MLS WEEKLY GUEST POST - Writer Franki Elliot

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About two years ago, Franki Elliot (author of critically acclaimed “Piano Rats”) met a Craigslist stranger at Dunkin Donuts, gave her sixty bucks and left with a 1970s baby blue Smith Corona typewriter. Soon after, she began asking people to send her topics to write about because she was tired of writing about herself. Soon after, in search of new material, Elliot began carrying the typewriter to various festivals, beaches, flea markets and let strangers come up to her, request a topic, and leave with a story. (She has most recently typed at Pitchfork Music Fest, as well as at events for Puma, Airbnb, Yelp, Canon and Flavorpill). 

As Elliot wrote, she also took pictures of her favorite stories and eventually turned them into a tear & share postcard book titled Kiss As Many Women As You Can. The stories are complimented with stunning artwork by Shawn Stucky, who is a red/green color blind artist located in Chicago. Stucky has done everything from carving eyeglasses out of wood, adorning fire hydrants throughout Chicago with his masterful art, designing tattoos, live screenprinting, mural painting and, of course, creating books. Elliot, who is Los Angeles based via hometown Chicago, is a music industry professional booking bands by day and writing books by night.

You can view the book here: http://tinyurl.com/mlce3kc
Franki’s website is here: http://frankielliottypewriter.tumblr.com/

MLS WEEKLY GUEST POST - Artist Bruce Dean

Songbird

A horn, a whistle, a bell, a tune played through speakers mounted atop a white truck. The milkman, the fish monger, the Helm’s bakery man, the ice cream vendor. The occasional peddler walking, knocking, door to door. Waving neighbors, shouting friends, parents arriving - “I’m home” - after a day’s work. The front yard was engaging, and social - defined by action and sound.

The back porch was quieter, a place for review; a place to consider mistakes made, small victories gained, to silently confer with the neighbor’s cat. It was a place to imagine and reflect, a place to dream, a place for time alone. The only thing that interrupted the reverie was being called inside…being called by someone who loved you. The back porch was home to magic.

Bungalow

The bungalows made a sort of neighborhood within a neighborhood…a neighborhood of muted dreams.  Hot summer evenings were spent outside, sitting on the steps, leaning on the railing, rocking in a swing. They sat in an aura of unwelcome intimacy. There was a uniform for the men - sleeveless undershirts and dress pants, worn shiny, held up by suspenders. The barefoot women wore thin cotton dresses, jazzy, loud, brightly colored.  There was the contradiction of overdressed and shabby at the same time. They drank beer or whiskey and smoked Lucky Strikes. Only the kids wandered away from the porches…perhaps to escape the voices from inside….

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About Bruce Dean: Bruce Dean received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Otis Art Institute in 1974 with a major in painting and a minor in drawing. 

Bruce has worked as an exhibiting abstract artist; editorial, corporate and advertising illustrator and international poster artist for over thirty years. As an illustrator he received a silver medal from The Society of Illustrators and numerous awards of merit from national and international publications. His fine art posters and illustrations have been featured in numerous books and magazines. He has participated in over thirty solo and group gallery exhibitions nation-wide. His work includes projects funded by grants from the Department of Education and the Foundation for Global Community. Dean’s work was most recently featured in an exhibition entitled “Searching for Clarity,” at the Art Rental & Sales Gallery of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Bruce teaches advanced painting at Mount St Mary’s college and is a founding partner of MetaFour Productions, a non-profit corporation that produces visually creative instruction for educator’s and students.

See more of his work here: www.brucedeanart.com

 

Five-word love stories

MINUTELOVESTORIES had a contest this past week, asking readers to submit their own five-word love stories. A winner would be picked at random, but here are my favorites from the entries! Thanks to all who participated and I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. xx - Rebecca


“Let’s end while it’s good.”
"…then boundaries ceased to exist."
“Little breaths, on my chest.”
“Boy marries girl, lives forever.”
“You came and you stayed.”
“Pompeii…she quivered and erupted.”
"Dreamt Mom was with me."
"Not a word between us."
“I love you now leave.”
"It was never like this."
“Lick sweet love on me.”

