The Writers Bloc Presents crowd at Laemmle’s Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills.

This past weekend I truly indulged my aesthetic side with a tour of PHOTO LA at the Barker Hangar. Over 65 galleries and agents came together under the soaring trusses of the 65,000 square foot facility where photographers from around the world, and across the ages came to display and share their photography.

The event was widely supported and on Saturday afternoon when I went social butterfly with Santa Monica’s unofficial crime scene tour guide Anne Pearson, we had a wonderful time exploring the endeavors of many artists. The range of photography was from classic photo history that covered the train ride home for Robert Kennedy’s body and the way the country came out to honor him, to the high art of homoerotic artists.

Photo LA is a collective of the globe’s most creative artists and their new home at the Barker Hanger is good thing for those of us who live here. Having another large art event like that to draw both exhibitors and tourists in to our city is crucial for us to expand our global base.

I thoroughly enjoyed the well run event, with two minor exceptions. Ticketing was silly. We stood in line to pay $25 for a ticket, programs were available for an additional fee that I refused to pay, we then walked about 3-5 steps and handed the ticket to ticket taker. Literally, the ticket was in my hand for less than 30 seconds. I didn’t even have a chance to read it. I glanced at it was noticed that it was nicely designed and printed ticket, but it was taken away from me, and now I have memento of the event. As a divorce lawyer who is a slight marketing geek, I find that type of lost opportunity annoying.

The other annoyance was waiting in line for 10 minutes to get a cup of coffee, only to be told that they were out and I’d have to wait another 5-10 minutes. I realize this is a problem of abundance, after all who would wait in line for 10 minutes to buy a $4 cup of basic coffee? But it was enough of an annoyance that I walked away and purchased nothing.

Now for some sex. On Sunday I attended the Writer’s Bloc Presents talk hosted by Madeleine Brand of KCRW fame, and Peggy Orenstein the author of Boys & Sex, the follow up to her previous book, Girls and Sex. The Ahrya Fine Arts by Laemmle Theaters was the location, and what a grand place it is! Truly this theater is one of the classic old school movie houses and made me wish I’d seen more movies there.

I’ve listened to Madelaine Brand for years on KCRW, and yet I’ve never looked her up, so when she came onstage with her casual flair and chestnut shoulder length hair bouncing, I was taken aback. She wasn’t what I had pictured from her voice. It’s always like that though when I first see a radio voice in person, I had the same experience last month with Steve Inskeep at the Writer’s Bloc Presents event at New Roads for his new book, Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War.

Orenstein’s book, BOYS AND SEX, YOUNG MEN ON HOOKUPS, LOVE PORN, CONSENT AND NAVIGATING THE NEW MASCULINITY, is an exploration into what is happening in today’s world. As many of my child custody cases are a result of the way that relationships and families are formed I was very interested in the topic. Orenstein has a delightfully open and casual manner about her and easily discussed some very difficult topics like consent, body image and what’s working and what isn’t, in today’s open society. She described the dynamics of men and women on college campus and how they engage in relationship building, or not building more often than not, with a deep concern and insight into the fragile workings of male ego and societal expectations of women.

The room was I estimate to be about 85% female, which I found disheartening, but not shocking as part of the problem that Orenstein identifies is that men and boys don’t know how to have a conversation around sex, and think that they understand it from pornographic sites. I was hoping to see more young men in attendance, but less than a handful were under 20.

Brand’s skillful interviewing was demonstrated with probing questions that allowed Orenstein to delve deep into both her stories of collecting the raw data and to share her conclusions extracted from the years long process of writing this book.

I will definitely be buying the book and look forward to reading and further reviewing Boys & Sex by Peggy Orenstein. For more events like this I suggest you check out

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra

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