Mikel Jollett’s Hollywood Park

“We were never young. We were just too afraid of ourselves,” Mikel Jollett writes in his upcoming memoir Hollywood Park, which promises to explore his childhood in the Church of Synanon, one of the most infamous cults in the United States. As promos for Hollywood Park tease, Jollett’s story is full of heartbreak. He spent his earliest years kept away from his parents in Synanon’s “school.” In the years after his family escaped, Jollett encountered poverty, emotional abuse, and addiction. But this memoir, due for release May 26, also promises to tell a story of love and loyalty. Jollett is set to take Politics and Prose’s virtual stage to read excerpts from Hollywood Park, participate in a live question-and-answer session, and discuss his remarkable life. But expect more than just a cult narrative: Jollett first became famous as the singer and guitarist for The Airborne Toxic Event, a Los Angeles-based indie rock band. His earlier writing has also been published in McSweeney’s, and he’s worked withthe Los Angeles Times, Men’s Health, and Filter. The event begins at 8 p.m. on May 6. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com. $27.99. —Sarah Smith

Sarah Gordon lectures on Robert Frank 

Photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank is best known for his ingenious and seminal documentary work from 1958: the book The Americans. But Frank’s career was long, stretching from the late 1930s (with some works in a style that seem even older) to the early 2000s (with deeply personal, sometimes chaotic assemblages made at his adopted home in remote Nova Scotia), only ending with his death in September 2019. On May 6, D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities curator Sarah Gordon will give an online lecture sponsored by Photoworks in Glen Echo, focusing on Frank’s career and specifically on the National Gallery of Art’s online collection of his work, which bills itself as the largest repository of his art. The NGA’s collection includes not only still images by Frank but also contact prints of negatives that shed light on his artistic process, including projects documenting Switzerland, New York, Peru, and Nova Scotia, as well as the cross-country Guggenheim fellowship that produced The Americans. Of special note in the collection are images from Black White and Things, a 1952 collection of images of which only three books were made, and From the Bus, a follow-up to The Americans that consists solely of photographs Frank made from a window seat in a moving New York City bus. Gordon’s lecture is the first in a series of three talks for Photoworks. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on May 6. Registration is available at eventbrite.com. $39.  —Louis Jacobson