What Neil deGrasse Tyson is to astrophysics, Lucy Jones
is to seismology.
"The last time there was a large seismic event on the fault that can do us the most harm, the San Andreas, in 1857
, Los Angeles had about 4,000 residents. “We really weren’t worried about keeping a complex social structure in place,” Jones said. But as we get bigger and more complex, we increase our vulnerability."
Jones presented her talk, “Imagine America Without Los Angeles”
to the American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco in 2013.
is the 20th anniversary
of the Northridge quake
, we still haven't quite figured out what to do to mitigate the effects of the BIG ONE to come. [more inside]
posted by Sophie1
on Jan 17, 2014 -
"In 1925, California supplied [much] of the world’s oil
(Google quickview, original PDF
) and much of it came from pumps in the Southland
). To date, around 9 billion barrels of oil have been produced in the Los Angeles area. There are still over 30,000 active wells here pumping around 230 million barrels of oil a year, making Los Angeles County the second most productive oil county in California (although the quality of the oil here is somewhat low by today’s standards). There are 55 known oil fields in the Los Angeles area and 11 of them are located in a very urban context. This setting makes the oil extraction process in Los Angeles unique." Things to do in LA: Urban Oil Wells In Los Angeles, Part I
and Part II
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Nov 19, 2012 -
WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing covered a range of cultural issues and was widely known for its innovative use of graphic art. Started as a simple one-man operation that included artwork and text solicited from friends and acquaintances, the production, team, and circulation of the magazine would grow over the years. Its content also evolved to cover a wider expanse of stories that captured a smart and artsy Los Angeles attitude that was emerging at the same time as punk, but with its own distinct aesthetic. The magazine’s energetic creativity and flair for the absurd would remain a constant. As design problems arose, solutions were often improvised on the spot, creating a quirky and prescient editorial sensibility that remains one of WET's most enduring legacies. Its layout and design helped to catalyze the graphic styles (NSFW) later known as New Wave and Postmodern.
posted by Trurl
on May 4, 2012 -
A short film about the last paper shop, and the last letterpress, in Los Angeles. "There are days go by that there can be absolutely no business at all."
posted by OmieWise
on Dec 21, 2011 -
The Donald Sterling Rule
"Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lives by his own rules. And the only one that matters, apparently, is this: all bad deeds go unpunished
. Over the last six years, nearly two dozen L.A. residents have sued Sterling for engaging in racist housing practices and Jim Crow-style bigotry. In a 2003 deposition, the 76-year-old real estate mogul admitted to paying a former employee to have sex with him in an elevator. Three years ago, the U.S. government charged him with "willful" mistreatment of African-American and Latino tenants, and earlier this month, he agreed to pay the Dept. of Justice nearly $3 million to settle a federal racial-discrimination housing lawsuit, the largest award ever for a case of its kind." So why, asks California's Tenants Together
, has the NBA said nothing about Sterling's less than sterling behavior
? [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco
on Nov 27, 2009 -
The Jackie Robinson of architecture.
An orphaned African American boy from downtown Los Angeles, Paul Revere Williams
wanted to be an architect, and when he mentioned his career goal the high school guidance counselor ”stared at me with as much astonishment as he would have had I proposed a rocket flight to Mars... Whoever heard of a Negro being an architect?
”. Therefore, Williams learned to read and draw upside down -- he knew that white clients would not sit next to him -- graduated from USC
and in 1924 became the first certified African American architect west of the Mississippi. In a 50-year long extraordinary career,
he designed landmarks like the Theme restaurant
at Los Angeles International Airport
(with Welton Becket
), the LA County Courthouse
, the Hollywood YMCA
, Saks Fifth Avenue
in Beverly Hills
, restored the Beverly Hills Hotel. Some of his most interesting buildings, like the La Concha Motel
in Las Vegas
have either been razed
to the ground
or, like the "Batman house
", aka 160 S San Rafael mansion
in Pasadena, have been destroyed by fire. Now, Williams' historic Morris Landau House
has been cut into 21 separate pieces
and sits in a Santa Clarita storage yard, rotting away
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Jul 2, 2006 -
Eighty years ago, William Mulholland
completed his final project: the St. Francis Dam,
which converted San Francisquito Canyon--about 5 miles northeast of what is now Santa Clarita, California
--into a 38,000 acre-foot reservoir for Los Angeles/Owens River aqueduct water.
You're probably familiar with Mulholland's name
--he designed and built the Los Angeles Aqueduct
and the beginning of the system with which Los Angeles is supplied water
from the Central Valley--and as a gesture of gratitude, the city named its most scenic highway
in his honor. Mulholland, the California Water Wars,
the aqueduct, and the dam were also referenced and alluded to extensively in Roman Polanski's Chinatown.
