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]
In Many Cities, Rent Is Rising Out of Reach of Middle Class. Here's What $800 in Rent Gets You in 11 Major Cities [more inside]
Ofelia Cleaning. Ramiro Gomez (Facebook page) (Gallery page) is an artist whose paintings at the blog Happy Hills "document the predominantly Hispanic workforce who work tirelessly behind the scenes to maintain the beautiful imagery of these affluent areas." He also places painted cut-outs of workers on the lawns in pricey neighborhoods. [more inside]
Afgoo_Head: mystery man of medical marijuana creates giant weed cigars. Interview: 1, 2, 3. (Weed porn, NSFW in some states.)
Five years ago, Alfred Weisberg-Roberts, aka Alfred Darlington (more widely known as Daedelus) finally released an album with his wife, Laura Darlington, under the group name The Long Lost. And it's beautiful, light and airy orchestral pop that owes a greater debt to Caetano Veloso than Coldcut, the style of music that might not out of place being played live in a knitting shop, which could seem a bit strange for a group releasing their music on Ninja Tune. For further fond words, The Gaslamp Killer considered their album one of his top picks for 2009, and here's a nice interview with Alfred and Laura. But we're really here for the music, so here's their self-titled album, streaming on Grooveshark. [more inside]
Surfridge is a ghost town in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is now home to 125,000 El Segundo blue butterflies.
What we talk about when we talk about gangs "Gangs (and their many incarnations) are complex social networks whose roots are deeply intertwined with those of the communities and socio-economic environments they call home. Not unlike the military, they offer youth a surrogate family, something to belong to, someone to watch their back, and something to fight for. But they also offer so much more – the promise of a social circle, the possibility of controlling what would otherwise control them, an outlet for frustration or revenge, and a name, status, and “juice” (respect). Respect, in particular, is a highly coveted commodity for kids that feel beat down or oppressed by circumstance. If they can prove themselves worthy of being feared, people will be less likely to mess with them just for the hell of it." [more inside]
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]
On Friday, a Starbucks opened in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. There is something a bit "weirdly off-kilter" about this location according to one customer. In particular, everything there, including the store name has the word "dumb" in front. The store is claiming parody-based fair use exemptions to intellectual property law, and so far, the (non-dumb) Starbucks appears not to have responded. In case you want to pick what you want before hand, their menu of dumb drinks is posted on Twitter.
Vintage Los Angeles is Alison Martino's YouTube channel featuring a look back at Los Angeles during the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. There's an accompanying blog and a facebook page, too.
After Michael Mann set out to direct Collateral, the story’s setting moved from New York to Los Angeles. This decision was in part motivated by the unique visual presence of the city — especially the way it looked at night. Mann shot a majority of the film in HD (this was 2004), feeling the format better captured the city’s night lighting. Even the film’s protagonist taxi needed a custom coat to pick up different sheens depending on the type of artificial lighting the cab passed beneath. That city, at least as it appears in Collateral and countless other films, will never be the same again. L.A. has made a vast change-over to LED street lights, with New York City not far behind. Why Hollywood Will Never Look the Same Again on Film: LEDs Hit the Streets of LA & NY
What's the last photo on your phone - and would you share it with a stranger? San Francisco-based interactive artist Ivan Cash asks a number of people in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco to share their last photo and the story behind it. (via feature shoot)
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]
The Best of L.A. Taco: L.A. Taco looks back at the best tacos, art, music and people celebrating the taco lifestyle. [more inside]
A new Report on the State of Health + Urbanism (pdf) from MIT looks at the relationship between urban planning and public health, with some surprising findings. The cities covered are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. [more inside]
The LA Times recounts the Manhunt of Christopher Dorner from Feb. 3-12, 2013 through a series of interviews and research. Previously [more inside]
Calvin Coolidge "Cal" Worthington and his "dog", Spot, were fixtures on 1970's TV in Southern California. [more inside]
A full hour-long musical based on Breaking Bad and inspired by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as performed last month at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in Los Angeles: Walter White And The Amazing Blue Crytal Meth.
His is a career that feels both forgotten and deeply embedded in modern pop. He sang standards and rock and jazz and winding conceptual songs and tiny little kids' tunes and commercial jingles. He wrote, voiced, and spearheaded an animated film starring Dustin Hoffman. He played Dracula in a movie. He soundtracked a sitcom and nearly fought Jackie Gleason in a nightclub. He was "the Beatle across the water." He tore up London bars with Ringo Starr and Keith Moon. He invented the remix album. He also invented the mash-up. He dropped acid with Timothy Leary. He sang of moonbeams and fire and coconuts and puppies. He was a prodigious songwriter whose two biggest hits were covers. He performed live in concert in his prime exactly zero times. He wrote a musical about the Wright brothers. He had no. 1 albums and pop smashes and disastrous failures. He won Grammys. He was hilarious, and such a sad man.
