Interview with Ryan Gattis, Author of All Involved

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Ryan Gattis is a novelist living and working in Los Angeles. A member of the art crew UGLARWorks, Ryan’s writing is both personal and a reflection of the city that helped shape him as a writer. His latest novel is All Involved, which is set mainly in Lynwood during the L.A. Riots. The book follows over a dozen characters as they attempt to survive at one of the most critic“When you’re young, you look at television and think, There’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That’s a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It’s the truth.” ― Steve Jobsal points in Los Angeles history, and is gaining rave reviews from L.A. to N.Y to London. We caught up with Ryan to discuss the riots, the book, and Tacos El Unico.

Where were you during the riots?
I was in Colorado. I remember standing in the kitchen of my parents’ home in Colorado Springs while watching a nightly news report. Before the clip rolled, viewers were warned that what was to come was very violent, and that those with weak stomachs should turn away. I must have been thirteen years old at the time, so I didn’t turn. I leaned in. What came next was Damian ‘Football’ Williams smashing something heavy into Reginald Denney’s head. When it hit, I recoiled. I think my father even shouted when he saw it. My next thought was that Reginald Denney was certainly dead, and that was the first time I’d ever thought I’d seen a dead body, right there in the intersection of Florence and Normandie.

Since you’re not from Los Angeles, what was it like researching this book?
It was daunting, but in retrospect, I think being an outsider actually helped me. I came to the subject without biases; I was simply open and ready to listen. Over the course of my nearly 2.5 years of research & background work, I spoke with dozens of Angelenos, watched hours & hours of news footage—in addition to raw footage of the 1992 L.A. Riots, read every book I could find (Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 by Anna Deveare Smith, Official Negligence by Lou Cannon, Fires & Furies by Major General James Delk, to name a few), and dug through reels & reels of microfiche. But my research primarily began with speaking to former Latino gang members about the late 80s and early 90s, a time it seemed to me, that resembled the Wild West in many ways.
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Excerpts From Pacific Dissent July/August 2015

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Pacific Dissent is a magazine of art and ideas that has a clear and radical vision– produce the highest quality magazine possible and distribute it for free where people likely to appreciate it will discover something special. Here’s an excerpt from their about page:

What is new and hot one day can be rendered valueless overnight because it’s not profitable. The artist is left out to try as the micro-economy of the art world decides who’s next. But art and ideas are important to share regardless of monetary gain. So, we started this magazine.

Pacific Dissent, which is edited by Juneau Dahl and Charlie White, is based in Los Angeles but features artists from all over the globe. The following images come straight from the July/August edition. Keep reading to find out where you can grab a free copy while they last, and where to order one if you miss out. We’ve also included some shots of the photos in context, so you can get an idea of how they look inside the actual publication.

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Excerpt from All Night Menu Volume 2 ~ 7003 Topanga Canyon Blvd.

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All Night Menu Volume Two is a book by Sam Sweet that explores the hidden histories of Los Angeles through addresses. Unknown legends, almost forgotten memories, and unearthed remains of micro-cultures populate its pages, including the following story the author has been gracious enough to share with us. The book was written, edited, and published in Los Angeles. Read our interview with Sam Sweet from last year, or visit his website at allnight-menu.com.

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When Bud Browne’s On Any Sunday opened in 1971, Mel Stoutsenberger and his friends rode their Schwinn Stingrays to every weekend matinee at the Topanga Theater to soak in spectacular footage of Belgian dirt bike idol Roger De Coster. Browne’s first non-surf film heralded the arrival of motocross in California. Incited by De Coster, the Valley kids would pedal west on Vanowen or Roscoe, where paved neighborhoods gave way to the rock-strewn hills above Canoga Park and Chatsworth. This terrain was sacred to the Chumash, whose lore told of Munits, the vanished shaman that haunted its caves. In the 19th century, Mexican usurpers renamed it Rancho El Escorpión. The vast ranchland was sold and apportioned in the 1960s, though suburban development was slow to arrive, leaving old horse trails open to bikes. “Once you crossed Valley Circle,” said Stoutsenberger, “you were in Ventura County and the cops would give up on you.”

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Long Beach Zine Fest! ~ Free Event this Sunday

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The Long Beach Zine Fest is a one-day free event promoting zines and zine culture and will be the first independent-publishing expo of its kind in the city. The festival will bring together more than 100 writers, designers, cartoonists, photographers, artists, and DIY advocates from Long Beach and
surrounding cities who believe in the power of print as a viable artistic medium in today’s web-centric
world. 

L.A. Taco is proud to announce that we’ll have a table at this event thanks to our Events photographer Erwin Recinos who self publishes as “Metro Anonymous“. Make sure you stop by his table and say hello while you browse through our latest publications. Other table’s we’re looking forward to checking out are As Issued, La Chamba Press, Applesauce Industries, Sleep Talk Press, Valerie J. Bower, and Yvette Aispuro. Remember the event is all ages and free from 11am to 5pm this Sunday! 

