Posted in Around Town, Writing

WriteGirl in Pasadena

Thanks to Susan, I’ve known about a wonderful organization called WriteGirl for some time. Now it’s time for me introduce you to WriteGirl:

WriteGirl is a nonprofit organization for high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression. Through one-on-one mentoring and monthly workshops, girls are given techniques, insights and hot tips for great writing in all genres from professional women writers.

In case you missed Susan’s lovely post, let me also invite you to a fun event happening at the Pasadena Playhouse on Sunday, May 3: Continue reading “WriteGirl in Pasadena”

Posted in Life, Tennis, Writing

Hit Return

I have returned.  I am writing; I am hitting return.

A poem (inspired by the recent journey) has been chopped and put into the pot. It is simmering nicely. I’m not sure this blog is not the best venue for debuting a poem. But I may—when it is ready.

Thanks to Google Earth, I can show you where (in the wilds of Arizona) we went.


Yes, that compound looking thing at the end of the road.  The Scout’s aunt and uncle live there.  Through artfully designed windows set in thick adobe walls, we watched big-eared bunnies chase insects and quail shimmy in the dirt at dusk.  Alas, I did not see a javelina this time around.


You really don’t want to see one of these things unless you have a drink in your hand.

We also went here…


…though the photo above was taken before this was built:


Photo credit: The Hot Sheet

Watching sports must put me into some kind of alpha state, because on the way home we stopped here too…


Sometimes I envy those who got to see Jackie Robinson play baseball.  Others will one day envy me for living in the heyday of the Roger Federer era, or more precisely, the Federer/Nadal era.

* + * * + *

With all due respect to the venue with the view and these charming people…here is your daily dose of kitsch.   I wish I could explain why this makes me feel like I’m watching laboratory animals in an experiment.  Even more, I wish you were here so we could laugh together.

* + *  * + *

Heads up! I have a blogging-related question.  Say you read someone’s blog (their personal blog) and after a while you start to feel like you know them, or at least know something about them.  Then you meet that blogger in person.  Is there a difference between the blogging persona and the person you meet?  A little difference?  A big one?  If there’s big difference, why do you think that is?  What’s your experience?  Feel free to comment, or to blog on this topic yourself and link to your post in the comments here.

(NB: The question doesn’t apply to someone you already know in the 3-D world…just to someone that you met via reading their blog.)

Posted in Writing

Blogging a tweet

UPDATED 4 pm, 2 March 2009

Yes, a new month, a Monday morning, and another first here at The Blather. I’ve got a lot of work at the moment so I haven’t been blogging. It hasn’t been good for me (not blogging=not writing).

I don’t have time to do a proper blog post right now, so I’m going to do the quickest, easiest, simplest thing I can do to prop up this Blather. I’m going LCD.

I’m going to blog a tweet.

For those not aware, a “tweet” is a statement made on Twitter. I like the description of Twitter as a giant, crowded, noisy bar where people yell out stuff to each other. It’s especially fun during big events like the vice-presidential debates or mild earthquakes. If I find @susankitchens there, we chat a bit in that public forum

Sometimes it seems silly, because Susan is a dear friend, and I know her phone number(s). I even know the phone number she had 25 years ago—only because the numbers play the tune “It’s a Small World After All.” (In case you’re wondering, it’s 449-7525. Try it—but please hang up before it rings.) Once I tweeted to her, “Sod Twitter, I’m ringing you up” because why yell across a crowded room when you can pick up the telephone?

In any case, here’s my Tweet:

kellylcr Brave New World comes to the school lunch room: Big Mother is Watching

That’s a link to Karen E. Klein’s interesting and humorous article in today’s LA Times. Oops–wrong!  That’s Karin Klein’s piece, not Karen E. Klein’s piece.  Thanks to Karen (via email) and Susan C for the correction.

Re: Karin’s piece (the one in the tweet):  Oh, the brave new world of electronic surveillance in your kid’s life. Being underage never sucked so much.

Karen E. Klein does write for the LA Times—her Small Business column appears each Monday in the Business section.  Karen E. Klein tells me that she’s been getting confused with Karin Klein for the last 25 years.  It was really fun when the two of them worked in the same office as Gary Klein.

