Mike Sonksen, also known as, Mike the Poet, is a 3rd-generation LA native acclaimed for poetry performances, published articles & legendary city tours. Poet, journalist, historian, tour guide, teacher. He graduated from U.C.L.A.
Mike's book I AM ALIVE IN LOS ANGeLES! has been added to the curriculum of several universities. Mike's performed his poetry coast to coast at college campuses, museums, bookstores, nightclubs & just about any venue you can imagine.
His Los Angeles city tours combine poetry and history and have been written up in the New York Times, THE UK Guardian, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Straight No Chaser.
For BOOKING INFO:
Email for Summer/FALL 2014
Poetry performances, published articles, writing workshops,
Los Angeles Historical tours &
master of ceremonies.
Partial List of
& LOCATIONS of where
I have performed, lectured at or taught WRITING Workshops:
VIEW PARK PREPARATORY ACCELERATED CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
826 VALENCIA -- 826 LA East Echo PArk.
MAR VISTA YOUTH CENTER
MUSEUM OF NEON ART
STELLA ADLER CONSERVATORY
CRAFT & FOLK ART MUSEUM
BOOK BY AUTHORS, LONG BEACH, CA
ARCHER SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
AVIVA FAMILY & CHILDREN SERVICES
SELMA AVE ELEMENTARY
CAL POLY POMONA
CAL STATE FULLERTON
CAL STATE LONG BEACH
CAL STATE L.A.
CLAREMONT GRADUATE UNIVERSITY
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
EAST LA COLLEGE
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY
PASADENA CITY COLLEGE
PITZER COLLEGE- Claremont
SANTA MONICA COLLEGE
UC SAN DIEGO
UC SANTA BARBARA
WEST LOS ANGELES COLLEGE
L.A. COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART
L.A. TIMES BOOK PRIZES
LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL
METRO ART TOUR
ALOUD Series: Newer Poets
at the Central Library
ASSOCIATION OF WRITING PROGRAMS (AWP) CHICAGO - MARCH 2012
CONFERENCE FOR NEW URBANISM
BEAT Museum - San Francisco
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
MUSEUM OF NEON ART
MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN
ARMAND HAMMER MUSEUM
NORTH BEACH JAZZ FESTIVAL
SANTA CRUZ POETRY FESTIVAL
SPARRING WITH BEATNiK GHOSTS
LEIMERT PARK BOOKFAIR
WEST HOLLYWOOD BOOK FAIR
Whittier College Writers Conference
GRAND PARK BOOKFAIR
This week L.A. Letters spotlights three spaces clustered within a block of each other on First Street in Boyle Heights, which have a longstanding history and intimate connection with the local Japanese community.
On Sunday August 10, the annual Nisei Week Parade will be taking place in Little Tokyo.
This year marks the 74th annual Nisei Week Festival.
The Japanese community in Little Tokyo is directly linked to Boyle Heights via East First Street, and over the years many residents of the eastside community have made the trek over the First Street Bridge to the festival.
In 2012 I wrote about Otomisan, the last remaining Japanese restaurant in Boyle Heights. Located on East First Street since the 1950s, they are a part of a small handful of Japanese churches, a school, and florist that have remained in the area from the early-20th century.
This week L.A. Letters spotlights three remaining Japanese spaces clustered within a block of each other on First Street in Boyle Heights: the Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Temple, Tenrikyo Church, and Rafu Chuo Gakuen, the Japanese school on Saratoga Street.
Similar to Otomisan, these venerated spaces have a longstanding history and intimate connection with the Boyle Heights Japanese community.
This week L.A. Letters spotlights these two places in San Diego that epitomize both the city’s storied past and the city’s bright future.
Among the many attractions in San Diego, two of the most compelling are the historic Old Town district and the New Children’s Museum.
Before discussing Old Town San Diego, the historical context is important to establish.
A great source for the city’s early history is “San Diego in the 1930s,” a book originally published in 1937 as a part of the Federal Writer Project (FWP), which funded and supported writers during the Great Depression.
Republished by the University of California Press in 2012, the slim and efficient guide offers a lively account of San Diego’s rise as the southernmost city on the West Coast.
A new Introduction was written by David Kipen of Libros Schmibros for the reissue, in which he connects the dots between the city’s early roots and its more recent perception as a military town.
Between his Introduction and the book’s several chapters, the spirit of what its boosters call “America’s Finest City,” is vividly painted.
(On a quick side note, Kipen’s Boyle Heights’ lending library, Libros Schmibros, is celebrating its 4th anniversary on August 10, and will be honored by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for its service to the city.)
This week LA Letters covers the history of the Rendezvous and also previews the upcoming reunion show that includes members of legendary Surf Rock groups like the Chantays, the Surfaris, former members of Dick Dale and the Del-Tones as well as Bill Medley from the Righteous Brothers.
The Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa was one of the most important venues in Orange County, for both the rise of surf rock and the legendary group, the Righteous Brothers.
Before it burned down for good in 1966, it had hosted hundreds of live shows dating back to Tommy Dorsey, Stan Kenton and the Big Band era of the late 1930s.
On the weekend of August 1, 2014, over 100 musicians who played around Orange County and many at the Rendezvous during the glory days of the early 1960s will be reuniting for a musical extravaganza at the Garden Grove Elks Lodge.
Before discussing the musicians appearing at the forthcoming reunion show, historical context on the influence of the Rendezvous is important to discuss.
The Rendezvous was the mecca of a lively musical circuit in an archipelago of clubs that also included the famous Hangars of the Marina Palace/Airport Club in Seal Beach and other sites in Anaheim and Huntington Beach.
This week L.A. Letters highlights the vibrant spirit, historic architecture and emerging bike friendly programs that are revitalizing and redefining these two great Long Beach neighborhoods.
Check my latest KCET column:
Uptown Long Beach..
Long Beach is always associated with the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Pike, and Belmont Shore, but there’s an equally dynamic area in the northern half of the city. The neighborhoods of Bixby Knolls and California Heights make up what many call “Uptown Long Beach.” In the spring of 2015, CicLAvia will even be hosting a Long Beach version passing through the area. This week L.A. Letters highlights the vibrant spirit, historic architecture and emerging bike friendly programs that are revitalizing and redefining these two great Long Beach neighborhoods.
Long Beach’s population of over 462,000 people spreads across 51 square miles with many different districts, though some may not be as defined as they are in nearby L.A.
The small city of Signal Hill lies in the middle of this, and is completely surrounded by Long Beach.
Just north of Signal Hill are the areas of Bixby Knolls and California Heights.
They are adjacent, like Echo Park and Silver Lake, and though they are two separate districts they mesh together seamlessly in a symbiotic relationship.
Atlantic and Long Beach Boulevard are core arteries for these neighborhoods.