Heatwave, Echo Park - 2003

Heatwave, Echo Park - 2003, originally uploaded by levari.



I don't often believe in kismet, but lo and behold on the week that I decide to play "the pusher man" the most promising, unique and innovative new singer and songwriter in the country has just released his first full length album on I-Tunes, Buddy's "Alterations And Repairs."

ALTERATIONS AND REPAIRS on I-Tunes (copy and paste):


If you'll allow me for a few moments to divert my energy away from LIT-RA-TURE, as my favorite anti-semite poet Ezra Pound once called it, and dive into the world of music, I must take the time to write a few words about Buddy's music...

Passionate, honest, and unflinching emotion...If you do not want these qualities from your art and music then stay away from Buddy because there's nowhere to hide. Buddy's music is, in two words, fearlessly naked, and yet with his near telepathic backing band of Will Golden on bass, Michael Jerome and Al Sgro on percussions, and Percy Mamikunian on guitar, there is also an elegance that walks the near impossible line between one clasically composed tippany after another, and an all out Pop scream in its rawest form. This juxtaposition alone is staggering and unique.

But it's not just the music, it's the words. Admittedly lyrics, those most difficult things to pull off in a pop song, are the true mark of greatness, and if I'm correct about this than Buddy more than holds his own, he owns his own.

Love, hate, family, fear, pain, joy...somehow it's all there, filtered through Buddy's mind and heart with no spit shine, but never in an obvious way that beats you over the head. Every word slaved over, one listen to Buddy and you can hear that this is not a guy simply wandering around looking to write the next hit, be the next big thing, but that his journey is to travel deep, and maybe, bring it back for all of us. His guitar, his pen, his voice are his razors.

So listen up, listen in, remember the name, because this is the just beginning of Buddy's journey, and it's about time.

Buddy - "Alterations and Repairs"


Buddy's home page:


Buddy on myspace:



Tragedies Of The Technological Age, Vol. 1

overheard on the street:

"No, no, you don't understand! Hitting that fucking 'send' button was the biggest mistake of my life..."

Los Angeles - 6/25/07


"I of The Fish and Other Stories" - By Judd Trichter

As more and more people have started passing through these parts I want to continue with this week's theme of "summer reading" by turning people on to some of the most original new writers, artists and degenerates I've encountered over the last couple years, both in actual life and on the information super-highway.

Now that I mentioned degenerates I think this is the perfect segway into introducing you to the world and work of Judd Trichter.

About 18 months ago Judd started a little blog called "Filth" where he began publishing weekly short stories and longer pieces that, like a small brush fire, began to burn to the point that they quickly took on cult status in Los Angeles and New York. Then a web group called Rudius Media got wind of Judd's work, might have even read a few of his stories, and decided they had to get in on the action. Like a good American Judd promptly sold out and signed with them to publish his first novel "I of The Fish," online.

This serialization of his novel online is truly an original concept even though it harkens back to the days of Dickens, (unfortunately Judd is not being paid a penny a word, but then he's an artist not a negotiator.) Since then Judd's work has been more and more widely read all over the world, and, as a result, has moved through the label of "cult," and into the label of "acclaimed," and for once, they got it right.

Most of Judd's stories and novel deal with the adventures of one Julius "Fish" Fishman, or his alter ego, Judd Trichter (who may or may not exist.) Judd/Julius is a down on his luck, broke as a joke actor and writer trying to survive in Los Angeles.

Think these are a bunch of cliched stories about a young man trying to "make it" in the big bad world? Well think again, this is just the surface. Beneath this well travelled trope is a razor sharp narrative voice combining the real, surreal and the flat out comedy of The absurd; it is also the closest picture of life in these United States in 2007 for a young man trying to survive on his talent alone that I've read anywhere. Judd's stories are laugh out loud funny social and metaphysical comedy, but never at the expense of his cutting intelligence and profound, sometimes tragic observations of trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents and still manage to keep your soul.

There's also some great stuff about his run-in with Oprah Winfrey and her minions, but I'll leave that to him...

I want to go off about how Judd's voice harkens to influences as disparate and complex as Kafka, Hunter S. Thompson, Phillip Roth and John Fante - but I hate that name dropping stuff that seems to me to be nothing more than a lazy way of describing nothing and no one. (None the less, like a true hypocrite, I got it in, didn't I?) In fact, when I think about it now, whether Judd would agree with me or not, that is if he actually exists, I would say that Judd comes out of a long tradition of first person absurdist narratives that began with Knut Hamsun's masterpiece "Hunger," continued through Saroyan, Fante, Salinger, J.P. Donleavy, Henry Miller, and on and on. But no one is doing it better today than Judd.