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“All Involved” a novel by Ryan Gattis

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ALL INVOLVED the gritty, deeply authentic new book from Ryan Gattis, is the first major American novel to paint a fully-realized portrait of Los Angeles under siege during the six days in 1992 when violence erupted in the wake of the Rodney King verdict. An uncompromising, kaleidoscopic vision of the turmoil, told through the voices of disparate, finely-drawn characters, this “symphonic, pitch-perfect, superlative novel” (David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas) pulsates with high velocity urban tension.
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Recap: 4th Annual L.A. Zine Fest

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Last Sunday was the 4th annual L.A. Zine Fest. The one-day-only event was very well attended, with people streaming in and out of the event site all day long. Interesting outfits and dyed hair was in abundance as were zines in every permutation imaginable. Some of our favorite tables were Freeways Collide, Adam Villacin, and Sleep Talk Press. The great people over at Influenza were on the scene, passing out hand stamped fliers to promote the 1st ever Long Beach Zine Fest.

A truly great thing about the LAZF is that it really promotes the D.I.Y. movement, and has helped inspire more and more people to create their own work and do their own thing. Within the last four years the LAZF has gained a huge following, as the event connects people from all over the world. L.A. Taco’s Desilu stopped by to support and document this very cool event that happened on a very hot February day. (Continued)

Tell Your True Tale – East Los Angeles Presents “In the Company of Memories” by Eric Franco Aguilar

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Author and Journalist Sam Quinones left the Los Angeles Times last year and has since been doing some of the best work of his career. Besides writing for the New York Times and other outlets, he also finds time to mentor aspiring authors and storytellers in Los Angeles through his Tell Your True Tale series of talks and workshops. The release of Tell Your True Tale Vol 2 is this Saturday from 3-4pm at the East L.A. Library, where the workshop was born. 4837 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90022. Please enjoy one of the stories from the book below…

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Recap: 3rd Annual IE Zine Fest

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About two weeks ago A Shop Called Quest held the 3rd annual IE Zine Fest in the City of Redlands. The shop transformed the alley behind their storefront into a marketplace where each exhibitor had their own table filled with work by all sorts of artists. A few of our favorites were Sleep Talk Press, As Issued, Freeways Collide, and Influentza. Each table had something different from the last and every person exhibiting was ready to talk about the art they had for sale. We couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming feeling of welcomeness. You could feel all the great vibes bouncing around the alley as it seemed like all the attendees and vendors were brothers and sisters. L.A. Taco’s Desilu was there to document the beautiful Sunday afternoon. Hit the link for more…

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Recap: Dead Beat Club ~ Full Release

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This last friday night the Deadbeat Club held a one night only photography show in the city of Long Beach. Being that it was a rare and special event, the space was packed with art patrons of all ages and descriptions. The DJ was playing fresh vinyl with slick bass lines and beats to keep everyone grooving from one section to another. There were five artists on display which included Devin Briggs, Nolan Hall, Grant Hatfield, Dennis McGrath, Ed Templeton, and Tobin Yelland. L.A. Taco’s Desilu was there to catch some of the show before she had to jet on over to a different event. Click the link to see a quick recap. (Continued)

Alphabet City, an Ignorant Coloring Book by FUZI

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Artist FUZI has just released a new book, a limited-edition coloring book– but not one for the kids.

The book is 52 pages, and features handmade binding and a screen-printed cover. The interior is riso-printed, and each page features a different letter of the alphabet and a corresponding Ignorant Style design by FUZI UVTPK. The book was produced in a limited-edition of 250, and each is hand numbered and signed.

It is available here. Keep reading for a look inside the book…

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Interview with Sam Sweet, Author of the Forthcoming “All Night Menu,” A Secret History of Los Angeles

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Sam Sweet lives in Highland Park and has written about surfing, music, and Los Angeles culture for the New Yorker and the Paris Review. His latest project is All Night Menu, a 64-page book that is the first in a five-volume series about the lost heroes and miniature histories of Los Angeles. The writing takes to you places you didn’t know were real but are right in your backyard and introduces you to people who shaped this city in unseen ways. Created wholly in Los Angeles, the booklet is only available locally, in stores like South Willard, Mollusk Surf Shop, and Anzen Hardware. More info at the end of this interview.

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and what neighborhoods do you like best?

I moved here in 2007. I like the usual stuff. How can you not? No amount of overexposure can diminish the greatness of driving on Mulholland, or loitering on the rim of the Venice Skate Park, or being on the top floor of the Arclight parking garage. Even so, I think you get the best of Los Angeles in places undefined by any particular attractions. I’m happiest when I’m doing nothing much in Lincoln Heights, Chatsworth, El Segundo. I love Sun Valley because it’s so fiercely unattractive but within that labyrinth of auto recyclers is a living culture that is unique to LA. In a more conventional sense, I think San Pedro is one of the prettiest towns in America.

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