Arts & Culture, Issues, News »

Planned Barham ramp closure not Universally popular

Posted December 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
universal studios

Will permanently shutting the southbound Barham Boulevard onramp to the 101 Freeway to make way for muggles actually improve traffic in the Cahuenga Pass?
That’s what NBC/Universal says – but Studio City and Hollywood residents aren’t buying it.
Opposition from neighbors is building to Caltrans’ plan to eliminate the Barham onramp to accommodate a $1.6 billion expansion of Universal Studios – The Wizarding World of Harry …

Arts & Culture, News »

The major source of state arts funding? You won’t believe it

Posted December 19, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
One of about a dozen celebrities who've signed on to endorse the plate

California ranks near the bottom of state-funded per-capita arts spending in the nation–44th, to be exact.
What’s the unusual source for the lion’s share of state-funded arts education? Turns out, it’s the sale of specialty license plates.
You may have seen the so-called “ArtsPlate” by artist Wayne Thiebaud, since it’s been in use on the roads for 20 years. But you probably didn’t know that $35 of …

Arts & Culture, Zocalo Public Square »

Were postcards America’s first social media?

Posted December 19, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
05.012Gifford

My great-grandmother, who was born in the 1880s, passed away when I was about 11 years old. Looking back, it is fairly obvious now that she was a hoarder on a colossal scale, but since this predated reality television, we tended just to say she was a packrat. As we cleaned out her house in rural Missouri, there was something special waiting: two boxes …

Arts & Culture »

The perfect last-minute gift: A good read

Posted December 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Funk, and a spaceship

Carolyn Kellogg, who covers publishing for the Los Angeles Times, sits on the board of the National Book Critics Circle and is one of the most influential journalists in the industry. In other words, she reads more than most mere mortals and really knows her stuff. Over a cup of coffee, we talked about books as dandy last-minute gift ideas.
First, she recommends using the services of your …

Arts & Culture »

Did the terrorists win? Sony cancels release of ‘The Interview’

Posted December 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
o-THE-INTERVIEW-TRAILER-facebook

Google “the terrorists won” and you’ll get a sneak peek into the debate over whether Sony did the right thing by pulling its Christmas release of “The Interview.” The movie tells the story of a TV host (James Franco) who lands an interview with North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un only to have the CIA tell him that he has to “take him out.” Goofy (and some …

Arts & Culture, economy, News, Politics »

California gets ready to license undocumented drivers

Posted December 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
SONY DSC

In January, California will begin to offer driver’s licenses to an estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants, living and driving in the state illegally.
One of those unlicensed and undocumented drivers is Mexican-born single mother and retirement home worker Evangelina Ramirez. She’s been driving without a license in California for 20 years. “I am driving because it is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” says Ramirez. “I have …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, economy, Zocalo Public Square »

A better, cheaper Disneyland?

Posted December 16, 2014 by | 15 Comments | ]
Photo via Flickr by Glen Scarborough / Creative Commons

On Christmas Eve, it felt like the park was all ours.
When I was growing up in the 1980s, Disneyland was so reliably empty on the day before Christmas that my family often spent December 24 in the “Happiest Place on Earth.” We rode every attraction in the park. Tickets got more expensive each year, but they didn’t break the bank; in 1989, adult admissions …

Arts & Culture »

Photos: The Rocketeers of the Mojave Desert

Posted December 15, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
SONY DSC

Call it the Cape Canaveral of the desert. Twice a year, hundreds of amateur rocket enthusiasts with the Rocketry Organization of California gather on a dry lake bed in the Mojave to assemble rockets and launch them thousands of feet into the wild blue yonder.
The gathering, called ROCstock (tagline: “peace, love and rockets”), is part science fair, part party, part celebration of ingenuity and engineering …

Arts & Culture, News, Zocalo Public Square »

Hunting for Merced’s cultural treasures

Posted December 15, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Grupo Folklorico Juan Colorado performing dances from Jalisco.2

A wall of sound often emanates from an open classroom at the Merced Lao Family Community Center. It’s bagpipe-like and pulsating—the sound of a half-dozen boys practicing the qeej (pronounced gheng), a bamboo reed mouth organ played at Hmong funerals, other ceremonies, and social events.
At Hmong New Year, these young musicians will perform traditional songs on the qeej, the music coming into harmony with …

Arts & Culture, News »

How ‘Tradition’ became a classic: Celebrating ‘Fiddler’ at 50

Posted December 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Lines of people swarmed the box office as soon as Fiddler opened/photo: Photofest

The Tony award-winning Broadway show turned Oscar-winning film, “Fiddler on the Roof,” didn’t look from the start to be a work that would endure for decades. It took the team who wrote the work, based on the 1905 writing of Sholem Aleichem, a number of attempts to massage it into the classic it became. “Twelve things a day,” was the mantra after early lackluster reviews in pre-Broadway tryouts, as …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Interviews, Issues, News »

