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"She placed an order on the spot – and not a conservative one."

"Though there were manufacturers in several parts of the United States, the great preponderance of commercially-made aluminum trees were created by the Aluminum Specialty Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. When their 'Evergleam' line debuted in 1959, many embraced the shiny trees as an expression of the new Atomic Age. The trees appealed to a Jetsons-style notion of modern living where life was clean, automated and easy; with an aluminum tree, needles never fell, it could be stored compactly and re-used every year, with none of the fuss of a real tree." Etsy: History Lesson: The Aluminum Christmas Tree, by Jeni Sandberg. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Dec 21, 2014 - 40 comments

California's whooping cough crisis, Latinos affected disproportionately

"'It really speaks to the lack of access to health insurance that's particularly predominant within the Latino community,' says Sarah de Guia, executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, an advocacy group. Latinos make up 62 percent of the uninsured, she says, either because they can't afford to pay for health insurance, or because they're afraid that signing up for coverage will expose family members who aren't lawfully present in the U.S." California Whooping Cough Infections Run High Among Latino Babies, NPR. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Dec 19, 2014 - 15 comments

1964 Chevy Malibu

The Weirdest Things You Never Knew About The Making Of Repo Man
posted by Artw on Dec 19, 2014 - 70 comments

“Camels are extremely popular right now.”

Coyote Booms, Bear Attacks And How Climate Change Is Wreaking Havoc On The Animal Kingdom. "'The long-term drought impacts on vegetation that affect the prey of the animals that predators feed on is also a reason for encroachment,' said Crabtree. He said he thinks all large carnivores have this problem, especially the ones that depredate, or plunder — such as coyotes, bears, mountain lions and wolves. 'The drought decreases natural forage for herbivores like deer,' said Crabtree. 'There will be a relatively higher density of deer in urban areas where there are lawns.'" [more inside]
posted by quiet earth on Dec 9, 2014 - 15 comments

Stand Tall

Nico Vega is a Los Angeles-based alt rock band with 'unstoppable hooks.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 8, 2014 - 6 comments

Mood music for movie viewing, from Cinespia's cemetery film viewings

If you're looking for a little mood music before and/or after watching a movie, you might enjoy the Cinespia experience at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Wikipedia). But if you're not likely to join the crowd in Los Angeles, you can recreate a part of that movie warm-up/cool-down experience with Cinespia's archive of mixes from various notable musicians. Their site currently lists 11 mixes from the likes of Cut Chemist, The Gaslamp Killer (previously), David Holmes and Carlos Niño, but if you dig into the Internet Archive, you can find 38 more mixes (including a good number of paired before-and-after mixes) from even more artists, set to a range of movies, classics both older (North by Northwest, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and newer (Bladerunner, The Big Lebowski).
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 26, 2014 - 1 comment

Filing down a plastic razor blade to create a sewing needle, not a shank

The Los Angeles Men's Central Jail’s gay wing was set up in response to a 1985 ACLU lawsuit, which aimed to protect homosexual inmates from a higher threat of physical violence than heterosexuals faced. But something unexpected has happened. The inmates are safer now, yes. But they’ve surprised everyone, perhaps even themselves, by setting up a small and flourishing society behind bars. Once released, some re-offend in order to be with an inmate they love. There are hatreds and occasionally even severe violence, but there is also friendship, community, love — and, especially, harmless rule-bending to dress up like models or decorate their bunks, often via devious means. LA Weekly looks inside MCJ, with an exclusive video the unique situation, from Voice Media Group. For further reading on the unique K6G unit, see Two Models of the Prison: Accidental Humanity and Hypermasculinity in the L.A. County Jail (PDF), and Governmental 'Gaydar': Race, Sexual Identity and Incarceration (PDF), both scholarly articles that study this part of MCJ.
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 18, 2014 - 7 comments

Decopage! (Not the paper kind, the 1989 L.A. public access tv kind!)

Decoupage! was a 1989 Los Angeles-area public access show produced by Kathe Duba and hosted by Summer Caprice. The original concept was an emulation of early 70s sydicated talk shows such as The Mike Douglas Show and Dinah! and featured elaborate sets, sourced from hours of scouring thrift stores. Also, there are wigs. Lots of wigs.

Many of the guests were culled from the L.A. club and arts scene, including Redd Kross, Phranc, and Fred Willard. The show returned to the airwaves in 1997 as Decopage! 2000 and featured a spoken-word performance by Exene Cervanka (using her real last name, Cervankova) and Karen Black singing "Bang Bang" with back-up band L7.

