The Blog

post by Rachel Sweetnam

In addition to being National Celery Month and National Frozen Food Month, March is also National Reading Month.  In honor of thirty-one days celebrating reading, here are some of our favorite reading spots―UCLA and beyond:

Hammer Museum

Courtesy of Hammer Museum

Enjoy free admission and plentiful outside seating at UCLA’sHammer Museum, including Thomas Heatherwick’s “Spun” chairs.  Take your time to explore the exhibits, store, and cafe before or after a good book.

10899 Wilshire Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90024


Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden

Courtesy of Newsroom.ucla.edu

You have not had the college brochure experience until you have read some poetry in UCLA’s sculpture garden.  Recline on a grassy knoll or tucked-away benches, and you can people-watch, sculpture watch, and read away.

Charles E Young Dr E,
Los Angeles, CA 90095


Espresso Profeta

Courtesy of The Westwood Village

This little coffee shop offers indoor and outdoor seating, perfect for readers.  While there is free WiFi, there are no outlets, making for a less crowded atmosphere.  Read, caffeinate, and repeat.

1129 Glendon Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90024


Stories Books and Café

Courtesy of Kate Wertheimer

Where better to read than a bookstore?  Browse the new and used books and then settle into the cafe for light fare and heavy reading.  Stories Books and Cafe also holds events such as comedy shows and readings if you are looking for local literary activity.

1716 Sunset Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90026


Burton W. Chace Park

Courtesy of Chase Park

The Marina’s scenic park has many a bench or picnic table for the outdoorsy reader.  You can even take dollar rides on the water bus when your mind wanders to the water.

13650 Mindanao Way,
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292


Santa Monica State Beach

Courtesy of LA California

LA has no shortage of landscapes for the beach reader and Santa Monica State Beach is one of them.  When you tire of the hubbub on the pier, you can curl up in the sand with your novel and take advantage of the sunshine.

Pacific Coast Hwy,
Santa Monica, CA 90401


Happy National Reading Month!

Ever wish you could attend a holiday and a literary event… AT THE SAME TIME?
If so, you might enjoy these holiday and literary-themed events in the LA area:

Dickens Holiday Celebration
December 10 – 11, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: International Printing Museum


If you read A Christmas Carol every holiday season, the International Printing Museum’s Dickens Holiday Celebration may be the event for you.  You can enjoy vintage holiday music, meet characters from Dickens novels, print your own Victorian cards on antique presses from the 1850s, and even listen to “Mr. Charles Dickens himself” conduct an interactive reading of A Christmas Carol.  Admission is $25 for the day, but comes with a free historically accurate lunch.  BYOVC (bring your own Victorian costume).


Hanukkah Family Festival
When: December 18, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Skirball Cultural Center


Photography Grant Mudford, Courtesy of Skirball Cultural Center

If you’re celebrating Hanukkah, you might enjoy the Hanukkah Family Festival at the Skirball Cultural Center.  The festival features musical performances from bands like Mostly Kosher, printmaking workshops where you can contribute to a community art installation, and special exhibitions like Noah’s Ark at the Skirball, a life-sized, interactive replica of the ark.  Literary visitors may especially enjoy the storytellers Nina Silver and Julia Garcia Combs as they bring the story of Hanukkah to life.  To top it all off, Zeidler’s Café will be serving up traditional Hanukkah dishes like latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts).  General admission is $12, but full-time students get in for $9!

Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball
When: December 9, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble at The Grove


Courtesy of “Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball at Barnes & Noble at The Grove” Facebook Page

If all you want this holiday season is to dress up like a wizard, the Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball will be bloody brilliant.  Arrive in your Harry Potter costume or other holiday attire for music, dancing, themed crafts and activities.  It’s possible that no actual reading will happen at this event, but hey, after seven books (and this post) you’ve already put in your reading time!

Bonus: Though not technically part of the event, the escalators inside Barnes & Noble sort of look like the moving staircases in Hogwarts.


*Note:  If you’ve ever tried to track down a Kwanzaa event in LA, you may have found that the selection is narrow.  Still, here are two places you can look:

The California African American Museum usually holds Kwanzaa events around the holiday, though dates appear to be TBD.

The Kwanzaa Heritage Foundation puts on an annual Kwanzaa celebration in Leimert Park Village—hopefully details for this year’s festival are coming soon.

post by Tatianna Giron

Los Angeles is a cultural melting pot, representing an array of perspectives from diverse backgrounds. This cultural mishmash is reflected in the various poetic voices heard in the community, so put down your copies of T.S.Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Emily Dickinson, and remember to check out the amazing LA poets at your fingertips.



