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Eichler, Cliff May and the invention of the California Ranch Style home

The post-war boom gave rise to new concepts of modernity in domestic architecture and, of course, massive suburban development. One such concept was the California ranch-style home, pioneered by Cliff May (1909-1989). Another contemporary architect, Joseph Eichler (1900-1974), had his own vision of modernity in America's new suburbs, but both styles used similar language. At the time, these new designs for living were seen as modern and at the cutting edge of sophistication, but sophistication within reach of the average professional, middle-class family. They were designed to have a practical as well as an aesthetic value. Welcome to mid-century modern. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 4, 2014 - 29 comments

Witches, dragons not included

Imbued with asymmetrical charm and handcrafted whimsy, Storybook Style houses evoke the aesthetic of classic fairy tales, inside and out. [more inside]
posted by Lou Stuells on Jun 20, 2014 - 13 comments

I hope they all get ripped apart by wild animals.

This is a collection of Francisco "Puree Tomatoes" Taccir's blog posts from Myspace and Friendster from 2005 – 2010. Tomatoes was a writer, artist, and addict who was born on February 26. 1977. He died on October 10, 2010 from a heroin overdose. [more inside]
posted by item on May 20, 2014 - 7 comments

The ‘Mustache of Justice’ has left the building.

Thomas Scully, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush, once said, “Fifty percent of the social safety net was created by Henry Waxman when no one was looking.” After 40 years and 17 consecutive terms, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring from Congress. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 13, 2014 - 35 comments

Are you ready to RUMBLE?

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. While today 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 - 68 comments

The Manhunt of Christopher Dorner

The LA Times recounts the Manhunt of Christopher Dorner from Feb. 3-12, 2013 through a series of interviews and research. Previously [more inside]
posted by fizzix on Dec 27, 2013 - 30 comments

Form and Landscape

Form and Landscape - Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Basin, 1940-1990 - is a series of themed exhibitions that tell the story of how Los Angeles 'became modern' by using photos from the comprehensive archives of Southern California Edison. The photos portray the many roles that electricity has played in the development and modernization of Californian life and culture (domestic life, signage, streetscapes, etc.). Part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time Presents initiative.
posted by carter on Jun 18, 2013 - 7 comments

Motorcycle crashes at Edwards Corner

"The Snake" on Mulholland Highway is a notoriously twisty stretch of road near Los Angeles, especially popular with motorcyclists. So many crashes happen at "Edwards Corner" that photographers camp out to film them. The results can be terrifying, or oddly mesmerizing.
posted by gottabefunky on May 1, 2013 - 36 comments

I believe I can fly

R/C cameraman Robert Mcintosh takes you soaring high above Santa Monica, Venice, and San Francisco. Float through the air as you glide along the beach and up through the spokes of the Ferris wheel over the Santa Monica Pier. Then head a mile or two south and get a bird's eye view of Venice's Muscle Beach. When your head has stopped spinning you can take in San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge or get away from it all (including the ground) out at at Vasquez Rocks. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Mar 10, 2013 - 44 comments

Up through Los Angeles came a bubblin' crude: Southern California was the Kuwait of the Jazz Age, turning a religious piano teacher into an oil baroness

"In 1925, California supplied [much] of the world’s oil (Google quickview, original PDF) and much of it came from pumps in the Southland (quickview, PDF). 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 - 43 comments

From Abstraction to Zeitgeist.

The SCI-Arc Media Archive features 600+ video lectures on modern architecture and design, with an emphasis on Southern California.
posted by xowie on Sep 29, 2012 - 2 comments

Death and Politics in the Great American Water Wars

LA : What's that smell? The Salton Sea! [more inside]
posted by Afroblanco on Sep 14, 2012 - 46 comments

The Breaking Bad Art Project

The Breaking Bad Art Project is on exhibit at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles through August 26. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 21, 2012 - 40 comments

LA Noir.

Since 2009, a thread on the Skyscraper Page forums has been dedicated to trawling for old photos and stories of Los Angeles, mostly from the LA Public Library and USC Archives. Thousands of posts have accumulated into a fascinating portrait of the city. [more inside]
posted by anazgnos on Jul 4, 2012 - 8 comments

WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing

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 - 9 comments

ink&paper

ink&paper 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 - 22 comments

A Brief History of Palm Trees in Southern California

Of the hundreds of species of palm trees you might find in southern California, only one is native to the state, and that shaggy specimen is naturally found around springs and arroyos in the desert southwest, not lined along beach community parks and streets. How did a desert tree become an icon of fruitful turn of the twentieth century Los Angeles, the former garden city? KCET writer Nathan Masters provides a brief history of palm trees in southern California. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 15, 2011 - 23 comments

One Bad Cop

Fans of "The Shield" should learn more about the LAPD's Rampart scandal. Rafael Perez and his cronies were the inspiration for Vic Mackey and the Strike Team. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Sep 7, 2011 - 13 comments

"Getting up mad and staying mad all day certainly describes Paul Conrad"

The acclaimed Los Angeles Times political cartoonist Paul Conrad is dead. [more inside]
posted by blucevalo on Sep 4, 2010 - 14 comments

Worse than Three Mile Island?

