Archives for posts with tag: Entertainment


On Sunday, August 16, 2015, Tongue & Grove — a monthly literary variety show with music produced by Conrad Romo — features three Burning River Press authors from Cleveland, Pen Emerging Voices Fellow Andres Reconco, with music by Tooth & Talon with Molly James.

WHAT: Tongue & Groove Literary Variety Show

WHEN: Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, 6-7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Hotel Cafe, 1623 1/2 N Cahuenga Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

TAB: $7.00 at the door

ETC.: Come early! Seating is limited and the event starts on time! There are parking lots on Selma as well as Cahuenga. Meters need to be fed until 8 p.m. Avoid Cahuenga street parking. The signs are deceptive.



Christopher Bowen is the founder and publisher of Burning River chapbooks. His chapbook published by Sunnyoutside Press, We Were Giants, has been lauded for its “bands of loss,” in the words of one critic — and as “a reminder of the temporality of everything” by another. In 2014, he started The Ohio Vintage Matchbook Company, a website devoted to prose, poetry, and the progress of literature in the 21st Century. He lives, cooks, attends school, and writes from the Cleveland, Ohio, area.


Chella Courington writes poetry and short fiction. Her chapbook, Girls and Women, was published by Burning River and she has also published with Indigo Ink and Porkbelly Press. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Gargoyle, and Danse Macabre — and she has been nominated for the Best of the Net and Best New Poets anthologies. She is a professor of creative writing at Santa Barbara City College.


Jane Rosenberg LaForge is the author of an experimental memoir, An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy/A Fantastical Memoir (Jaded Ibis Press 2014), which received an honorable mention for the best books of (the Jewish year) 5774 from HEEB magazine. She is also the author of a full-length poetry collection, With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women (The Aldrich Press 2012). Her first chapbook, After Voices,’ was published by Burning River. She has been nominated twice for the Best of the Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in New York City.


Andres Reconco was born in a little coastal town called Acajutla, in El Salvador. He came to the U.S. in 1991 and has been living in Los Angeles ever since. He received his bachelor’s in English Literature from CSULA. He is a 2014 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow and a 2015 Idyllwild Writer’s Week Fellow. He teaches English at the Los Angeles High School of the Arts, a public school in Korea Town.


Tooth and Talon is an up-and-coming, Oakland-based soul-folk trio. Their soulful vocals, sweet melodies, and ukulele-led instrumentation moved the Rock Paper Sciccors Collective to call them “Oakland’s ukulele darlings.” They came together originally through the 9 Lives Collective, an Oakland-based musician incubator. They are now in the midst of recording their first album. Tooth and Talon regularly plays cafes, bars, and home shows in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can listen to some demo recordings of their music here:

For the uninitiated, an “erasure” poem is where you take existing text — in the above case, a page from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — and mark out some of the words to create a poem. Here’s how the above poem reads when it stands alone…

by Cathy Dee

Through the summer nights
men and girls came and went like moths
and the stars.
I watched his guests
slit the waters of the Sound,
the city scampered 
like a brisk yellow bug
eight servants left his back door
in a pyramid of pulpless halves.
At least enough colored lights
to make a Christmas tree
bewitched to a dark gold
so long forgotten


Learn more about erasure poems at Found Poetry Review.

Photo: F. Scott Fitzgerald with wife Zelda and daughter Scottie, 1923, in the sports coupé the author purchased a few years earlier after selling his first novel, THIS SIDE OF PARADISE.

“When I was a boy, I dreamed that I sat always at the wheel of a magnificent Stutz, a Stutz as low as a snake and as red as an Indiana barn.”


According to an insightful 1993 article entitled “The Automobile as a Central Symbol in F. Scott Fitzgerald” by Luis Girón Echevarría:

“The cars in Fitzgerald’s life provide a rough gauge by which to measure the discrepancy between the dream and reality of his life, as well as his waning fortunes, and his journey from careless, irresponsible youth to cautious, worried middle-age…

His first car, purchased in 1920 after the publication of his best-selling first novel, This Side of Paradise, was a three-year-oíd sports coupé; during the next two decades he would own a used Rolls-Royce, an oíd Buick, [a] Stutz, a nine-year-old Packard, an oíd 1934 Ford coupé, and, finally, a second-hand 1937 Ford convertible

It was Fitzgerald’s destiny to begin life dreaming of a magnificent red Stutz Bearcat and to end up driving a second-hand Ford. But during the interval he wrote of America’s dreams and of America’s enduring love affair with the automobile.”

