The Young Literati comprised of Angelenos in their 20s, 30s, and 40s gathered on the rooftop of The Line Hotel in Koreatown last weekend to support the Los Angeles Public Library. The night consisted of mingling with many of LA’s best and brightest.
After many of us enjoyed one too many Bees Knees poolside, we were kept laughing afterwards in a packed room thanks to actress and hilarious emcee of the night Busy Philipps. Although her wit had us smiling, she reminded us that 90,000 kids come to libraries in LA to do their homework each day. It is the last public space. You don’t have to pay to come in and don’t have to believe in God. Also, now in LA you can get a high school degree at the public library, the first city in America to make this happen.
I was excited to meet actress Gillian Jacobs otherwise known as “MimiRose” from the HBO show Girls, who later read some fun prose to the audience. We hear she will be in many new movies coming out soon along with a new Netflix original comedy series called Love.
Lively passionate readings celebrating the diverse and juicy literary history of LA had our eyes wide open and laughing thanks to Colin Hanks (yes, he sounded just like his dad Tom) who read some seedy LA woeful tales, DJ/producer Ali Shaheed (A Tribe Called Quest), writer and director Jason Reitman, actress Jenny Slate, and philanthropist, entrepreneur and Young Literati Chair Amanda Fairey, Shepard Fairey’s wife.
After Typewriters Anonymous, the Poetry Society of Los Angeles created some poems for us using two given words, we met some really interesting people, like the author Matt Sumell and his girlfriend. His book entitled Making Nice defines the aftermath of a boy who loses his mother and shares a ‘heart sorting through its broken pieces to survive.’ Recently, I heard Matt’s interview about his book on KCRW. His goal as a writer is to make you laugh while breaking your heart.
Throughout the evening of toasts, the Mexican-American band La Santa Cecilia shook things up while a DJ set was provided by artist and activist Shepard Fairey, one of most influential street artists and graphic designers in the world. I call him “The LA Art God,” known for his Obey Giant propaganda, Barack Obama “Hope” poster, and art all over the streets of LA and world. Recently, I visited his art space- Subliminal Projects, and this week you may have seen the iconic print he created for the David Lynch Foundation.
Busy Phillips reminded us again how the public library in LA is the great equalizer, a safe place, a place where we can pick up when schools give out! I had to chuckle when they mentioned how many people still check out movies at the library because my mom still does in Connecticut, as well as my dad frequents the library regularly, even to use the Internet.
As the evening wound down, I spent some additional time dancing at the new secret 80’s spot tucked away in the The Line Hotel designed recently by the Houston Brothers called Break Room 86. After getting escorted around the corner by a bar back and escaping a two hour line, I entered through a vending machine to get wowed by an 80’s band, break dancers, walls covered in cassettes, TV’s and boom boxes.
Later that night, I met the City Librarian John F. Szabo of the Los Angeles Public Library in the valet line. He overseas the Central Library which serves over 4 million people, the largest population of any public library in the US. The 143 million dollar budget allowed 14 million people to visit the library in 2014. Honored to be at this inspirational gathering of LA influencers, the night made me proud to be an Angeleno, in a culturally diverse city where libraries are valued to provide free access to information to all.