the glamour of old Hollywood and the seductive draw of modern-day showbiz.

Maddalena Bearzi

Maddalena Bearzi is President and co-founder of the Ocean Conservation Society. She holds a Ph.D. in Biology and a Post-Doctorate from UCLA, and she has been involved in studying marine mammals with a conservation bias since 1990. Her research on dolphins and whales off California represents one of the longest investigations worldwide. She has published several scientific peer-reviewed papers, she is co-author of “Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes and Dolphins” (Harvard University Press), and author of “Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist” (University of Chicago Press) and “Stranded: Finding Nature in Uncertain Times” (Heyday). Her first children’s book for MacMillan is forthcoming. Her work and books have been covered, among many others, by CNN, NPR, KPCC, Al Jazeera America, The LA Times, and American Scientist. Maddalena is also a writer for other media, including National Geographic. Born and raised in Italy, she lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and dog.

Beth Pratt

A lifelong advocate for wildlife, Beth Pratt has worked in environmental leadership roles for over twenty-five years, and in two of the country’s largest national parks: Yosemite and Yellowstone. As the California Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation, Pratt leads the #SaveLACougars campaign to build the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, which broke ground on Earth Day, April 22, 2022. Her innovative conservation work has been featured by the Los Angeles TimesNPR, The New Yorker, and more. Author of I Heart Wildlife and When Mountain Lions are Neighbors, her new book Yosemite Wildlife will be published in 2024. She has also contributed to the books The Nature of Yosemite and Inspiring Generations as well as given a TEDx talk, “How a Lonely Cougar in Los Angeles Inspired the  World,” and is featured in the documentary, “The Cat that Changed America.” Pratt spends much of her time in Los Angeles, but makes her home outside of Yosemite with her five dogs, two cats, and the wildlife that frequent her backyard.

Crystal Smith Paul

Crystal Smith Paul attended Spelman College and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and received her master’s in journalism from NYU. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in SalonJezebel, and HuffPost. She currently works in digital marketing for wellness and beauty brands. Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? is her first novel.

Traci Thomas

Traci Thomas is the creator and host of The Stacks, a podcast about books and the way they shape culture. The show asks the questions that provoke meaningful, poignant, and often hilarious conversations. Traci also hosts a live literary series with LAist called One for the Books, is a monthly contributor for NPR’s Here & Now, and writes a monthly column on shereads.com.


Joey Bland

Joey Bland is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles. Previously he trained in improvisation in Chicago where he was a member of the Second City’s National Touring Company and played the title role in Second City’s 2009 hit musical Rod Blagojevich, Superstar. Currently, Joey performs all over the world with the acclaimed Improvised Shakespeare Company. You may have seen him in Amazon’s Forever or TV Land’s Teachers. Joey is also a 2-time Jeopardy champion.

Amanda Blake Davis

Amanda Blake Davis is an alumn of The Second City Chicago where she wrote and performed in five revues, winning a Jeff Award for Best Actress for Studs Turkels Not Working. Since moving to LA she has written for Cartoon Network’s Wabbit! and Showtime’s Work In Progress and performs regularly with Heyday! at Westside Comedy Theater.

Ross Bryant

Ross Bryant is a writer and performer based in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Improvised Shakespeare Company (Largo). Ross performs regularly at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and is a former ensemble member of the Second City Mainstage in Chicago. TV credits include I Think You Should Leave (Netflix), Crashing (HBO), and The Good Place (NBC).  Ross is a writer for Mystery Science Theater 3000, and appears regularly on Dropout.tv.

Brendan Dowling

Brendan Dowling is an actor and writer whose recent credits include writing for and appearing in Showtime’s Work in Progress. He performs monthly with The Improvised Shakespeare Company at the Largo in LA, and tours the country with them as well. Other stage credits include Baby Wants Candy, The Second City National Touring Company, and The Second City Denver’s How I Lost My Denverginity. Film credits include It’s All Good and the award-winning short, Curtains. Follow along at @berndandooling.

Photo Credits: Maddalena Bearzi © Charlie Saylan; Crystal Smith Paul © Matthew Schmidt

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