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What might Marilyn Monroe, Cesar Chavez, Susan Sontag, Albert Einstein have to say about Los Angeles? Their diary entries, along with those of other actors, musicians, activists, cartographers, students, geologists, cooks, merchants, journalists, politicians, composers, and many more—provide a kaleidoscopic view of Los Angeles over the past four centuries, from the Spanish missionary expeditions of the 16th century to the present day. Book editor, critic and Los Angeles native David Kipen has scoured the archives of libraries, historical societies, and private estates to assemble a remarkably eclectic story of life in his beloved Los Angeles. Join us for a special staged reading of these first person accounts—representing a range of experiences and voices as diverse as Los Angeles itself.

David Kipen

David Kipen was born and raised in Los Angeles. He opened the nonprofit Boyle Heights lending library Libros Schmibros in 2010. Former literature director of the National Endowment for the Arts, book editor/critic of the San Francisco Chronicle, and contributor to multiple volumes of California cultural history, Kipen teaches full-time in the UCLA writing program. A familiar voice on public radio, he also serves as book critic for Los Angeles Magazine and critic-at-large for The Los Angeles Times.

Gary Phillips

Son of a mechanic and a librarian, South Central native Gary Phillips draws on his experiences ranging from anti-police abuse activist, labor organizer, teaching incarcerated youth, state director of a political action committee to delivering dog cages in writing his tales of chicanery and malfeasance. Most recently he was the editor of the award-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, and co-writer of the novelization of the classic Batman vs. Joker graphic novel, The Killing Joke.

Gustavo Arellano

Gustavo Arellano is an author, California columnist for the Los Angeles Times, an essayist, and a frequent commentator on radio and television. He was formerly editor of OC Weekly and penned the award-winning “¡Ask a Mexican!” Arellano is the recipient of awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, Los Angeles Press Club, and National Hispanic Media Coalition. A lifelong resident of Orange County, Arellano is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants.

Suzanne Lummis

Suzanne Lummis is the series editor of The Pacific Coast Poetry Series/Beyond Baroque Books, the editor of the anthology Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, which The Los Angeles Times named one of the ten best books of 2015, and host of the YouTube series They Write by Night, produced by poetry.la. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker and, most recently, New Ohio Review, Plume and The American Journal of Poetry.

William Atherton

William Atherton is an award-winning stage and film actor spanning over four decades. His credits include over forty feature films—from his breakout role in Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut, “The Sugarland Express,” to his signature character in “Ghostbuster.” Antheron’s television appearances include James Mitchner’s “Centennial,” NBC’s “Defiance,” and Netflix’s “Clinical.” He has also starred in original productions of American playwrights including John Guare’s “House of Blue Leaves,” David Rabe’s “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel,” and Arthur Miller’s “The American Clock.”

Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7:15 PM.

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

Main Image: “Map of the city of Los Angeles, showing the confirmed limits, surveyed in August 1857”, courtesy of LAPL Map Collection

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.

  • Where can I find podcasts and videos of ALOUD programs?

    Podcasts and videos from our programs are available free online at our growing Media Archive. Visit the archive at lfla.org/media-archive to explore hundreds of podcasts and videos spanning 20+ years of ALOUD’s history bringing authors, artists, and t thinkers to the Los Angeles Public Library.