Monday, August 18, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
My friend Jimmy Arone hooked me up with street artist Teachr. A great guy, if you live in and around the Los Angeles area, you've more than likely seen some of his work on a utility box, sidewalk or billboard. The city is his canvas, and most recently, my 1998 Toyota Corolla.
Some of Teachr's work on a utility box at the corner of Franklin and Western.
Knowing that I was a Charles Bukowski fan, Jimmy sent me an email about a week ago saying that his pal Teachr was coming over to spray his Bukowski stencil onto the fence at Jimmy's house in Burbank.
Teachr's Buk stencil.
Jimmy had attached a copy of the image to be applied to his fence, the mug shot of Bukowski from the cover of his book Pleasures of the Damned; great shot. As soon as I saw his stencil I emailed Jimmy back and asked if the artist might consider tattooing the big man's image onto my weather beaten Corolla. Jimmy said he'd talk to him, but he thought that there was no doubt he'd be into applying the image to my car. And all just in time for what would have been Mr. Bukowski's 94th birthday on Saturday, August 16th.
So I rolled over to Jimmy's place in Burbank to hang, meet Teachr and have my funky four wheeler elevated. But first, he hit Jimmy's fence.
"with God all things are possible"... Teachr in action stenciling Bukowski onto the fence at Jimmy's place. Photos by S.A. Griffin.
Leaning into it.
Time for the reveal.
Bukowski goes Burbank on Clark Street, by Teachr.
That done, it was time to do the Toyota. When we fit the stencil onto the hood, it was as if he'd created the piece to order, it fit perfectly.
Teachr placing the image...
Dig the spray can tat on his left shoulder.
Time to knock this sucker out.
Last looks, and then, final touches.
A smokin' Bukowski ready to roll.
Teachr and S.A. in front of the fresh-faced Toyota. Photo by Jimmy Arone.
Jimmy told me Teachr also had done a stencil of another iconic L.A. writer and one of Bukowski's best pals; John Fante. Fante fit perfectly onto the roof of the car. Again, as if the stencil had been made to order. We decided that the two should go head to head: one looking east, the other, west.
The work on Fante begins up on the roof with an assist from Jimmy. Photos by S.A. Griffin.
Gettin' down on it.
Last looks, as a contemplative Bukowski, looks right.
Teachr adds his signature to complete the work.
John Fante dreams of Bunker Hill, by Teachr.
Teachr in the driveway on Clark Street before his finished artworks.
Teachr and Jimmy Arone. Note the driveway in the foreground where other members of the art crew, including Teachr, have left their work.
It was a helluva good time hanging out with my old pal Jimmy and my new friend Teachr, getting to know the man as he applied his work to my car. I look forward to sharing his work with others as I make my way thru the congested lungs and varicose arteries of the Our Lady Queen of The Angels. Look forward to their reactions and hearing their L.A. stories as I fold them into my own.
"What matters most is how well you walk through the fire." Charles Bukowski
"Teach peace." Teachr
Sunday, August 10, 2014
A killer lineup (L-R): John Dennis Johnston, Robert Winley, Jeffrey Josephson, John Russell , Jack Radosta, Billy Drago and S.A. Griffin. On the set of Pale Rider, November 1984.
There I am on the far right, the only left handed cowboy in the wild bunch, the six of us flanking legendary Lawman John Russell!
August 29th I am honored to be included as part of a 30th anniversary celebration of Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider to kick off the Twain Harte Film Festival in Sonora, California (where train scenes were shot for the film). Sydney Penny, Jeffrey Weissman, Herman Poppe, Terrence Evans and myself will be on hand for a cocktail mixer, film screening and panel. Should be a bang up time. Follow this link for ticket information.
"... and hell followed with him."
In the fall of 1984 I was playing Mark Twain in an original musical, Innocents Abroad!, at the Gene Dynarski Theatre in Hollywood when I was cast in Pale Rider and my life changed. Three and a half weeks work in Twin Falls, Idaho. Playing one of the six killer cowboys was one of those mythical "big breaks" you read about in Hollywood bios. A career is certainly a series of "breaks", but this was that first big break that got me in front of movie cameras, opening doors and clearing my way to an on-camera career that I am very fortunately still actively pursuing. I am forever grateful.
S.A. Griffin as Deputy Folke. Photo by Mike Munsey.
Robert Winley, 1952-2001
See ya there, amigos...
Friday, August 8, 2014
Young man with a horn outside the World Stage.
Blly Higgins, the most recorded drummer in jazz history. Branford Marsalis, Max Roach, Roy Hargrove, Elvin Jones, Billy Childs, Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Pharoh Sanders; these are just a handful of the jazz greats who have passed through The World Stage, the unassuming but vibrant performance gallery in the heart of Leimert Park Village. In partnership with the Ford Amphitheatres, this historic organization will present an all-star line-up of jazz musicians and poets at The World Stage 25th Anniversary Celebration: Honoring the Legacy of Billy Higgins, held on Sunday, August 24th at 6pm.
