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Tales from the City of Angels: An Evening of Storytelling

Richard Montoya, Philip Littell, Héctor Tobar, Myriam Gurba, Erin Aubry Kaplan, Brenda Varda, Alie Ward
Presented in conjunction with the Los Angeles Review of Books
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
6/13/201
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Episode Summary

Part One: Tales of Desperation

M.C.'d by Richard Montoya of Culture Clash

Join in this first-ever edition of live storytelling at ALOUD as six local voices take us through the comedic, tragic, entertaining, and desperate tales of life in the City of Angels.

Music by Tom Lutz and Blue Tuna

In partnership with the Los Angeles Review of Books


Participant(s) Bio

L.A. native Richard Montoya is an actor, director, and member of the Latino/Chicano comedy troupe, Culture Clash. Culture Clash was founded in Los Angeles in 1984 and is still an active troupe. Montoya‘s work is often a reflection on issues of race and cultural identity; he is interested in the “multicultural experiment.”

Myriam Gurba is the author of the Edmund White Award-winning novella and short story collection Dahlia Season and the chapbook Wish You Were Me. Gurba's writing appears in anthologies published by City Lights, Seal, and other fine presses. In 2011, Gurba toured with the lezzendary (legendarily lesbian) literary roadshow Sister Spit. She is not above striking Faustian deals as long as they firmly place her in the same tax bracket as Warren Buffett. She teaches remedial high school classes in Long Beach and is the kind of teacher kids trust enough to ask for a tampon.

Erin Aubry Kaplan is a journalist and essayist who was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been a staff writer at the LA Weekly and a weekly opinion columnist for the L.A. Times, the first African American opinion columnist in the paper's history. She has contributed to many publications, including Salon.com, Essence, Oxford American and Ms. Magazine. A collection of her journalism and essays, Black Talk, Blue Thoughts and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches from a Black Journalista, was published in 2011. She teaches nonfiction in the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles.

Philip Littell has written a lot of words that have been set to music, collaborating with a veritable roll-call of classical composers: Previn, Susa, Kernis, Tork, and many more. Meanwhile he has been producing work for the less legitimate musical theater with collaborator Eliot Douglass (No Miracle: A Consolation, The Night Market, The Wandering Whore), and Libby Larsen (Billy The Kid And What He Did), has translated Moliere and Feydeau, and clowned in cabaret and sung in clubs, while continuing to work as an actor. He has two epic/historical travesty plays in hand and ready to go.

Héctor Tobar has worked as a journalist for the Los Angeles Times for nearly twenty years. He shared a Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of the 1992 riots, and then served as the national Latino Affairs correspondent, the Buenos Aires bureau chief, and the Mexico City bureau chief. He currently writes a weekly column for the paper and is the author of three books, Translation Nation, The Tattooed Soldier, and most recently, The Barbarian Nurseries. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he is a native of the city of Los Angeles.

Besides teaching writing and theatre, Brenda Varda is the founder of Wordspace in Los Angeles, a cultural hub for writers in all genres. Wordspace creates workshops and development opportunities that allow writers to experiment and connect with new audiences. In creating her own works for the theatre (Unknown, The Met, Sacred Fools, UCIRA), Varda looks to create narratives that reframe contemporary identities while still providing reference to common cultural experiences. Her MFA thesis work, Fables du Theatre, a fantasy of three theatrical fables produced in collaboration with a fictional theatre company (Immanence Theatre Ensemble), was produced at Unknown Theatre in 2008 and nominated for an LA Weekly Award.

Alie Ward is a former writer for the LA Times and columnist for the LA Weekly, and now covers cocktails for KCET and CookingChanneltv.com. She's the co-creator and co-host for Cooking Channel's Classy Ladies with Alie & Georgia as well as an on-camera contributor to Cooking Channel's Unique Sweets. She tells stories around town at Upright Citizens Brigade, The Meltdown and Public School and after 13 years in Los Angeles she knows to wear SPF 70 -- and take Fountain.



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