Courtesy of Luis J. Rodriguez

1. Luis J. Rodriguez
In addition to being the official Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, Luis J. Rodriguez is a journalist, critic, community and urban peace activist, and youth and arts advocate. Rodriguez is recognized as a major contemporary figure in Chicano literature. He runs Tia Chucha’s Press, which promotes the works of upcoming and socially active poets. His work in various genres recounts his experience growing up with gang violence and drug addiction in Watts and East Los Angeles, like his poem, “The Concrete River.”



Courtesy of Library of Congress

2. Amy Uyematsu
Raised in Southern California by parents interned in American camps during World War II, Amy Uyematsu’s poems are influenced by the identity struggle of preserving her Japanese heritage amidst American culture. She won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize in 1992 for her first book of poetry, Thirty Miles from J-Town.  Her poems showcase the intersection of politics, mathematics, spirituality, and nature, as seen in her poem, “The Weight of Nothing.”



Courtesy of Poetry Foundation

3.Melissa Broder
A poet and essayist, Melissa Broder imbues her work with her experience with depression and anxiety. As one may deduce from her wryly titled collections of poems such as, So Sad Today, and When You Say One Thing and Mean Your Mother, Border talks about love, sex, mental illness, and childhood trauma with startling candidness and vulnerability. Her poem, “Rotten Sound,” from her recent collection, The Last Sext, won a Pushcart Prize. Read her poem, “Lunar Shatters,” to get a sense of Broder’s fantastical descriptions of lust and lost love.



Courtesy of EF Public Relations

4.Yasmin Monet Watkins
Yasmin Monet Watkins is an internationally touring spoken word poet and actress. She has competed in the National Poetry Slam in Cambridge, MA, representing the LA Damn Slam Poetry Team, and has taught LGBTQ+ youth in poetry workshops at the Models of Pride Conference. Her poems depict the intersection of race, sexuality, and religion. Her collection of poems, Love Without Limits: The Bylaws of Love, combines poetry and photography to convey the trials and tribulations of the queer community. One of her spoken word poems, “A Lesson in this Queer African-American Woman’s History,” can be found here.



Courtesy of Los Jackson

5.Douglas Kearney
As a poet and performer, Douglas Kearney experiments with a unique layout to his work—which he coins as “performative typography.” Kearney bridges the gap between themes such as politics, African-American culture, contemporary music, and fatherhood. He embraces the idea of one’s existence being defined by multiple identities, and depicts the contradictions between each as formative to one’s self. He has received a Whiting Writers Award and a Pushcart nomination. In 2007, he was named a Notable New American Poet by the Poetry Society of America. You can view his poem, “Áfrofuturism (Blanche says, ‘Meh’)” here.

uclaprotest4Love Trumps Hate Protest
Photo by Erika Salazar
          It’s officially one week since Election Day. At this point, most are ready for the last stage of grief: acceptance. However, we can accept the election results while in no way accepting the hate that proceeded and followed them.
          For Westwind our upcoming identity-themed zine seems perfectly timed. Due to last week’s news, we are extending the deadline for our submissions. We are so excited to publish your voices and make your identities, and your pride in them, known. Send your work to westwinducla@gmail.com.
         Here’s a list of spaces, UCLA and beyond, that also want to hear your words now more than ever. Get your voice out there.
1. Powell Library
Courtesy of Powell Library
After a librarian joined the open mic at the protest last Thursday, the UCLA Powell Library Facebook account posted a status naming Powell a safe space and asked students feeling “threatened, unsafe, or marginalized” to reach out to a librarian.
2. FEM Newsmagazine
Courtesy of FEM
UCLA’s feminist newsmagazine FEM also joined Thursday’s protest to follow up an editorial post written by their staff—a call for submissions and renewal of their mission statement to break down oppression, amplify marginalized voices, and celebrate feminist art.
3. Pen Center USA and The Rattling Wall
Courtesy of 
The Rattling Wall
On Thursday, Michelle Franke, executive director of Pen Center USA and founding editor of The Rattling Wall, posted a Facebook status: a reinvigorated call to arms on the necessity of literary journals and art. By Friday, it was official—The Rattling Wall will have an upcoming election-inspired issue, submissions due tomorrow.
4. Women’s Center for Creative Work
Courtesy of Women’s Center for Creative Work
The Women’s Center for Creative Work, or the WCCW, is a not-for-profit organization that hosts a workspace in Los Angeles, typically only accessible to members but now made free and open to all women during the month of November.
5. Jellyfish
Courtesy of Jellyfish Magazine
Post-election, Jellyfish Magazine took to Twitter. Instead of curating a special issue, the editors chose to open back up submissions and gear up for issue 14, ready for your “rants, slants…and goosebumps.”
Know of more literary spaces and outlets asking for your voice? Help us add to our list.