Design solutions for climate change

Posted December 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
04_ASPBaanWatervilla2

There may be passionate debate about it in political circles as to whether it’s happening, or what’s causing it, but scientists almost completely agree: climate change is real, and will lead to rising sea levels and more extreme storms.
So how do we, as people, adapt?
Obviously, logic would tell us to try to stem the initial damage somehow.
But we, as people, also have to create things to …

Arts & Culture »

Bookworm: Favorite fiction of 2014

Posted December 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
collage_books

Last year was a good one for book lovers. KCRW’s Bookworm, Michael Silverblatt joined Madeleine Brand on Press Play to talk through some of his favorites from 2014. “I don’t consider them the best,” said Silverblatt, “I consider them my favorites. I would have to read everything to know what’s the best.”
These five books include moving tales of death, revelation, growing up, terror and what it feels like to be …

Arts & Culture, Zocalo Public Square »

Does LA need more airports?

Posted December 11, 2014 by | 2 Comments | ]
Photo via Flickr/CC/Angelo DeSantis

Los Angeles International has long been the Rodney Dangerfield of airports. It gets no respect—and with good reason. Dated, overcrowded, and inefficient, LAX’s primary redeeming characteristic is the mild Southern California weather. When J.D. Power & Associates rated LAX as the third-worst airport in the U.S. in 2010, many Angelenos probably assumed there was a mistake and asked themselves: “Two airports are lower on …

Arts & Culture »

Who built the burned-downed DaVinci?

Posted December 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo via Twitter: Adrienne FitzPatrick

The LA Times reports that the fire that ravaged a Downtown LA apartment building overnight is being investigated as a criminal fire.
Although blazes “of this magnitude” are always treated as criminal fires, “it’s very rare for the entire building to be engulfed at once,” Capt. Jaime Moore told the Los Angeles Times.
“There may have been some foul play.”
Flames shot up into the night sky in the early …

Arts & Culture, Cargoland, Environment, Interviews, News »

Cargoland: Artist Cathy Opie on her 10-day cargo ship ride

Posted December 3, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
IMG_8151

I didn’t go to artist Cathy Opie’s house explicitly to see the bunnies, but before I got to talk to her about what did lure me over to West Adams, I got a tour of this extension of her existence. Her partner, Julie Burleigh, has, over the last five years, converted an eyesore abandoned lot down the block from their house into a community …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

What ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night’ says about California

Posted December 3, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
a_girl_walks_home_alone_at_night_33027-202x300

Sure, California has everything. But where would you find a murderous, Farsi-speaking, chador-wearing vampire riding her skateboard around an oil city?
Kern County, of course.
If a place could win an Academy Award for acting, I’d nominate Kern for an Oscar.
A young director named Ana Lily Amirpour—who grew up in Bakersfield, a child of Iranian immigrants—recently released a low-budget but critically acclaimed film, A Girl Walks …

Arts & Culture, News »

The show must go on: Bob Baker’s supporters vow to keep the puppets moving

Posted December 2, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Young puppeteers keep Baker's work alive.  The theater is home to 3-thousand marionettes.

In his last days on earth, puppeteer Bob Baker waxed poetic about shows he hoped to stage and moved his hands for a hospice worker as if he were still manipulating one of his marionette creations. Though the 90-year-old with a life-long passion for puppets passed away last Friday, his imprint on the industry he helped to craft won’t soon fade away, says trustee …

Arts & Culture, economy »

Could LA’s artists be priced out?

Posted December 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
arts

Here’s a new way to measure just how hard it is for working artists to survive in Southern California’s increasingly expensive rental market.
In August, developer Related Co. opened an affordable housing development in downtown Santa Monica with 10 apartments reserved exclusively for low- to mid-income artists. The live-work studios rent for $439 to $888 per month and were awarded via a lottery. By late October, not …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

Art meets kitsch: Self-described snob displays mom’s vast collection of turkey platters

Posted November 25, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Art dealer Mat Gleason and his mother, Helen

Mat Gleason, a longtime figure in the LA art scene, admits that he long pooh-poohed his mother’s proclivity for scavenging through antique stores and swap meets. “I was always snobby about her collections,” he told me as we stood in a gallery he’s just taken over next to his Coagula Curatorial.
Then his mother, an 80-something year old mother of seven, asked to see a show of …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

Generations come together at the Thanksgiving table

Posted November 25, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo: Ben Franske Wikipedia

I think back to the first Thanksgiving I spent with my infant daughter three years ago, which was also the last one I spent with my grandmother. The multigenerational gathering at my childhood home in Alhambra, mixing Chinese, Vietnamese, and American traditions, is not only etched in my memory, it’s immortalized in a digital photograph.
In the photo, my mom is holding my nearly 4-month-old …

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