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    Entries in Los Angeles (13)

    Sunday
    Dec272015

    Stealing a few shady hours in an offramp's not-park

    THE LOS ANGELES TIMES - 27 DECEMBER 2015

    The other morning, I needed to get some reading done for work. I could've driven to my office. Or sat on a bench at the beach. Or taken the Big Blue Bus to Powell Library at UCLA, where I teach. What I did instead was set up a folding chair next to the freeway.

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    Friday
    Jun122015

    I WALKED FROM MARINA DEL REY TO MALIBU — AND IT WAS A LOT LIKE BEIRUT

    LA WEEKLY - 11 JUNE 2015

    After five years in the Middle East, my wife, daughter and I moved last year to Los Angeles, which turned out to have more in common with Beirut or Baghdad than I might have imagined. The specifics here were, of course, different — malnourished sea lions, homelessness, gentrification, tourism, nimbyism — but the manner by which I began to grasp them was similar. To find out more about where I lived and why it felt so insane, I decided, as I'd done many times (from Sanaa to Beirut, Baghdad to Doha), to take a long walk, in this case from Marina del Rey to Pacific Palisades.

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    Tuesday
    Jun092015

    THE TRUE FICTIONS OF JOAN DIDION: REVISITING 'MIAMI' AND 'PLAY IT AS IT LAYS'

    LITHUB - 8 JUNE 2015

    On the 45th anniversary of Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays, Nathan Deuel reexamines that novel alongside her eponymous non-fiction portrait of Miami.

    I first read Miami as a junior at Brown, in a class about the Cuban-American experience. I hated growing up in South Florida, feeling as I did that the place lacked history, or in any case I had never been given an adequate guide to make its history matter as much as the older, grander history up north or across the ocean.

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    Wednesday
    Apr082015

    Party Bus

    THE BUTTER - 7 APRIL 2015

    We live in the future, so I’m on a bus in Los Angeles and log onto Twitter to write a note to the author of a book I’m reading: “Loving yr novel. Managing to focus on its pages during a manic bus ride to Venice Beach, during which a drunk guy fell on me”

    “Thank you so much,” writes the author, Rabih Alamaddine. “Haven’t had a drunk guy fall on me in ages!”

    This is a story about a bus ride on a Saturday night just before sundown. Things get intense. The bus to Venice Beach is no joke. Neither is life, writing, or a good book.

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    Wednesday
    Dec312014

    Growing Up and Plugging Out

    PACIFIC STANDARD - 30 DECEMBER 2014

    It’s Sunday and my neck is still sore. I don’t have meningitis and I wasn’t in a car wreck. What I did was buy a turntable, and on Friday night we played it loudly. Here’s why and what it might mean for you, especially if you are a dad:

    A year ago, I was living in the Middle East. My wife was a foreign correspondent and for five years she and I quite happily turned over our cultural life, such as it was, to the digital realm. Doing so was convenient, fast, and avoided the strict censorship rules unique to various countries we called home (Saudi Arabia, Turkey) and also meant we could stream NPR and download Mad Men and follow friends and read the novelSwamplandia when we heard about how awesome it was. (It was phenomenal.)

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    Wednesday
    Oct152014

    How Waze Has Changed Driving, For Better And For Worse

    BUZZFEED - 15 OCTOBER 2014

    It was August; California was boiling with heat; and I’d mapped out a plan that would find me driving nearly 6,000 miles, mostly back and forth between grandparents in the Midwest. I was looking forward to doing so with my phone, which I could do without hesitation or equivocation, because my wife — who hates when I use electronic devices, especially near our daughter, and who in general prefers spontaneity and inefficiency — would be flying. I readied for the first leg of an epic summer: just me, a 5-year-old, and an open road to Missouri.

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    Thursday
    Sep182014

    12 Jobs From My Recent Past

    GAWKER - 18 SEPTEMBER 2014

    I've never been particularly good a having a "traditional" job—a byproduct, perhaps, of a lenient upbringing, attendance at a magnet high school for the arts, my birth as an American, and then a variety of other luck and circumstance that has permitted me to be at times fickle, but more often or at least most simply stated: Unlikely to keep a job.

