Poet S.A. Griffin

* The poet whose latest book is "Unborn Again" and who co-edited "The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry" has also been a part of several poetry performance ensembles, including the Carma Bums and White Trash Apocalypse.

Drinking and Reading: Lydia Lunch has started a regular reading series on Sunday nights at the Parlour in West Hollywood called the Unhappy Hour. She's been booking a really cool mix of people to perform like Bibbe Hanson, Jerry Stahl and Pleasant Gehman, and presenting it in a way where you can really kick back, have some drinks and dig the word. They've created a casual and comfortable atmosphere where people really listen to you read.

Mourning the Onyx: The only coffeehouse that seems to be up-and-coming at all is the Coffee Table on Rowena. They do a decent job of bridging the gap between coffee and food. On Sundays, it's not a bad place to get breakfast and the coffee is pretty good. There are still some of the people who used to go to the Onyx hanging out there. When they closed the Onyx, they really took the heart out of the Los Feliz neighborhood. I don't care what people say about that place, it was a great community center. It was like something out of the Lost Generation or a Henry Miller book. It was all of these dysfunctional people and artists and even transients coming together, and there was a real symbiosis going on. I have been spending time in coffeehouses for all my life and that place is definitely missed.

Best Words in Town: A lot of the poetry scene is about slams and I don't partake in slam events, because I don't believe in competition. I'd say one of the cooler things is down in Leimert Park, this regular reading series run by Michael Datcher at the World Stage. They have a workshop down there as well, and they don't seem to be letting their egos run the workshop. They really are very constructive with people. Of all the poetry things I've encountered in the past few years, I thought this was the best one.

Bun Boy: Baker, this town between L.A. and Vegas with the world's largest thermometer and this restaurant the Mad Greek, is a lot of fun. I have my Bun Boy coffee mug and my Bun Boy hat that I acquired at the Bun Boy Restaurant there.

Quiet View of the City: I like to go up to the Angeles National Forest and then up to Mt. Wilson and almost to the observatory. You can see pretty much all of Los Angeles at night, this vast lake of light, and it seems like it's miles and miles below you. It's perfectly quiet up there, and then above you, there's nothing but stars. It's an incredible juxtaposition to be able to view the city so quietly and from so far away.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World