Read more of this fascinating article here.


On May 17, 2013, around the time The Great Gatsby was released, we created a post entitled “What Type of Car Did Gatsby Drive?” (reposted below).  Since that time, the post has averaged about 50 hits per day — or about 5,000 hits so far. I find this high number of hits (for us, anyway) astonishing — are that many people interested in Gatsby’s car? Or are students visiting our site for info they can use in their Great Gatsby term papers? (Then again, school just started.)

Over three months later, The Great Gatsby has come and gone from the big screens in L.A. and I didn’t find a good time to catch the film. The next best thing is the 2-disc set issued on August 27th and available on for $17.99.

Post from May 17, 2013: What Type of Car Did Gatsby Drive? 


Photo: Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) rides with Jay Gatsby(Leonardo DiCaprio) in the 2013 film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby.

Here’s how Nick Carraway describes Gatsby’s car in Fitzgerald’s novel:

It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns. Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory, we started to town..”

While Nick describes Gatsby’s car as “cream colored,” other characters in the book describe it as “yellow” — which, as most of us learned in high school, symbolizes Gatsby’s pursuit of the gold, of the American Dream.


Photo: Nick Carraway (Sam Waterston) drives with Jay Gatsby (Robert Redford) in the 1974 film version of Fitzgerald‘s novel.

But what make and model of car did Gatsby drive — in the novel and the various film versions? A recent article in the New York Times by Jerry Garrett offers some interesting answers. Since the information gets a bit convoluted, I’m going to resort to bullet points — and, in movie parlance, cut to the chase.

  • 1925 novel: Fitzgerald writes, “On weekends, his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight …” According to Garrett’s New York Times article (May 10, 2013), “The Rolls most likely would have been a 1922 Silver Ghost…”
  • 1974 movie (starring Robert Redford): Redford drives a 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom  – for a story set in 1922.
  • 2013 movie (starring Leonardo DiCaprio): DiCaprio drives a 1929 Duesenberg Model J — again, for a story set in 1922.


Photo: Cars featured in the 1949 film version of The Great Gatsbystarring Alan Ladd.

I also checked out Jerry Garrett’s blog, where he adds another interesting fact…

  • 1949 movie (starring Alan Ladd): In this film version, as in the 2013 offering, Gatsby drives a Duesenberg (though I don’t know year or model). According to vintage car expert Jerry Garrett,“The point of having Gatsby owning a Rolls-Royce in the book, and having a closet full of clothes from England, was to help sell his fantasy girl Daisy Buchanan on his lie of having gone to school at Oxford. The original Duesenberg was made in Indiana. Would Daisy, a society belle from Louisville, Kentucky, have been impressed with a Hoosier?”


Southern California residents have two more chances to see STARCROSSER’S CUT, a play based on the saga of astronaut Lisa Nowak (the diaper-wearing woman scorned out for revenge).

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Inspired by astronaut Lisa Nowaks 2007 arrest for the attempted murder of a romantic rival, Starcrosserʼs Cut is a cassette symphony in the tradition of Krapp’s Last Tape. Loosely based on the real-life transcript of Nowak’s police interview after her arrest, a character known only as “Lisa” listens to the playback, reenacts her interview with the detective, and attempts to rerecord it all. Through a labyrinth of tape edits and revisions within revisions, the play looks at the “crimes that can’t keep uncommitted”  — those beyond guilt. From jail cell to Space Shuttle, the mystery that emerges is not whether Lisa did it — it’s whether a crime can cease to be a crime, or can just cease to be.

