I took a break from reporting to participate in Vickie Vertiz's 10-minute poetry workshop at the LA Times Festival of Books last week. At first, it was scary to think of coming up with a poem on the spot. But, after a little coaching, we ended up each writing a poem out of someone else’s list of quotidian personal artifacts (Who did you think of when you woke up? What are some essential daily objects?) — and all willingly read aloud. We went home with a stranger’s poem about our life. It was lovely.

More photos from Kaya Press & Writ Large's Smokin' Hot Indie Lit Lounge here.

  06:09 pm, by jessicalanglois  Comments

L.A.’s Literary Zeitgeist

In my latest for the LA Weekly, I explore the city’s radically communal, performative indie lit scene…


"Whereas New York is vertically oriented, Los Angeles is horizontally oriented. That spatial reorientation gives you a different sense of what’s possible," says Sunyoung Lee, 42, who founded Kaya Press in 1994 as a platform for the Asian and Pacific Islander diasporas. Lee sees the geography of L.A., as well as its demographics, as the perfect metaphor for what’s possible in the literary scene - collaborative publishing and events that bring together voices from diverse ethnicities, classes and neighborhoods across the city.

Read the rest here

05:08 pm, by jessicalanglois  Comments

Because the world needs art, and artists need to survive

A classroom full of dancers, writers, sculptors, painters and… business students:

My piece in the current Mills Quarterly on the “business” of being an artist.

By putting artists in conversation with business students and professionals committed to the arts, the class is not only giving individual students the tools to become self-sufficient in pursuing their art, but also ensuring the sustainability of the arts as a whole in today’s technology-driven, entrepreneurial landscape.

Full article here!

09:00 am, by jessicalanglois  Comments

In Friday’s @LAWeekly I talk to @KayaPress about their popular, participatory booth at the LA Times #BookFest (at University of Southern California)

  02:52 pm, by jessicalanglois  Comments

Ruth Ozeki chats with visitors at @KayaPress #bookfest both (at University of Southern California)

  02:19 pm, by jessicalanglois  Comments

Find coffee. Play with Cricket. Fix something on the RV. Drive to the next show. Find a cafe to hang out in & do some booking work online. Play show. Repeat.

I talked with Neil Campau and Ellen Avis about anarchism, parenthood & music. Read about it in this week’s East Bay Express!


A day in the life of an anarchist music duo touring with their baby: http://buff.ly/ODvOsH

  01:07 pm, reblogged  by jessicalanglois 2  |

#Friday #ToDoList

  01:02 pm, by jessicalanglois  Comments

I want to feel something.

I rarely go to the movies, even though I live in the heart of movieland, but I went to see Cesar Chavez last night because I wanted to feel something—to be reminded that we can indeed organize against (and within) industries that create a chasm of income inequality between the few anointed masters and the swells of laborers and apprentices. I wanted to be catapulted back into the happy frenzy of my student days, when I believed I would always be an activist first, and everything else second—a writer, an educator, an itinerant, a family member.

Of course, there is a concrete privilege in wanting to be inspired to organize for change, rather than needing to advocate for change—even if you barely have the time and tools to do so—because your very survival is on the line. And, of course, it’s too much to ask a biopic to gather up all the pieces of yourself you lost along the way, to somehow knit together the constant, quiet drive for justice with more plebeian requisites (earning a wage, cleaning the stovetop) that build and build, and individualist pursuits (seeing one’s name in print) that we long for, long for in our DWYL culture.

But still, I had hoped for more than I got. The film was tame, lifeless almost—on a topic that should be so life-giving. It’s a good enough overview of the 1965-1970 grape strike & international boycott over fair wages for California’s Filipino and Latino farm workers, and has a necessary place in the mainstream, so that we can at least know the outline of our history, understand that something was hard won. But we’re not left with an understanding of just how it was hard won, who all the players were, what the essential hangups were along the way, and, most importantly, we’re not left tingling with the inspiration to take on the many, many remaining struggles that are far from being won.

LA Weekly’s Inkoo Kang gives a more thorough review of the film here:

Keir Pearson’s script plays out like a highlight reel of the grape strike. It fails to effectively dramatize the slow process of converting ordinary laborers to the workers’ cause and of selling the boycott to everyday consumers.

Still, see the film if you don’t know the story. Then, read more about the story, as I plan to do, the nuanced history, so that we can feel something, be shaken from our practiced conformity, feel the thing we need to feel to believe we can change the world in tiny, or huge, ways.

11:06 am, by jessicalanglois  Comments

Book Fest! (at Grand Park)

  04:33 pm, by jessicalanglois  Comments

Utopia/Dystopia #metropolis #lacma (at LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

  12:30 pm, by jessicalanglois  Comments