LO MAXIMO: April 30 – A GREAT NIGHT FOR A VERY GOOD CAUSE
Homeboy Industries’ annual awards dinner and fundraiser “Lo Maximo” will take place on Saturday, April 30, at the JW Marriott in downtown LA.
As I said, it’s a fundraiser so tickets are a bit pricey. But, it’s honestly one of the most emotionally affecting nights Los Angeles has to offer.
And the cause is a very good one. Homeboy also happens to be an important part of the health of our city.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is one of the main honorees of the night , thus there will be plenty of law enforcement and LA city government types.
The award that is the night’s centerpiece will go to the 2011 Homeboy Hero, someone who has profoundly turned his life around. This year, however, the “homeboy” is a homegirl. Her name is Shayna Welcher, and she is very, very deserving.
Okay, that’s my pitch. If you go, you won’t be sorry. And if you do attend, please make sure you stop by and say hi.
THERE’S A “SUPREME COMMANDER” OF TEMPLE CITY
My pal, Andrew Blankstein has this fabulously wild and woolly LA Story. (This is why I love nonfiction.) Here’s now it opens:
He called himself the “supreme commander.”
From a storefront in Temple City decorated to look like a military recruiting center, David Deng raised an army of more than 100 Chinese nationals and claimed they were members of an elite U.S. special forces unit, authorities said.
Together, they marched in local Chinese New Year parades and even received a special military tour in uniform at the USS Midway museum in San Diego. Chinese-language newspapers ran photos of the troops with prominent community leaders.
But prosecutors on Tuesday charged that Deng’s “U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve” was actually a huge immigration scam that preyed on Chinese immigrants in the San Gabriel Valley desperate to become citizens.
Authorities allege that Deng charged members of his “army” $300 to $450 to join plus an annual $120 renewal fee. He told them that joining the group would increase their chances of becoming U.S. citizens, according to court papers. The more money they donated to the organization, he allegedly told them, the better their chances of becoming citizens.
Read on. (Who can resist?)
BLOGGERS BRING $105 MILLION CLASS ACTION SUIT AGAINST HUFF POST AND ARIANNA FOR NOT PAYING
Jeff Bercovicci at Forbes has the story:
Huffington Post bloggers who think they ought to get paid for their volunteer writing have been litigating their case in the court of public opinion. Now they’re taking it to a real one.
Today [Tuesday], a group of bloggers led by union organizer and journalist Jonathan Tasini filed a class-action suit against the Huffington Post, founder Arianna Huffington, and AOL, which acquired the news-and-blogs site in February.
Okay, so let me get this straight: the bloggers who agreed—and in most cases even volunteered—to blog for free for the Huffington Post, mainly because they decided of their own free will it was beneficial to them to have their work posted on one of the most popular news websites in the world, now are pissed off that the news site’s creator—namely Arianna—made a bunch of money selling her creation, so want a share of her profits.
“We are going to make Arianna Huffington a pariah in the progressive community,” Tasini vowed. “No one will blog for her. She’ll never [be invited to] speak. We will picket her home. We’re going to make it clear that, until you do justice here, your life is going to be a living hell.”
Yeah, good luck with that one, buddy.
THE MOST BANNED AND CHALLENGED BOOK LIST JUST CAME OUT AND THE WINNER IS….?
And Tango Makes Three,” an award-winning children’s book about the true story of two male Emperor Penguins hatching and parenting an orphaned baby chick at New York’s Central Park Zoo.
Boy, I’m sure glad those vigilant book banners are on top of that book about the evil emperor penguin dads…. who might be (gasp) GAY. (Remember, people, this is a true story about real penguins parenting a real orphaned chick in the real NY Central Park Zoo. But, no! We can’t have that!)
The rest of the list, compiled yearly by the American Library Association is here.
Number 2 is Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”—a young adult book that’s actually brilliant. Moreover, it is a book that has frequently inspired teenagers to find the courage to succeed despite difficult home circumstances. And it’s won a bunch of awards. But, yeah, some of the teenage characters swear. So by all means let’s ban the thing.
Number 3 is Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” is the only classic on this year’s list, which usually includes choices like last year’s three classics, JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
This year’s weirdest pick was Number 8, “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America” by Barbara Ehrenreich. The reasons given were “Drugs, Inaccurate, Offensive Language, Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint”—to which I would like to reply: Huh????? Drugs? Religion? WTF?
As someone who has not only read and reviewed the book, but also taught it, I’m entirely baffled by these objections. Okay, “Political viewpoint,” maybe. Yeah, it’s possible it has one. Ehrenreich found out that people working for minimum wage, unless they have some other form of support, generally can’t really make it. And she says so in print. But she makes that economic lesson engaging and stimulating.
Note to book banning crazies: The next time you want to ban a book, try reading it first.
Anyway, so there you have it for one more year. Carolyn Kellogg at the LA Times Jacket copy has more.
(And in a Jacket Copy from Tuesday afternoon Kellogg rightly express concern that Tom Hanks is being cast in one of the leads rolls in the film version of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Tom Hanks is a very winning actor, but I just can’t see him in Mitchell’s strange and amazing book.)
LA TEENAGER INTERVIEWS OTHER HOMELESS YOUTH
Audrey Salas, a 17-year old, very skillful writer interviews homeless 19 and 20 year olds about what it’s like to be homeless and young.
The result is an informative and thoughtful story. Go Audrey!
You can find the story in LA Youth.