In the past, revolutionary Beat poet and black-power-movement activist Amiri Baraka wrote to shock, as evidenced by Dutchman , the play he is best known for, in which a pretty white woman sets out to seduce a reluctant young black man on the subway. There has been a resurgence of Baraka’s work of late ( Dutchman was revived last month in New York with Psych and The West Wing ’s Dulé Hill — he of the mournful eyes — in one of the two lead roles), and this Friday, the artist formerly known as LeRoi Jones will read from his new collection of short stories, Tales of the Out & the Gone . Now well into his 70s, Baraka, who made some of the past century’s most significant contributions to black politics, is still raging — if a bit haphazardly — at civilization’s ills as they pertain to race and class. Most of the pieces in Tales have never been published before; they range from political war stories of the ’70s to more recent, experimental fictions. In conjunction with National Black History Month, Baraka reads [Note by tchristie: from his new collection of short stories Tales of the Out & the Gone] at Eso Won, 4331 Degnan Blvd., Fri., Feb. 16, 7 p.m. (323) 290-1048.

—Gendy Alimurung

LA Weekly