So the last thing I'll say is Judd's work is a force of nature and I promise, after reading it, you will not soon forget it. But be warned, it will most probably cause instant addiction.

"I of The Fish and Other Stories" by Judd Trichter.


(by the way, would someone please e-mail me or post a comment and tell me how to set up hypertext links?)





she whispers.

"You must give yourself time,

for the body returns


long before the


Los Angeles - 6/20/07

Rachel Udell - The Bloom

There is no one I know writing anywhere who can transform the intimate moment into the epic breath with more quiet power than Rachel Udell.

This poem, so much about death, is alive and, yes, blooming, as is all her work for this ever present knowledge of the temporality of all things. It lurks under the surface of her words as if she is an ancient Alexandrian examining moments with a profound, almost otherworldly perception and clarity.

There's a link to Rachel on the sidebar under "Doodleblog." Otherwise here's a link to her site.


Discover her.


The doctor told her:
Stick around. I’ve never spoken with
A 100-year-old woman before.

She recounted this, smiling.
Her eyes said more.

The sounds that her family made
Reached through years and death
To wake me as a child
Chilled and sweating,
Running to my parents’ bed
To make sure they were still there.

That which burned up my faith
( yes, I once had it)
in the black and white
flickerings we’d watched one year, on
flourescent Tuesday and Thursday nights, in the
school attached to the synagogue,
right next to the township’s Gatorade soccer fields

(eyes and eyes and eyes and eyes
bones and bones and bones)
The piles have names.
The ashes, the stench:
her mother, her father, her brother.

In my chair I could only look at her,
Without words. This little enormous woman,
Whose past I now knew more about
Than my own grandmother’s.

She paints to forget.
The flowers before her
Alive but dying
Radiant, blooming, their days numbered.
Her brushstrokes, still steady, paint vivid reds and yellows
Into a second century.
I watch the paper thin petals emerge
In strokes on her canvas.
The real ones watch me, pleading with the crowded air of the nursing home for just
One more moment in the sun.


Cultural Amnesia redux...

Pete Atkin's "Midnight Voices" blog has an interesting thread with reviews and thoughts on "Cultural Amnesia" from both the pundits and the peanut gallery. Kevin Cryan, a member of the board, was kind enough to include me in the discussion, with my review of the book on 6/22 quoted. I was listed under Alexander Levari, and so there is no mix up, the name is simply "Levari."

To me Levari is like Pete Mitchell's call sign of "Maverick" in Top Gun, only they beat me to Maverick so I had to settle for this one...

Thanks for the link.

You can read the board here:


Sorry about the cut and paste, I haven't quite figured out the whole hyper-text link thing yet.


Thoughts and Ideas - reason

You cannot reason with someone who, time after time, gives you reason to fear what they will do next, and, afterwards, call reason.

The Last Three Months...

1000 unique visitors
759 return visitors
2000 pages read.

Unexpected and grateful.

Thank you,

Now enough of this sanctimonious bullshit.
Back to work, or, should I say, play...


, originally uploaded by levari.

Summer Reading

Latest Reading (voraciously over the last couple days...)

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin - What an odd, special book. A momentary cure for my endless wanderlust. I like it so much that it's the slowest book I've ever read, I think. I wake up and I read a single chapter, they're very tightly written and most aren't longer than five pages...Reading the book, it's like receiving a letter from a friend who is travelling at the ends of the earth and you have no idea what observation, incite, piece of history or random trivia he's going to come up with next. And the people of Patagonia...

No, never read a book quite like it.

Every morning I wake up, and between shower and breakfast I say to myself, "Well, better check in with Bruce and see how he's doing down there..."

Cultural Amnesia by Clive James - Not that I would wish this fate on anyone, but I almost wish an Imam or two would declare a Fatwa on Clive James for writing this book. Then, at least, everyone would know about this and at least take a good look through it. This might be the most important book published this year. I've set up a link to 12 excerpts of the book through slate.com on the side bar. It's riveting. A bomb of humanism that reminds us not only of who we are, but who we can be. A monumental achievment of culture, criticism and creativity. You'll never forget the name Sophie Scholl, among others, after reading this book. And no one should. Thank you, Mr. James. This book hasn't changed my life, but it's illuminated and inspired it.

All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy - I haven't read this book in about eight years and I'm re-reading it now. I loved it the first time and I love it now, but with some slight reservations. The prose style, maybe I was more into "style" back then, but it seems very mannered and self conscious. Don't get me wrong, McCarthy can write sentences along side the best of Faulkner and Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald being my favorite, but there is something stilted at times, something not quite natural or in synch with the raw, primal world he's depicting. Too much of the "anxiety of influence" of Faulkner? Yeah, I think so. I think so a lot. And I don't understand it. It's unneeded.