Over fifty years after Los Angeles' first nuclear meltdown, the State of California is finally getting around to decontaminating the radioactive fallout.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Sep 3, 2010 - 35 comments

9/02/10

In honor of 9/02/10, 90210Locations
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 2, 2010 - 37 comments

LAUSD's Dance of the Lemons

Want to fire a teacher in the LA Unified School District? Be prepared to spend several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 15, 2010 - 139 comments

"Donald Sterling Continues To Get Away With Being The Most Evil Man In Sports"

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 - 27 comments

The City of Angels

Photographer Matt Logue's empty L. A. shows the effect of the city being completely people-less.
posted by gman on Nov 20, 2009 - 42 comments

Angelyne: as essential a part of the Hollywood landscape as the garish minimall

She's a public mystery, craving attention but shying away from private interviews. She is a human being Andy Warhol would have created, a painter (of) herself. She ran for Hollywood City Council in 2002, joined the much-parodied 2003 California gubernatorial recall election (previously), and most recently tried to become Mayor of Hollywood (archive of her Mayoral site). She is still loved by snark-mongers. She is Angelyne. She is ... [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 5, 2009 - 44 comments

Dark Behind It Rose The Forest

Inside America's most dangerous national forest.
posted by WPW on Sep 5, 2009 - 44 comments

Carlos Is an Asian at Heart

Why do Asian-American students achieve higher grades than Latino-American students? Despite the fact that the students come from the same socioeconomic background (median annual household incomes below $50,000 in working-class Los Angeles neighborhoods), Asian-American students disproportionately get better grades, attend AP courses, and go to college than their Latino-American counterparts. Students at Lincoln High School sit down for a frank discussion of why that is.
posted by jabberjaw on Jul 23, 2008 - 234 comments

Wish You Were Here

Drive-through trees, Olvera Street, Knott's Berry Farm, and lots of other images and postcards of California at Image Archaeology.
posted by optovox on Jun 28, 2008 - 5 comments

Vector Portraits (1989-1997)

Los Angeles-based photographer Andrew Bush mounts a camera on the side of his car to capture freeway drivers in the southwestern United States. [more inside]
posted by dhammond on Jun 24, 2008 - 33 comments

Also, make sure to bring a number two pencil

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark California. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Feb 5, 2008 - 33 comments

Seventy-two suburbs in search of a city

Re-imagining Los Angeles public transit: The ambitious vision of these transit advocates and amateur cartographers for an East-Coast style rail network in Los Angeles may seem too idealistic, but the map is still fun to look at. More on the history of LA public transport from the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library.
posted by bcveen on May 1, 2007 - 34 comments

It's a small town after all.

Charles Phoenix's Disneyland Tour of Downtown Los Angeles... featuring Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Feel like taking your own walking tour of Downtown? Here you go. But hey, why not stop and gorge yourself on a giant pancake breakfast at The Pantry first, just because? Open 24 hours a day, it hasn't closed since 1924 so the doors don't even have locks. Just like Disneyland!
posted by miss lynnster on Apr 21, 2007 - 25 comments

The Traveling Rings of Santa Monica Beach

The Traveling Rings At Santa Monica Beach
posted by jason's_planet on Apr 5, 2007 - 12 comments

"If I allow the fact that I am a Negro to checkmate my will to do, now, I will inevitably form the habit of being defeated".

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 - 25 comments

Rocking and rolling... California style!

San Andreas primed to "explode." Growing up in SoCal, we constantly practiced earthquake drills in anticipation of the "Big One." Now, new evidence suggests that the Big One will be even worse than we all feared. At the moment, everything looks calm though. People say we're crazy for living in either San Francisco or Los Angeles, of course we think living in New Orleans is crazy too. But cities are rebuilt. And no matter where you go, you really can't escape natural disasters. Besides, some of the biggest earthquakes in the United States were in Missouri! In any case, Forbes compiled a list of the safest and least safest places to live in the U.S. in regards to natural disasters. Apparently... we should all move to Hawaii!
posted by RockBandit on Jun 23, 2006 - 48 comments

"There it is. Take it."

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 - 20 comments

Through All the Lousy Luck

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.
Robert Towne on adapting John Fante's novel for the big screen. More inside.
posted by matteo on Mar 4, 2006 - 17 comments

From Skid Row to Disney Hall

"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 - 14 comments

The Anaheim Flood of 1938

New Orleans wasn't the first American city destroyed by flooding. In 1938, Orange County was devastated by over 15 feet of floodwater after two weeks of rain. 2000 were homeless in Anaheim alone after the Santa Ana river overflowed its banks. Most of those made homeless were Mexican immigrants and the flood was quickly forgotten.

An eyewitness description.
posted by huskerdont on Sep 21, 2005 - 24 comments

"He suggests living is language".

The Language of Saxophones At 55, L.A. musician and poet Kamau Daáood is finally beginning to acknowledge the possibility of his own place in local letters with his debut book of poetry, The Language of Saxophones, a 30-plus-year retrospective published by City Lights. Though he’s recorded a solo CD and read nationally and internationally, Daáood had never seen fit to collect his material in a book. Until now. “I never liked the idea of poetry sitting on a shelf somewhere, lost in all those book spines”.
posted by matteo on Apr 17, 2005 - 2 comments

John Lautner's Chemosphere: part Jetsons, part Bond and vintage L.A. Modern.

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. Now 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 - 24 comments

Hubert Selby, Jr (1928-2004)

"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". Selby 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 - 16 comments

Strikes

Labor Unions 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 - 80 comments

Sprawl

"Los Angeles is not the city it could have been" An informative and amusing essay on how L.A. went from 'six suburbs in search of a city' to the 'horizontal sublime.' Part of the 3Cities Project.
posted by snez on Apr 7, 2003 - 23 comments

The Los Angeles Times goes multimedia

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 - 3 comments

LA is the number-one relocation city for fleeing San Franciscans.

LA is the number-one relocation city for fleeing San Franciscans. Has the world turned upside down? The L.A. Examiner has the summary. And the complete story can be found, for now, on the LA Business Journal front page.
posted by josholalia on Jul 24, 2001 - 34 comments

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