    This is my first month as a real college professor. I walk around a campus in Los Angeles, where there is a significant stadium and various country-club level amenities, such as four different pools, immaculate lawns, various libraries. There is apparently so much money floating around for a population of mostly 18- to 22-year-olds that I find it staggering to calculate how this all works—what kind of jobs will they get?—and then I remember: This is a college, and the core point of attendance is for the young to learn, and I am among the adults charged with doing some of that teaching. I have learned some things. These are my experiences so far.

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    Wednesday
    Sep032014

    On Maleness and Deep Springs College

    HARPER'S - 3 SEPTEMBER 2014

    Deep Springs College has been around for almost a hundred years. In 1917, a crew of about a dozen students, mostly ruddy young things from back east, were brought to a remote desert basin halfway between Yosemite and Death Valley by an entrepreneur and educator named L. L. Nunn. His idea was to form “whole men” — and only men, it being Nunn’s contention that a single-sex institution was the ideal way to achieve his goals — who would be as comfortable at a desk as in the field. He offered the boys two free years of education in exchange for a pledge to devote their lives to serving humanity. The first group built the dormitory by hand.

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    Thursday
    Aug072014

    That Time I Took the Bus and Everything Was Great

    GAWKER - 7 AUGUST 2014

    The other night, I was going to the launch party for my new book, but the hosting bookstore happened to be on the other side of town, in Los Feliz, while I meanwhile was a new resident of Venice, an hour's drive away—or more in mid-afternoon traffic—so I considered my options.

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    Thursday
    May222014

    Welcome to Venice Beach 

    TROP - 21 MAY 2014

    Monday morning, I’m pulling a trailer containing a four-year-old girl, en route to preschool, both of us coming off a half-decade in the Middle East, and I’m feeling a little shaky about how things are going, wondering how it is I should think about our new life in Los Angeles. I’ve just turned down a tenure-track job offer, an essay collection (not mine) is taking the world by storm, and as ever it’s never particularly easy to find the time to write—nor is it clear why one should bother. There’s a house to work on and a kid who needs raising and a marriage to maintain and yet, that compulsion, every day: To sit down and type.

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    Saturday
    Mar012014

    Let’s Go Ride a Bike

    THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE - 28 FEBRUARY 2014

    Last fall, I moved from Beirut to Los Angeles with my wife, Kelly, a journalist, and our 4-year-old daughter, Loretta, who one evening was ready to get back on her bike.

    The sidewalk stretched out before us. We could hear the steady pulse of traffic on Lincoln and Venice Boulevards. The timing seemed perfect: just before dinner, no chill in the air — a moment to show Loretta how to enjoy her new life in America. Look, honey, you’re safe now!

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    Thursday
    Dec192013

    LA Story

    THE PARIS REVIEW - 18 DECEMBER 2013

    I have just moved to Los Angeles from the Middle East, and everyone keeps asking me if the city is too quiet—Am I bored? Is it safe?—and the answer is, No, I am not bored; yes, it seems safe, and yes, that’s fine by me. Mostly I am in a state of awe, blown away by a grocery store, the knock of the mailman at the door, the speed of the Internet; the easy friends you can make on the sidewalk or on the bus or while watching your kids play soccer or walking down Venice Boulevard, waiting for a light to change, en route to the University of Southern California, where I found myself the other day, seeking out the next thing I might do with my life, right before things went wrong again.

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    Thursday
    Oct242013

    Beached

    THE PARIS REVIEW - 24 OCTOBER 2013

    There is something brutal about Phillip Glass’s opera. The way it stops and starts, the taunting tease of a story, then the way it’s anything but narrative. Composed of nine twenty-minute scenes, the whole of Einstein on the Beach—first produced in 1976 and shown in L.A. for the first time this month—is interspersed by five so-called “knee plays,” in which two women sit or stand or writhe around on plastic platforms, or search dreamily inside gently moving glass boxes. It’s not easy to watch.

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