Author: Michael Konik

Valerie Fox’s “Insomniatic”

Half way through Valerie Fox’s sensational poetry chapbook “Insomniatic,” it dawned on me that her poems are funny — effortlessly. They’re not jokey or gimmicky, so why all the deep humor? Because they’re remarkably real, and each person’s version of reality is usually the darkest and brightest comedy of all. Fox’s work has an undercurrent of...

White House Press Conference

The President’s PRESS SECRETARY stands at a lectern. The  WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORP sits before her.   PRESS SECRETARY I’ll make a brief statement and then take your questions. . .We’re in Day 3,034 of “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” and this administration is, and I quote, “tickled” with the progress that’s been made thus far. While...

Remembering “The Swan”

Satire Alert: This is not a satire. At a dinner party we attended recently, some friends were imagining outlandish premises for so-called “reality TV.” One young man proposed a “Hunger Games”-type show, in which attractive people wearing few clothes would be set loose in an unfamiliar woods, where “hunters” would track and “kill” them with...

The World As It Is

We don’t normally feature in this space books that are more than five years old. But “The World As it Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress” seems to us a most necessary read in these preposterous times. Authored by the brilliant journalist, social justice advocate and cultural critic Chris Hedges, “The World” is...

An Unfair Birden?

Seems like a good idea. Eliminating automobile trips under two miles in length would be an enormously positive change. Moving people around electrically instead of with fossil fuels would be an enormously positive change. Getting people out of cars and onto their feet would be an enormously positive change. That’s why at first blush so-called...

Confessions of a Luxury Hotel Concierge

For more than 15 years, she’s worked behind the Concierge Desk at several of the finest hotels in Los Angeles. Sabrina [her name has been changed at her request] will get you anything (well, almost anything) you want, because that’s her job, and she does it well. Securing dinner reservations at “fully booked” restaurants, hiring...

Tyrese Coleman’s “How to Sit”

Offered as a “memoir in stories and essays,” the debut book from Tyrese Coleman, “How to Sit,” blurs the lines between genres and categories, focusing, instead, on searingly honest recollection of a childhood — and a life — shaped by unreliable women and predatory men. Coleman’s prose is spare, direct, powerful. “I am the product...

A More Exceptionally Perfect America

Experts on matters patriotic, including members of Congress and the corporate oligarchs for whom they toil, believe that those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the greatest country on Earth benefit from a magical phenomenon known as American Exceptionalism. According to those who have made a kind of casual study of our glorious history,...

Our Undemocratic Impulse to Defeat the Waze App

Vista, the little Sunset Square “capillary” street we live on, runs North-South between two major “artery” boulevards, Hollywood and Sunset. Because there’s a school at the end of our block, diverting traffic around the block to the East or West, Vista Street is inconvenient for those in a hurry. Most drivers take a more direct route, one that...

Vocal Music Delights

Two new vocal recordings — one from a likely source, the other not — remind us that genuine vocal artistry brings delight not quite like anything else. The human voice, malleable and expressive and colorful, vibrates with genuine (and profound) feeling on “Close Up,” by Sara Serpa, the celebrated singer, known for her angelic tone,...