• Direct link to the Decopage! You Tube Channel

[via]
posted by Room 641-A on Nov 7, 2014 - 9 comments

Superhero costumes are still not allowed

The Day Care center in Los Feliz, Los Angeles is tweeting announcements and news. Updates include weddings, slacktivism, billing, sunscreen and the Special Person Of The Week. It alleges to be a real day care center. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 17, 2014 - 22 comments

Brains vs. Brawn in Baseball

The Economist examines the cult of the genius GM.
In sports, just like the rest of life, the rich keep getting richer. Anyone who saw or read Moneyball knows that the deck is stacked against small-market Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. Their only hope of competing, Michael Lewis’s story goes, is to acquire brilliant, innovative general managers (GMs) like his protagonist Billy Beane, who have mastered the “art of winning an unfair game” by outmaneuvering wealthier clubs. The problem with this narrative is that there is nothing to stop the sport’s plutocrats from hiring the finest minds money can buy, just as they sign the best athletes.
The deep-pocketed Dodgers have lured away small market Tampa Bay's heralded GM Andrew Friedman to find out what happens when a man who consistently builds winners with one of the smallest revenue streams in the game can do with a payroll in excess of $200 million.
posted by DirtyOldTown on Oct 15, 2014 - 32 comments

Crack, the CIA, and the Contras

In 1996, Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News exposed a shocking series of facts: that the CIA and the Reagan administration were covertly funding the Contras in Nicaragua by aiding and abetting the flow of crack cocaine to America, particularly inflicting terrible damage on inner-city black communities. In response, the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times all began vicious campaigns to attack and discredit Webb. Although Webb was later vindicated by a CIA Inspector General report among other things, the damage was done, and the story still has an air of obfuscation and confusion around it. Along with the release of a new documentary, Freeway: Crack in the System, as well as a feature film starring Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, Kill the Messenger, key figures in the CIA-crack cocaine scandal are beginning to come forward. Could this be the start of a renewed exploration of the government's complicity in the rise of crack in America?
posted by naju on Oct 13, 2014 - 94 comments

"Cursed since birth, blessed till death."

The colorful street art and murals of L.A.-based artist Septerhed.
posted by Room 641-A on Sep 14, 2014 - 2 comments

Vaccination map of Los Angeles schools

The Hollywood Reporter gathered vaccination rates from Los Angeles preschools and elementary schools, for the 2013-2014 academic year. They created an interactive map that allows you to click on schools and see what percentage of preschoolers and kindergarteners got the DTaP and MMR vaccinations, and what percentage of families opted out using a Personal Belief Exemption form. Los Angeles is currently in the middle of a Pertussis (Whooping Cough) outbreak, and officials are concerned that it will spread further as herd immunity is threatened by low rates of vaccination.
posted by Joh on Sep 11, 2014 - 87 comments

Built for Living!

The Mar Vista Tract in West Los Angeles, California was designed by Gregory Ain in 1947, in collaboration with Joseph Johnson and Alfred Day. Ain was a significant "second generation" modernist architect who had worked with and was influenced by the first generation of California Modern masters - European immigrants Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler. Ain believed in bringing good design to the masses; he belonged to the school of thought that espoused architecture's potential to shape a more egalitarian world. He is credited as being the first architect to design a house that did not contemplate servants. A lot of Ain’s ideals were achieved in the "Modernique Homes" development, the name under which the Mar Vista Tract was marketed in 1948. The intent of the Mar Vista Tract was to create a housing development that provided cost efficient housing while advancing the cause of Modern architectural design. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Sep 3, 2014 - 14 comments

Yesteryear: Pacific Ocean Park on Santa Monica Pier

"The train would head back into the heart of the mountain, where more volcanic geysers lay in wait, followed by an earthquake – with a disorienting, rotating tunnel. Escaping this, the ride continued over a truly scary trestle, suspended over the ocean below, into the final scene, an indoor tropical thunderstorm, replete with lightning and strong gusts of wind. Exiting into the sunlight again, the farewell touch was the 'Goony Bird' – sitting on a clutch of cartoonish, oversized eggs – who chirped, 'Thank you for riding with us!'" [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 3, 2014 - 9 comments

The Urban Oil Fields of Los Angeles.

The Urban Oil Fields of Los Angeles.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse on Sep 1, 2014 - 29 comments

All that cardboard!

Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1971
posted by nadawi on Aug 29, 2014 - 63 comments

where the poor people are is where the amputations are

poverty linked to diabetic amputations in california [more inside]
posted by yeoz on Aug 7, 2014 - 8 comments

"Capturing scenes of others 'not making it' as well"

Hollywood Streets, 1979-1983 "I went to Hollywood to 'make it', but didn't, and ended up taking pictures of Hollywood, capturing scenes of others 'not making it' as well."
posted by scody on Jul 31, 2014 - 22 comments

