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John O'Kane
John O’Kane teaches writing and media at the University of California, and has published AMASS Magazine since 1988. He has published many articles and essays, as well as pieces of journalism, poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, in a variety of publications. His book of literary journalism on recent political events is due out later this year. It is titled: A People's Manifesto: Unpopular Policies and the Popular Mind He is completing a novel on Venice, California from the perspectives of street life. It is titled: The Easy Rider Fan Club

His non-fiction book on Venice, California, was just published July 4, 2013. It is titled: Venice, CA: A City State of Mind

This book is a reminiscence that celebrates Venice’s heyday as an alternative community and what survives from it in the present. Over the years it has been a magnet for masses of folks who wanted to come and hang out, break on through to the other side of whatever and experience its special qualities. They discovered one of the few remaining pockets of free living left in the US.

Is the “poor man’s beach” that once nurtured bohemians and creative life-stylists becoming just another upscale resort with wall-to-wall condos and gentrified A-frames? Have the creative been nearly replaced by professionals and upwardly mobile residents who breed a consumer climate of tourism and chainsaw juggling spectacles that stifles the creative?

While these changes are all too real, we’re not witnessing the demise of alternative Venice, at least not yet. And it’s unlikely we will. Social, political and economic conditions made this free-spirited place, and they can remake it. Plus the city’s creative state of mind has been deeply rooted over its better than a century of existence. The effects of this seeding have driven many inspired inhabitants to pass the torch. These catalysts are haunted with the need to find new forms and outlets for creativity in the cracks of gentrification. Many ordinary folks live suspended in a time warp, influenced by both past and present, coping with and transforming current Venice while remaining optimistic about the future. They are proud bearers of its history.

It can be purchased at these sites:

These are links to reviews of the book:

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Entries by John O'Kane

The Glory Days: II

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 6:21 PM

The confessional is the perfect refuge from the lights. I wait and listen. How long has it been? A few minutes, an hour? I wish it had a lock. A sanctuary within a sanctuary.

It's comforting to be here without waiting for the priest to begin exhuming my soul,...

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The Glory Days

(1) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 9:27 AM

I'd barely thought about high school since I got my diploma in the mail after endless summer school. I left home so fast I forgot to leave a forwarding address. So when I received the notice for my reunion I tossed it in the trash with the same passion I...

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Pushing the Positive, Nay-Saying the Negative

(1) Comments | Posted February 16, 2014 | 7:50 PM

Time appears to be running out on Obama's long-term plan for progressive change. So it's no surprise, according to polls, that many Americans are pretty jaded about "hope and change," his original brand from 2008.

It seems his most predictable activity these days is raising money. He must know how...

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Occupy, Progressives and Democracy

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2013 | 5:03 PM

There are many folks occupying various niches of society who are mad as hell about what's happened over the course of the past five or six years, but are still taking it. They're anxious about their future prospects, and quite upset about how the elite manages the direction of the...

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Can Obama Escape the Right-Wing Frame?

(2) Comments | Posted October 14, 2013 | 10:54 AM

The official rant these days is that the economy is in recovery from the Great Recession of 2008. Of course the economy owned by those in the upper income brackets, the 1 percent or more broadly the 5 percent or even the 20 percent, has recovered. The stock market has...

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What Does Equality Mean?

(41) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 2:15 PM

The Occupy movements performed a patriotic service in putting equality on the agenda. Americans tend to take this issue more or less for granted. We cite that snippet from the Declaration of Independence at will, that we're all created equal, feeling elevated to high moral ground through God's blessing. Of...

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Beyond the Evil of Mass Murder

(19) Comments | Posted July 31, 2012 | 9:08 AM

According to George Will on This Week (7/22), echoing other writers over the weekend following the Aurora shooting, the shooter is simply evil. His actions lie outside of society. He even discredited in advance the sociologists who will try to explain them as socially motivated in some way, and therefore...

