Author: Michael Konik

Judah Friedlander’s “America is the Greatest Country in the United States”

Like their ancestor the King’s jester, modern comedians have implicit license to express out loud what many think but few are permitted to say. The best stand-up comics are truth-tellers. Their magic is to get you to laugh at the truth instead of cry. In his new special, “America is the Greatest Country in the...

The Story of the Clitboys

We were teenagers. We lived in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee. We knew nothing. But we felt deeply about everything. We were angry, confused, disgusted, frightened, and yet somehow hopeful. We were also blissfully unaware that three kids from Wisconsin could make music that would continue to mean something to listeners more than three decades...

Indexing L.A.’s Affordable Housing Crisis

The Coalition to Preserve LA, proponents of last year’s failed Measure S, which would have drastically re-made Los Angeles’s broken City Planning process, are in the weirdly unsatisfying position of being able to say “I told you so.” Nearly everyone familiar with housing development in Los Angeles agrees that the current system is utterly corrupted,...

Insurrections

The award-winning story collection Insurrections is set in imaginary Cross River, Maryland, populated by descendants of a successful slave revolt. Author Rion Amilcar Scott handles the omnipresent shroud of history deftly. Each story — about a former world champion “slapfighter”; about a terrible haircut experience; about a man who undergoes “reverse evolution” — casts oblique light...

Role Models

By many measures, Donald Trump, his entire cabinet of self-dealing robber barons, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — the whole lot are extraordinarily successful people. (By many other measures, they’re wildly unsuccessful, but let’s not quibble.) We can all agree that when our children are grown, when they become...

My Talk With Jesus

Had a talk with my friend Jesus a couple of days before his birthday. It wasn’t pleasant. He could barely stop crying. I tried to console him. “Look how many millions of people are celebrating you, man!” I pointed out. “You’re bigger than the Beatles.” He sniffled and wiped his mustache with the sleeve of...

The Bong-Ripping Brides of Count Drogado

Don’t let the campy title fool you. The steampunk novel “The Bong-Ripping Bridges of Count Drogado” is a serious work of literature. Author Dave K, like Edgar Allan Poe, hails from Baltimore, and like Poe he exhibits masterly tonal control, carefully choosing vocabulary and syntax to create a thoroughly convincing imaginary world in which sisters...

Remember These Beautiful People When Mayhem Comes to Sunset Square

We have sensational news for those who believe Los Angeles is managed best by real estate developers and their lackeys in City government: The system is working perfectly! On December 12, by a 3-1 vote, the commissioners of the City Planning appeals board signed-off on the 7445 Sunset shopping mall project, on the corner of Sunset &...

Selling 7500 Sunset to a Skeptical Public

This past Friday morning, around 8AM, yet another person was struck by a car on Fountain Avenue, one block south of Sunset Boulevard. Fountain has steadily become a notorious street in Hollywood, where several pedestrians and cyclists have been killed and maimed by cars. Today, a woman, 25, was walking with her husband and was...