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Llano del Rio Creates Guides for an Alternate L.A.

A new guide published by a local collective of writers and artists features untold stories about movements afoot in Los Angeles.

Although some would claim that most of Los Angeles is not grounded in any reality, a group of local creatives are busy searching for the city's alternate reality. Organized by the artist Robby Herbst, Llano del Rio is a collective of artists, writers, designers, and activists that also functions as a speakers bureau, providing a unique perspective of the city. The collective also works to publish a series of guides, the first of which was published last year: "Map For An Other LA" featured seemingly-fantastical yet totally-real locations like swimming holes, secret gardens, and robot-hacker clinics across the city.

The newest publication, "Scores for the City," highlights important moments in L.A.'s "social choreography," or the concept of people engaging in movement (as in from here to there) to bring about actual movements (as in the grassroots kind). There's a memoir about what it was like to be an 11-year-old living in South Los Angeles during the 1992 riots; an interview with the creators of Superclogger, a puppet show that takes place in the back of a pickup truck that wanders L.A.'s perpetually traffic-snarled freeway; and a really moving essay about what it's like to experience L.A. on the seat of a bicycle.

My favorite part is a series of tips written by Nancy Popp for engaging in the same spirit of social (and possibly illegal) movement, like stringing up a hammock between two palm trees along Hollywood Boulevard and taking a nap. Hey, why not?

The guides are available at a long list of local businesses, or you can drop Herbst an email and you'll get one in the mail. After that, the guides will be available for a small fee (the "Map For An Other LA" is now $8, or available as a free PDF). Expect a series of events to promote the publication of the new guide (a celebration for the last guide took place in the Los Angeles River). And stay tuned for their fall publication, the tentatively-titled "Map Guide Of The Assholes of L.A.," which may be difficult to fit on one piece of paper.

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