Today’s issue of the New York Times Travel section has a short but not so sweet piece on our Los Angeles neighborhood, Highland Park.
Sadly, NYT’s first foray into the 90042 got it wrong, or at least came up woefully incomplete.
What with the recent spate of dour local arts news – downsizing, near bankruptcy, layoffs, and cancellations – the three brochures for local arts organizations tumbling out of Sunday’s paper bestowed an aura of belated Christmas gifting.
Printed in full color on good card stock, they advertised the schedules for, respectively, the Los Angeles Art Show (Good for a $5 admission discount); REDCAT at the Disney (A true keeper, chockablock with detailed info on great programming); and the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage, at Santa Monica College.
Over 150 worldwide art galleries at the Convention Center in two weeks; opera, Cajun, and jazz at the Broad through the spring; and experimental cinema, theatre, dance, music and ideas at REDCAT through the year – all give rise to hope for the arts scene despite the economic downturns here and ahead.
The stunning kicker, though, is this: All three tumbled out of, not the Los Angeles Times – which offered, instead, the usual Target, Best Buys, and CVS adverts – but the local edition of the New York Times.
One couldn’t help thinking how their placement in the NYT must register as yet another none-too-subtle dismissal of the cultural relevance or importance of the handful of critics still soldiering on at the LAT. So sad.
The cheerless dismantling of our local daily paper, the Los Angeles Times, has been so harrowing and relentless, it’s led me to check LAObserved’s fine blog a couple times a day for the latest dreary development. (Already the fine reporter who profiled me last fall, Deborah Schoch, was let go after 16 years.)
And so it was that last night, just before retiring, I turned to LAObserved for a final midnight looksee – and was stunned to read my name in a posting about upcoming book awards:
My book All the Saints of the City of the Angels: Seeking the Soul of L.A. on Its Streets has been named a finalist for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association’s award for best nonfiction of 2008.
O my fluttering hummingbird heart! Humbled to the core, bedazzled and amazed, it’s made me feel just like a kid.
I want to send everyone flowers; offer free backrubs; share a glass of better wine; and stretch out on the grass to stare up at the clouds, and then (after more wine) up at the stars.
These awards are voted on only by independent booksellers, not the chains. No offense to Amazon and the rest; but these are the folks who, when they order my book, have to pay my wonderful publisher upfront and can’t return their leftovers. These arethe True Lovers of Books, who share their enthusiasm with customers and post handlettered endorsements next to treasured discoveries.
Their support since my book’s release, in March, has warmed my heart; this nomination has set it ablaze.