Still, the journey of John Grady Cole is unforgettable, and in spite of the derivative prose, McCarthy succeeds in turning a tried and true genre on it's head simply by filtering it through his passionate, violent and singular imagination.

I wonder what Zane Grey would have thought...

Christopher Hitchens - I've been on a Hitchens kick. I've been reading every article I can find by the guy. I absoluetly hate his stance on Iraq. The moral implications of this conflict from the beginning were too great to lead to anything but catastrophe for all involved. I argued this from the beginning, real world geo-political strategy be damned. Plus, how could a guy so smart follow a guy so dumb into this mess considering the cronyism he's always opposed so vehemently?! This is the danger of being an insider's insider: even one who continually speaks truth to power in spite of the risk to himself can miss the bigger picture, and when I mean bigger, I mean the metaphysical and moral picture of the murder of innocent life all for power, oil and ego.

That being said, I love the guy's writing. Brilliant, daring, thought provoking...He lives it fearlessly and he is clearly one of the most important journalists working today. His output, the quality of it, his incite...Hitchens is titanic. I only hope he is remembered for more than his stubbornly, obstinate stand on Iraq.

And a ton of other articles, essays, etc. etc. etc.

I'm hungry for something else these days. I want to expand.

Maybe it's the summer...


And God Said, "Let There Be Skee - Ball." And it was so. And it was good.

Big Bear - 4/07


Aaron Fagan - Garage


Say it's a form of heat that doesn't rise
But passes from one body to the next.
Say it flows through you and then out
And back in again like a ghostly thread
Weaving a basic pattern inside of you
That will slowly begin to take the shape
Of what you'll think you can describe.

(Yale Review 2002)

It's hard to write a good, let alone shattering "love poem." It may be one of the hardest thing's to do with words. But Aaron Fagan does it here. He does it...

I have to say something about Aaron and his work as he has just published his first book of poetry "Garage" through Salt, a literary publisher based out of Cambridge, England.

I've had the priviledge of knowing Aaron since 1996, and I think, in some way or another I've collected just about every poem he's ever published or tried to publish. Let's just say I'm a devout "Faganista." Aaron's brilliant, dark, funny, pessimistic, open, and most importantly, human. Human. Human.

What a quality. What a rarity.

Aaron's humanity is in every observation, every line, ever word; to me the best of him and his words are like a hearty laugh from the heart that suddenly turns into a quiet cry without knowing how or why it happened; perhaps it's some memory barely glimpsed that runs through your mind with no warning, but you lose yourself in the moment of that memory despite of where you are, who you are with - you surrender to it, and then, just as suddenly, the moment loses you, and you return, looking around like a child just woken, surprised and breathing...

And, of course, there are Aaron's screams, and his screams will fuck you up too.

Here's a link to Aaron's web site and book:


And a link to his blog, which, (ahem) he does not update enough:


Read him. Support him. Buy him.
Aaron adds.



What Falls...6/15/07

What Falls...6/15/07, originally uploaded by levari.


Imperfect Gift

To the skinless ones,

To the defenseless ones,

To the flowers from birth

Who are shattered
Over and over again
By those we pity

Who will
Never know
What it means
To breathe


I spit
In the face
Of history
And so-called
“Human nature”

To give this
To you.

This small thought
Of the infinite
Hills and skies
I can never truly know,
And will forever be
By these incapable

This is my imperfect gift.

You have
What little
There is
My everything;
I give it all
And wish
It were more.

But I promise
You have
Every cell,
Every lash,


I ask nothing
In return
But that
One day,

When you are ready,

You will
Rise again;

Defiantly, vengefully,
forever dreaming

In spite of this world
We’ve made.

Los Angeles - 6/14/07


Candle Holder - 2/05

Candle Holder - 2/05, originally uploaded by levari.



At dawn

On these

An alien
On my
Own streets.

As it always

As it will
Always be.

Los Angeles - 6/11/07

Half Way Point

Kitai: Excuse me, but may I have a drink?
Flight Attendant: Drinks afterwards...If possible. Fasten seat belt now, please!

Madrid to Amsterdam - 6/9/07



...and what falls away,
and what will remain...

the real never dies.

to those lost
to time,

this fiery, unyielding life
of our accidental

to those i
left behind,

i saw you,
felt you,
dreamed you

out over



and the eternal
that gives
all things

and must
take them




Nerjas - 6/3/07



L.A. gots nothing
on the back alleys
of Cordoba...

Nerja, Spain