Friday night I read at the Ideal Art Event, also known as the Interstates exhibit at TempoRoyale, a gallery on the first floor of a MacArthur Park-adjacent apartment building. “We’re not really sure what goes on in this building,” said curator Miah. But I can testify that the building holds at least one other art gallery (AK and I saw Sergio’s work there a few months ago) and one very drunk/high girl (she put her arms around us and told us we were beautiful).
Okay, so maybe it’s not sounding ideal so far. But Miah had this brilliant idea to ask all his writer friends to send him a story/poem/essay directly or indirectly about L.A. He distributed the writings among his art students, who produced photos/paintings/sculptures in response. Presto: a multimedia exhibit that proves L.A. is more intertwined than isolating.
Jeff Weber, the photographer who was given my not-so-short story, was not only kind enough to read all twenty pages, but he produced five uncannily beautiful photos: warped panoramas of human-less suburban landscapes in the Santa Clarita Valley, from a playground paved with red rubber to a fast food joint patio where the tables cast shadows like stained glass next to the oil-stained parking lot.
Then I got to read with a few of my favorite people (Jamie read a taco truck poem; Alanna performed as a human earthquake) and some new writers who were fun to discover (Pacoima native Trina Calderon wrote, “You say I’m stuck, but I bet you moved here” and I was all, “Hell yeah”). We read from a balcony—Evita-style, said AK—where the temperature was like Santa Clarita in August, but otherwise everything was perfect: art, writing, lots of new people, good college-student energy, none of the pressure that comes with a solo reading, not too much palm tree imagery.