Santa Monica — the motto of which is “Happy people in a happy town” — lives constantly at odds with profligate wealth and the misery of homelessness. The despair of this disparity is such that often, its homeless citizens wind up hunted, despised and living like animals. Author Frances Noble discusses her new book on the subject, Blanket of Stars: Homeless Women in Santa Monica. For over a year, she and her photographer son Ian traveled the mean streets, alleyways and parkland of Santa Monica to talk to and photograph some of these women. Many of these put-upon, careworn women vanish into the background of the metropolis, made that much more invisible by the fact that everyone who talks to themselves now isn't crazy — just working with a hands-free device. It's a book that exposes the seamlessly seamy underbelly of a city that doesn't seem so dire until you take a glimpse at what the most vulnerable of its citizens deals with, day after crisis-heavy day.

Mon., July 19, 7:30 p.m., 2010

LA Weekly