And who said conference poetry wasn’t sexy? You say MLA. We say MLAwesome.
Zero-sum speed-sport pachinko-style poetasty. Everything poetry is not supposed to be –– for four-and-a-half hours!
This is the shadow convention. Screw the well-lit spaces. Guidebook for conventioneers ahead.
Doors open at 7:00, the reading will start at 7:30.
Poets will read for 3 minutes (or less); we place violators on the subway to the sea, MTA-guaranteed, by which we mean they shall never arrive. We have to be out of the venue by midnight, so windbags will be haters. If it sounds like a puptent happening, get this: it is a proper theater, so at least there are no chairs to fold!
There is a parking lot, and during the event there will be an inexpensive cash bar, but we have no other details on the space. It looks really great in the photos.
Did we mention there’s a grand piano?
801 East 4th Pl.
Los Angeles, CA
Here is a Google map that shows how to get there from the convention center. It’s not a short walk, and there a few streets you might want to avoid.
For instance, I would probably take Hope or possibly Grand from 11th to 7th, and then Spring from 7th to 2nd. I’ll have more details on the best way to travel from the convention center to the location. Of course, there will be cabs available from your hotels.
Another option is to take the Metro, which costs $1.50 and leaves right from the convention center and lands in Little Tokyo. It stops running at midnight, however.
And then there is the bus, which despite what you might have heard, runs very well in Los Angeles. I take it to work every day. You’ll get a pretty good tour of downtown LA as well. It costs a $1.50 exact change, but takes bills of course. There are several optional routes.
The website taxicabsla.org has a complete list of phone numbers for taxis that serve the area. The area that includes downtown is C. Taxis can be pricey but the distance is so short and there will be no traffic at that hour downtown. There are also taxi stands at the various hotels downtown, though I don’t know much more about this as I never take taxis. Here are the relevant numbers from the site:
United Independent Taxi
(213) 483-7660 or
(310) 821-1000 or
(310 or 213) 808-1000 or
(888) 235-5222 or
Beverly Hills Cab Company
(310 or 800) 273-6611
(310 or 800) 300-5007
(818) 252-1600 or
(323) 666-0050 or
Near the site of the reading are a lot of neat restaurants and bars. Traction Ave. is kind of the new hip area of downtown. Down 3rd street is SCI-ARCH, a great school with a fascinating lecture series. The Google map below shows you some (but not all — click on the unnamed dots) of the restaurants in the area. Did I mention it’s near Little Tokyo?
Andrew Maxwell offers the following recommendations for restaurants in the neighborhood:
Daikokuya: Still some of the best ramen in LA, with excellent cloudy pork bone broth. It’ll be a wait, but if it’s cold, it’s very worth the wait.
Senor Fish: Local mom’n’pop Mexican chain, but well above the mean for cheap eats. Get the fish taco special if your cash is low, and just want a decent, tasty lunch.
Suehiro Cafe: Solid bento box and noodles place. Japanese comfort food. Solid, if not transcendent, easy to get in, open until 3am.
Izayoi: Japanese Izakoya joint (small plates). Big with locals and the kids. Can be inconsistent, but also cheaper than some other options, and has its on nights.
Shabu Shabu House: Popular shabu joint, steamy hot broth, excellent sauces — folks swear by it, but can be a bit of a wait at times.
Wurstküche: Craftsman beers and homemade brats. Gastropub in a German beer hall, often packed, long tables, family style. Good stuff, but can be 20 min wait to order and get food.
$25 and above:
Sushi Gen: One of the better sushi joints in LA. Definitely will want to call ahead. Not so cheap, but definitely very solid sushi.
Lazy Ox Canteen: Bistro/gastropub, a little more upscale, one of the better young chefs in LA. Can usually get in for lunch, but is more of a reservations place on evenings and weekends.
In terms of bars and cafes, Mathew Timmons offers the following:
Villains Tavern – great for before or after reading – a kinda steampunk nowheresville, somewhere old west parisian feel – beautifully designed space – with outdoor patio and lots and lots of heat lamps – like 30 beers on tap – half of them belgians – paired with shots for $8 and old school fancy cocktails – nice balcony – Cherry Bacon Marmalade Burger – grilled cheese with cave-aged cheddar and tamarind chili – they also have veggie options though I’m not sure about vegan
Urth Caffe – a great place to go before the reading – they aren’t open late – but they have really amazing coffee and tea and great sandwiches and food – very down to earth stuff – not cheap but not really expensive either
Church & State – only open until 11pm – good for before the reading – somewhat expensive but great cocktails – great coffee – very good food
(This escapade is sponsored, organized, and hosted by Brian Kim Stefans, Matt Timmons, and PRB Directors Andrew Maxwell, Joseph Mosconi, and Ara Shirinyan. If you see ’em, give ’em a shake or a drink.)