Archive for the ‘Pleasure’ Category

March 8th, Joshuah Bearman and Adam Cushman!

February 23, 2009

We are thrilled that Joshuah Bearman and Adam Cushman will be reading at Book Party on Sunday, March 8th.  Here’s a little more about these amazing writers:

Joshuah Bearman has written about CIA missions, aspiring Fabios, and the world’s greatest Pac Man player. He has covered Presidential elections and also blew the lid off the story of the great rodent disaster of 2003, when giant gerbils invaded inland China. Joshuah has written for Harpers, McSweeneys, Wired, Rolling Stone, and contributes to This American Life.




Adam Cuhsman’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in approximately twenty-three journals, including The Mississippi Review, The St. Petersburg Review and Pindeldyboz. He teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension and Cal State.  He co-wrote the upcoming feature film The Prophet, starring Michael Madsen and Eric Roberts, and is currently developing a TV series about the descendants of our forefathers.



February Book Party: Literary Love Fest

February 16, 2009


Thanks to all of you who came out for the February Book Party.  It was a huge success.  We had a packed house and heard some amazing work.  Thanks to Mandrake and DJ Scotch Tape, and of course, a big thank you to Aimee Bender and Marlys West for coming out and reading incredible new work.  We laughed, we cried, we were extremely grateful that our faces were not too symmetrical and that no one had to hit us to make us look trustworthy.

Joshuah Bearman and Adam Cushman will be reading on March 8th, and we can’t wait.  More to come, and soon.


Book Party, Sunday February 8th

January 28, 2009




It’s February, and it might be tempting to put your head in the oven rather than face another day, but resist, dear reader! Relief is on the way!  Come on over to the Mandrake on Sunday, February 8th at 7:00 p.m. and feel the literary love.  Book Party has oh so much to give.  I mean, how could you possible resist. . .

  1. The drink special, the sophisticated Negroni, was created by an Italian Count.  This is a serious drink for serious times.  Except it’s red!  
  2. All the way from NYC. . . the musical stylings of DJ Scotch Tape.  
  3. Heart shaped cookies.  They will soothe your existential suffering and make you feel five again.   
  4. And of course, the reason Book Party exists. . . real! live! writers!   Come hear new work read by two incredible Los Angeles writers, Marlys West and Aimee Bender! 

So stop in, listen to something new, and enjoy yourself.  We promise, it will beat a February night at home in the kitchen.


Drinks and Books.  Sylvia approves.

Drinks and Books. Sylvia approves.


February 8th, Marlys West and Aimee Bender

January 25, 2009


We’re thrilled to announce that Marlys West and Aimee Bender will be joining us on Sunday, February 8th.

More to to come soon, but until then, meet the writers:

Marlys West is an award-winning poet and writer living in Los Angeles. She was a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, an NEA grant recipient in poetry, and received her M.F.A. from the Michener Center for Writers. The University of Akron Press published her book of poems, Notes for a Late-Blooming Martyr, in 1999. She is currently working on a new collection of poems and finishing her first novel.

Aimee Bender is the author of three books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (1998) which was a NY Times Notable Book, An Invisible Sign of My Own (2000) which was an L.A. Times pick of the year, and Willful Creatures (2005) which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year.

Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper’s, Tin House, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, and many more, as well as heard on PRI’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. She’s received two Pushcart prizes, and was nominated for the TipTree award in 2005.

She lives in Los Angeles, and teaches creative writing at USC.


Murder! Longing! Gingerbread!

December 17, 2008



Thanks for coming out to the December Book Party!  It was a night of beauty and mischief, as our writers explored everything from genital piercing to the transcendence of death and somehow even made student allergies alarmingly funny.  Thanks so much to Brendan Constantine and Rob Roberge for making us laugh and making us cry.  And thanks to you all, for coming and supporting new literature on a chilly Sunday night.  We’ll be back in 2009 on January 11th.

In the meantime, I am the President of Monaco.  In case of emergency, call a jeweler.