MLS WEEKLY GUEST POST - Artist Simone Gad

image(Brunette with Cat, drawing, 2011)

image(Gad/Madonna/Pin-up with Cat drawing, collage, 2011)

About Simone Gad: Born in Brussels, Belgium. Lives and works in Los Angeles and Brussels. Represented by L2kontemporary Gallery in Chinatown, Los Angeles. Collectors include Elton John, Madonna, Cher, and Diana Ross. Actress, performance artist, visual artist.

Eric Minh Swenson shot a wonderful short with Gad earlier this year. It’s on the Huffington Post site and will give you lots of insight into the mind of Gad. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-minh-swenson/simone-gads-personal-holo_b_4505121.html

You can see more of her provocative work here: http://santamonica.bgartdealings.com/

MLS WEEKLY GUEST POST - Poet, Writer, Aesthete Christopher Calvin Pollard

Pompadour Cotinga

The amount of people: natives & tourists would make anyone dizzy—but she was not focused on the swarm—her gaze had landed on a stop sign, a stop sign that had become a perch for a bird. An insight began to form—the red of the stop sign topped with the red of the fat little bird—she could see how human red was halting and that nature’s red was pulsing with life, she could not see it from the distance at which she found herself—but she could feel that life expanding and contracting in the chest of that bird. The insight was becoming pure—nature’s red was about living and man’s red was about not dying. The insight was now a part of her—she did not care if others had had it before her or if she was the first—it was now just within her—making her newer—her body was aligning with her soul and she could feel it taking place—the moment—she was becoming a witness to herself.

The experience had prevented her from seeing the young man making his way through the dense crowds—his gaze firmly on her—never breaking, which made him bump into more fellows than needed be. The young man had made way through the bulk of the fleshy traffic and found himself not far from the object of his gaze—his own soul, so entwined with his body, kept him from following her gaze—he had no interest in birds atop signs. He continued to move confidently toward her. Her soul felt the approach of something serious and turned toward it—her body, lagging imperceptibly behind, caught up.

She was surprised and pleased to see the figure drawn to her. He was before her in a few strides—his pace did not vary at all—one would think he had counted out the steps beforehand—to come to rest at what was the perfect distance from her—just within reach of her, which he took advantage of—he reached out and took her arms in his hands—his gaze resting on her face. “I love you.” The words started an earthquake—that is why he had taken her by the arms—just to keep her from falling. The words became pure again—they became the ancient poem they had always been. The purity of the poem came from the truth that he had no interest in knowing if she loved him—his love was enough and her knowing it was all that he desired.

For the second time in a single day the gap between her soul and her body closed a little more.

Creative Director at ICONODULY and publisher at Horse Smith Press, see more of his proclivities here: http://on.fb.me/N3taM9

MLS WEEKLY GUEST POST - Photographer Brandy Eve Allen

Self-portrait with Sam, 2001. Brandy Eve Allen.

About Brandy Eve Allen: I grew up in NYC and LA while also having spent time in Torino, Italy.  All of these cities have played a part in my photography, whether it be aesthetics, the relationships I experience or my own personal exploration. I like to shoot what I know and what I’m trying to figure out whether it be with others or with myself.   There’s a focus on intimacy, authenticity and a sense of isolation… along with a glimmer of hope from time to time. I shoot with film and process everything in my kitchen.

See more of her work here: http://brandyevephotography.com/

shananys:

Rebecca Cox and Kevin Hollingsworth Save Valentine’s Day
If you are like me, when it comes to Valentine’s Day and indeed all things conventionally “romantic” in American culture, you vacillate at random between extremes of swooning indulgence in storybook love and cheeky dismissal of kitsch and commerce. For one thing, there’s already plenty of chocolate in my house; and for another, cut flowers break my heart. Why kill something so pretty as a token of love? I’d much rather have something like a plant, still living, that can continue to grow.
I love poetry, but my favorite Shakespeare Sonnet is #130 — “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…” because it seems to me that it is a realistic appreciation of his beloved’s actual charms, hyperbolic metaphors be damned. My favorite novel is probably Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being, for essentially the same reason, with a little touch of magical thinking and geopolitics thrown in.
That’s why it has been my pleasure this Valentine’s season to be reading a pair of books — one essentially prose-poems, and one short narrative prose — that each in their way strike a balance of earnest feeling, self-awareness, pragmatism, and flights of desire, all without recourse to the cliched or the cloying or the cynical. Kevin Hollingsworth’s “Romance with a Touch of Love” (a self-published collection of new writings) and Rebecca Cox’s “A Quiver for Lapsed Romantics” (a special publication selected from her ongoing minutelovestories project) offer some sanity amid the swirl of red-velvet sentimentality, and for that, this anti-Valentine fool for love is grateful indeed.
Cox has been working on minutelovestories for a few years now, to date dropping about 100 of these small but salient shorts, about 200 words or half a page each. The book I have at home is a collaboration with her husband, the artist Ned Evans, pairing his collage works with selected of her stories, but the whole archive and other collections are all up at her site. And I suggest you persuse that archive — especially if you are feeling iffy about V-Day, because each one of these numbers is a unique experience — optimistic, surprising, subversive, hilarious, heartbreaking, infuriating, neurotic, inspired, and yes, romantic. She has a knack for presenting fragments that contain the whole, leaving much unsaid but nothing unexplained. The self-imposed shortness of her format creates a kind of efficiency and clarity in the stories; there is nothing extraneous, but nothing lacking either. They are called love stories, and they are about love, but as everyone living knows, love is never just one thing, it’s a million tiny things — and now, each tiny thing gets its own story. Here’s my favorite (today): 
Surprise [minutelovestory #54]

You so provocatively texted me “I have a surprise for you”, that my thoughts ran from the salacious to the sweet. I imagined naked photos of you, a tripod arranged in your bedroom, dim lighting, but that didn’t seem like something you would do. You could be, however, surprising. And so I thought you’d bought us Springsteen tickets, because I could easily imagine us singing Born to Run together, drunk on the tequila you’d snuck into the stadium, a slim metal flask tucked into the waistband of your dark denim AG jeans. Or maybe you’d purchased a silk geisha robe in the turquoise color I’d been wanting, but unable to find, snatched it up downtown for a steal and wrapped it in purple tissue with a tulle bow.
But none of this. No.
When I arrived at your house, on the Shaker-style dining table was a photo of us, arms slung over shoulders, heads tilted toward one another, a moment captured at a friend’s birthday party. I was wearing red and my skin seemed oily, a shining white swath on my forehead. You looked distant, wary, left eye smaller than the right. I’d never noticed this before. What a surprise.
****
Hollingsworth’s prose reads less like short stories and more like almost spiritual insights. That is, while his subject is love, mulled over, gained, lost, deep, and breezy, his tone puts me in mind of the writings of a Khalil Gibran, dipping in and out of wistfulness and wisdom. His writing blends a casual, intimately simple language with a slightly formal, stylized syntax — a lofty sensibility treating very earthbound emotions. It’s a slim volume, but full of gems. Here’s what I mean:
Hatred Has No Place Here
Love understands him and he understands love. Love is his desire. So rich as well as beautiful he finds love to be; she loves him although he has neither. Generous and golden he finds love’s heart, and she loves him, for his heart is also filled so warmly. His life without love is hatred’s romance. Hatred has no place here as long as love is close by. He revels in her delight, and her delight is love. He feels her warmth and happiness too. He wakes up every morning with no hope, but with promise instead. Love is his promise and hatred has no hate here.

shananys:

Rebecca Cox and Kevin Hollingsworth Save Valentine’s Day

If you are like me, when it comes to Valentine’s Day and indeed all things conventionally “romantic” in American culture, you vacillate at random between extremes of swooning indulgence in storybook love and cheeky dismissal of kitsch and commerce. For one thing, there’s already plenty of chocolate in my house; and for another, cut flowers break my heart. Why kill something so pretty as a token of love? I’d much rather have something like a plant, still living, that can continue to grow.

I love poetry, but my favorite Shakespeare Sonnet is #130 — “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…” because it seems to me that it is a realistic appreciation of his beloved’s actual charms, hyperbolic metaphors be damned. My favorite novel is probably Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being, for essentially the same reason, with a little touch of magical thinking and geopolitics thrown in.