Running time: 90 minutes
Written and directed by Joseph Tepperman
Music by David Dominique
Featuring Shawn Lockie & Tom Colitt
With musicians Leah Harmon, Sammi Lee,
Heather Lockie, and Alexander Noice

Saturday, June 15 @ 8pm
Sunday, June 16 @ 4pm

$18, general admission; $12, students/seniors


Son of Semele Theater
3301 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90004

I caught STARCROSSER’S CUT yesterday (6/13) to a standing-room-only house, the result of rave reviews and feature articles for the show in The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today, LA Weekly, and LA Stage Times. (Congrats to the publicist Diana Wyenn for all the press. Find her at

Watching the stage depiction of Lisa Nowak (played with bravura intensity and commitment by Shawn Lockie), I thought back to my days in an all-girl Catholic high school — and the range of human behavior, from girls always in trouble to perfect girls. The most interesting thing that happened during my four years at the school occurred when brilliant Jeannie B. (A+, honor roll, student council president, etc., etc.,) went into a rage when she learned that one of our teachers Mr. C was marrying another teacher Miss D. Yes, Jeannie B. was in luv with Mr. C and cried and carried on about that #*!@ Miss D. Who knew?

So with this personal set-piece as an emotional entry into STARCROSSER’S CUT, I had no problem understanding why super-achiever Lisa Nowak flipped when she learned that her boyfriend Bill was dumping her for younger, blonder Colleen. As the poet William Congreve reminded us way back in the 17th century, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

I won’t try to summarize Lisa Nowak‘s crimes — the story is too complex to boil down into a few flip paragraphs. But if you’d like to know more, check out “Lust in Space,” an insightful article by S.C. Gwynne in one of my favorite magazines — Texas Monthly

STARCROSSER’S CUT makes frequent references to the constellation Cassiopeia, drawing a parallel with Nowak, as astronaut. In Greek mythology, Queen Cassiopeia was placed in the sky as a punishment for boasting that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids — and is now forced to wheel around the North Celestial Pole on her throne, spending half of her time clinging to it so she does not fall off. The throne/space shuttle analogy is played out to poetic effect, often with images of the constellation projected onto the stage and actors.

Original music by David Dominique — played live by Leah Harmon (accordion), Sammi Lee (flute), Heather Lockie (viola), and Alexander Noice (guitar) — takes us into the mind, jumbled thought processes, and roller coaster emotions of Lisa Nowak as she struggles to give an account of her actions during an interview with an Orlando, Florida, detective (Tom Colitt in a sincere, natural performance that flowed like a virtuoso jazz solo — a joy to witness).

If you have a chance, So Cal residents, catch STARCROSSER’S CUT — highly recommended.


“The coffee shop smell was strong enough to build a garage on.”

RAYMOND CHANDLER, Farewell My Lovely

May is “Get Caught Reading” month, and during the past few weeks we’ve posted a range of familiar faces reading a variety of books. In the photo above, Michael Caine — in the role of Jack Carter in the 1971 movie Get Carter — reads Raymond Chandler‘s 1940 novel Farewell My Lovely. And, as the excerpt at the top of his post proves, Chandler was a master of the original metaphor.


by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Italian Translation 
by Fernanda Pivano

Opening lines in Italian:
Negli anni più vulnerabili della giovinezza, mio padre mi diede un consiglio che no mi

è mai più uscito di mente.

— Quando ti vien la voglia di criticare qualcuno — mi disse — ricordati che non tutti a questo mondo hanno avuto i vantaggi che hai avuto tu. 

In Inglese: 
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” 



Fernanda Pivano (1917- 2009) was an Italian writer, journalist, translator and critic. Born in Genoa, as a teenager she moved with her family to Turin where she attended the Massimo D’Azeglio Lyceum. In 1941 she received a bachelor’s degree with a thesis on Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick, which earned her a prize from the Center for American Studies in Rome. Her first translation, part of the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, was published in 1943, the same year she received a degree in philosophy.

In 1948, Pivano met Ernest Hemingway, resulting in an intense relationship of professional collaboration and friendship. The following year, Mondadori published her translation of A Farewell to Arms.

Throughout her professional life, Pivano contributed to the publication in Italy of significant American writers, from the icons of the Roaring Twenties, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and William Faulkner, through the writers of the 1960s (Allen GinsbergJack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti), to young writers of recent decades, including Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis, David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk and Jonathan Safran Foer. Pivano was also interested in African-American culture and published many Italian versions of Richard Wright‘s books. In 1980 and again in 1984, Pivano interviewed Charles Bukowski at his home in San Pedro, California. These interviews became the basis for her book, Charles Bukowski, Laughing with the Gods first published in the USA by Sun Dog Press in 2000.

