Come check out our rent parties and support the #skidrowmuseum – come to the scene on the mezzanine!
Nov. 7, 2015: 7pm – Rent Party with John Fante biographer Stephen Cooper in conversation with Elizabeth Cooper and the New Men Jazz Trio with Tommy Newman.
Often called “the quintessential L.A. writer,” John Fante wrote brilliantly about Los Angeles in the 1930s and 40s, in particular about the immigrant experience here and the denizens of Bunker Hill. Acclaimed John Fante biographer Stephen Cooper will talk about Fante’s early days, as a struggling young writer living on and around the streets of downtown L.A., before leading a discussion on the author’s very short story “The First Time I Saw Paris.” (copies available at the museum) Cooper will be conversation with Elizabeth Cooper, a social worker at downtown L.A.’s Immigration Center for Women and Children.
The fabulous New Men Jazz Trio warmed up the scene on the mezzanine when Fred Moten was our guest. Drummer, singer and LA Playmaker Tommy Newman, will again round out his jazz ensemble with keyboard and trumpet for this rent party.
Our wonderful neighbors The Last Bookstore will be joining us with a table of books for sale, in case you’d like to pick one and have it signed by the author.
And – of course – you can delight in our fabulous lentil stew, beat salad, chocolate- and pound cake, brown bread and more … Grace is making an original Irish cake!! Everything is home made by LAPD’s staff and volunteers!!
About Stephen Cooper: Stephen Cooper is a professor of English at CalState-Long Beach, and the recipient of an N.E.A. Creative Writing Fellowship in Fiction. He has written or edited several books on John Fante, including of Full of Life: A Biography of John Fante, the manuscript of Fante’s last book, The Big Hunger: Stories 1932-1959, and John Fante: A Critical Gathering. His biography of Fante and his edition of The John Fante Reader were named among the Los Angeles Times Best Books of the Year. He has published his own fiction in periodicals such as The Threepenny Review, American Fiction, and Hot Type.
About Elizabeth Cooper: Elizabeth Cooper received her MSW from UCLA before joining the Immigration Center for Women and Children (ICWC) in downtown L.A. She works with a population that includes undocumented immigrants, refugees, addicts, homeless individuals, and people struggling with mental health issues on and around Skid Row, helping ICWC clients secure visas, housing, medical treatment, jobs, etc.
Rent parties developed during the Harlem Renaissance as a means for Black tenants in the area, often targets of discriminatory rent pricing as well as low wages, to make ends meet. These events centered around living room concerts and were known to feature such luminaries as Fats Waller. In keeping with the intellectual tradition of the Harlem Renaissance, LAPD’s rent parties take the form of salons featuring local scholars, food, drink and live jazz.
Admission is by donation ($15 suggested), with all proceeds directly supporting the museum.
Skid Row History Museum & Archive – 440 S. Broadway, mezzanine level
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