Co-founded by Higgins and Kamau Daaood of the Watts Writers Workshop, "The Stage" has remained a cornerstone of African-American culture in Los Angeles. Through social upheaval and recession, and even as the neighborhood is poised for considerable change with the arrival of a new subway station, this "jazz church" stands tall as maybe the best place in town to soak up the living legacy of the famed Central Avenue jazz scene. Staffed exclusively by volunteers, The Stage offers weekly workshops, jam sessions, and open mics in drumming, jazz, and poetry for youth and adults. Scores of local musicians remember being mentored by Billy Higgins, the much loved jazz master who will be honored at the August 24th concert.
(L-R) Trevor Ware, Theo Saunders, Justo Almario, Dwight Trible, Paul Lagaspi and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Kwanzaa Festival at World Stage.
Headlining is jazz vocalist Dwight Trible (also Executive Director of The World Stage), hailed by LA Weekly as "our main local conduit for cosmic energy." Joining him is Carmen Lundy, winner of the 2011 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal album, as well as Grammy winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist Patrice Rushen. Versatile reed-man Bennie Maupin, who has collaborated with the likes of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, and renowned flutist Hubert Laws are also featured performers. Keeping it current are Kamasi Washington (Snoop Dog and Raphael Saadiq) and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Big Boi, Rihanna). Rounding out the bill are spoken word artists Kamau Daaood and Jaha Zainabu, as well as The World Stage's resident women's drum ensemble S.H.I.N.E. Musical Director John Beasley leads a house band that includes Trevor Ware, Clayton Cameron, Munyungo Jackson and Jacques Lesure. Tickets are available online and range from $15 for students and children, to $60 for first tier seats. For more information about The World Stage art, education and performance gallery, check out The World Stage.
25 years and counting...
Monday, June 16, 2014
God Gives Notice is a new satirical short written and directed by Mr. Nuthing Sacred, Jay Sosnicki, in which I play the title character. Great piece starring myself, Joshua Leonard and Mark Sadr with Eddie Tse as Gabe. Was a long night of shooting and a helluva lot of fun working with everyone. Jay has entered his comic short into a few festivals, I imagine that it should do well on the circuit. Good luck, amigo!
See you at the movies,
The Notorious G
Friday, April 18, 2014
Alejandro Murguia at the SF International Poetry Festival, 2012. Photo San Francisco Public Library.
Mike Sonksen, aka Mike The Poet, has included me as part of a quartet of California poets in his latest LA Letters column for KCET online. I am tremendously honored to be included in such esteemed company. In his column he also gives a shout out and review for my new book on Punk Hostage Press, Dreams Gone Mad With Hope.
Read all about it...
Thursday, March 20, 2014
The cover of my new book, Dreams Gone Mad With Hope
In Los Angeles and Southern California at
If you'd like a signed copy, send me an email and I'll be glad to oblige.
Art by the incomparable Matjames Metson,
intro by Village Voice art critic and Pop Surf Culture author Brian Chidester.
S.A. Griffin's words shoot across the page, piercing readers directly through the heart and brain. His writing is the literary version of a Jackson Pollack painting, only instead of paint, S.A.'s work is made of blood, sweat and tears. Sardonic and sharp, forlorn and joyous, he writes like an angel-eyed demon with wings made of vintage onionskin typing paper. His work- hell, his life- is informed by the Beats and their aesthetic, but he veers off into dangerous, previously uncharted territory. This book is S.A.'s own post-modern literary reality show, full of phrases that are as open to interpretation as they are an accurate assessment of the human condition. He is a genius... read him. – Pleasant Gehman, author of "Showgirl Confidential"
Twenty years ago an ex-friend who died in 2013 told me how much he loved S.A.'s latest book at the time, I reread it and it was great, I went home and reread his other books they were great. I am very pleased with S.A.'s new book and will treasure it too and reread it again and again, whether it is the Silver Surfer in Hollywood, Movie Queens at Schwab's or bug infested angels, S.A.'s world speaks to me. – Thomas R. Peters, Jr., owner of beat book shop, author of "100 missed train stations" and "certain birds"
For S.A. Griffin, poetry, art, life, love... it's all about the journey. This latest collection offers a rare glimpse into the unpaved highways of the heart, only stopping to top off the tank and wave to the angels littering the skyline of Heaven or Los Angeles. His poems are often a protest, a call and response, a love letter to a broken home long boarded up, they are points on a map in a story that is still being written, they wear their hearts on their sleeves, rolled up to expose the veins our shared history, parts of a whole, that together-- become everything. – John Dorsey, author of "Sodomy is a City in New Jersey"
S.A. Griffin's Dreams Gone Mad With Hope is beautiful, painful, joyous and absolutely riveting. This very personal collection delves into loss, memory, Los Angeles, America, world and love with a ferocity that is incredible, remarkable, honest and profound. Deeply touching and thoroughly entwined in what the word human means. The musicality and depth of his imagery are reflective of someone with keen perception and an exquisite heart. – Ellyn Maybe, Poet/Musician
s.a. griffin is the man who detonates the poetry bomb. a poet who's been laying it down true for years. he swings hard off the head making music that jumps. – mark hartenbach, author of "bring me the head of marko x"