Arts & Culture, News »

L.A. Dwellings: Toretto’s House from “The Fast and the Furious”

Posted September 4, 2015 by | 2 Comments | ]

There are certain places in this city that seem to scream “L.A: You Are Here.” Places like the Hollywood sign, the Sunset Strip or the Santa Monica Pier. And then there are the more unexpected landmarks.
The unexpected landmark in question is one Echo Park house which, ironically, became an icon precisely because of how ordinary it looks. It’s a plain white two-story craftsman. No bigger, no smaller …

Arts & Culture, News, Video, Watts Riots: 50 Years Later »

Video: Watts ’65 in pop culture

Posted August 14, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
From Wattstax. (L-R Schlitz Beer Rep, Jesse Jackson and Al Bell)

This week on Press Play, we’re using the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots to talk about what has changed in the South L.A. community, and what has stayed the same. 
The 1965 Watts Riots didn’t only influence politics and policy, its legacy seeped into pop culture.
In 1972, on the seventh anniversary of the uprising, the L.A. Coliseum hosted a daylong music festival called Wattstax. Referred to …

Arts & Culture, News »

L.A.’s Mystery House on a Hill

Posted July 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Kenneth Hahn state park, in Baldwin Hills, is a place where two landscapes collide. The park covers a lush, green expanse of hills and hiking trails. But when you look out at the view from those trails, it’s anything but idyllic. The park sits right beside the huge Inglewood Oil Field. All around, industrial-looking oil rigs stretch for acres.
It looks like a slice of Bakersfield or West Texas …

economy, Issues, Press Play's Faultines »

Fault Lines: A Trip to the Midnight Mission

Posted September 19, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
"Thomas Martinez works at a hip downtown restaurant and lives in South L.A., but eats at the Midnight Mission when money is fight."

Dinnertime at the Midnight Mission starts at 4:30.
By then, on a sweltering summer afternoon, the line for food at the Skid Row homeless center stretches for nearly an entire block. These days, demand is high at the Midnight Mission, which serves about 3,000 meals a day. By comparison, a typical large, busy L.A. restaurant might serve 1,000. That’s more meals than at any other time …

Arts & Culture, Food, Interviews, News »

Inside an Herbalife Training Seminar

Posted April 8, 2014 by | 9 Comments | ]

It’s a Saturday morning at the Long Beach Convention Center, and the mood inside a second-floor ballroom is gleefully anticipatory. Nearly 1,000 people mill around, chattering and dancing to blaring pop music. It feels like we’re waiting for a concert to start, except that it’s not even 10 a.m.
Eventually, a blonde woman and a thin young man walk onto the stage at the front …

Arts & Culture, economy, Interviews, News »

What’s it like to work through the holidays in L.A.?

Posted December 19, 2013 by | 2 Comments | ]
Donald Everett, 58, is originally from Boston.

If you’ve set foot inside a mall, shopped online, bought a Christmas tree or otherwise flexed your purchasing power this holiday season, chances are good that you’ve been helped in some way by a seasonal worker.
All sorts of businesses, from big box stores to online retailers to mom-and-pop boutiques, beef up their workforces at the end of the year to meet the holiday rush …

Arts & Culture, News, Warren Olney »

What happened to the grand vision for Grand Avenue?

Posted September 26, 2013 by | 2 Comments | ]
Walt Disney Concert Hall on Grand Ave. Photo via Flickr by dibaer/ Creative Commons

For decades, local leaders have dreamed of transforming downtown L.A.’s Grand Avenue into a cultural mecca. Plans for the street have included a park, fancy condos, hotels and a shopping district. While some of it has come to fruition like the Civic Park between the Music Center and City Hall, most remains unrealized. Why?
On October 2nd, KCRW’s Warren Olney and Frances Anderton will host …

News »

Can California Republicans lead immigration reform?

Posted September 17, 2013 by | 2 Comments | ]
From the May Day march for immigration reform

State Senator Anthony Cannella represents a swath of the Central Valley that’s 64 percent Latino. That includes nearly half his district’s registered voters. So it’s not too surprising that Cannella, along with more than a dozen other California Republicans, are pushing back against their party’s national leaders on immigration reform and calling for a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in …

Interviews, News »

Private flying for the rest of us?

