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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, 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 »

Trail to Hollywood sign temporarily closes

View from behind the Hollywood sign, reached by Hollyridge Trail. Photo via OrangesandAvocados.com.

This week it’s going to get a little harder to get an up-close view of the Hollywood sign.
The entrance to the Hollyridge Trail near the Hollywood Sign will be closed for about five weeks, starting Tuesday.
The city of Los Angeles is about to erect a heavier and bigger gate that’s harder for people to jump over.
Residents are celebrating. Tourists are grumbling. And it’s all …

Education, Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Tourist trap: New gate on popular Hollywood Sign trail

hollywoodsign

A popular hillside trail that offers one of the best views of the Hollywood Sign is shutting down tomorrow for five weeks. City crews are installing a new gate at the Hollyridge Trailhead in an effort to keep people out at night. The trail at the top of Beachwood Drive is ground zero in the debate between residents and city officials over access to …

Arts & Culture, economy, Environment, Featured, Issues, Politics, Warren Olney, water »

Residents keep wary on hillsides as rain pours down

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Concerns about mud and rock slides are increasing as a second, more powerful storm drops heavy rain on Southern California. Residents of more than 1,000 homes in the foothill communities of Glendora and Azusa have been ordered to evacuate, and the CHP has shit down a 10-mile stretch of PCH north of Malibu. Forecasters say the storm that blew in last night could drop …

Arts & Culture, Featured »

Oh, the horror: ‘Trophy Heads’ may not yield a statuette, but fans devour

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This week, while everyone else has been pontificating and speculating about the Academy Awards, I went to a loft building between Little Tokyo and Skid Row and got an inside glimpse at the other side of Hollywood: the film empire of Charles Band and his Full Moon Features.
In his 30 year career, Band has produced and directed hundreds of films, mostly of the horror …

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

Hollywood’s diversity problem

Photo of The Hollywood Sign by Eugene Wei via Flickr/CC.

Don’t look to TV and movies if you want to get a true sense of America’s racial diversity.
That’s according to researchers at UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. A new report from the Westwood campus says minorities are not making the final cut in Hollywood.
The U.S. Census Bureau says non-whites make up about 36 percent of the U.S. population. But UCLA …

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

Nichols exits but mystery of DWP non-profits persists

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City leaders hope the departure of General Manager Ron Nichols will help them solve the mystery of how $40 million in ratepayer funds was spent by two Department of Water and Power trusts created to improve labor relations. Nichols led one of trusts, and DWP union chief Brian D’Arcy heads the other. City officials have been stonewalled in their efforts to get information about …

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

Foes of denser, taller Hollywood cheer court ruling

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A judge says a zoning blueprint for denser development in Hollywood is fatally flawed. Approved last year, the Hollywood development plan cleared the way for denser projects and taller buildings. But Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman says the city didn’t fully consider the environmental impacts of such development. He’s ordered the city to rescind the plan and to stop issuing new permits. A …

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

President Obama visits DreamWorks, VFX animators protest

President Obama greets audience members on Nov. 26, 2013, when he visited the DreamWorks Animation studios in Glendale. (Credit: KTLA)

President Obama is back in Washington after a two-day swing through Los Angeles. Why was he here? To raise money and highlight the motion picture and television industry’s place in the economy.
In a speech at the DreamWorks Animation studios in Glendale, Obama praised the entertainment industry, noting that it supports “hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs.”
Obama raised an estimated $2.5 million  for House and …

Environment, Featured »

Photos: LA’s elusive cougars

Photo by Steve Winter/National Geographic
A hidden camera records Hollywood’s most reclusive star—this male cougar first seen in Griffith Park in Los Angeles almost two years ago. A radio collar tracks his moves, but residents see scant sign of him.

