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).
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.
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]
The Breaking Bad Art Project is on exhibit at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles through August 26. [more inside]
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]
'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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick (previously) makes the day of the nine-year-old proprietor of Caine's Arcade.
Happy birthday to Nancy Bea Hefley, the LA Dodgers stadium organist since 1988!
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]
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]
Apparently Moby has started a blog about architecture in Los Angeles.
"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]