Arts & Culture, Backstage, Commentary »

BACKSTAGE: Cultural Infrastructure is Sexy!

Posted February 4, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]
backstage-with-anthony-byrnes

[BACKSTAGE is a series of posts focusing on the ‘Inside Baseball’ of the theater.]
In Tuesday’s on-air commentary, I suggested that the slew of openings in Los Angeles theater this weekend were a symptom of some basic calendar math and a lack of cultural infrastructure.  My argument was that local theaters were not scheduling to maximize their audience and attention by spacing openings out and avoiding direct …

Commentary, News »

Car Talk: The Parlance of Cars

Posted January 29, 2016 by and | 0 Comments | ]
3125876398_1735ae779b_z

In the aftermath of the Second World War, California’s population grew by roughly 500,000 people a year.
By 1963 it passed New York as the country’s most populous state.
And no place had higher levels of growth than Los Angeles. The city added 500,000 between 1940 and 1950. By 1960, the population was almost 2.5 million. By 1980 nearly 3 million.

Arts & Culture, Backstage, Commentary »

BACKSTAGE: Can You Know Too Much?

Posted January 21, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]
backstage-with-anthony-byrnes

[BACKSTAGE is a series of posts focusing on the ‘Inside Baseball’ of the theater.]
It’s tricky business when you know how something you love is made.
Years ago, I had a wonderful English teacher, Professor Regan. At the start of his “Comedy and Satire” course, he issued a dire warning: “If you’re in this class because you love comedy – leave. Leave because I’m going to ruin it for …

Arts & Culture, Backstage, Commentary, News »

BACKSTAGE: A friend in the theater

Posted January 14, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]
backstage-with-anthony-byrnes

[BACKSTAGE is a series of posts focusing on the ‘Inside Baseball’ of the theater.]
Last week, I had you check your three favorite intimate theater websites to see what was playing through July. Chances are, you came up mostly empty. Maybe you could find the next play but probably not a season, right?
So why is this a problem?
It’s not nurturing an audience and it’s out of step …

Arts & Culture, Backstage, Commentary, News »

BACKSTAGE: A Vicious Small Theater Cycle

Posted January 7, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]
backstage-with-anthony-byrnes

[BACKSTAGE is a series of posts focusing on the ‘Inside Baseball’ of the theater.]
This week on air, I ran a preview of the theater I’m looking forward to in Los Angeles this spring. Now, most of the shows listed are either from our presenting houses (RedCat, The Broad etc.)  or our bigger theaters (Center Theater Group, The Geffen). Underrepresented are our intimate theaters. Why?
There are a …

Commentary, News, Politics »

How a 1965 immigration law shaped today’s Los Angeles

Posted October 2, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
1331146904_president-lyndon-b.-johnson-signing-the-immigration-and-nationality-act-of-1965

What does Lyndon Johnson have to do with the creation of L.A.’s Koreatown?

The lasting effects of the Immigration Act of 1965 were apparent at a recent swearing in ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Over 6,000 people from 140 countries sat in neat rows before a stage and a giant American flag. Some of the largest numbers of people came from countries like the Philippines, China, Armenia and …

Commentary, Santa Barbara »

Surf, sting, suffer: a new KCRW host attempts to catch — or survive — his first waves

Posted August 31, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
unnamed

Growing up at 7,000 feet in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, I only knew surf from “Endless Summer.” The Bruce Brown epic gave me romantic notions of a life at the beach. So when I moved to Santa Barbara for KCRW, I was ready.
I assumed buying a surfboard would be akin to finding a life partner or soul mate. You would just understand …

Commentary, Interviews, Issues, News, Politics, The Mixer »

Mixer: The word “genocide,” and its importance to Armenians

Posted April 24, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

From Kim Kardashian to the Pope, the cause to recognize the Armenian genocide has gotten vocal support in recent weeks, leading up to today’s centennial anniversary.
Armenians point to solid evidence from historians that genocide, at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, indeed took place. But Turkey claims it was not genocide, only killings that took place during turmoil amid a relocation effort. The United States, a …

Commentary, Environment, Zocalo Public Square »

Let’s brag about California’s weather while we still can

Posted March 13, 2015 by | 3 Comments | ]
Photo by Tony Hisgett via Flickr/CC

One of the little joys of being Californian is the opportunity to taunt folks back East about their terrible winter weather. Hey, Boston, how does it feel to have been colonized by Eskimos?
But this winter, we seem to be overdoing it, sending out a blizzard of social media postings of palm trees and blue skies. It’s enough to make you wonder if all our …

Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

The town I loved, the protester I became

Posted February 3, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Phtoto by Danny Birchall/CC/Flickr

