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Photos: Rethinking LA’s mural ban

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Updated Thursday August 29: 
The City Council voted Wednesday to lift the city-wide ban on murals.  From the LA Times:
The new rules, which must come back for an expected final approval next week, will permit new murals in business and industrial zones as long as artists register projects with the city and pay a $60 application fee. Commercial messages are prohibited and works must remain …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

From Hancock Park to the Galapagos: An unsolved murder mystery and its connection to LA

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San Francisco based filmmakers Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller have long wanted to make a documentary about an unsolved murder mystery that took place seventy years ago in a Utopian community in the exotic Galapagos Islands.
But it wasn’t until they discovered a treasure trove of film in a USC archive that they were able to accomplish their goal.  The archival material was footage gathered by …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News, Politics, Sonic Trace »

Tracing Points: 5 immigration stories you missed this week

Tijuana/Mexico. Flickr photo: Nathan Gibbs.

Each week, we put you on the map with immigration and transnational culture stories you might have missed throughout the week. And if you’ve come across any articles worth mentioning, write to us sonic.trace@kcrw.org or tweet us @SonicTrace_KCRW.
Republicans are moderate about immigration policy
GOP voters may not be as conservative as you think — when it comes to immigration.
About 37 percent of Republicans support a pathway …

Arts & Culture, economy, Featured, Interviews, News »

Housing prices cause many to flee big cities

Nickel Diner in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Ryan Vaarsi via Flickr/CC.

We got official word earlier this month about something most of us in LA already knew. Housing is ridiculously expensive here.
A new study by the listing site Redfin found middle class families in the area can only afford about 12 percent of homes on the market. Housing prices are up, while incomes in the area are stagnant. And that’s leading a lot of folks …

Arts & Culture, economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Griffith Park mountain lion sickened by rat poison

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A mountain known as P-22 that’s been making its home in Griffith Park is suffering from mange, which biologists attribute to exposure to rat poison. The cat appeared strong and healthy when it was photographed by a National Geographic photographer a few months ago. But remote cameras recently captured images of the animal looking sickly. Scientists sedated the big cat and drew blood samples. …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews, News »

The movement to convert a landmarked LA bridge into a park

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There’s a growing movement to turn the last steel bridge in Los Angeles into a park. The Figueroa Bridge stands a bit north of downtown, in the shadow of Dodger Stadium, where a tangle of roads runs above busy thoroughfares below: active train tracks, and two rivers below.
Workmen are wrestling rebar here as they put the finishing touches on a new overpass. The land-marked last steel …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Featured, Headline, News, Politics, Power and Water »

Coastal agency wants to put Venice curfew to bed

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A long-running fight over a city-imposed curfew on Venice Beach could heat up again. The California Commission has consistently opposed the midnight to 5 a.m. curfew – arguing that the state’s Coastal Act calls for the public to have access to the ocean 24 hours a day. In a letter earlier this month, commission officials asked the city to reopen talks on the curfew. …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Food, Interviews, News »

Fine dining finds a place at Coachella

LA Thai restaurant Night+Market offers chicken larb and party wings at Coachella. Photo via Food Is The New Rock.

Another several days of music and desert camaraderie continues later this week, as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival hits its second weekend.
Tens of thousands of music fans descended on Indio to enjoy the music with dancing and drinking. All that motion and walking can certainly work up an appetite. And that’s where high-end culinary offerings are trying to fill the void.
As we’ve …

Arts & Culture, economy, Education, Environment, Headline, Health Care, News, Politics »

Pact would end battle over firing problem teachers

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After three years of bitter disputes, a deal appears to have been reached in the state legislature that would make it easier for school districts in California to fire teachers accused of abusing students. Democratic Assembly member Joan Buchanan hammered out the agreement with the California Teachers Association and an education reform group called “EdVoice.” Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill by Buchanan …

Arts & Culture, Zocalo Public Square »

LA bus videos that inspire you to breathe during your commute

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Whenever I am swinging my arms — a simple warm-up exercise as part of the practice of qigong, which cultivates energy by aligning mind, breath, and body — I imagine that I look like a repenting soul performing self-flagellation to random passersby.
I’ve mused for a long time about creating an urban opera involving scenes of bus riders spontaneously starting to hurl their arms in …

Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Family feud leaves Mickey Rooney’s remains in limbo

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It appears Mickey Rooney’s tumultuous personal life has carried over to his death. Two factions of the Rooney’s family are fighting over the entertainer’s remains. A judge says won’t allow the body to be released from county custody until they settle the feud. The dispute centers over where the entertainer wished to be buried. Meanwhile, the L.A. Times reports that Rooney was broke when …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Food, Interviews, News »

Inside an Herbalife Training Seminar

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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, Environment, Food, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

LAPD officers pulled the plug on patrol car recorders

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LAPD officers tampered with recording devices inside of patrol cars to avoid being monitored while on duty. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck learned of the tampering last summer – but the problem did not come to the attention of the L.A. Police Commission until months later. The L.A. Times says Beck chose not to investigate who was responsible but instead issued warnings against further attempts …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Who was Skid Row’s ‘Avant Guardian’?

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In the 1980s, Skid Row was still home to the poorest people in Los Angeles, but it also had a thriving avant garde theater scene. Actors like Tim Robbins, John Cusack, and Jeremy Piven got their start at the Wallenboyd, an experimental theater space at the corner of Wall and Boyd St., in the heart of Skid Row.
Another permanent fixture was Clyde Casey, a …

Arts & Culture, economy, Education, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Tens of thousands hit the street for Wilshire CicLavia

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The weather was gorgeous and the riders came out in force for L.A.’s 9th CycLavia event. No one knows for sure how many people hopped on their biked or skates to join to the fun yesterday, but organizers say turnout was higher than the last time the event was held on Wilshire Boulevard a year ago. The event covered six miles of Wilshire between …

Arts & Culture, Education, Headline, Interviews, News, Politics, Runaway Production »

Runaway production: Inside the ‘Poacher’s Convention’

Utah's booth at the Association of Film Commissioners International conference at the Hyatt Regency in Century City.

Hollywood is no longer the go-to place for shooting feature films and TV shows.
Just eight percent of big budget Hollywood films were made in LA in 2013, down from 65 percent in 1997.
And from 2005 to 2013, California’s share of one-hour TV series dropped from 64 percent to 28 percent.
Why the big exodus? States like Georgia, New York and Louisiana, and countries like the …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Featured, Interviews, News, Politics »

Bill Maher on political satire and Twitter

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These days, comedy and satire have few boundaries. And the vast echo-chamber of the internet has made any boundaries left, even blurrier. Where tasteful boundaries do exist, and are crossed, the blowback can be not-so-funny.
Take Stephen Colbert, who made a joke on his satire show – in his conservative persona – praising the owner of the Washington Redskins for creating a foundation about Native …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Exploring the noir halls of LA County’s Hall of Justice

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For most of the 20th Century, one building was synonymous with crime and punishment in  Los Angeles County, downtown L.A.’s Hall of Justice. The building, which opened in 1925, was where both the county’s D.A. and sheriff had their offices. The mammoth building saw some of Southern California’s most infamous criminals held and put on trial, from 1930′s era gangsters and gunmen to more …

Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Featured, News, Summer »

Planning for huge Grand Park concert hits a sour note

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Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilman Jose Huizar are clashing over a proposed Labor Day concert in Grand Park that could bring 50,000 people to downtown L.A. Huizar wants the city to withhold approval of permits for the two-day event until more details are provided. Huizar, who represents downtown, says he was left out of discussions for the Budweiser Made in America Music Festival, …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews, News »

Making art through sickness and health

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31-year old Dominic Quagliozzi is like other young artists who move to Los Angeles in search of community, inspiration, and better weather than can be had on the east coast. He arrived here from Massachusetts 7 years ago with his wife, who herself is a painter; each earned MFAs.
But most young artists don’t have the struggles Quagliozzi faces each day. He was born with …

Arts & Culture, economy, Headline, News »

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘Straight Outta Compton’ movie casting call

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It’s been more than 25 years now since the groundbreaking rap group NWA released the controversial album “Straight Outta Compton.”
The record is widely credited as launching the gangsta rap genre. Now, two of the group’s members, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, are producing a film about the band’s rise to fame.
KCRW’s Avishay Artsy went to an open casting call for the film “Straight Outta …

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