In many ways campus on Wednesday felt the same way it did after the school shooting last spring––quiet and empty and foreign. But then on Thursday, we watched people regroup and instead of the quick return to normalcy UCLA saw in June, students came together and rallied, attempting to understand a different reality, one unaligned with the progressive optimism of our Los Angeles bubble.

As we all recover from shock and denial and constantly being on the verge of the tears, remember that no matter what you’re feeling, it’s valid. Whether still in mourning or grabbing the megaphone or just plain afraid, we are here for you and want your voices––all of your voices––heard. Send us your writing and art and music and anything and everything, big and small, because now is such an important time to exercise your right and we are here to help.

uclahandsHands in Solidarity

uclaprotest2Love Trumps Hate at Kerckhoff

Photography by Erika Salazar


Whether you’re an out-of-state student or a lifetime LA resident, there are many places that have shaped local style and culture. This list may not have them all, but you should still be sure to check out them out.

The Smell

(Courtesy of thebait.shop on Instagram)

This DIY downtown concert venue has provided many LA residents with an all-ages space featuring $5 concerts since its opening in 1998. Even major cultural figures recognize its significance in the LA punk and music scene—Hedi Slimane photographed performers during the Smell’s recent benefit show. Score tickets to The Orwells on Nov. 21 while they’re available and see for yourself.

Address: 247 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012



(Courtesy of Business of Fashion)

Maxfield has defined LA style since 1969 with its West Coast interpretation of high-end and avant garde fashion. The store’s exterior is stark, sumptuous, sophisticated, and this same aesthetic is reflected in its selection of clothing—think Rick Owens, Haider Ackermann, and Dior. It’s not exactly the right place for someone on a college student’s budget, but you can bet we’ll be back in the next few years.

Address: 8825 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90069, with an additional location in Malibu.



(Courtesy of Nation’s Restaurant News)

Intelligentsia is undoubtedly a pioneer of third-wave coffee, or specialty coffee—made with careful attention paid to direct-trade sourcing, small-scale roasting, and precise preparation. Since the opening of its LA roasting works and its three nearby shops, Intelligentsia has changed the way we think about and consume coffee in our city. Having been bought out by Peet’s Coffee hasn’t affected Intelligentsia’s quality, but we’ll see if that changes in the years to come. Its espresso-based drinks are still some of the best in the city. Next time you go, try the whole-milk cappuccino.

Address: 1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 is the closest location to campus, but other locations include Silver Lake and Pasadena.



(Courtesy of Sugarfish Sushi)

As one of the few places with high-quality sushi at a fair price, Sugarfish has changed the way we eat and appreciate sushi in LA. Its fish is fresh, but the fluffy, warm, loosely-packed rice and crispy toasted nori truly shine in Sugarfish’s nigiri and hand rolls. Try the Trust Me ($32, tip included), which features tuna sashimi, various nigiri, and a blue crab hand roll finale. There are fewer options for cut rolls here than many of us are used to (which you can get only if you choose to order à la carte), but what you’ll discover is much, much better.

Address: 11640 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049, plus nine other locations in and around Los Angeles.


Amoeba Music

(Courtesy of Discover Los Angeles)

You can’t miss Amoeba if you’re driving down Sunset. This building houses a massive collection of CDs and vinyl records and has served the needs of a very wide range of music lovers’ tastes since its opening in 2001. Aside from potential purchases, Amoeba also has live performances and signings—with Alicia Keys on Nov. 11, for example—as well as a place to sell your unwanted records.

Address: 6400 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028

Help us help you:
We want to publish your latest song, photo, video, poem, flash fiction, doodle from class, and more in our new blog series, “Friday Favorites.”
Check out our own Libby Hsieh’s “13.5 Million” for some inspiration and then email your original work to westwindarts@gmail.com.
Although Amazon has made purchasing books as easy as the literal click of a button, nothing quite replaces the kid-in-a-candy-store feeling any avid bookworm feels upon entering a bookstore—especially independent bookstores with unique character that capture the local essence of their communities. If your book supply is running low or you want to venture into a new part of town in the name of great literature, check out this list of six awesome, independently-run bookstores in various neighborhoods of the Greater Los Angeles area!

1. Skylight Books
unnamed-5(Courtesy of Time Out)

Located on Vermont Ave in LA’s Los Feliz neighborhood, Skylight Books is a must for any Angeleno fond of literature, poetry, art, or photography. The space is well-lit, fun, and get this—there’s a tree growing right in the middle of the store. They carry a vast collection of classic reads and contemporary works, and just a few stores down, have a separately housed space especially for art, photography, graphic novels, and music industry books and biographies. They also feature readings, events, and a host of fun neighborhood happenings!