If you want a classic portrait of middle Americana in the middle of the 20th century, you had to look no farther than my hometown of Rialto, in inland Southern California, 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
My youth on King and North Verde streets was about American kid stuff—baseball, bugs, riding my bike, my crush on a grammar school classmate named Katherine, playing John …

Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

On Route 66, a gas station is history worth saving

Posted February 2, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo by Vicente Villamón/CC/ Flickr

In 1964, my parents packed up our old Ford and took my brother and me on a cross-country trip from San Diego to Washington, D.C. and back. Part of our trip was along the famed Route 66. Even though I was only four years old, I still have vivid memories of that trip and watching the ever-changing countryside.
Route 66, dubbed the “Mother Road” by …

California Elections, Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

When it comes to elections, LA is in a state of emergency

Posted January 28, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Los Angeles voter Amanda Sutton casts a ballot in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Photo by Avishay Artsy

 
Like a man who bangs his head against the wall to cure a headache, Los Angeles will hold more municipal elections this March. The certain result: another low-turnout embarrassment that draws the usual lamentations about how our democracy is in peril.
Enough crying. If California’s civic leaders are so sure that Los Angeles elections are democratic disasters, then why don’t they declare an official state …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

What Californians can learn from snow days

Posted January 27, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
snow-600x450

I’m sitting here in Maine having a snow day. I can only see about 30feet in front of my cabin; everything beyond is obscured by white frosty particles, which weather reports tell me are falling at the rate of two to four inches an hour. It’s quiet outside, except for the wind.
There are 985 closings in the state of Maine today, and the governor has …

Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

Think big, California!

Posted January 21, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
San Jacinto Mountains and San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm
Photo by Chuck Coker/CC/Flickr

In today’s California, we set big, ambitious goals for improving energy efficiency, fighting climate change, and, well, not much else.
Governor Jerry Brown’s inaugural address this month was a case in point. The governor again expressed his famous skepticism of big plans and big spending, then made an exception for energy and climate change, proposing three ambitious goals for the next 15 years: to derive …

Commentary, economy, Zocalo Public Square »

What is the ‘California Dream’?

Posted January 14, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
Venice Beach Sunset photo by Graham/Flickr/CC

Today’s California dream is not your grandfather’s California dream.
So why do we keep telling ourselves that we’re still seeking the same California dream? “California dream” has become a verbal tic in speeches, a graffiti we scrawl on signs and headlines without thinking about its meaning. Democrats and Republicans alike, as they assumed new offices this month, pledged to defend the supposedly enduring California dream. …

Commentary, Education, News, Zocalo Public Square »

Undocumented, and riding shotgun

Posted January 13, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo via Flickr/CC/Jared eberhardt

Up until my early 20s, I rode shotgun. With my high school and college sweetheart, I flipped through the soft sleeves of our shared CD binder in search of the right music. I double-checked our drive-through orders for extra ketchup. I pointed out the sights only I caught in time.
In 1991, my family left the Philippines for California, where my aunt had been living …

Commentary, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Does pretending to be homeless make a politician better?

Posted January 12, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Screengrab: California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari spent a week trying to learn what it's like to be homeless.

In the mythology of ancient Greece, Odysseus, King of Ithaca, disguises himself as a beggar to gain an advantage over his enemies. In Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” a relative masquerading as a vagabond helps shift the monarch’s sympathies toward the disadvantaged.
The past year marked a new trend in the electoral cycle: politicians “going native,” spending the night in homeless shelters or sleeping on the streets …

Commentary, News, Zocalo Public Square »

In California, sainthood is not for the saintly

Posted January 6, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
César Chávez visits colegio César Chávez in 1974 / Wikipedia

Let’s say your New Year’s resolution is to be not just a better Californian, but a truly great one. You seek to be a secular California saint, so revered that people put your name on parks and squares and schools. What should be your path?
As it happens, three of the best books I read last year were biographies of such secular California saints—the bestselling …

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

A better, cheaper Disneyland?

Posted December 16, 2014 by | 16 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 …

Commentary, Zocalo Public Square »

Why shutting down the freeway was the perfect way to protest Ferguson

Posted December 15, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
Photo by Craig Dietrich 
#HANDSUP! Justice for Ezell Ford and Solidarity With Ferguson

After grand juries in New York and Missouri failed to indict police officers who killed unarmed black men, protestors across the nation vented their outrage by shutting down roads. In our own freeway metropolis, marchers temporarily shut down the 110 and 101 freeways, blocking two of Los Angeles’ central arteries.
Why freeways? Why not buses, streetcars, parks, lunch counters, or other ordinary spaces that have …

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