That’s why it has been my pleasure this Valentine’s season to be reading a pair of books — one essentially prose-poems, and one short narrative prose — that each in their way strike a balance of earnest feeling, self-awareness, pragmatism, and flights of desire, all without recourse to the cliched or the cloying or the cynical. Kevin Hollingsworth’s “Romance with a Touch of Love” (a self-published collection of new writings) and Rebecca Cox’s “A Quiver for Lapsed Romantics” (a special publication selected from her ongoing minutelovestories project) offer some sanity amid the swirl of red-velvet sentimentality, and for that, this anti-Valentine fool for love is grateful indeed.

Cox has been working on minutelovestories for a few years now, to date dropping about 100 of these small but salient shorts, about 200 words or half a page each. The book I have at home is a collaboration with her husband, the artist Ned Evans, pairing his collage works with selected of her stories, but the whole archive and other collections are all up at her site. And I suggest you persuse that archive — especially if you are feeling iffy about V-Day, because each one of these numbers is a unique experience — optimistic, surprising, subversive, hilarious, heartbreaking, infuriating, neurotic, inspired, and yes, romantic. She has a knack for presenting fragments that contain the whole, leaving much unsaid but nothing unexplained. The self-imposed shortness of her format creates a kind of efficiency and clarity in the stories; there is nothing extraneous, but nothing lacking either. They are called love stories, and they are about love, but as everyone living knows, love is never just one thing, it’s a million tiny things — and now, each tiny thing gets its own story. Here’s my favorite (today):

Surprise [minutelovestory #54]

You so provocatively texted me “I have a surprise for you”, that my thoughts ran from the salacious to the sweet. I imagined naked photos of you, a tripod arranged in your bedroom, dim lighting, but that didn’t seem like something you would do. You could be, however, surprising. And so I thought you’d bought us Springsteen tickets, because I could easily imagine us singing Born to Run together, drunk on the tequila you’d snuck into the stadium, a slim metal flask tucked into the waistband of your dark denim AG jeans. Or maybe you’d purchased a silk geisha robe in the turquoise color I’d been wanting, but unable to find, snatched it up downtown for a steal and wrapped it in purple tissue with a tulle bow.

But none of this. No.

When I arrived at your house, on the Shaker-style dining table was a photo of us, arms slung over shoulders, heads tilted toward one another, a moment captured at a friend’s birthday party. I was wearing red and my skin seemed oily, a shining white swath on my forehead. You looked distant, wary, left eye smaller than the right. I’d never noticed this before. What a surprise.


****

Hollingsworth’s prose reads less like short stories and more like almost spiritual insights. That is, while his subject is love, mulled over, gained, lost, deep, and breezy, his tone puts me in mind of the writings of a Khalil Gibran, dipping in and out of wistfulness and wisdom. His writing blends a casual, intimately simple language with a slightly formal, stylized syntax — a lofty sensibility treating very earthbound emotions. It’s a slim volume, but full of gems. Here’s what I mean:

Hatred Has No Place Here

Love understands him and he understands love. Love is his desire. So rich as well as beautiful he finds love to be; she loves him although he has neither. Generous and golden he finds love’s heart, and she loves him, for his heart is also filled so warmly. His life without love is hatred’s romance. Hatred has no place here as long as love is close by. He revels in her delight, and her delight is love. He feels her warmth and happiness too. He wakes up every morning with no hope, but with promise instead. Love is his promise and hatred has no hate here.

Are you in Los Angeles on Tuesday, February 11th? Do you like the Sunset Strip and beautiful hotels and love stories, to boot? Come to The Standard on February 11th from 8-10 PM to hear me read a fistful of my minutelovestories, as well as a couple never-before-seen-or-heard stories. Sharing the evening is the magnificent and lovely Susan Savory, poet, essayist, and artist.

Are you in Los Angeles on Tuesday, February 11th? Do you like the Sunset Strip and beautiful hotels and love stories, to boot? Come to The Standard on February 11th from 8-10 PM to hear me read a fistful of my minutelovestories, as well as a couple never-before-seen-or-heard stories. Sharing the evening is the magnificent and lovely Susan Savory, poet, essayist, and artist.

