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Paid in Vibes

Last week a debate erupted in the US comedy community between stand-up comedians (like Kurt Metzger and Mike Lawrence) and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater about the fact that at none of their three theaters pay any of their performers (including UCBEast in New York, which often has Saturday Night Stand-up shows). Other comics such as Chris Gethard eloquently came to their defense. This week two of the founders Matt Besser and Matt Walsh released an episode of Besser's pocast Improv for Humans that goes into details about the club's philosophy, including why they have never taken any money from founding and running the theater. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 1, 2013 - 68 comments

"That shape has endured for almost fifty years.”

Magnus Walker and his wife talk about everything. About building exquisite 911s and giving them their own subtle differences - and why he won't do commissions. About moving from London to Los Angeles. About urban renewal and sewing. About big hammers, leather, race car driving, dreadlocks, and "that sensory overload type of thing." [Vimeo, 32:34] [more inside]
posted by Chutzler on Jan 27, 2013 - 25 comments

Welcome To New Wave Theatre

In 1980, director David Jove created New Wave Theatre, an L.A.-based music show showcasing live performances by California hardcore punk rock bands. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jan 3, 2013 - 14 comments

"And a very pleasant evening to you wherever you may be..."

Today is the 85th birthday of Hall of Fame baseball announcer Vin Scully. He will be returning next year for his unprecedented 64th season calling games for the Dodgers, in a career reaching back to the team's Brooklyn days and their move to Los Angeles in 1958. The New York Yankees tried to pry him away in the 1960s, but he remained with the team and has become an LA institution. In the 21st Century, he has inspired blog names and tattoos and even dabbled in the online world himself during a game last season -- as an experiment, he asked fans to get a topic trending on Twitter about Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis, "a nice boy." Later in the broadcast he announced sheepishly that Ellis was trending across the U.S. This coming Monday, he will be taking over the team's Twitter feed to answer questions -- tag your tweets #askvin. [more inside]
posted by Celsius1414 on Nov 29, 2012 - 23 comments

The New Recreation Frontier?

Lets Swim To Work! "Centuries of boat traffic, heavy industry, sewage runoff and toxic dumping have ingrained in us the idea that urban waterways are not places for people. Even as cities have rushed to the water’s edge over the past couple of decades, building elaborate waterfront parks and esplanades, few have taken the next logical step: encouraging residents to dive in." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 23, 2012 - 42 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

Endeavour

Time-lapse video of space shuttle Endeavour's journey through Los Angeles from the Los Angeles Times.
posted by grouse on Oct 16, 2012 - 45 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

Barbet Schroeder's "Barfly"

Roger Ebert on the set of Barfly. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 14, 2012 - 21 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

A cat named Room 8

In 1952, a gray male tabby cat appeared at the door of Room 8 at Elysian Heights Elementary School in Echo Park. He stayed throughout the school year, left at summer vacation -- and came back on the first day of class in September. He became the school's cat, and his name was Room 8. Room 8 was featured in LOOK Magazine and the Weekly Reader, had a children's book written about him, and lived until 1968. One former student said, "I never liked Room 8 because he sat on my homework." The Wikipedia entry. Room 8's grave. The Room 8 Memorial Cat Foundation (a no-kill shelter).
posted by sdn on Sep 10, 2012 - 61 comments

"I have nothing to say, and I am saying it." John Cage, 9/5/1912 - 8/12/1992

In honor of the 100th birthday of iconoclastic composer John Cage (previously), NPR asked 33 musicians about the effect Cage has had on their art. The Los Angeles Times has a tour of Cage's travels and experiences in his native city. MeFi's own speicus has a long and excellent essay up at newmusicbox.org about the performer-composer relationship Cage shared with pianist David Tudor (who premiered, among other Cage works, 4'33"). And if you've always wanted to play prepared piano and lack an instrument you want to fill with nuts and bolts, there's an app for that.
posted by the_bone on Sep 5, 2012 - 45 comments

Privately Owned Public Spaces

When is a private space a public space? When it's a Privately Owned Public Space (POPS). In accordance with the planning codes of some cities, owners or builders of buildings are mandated to provide members of the general public access to spaces which include rooftop gardens, courtyards, and plazas. [more inside]
posted by larrybob on Aug 31, 2012 - 23 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

The Official Music Of The XXIIIrd Olympiad

28 years ago this summer, Leo Arnaud's "Bugler's Dream" suddenly found it had competition for the title of The Olympic Theme. Composer John Williams was commissioned to create a new fanfare, and "Olympic Fanfare and Theme" was the result, with the Fanfare portion being played at every medal ceremony in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. But that wasn't the only music created for those Olympic Games... [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jul 26, 2012 - 24 comments

their empire of rubber

'Los Angeles is home to the nation’s adult novelty business, which is dominated by the Big Four: Topco, California Exotics, Pipedream, and Doc Johnson. Successful niches—leather, men’s masturbators that resemble flashlights—are mined by smaller companies, but as with any industry, owning the market is everything, and Doc Johnson is the Procter & Gamble of sex toys. ' - LA Magazine profiles Doc Johnson(NSFW) [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 13, 2012 - 48 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

Future past

Driving down the street in LA, you may notice coffee shops, gas stations or motels with bright primary colors, sweeping lines, bold angles and a retrofuture feel: Googie - Architecture of the Space Age [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 23, 2012 - 16 comments

"In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened."

