Cauleen Smith’s Los Angeles Cinematic Baedeker: “The Wanda Coleman Songbook”

Sunday, January 21, 2024

The Arts & Leisure section of today’s New York’s includes a full-page article on a new film about Los Angeles: “THE WANDA COLEMAN SONGBOOK.” Since Cauleen Smith’s film is having its debut screening at the 52 Walker Gallery in New York City, I can’t comment on the film, but I do want to call attention both to this article about this filmmaker and urge all of us in Los Angeles to celebrate long-distance with this posthumous cinematic and musical explication of one of this city’s most respectfully cherished poets. Just two months ago, Beyond Baroque named its downstairs performance space in her honor. It is, in fact, the space in which Wanda Coleman and Kate Braverman served to inaugurate Beyond Baroque’s move from West Washington Blvd. to Venice Blvd. in the fall of 1980. While Friday night readings and other events had already been taking place at the Old Venice City Hall for several months, the reading by Braverman and Coleman was listed on BB’s schedule as the “Gala Grand Opening Poetry Reading.”

“POETRY AMONG MILES OF STRIP MALLS” (My comment: Is that really the best The NY Times could do as a title for this article?)

In lieu of being able to view Smith’s film, here is a link to a clip of her talking about the power of art:

As for article in the New York Times, I would have appreciated less empty space in the photograph of the author so that Siddhartha Mitter, the journalist, could have alerted readers to specific titles of Coleman’s poetry, such as the recent volume edited by Terrance Hayes, WICKED ENCHANTMENT.

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