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Letter from the Editor

In the past, West Los Angeles College published many editions of Voices West, a literary magazine that featured the poetry, short stories, and essays of WLAC students. This spring, we re-started this publication as West Magazine, our new name heralding a change in medium, from print to online, and recognizing an important expansion of our original mission. Our mission now is to showcase the many different kinds of artistic talent not only of WLAC students, but also of Los Angeles Community College District students, staff, faculty, and administrators, both past and present. In so doing, we want West Magazine to act as (quite literally) a link that connects all of us who are or have been part of LACCD…and also to connect LACCD folks to other people around the planet. Yes, art matters—because it can and does make the world a better place—and all kinds of quality artworks are deserving of an appreciative audience: poetry, short stories, essays, interviews, screenplays, plays, songs, drawings, paintings, graffiti, videos, art photographs, and photographs of different kinds of artworks. Actually, our list of what may be art seems to go on and on. After all, as Andy Warhol pointed out, anything can be art, not just a painting of a soup can label, but even a soup can label. For West Magazine, the only publication criteria for artworks are these two: (1) the conscious attempt or wish to make “art,” something aesthetically pleasing or meaningful, and…(2) quality. Okay, so we “get” art, whose definition here seems appropriately vague, but what is quality? Well, that question sparked a millennia-long debate that has never ended. Therefore, we’ll duck the bullet heading straight for us, and—quite logically—simply engage in the kind of illogical thinking known as “circular reasoning,” by blithely contending that “you know quality art when you encounter it because it is quality art.”

In this edition of West Magazine, we have many different kinds of quality artworks that we hope you will enjoy. Our cover is a photograph of West faculty member Lucy Blake-Elahi's amazing Sepulveda Gate, and we have other artworks with which to regale you: songs, poetry, and short stories; an interview about Michael Jackson with Dorian Holley, the respected musician/American Idol vocal coach who was MJ’s long-time back-up singer; and essays that focus on various topics of interest: parenting, aspiring to “make it” in Hollywood, having a gay sibling, forging an American identity, and going to college online. In addition, we have included 10 WLAC students’ letters to U.S. soldiers who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have published these 10 letters because they fulfill what is surely an important function of art in relation to its meaningfulness: They represent the way many people think and feel, what’s going on inside their heads and hearts when they think of our soldiers. And quite candidly…many of us at LACCD want to say "thank you” to our soldiers. These letters give us that opportunity.

Read, listen, or view all of the artworks in this issue—and provide us with feedback. Drop us a line at And…consider participating in our flash fiction short story contest as well as submitting one of your artworks to us for publication. Instructions regarding how to submit artworks are included in this issue.



Nuala Lincke-Ivic
Assoc. Professor of English, Language Arts Division