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Calvin Trillin, The Wire & the AFL-CIO

Two Southern California events and one national contest that you might want to know about..

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For those of you who are hard core fans of The Wire, the Liberty Hill Foundation is honoring David Simon and Ed Burns at their annual Upton Sinclair dinner this Thursday. The YouTube trailer for the dinner is above. The yearly Sinclair dinner is always a cool and worthy event. (I’m teaching that night or I’d be there.) FYI: The Liberty Hill Foundation is a wonderful organization that helps to fund social justice projects all over Los Angeles.


I will, however, be going to this evening with the fabulous Calvin Trillin at UC Irvine’s annual Pereira Distinguished Lecture. It’s a talk, plus a reception that’s open to the public….and it’s FREE.

I notice that WLA commenter Rebel Girl has posted news of the event on her blog. “Pay attention, please,” she says, Trillin is the funniest, smartest, most honest chronicler of our brave, nutty republic you can sit and listen to on a Wednesday night in America.”

My thoughts exactly.


The AFL-CIO is sponsoring a contest with the goal of starting “a new kind national conversation”
through video. Here are the details:

America isn’t working the way it should.
Homes are being foreclosed on at alarming rates…families are surviving without health care…people are being forced to decide between gasoline and groceries…men and women are working harder for lower wages…we are on the brink of economic peril.

Start by thinking about how this impacts you
— tell us your personal story. What are you experiencing? What about your family? Your friends? Your neighbors? What is impacting your community? Your school? What’s your vision of America? And, as important, how would you turn things around?

National conversation is good (As long as it doesn’t involve Reverend Wright.)

Click here to enter (or to watch some of the videos already in).


  • Regarding Calvin Trillin, although he’s hysterically funny, there is probably no more moving tribute from a man to his wife than Trillin’s book About Alice.

  • I’m going to the Liberty Hill dinner. I’ll take notes.

    I’m teaching on Wednesday otherwise I’d head across town for Trillin. Some of my students are going though.

  • RP, you’re reminding me that I need to read Trillin’s bok about his wife. Thanks.

    RG, I’m so glad you posted about the Trillin event. I’m looking forward to it myself, but it’s particularly good for students. Last year’s Susan Orleans event was terrific. All my students went (because I…ahem… required them to do so), and they LOVED it.

    And, yes, please to report back on the Liberty Hill dinner. Say hi to my smart friend Barbara Osborn who is one of those planning it.

  • Yes, my students (some) attended the Orleans event – loved it. One of my former stueents is now in the program there and is just – from his reports – thriving.

    I look up your pal who no doubt knows my pal – Gary Stewert.


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