California Studies Association

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BOOKS: 2-String Julliard Violin on Skid Row: Steve Lopez of the LA Times

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NPR’s Fresh Air host Dave Davies interviewed LA Times columnist Steve Lopez today about his new book The Soloist. Lopez, known for his slice-of-LA-life column, happened on the subject of his book while out walking one of his beats, LA’s downtown skid row. Nathaniel Anthony Ayers was born in Cleveland and was trained at Julliard, but was diagnosed with schizophrenia only two years into his program, and ended up in downtown LA years later, where he lived on the street. Lopez encountered Ayers playing a two string violin, beginning a several year relationship that would see Lopez helping Ayers to off the street and into meetings with members of the LA Philharmonic. The book recounts their meetings, friendship, and Lopez’s take on skid row and the practice of journalism in LA. The book is being made into a movie starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

Two days ago in his column, Lopez commented on Ayers’s take on the book and the movie, and “the bargain they’ve struck.”


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