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A Socialist colony in Southern California, founded 100 years ago

Posted May 21, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]

On May 1, 1914, the Socialist colony of Llano Del Rio was founded in the Antelope Valley, about 70 miles northeast of Los Angeles, in the southern edge of the Mojave Desert.
It lasted about three and half years, and at its peak over a thousand people lived there.
On a recent weekend, a couple dozen Southern California artists paid tribute to the centennial of this …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews »

An astronaut’s biography, and a musician’s novel

Posted May 16, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Landing June 3rd in bookstores

The Echo may not seem a place for a book party, much less a pajama party, but last night it served as both those things.  Writer Willy Vlautin came to town from Portland to launch his fourth novel, The Free, and attendees were encouraged to wear their PJ’s and bring their pillows.  The event was hosted by Chuck Palahniuk of Fight Club fame, and …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews »

Sci-fi takes center stage at Sci-Fest in Hollywood

Posted May 14, 2014 by | 2 Comments | ]

The idea came to actor David Dean Bottrell (“Boston Legal,” “And the Band Played On”) a few years back, after he’d read a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin: How about a festival of science fiction-themed stage plays?
The genre had morphed and changed over recent years thanks to high-tech wizardry in movies and on TV; Bottrell liked the haunting, more suggestive possibilities of live …

Environment, Featured, Interviews, News, Politics »

Sen. Barbara Boxer on decommissioning nuclear plants

Posted May 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]

The nuclear decommissioning process is flawed. That’s the message coming out of Washington D.C. today.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, which held a hearing this morning on retired nuclear power plants. Senator Boxer introduced one of three bills yesterday to change how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversees decommissioning.
The move comes as Southern California is preparing for the …

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

Garcetti on film credits, bicycling and Donald Sterling

Posted May 13, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti rides his bike to work on Monday.

As you’ve probably heard, film and TV production is leaving California, to the alarm of Hollywood and local lawmakers.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the mayors of several other big California cities sent a letter today to legislative leaders in Sacramento, calling on them to pass an extension of the state’s film and TV tax credit program.
“I’ve watched, as an Angeleno, while we see …

Headline, Interviews, Issues, LA Noir, Politics »

Mixer: County lockup and Clippers lockout

Posted May 9, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
friday mixer square

Douglas Morino reports for the newly-created Los Angeles Register, and  Ben Bolch covers the NBA for the LA Times. They both joined us for this week’s Mixer.
The LA County Board of Supervisors, who voted this week to approve a nearly $2 billion plan to tear down and then rebuild Men’s Central Jail and build a campus-like women’s jail at the former Mira Loma Detention Center.
Central …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews »

How to tell a fake laugh from a real one

Posted May 6, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo by y i v a via Flickr/CC.

Admit it: you’ve done it. You’re on a bad date, or maybe in an awkward job interview, and you HAVE to fake-laugh at a dumb joke someone told.
Luckily it’s hard to tell the difference between that and the real thing. But some people can tell.
Greg Bryant teaches Communication Studies at UCLA, and he’s done research to find the small nuances that differentiate phony chortles …

economy, Featured, Interviews, News, Politics »

Torrance mayor ‘very disappointed’ Toyota is moving jobs to Texas

Posted April 28, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]

Toyota today said it is moving its U.S. headquarters from greater Los Angeles to the Dallas area.
The Japanese automaker says it’ll break ground this year on a new headquarters in Plano, Texas, about 25 miles north of Dallas.
The new campus will bring together about 4,000 employees from sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing and finance. And that includes 2,000 employees at the current headquarters in Torrance, …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Interviews, News »

A day in the life of Los Angeles

Posted April 24, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]

Professional filmmakers and aspiring documentarians are going to fan across Los Angeles County on Saturday to capture their visions of the city – what they love, and what could be improved.
It’s part of a day long event called One Day in LA.
The result will be turned into a three-part television program and website.
KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis discussed the project with Rory Mitchell and Kyle Ruddick, organizers …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Interviews, Sports »

Dodgers fans strike out with TV deal

Posted April 24, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]

The Los Angeles Dodgers host the Philadelphia Phillies again tonight at Chavez Ravine. First pitch is at 7:10. The Dodgers won last night.
Good luck in watching the game, though, if you’re not one of the more than 40,000 going to the game tonight, or a subscriber to Time Warner Cable.
The cable giant signed an $8 billion deal with the Dodgers to create SportsNet LA, …

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

Remixing cultural heritage and spiritual tradition from South Asia to Southern California

Posted April 23, 2014 by | 18 Comments | ]

While writer Amar Ravva and I sat chatting about his new book at the Echo Park Boathouse the other afternoon, a woman approached us with a colorful pamphlet. In broken English, she smiled and said something about God.
It was an appropriate exchange, given that Ravva’s new work is about a religious ritual he undergoes in India, at his mother’s request.
“American Canyon,” published by Southern California-based Kaya …

Headline, Interviews, News »

Jaron Lanier: ‘The Internet is worse’ than Congress

Posted April 23, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Jaron Lanier with his khene outside the KCRW studio.

For best-selling author Jaron Lanier, society’s dependence on digital networks kindled the economic recession and is responsible for the declining middle class. “What’s happening here is that we’re centralizing all the wealth with whoever has the biggest computer,” Lanier said, adding that the “Internet is worse [than Congress].”
Lanier is a computer systems expert, futurist, music composer, and virtual reality pioneer. He sold a start-up to Google …

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

Housing prices cause many to flee big cities

Posted April 17, 2014 by | 17 Comments | ]
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, Featured, Interviews, News »

The movement to convert a landmarked LA bridge into a park

Posted April 16, 2014 by | 4 Comments | ]

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, Featured, Food, Interviews, News »

Fine dining finds a place at Coachella

Posted April 15, 2014 by | 4 Comments | ]
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 …

economy, Education, Headline, Interviews, News, Politics »

No DWP hikes, early 405 opening, and a business tax cut

Posted April 10, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered his first state of the city address tonight, saying that the problems facing L.A. are not new – but, he said new solutions are needed.
“It is time for a modern mayor to help build a new city government, focused on four cornerstones: a well-run government, a strong economy, a high quality of life, and public safety,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti …

Arts & Culture, Featured, 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 …

Education, Interviews, Issues, LA Noir, Politics »

Mixer: Sheriff’s union dust-up and school money comes-up

Posted April 4, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
friday mixer square

Cindy Chang from the LA Times and Vanessa Romo from joined us to mix it up today.
There’s a strange battle going on within the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, and now a judge has gotten involved.
Last month, newly elected president Armando Macias was kicked out and a different president installed.
But Macias refused to give up his seat, bringing at least two union board members with …

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

Runaway production: Inside the ‘Poacher’s Convention’

Posted April 4, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
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

Posted April 4, 2014 by | 2 Comments | ]
Bill Maher and the Twitter bird

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 …

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