The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup on Monday night. This morning, a local radio station (KSPN 710 AM) had on the team's hall-of-fame announcer Bob Miller to be interviewed and take calls. A certain special caller turned out to be another hall-of-famer -- long-time Los Angeles Dodgers baseball announcer, Vin Scully, who has been with his team for over 60 years. The audio is special. [more inside]
posted by Celsius1414 on Jun 13, 2012 - 23 comments

"a mean perfectionist streak that borders on the tyrannical."

Empire of the Bun: Today, burgers. Tomorrow, the world. The casual-dining revolution of Adam Fleischman and his Umami Group. 'In 2009, with $40,000 in his pocket from selling his stake in BottleRock, Fleischman decided to open a restaurant centered on the umami flavor. He knew that an umami-focused menu would attract a burgeoning breed of foodies who had been weaned on the Food Network and had developed a sort of teenybopper crush on the heady flavors of pork, organ meats, West Coast IPAs, and superripe cheeses.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 11, 2012 - 55 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

"how much has changed -- and how little"

The L.A. Weekly does a "then and now" photo feature on the 20th anniversary of the L.A. Riots.
posted by bardic on Apr 26, 2012 - 54 comments

Four turns for a dollar. 500 turns for two dollars.

Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick (previously) makes the day of the nine-year-old proprietor of Caine's Arcade.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on Apr 9, 2012 - 46 comments

Black Flag

Black Flag, live in England, 1984 [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Mar 3, 2012 - 36 comments

♪♬ Happy Birthday Dear Nancy... ♪♬

Happy birthday to Nancy Bea Hefley, the LA Dodgers stadium organist since 1988!
posted by hermitosis on Feb 24, 2012 - 5 comments

The Los Angeles band named X

The Los Angeles band named X. The one that performed "Los Angeles" , "Your Phone's Off The Hook But You're Not", "Johnny Hit and Run Paulene", "We're Desperate", "White Girl", and "Breathless". The one with John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebrake in it. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 16, 2012 - 64 comments

Surreal Adventures

LACMA is currently hosting "In Wonderland", a retrospective of Surrealist art by female artists from Mexico and the United States.  This is a great chance to check out some under-appreciated artists, who were often overshadowed by their male counterparts. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Feb 13, 2012 - 5 comments

Arbitrary Architecture

Apparently Moby has started a blog about architecture in Los Angeles.
posted by mikesch on Feb 10, 2012 - 16 comments

"Twitter Users Beware: Homeland Security Isn’t Laughing."

"Planning to make a joke on Twitter about bombing something? You might want to reconsider: According to a report from Britain, two tourists were detained and denied entry into the U.S. recently after they joked about destroying America and digging up Marilyn Monroe. That the Homeland Security Dept. and other authorities—including the FBI—are monitoring such social media as Twitter and Facebook isn’t surprising. That these authorities are willing to detain people based on what is clearly a harmless joke, however, raises questions about what the impact of all that monitoring will be."* [more inside]
posted by ericb on Jan 30, 2012 - 99 comments

loading up dream-catchers with wild and beautiful dreams for a lucky trucker

Dengue Fever is an L.A. band that fuses Cambodian pop music with psychedelic rock. They have a youtube channel where you can find highlights such as a live acoustic version of their song Uku as well as a clip from the 2007 documentary Sleepwalking Through The Mekong. NPR has an interview with them in 2008 and a review of their second album Escape From Dragon House. Peter Gabriel is a fan.
posted by mannequito on Jan 26, 2012 - 29 comments

The price of parking

“I truly believe that when men and women think about parking, their mental capacity reverts to the reptilian cortex of the brain,”
posted by latkes on Dec 29, 2011 - 66 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

West Coast Port Blockade

On Monday, the Occupy Wall Street movement disrupted ports in its West Coast Port Blockade. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 13, 2011 - 210 comments

"Wheelchair Hell"

"Imagine 12 men in a dorm all in diapers and sitting in their own feces," he says. "It smelled like a combination of what people had for lunch that day and pus from people's open wounds. I've been in a wheelchair now for three years, and the jail is by far the worst place I've ever seen for a disabled person." -- L.A. Weekly on "Wheelchair Hell" in the L.A. County Men's Jail
posted by bardic on Dec 8, 2011 - 42 comments

