Archives for category: Los Angeles

Silver Birch Press is pleased to announce that Skylight Books, Los Angeles, will host a launch party for the Silver Birch Press BUKOWSKI ANTHOLOGY. We are honored to report that the event will feature readings from the collection by S.A. Griffin, Joan Jobe Smith, and Fred Voss.  For mini bios of our esteemed performers, visit Skylight Books.

WHAT: Silver Birch Press BUKOWSKI ANTHOLOGY launch party and readings from the collection

WHO: S.A. Griffin, Joan Jobe Smith, and Fred Voss

WHERE: Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90027, 323-660-1175

WHEN: Sunday, September 22, 2013, 5 p.m.

If you live in the area, we hope to see you there!

Cover art by Mark Erickson and Katy Zartl


We used to drive around at night, we didn’t have anything else to do. We didn’t like to be in our apartment…So we drove around in the dark. We drove down Sunset and slowly through the quiet northern streets in Beverly Hills. Sometimes we parked and beamed the headlights over one lawn. Houses in Beverly Hills still amazed us. After we sat for a while, peering out trying to see movement inside the frames of fuzzy, lighted windows far back on a lawn, my mother would sigh and turn on the ignition. ‘Someday,’ she’d say.”

From Anywhere But Here by MONA SIMPSON

Photo: Soj!!, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find more work here.


(Chapter 18, Opening Paragraph)
by Raymond Chandler

The Athletic Club was on a corner across the street and half a block down from the Treloar Building. I crossed and walked north to the entrance. They had finished laying rose-colored concrete where the rubber sidewalk had been. It was fenced around, leaving a narrow gangway in and out of the building. The space was clotted with office help going in from lunch.


At Raymond Chandler’s 125th birthday celebration in downtown Los Angeles on July 23, 2013, the revelers visited the Oviatt Building at 617 S. Olive — the inspiration for the Treloar Building in Chandler’s 1943 novel The Lady in the Lake. Outside the building, Marc Chevalier offered stories from his upcoming book about the location, including how owner James Oviatt put the edifice in his nephew’s name for tax purposes and the overworked, put-upon underling made his slave-driving uncle buy back the building.

The festivities outside the Oviatt Building also included David Kipen — former literature director of the National Endowment for the Arts — reading the opening page from The Lady in the Lake. (Kipen currently heads Libros Schmibros, a lending library and used bookstore in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.)


The main floor of the Oviatt Building is now home to the Cicada Club —  — and the owner allowed the Chandler birthday party to move inside and tour the club in all its Art Deco splendor.


After walking around the mezzanine — a balcony that frames the space — we congregated in the bar (closed during our visit), where host Richard Schave and Oviatt historian Marc Chevalier shared wild tales about James Oviatt — the teenager from humble beginnings in Utah who became a linchpin and millionaire in Los Angeles. Oviatt also served as inspiration for Derace Kingsley,  the heavy in The Lady of the Lake.

While touring the club, I chatted with Sybil Davis, daughter of Raymond Chandler’s last secretary, who earlier in the evening had given a talk and held up one of her prized possessions — Chandler’s monogrammed silver cigarette case. Realizing it was a lot to ask, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without trying — so in a barely audible voice I asked if I could hold the cigarette case, if only for a few seconds.

Looking around, so as not to cause a stampede of people who wished to follow my example, Sybil slipped the cigarette case (wrapped in a white gauze bag with a satin tie) from her purse. She removed the case from its covering and placed it on my outstretched hand. I enclosed the case between my palms and felt a profound sense of gratitude — to Sybil and to Chandler for his masterful, iconic, poetic works of art.


This was the Noir Holy Grail — Raymond Chandler’s silver cigarette case — and, as a devotee of both Chandler and noir, I found myself speechless and humbled by this unexpected blessing.

Thanks to the organizers and participants for a wonderful celebration of Raymond Chandler‘s birth! And a special thank you to the gifted husband and wife team of Kim Cooper — who read from her amazing, beautifully written, Chandler-inspired novel during the evening — and Richard Schave, the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Visionaries Association, for hosting this inspired event.


My car battery went dead a few days ago after I’d left my lights on while I was browsing at a used bookstore. I was holding my $2.99 purchase — The Los Angeles Diaries by James Brown (not that James Brown) — when I saw my fading headlights in the distance.

Yesterday, I read about 50 pages of The Los Angeles Diaries while in the veterinarian’s waiting room with my cat Clancy, who had a dental abscess and couldn’t eat. Brown’s book is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read — and a welcome companion in a difficult setting. (It’s hard when your own pet is ill, even more difficult to witness other suffering animals.)

Brown’s stories about his Hollywood pitch meetings — especially one about the young executive who cracked open peanuts and threw the shells on the carpet during the meeting — give you a ringside seat at the inner workings of LA-LA Land.

While many editions of The Los Angeles Diaries are currently in print, I selected the book cover (above right) of the edition I found at the used bookstore.