Meet the Writers Joining us on December 14th

December 7, 2008


Rob Roberge is the author of the neo-noir novels More Than They Could Chew (Perennial Dark Alley/Harper Collins, February 2005) and Drive (re-issue, Hollyridge Press, 2006). His stories have been featured in ZYZZYVA, Chelsea, Other Voices, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Ten Writers Worth Knowing Issue of The Literary Review. His work has also been anthologized in Another City (City Lights, 2001), It’s All Good (Manic D Press, 2004) and SANTI: Lives of the Modern Saints (Black Arrow Press, 2007).  New work is scheduled to appear in OC Noir part of the series that includes San Francisco Noir, LA Noir and Las Vegas Noir.    He has written columns for, and  Rob also teaches writing at a number of programs in the Los Angeles area, including the Antioch University Los Angeles, MFA in Creative Writing and the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, where he received the Outstanding Instructor Award in Creative Writing in 2003. In his spare time, he plays guitar and sings with the Los Angeles area garage/punk bands The Violet Rays, The Danbury Shakes and LA’s punk pioneers, the Urinals.  He also restores and rebuilds vintage amplifiers and quack medical devices. For news and more info, visit & or email at or


Brendan Constantine was born in Los Angeles and grew up there with his sister, the children of two working actors. His parents placed great value on the arts, going so far as to name him for Irish playwright Brendan Behan. Before pursuing his MFA degree at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Constantine had already toured the US and Europe, published extensively and been finalist for the National Poetry Series, The Philip Levine Prize and the A. Poulin Prize. His work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably Ninth Letter, Ploughshares, The Los Angeles Review and RUNES. His collection Letters To Guns will  be released in February 2009 from Red Hen Press and is heralded as “the most anticipated first book from a Los Angeles author since The Big Sleep.”  He is the creator of Industrial Poetry, a workshop for adults and teens struggling with writer’s block, and is currently poet in residence at the Windward School in west Los Angeles and the Idyllwild Arts Summer Youth Writing program in Idyllwild California.  A regular participant in both the Los Angeles and Orange County Poetry Festivals, Brendan has enjoyed an active role in southern California’s poetry communities. He is a three time finalist for the National Poetry Series and in 2002 was nominated by the Poetry Super Highway for poet laureate of the state of California.

There is no single approach to poetry in Constantine’s view, no school of style. In a recent interview with G. Murray Thomas of Next Magazine, Constantine says, “Every poem is different. Every poem requires something different from its poet.    When I think of it, I imagine that the poem exists as a complete but invisible impulse, an entity just outside our heads, spinning slowly or quickly in the air, until it is translated into some physical arrangement. If we get it right, it allows itself to be un-spooled onto the page. Every poet is thus a translator charged with re-expressing what the phenomenal world has already expressed to us.”   For Constantine there are no set means for this translation and there cannot be so long as our language continues to change. A poem may require that you carefully count out its rhythms and break its lines after six beats. Or it may need you to let it move everywhere and run for pages regardless of meter. It may be whispered or shouted or only read silently in one place at one time. It may stack itself like a list or lay down in a paragraph. “When we argue the legitimacy of one form before another we have likely hit a wall creatively and begun to discriminate out of fear.”


You’re Invited to Book Party!

October 2, 2008

Meet the writers joining us on October 12th

September 28, 2008

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles and Madeleine Is Sleeping, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2004 and winner of the Kafka Prize. Her work has appeared in several magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, she teaches writing and literature at the University of California, San Diego. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Theresa Sotto lives and writes in Santa Monica, California. She is a recent recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s George Bogin Memorial Award, and her poems have been published in POOL, No Tell Motel, Spinning Jenny, Shampoo, Typo, Word For/Word, and others. Theresa is the author of excerpts from a fair, a chapbook published in the journal Achiote Seeds (Fall 2007), and hinge, forthcoming in the Coconut Chapbook Series.

Book Party Debut, Sunday October 12th, 7:00pm

September 26, 2008

Please join us at the Mandrake for the debut of Book Party, featuring National Book Award Finalist Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, reading from her new novel the Ms. Hempel Chronicles and Los Angeles poet Theresa Sotto, reading new work. This event showcases writers in an informal, lively setting with a DJ spinning music related to the evenings stories and poems, plenty of cocktails and occasional activities, bringing the audience in for a collective literary experience.