MLS WEEKLY GUEST POST - Photographer, Writer, Musician Ed Valfre

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About Ed Valfre: Ed Valfre is a photographer / musician and the author of two children’s books, Backseat Buckaroo and Vacationers From Outer Space. He has exhibited his photographs in Los Angeles, Bologna and Rome. He currently resides in Los Angeles, or possibly in an alternate dimension.

Find more of his stories and photography and music here: http://www.edvalfresdreamland.com/

Or follow him on Facebook here: http://on.fb.me/1frMs66

A guest post from Los Angeles writer Lance Glover ::

the first time it happened was dreamlike, surreal. in fact these many years later she wonders if the whole thing might not have been a fantasy, something to mask the emotional disfigurement of a painful childhood. and yet, any time she encounters the names piz buin or davo lais she becomes transported to a vision from her youth and the small orphanage at the foot of the silvretti alps, where early one spring morning, cold sunlight streaming through tall windows overlooking the peaks, she heard the squeak of a door, quiet footsteps and then felt the sudden warmth of another body in her bed. fabian, a few years older and more world-weary than she, had been flirting with her since his arrival that winter from innsbruck, and it was he who in a moment of boldness took it upon himself to introduce her to the subtleties of physical love – he had been corrupted by a friar at his previous orphanage but bore the scars well, learning even in his violation that there are many expressions of love, some of them quite tender and soulful. and so they coupled every morning for the next two years, becoming their own true family in the absence of any other. she never looked at his face but always out at the mountains as they made love, and in this way convinced herself that there was no sin, that it was actually a simple expression of god’s creation rather than a physical act with another human being. the mountains became her refuge, her place of oneness and solace during the war, and upon retirement she made it a point to locate an apartment with a view of the alps, finding that each morning as she recites her prayers the voice of the mountains comes to her.

From Lance Glover - one of his Fragments of Fragments

Elfie, a cellist from Düsseldorf, had joined the Berliner Philharmoniker only recently. Despite her initial shyness the camaraderie of the ensemble had soon made her feel quite welcome, loosing her at last from the patriarchal clutches of her strict Rhineland upbringing. In fact, within the first month she had begun passionate affairs with both a timpanist by the name of Ernst and Simone, the conductor’s beautiful assistant. She soon began to wonder just how many affairs of the heart were going on within the orchestra. At rehearsal one day, in the middle of the particularly energetic adagio of Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings, the bow slipped from her hand and landed at the feet of Andreas, a contrabassist. Both he and the player adjacent, Sabine, reached for Elfie’s bow, their fingers touching, then locking briefly, each returning a knowing grin. In consort, they turned to Elfie with the bow, Andreas with a wink, Sabine seductively biting her lower lip.

Swap [minutelovestory #99]

It wasn’t working. None of it. Not that particular summer. The rituals scurried off, toe-tapping and juniper-burning useless. The front yard, symptomatically vacant, requested redress, and so she filled it with a Saturday sale, dragging onto the lawn his boyhood nautical rope mirror, her collection of pastel pinwheels, three black Oaxacan skulls, only the most sullen of her porcelain dolls. A fair trade, a swap of sentiment for narrative victuals. Something to break the leg of the devil, as the Sunday morning flea market rug dealer says. She needed to crack it with a thick wooden mallet. Split it wide apart and chase the slippery sorrows, reckonings, psychological antiquities.

How much?

The worst thing that’s ever happened to you.

How much?

The most inhumane thing you’ve done.

How much?

Your preferred profanation. (17 fucks, 8 cocks, 4 pussies, 2 cunts)

How much?

Your earliest childhood memory.

She reaches for a green woolen cardigan hanging on the bathroom door’s backside and slides herself into it. Within the pockets, crumbling snowflake-patterned Kleenex, a rifle-wielding plastic figurine, a matchbook from the local sushi restaurant. And from inside these lives of others, she hears water rushing forwards and backwards, forwards and backwards.