If you’ve hiked in Los Angeles, you’ve probably been on the lookout for mountain lions. Also known as cougars, the cats are actually pretty hard to find. Photographer Steve Winter teamed up with biologist Jeff Sikich in LA. Together they figured out a way to photograph the cats for a series called Ghost Cats, which appears in the December issue of National Geographic. The ultimate …

Arts & Culture, Education, Headline, Interviews, News »

New film offers groundbreaking look at Hollywood’s depictions of disabilities

Director Jenni Gold interviews actor Danny Murphy of Breaking Bad

Jenni Gold decided at age 8 that she wanted to be a director, and she came at that ambition in a not-so-typical way: She was appearing on a telethon to help raise money to battle Muscular Dystrophy, which she has. Dazzled by the production, she went on to earn not only an MFA, but, eventually, her DGA card, and to start her own production …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Interviews, LA Noir »

A mysterious death, Fatty Arbuckle, and the night that changed Hollywood

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Silent film star Fatty Arbuckle was on top of the world in 1921. Under contract to Paramount for a million dollars a year, with seven films in theaters, he was  living a lavish life in the early days of Hollywood.
Then came the incident that changed everything: the mysterious death of a young actress after a night of Prohibition-era partying. A charge of murder against …

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

Meet LA’s new film czar, Tom Sherak

Tom Sherak, the head of the Los Angeles Entertainment Industry and Production Office. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Los Angeles has a new film czar.
Today L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the appointment of Tom Sherak as head of the city’s Entertainment Industry and Production Office.
He’s a longtime Hollywood insider, and the former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Sherak will work on helping LA compete with other states and countries that offer generous tax incentives to lure away film, …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Interviews »

Ninety years of The Hollywood Sign

Photo of The Hollywood Sign by Eugene Wei via Flickr/CC.

Ninety years ago this year, the Hollywood Sign, those venerable boxy letters that designate an area of LA, were placed near the summit of Mt. Lee. And later this evening, there’s a big celebration to mark nine decades of tinsel-treasure.
Marc Wanamaker is a film historian and Hollywood expert, and spoke with KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis about those letters that spell fabulous.

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Hitler and Hollywood: Collaboration or subversion?

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Two books – one just released, one still being developed - tell two different stories about LA’s Jewish studio heads. At the same time these moguls were letting the Nazis edit the content of American films, they were funding  an underground network to spy on German agents sent to spread Hitler’s Third Reich in Los Angeles.
Warren spoke with Ben Urwand, author of “Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with …

Environment, Featured, Issues, Politics, Today's News »

Female vets accuse Filner of wrongdoing; Fire threatens San Jacinto towns; Millennium battle over earthquake threat

Official portrait of Bob Filner, mayor of San Diego

Filner scandal. Thirteen! That’s the number of women now accusing San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment.
The latest allegations may be the most damaging yet for the embattled mayor. Several female veterans – including a wounded marine and two women who were victims of sexual assault while they were in the military – say Filner harassed them. The women say that when Filner …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Issues »

Today’s News: Push to halt ticketing at broken meters; Green light for Hollywood towers; Deitch out at MOCA

parking meter

Parking peeve. Finding a broken parking meter used to be good luck for L.A. drivers – a free pass, so to speak. But since a new law went into effect at the beginning of the year, parking at a malfunctioning meter could earn you a ticket. Now that could be changing.
The City Council’s Transportation Committee voted 4-0 yesterday to recommend rescinding the broken parking …

Featured, Interviews, News, Politics »

LA City Council approves Millennium Hollywood project

The Millennium Hollywood dual-skyscraper development project.

Despite the loud objections of many residents, the Los Angeles City Council has unanimously approved the massive Millennium Hollywood dual-skyscraper development.
The city council voted 13-to-0 in favor of the Hollywood Millennium project, which features one-million square feet of office space, stores, a hotel and two 35-story or more skyscrapers that would dwarf the 13-story Capitol Records tower between them on Vine Street.
Today’s city council …

Featured, Issues, Politics »

Today’s News: Marauding minors set upon Hollywood; A banking job for Villaraigosa; High-tech license plates

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Hollywood hooligans. It was another violent night on the streets of L.A, but it had nothing to do with protests that erupted over the Trayvon Martin case. Police say up to 40 young people went on a robbery and vandalism spree along Hollywood Boulevard, grabbing purses, snatching cell phones and knocking people down.
The 911 calls started coming in after 9 p.m. Callers said marauding …

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