Author: Michael Konik

Earl Flowers Can Read

Earl Flowers can read. He can read this sentence. He can read every word on this page. If he doesn’t immediately recognize one of the words, he can sound it out phonetically – or, if it’s completely unfamiliar, he knows how to use a dictionary to teach himself. When Earl reads out loud – when...

Lance Mason’s “A Proficiency in Billiards”

Like legions of other itinerant seekers, Lance Mason has backpacked and motorcyled the world, crossed the oceans on freighter ships, seen how the rest of the planet lives. He’s got tales to tell. All traveler’s do; among the peripatetic horde, Mason is among the most gifted writers we’ve encountered. His collection of travel essays, “A Proficiency...

Kevlar for Kids

When news of the latest school shooting reached us, our first impulse, of course, was to offer “thoughts and prayers,” and to make sure via social media everyone understood that we were offering thoughts and prayers. Our second impulse — and this seems to happen every time there’s another mass murder involving an angry white...

Farewell, Meltdown. We’ll Miss You.

For 25 years, Meltdown Comics has been a part of our Sunset Square neighborhood. At the end of this week, they’ll close shop, another brick-and-mortar casualty of online commerce. As the largest tenant on the block, Meltdown was the area’s commercial anchor. Its closure will help the landlord, Jack Ilulian, demolish the low-slung retail building(s) consistent...

Owen Broder’s “Heritage

The saxophonist and composer Owen Broder has assembled a band of beautiful musicians for his American Roots Project. On their new recording, “Heritage,” the ARP explores blues, bluegrass, folk, and church hymns, filtered through a light jazz scrim. It’s Appalachia meets Manhattan.  The results are lush, piquant  and altogether addictive. ARP’s music on “Heritage” feels comforting and familiar — and...

Secret Meeting

Thank you, esteemed representatives, for joining us at this historic congregation. I know it wasn’t easy for many of you, especially the flora. We appreciate your commitment to the revolution. Almost all living creatures are represented directly or indirectly here tonight. We understand and appreciate the passionate feelings surrounding our decision to have many crawling insect species be...

The Humorous Concept of President Garcetti

Failing upward. That seems to be the path to political success. You can be a serial fondler, a repeated bankrupter, a fraud — and that won’t disqualify you from positions of power. So long as you’ve got a good story to tell, your failings — both personal and professional — won’t hardly matter. Remember this...

Why Every Man, Woman and Child Needs a Gun

We feel terrible for the children (and parents, and teachers, and everyone else) killed or wounded in the latest mass shooting. We’re not talking about the one at Parkland, in Florida; we mean the four subsequent mass shootings that have happened since, albeit not at schools. Terrible. Just terrible. But instead of crying and wailing...

Grant Clauser, Poet

Many readers dislike poetry because it’s, well, poetic, employing technical maneuvers like alliteration and assonance (and repetition). According to popular wisdom, prose is plainspoken; poetry is fancy. Poems don’t seem to say what they mean; they dance around the simply stated truth, impressed with their sophistication and refinement. The poet Grant Clauser offers a bracing antidote to...