The Legacy of Harry Nilsson.
The Legacy of Harry Nilsson.
Using "under-the-radar" auctions, the Petersen Museum in L.A. is selling much of its classic car collection to finance an exterior renovation.
There have been days, since her son Ezekiel was born 11 months ago, that Los Angeles mom Beth Capper has gone without food to keep up her supply. One friend was arrested for stealing some. It's not drugs or alcohol or even baby formula that has put her in such a bind. It's diapers.
Forensic Topology. "In his 2003 memoir Where The Money Is: True Tales from the Bank Robbery Capital of the World, co-authored with Gordon Dillow, retired Special Agent William J. Rehder briefly suggests that the design of a city itself leads to and even instigates certain crimes—in Los Angeles’s case, bank robberies. Rehder points out that this sprawling metropolis of freeways and its innumerable nondescript banks is, in a sense, a bank robber’s paradise. Crime, we could say, is just another way to use the city."
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.
Yo Dodger Blue (L.A. Loves You) (SLYT) "It's no surprise [Harry] Nilsson was a Dodger fan. They were both Brooklyn born, and both eventually relocated to Los Angeles. In the late 80s and early 90s, when Harry was doing little in terms of his "career," he was still actively writing songs and still coming up with ideas like this to amuse his creativity. These unreleased recordings probably come from 1990. The first version is a studio recording (musicians unknown) while the second version comes from KABC in Los Angeles, where Harry personally showed up to premiere the sing along. It's a catchy, rousing stadium chant that coulda/shoulda worked, though it was never officially adopted by the team." Links to both downloadable versions can be found at the blog For The Love of Harry Nillson. (via) [more inside]
"YOU SOLD ME OUT AND SHATTERED MY DREAMS TONIGHT; ALL I WAS LOOKING FOR WAS 75 MINUTES OF ONE OF YOUR PEERS' TIME" It started when Tim Heidecker (previously) tried to set up a creative meeting between an old friend—Tom Scharpling (previously)—and an unnamed "high profile player" at the Adult Swim TV upfronts. But then the meeting fell through. [more inside]
116 years ago, bicycle superhighways were the future of California transit. The notion that anyone could profit from charging tolls on such a system seems insane now, but a wealthy businessman and an ex-governor conceived of elevated wooden platforms for bikers that would connect LA to the surrounding suburbs, and they even cleared and built the first section. [more inside]
"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.
Keepintime started as a simple idea, to bring some of the most revered and notable L.A. session drummers together for a photo shoot, then have them talk about the recordings that were famous to hip-hop DJs and producers, with some top LA beat jugglers. From that effort in 2002 came the short film, Keepintime: Talking Drums and Whispering Vinyl (2 parts on YouTube). The short documentary toured around, and in 2002, along with the screening, some of the drummers and DJs put on a live improvised show in Los Angeles. From that 2 hour show, a 45 minute film was made: Keepintime - A Live Recording. Later that year, after screening the short film in England, the Keepintime crew were invited to Brasil, to team up with Brasilian percussionists of renown, and make a beat record. They also put on an epic live show. That whole enterprise was made into an almost two-hour long documentary, Brasilintime. More information on the artists inside. [more inside]
A growing new real estate market. Many homeowners are frightened by the prospect of transitional housing in their neighborhoods. But the operators of sober living facilities argue that the homes don't violate zoning regulations because the Americans with Disabilities Act includes recovering addicts.
In the summer of 1965, riots broke out in the Watts neighborhood of southern Los Angeles. Over a six-day period, 34 people were killed, 1,032 injured and over 3,438 arrests were made. In 1966, LIFE magazine revisited the site of the worst riots America had ever seen in its history. The photo essay depicting the region’s ‘fearsome street gangs’ however, turned out more like a fashion shoot for dapper style… [more inside]
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]
Auxiliofaux is the photography Tumblr of Richard Auxilio, a Los Angeles-based photog whose current project is symmetrical double exposures.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Time-lapse video of space shuttle Endeavour's journey through Los Angeles from the Los Angeles Times.
The SCI-Arc Media Archive features 600+ video lectures on modern architecture and design, with an emphasis on Southern California.
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).