Even though I don’t know my Karin Klein from my Karen E. Klein, what I said in the original version of this post still stands:  San Gabriel Valley-ites, You may not realize it but we have a writer/editor/expert power couple living in our midst. Karen is an established expert on small business finance and retirement. She is also married to Steve Scauzillobackbone of the Pasadena Star News. Say what you will about the incredible shrinking local paper—I like local news is important. And I appreciated this recent editorial about California’s Department of Fish and Game as well.

Well, thanks to Firefox crashing twice (10 open tabs is a challenge), this has taken an hour. Buh-bye!  UPDATE: And thanks to my inability to focus properly before 9 am, an extra half hour was required to fix my foog.  I mean goof.

Thank you, patient reader.

Posted in Writing

Sunshine on the Blather

I’ve been interviewed by none other than AP, and you can read about it here. AP notes that this blog is photo heavy, and for sure I have to give a shout out to The Scout for that.

Breckenridge Road, Bakersfield (photo by Tim Down)

An invitation – me to you. For the past few years, I’ve been attending Terrie Silverman’s Life Stories Workshop. Terrie has helped me gain confidence as a writer, and believe me, the starting place was somewhere down near the center of the earth. I still make an occasional trip into to those soul-sapping climes, like right now as I’m typing this. Still, thanks to Terrie, I’m generally breathing fresh air and maintaining this blog which has lots of photos.

We’re hosting a reading this Friday in Pasadena. There will be 7-8 writers reading their work, no more than 10 minutes each (and believe me, Terrie will not let anyone go over). Afterwards, we have wine and a nosh. Tickets are $8, but half off if you mention this blog! Susan of Cancer Banter and Open Mouth Insert Fork will be performing (not reading!) her Pole Dancing piece, and she is fabulous in person.

Date: Friday, June 13, 2008

Time: 7:30 pm

Place: Church of the Angels Parish Hall, 1100 N. Ave 64, Pasadena (south side of Church Street).  Street parking is available.  MTA bus 256.  I can give you a lift home if needed.

[ Yahoo! Maps ]

Directions to
1100 N. Avenue 64, Pasadena, CA 91105

I hope to see you there!

Posted in Around Town, Books, Let's Get Visual, Writing

Steve Martin with Carol Burnett

Steve Martin and Carol Burnett were in conversation last night courtesy of Writers’ Bloc and Town Hall Los Angeles over at the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Steve & Carol

They swapped anecdotes and the occasional barb (all in good fun). Carol is charming, and Steve is a good sport for getting out there and talking about himself. Even though it is clear he will never return to stand-up, he seems curious about how a live audience will respond to him at this stage of his career—or even who that live audience is.

In the case of last night, the audience was a lot of 40ish and 50ish white folks who braved the elements and plunked down $20. The audience was enthusiastic and appreciative on the front end. The conversation went well, with both recounting tales of face-to-face negative fan feedback. In Carol’s case, it was a man in a hallway just after Carol had finished her performance. She knew she’d bombed, and she remembers looking down and seeing the tears on her shoes. “You stink!,” the man said. In Steve’s case, a woman in an antique store asked him if he was the one she had seen on Johnny Carson last night. When he said yes, she sneered, “EEEWWWWW.”

The Q & A session was pretty good too, but the lighting on stage made it almost impossible for Carol and Steve to see the questioners (even though the house lights were at least partially up). The facilitator didn’t notice that the audience was starting to leak out toward the end, so rather than a proper send off (Carol was more than ready to give a gracious bow) the evening ended rather unceremoniously. Middle-aged people love their icons, but apparently they loathe long lines even more. The audience quickly dispersed to the lobby to get in line for the book signing.

Martin’s latest book, Born Standing Up, chronicles his early career, from the magic shop Disneyland to performing at Knott’s Berry Farm. After a brief stint at UCLA in the theatre department, he got a job as a writer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. When CBS canned the show, Steve pursued his stand-up career, meticulously recording what worked and what didn’t work (a practice held over from his magic shop days).