Photo: Ernest Hemingway and Fernanda Pivano, 1949.

by james (w) moore

I was
a house on fire
the peninsula blazing with
thin glints Turning
it was lit
it was wild
all the sound
blew the wires and made the lights go
he winked
toward me
like the World’s Fair,
eyes absent.
to some,
too late.
we take a plunge
I said
“I don’t want to put you to
any trouble.”
“I don’t want
to put you to any trouble, you see.”
the day     to-morrow         a moment
with reluctance:
We both looked
ragged ended and darker

Copyright james (w) moore, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Visit james (w) moore, the self-described writer/director/actor/designer guy at his blog ( His note on the above erasure poem reads, “if Baz Luhrmann can remix The Great Gatsby, then so can we.”

james (w) moore was one of 85 official remixers in Pulitzer Remix, a 2013 National Poetry Month initiative to create found poetry from the 85 Pulitzer Prize-winning works of fiction. Each poet posted one poem per day on the Pulitzer Remix website during the month of April, resulting in the creation of more than 2,500 poems by the project’s conclusion.

According to the Pulitzer Remix website:
Pulitzer Remix is sponsored by the Found Poetry Review, a literary journal dedicated exclusively to publishing found poetry. Found poems are the literary equivalents of collages, where words, phrases and lines from existing texts are refashioned into new poems. The genre includes centos*, erasure poetry, cut-up poetry, and other textual combinations.

Pulitzer Remix poets are challenged to create new works of poetry that vary in topic and theme from the original text, rather than merely regurgitating the novels in poetic form.

*Cento: A work of poetry  composed of verses or passages taken from other authors, placed  in a new form or order.


We continue our tribute to The Great Gatsby — our favorite novel and the reason we started this blog in June 2012 — with the cover from a Swedish edition of the book. In Sweden, F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel is called En Man Utan Skrupler, which translates as A Man Without Scruples.

I’m guessing that people in Sweden like to know something about a book before deciding to read it — and, I’ll admit, The Great Gatsby isn’t a descriptive title like, say, the Swedish blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Set in 1922, The Great Gatsby tells the story of post-WWI America, the Roaring Twenties, when Prohibition —  a national ban on the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol, in effect from 1920-1933 — was the law of the land,  setting the stage for gangsters, bootleggers, and other nefarious types who were ready, willing, and able to give the people what they wanted.

While Jay Gatsby made his money through the illegal sale and transportation of alcohol, I’ve never thought of him as “a man without scruples.” That’s the point of the novel, isn’t it?  In the end, it was Daisy and Tom — the rich — who really had no scruples.

I did a search for quotes about “scruples” and found the following, which speaks to to Gatsby’s approximate time and place.

“The late 1920s were an age of islands, real and metaphorical. They were an age when Americans by thousands and tens of thousands were scheming to take the next boat for the South Seas or the West Indies, or better still for Paris, from which they could scatter to Majorca, Corsica, Capri or the isles of Greece.

Paris itself was a modern city that seemed islanded in the past, and there were island countries, like Mexico, where Americans could feel that they had escaped from everything that oppressed them in a business civilization.

Or without leaving home they could build themselves private islands of art or philosophy; or else – and this was a frequent solution – they could create social islands in the shadow of the skyscrapers, groups of close friends among whom they could live as unconstrainedly as in a Polynesian valley, live without moral scruples or modern conveniences, live in the pure moment, live gaily on gin and love and two lamb chops broiled over a coal fire in the grate. That was part of the Greenwich Village idea, and soon it was being copied in Boston, San Francisco, everywhere.”

MALCOLM COWLEY, Exile’s Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s. 

For the uninitiated, an “erasure” poem is where you take existing text — in the above case, Chapter 3 from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — and mark out some of the words to create a poem. Here’s how the above poem reads when it stands alone…

Through the summer nights
men and girls came and went like moths
and the stars.
I watched his guests
slit the waters of the Sound,
the city scampered 
like a brisk yellow bug
eight servants left his back door
in a pyramid of pulpless halves.
At least enough colored lights
to make a Christmas tree
bewitched to a dark gold
so long forgotten


Learn more about erasure poems at Found Poetry Review.