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Posts Tagged ‘Natasha Vargas-Cooper’

Former Union Organizer Gives Occupy LA Some Bad Press

Natasha Vargas-Cooper is not just a successful freelance journalist for outlets like GQ, the Daily Beast, the New York Times and The Atlantic. She is also someone who once worked as a full-time labor organizer.

In an article today for The Awl.com entitled “The Night Occupy Los Angeles Tore Itself In Two,” she writes about disastrous Affinity and General Assembly meetings that took place on Wednesday:

By the time the General Assembly was ready to meet at 7:30 p.m., things were unraveling. A large group, made up almost entirely of men, stood in a circle denouncing the General Assembly and their efforts to “police” the camp, particularly regarding drinking or smoking weed. Anyone who spoke in favor of a code of conduct was aggressively booed.

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Over the Weekend: Slake Party at Atwater Crossing

Slake has yet to throw a big bash for the release of its third issue “War and Peace”–we’re told that won’t happen until late August. But we got a sneak peek at the issue over the weekend at Slake‘s contributor party at their new office in Atwater Crossing. And we have to say, it looks really good–despite the fact your humble Fishie wasn’t in this one. And despite the fact he only has one eye to check it out right now. (Don’t ask, the answer is unpleasant.)

Haven’t read through the whole issue yet, but so far Hillel Aron‘s piece “The Last Freeway,” about the history of the 105, is the real standout. We also enjoyed Natasha Vargas-Cooper‘s dispatch from the Wisconsin labor war.

Looking forward to reading through the rest…when I get both eyes back.

Slake ‘War and Peace’ Reading Tonight at Skylight

It’s been a little over a year since LA’s only lit mag Slake made its debut. And tonight marks another milestone. The mag will be holding the first reading for its third issue “War and Peace” tonight at 7:30 at Skylight Books in Los Feliz. We’re told there will be free fancypants coffee and readings by James Greer, John Waldman and Ernest Hardy among others.

Slake is also having a second reading on Sunday at Vroman’s, featuring two generations of Coopers–both Marc Cooper and his daughter, author Natasha Vargas-Cooper, will be reading.

Big weekend for Slake. More info here.

The Trial Of Jesse James Hollywood Continues

Natasha Vargas-Cooper has published her second installation in her series about the trial of Jesse James Hollywood. Hollywood is being charged with the murder of local teen Nick Markowitz, a crime that inspired the Nick Cassavetes‘ film “Alpha Dog.” The victim was a childhood friend of Vargas-Cooper. Here she recounts the last time she saw him alive, at a party populated by unsupervised teenagers:

As the night drifted on, the crowd at this house party got older and surlier. I spotted Nick sitting across the table from a pudgy kid who was called “Crack.” They were negotiating over something. The deliberations weren’t going in Nick’s favor. Crack punched Nick right in the face. Nick stood completely frozen. His eyes began to well up. He squinted at Crack, who looked ready to strike again. Nick surveyed the crowd and ran out of the house, in tears. Ben’s friends killed Nick two months later.

Like the first piece in the series, Vargas-Cooper’s story moves between memories of her murdered friend and details of the current trial. It’s a credit to the writer that her account of both is never either detached or overwrought- an it’s likely also a credit to her upbringing. Vargas-Cooper is the daughter of local journalist and USC professor Marc Cooper. We reckon that is as close as a body can get to being raised inside a journalism school.

Previously on FBLA:
The Trial Of Jesse James Hollywood

The Trial Of Jesse James Hollywood

Natasha Vargas-Cooper is following the murder trial of Jesse James Hollywood, whose alleged murder of San Fernando teen Nick Markowitz nine years ago was the basis for Nick Cassavetes‘ film “Alpha Dog.” Vargas-Cooper is covering the proceedings with a unique perspective:

I grew up with Nick Markowitz. We had a three-day hand-holding affair the summer of 7th grade. He was a part of my tight circle of goofy theater kid friends who were transformed into a traumatized fraternity after his murder.

In the summer of 2000, Nick’s older brother Ben owed a $1,200 drug debt to Hollywood. Ben and Jesse- who had played in Little League together- were now feuding.

In a haphazard plan to exact revenge and ransom, Hollywood and his friends kidnapped Nick, who was 15. The boys took Nick to Santa Barbara, where they partied, hung out with girls. Hollywood consulted a retired attorney about the circumstances. Instead of possibly facing a life-sentence for aggravated kidnapping, it was decided that they would kill Nick and make it look as though he disappeared. Ryan Hoyt, also in debt to Hollywood, and now on death row, volunteered to fire the gun.

This is the first article in a short series Vargas-Cooper is writing for The Awl, with the next installment coming in about 10 days time.