Category Archives: Photography

A new review of HOLDOUTS (University of Iowa Press, 2011)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Beyond Baroque is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and there will be a gala fundraising event in early November to help it sustain its programming during the coming decade. As part of this year’s presentations, Quentin Ring asked me several months ago to help him organize a weekly seminar on Los Angeles poetry that would be led by a different poet each week. I led the first gathering on May 8th, and was followed by Will Alexander, Laurel Ann Bogen, Steve Reigns, Lynne Thompson, Amy Uyematsu, David St. John, and Patty Seyburn. One of the poets who attended this seminar, Tom Laichas, just sent me a link to his blog, which features an extended and very thoughtful review of my book on Los Angeles poetry that came out seven years ago. His blog, in general, is well worth a sustained perusal. In particular, there is a photograph of a suitcase in a Kansas field, with a two-story brick schoolhouse in the background, that is as evocative as any Proustian metaphor.

Reading Bill Mohr, <em>Hold Outs: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance, 1948-1992</em>

From a rooftop on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. — July 4

July 6, 2018

I worked as a fiction writing teacher at Idyllwild arts for twenty consecutive summers, starting in the mid-1990s. Several of my students went on to become published writers, including Sara Wintz and Julia Glassman. During the first fifteen or so years, during which I built the fiction writing class up from one session per summer to three sessions each summer, the first introduction to the students always took place on the first Sunday after the July 4th weekend. Then, with the shift to an earlier start of school years, the students gathered at the top of the mountain on the first Sunday before the July 4th celebration.

In my professional as well as personal life, Idyllwild is a significant part of the commitments I have made in my life. I cannot look at the July page of the calendar on my kitchen wall without thinking of that cycle of packing to leave and unpacking on my return, which always took more than a single day. The past couple years have brought me a new ritual: Linda and I gather on the third story rooftop of Rod and Tamiko’s home on Martin Luther King Boulevard, and we watch the fireworks jettison their transient glow on a scythe-swath perimeter of Los Angeles County. Other friends, including Olivier Bochettaz, join in. Olivier and Pauline had a child six months ago, and Luna is an exceptionally beautiful baby.

Rod J-4 one

Bochettaz Salute One

Bochettaz Salute Two

Bochettaz Salutre - Three

Rod J-4 two

Rod J-4 three

Rod J-4 four

Sleepover Parking

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

0628181042a

Auto Sleepover

(on Ohio Street, between Sixth and Seventh Streets; two weeks ago)

Water Tower of Babel

Water Tower of Babel — Monday. May 7, 2018

Water Tower of Babel One

Water Tower of Babel Two

Water Tower of Babel - Three

Water Tower of Babel - Four

Ron Ozuna’s Photographs of Bolsa Chica

Monday, February 19, 2018

Bird Photographs and Other Links

Ron Ozuna has been traversing California’s wetlands for several years and taking photographs of birds, and I am delighted to have gotten his permission to share links with his work. The other links in today’s post have been chosen out of variety of my reading and listening to music the past couple weeks. It’s a cold and windy morning here in Long Beach, California, and it is supposed to get much more chilly tonight. I only wish that some rain would arrive.

http://www.mps.mpg.de/planetary-science/planetary-plasma-environment

Stream 74 Sun Ra Albums Free Online: Decades of “Space Jazz” and Other Forms of Intergalactic, Afrofuturistic Musical Creativity

If you want to see more of Ron Ozuna’s avian advocacy, see the following links:

Ron Ozuna at MONO LAKE and elsewhere:

(2016)

2016_05_15_0wens Lake

2016_05_17_Hahamongna Devils Gate Dam:

2016_05_19_Central Park & Library Huntington Beach:

Piute Pond (near Lancaster)

Photograph from 30 years ago

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

POET TRIO - circa mid-1980s

I have no idea of who the people in this photograph might be, other than myself. I have a feeling that I might have been waiting outside some place where I was about to give a reading, circa 1984 or 1985. If you recognize yourself, or somebody else, in this photograph, please write me: William.BillMohr@gmail.com.

The Stoner Park Poets Picnic (Part Two)

PICNIC - Big Group

A slight different arrangement than the previous group shot. If anyone recognizes the other people, please write me.

Just now, working on this post, I remember that there was another poet’s picnic about four years earlier. It was in a park on the east side of town, and I remember Eloise Klein Healy, Deena Metzger, and Lee Hickman being at it along with enough other people to play a baseball game. I also remember that while I was playing centerfield, I tore my pants diving for a fly ball; and one of the other poets lent me a t-shirt so that the rip wasn’t too revealing. At the Stoner Park picnic, we played some soccer, which had a sad ending. The poet Blake Latimer broke her ankle about a half-hour into the game, and had to go to the hospital for a cast.

