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'Readings And Music: The Rainbow Guts' At The Last Bookstore

Sara Newman |
March 1, 2013 | 5:31 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

The Last Bookstore (All photos by Sara Newman/Neon Tommy).
The Last Bookstore (All photos by Sara Newman/Neon Tommy).
Just 10 to 20 minutes from USC, in Downtown’s Historic Core lies the largest independent bookstore in the state! Since 2005, the Last Bookstore has been buying and selling new and used books and records. While countless bookstores have been closing up shop, the Last Bookstore preserves the simple pleasure of surrounding oneself with books. The 16,100 square foot space is full of new and pre-owned books on every imaginable topic, ranging from philosophy to travel to children’s books to witchcraft as well as vinyl records. For students who complain about the excessive cost of textbooks, get your literary fix without adding to your student loans by picking up one or maybe even twenty books from the Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore where over 100,000 books are priced at only one dollar. 

Unlike dozens of brick and mortar bookstores that are being forced by Amazon and Kindle to abandon shop, the Last Bookstore offers more than just books, it offers a place of community for people to breach the vast isolation of downtown and connect with people who share a passion for the arts. Their regular music and literary events keep loyal patrons coming in and makes the Last Bookstore an invaluable asset to the evolving downtown landscape. 

Last night the Last Bookstore hosted “Readings and Music: The Rainbow Guts” a show dedicated to evoking a sense of wonder, imagination, and childishness. Over 60 people braved the Los Angeles traffic after a tiresome day of work in order to reconnect with the beauty of words and melodies. 

The first poet, Ashley Platz is a New Jersey native who fled to Los Angeles to act, write, produce, and teach yoga. Her poems focused on growing up, making mistakes, and eventually healing those self-inflicted emotional wounds that are an occupational hazard of living. She connected with the audience by opening up about her own struggles, one that in some way or another we have all faced while trying to navigate through the slippery slopes of peer pressure and recover from childhood blunders of insensitvity. She prefaced a poem about bullying, by saying, “I’m going to assume that everyone here has been a victim of bullying because you’re in a bookstore,” in turn eliciting a chuckle throughout the audience. Check out her poem “About the Legos” here

Next up was Chelsea Bayouth, a creator of poems, puppets, cakes, and more. She is currently working on her second book of poetry and first novel. She delivered two poems that were full of beautiful imagery about growing up and learning about the world in and around us. The first poem was about life on a farm where every day should have “eggs in the morning,” and the second poem revolved around her ideas about getting to watch your life flicker by in the afterlife. Check out her poem, “Morning” here

Brendan Constantine, a poetry teacher at Winward School and the author of many books of poems performed next. He delivered a moving poem about how when a tree falls and dies, there’s no gossip and scandal that follows. As with much of his work, his dreamy perspective serves to question social constructions and demographics. Check out his poem, “Litany” here. If you like what you see, take a look at his most recent book of poems, Calamity Joe

Poet, Brendan Constantine
Poet, Brendan Constantine

Constantine’s poem was followed by a lovely musical performance by Hannah Telle. This North Carolina singer/songwriter/guitarist delivered a beautiful folk performance that was reminiscent of Regina Spektor. Her beautiful lyrics were poetry of their own, a poetry amplified by rhythm and melody. Check out her song "Amnesia Sister" here.

Daniel McGinn, a writer who has been contributing to the Los Angeles poetry scene since 1995, followed. He delivered a nostalgic look at childhood innocence and playfulness. His poems rang through with tremendous sincerity and vivid imagery imbued by watching childhood through his own eyes, his son’s eyes, and his grandson’s eyes. Check out his poem "31" here. If it suits your fancy, also check out his book, “1000 Black Umbrellas” here.  

Last, but certainly not least was Jeremy Radin, another fiercely talented poet and actor. His poems took a more humorous look at every day issues that everyone could place in the context of their own lives. He ended this wonderful night of poetry, music, community, and passion on a very uplifting note. Watch his poem "Off Switch" from his new book of poems Slow Dance With Sasquatch.

Come check out the Last Bookstore yourself! Visit them the next time you go to the Downtown LA Artwalk, stop by their Speak Easy Open Mic night that takes place every Monday or check out their event-filled calendar to pick one of the numerous readings and discussions that interests you!

453 S Spring Street, +1 213 488 0599, lastbookstorela.com, open Mon-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat to 11pm, Sun to 6pm

Reach Staff Reporter Sara here



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