Happening in Santa Monica, CA this Saturday evening! Join us if you’re in Los Angeles. 
" A Quiver for Lapsed Romantics is a 36-page, 8”x8”, limited edition collection of twelve 200-word love stories written by Rebecca Cox, paired with twelve postcard collages from artist Ned Evans. Cox and Evans, who are husband and wife, collaborated on the book, with Cox searching through the artist’s archives and curating the work to regale these bits of short fiction. Cox’s minutelovestories project began in 2010 while Evans’s collages were created between 1979 and 1991 - some of these collages have not been exhibited in over thirty years and many of these stories have not been publicly released. All collages within the book will be exhibited at Craig Krull Gallery, alongside their corresponding story.

Happening in Santa Monica, CA this Saturday evening! Join us if you’re in Los Angeles.

" A Quiver for Lapsed Romantics is a 36-page, 8”x8”, limited edition collection of twelve 200-word love stories written by Rebecca Cox, paired with twelve postcard collages from artist Ned Evans. Cox and Evans, who are husband and wife, collaborated on the book, with Cox searching through the artist’s archives and curating the work to regale these bits of short fiction. Cox’s minutelovestories project began in 2010 while Evans’s collages were created between 1979 and 1991 - some of these collages have not been exhibited in over thirty years and many of these stories have not been publicly released. All collages within the book will be exhibited at Craig Krull Gallery, alongside their corresponding story.

A Story for Strangers [minutelovestory #90]

Mescal was dripping onto the tile floor. This would cause problems later. She looked down to see that two lime wedges also lay there, one of them showing signs of having been crushed beneath a sole. Things were presently, currently, tilting and blurring. The petite ceramic vessels of agave’s fermented fluids could be held accountable for some of this but not culpable completely. Something about the way he licked the salt from his fist. Something about how he conjectured the likelihood of feral mapaches lurking through the yard and he said of these masked beasts who tear koi in half and toss the guts into rose bushes, rip legs from kept, wading tortoises, force dogs into swimming pools to drown them: “They’re not vicious.” And so he swayed into the dark, swinging a bag of empty bottles and cans like a privileged hobo, warding off negligible predators.

The door swung open as the matte newscaster reported the Rincon Valley fires were zero percent contained. They silently watched the flames dance on the screen, their own bodies pressed hard together, shoulder to shoulder. Balancing the bowl on the overturned tips of her fingers, she pursed her lips to blow and wish.

Their favorite waitress had quit the week before and the restaurant was drafty, though its windows were shut. She thought a few of the fish were swimming backwards in the abnormally active tank, but that seemed impossible.

 Her favorite part of the meal was the fortune cookies, arriving with the bill and peppermints on a plastic platter. “You have to eat it, or it won’t come true.” She always consumed the cookie, no matter its chewy staleness.

“You are a good person who deserves good things,” she read.

That was also one of the rules. Reading aloud.

“Read yours.”

He cracked the cookie into pieces.

“Take that chance you’ve been considering.”

She smiled.

He rolled the tiny slip of paper into something like a sacrosanct scroll, deftly sliding it into his coat pocket.

“I think we should end this,” he said.

She gasped. “This is … very sudden.”

“Not for me. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”

She heard the cookie being crunched to bits in his jaws as he placed two twenty-dollar bills on the table and she continued to chew her own, though it was much less of a fortune and more of a disposable validation.
© Rebecca Cox

Their favorite waitress had quit the week before and the restaurant was drafty, though its windows were shut. She thought a few of the fish were swimming backwards in the abnormally active tank, but that seemed impossible.

 Her favorite part of the meal was the fortune cookies, arriving with the bill and peppermints on a plastic platter. “You have to eat it, or it won’t come true.” She always consumed the cookie, no matter its chewy staleness.

“You are a good person who deserves good things,” she read.

That was also one of the rules. Reading aloud.

“Read yours.”

He cracked the cookie into pieces.

“Take that chance you’ve been considering.”

She smiled.

He rolled the tiny slip of paper into something like a sacrosanct scroll, deftly sliding it into his coat pocket.

“I think we should end this,” he said.

She gasped. “This is … very sudden.”

“Not for me. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”

She heard the cookie being crunched to bits in his jaws as he placed two twenty-dollar bills on the table and she continued to chew her own, though it was much less of a fortune and more of a disposable validation.

© Rebecca Cox