The Los Angeles Diaries is terrific. It’s one of the toughest memoirs I’ve ever read, at once spare and startlingly, admirably unsparing. It glows with a dark luminescence. James Brown is a fine, fine writer.” MICHAEL CHABON

“One of those rare memoirs that cuts deeply, chillingly into the reader’s own dreams. It is a dramatic, vivid, heartbreaking, very personal story…cleanly and beautifully written, and it is also incredibly moving.” TIM O’BRIEN

FROM THE BACK COVER: The Los Angeles Diaries unveils Brown’s struggle for survival, mining his perilous past to present the inspiring story of his redemption.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Brown is the author of the memoirs, This River and The Los Angeles Diaries, and co-editor with Diana Raab of the anthology Writers on the Edge. The most recent reprint of The Los Angeles Diaries from Counterpoint Press includes a foreword by Jerry Stahl, as does the French edition, Les Carnets de L.A., from 13 eNote Books, and is currently under option for a feature film with producer Jude Prest and Lifelike Productions, LLC. Brown has also written several novels, including Final Performance and Lucky Town. He’s received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction Writing and the Nelson Algren Award in Short Fiction. His work has appeared in GQ, Esquire, Ploughshares, The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The New England Quarterly, and anthologized in Best American Sports Writing; Fathers, Sons and Sports: Great American Sports Writing; and the college textbooks Oral Interpretations, and Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief. Brown can be contacted through his website at

by Charles Bukowski

In the betting line the other


man behind me asked,

“are you Henry 

“uh huh,” I answered.

“I like your books,” he went


“thanks,” I answered.

“who do you like in this

race?” he asked.

“uh uh,” I answered.

“I like the 4 horse,” he

told me.

I made my bet and went back

to my seat….

the next race I am standing in

line and here is this same man

standing behind me


there are at least 50 lines at

the windows but

he has to find mine


“I think this race favors the

closers,” he said to the back of

my neck. “the track looks


“listen,” I said, not looking

around, “it’s the kiss of death to

talk about horses at the


“what kind of rule is that?”

he asked. “God doesn’t make


I turned around and looked at him:

“maybe not, but I


after the next race

I got in line, glanced behind


he was not there:

lost another reader.

I lose 2 or 3 each



let ’em go back to


Photo: Charles Bukowski picking his horses at the race track.

Silver Birch Press is pleased to announce that Skylight Books, Los Angeles, will host a launch party for the Silver Birch Press BUKOWSKI ANTHOLOGY. So-Cal Buk (and book) lovers, please mark your calendars!

WHAT: Silver Birch Press BUKOWSKI ANTHOLOGY launch party and reading

WHERE: Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90027, 323-660-1175

WHEN: Sunday, September 22, 2013, 5-7 P.M.

More information about the event coming soon! 

(Cover art by Mark Erickson and Birgit Zartl)


Hurry, So Cal residents, before it’s sold out — Esotouric’s “Haunt’s of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski’s Los Angeles,” Saturday, July 13th from noon – 4p.m. The four-hour tour focuses on Bukowski’s great passions: writing, women, and Los Angeles — and visits the canonical locations of his life and myth: the Postal Annex Terminal where he gathered the material for Post Office, the De Longpre apartment where he experimented with marriage and fatherhood, one of his favorite bars and liquor stores, and many other spots. Along the way, host Richard Schave and guests will explore the people and ideas that made up the warp and weft of Buk’s rich inner life. Price: $58. For reservations, visit

Photo: Charles Bukowski standing in front of his Mercury Comet and his apartment on Carlton Way in Los Angeles, 1970s, by Tina Ewing, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Image Silver Birch Press extends a big thank you to the fabulous Skylight Books in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles for hosting a June 30th launch event for Philippa Mayall and her memoir PHOENIX (Silver Birch Press, June 2013).

During well-attended gathering, Philippa read the first chapter of her book — a harrowing account of her rescue from a tragic house fire — answered questions about the memoir and her writing process, and signed books for the enthusiastic and supportive attendees.

We appreciate the opportunity to showcase our latest release at the prestigious Skylight Books. Please support Skylight Books by purchasing books — either in person or on line — from this outstanding independent bookstore. Skylight offers an awesome (and reasonable) membership package that provides impressive discounts and free shipping. So, no matter where you live, please patronize the stellar Skylight Books. To learn more about memberships, please visit

Skylight books is located at 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027, 323-660-1175.

On the last Sunday of each month, LAVA (Los Angeles Visionaries Association) hosts a Salon in downtown Los Angeles that features formal presentations on cultural and literary topics. On Sunday, June 30th, the Salon will explore Jazz Age Los Angeles with two presentations.

PRESENTATION #1: Martin Turnbull on The Garden of Allah


Martin Turnbull, author of The Garden Of Allah novels will discuss life at the Garden of Allah hotel, including its infamous bungalow courtyard — and the bootleg liquor, fizzy flappers, all-night parties that defined the Jazz Age in Los Angeles. When F. Scott Fitzgerald arrived in  L.A. during the mid-1930s with his $1000/week contract at MGM, he settled in at the Garden of Allah. It was also the home-away-from-home for Algonquin Round Table refugees Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman, Alexander Woollcott, and Donald Ogden Stewart. Martin will punctuate his talk with readings from his first novel in the Garden of Allah series, The Garden On Sunset.

PRESENTATION #2: Marc Chevalier on the Crescent Heights Shopping Center & the Ballyhoo Spirit of the Jazz Age


Marc Chevailer, historian of the Oviatt Building in Los Angeles, will focus on the Crescent Heights Shopping Center, across the street from the Garden of Allah. Built in 1925, this towered, marble-trimmed and mansard-roofed Norman chateau housed Schwab’s Pharmacy and the Crescent Heights Market. It was where Hollywood’s movielanders shopped, schmoozed, strove, and scrounged for generations. While nothing remains of “the chateau that housed Schwab’s,” Marc will describe its halcyon era.

WHERE: Les Noces du Figaro, 618 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90014. (213) 915-8687

WHEN: Sunday, June 30, 2013, noon-2 p.m.

PRICE: Free!

“A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.” ANAIS NIN

PHOTO: Window in Anais Nin‘s home in Silverlake, Los Angeles (Eric Lloyd Wright, architect) by Rhonda Nelson