Operating from the premise that you can question anything, Martin questioned the very nature of stand-up comedy. He refined his show, developing a ‘no-punch line’ approach that was cumulative. Laughs would build and build, then roll. The houses got bigger and bigger; ultimately the arenas that Martin could fill were too big for his nuanced comedy, and he moved on to films.

SM 3

SM 4

SM - The Mighty Hand of Steve

The might hand of Steve reaching for yet another book. He signed hundreds, and was very gracious about doing so. Way to be, man.

Posted in Cool Stuff, Writing

Born Too Late: A History Meme

My initial reluctance about memes has disappeared…now that I made one up myself. (Here’s a guy that defends the meme as an effective social networking tool.)

Here’s the meme: If you could go back to any time in history (for a visit, or you can stay if you really want to), what time would you go back to?

Make a list of four. Name the place, year(s), and event and/or person you’d like to see first hand. In the fifth item (optional) you can put your four honorable mentions. Then tag four people, and send them an e-mail to let them know you’ve tagged them. That’s it!

Here’s my list:

1. New York, New York – 26 September 1957 – Winter Garden Theatre
The opening night of West Side Story. That music (love you, Lennie ). Those voices. That dancing. One of the most electric nights in Broadway history.

2. Pasadena, California – some time in the 1920’s
It would be fun to see the old girl back in the day. BTW, I learned some cool stuff reading Wikipedia’s Pasadena entry.

3. Akron, Ohio – 1854 – Ohio Women’s Rights Convention
To meet Sojourner Truth and witness the “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech.

4. Brooklyn, New York – 15 April 1947 – Ebbets Field
Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. MLB is going to honor him every year.

“There was never a man in the game who could put mind and muscle together quicker and with better judgment than Robinson.” – Branch Rickey

5. Honorable mentions

a. The Classic Period of Mayan Culture – c 250-900

b. London, England – 1602 ish
So I can meet Shakespeare and have a drink or two. Oh, and see a play.

c. Hollywood, California – 1918 ish
To meet Charlie Chaplin and ask him questions about his childhood.

d. Dublin, Ireland – 13 April 1742
To attend he premiere of Handel’s Messiah

I’m going to tag more than four people. I’m tagging Susan (who got me blogging in the first place), Bill (who tagged me), Lara (who also tagged me), Jill, Aaron, and Miss Havisham (firmly ensconced in the past already?). Oh, and KP, who doesn’t have a blog (but you can post your responses in the comments section if you like).

Happy time travel!

UPDATE: I meant to tag Rhea.  I had a feeling she’d like this one.  So Rhea, you’re tagged, and you don’t have to tag anyone else if you don’t wanna.  To the rest of ya’ll, go read about Rhea’s colonoscopy adventures.  And vote for your favorite celebrity baby boomer.

Posted in Around Town, Cool Stuff, Writing

LA Angst

LA Angst is “… a monthly reading series hosted by Leah Peterson in the greater Los Angeles area. We gather together to read our most embarrassing, humiliating, angst ridden and otherwise absolutely wonderful writing from our youth. Every month, selected readers comb through their middle school and high school writing and pick something that represents how completely impossible it is to grow up without looking back in shame.”

I shoulda woulda coulda posted something earlier, but I was so focused on getting people to CHAP’s screening of SiCKO (which was very successful, btw). But shoulda woulda coulda because…

…We had a laugh-til-you-cry time this past Wednesday at Tangier Lounge, featuring:

Leah from Leahpeah
Kelly from Mocha Mama
Erin from Queen of Spain
Lara from Katronika
Ruth from Redleather
Heather from Heathervescent

…and moi, reading from my Boots Diary, circa 1973. Oh, the melodrama of it all! Lots about boys (I hope that one likes me, I hope that one doesn’t), food (Momma’s chicken, Bugles) and sex (the ships on the wallpaper were soooooo beautiful!). See? You had to be there.

Leah posted pics on Flickr. Thanks for organizing, Leah! Your get-up-and-goitivness (the precursor to stick-toitivness) is inspirational!

Stop the presses! There is no photo of the lovely Leah reading!?!? Who’s got one?

WHEW! MochaMomma to the rescue.

Thanks to those who came out (that’s Neil, here’s Jay) to support the readers too!