Address: 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027

2. Vroman’s Bookstore
unnamed-4(Courtesy of Los Angeles Magazine)

Vroman’s Bookstore holds the name of being Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookstore, and there’s no question as to why the shop has remained so dear to loyal fans for decades. Located just east of Pasadena’s bustling Old Town, Vroman’s is a large, two-story building with a plethora of books, cute little knickknacks, gifts, and stationary. There’s also an in-house Jones Coffee Roasters, an independent espresso bar that grows its own beans and makes delicious brews.

Address: 695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91101

3. Alias Books East
unnamed-3(Courtesy of Alias Books East)

If you’re a fan of special edition or out of print titles, or appreciate a minimal but tastefully curated collection of various works, be sure to visit Alias Books East, a used books store in LA’s eccentric Atwater Village. The shop boasts a lot of rarities, and is neatly organized into categories, such as fiction, poetry, history, psychology, spirituality, cinema, and more.

Address: 3163 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039

4. Alias Books
unnamed-2(Courtesy of Alias Books)

Since we mentioned Alias Books East, we have to include its original, older counterpart, Alias Books, located near UCLA in the Sawtelle area. Alias Books is a much larger, expansive version of Alias Books East, and also buys and sells rare and unique used books emphasizing various genres. They carry a wide collection of books covering art, literature, academic subjects, and much more. The store has a very homey, cozy feel with its rugs, wooden furniture, and comfortable chairs—definitely a great atmosphere for spending a few hours getting lost amidst the literature.

Address: 1650 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025

5. The Iliad
unnamed(Courtesy of Amoeba Music)

With a name like The Iliad, you’d expect this bookstore to be epic—and it sure is. Located near the North Hollywood arts district, The Iliad is one of the largest used bookstores in the greater LA area, and it has a huge collection of reads. Our favorite part of this bookshop, you ask? The cats—anytime during operational hours, come in and mingle with the furry feline friends of the store. What more could you possibly want from a bookshop?

Address: 5400 Cahuenga Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601

6. The Last Bookstore
tlbs-620x400(Courtesy of Lived Out Loud LA)

If there was a literary amusement park or museum in all of Southern California, it would undoubtedly be The Last Bookstore—the state’s largest used and new book store. Housed in a huge, double-story space right in the middle of Downtown LA, the Last Bookstore has everything a bookworm or culture junkie could possibly want—literature, music, giftware, art exhibitions, and a tunnel constructed of books. The store is colorful, fun, and captivating, and you’ll definitely need many hours to cover the whole grounds.

Address: 453 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013



“Friday Favorites”

Submit your own original content to our blog for the series “Friday Favorites” to westwindarts@gmail.com.

post by Erika Salazar

Need some inspiration for the perfect Halloween costume? Check out our list for some literary inspiration.

  1. Edgar Allen Hoe
    (Courtesy of Reddit)
    If you’ve got the nerve or the thighs to pull this off, then hats off to you! The essentials for this look are a mustache, a raven, and a nice black miniskirt.


  1. MC Shakespeare
    (Courtesy of No Sweat Shakespeare)
    Get yourself a baseball cap, some tights, a wig, chain, and coffee filter collar and you’re all set. This one might take some extra effort, but it’ll be worth it.


  1. Miss Frizzle
    (Courtesy of Imgur)
    Remember the good old days of watching The Magic School Bus or Bill Nye the Science Guy instead of doing any work in science class? Bring back those good old days by being Miss Frizzle. Get yourself a stuffed toy lizard and a space themed dress and you’re ready to go!


  1. Dr. Suess Squad
    (Courtesy of Epic Rap Battles of History)
    This one is for your loud and creative group of friends. Dress up as Dr. Suess, just don’t forget the glasses, the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, the Lorax, or any other Dr. Suess character.


  1. Stan Lee
    (Courtesy of You Drank the Whole Fairy)
    Be the father of Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, and all of Marvel. A cardigan, khakis, and a gray ‘stache and matching hair makes the perfect Stan Lee. Find every Marvel character you can Halloween night and snap a picture with each.


  1. Harry Potter
    (Courtesy of Costume Works)
    The beauty of this costume are the options. Go as one of the Golden Trio, Professor McGonagall, Luna Lovegood, Dumbledore, Gilderoy Lockhart, Angelina Johnson, a dementor, the options are limitless! It can be a solo costume or a group costume, all up to you.


  1. Madeline
    (Courtesy of Pinterest)
    Okay, the beauty of this specific group is that the couple of men in the group really makes you question gender as a construct. Follow their lead or be Madeline by yourself, either way it’s the perfect throwback to a favorite children’s book.


  1. The Old Man and the Sea
    (Courtesy of martmartin on Instagram)
    For those who love puns, this one also serves as an ode to an Hemingway classic. One partner gets to enjoy the simplicity of being the “sea” while whoever really loves dressing up can go all out to be the “old man.”

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