LAT at 130

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times celebrated the 130th anniversary of its first issue, and marked the occasion with 130 photos from Los Angeles history, as well as a gallery of historic front pages.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Dec 5, 2011 - 7 comments

Michael Mann's "Heat"

Although [Michael] Mann has said he was inspired by a true story from Chicago in the late 1960s, the film is no gritty realist number about desperate thievery. Rather, HEAT is a high-gloss creature of its time, utilizing the classic "duel between cop and robber"... to thematize lifestyle issues in the mid-1990s. Specifically I argue that, for all its slickness and emphasis on style and personality, HEAT is a film about work and its increasing personal costs. For the characters in HEAT, work provides excitement* and challenge, but it ultimately excludes any emotional life outside of the demands of the job. *That's the shootout scene
posted by Trurl on Nov 21, 2011 - 108 comments

Investigation into Natalie Wood's death re-opened

Homicide detectives who have reopened an investigation into the death of Natalie Wood after three decades said on Friday that the film star's husband, actor Robert Wagner, was not considered a suspect. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Nov 18, 2011 - 48 comments

William Friedkin's "To Live and Die in L.A."

After 25 years I revisited To Live and Die In L.A. (1985), William Friedkin's cynical, fatalistic, hardboiled and high-energy crime noir about corruption and survival in the city of no angels. The script is literate, the characters are believable, the performances are brutally honest, the unpredictable twists keep coming, the action never stops, and the car chase is shot for real without any fake process. (spoilers)
posted by Trurl on Nov 4, 2011 - 60 comments

Alex Cox's "Repo Man"

Alex Cox: REPO MAN was made as a "negative pickup" by Universal at the time when Bob Rehme was head of the studio. At the time, the big deal over there was STREETS OF FIRE, and nobody really noticed our film [8 MB PDF] at all. Which was lucky for us, since Bob Rehme had "green-lighted" a film which was quite unusual by studio standards. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Oct 31, 2011 - 92 comments

Reservoir ball pit

For millennia, man has yearned to block the sun (with black plastic balls). If an un-covered public water reservoir contains bromide, sunlight will combine the bromide with the chlorine used for reducing bacteria -- thus poisoning the water with carcinogenic bromate. Blocking the sunlight is the answer, but building a permanent cover for a huge reservoir is very costly. The solution for LA-area reservoirs, a few years ago: cover the entire water surface with millions of floating "bird balls", in effect turning the reservoir into a 10+ acre ball pit. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Oct 30, 2011 - 46 comments

Not Getting Any

"Offstage, with his Fleshlight in his hand, 'D-Bone', who will be flown to Austin to compete in the Air Sex finals next month, didn't break character. 'I feel fantastic,' he said. 'It's always a pleasure to be the best air-fucker in the city. I'm going to have tons of chicks over at my place tonight, with lots of cocaine and drugs.'"--L.A. Weekly covers the Air Sex (Regional) World Championships (kinda NSFW)
posted by bardic on Oct 26, 2011 - 38 comments

LA vets demand housing at giant VA campus

There are an increasing number of homeless military vets living in Los Angeles. The VA in Los Angeles has a 400 acre parcel of land meant to house vets. Slight problem: the VA has decided to lease the property to various area businesses instead of using the land for its intended purpose.
posted by reenum on Oct 22, 2011 - 36 comments

Hovering over a cut in the earth.

Levitated Mass. A 340-ton granite boulder will be transported 60 miles by freeway and set on a 456-foot cement ditch at the L.A. County Museum of Art.
posted by xowie on Oct 7, 2011 - 85 comments

Hard Times for Porn (Seriously)

"In the last few years, the rise of free online porn — content-rich sites that tease viewers to subscribe for more — and pay-site juggernauts like Brazzers have put the L.A.-based adult-video industry against the ropes. Its answer, in part, has been the high-dollar parody, designed to attract ComicCon nerds, science fiction fans and other pop culture aficionados who must collect everything within their target oeuvre." -- The troubled US economy affects pornstars too, so "Porn Defends The Money Shot" (NSFW) [more inside]
posted by bardic on Sep 29, 2011 - 80 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

El Pintor Con Las Letras

Throughout the world, El Mac's grand spraypaint portraits combine with RETNA's cryptic, hieroglyphic language to create stunning murals.
posted by klangklangston on Sep 2, 2011 - 14 comments

Be Near Me

Be Near Me (SLVimeo)
posted by IvoShandor on Aug 16, 2011 - 12 comments

King of Soda Pop

Believe it or not: a portrait of Michael Jackson made from 1,680 soda cans.
posted by xowie on Aug 3, 2011 - 28 comments

Lautner on Film

A short compilation of John Lautner houses featured in films. [more inside]
posted by xod on Jul 22, 2011 - 6 comments

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