Al Young title

Archive for March, 2014

SILVER POCKETS FULL (The 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays of August 2014)

Thursday, March 6th, 2014


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Click images to 5/4 time

This is the only time you will see this phenomenon in your lifetime.

Calendar August 2014

August, this year, will have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens only once every 823 years. The Chinese call it ‘Silver Pockets Full.’


Poet Luis J. Rodriguez for GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA 2014

Thursday, March 6th, 2014


Interview with poet Luis J. Rodríguez

Luis J Rodriguez 2014 Governor

Los Angeles author and activist vies for Governor’s office as Green Party candidate

LOS ANGELES, CA – Nationally renowned author Luis J. Rodriguez has announced his intention in running for California Governor under the Green Party in 2014. The Green Party of California will nominate its June 2014 Gubernatorial candidate this November at its bi-annual statewide General Assembly. As a newly registered Green Party member of California and the 2012 Vice-Presidential Nominee for the Justice Party alongside running-mate and former mayor of Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson, Luis’s plan is for a campaign aimed at the wellbeing of all Californians – for meaningful and livable jobs; education/training into the new digitally driven technology; green, clean and healthy neighborhoods for everyone; and peace and safety through restorative, transformative and healing urban peace models.

“I’m for a vision of a new California – one that takes care of all its hard working residents, including those that now find themselves without work and even homes, and that strives for the long-range sustainability that is possible in the wealthiest and most resourceful state in the country,” says Mr. Rodriguez. “I am inviting all progressives, labor leaders, community organizers, and, of course, regular folk – across the political spectrum – to unite around a broad movement for a California worthy of each of us. We need to make sure everyone is included in the immense possibilities inherent in people’s imaginations, in their labor, in the technology, and with respectful relationship to our bountiful earth.”

Luis J. Rodriguez is author of 15 books in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature. His most well known work, “Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.,” has been called one of the most checked out books in libraries and schools – and perhaps the most stolen. The book has also been named one of the 100 most censored books in the U.S. and was the center of controversy in some California school districts. Yet Luis has received hundreds of letters from youth over the past twenty years addressing how the book inspires and changes young peoples’ lives.

For more than forty years Luis has also worked in gang peace, neighborhood arts, youth development, a labor organizer, a journalist, and in social justice. He has spent 33 years visiting prisons – including Chino, Lancaster, San Quentin, Soledad, and Folsom – and juvenile facilities throughout the state and across the U.S. He has also talked in public and private schools, colleges, universities, libraries, conferences, and urban and rural poor communities. He has 20 years as a Native Mexican/Native American healer working mostly with troubled youth, addicts, formerly incarcerated, battered women, and others.

Along with his wife Trini and others, Luis helped create the nonprofit Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. This unique space includes workshops and performances in the visual arts, music, dance, theater, writing, indigenous cosmology, Open Mics, author readings, film nights, community dialogues, a youth empowerment project, a mural collective, and more – as well as the only annual outdoor literacy festival in the San Fernando Valley: “Celebrating Words: Written, Performed & Sung.” And he’s founder/editor of the award-winning small press, Tia Chucha Press, which in 25 years has published more than 50 books of poetry, chapbooks, an art book, and a CD.

Contact: Luis J. Rodriguez 818-898-0013

Luis J Rodriguez for CA Gov 2014


Al Young’s SITTING PRETTY: A buried classic novel

Monday, March 3rd, 2014


“A novel you’ll want to go on forever about a charmer who can outfox Redd Foxx — at making life and making love ‘a pleasure.'”
— The New York Times

Click on cover

SITTING PRETTY cvr Signet 1977

The Signet mass paperback (1977)
sttngprtty  magnifying_glass_icon Enlarge

Full-page announcement, Variety, 1976, from First Artists/Universal Pictures

Editorial Reviews


As Sit tells it, his life in and around San Francisco is based on a simple philosophy: “Play all the possibilities and stagger your bets.” Al Young deserves high marks for his novel that makes one think twice about success and failure in life. — Paul Obluda, The San Francisco ExaminerSitting Pretty is long-time poet and novelist Al Young’s novel from the mid-70s that has been reissued in 1986. Spoken, for it seems more grounded in the oral than the written tradition, by SidneyJ. Prettymon, a. k. a. Sitting Pretty, this novel set in the San Francisco Bay Area is rich in local color, authentic, and thoroughly enjoyable. The surface of the book is bright and clear, written as it is in the black idiom, with underpinnings rich in emotional tones. Sitting Pretty covers one year in the life of the narrator. The book opens with Sitting Pretty living in the Blue Jay Hotel in Palo Alto, a place that caters to those down on their luck, such as Miz Duchess, a tough but lovable Cherokee woman who dines on Alpo; Willie G., who goes from working in the junk yard to fashionable security guard at a modem art museum back to the junk yard; Broadway, a flashy young man who ends up busted for cocaine; and the silent and intuitive Professor. The exploits of these secondary characters pate, however, in comparison to those of the narrator, who fights the battle of the bottle, not always winning, but always fighting with humor; who goes to jail for unpaid parking tickets and gets bailed out by his lawyer son; who establishes contact with his wife after years of neglect only to discover that she has developed cancer; who is offered a job pitching T.V. and radio shows and becomes famous in the process; who has a tryst with the enigmatic Marguerite of exclusive Atherton, a black woman who passes for white; and who ends up hanging out at Jo Jo’s Let’s Get It On Club where he begins to cultivate an interest inJoJo, the proprietor as well as expose himself to some young, hip, radical black poetry. The action keeps the book going along at a fast clip, but the value of Sitting Pretty is in the narrator’s “philosophizin.” His insights are grounded in the experience of black America, yet they are universal enough to make this a novel of wide appeal. — From Independent Publisher –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Al Young is the award-winning author of several screenplays and more than 22 books of poetry, non-fiction and fiction including the novel and the musical memoirs, Seduction by Light, and Drowning in the Sea of Love. He travels extensively, lecturing and reading from his work, which has been widely translated. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.



Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Spike Lee’s Amazing Rant Against Gentrification: ‘We Been Here!’

Joe Coscarelli
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
© New York Magazine

Speaking Tuesday night in Brooklyn, blocks away from his company headquarters and his father’s apartment, Spike Lee went off on how the neighborhood has changed. The filmmaker, wearing a Knicks beanie, orange socks, blue Nikes, and “Defend Brooklyn” hoodie, was at Pratt Institute for a lecture in honor of African American History Month, surrounded by locals, when he was nearly asked a question about “the other side” of the gentrification debate. “Let me just kill you right now,” Lee interrupted, “because there was some bullshit article in the New York Times saying ‘the good of gentrification.’” (See: “Argument Over a Brownstone Neighborhood [1]” and New York’s “Is Gentrification All Bad? [2]”)

“I don’t believe that,” said Lee. And for the next seven minutes he explained, with passion, humor, and a fair amount of f-words.

arrowTo read the rest of Spike Lee’s rant, go to
the New York Magazine original

“Spike Lee, gentrification and the crisis of affordable housing”
Clara Huffy | World Socialist Web Site,
March 11, 2014

38px-Speaker_Icon.svgHear the full audio [3], including a gentrifier’s response and Lee’s rebuttal.