It began in the Roman days as a spring festival, and even then it was probably an older holiday absorbed into the dominant culture of the time. As Europe changed, so did May Day, the most common image of which is the Maypole and May Queen of English country habit—reflected in the structures of Renaissance Faires to this day. In any case, the holiday persisted even as Europe devolved into a rigid theocracy, and was still often celebrated with drunkenness and sexual abandon.
More recently, the holiday became associated with workers' solidarity movements, which is why it is studiously ignored in Ammurrica, Central HQ of the Global War on Labor…and which is one reason we're holding my little book signing at Flying Pigeon LA on that date.
Yes, as you may know, I have gathered a number of the essays I've written over the last seventeen years into a book called Our Own Day Here, which explores the meanings and functions of community, transportation, work, love, and neighborhood in the modern city, and which does not disdain making statements about government, the economy, the corporate world, and how it all relates to the ways we get around on our streets and sidewalks, and, in LA's case, how we treat our river.
I'll be reading from this book, and signing copies (which you can buy at Flying Pigeon LA) for anyone who wishes to increase the value of their purchase by the value of the ink deposited in the signature.
I'll also be signing copies of, and possibly reading from, my urban noir mystery novel, The Dust Will Answer, which is set among the homeless camps and abandoned warehouses of the LA River where it passes through downtown, an area huddled under the shadow of creeping gentrification at the time of the story.
I've even figured out a clever way to "sign" e-book copies of either work, which you'll be able to order through your smartphones right there if you wish. (I'll sign little gallery-quality cards with the cover image.)
However, if you want a signed material copy of the mystery, which is not part of Flying Pigeon's inventory, you have just enough time to order the paperback if you, as the radio ads like to shout, "act now!"
You have your choice of corporate behemoth Amazon or cozy family-run print-on-demand publisher Lulu; same price at either venue. Lulu gives your poverty-stricken author a bigger cut.
So come on down to the legendary Flying Pigeon LA on May 1st at 6:30PM, indulge in some old May Day wine and some new May Day comradeship, listen to some urban yammer, and maybe buy a book to get autographed.
It's spring, and time to renew the world yet again.
Richard Risemberg Book Signing
Flying Pigeon LA
3404 N. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90065
May 1, 2015, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Wine & nibbles
I plan to lead a bike ride to the Pigeon from Union Station that night; details later.
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 15 Apr 2015 23:18:18 -0800 [link]
And I exploit Flying Pigeon LA's website to advertise my book signing, telling readers to Save the Date: May 1st! for the event. Which will take place at…Flying Pigeon LA!
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 15 Apr 2015 22:54:56 -0800 [link]
While at Flying Pigeon LA we deprecate those times When the Force Isn't with You, and is in fact breaking its own rules by parking squad cars in bike lanes. Aren't they supposed to protect and to serve us too?
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 08 Apr 2015 18:56:00 -0800 [link]
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 01 Apr 2015 22:38:50 -0800 [link]
Meanwhile, at Flying Pigeon LA, I berate myself with an O Me of Little Faith, when I realize that a business that I thought was clueless was nothing of the sort, and replaced its crappy bike racks with one of the finest private bike corrals in LA!
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:52:13 -0800 [link]
After the small stroke of a couple of years ago, I was advised not to indulge in hill work for a while, but a few months ago I was cleared to "do whatever you like." What I liked yesterday was taking my faithful fixie up Benedict Canyon Road to Mulholland Drive. Benedict Canyon does not go all the way to the Valley, so sees only local car traffic. Furthermore, it is probably the most visually charming of the local residential canyons, with houses that are more elegant than ostentatious, and a narrow stream running alongside much of the passage. It may be an annoyingly slow drive to the impatient motorhead, but it's an ideal bike route up to the ridge. And of course, the plant life was showing the effects of what little rain we've had this winter, so it was not only the first day of spring by the calendar, but it looked and smelled as sweet as springtime should in a Mediterranean climate such as ours. Masses of bright green leaves overhead, flowers at knee height, a hint of moisture in the air, and even the austere wild hills rising above the last, high houses dressed in their own darker green. Mulholland too, LA's iconic hill drive, was lined with white and purple flowers, and didn't suffer too much car traffic on a Sunday noon. I followed it eastward to Coldwater Canyon for the descent to the Valley, where I joined CicLAvia at its westernmost hub.
About the event itself I'll say nothing except that I went sans camera or notebook, wanting only to enjoy myself, and that I succeeded in doing so. It was a bright, busy day of happy crowds rolling and strolling easily along the usually traffic-hammered roadways of Ventura and Lankershim boulevards, a true festival celebrating nothing but the joy of being unsequestered and human together in a true public space., I met friends, people-watched, and pedaled at ease among the throngs.
There was even room on the subway for the run back to Hollywood, from which I headed home, glad to be alive to enjoy such days.
Richard Risemberg on Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:48:57 -0800 [link]
Meanwhile, Flying pigeon LA wonders, Why Have We Done This to Ourselves?, as it ponders a massive road in decidedly un-serene El Sereno—though at least it does have bike lanes….
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 18 Mar 2015 18:46:22 -0800 [link]
Meanwhile, Flying Pigeon LA makes note of a slight move From Barbarism to Civilization in benighted Beverly Hills….
Richard Risemberg on Wed, 11 Mar 2015 19:10:04 -0800 [link]