|Jeffery Martin at Venice Beach|
He had a list of awards he'd won so for the blog I looked up the first one, but I couldn't find anything on the New Jersey Beach Book Festival (well, I did find it on Jeffery's website) which got me to thinking, hey, Steve, where's your crap detector? Maybe this is like the Alaska International Film Awards - but they at least have a website. But he was there on the London Book Festival (2008 Honorable Mention Poetry) website and the New York Book Festival (2008 Honorable Mention Poetry) and the San Francisco Book Festival 2011 (Honorable Mention Poetry AND Children's Lit). Relief. I couldn't have been fooled that badly. His awards are real.
Another page on his website listed it as just the Beach Book Festival and that one found him (2008 Winner Poetry. It's all one url, so go to past festivals - 2008)
He also writes children's books - as the San Francisco award suggests. The inspiration for that is his other job - working with autistic children in the LA School District. The funding was cut, he said, for the summer program this year, which freed him to spend his summer at Venice Beach selling some books and much more important, he said, meeting interesting people from all over the world.
As I read it more carefully, I'm thinking this probably isn't about racism as much as greed and capitalism gone bad.
Final note: My style is generally to be understated and to hope that the reader catches the irony or outrage under my matter of fact statements. But here I hope nobody missed the point that California's unwillingness to deal with the 30 year bleeding caused by Prop. 13, means that this year, among other things, LA's autistic kids and their parents, are on their own this summer.