As part of David Kipen's Libros Schmibros pop-up bookstore at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, artist and author J. Michael Walker created a map that spans 23 feet by 5 feet. It depicts Los Angeles literary figures and places them geographically from the Eastside, home of the original Libros Schmibros nonprofit lending library and used bookstore, to Pacific Palisades and from Hollywood Blvd. to Adams Blvd. So yes, by definition that leaves out a lot of L.A. writing, but KCET blogger Ed Fuentes says it's still an impressive vision.
A survey of the footprints of words that lead to a cross cultural reference of Los Angeles; Father Greg Boyle together with Raymond Chandler; Chavez Ravine as the habitat of a Dodger Stadium village with Vin Scully, Fernando Venezuela, and Sandy Koufax; Bunker Hill is squatted by John Fante, Charles Bukowski and Walter Mosley.
"It's the best new map of Los Angeles I have seen in years, and I have looked at a helluva lot of maps of this city," says Glen Creason, map librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library and co-curator of "Los Angeles Unfolded."
"Walker's map is great on three levels: his artwork is superior to almost all cartographers since he is an artist first; moreover a gifted portraitist and seems to have researched the images thoroughly," marvels Creason.
"Second, the historical breadth is impressive stretching from native settlements to the Spanish and Mexican colonial pueblo to figures as contemporary as Father Boyle or Tupac," he says. "Third, he really shows passion for the city its rich cultural life by using quotes that make the entire place shine in both English and Spanish."
I'm hoping to get over there to see it this week. Walker created the book All the Saints of the City of the Angels and the artwork in it, depicting the many L.A. streets that are named for saints. Kipen and Libros Schmibros are in residence at the Hammer through Oct 9. Times columnist Hector Tobar wrote about it last week, a few days after pulling a shift as a volunteer at both locations.
Edited post to make a couple of fixes
Walker in front of his map at the Hammer, from his Facebook page