Posted July 30, 2013 by | 3 Comments | ]

I dream of flying by private jet every time I lug suitcases into LAX. But it’s a fantasy I’ve always considered way out of reach, a luxury reserved for the richest one percent. Or is it?
The aviation company BlackJet, which recently added L.A. to its list of cities and is backed by Hollywood players like Ashton Kutcher and Will Smith, aims to make private …

Arts & Culture, News, Video »

New dance show sets a dark tone, despite Hollywood pedigree

Posted July 23, 2013 by | 7 Comments | ]

If you combined the avant-garde choreography of Merce Cunningham with the wardrobe from the 1986 Sean Connery movie “The Name of the Rose,” you might end up with something resembling the trailer for “AXIOM,” a new dance show opening Thursday at Cafe Club Fais Do-Do in Mid City. (Embedded below.)
“It’s a dance performance, but it’s theatrical,”  said producer Kristin Campbell-Taylor. “You’re immersed in a …

Food »

What grows in a food desert?: South LA launches farmer’s market to fill a grocery store void

Posted July 15, 2013 by | 22 Comments | ]
Children in South LA are tasting fresh fruits in their farmers market. (Photo by Shako Liu)

A liquor store parking lot in South LA isn’t a typical setting for a farmer’s market in this city. But that’s where a new Friday afternoon produce stand set up shop last week. The mini-market, spearheaded by the nonprofit groups Community Coalition and Community Unlimited, will be open Fridays from 3 until 6 p.m. at Century Market, on the corner of Western Avenue and …

News »

Santa Monica shooting victim profile: Margarita Gomez

Posted June 10, 2013 by | 3 Comments | ]
A memorial shrine at Santa Monica College, days after the June 7 shootings. Photo by Avishay Artsy.

The Los Angeles Times this afternoon posted a profile of Margarita Gomez, one of the five victims of Friday’s shooting at Santa Monica College. Gomez, 68, was a familiar face here on campus. She lived across the street and usually visited twice a day to collect recyclables. The Times spoke to Gomez’s son, Rafael Torres:

Although she had worked at a ceramics company for almost …

News »

How KCRW stayed on-air after Friday’s shooting and evacuation

Posted June 10, 2013 by | 17 Comments | ]

While our focus in covering last week’s shooting has been on keeping up with the news, KCRW also happens to be located on Santa Monica College campus, where the rampage ended. This is an account of what happened behind the scenes at the station and how it stayed on-air after being evacuated.
KCRW General Manager Jennifer Ferro was leading a small station tour when a …

California Elections, Issues, News, Politics, Race for Mayor »

The business behind political mail

Posted May 20, 2013 by | 7 Comments | ]

Has your mailbox been overflowing in recent weeks with political mailers touting candidates for tomorrow’s election? Mine has. At some point, I started to wonder: Who makes these things? How does the business work? And what do they really do? I recently spoke to two slate mail producers — one Democrat, one Republican — to get some answers.
The mailers I examined are simple advertising …

Bad Driving, News »

When is LA traffic the worst?

Posted April 5, 2013 by | 16 Comments | ]
Traffic on the 10 East

The average Angeleno wastes 60 hours stuck in traffic every year.
That depressing statistic comes from latest annual report by INRIX, a Washington-based traffic research company. INRIX not only ranks the country’s worst traffic cities each year, but also lists the worst times to drive in those cities. So what’s the worst hour of the week on LA’s traffic-choked streets and freeways?
The most congested hour …

Education, Interviews, Issues, News »

New downtown charter school raises questions about gentrification, diversity

Posted February 27, 2013 by | 12 Comments | ]

Downtown LA’s population has more than quadrupled in the past decade. Many of the new arrivals are families with young children, and they say there aren’t enough good public schools in the area.
Last year, a group of downtown parents decided to start their own elementary school. Metro Charter was approved by the LA school board this month and is scheduled to open in the …

Arts & Culture, News, Video »

Only in LA? How Al Walser promoted his way to a Grammy nomination

Posted February 8, 2013 by | 82 Comments | ]

Al Walser is a DJ who lives in Encino and may or may not be an heir to the Rothschild banking dynasty and the grandson of Congolese music superstar Franco Luambo. He’s also up for the best dance recording Grammy at this Sunday’s awards. Before the nomination, nobody in the electronic dance music world had heard of Walser. So how did this previously unknown, …

News »

Would lifting the ban on gays change the Boy Scouts?

Posted January 31, 2013 by | 1 Comment | ]

The Texas-based Boy Scouts of America will vote next week on whether to remove the nationwide ban on gay members and scout leaders. However, it would still be up to local units to decide whether to allow gay scouts and leaders.
“The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents,” said a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of …

News »

Mayoral candidates duke it out in debate tonight

Posted January 28, 2013 by | 5 Comments | ]
Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by stevecadman via Flickr/CC.

The five top contenders to succeed Antonio Villaraigosa as LA’s next mayor will face off in a live televised debate at UCLA’s Royce Hall tonight at 7 p.m. The forum will feature LA City Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, City Controller Wendy Greuel, entertainment lawyer Kevin James (the lone Republican in the pack) and former technology executive Emanuel Pleitez.
The debate will be …

News »

Guns and ammo draw big crowds to Ontario Gun Show

Posted January 7, 2013 by | 3 Comments | ]
Scopes for sale

Southern California’s first gun show since the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last month drew a huge crowd to the Ontario Convention Center over the weekend. On Saturday alone, about 6,000 people attended the Crossroads of the West show. Typically, the event attracts about that many in an entire weekend. I was there Saturday, and many of the attendees I spoke to said they …

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