MacArthur Park: an excerpt

BY Andrew Durbin


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In MacArthur Park: an excerpt, Andrew Durbin examines the outsider histories behind California’s sunny idealism—from the early cult movements of the twentieth century to the community that has formed around the work of Tom of Finland to contemporary art’s response to climactic precarity. A hybrid memoir and history of east LA, MacArthur Park: an excerpt considers the doomsday anxiety that prevails in earthquake country. Lost in the sprawl, Durbin moves from diners to hotels, the radio sermons of cult leaders to the disco lyrics of Donna Summer, mapping the differences and contradictions that define the city. “I’m trying to understand something about this place,” he tells the painter Richard Hawkins over dinner on Santa Monica Boulevard. “What about this place?” the painter asks. Neither respond.

Andrew Durbin is the author of Mature Themes (Nightboat 2014). He co-edits Wonder and lives in New York. MacArthur Park has been published in its entirety by Nightboat Books.

Ordinance, a critical series, issues nonfiction writing in the areas of contemporary poetics, philosophy, politics, and technology. Ordinance as in coordination, ordinal points, and incendiary potential with greater stamina than yesterday’s feed. Each chapbook in the series is handmade, perfect bound, and portable. The Ordinance series is available by subscription ($35.00 for all) and Individual titles may be purchased ($7.00). The series will be complete by the end of 2016, with ten titles in all.

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