But the man
who helped build an immense metropolis by bringing water to the desert has only a small fountain
as a memorial to his legacy. Three minutes before midnight, on March 12, 1928...
posted by fandango_matt
on Mar 13, 2006 -
I first read "Ask the Dust" in 1971 when I was doing research for "Chinatown". I was concerned about the way people really sounded when they talked, and I was dissatisfied with everything else I had read that was written during the '30s. I wanted the real thing, as Henry James would say. When I picked up Fante's "Ask the Dust," I just knew that was the way those kids talked to each other—the rhythms, cadences, racism.
on adapting John Fante
's novel for the big screen
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Mar 4, 2006 -
"I haven't been in a concert hall in 4 billion years".
Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, 54, had been excited about an invitation to see the Los Angeles Philharmonic
in action at Disney Hall
. "The anticipation is horrible". He'd started showering daily at a shelter, to gussy himself up as much as possible. Nathaniel was a music student more than 30 years ago at the Juilliard School
when he suffered a breakdown. Today, as he continues to battle the schizophrenia that landed him on skid row, he plays violin and cello for hours each day in downtown Los Angeles, lifting his instruments out of an orange shopping cart on which he has written: "Little Walt Disney Concert Hall — Beethoven." After the Philharmonic's rehearsal, Ayers has played Disney Hall -- the real one, this time. Without the bow at first, picking the strings with his right hand, Bach's Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude. Several Philharmonic staffers heard the music and wandered over, peering in to see a man of the streets, tattered and elegant, close his eyes and drift into ecstasy.
posted by PenguinBukkake
on Oct 9, 2005 -
The most modern home built in the world.
"From the outside it looks like a spaceship
you cannot enter. But if you go inside, it feels very cozy… very Zen and calming. Maybe because you are floating above the city
, in the sky". John Lautner
's Chemosphere residence
is the product of a fortuitous union of architect
, client, time and place. Leonard Malin
was a young aerospace engineer in late-1950s L.A. whose father-in-law had just given him a plot north of Mulholland Drive, near Laurel Canyon. The only catch: at roughly 45 degrees, the slope was all but unbuildable. Lautner sketched a bold vertical line, a cross, and a curve above it. "Draw it up," he told his assistant.
publisher Benedikt Taschen owns Chemosphere (NSFW)
, and after 20 years of neglect the house has been beautifully restored (.pdf)
by Frank Escher
posted by matteo
on Apr 7, 2005 -
"Hubert Selby died often. But he always came back, smiling that beautiful smile of his, and those blue eyes of his... This time he will not be back. My saints have always come from hell, and now, with his passing, there are no more saints".
is the author of Last Exit to Brooklyn
, (tried for obscenity in England
and supported by, among many others, Samuel Beckett and Anthony Burgess), Requiem For a Dream
, Song of the Silent Snow
. He is being eulogized in the USA and UK
, but also, massively (I've just watched a fantastic TV special) in France, where he is much more popular than in his native land (Selby's death was the cover story -- plus pages 2, 3 and 4 -- in the daily Libération today -- .pdf file
): Dernière sortie vers la rédemption
, L'extase de la dévastation
. What makes all this kind of ironic -- in a very Selbyesque way -- is that Selby himself used to say, "I started to die 36 hours before I was born..." (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Apr 28, 2004 -
in a free market. Southern California
is being gripped by crippling strikes by transit workers
and grocery clerks
-- both over health care -- that has stranded thousands of mostly poor commuters across Los Angeles and is expected to sap millions from the local economy.
As a person who can't drive due to a visual disability, I am personally effected by the MTA transit strike (that is rumored may last several months). State employees are not allowed to strike. Shouldn't that also be the case for essential services, such as public transit?
posted by lola
on Oct 14, 2003 -
The Los Angeles Times goes multimedia.
For the past few weeks, the LA Times has begun a significant push into offering video, audio, and interactive Flash on their website. One of the most interesting aspects is that the paper has moved one step beyond simply replaying AP Television clips as many sites have done; the LA Times writers are stand before the cameras and microphones themselves and report stories in a stuttering, non-hairsprayed, introverted demeanor that I find very refreshing, though so far I have gleaned very little additional information from it. When does (or can) this mode of journalism on the web rise above gimmickry or 'just because we can' and add value to a written article? Can video/tv news rise above mere spectacle?
posted by 4easypayments
on Mar 20, 2003 -