JOE DONNELLY discusses his collection of profiles L.A. MAN

L.A. Man: Profiles from a Big City and a Small World (Rare Bird Press)

During his many years writing for publications such as LA Weekly, the Los Angeles TimesSlake,Surfer's Journal and more, Joe Donnelly has driven to Texas with Wes Anderson, shot pool with Sean Penn, surfed with Chris Malloy, sparred (verbally) with Christian Bale, gone on a date with Carmen Electra, and listened to tall tales told by Werner Herzog. These profiles, which also include encounters with Drew Barrymore, Lou Reed, Craig Stecyk, the wolf OR7, the Z-boys and others who have indelibly stamped the cultural landscape, drill through the facade of fame to get at the core humanity behind the myth-making. This collection manages to show Los Angeles' biggest export in a light in which it is rarely seen. 

Praise for L.A. Man

​“Donnelly writes with big-hearted, languid elegance about migrating wolves, mad criminals, surf and skate pioneers, musicians, movie stars, and mortality. Each piece charts its own course, but the overall effect is that of a freewheeling ride through a gritty southern Californian zeitgeist.”Luke Davies, Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Lion, and author of CandyInterferon Psalms, and God of Speed

“What a pleasure to ride shotgun with Joe Donnelly, a Los Angeles journalist who tells the story of a city through its artists, outlaws and other raconteurs.”Manohla Dargis, co-chief film critic of the New York Times

“Joe Donnelly gravitates toward characters who have heart and portrays them with insight and humanity. I've yet to read one of his profiles without feeling that I got to know the subject and benefited from the encounter.” Conor Friedersdorf, staff writer, The Atlantic

“Man, can Donnelly write…about a West Coast culture he helped shape; about the mad dream of Los Angeles, about what it means to be human—a very cool collection!”Steven Kotler, New York Times bestselling author of The Rise of SupermanStealing FireBold, and Abundance

“Joe Donnelly has a unique writing signature strengthened by his unblinking and often fierce vision of people and events.” Nikki Finke, founder of

“From a city that speaks over [two hundred] languages, Donnelly's voice rings with regional clarity. His breadth as both a composer and guardian of California Lit can not be overstated.”Scott Hulet, Editor of The Surfer's Journal

Joe Donnelly is an award-winning journalist, writer and editor who lives in Los Angeles. His short story “Bonus Baby”, published in the spring/summer 2015 issue of Zyzzyva, is featured in the 2016 O. Henry Prize Stories Collection as one of the 20 best short stories of the year. His short story “50 Minutes“, co-authored with Harry Shannon, was selected for The Best American Mystery Stories, 2012 and was recently made into a short film starring Stephen Tobolowsky and DJ Qualls. “The Lone Wolf", written for Orion, was a 2013 editor’s pick and a 2014 Pen Center USA Literary Awards Finalist for Journalism. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, Huck,  Orion,The Surfer’s Journal, Washington Post, and other publications.

Donnelly co-founded and co-edited Slake: Los Angeles, the acclaimed journal of long-form journalism, fiction, essay, poetry, photography and art. Slake made a dozen appearances on the Los Angeles Times‘ bestsellers list and work appearing in Slake earned numerous awards and recognitions including multiple Best American series selections, Livingston Award finalists, PEN USA finalists, LA Press Club awards, Franco-American Foundation’s Excellence in Immigration Reporting First Prize, and more. In 2014, Rare Bird Books published We Dropped A Bomb On You: The Best of Slake, I-IV. 

From 2002-2008, Donnelly was the deputy editor of LA Weekly

Event date: 
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
L.A. Man: Profiles from a Big City and a Small World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781945572876
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rare Bird Books - April 17th, 2018

Slake: Los Angeles, a City and Its Stories, No.1: Still Life Cover Image
By Joe Donnelly (Editor), Laurie Ochoa (Editor)
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780984563500
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Slake Media - July 26th, 2010