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Who is your favorite LA songwriter? KCRW’s Anthony Valadez and others weigh in!

640px-Stevie_Wonder_1973

The Mamas & the Papas longed to be “safe and warm” in L.A. Tom Petty sang about a “freeway runnin’ through the yard.” And in “L.A. is My Lady,” Frank Sinatra crooned: “I brought her my wildest of dreams and she came up with the answer.”
The long list of songs about Los Angeles includes odes to cruising on Sunset, experiencing the rare rainy day, …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Featured, Headline, Interviews, News »

Photos: Remembering Pacific Ocean Park

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From the late 1950s to the late ‘60s, Angelenos looking for music, dancing and rides, found the party at Pacific Ocean Park.
The beachside theme park – that jetted out into the Pacific – sat on 28 acres of land at the border of Santa Monica and Venice.
It featured rides created by Hollywood set designers, setting it apart from the standard, ordinary rides at Santa …

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Skid Row artists display their work at MOCA

SKID ROW feature

Downtown LA’s Skid Row hosts the largest concentration of homeless people in the country.
KCRW’s Press Play  covered the city’s latest efforts to address the growing number of people affected by homeless.  The recent Department of Veterans Affairs scandal has motivated many, including First Lady Michelle Obama, to scrutinize how we care for our country’s homeless veterans.
Local officials are trying to change their approach to homeless …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Taiko drumming: ‘Not just Asian anymore’

Maz Baba

This week, 500 international masters and scholars of Taiko have descended on Los Angeles for an unprecedented gathering.
They’re dissecting every aspect of this unique style of drumming and performance, and this weekend in Little Tokyo, they’ll show their stuff in several public performances.
To mark the occasion, we spoke with Masato Baba, considered to be the best Taiko drummer in the United States. A native …

economy, Featured, Issues, LA Noir, News, Politics, Silicon Beach »

Mixer: Reporting from a foreign land is tough – just ask a Brit in LA

friday mixer square

For people who are not familiar with Los Angeles – who aren’t from here, but have to report about the things happening around here, particularly from a media and business standpoint – our neighborhood can be a pretty daunting place.  
All the eccentricities, idiosyncrasies, and moving parts behind-the-scenes make for all kinds of drama fit for an epic Hollywood screenplay.
But in real life, Matthew …

Featured, Interviews, Issues, News, Politics »

LA County CEO William Fujioka to step down

Outgoing LA County CEO William Fujioka

Los Angeles County CEO William Fujioka says he will retire in November, after more than seven years as the county’s top official and more than 40 years in public service. Fujioka says he planned to leave five years ago, but the Great Recession led him to postpone his leave.
He spoke to KCRW’s Avishay Artsy about whether the County is better off now than it …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Headline, News »

An olfactory guide to Los Angeles

KCRW's Steve Chiotakis, left, takes a big whiff of East LA from a scent strip held by artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter.

What does your neighborhood smell like?
It’s not a question we ask ourselves often, and yet it’s something we notice every day. Is it the smell of sea air, freshly-cut grass, car exhaust, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, urine, or something else?
Los Angeles artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter posted a survey online and received dozens of responses. He used that information to create 11 scents that correspond to different …

California Elections, economy, Environment, Issues, LA Noir, News, Politics, The New Mayor »

Mixer: Tripping on sidewalks and all those pot shops

friday mixer square

A Los Angeles City Council committee has voted to conduct a pilot program to replace some problem sidewalks, with a material that’s a bit more resilient and porous.
Those are things like rubber, crushed asphalt, or decomposed granite.
Adrian Glick-Kudler, senior editor at Curbed LA, says the idea is that the more porous the material, the more water that material will allow to seep into groundwater …

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

What’s the big f*&#ing deal with the F-word?

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti at the LA Kings rally at the Staples Center on Monday, June 16.

The F-bomb that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti dropped on the city on Monday has quickly blown up into a debate over what politicians should be allowed to get away with these days.
Speaking in front of thousands of fans at a public rally celebrating the LA Kings’ Stanley Cup victory, Garcetti told everyone there are two things an elected official should never do in …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Photographing a changing Downtown LA

photograph by William Reagh

Every day, it seems, comes the announcement of a new development in downtown Los Angeles. But the current transformation isn’t the first time for the neighborhood. Back in the sixties, nearly 150 acres around Bunker Hill were claimed by the city through eminent domain, and mowed down to start from scratch.
The late photographer William Reagh was there to chronicle every step of it. Over …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Interviews, News »

Steve Ballmer offers $2 billion for the LA Clippers

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has made a bid to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team for $2 billion.
The Los Angeles Times reports that would be a record price for an NBA team. The next highest sale in the league was for the Milwaukee Bucks, which garnered $550 million.
In today’s announcement, Ballmer reportedly beat out LA investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh ($1.2 billion), …

California Elections, Featured, News, Politics »

Interview with Raphe Sonenshein on LA Sheriff, Supervisors’ Race

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Sheriff’s Race
For the time since 1998, the role of LA County Sheriff in is question as voters go to the polls on June 3rd. The Sheriff’s department is under scrutiny following scandals involving favoritism in hiring, obstruction of justice, and abuse of prisoners in County jails.
Raphe Sonenshein joined Warren to discuss how voters will have to decide who would be the best candidate to clean …

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

Garcetti on film credits, bicycling and Donald Sterling

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, News »

Union Station turns 75, as rail transit revives

Union Station was the culmination of a long battle.

This Saturday May 3rd, Union Station celebrates its 75th birthday. And it does so as rail transit in LA undergoes a revival, with 75,000 people using the station daily, and a huge expansion being planned that may include a terminus for (the much-contested) high speed rail.
The building itself is now widely regarded as an architectural landmark, with its “Mission Moderne” Spanish-style exterior of white walls …

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

Councilman Bernard Parks visits ‘The Bold and The Beautiful’

LA City Councilman Bernard Parks in a scene from "The Bold and The Beautiful."

LA City Councilman Bernard Parks will make his soap opera debut on Friday on CBS daytime drama “The Bold and The Beautiful.” The councilman will be on the show to promote animal adoption in a scene with series regulars Scott Clifton and Kim Matula.
This continues the long tradition of Los Angeles elected officials appearing on television playing themselves, including former mayors Sam Yorty, Tom …

Arts & Culture, Featured, Headline, Politics, Sports, Zocalo Public Square »

Is Donald Sterling a product of Los Angeles?

sterling

Late in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction, Marsellus Wallace—a criminal boss played by Ving Rhames—banishes prizefighter Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) from Southern California. “You lost all your L.A. privileges,” Rhames says with lethal menace, and Willis leaves the Southland on his motorcycle.
If only it were that easy to kick Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling out of L.A. But, alas, Tarantino’s film is …

Arts & Culture, Headline, Interviews, News »

A day in the life of Los Angeles

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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, 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 …

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

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

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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

herbalife

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 …

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