Piety and Perversity: The Palms of Los Angeles

Parisians claim that in Paris, one is never more than 400 yards away from a Metro station. In Los Angeles, I am equally certain that one is always within 400 yards of a palm tree. Scores of streets are lined with them; they are ubiquitous in domestic and public gardens; they rise from hilltops; they tower above cemeteries; they front museums, movie studios, hotels, hospitals, municipal buildings, modest apartments, and lavish villas; they are clustered around swimming pools; they dominate the skyline — they are everywhere, and have never been more popular. The city’s 200-year love affair with palms has never ceased, and rather than waning, the affair is waxing. From the first palms planted by Spanish padres to the city of Beverly Hills, which recently, in an act of cosmetic alteration, created a palm-lined, palm-bisected thoroughfare on upscale Rodeo Drive, the palm has been the tree of choice for Angelenos. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jul 28, 2014 - 38 comments

L.A. noir to now

A visual tour of downtown Los Angeles, now and then:
[more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 26, 2014 - 22 comments

And the truth of the matter is Arnold and I are old. I mean, really old.

True Lies is a 1994 action comedy film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Arnold. The film was a huge hit, and is noteworthy in that it featured visual special effects considered impossible only a few years prior. It's been 20 years since it was released. Time for a revisit, then. [SPOILERS if you haven't seen this movie.] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 18, 2014 - 95 comments

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

"There are specific instructions when Isaac Hayes comes on."

Wattstax [SLYT] is a 1973 documentary film about the 1972 Wattstax music festival, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Emotions, The Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel, Wattstax also incorporates relatively unknown comic Richard Pryor's musings on life for black Americans in 1972, "man-and-woman-on-the-street" interviews, and audience footage. [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 3, 2014 - 23 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

The Ultimate Chinatown Filming Location Map of Los Angeles

The Ultimate Chinatown Filming Location Map of Los Angeles "The movie was released 40 years ago tomorrow, on June 20, 1974, and to mark the day we've mapped out all of its real-life locations, with help from this old LA Times article, The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, and Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles. Take the Chinatown tour this way..."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jun 20, 2014 - 19 comments

Cause of death "Hamburger Game"

Three friends from Japan visit all ten burger chains in LA in a single day.
posted by DoctorFedora on Jun 10, 2014 - 88 comments

Vin Scully Retrospective

Vin Scully: voice of the Dodgers for 64 years "My idea is that I'm sitting next to the listener in the ballpark, and we're just watching the game," Scully says. "Sometimes, our conversation leaves the game. It might be a little bit about the weather we're enduring or enjoying. It might be personal relationships, which would involve a player. The game is just one long conversation and I'm anticipating that, and I will say things like ‘Did you know that?' or ‘You're probably wondering why.' I'm really just conversing rather than just doing play-by-play. I never thought of myself as having a style. I don't use key words. And the best thing I do? I shut up."
posted by mandymanwasregistered on Jun 6, 2014 - 22 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

It's only supposed to be 30% of your income

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]
posted by desjardins on May 10, 2014 - 293 comments

Acrylic on Magazine

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]
posted by crush-onastick on May 7, 2014 - 6 comments

"His work belongs in a museum."

Afgoo_Head: mystery man of medical marijuana creates giant weed cigars. Interview: 1, 2, 3. (Weed porn, NSFW in some states.)
posted by xowie on May 3, 2014 - 14 comments

Turning back time & space with the orchestral pop music of The Long Lost

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 11, 2014 - 4 comments

Palisades del Rey (Surfridge ghost town)

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.
posted by xowie on Mar 29, 2014 - 20 comments

Safe streets and the cycles of gang violence

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]
posted by mandymanwasregistered on Mar 22, 2014 - 30 comments

Metropolis II

Metropolis II - A film about a sculpture by Chris Burden
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Mar 3, 2014 - 8 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

I'd like a dumb grande wuppy duppy latte, extra hot, please

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.
posted by saeculorum on Feb 9, 2014 - 152 comments

La-La Land

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.
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 5, 2014 - 10 comments

The Light that will Be

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
posted by timshel on Feb 3, 2014 - 71 comments

American Cities: Before and After

Smithsonian Magazine's interactive map series on American cities. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 31, 2014 - 4 comments

Slice of Life

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)
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 28, 2014 - 54 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

It’s not just a food, it’s a lifestyle

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]
posted by Room 641-A on Jan 1, 2014 - 35 comments

Healthy cities: public health and urban planning

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]
posted by gingerbeer on Dec 31, 2013 - 52 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

Survived by his dog, Spot.

Calvin Coolidge "Cal" Worthington and his "dog", Spot, were fixtures on 1970's TV in Southern California. [more inside]
posted by Sophie1 on Sep 9, 2013 - 79 comments

The Whiteman Cometh

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.
posted by mannequito on Sep 6, 2013 - 137 comments

fell into a sea of grass

Nothing's Shocking, the debut album by Jane's Addiction, turns 25 today. (but is still NSFW)
posted by Potomac Avenue on Aug 23, 2013 - 77 comments

Deconstructing Harry

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.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Aug 7, 2013 - 33 comments

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