Scott Wannberg - Carol Lewis

Julia Norstrand; Carol Lewis; Scott Wannberg

Carol Lewis was one of my favorite poets in the scene at the time. I don’t believe she ever had a full-length book of poetry published. She was a thoughtful presence in the early years of the Beyond Baroque poetry workshop, and had poems in my 1985 anthology, “Poetry Loves Poetry.”

PICNIC - TRIO - BEST

Dennis Cooper; David Trinidad; Rick Lawndale (on guitar)

Bill Mohr - Bookstore T-shirt - 1

Bill Mohr, wearing an “Intellectuals & Liars” bookstore t-shirt

Bill Mohr - Green Shirt - 1

(costume change)

PICNIC - Big Group

Blog copyright Bill Mohr (c) 2017

The Stoner Park Poets’ Picnic (1980)

The reading of “5 Editors” at Papa Bach in 1974 and the large group reading that took place on Valentine’s Day, 1976, at Beyond Baroque were definitive moments in the resurgence in the poetry scenes in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. By the late 1970s, another groundswell of poetry magazines based in Los Angeles caught the West Coast still off-guard. No one was expecting Los Angeles to be the home base for so many activist editors. By the end of the decade, yet more editors were showing up, and their work provided the basis for many subsequent scenes to understand how complicated any account of Los Angeles must inherently be.

Among the most important editors were Dennis Cooper and Jack Skelley. Cooper’s Little Caesar magazine and Little Caesar press easily rank in the top 50 of all small press projects in the period between 1960 and 1990. Skelley’s magazine, Barney, was one of the rare magazines that accomplished more in its four issue run than other magazines manage to do in a dozen issues. David Trinidad and Amy Gerstler also had significant, though brief, projects at this time, too. One summer day found this new generation gathered at Stoner Park, along with two of the older editors, for a picnic.

Here are some photographs, never before shared, of “L.A. poets in their youth.” All photographs in this post were taken by me, and are (c) Bill Mohr. Group photograph (c) Cathay Gleeson.

Jim Krusoe - PICNIC - 2

Jim Krusoe holding court on a picnic table. In the background, one can see Dennis Cooper, David Trinidad, and Jack Skelley. I believe the man sitting on the bench in the foreground is Marshall Davis.

Dennis Cooper - Breaking on Camera
“Breaking on Camera”: Dennis Cooper, wearing a “My Aim Is True” t-shirt

Scott Wannberg - 1

From left to right: Joe Safdie; Julia Norstrand; (unknown person); Scott Wannberg, in red T-shirt, “McGovern 72”). Joe Safdie, it should be noted, went on to edit a poetry magazine after he moved to Northern California.

Picnic GROUP - 1

Standing, from left: David Trinidad; unknown; Amy Gerstler; Manazar Gamboa; Dennis Cooper; Rick Lawndale (with guitar); Jack Skelley; other figures in the back row, unknown); front row; kneeling, Bill Mohr; and two unknown individuals.)

An Affirmative Fourth of July, 2017

July 4, 2017

July 4, 2016

Donald Trump is in a state of severe psychological distress. He seems to be occupying a hall of mirrors in which Baudrillard’s theory of the simulacrum conflates with Freud’s musings about the return of the repressed. The most recent Delirium Tremens installment involves the dissemination of a video from an old wrestling show in which he lampoons himself as a Don Quixote vanquishing “fake news.” He may have taken a public oath of office administered by a Supreme Court Justice that grants him residency in the White House, but that speech act did nothing to change his personality, which is that of a narcissistic bully.

A year ago, Linda and I went to Rod Bradley’s house and enjoyed a lovely evening with his friends and family. As dusk began to summon distant glimmers of fireworks at the perimeters of Los Angeles County, we took in the spectacle with little expectation that a malign transmogrification was about to launch itself into public power over social policy. Despite this grim turn in our national self-governance, I choose to celebrate this holiday as an affirmation of the virtues required to stand up to bullies and to punish them for their bad behavior.

Even as we admit how discouraging this travesty of an administration truly is, let us remember how persistent the resistance has been. As we take in this evening’s panoply of lingering bursts of color, let this ritual reinforce the dexterity of our citizenship; let our pledge of allegiance be to a nation that still embraces those who live and work with us out of no other choice of tolerable refuge. Let the despair that drives them here be a reminder of the effusive hope we must sustain amongst ourselves to preserve the viability of this experiment in democracy.

Atomized Fireworks

As the soundtrack anthem for today, here’s a link to my favorite for this occasion:

Hey Baby, It’s the 4th of July (Dave Alvin & X)

For those who wonder about the technology of fireworks, here is a link from one of my favorite websites:

How fireworks get their colors

Short Walks

The second and third photographs are of the same chalkboard on Fourth Street (near Temple), in Long Beach, on different occasions.

Fuller Glass

I Love Hot Stuff

Fourth Street Chalkboard

Cactus Flower - 1