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(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2010 | 8:33 PM

We owe the way we
know the world to school-masters
droning over the map of the day,
blurbing stories of how empty
space gets magically replaced with
god's country, experts
slurping fables into tables that

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Distention Deficit

(1) Comments | Posted November 24, 2010 | 12:42 PM

The deficit is now all the rage. Though post-election polls show it's jobs and economic certainty that voters want most, it's the deficit that's getting the attention. The influx of anti-government-and-taxes patriots has something to do with this, and since the votes have been cast all parties can express their...

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Unmelting Pot

(13) Comments | Posted June 15, 2010 | 1:31 PM

The most recent measure signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer makes it illegal for public school courses to "advocate ethnic solidarity." It's supposedly meant to challenge programs that teach Mexican-American students about their history and culture in the belief that they produce "ethnic chauvinism," the words of Tom Horne, the...

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Imperfect Game

(1) Comments | Posted June 10, 2010 | 3:06 PM

The blown call by Jim Joyce that took a perfect game away from Detroit's Armando Galarraga should have been reversed by Bud Selig. Mistakes are made in professional sports, and umpires and referees are humans who will and are expected to make them. But millions of fans saw the replay...

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Tea Party Fantasies

(29) Comments | Posted May 4, 2010 | 11:49 AM

Jonah Goldberg's recent comments in the LA Times on the Tea Party gathering in Cincinnati focus on an important fact about this "movement," the fiscal fury toward both Obama and Bush over deficits. If we're seeing a "delayed backlash" against Bush in the rants and ravings of these "patriots," praise...

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(1) Comments | Posted March 2, 2010 | 2:44 PM

As Obama's first year in office wraps we have to wonder how he squandered such a great opportunity to produce real "change," the theme that inspired his campaign. Those who expected it are disillusioned; those who didn't gloat on the marooned administration. The election rhetoric made many believe something was...

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(1) Comments | Posted March 1, 2010 | 4:21 PM

As Obama's first year in office wraps, we have to wonder how he squandered such a great opportunity to produce real "change," the theme that inspired his campaign. Those who expected it are disillusioned; those who didn't gloat at the marooned administration. The election rhetoric made many believe something was...

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Who's the Enemy?

(6) Comments | Posted January 17, 2010 | 9:25 PM

Obama's Nobel acceptance speech was an embarrassing justification for the potential of war to produce peace. If the committee had voted after his decision to boot up the Afghan war, would he have gotten the prize? Not judging by the committee's explanation: it voted to affirm Obama's desire to achieve...

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Media Muddle

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2009 | 1:56 PM

Ann Pettifor asked on Huffington Post recently whether all those "top stories" in the media these days are just for "top people." Citing surveys at the Pew Research Center showing that stories about the suffering of ordinary people in the recession have nearly vanished from the media, she wonders...

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Brokering the Bailout

(2) Comments | Posted September 12, 2009 | 12:19 PM

The Bush-Obama strategy of throwing trillions at the banks to solve the mortgage crisis has been a failure. The banks welcome public money to remove toxic assets from their books, insured by we-the-taxpayers, as well as the hundreds of billions in direct handouts, but they've hardly returned the favor. They've...

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Freed Empire

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2009 | 5:35 PM

Mr. Obama's recent words to the Muslim world may have hit their target. Many from across the political spectrum and around the globe are praising his powers of persuasion. They got the message. We need to break through our protective skins of prejudice and sectarian belief and see others...

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The Filter Up Effect

(4) Comments | Posted April 18, 2009 | 6:04 PM

The "debate" about how we're now on the slippery slope of socialism is truly a farce this time around! Virtually everything the Obama administration is doing, as Harold Meyerson said recently in the Washington Post, is about salvaging capitalism, and with mostly the same filter-down policies that got us...

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Unbranding Obama

(6) Comments | Posted March 11, 2009 | 11:19 PM

Barack Obama's victory is indeed inspirational. At last the Bush regime is gone and we patiently wait to see what sort of change our new leader has in mind. His appointments have already raised suspicion. They're not the ones progressives expected, those who would truly revolutionize Washington. We won't see...

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