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  I saw LIILY perform on the back patio at Stories Books and Cafe in Echo Park on a July evening. I first met Dylan Nash, the band’s vocalist, who went in for a hug while I precociously (and pretentiously) went in for a hand shake. He took the stage with his band later in the evening. Impeccable timing and tangible chemistry and love made for a remarkable, intimate, and just plain feel-good performance from LIILY. It’s clear: the boys are a band of brothers and best friends and have no hang ups about showing and sharing their love for each other. Their genuine friendship READ MORE

Moon Fruit by Moollz

This was the cover art for my first EP! I put this one in here because I have always felt a very strong connection to the moon, and I think it represents a very strong energy for a lot of my friends, as well. I also have always loved children’s book illustrations, which inspired this cover. Making this was definitely one of those “what if” pieces for me, where I just kind of let my imagination do its thing. What if you peeled open the moon and there was a 14.6 million square mile kiwi inside? READ MORE

Harley and Me by Bernadette Murphy

We look to George. Was that a gun? “Could be hunting season,” he speculates, eyebrows lifted. “Or maybe there’s a shooting range nearby.” The sharp cracks come more frequently. Multiple shooters. Whoever they are, they seem to be moving closer.

We all go by certain assumptions that we live in a largely civil, law-abiding society. Still, it’s hard not to flash back on the final scenes of Easy Rider with its denouement of casual, explosive violence against the free-spirited, live-and-let-live cross-country riders. But that was only a movie, right? Right?

I glance at Emily for an assuring look that will confirm I’m overreacting. But her widened eyes and the taut set of her jaw tell me she’s frightened, too. READ MORE

Borrowed Bones by Luis Rodriguez

People’s Sonnet #1 by Luis Rodriguez A shadow hangs where my country should glow. Despite glories shaped as skyscrapers or sound. More wars, more prisons, less safe, still low. Massive cities teeter on shifting ground. Glittering lights, music tracks hide the craven. TV, movies, books so we can forget. Countless worn out, debt-laden and slaving; Their soul-derived destinies unmet. Give me NASCAR, lowriders, Hip Hop, the Blues. Give me Crooklyn, cowboys, cool jazz, cholos. Give me libraries, gardens of the muse. Give me songs over sidewalks, mad solos. Big America improperly sized. Give me your true value, realized. Excerpt from Borrowed Bones (Northwestern University Press, READ MORE

Photo by Arlene Mejorado

Leaving his past behind, Rodriguez, with the help of a mentor, recognized his deep hunger for something new and powerful to replace the emptiness and suicide road he was on, “with enough righteous anger, not rage, but anger with eyes, with direction—remember rage is blind—against whatever was keeping me from making a way in this world, be it personal, familial, or social.” READ MORE