Posts Tagged ‘Local Interest’

HOOD – Laurel & Hardy’s Culver City

YouTube Preview Image “Many scenes in the Hal Roach comedies were shot on the streets of Culver City. The brilliant designer and pop culture historian Piet Schreuders creates a computer model of Culver City as it looked in the 20′s – and matches-in scenes from Laurel and Hardy comedies that were shot on site.”

I saw this a few years ago and it just blew me away. The amount of loving and precise effort this one man put into matching up the scenery is so impressive. Unfortunately, some of it isn’t subtitled, but it doesn’t really matter.

For a 13-page PDF of background about this clip, click here.

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FLASHBACK – War on the Sunset Strip, Daddio!

Original post 10/19/09
The google video embed directly below is being inexplicably temperamental, so if the video doesn’t play for you, please click here to view it directly on google.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3472800140109729771
This eight minute video shows the culture clash cç one of the Sunset Strip curfew riots (AKA the “LA hippie riots”), a series of crowd control confrontations which occurred in the mid 1960s to early 1970s between insubordinate hippies and angry grown-ups (via the LAPD). Basically, the kids weren’t big on authority… and authority didn’t like that the kids weren’t big on authority. Soooo, drama ensued.

You know how it is… the Man’s always trying to keep us down!!!

Anyhoo, as a little treat… after the jump, please enjoy Hollywood’s far more entertaining and groovy take on these same crazy hoodlum youngsters of our city’s past… behold a few scenes from the 1967 film, Riot on The Sunset Strip.

Can you dig it? I knew that you could! (more…)

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RIP – Bill Binder, Philippe’s Patriarch

philippes

William “Bill” Binder (seen above left, with sons Richard and John circa 1982), who for years ran Philippe’s, the Los Angeles eating institution famous for its sawdust-covered floors and trademark French dip sandwiches, has died. He was 94.

Binder, who retired in 1985, died Jan. 28 of natural causes at a care facility in Pasadena, said his son John, who runs Philippe’s with his brother, Richard.

“He had a real mild temperament; he always tried to treat everybody with respect,” John Binder said. “He had a very, very deep religious belief. He felt we were just so blessed to have the business.” (more…)

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REVISIT – Radiated Runkle Canyon

Every once in a while I’m going to repost certain topics that I feel are particularly fun, interesting or important for people to learn about. This topic is obviously the latter. I couldn’t find any real updates on the current status of the Runkle Canyon development, but when I do, you’ll know.
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Original post: July 25, 2009

You’ve heard of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
Have you ever heard of Rocketdyne or Runkle Canyon? YouTube Preview Image

Frighteningly, very few people actually have… especially considering that in 1959, what is considered to be the worst nuclear accident in American history actually happened just 30 miles outside of Los Angeles, spreading up to 459 times the contamination of Three Mile Island across Simi Valley. (Note to self: *always* take a Silkwood shower after driving through Simi Valley.)

Shockingly, the scope of the partial meltdown at the Boeing-Rocketdyne sodium reactor was covered up. In September 2005, 100 local residents filed a class-action lawsuit amid fears of cancer and thyroid issues and were awarded $30 million in damages. It was only during this lawsuit four years ago – 45 years after the meltdown – that the extent of the radioactive iodine leak was confirmed. Meanwhile, land developers have been proposing to build 461 residences in the 1,500-acre contaminated canyon (including 138 units for senior citizens) to this day despite legitimate protests. YIKES.

Here is a timeline of the Rocketdyne events. A scary History Channel program about the incident featured after the jump.

(more…)

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EVENT – As Michael Jackson once said… “Jam On!”

SUNDAY, AUGUST 2nd
jam What:  4th ANNUAL PUBLIC FRUIT JAM
Where: Machine Project, 1200 N Alvarado Street
When: 10:00am-1:00pm
Price: FREEEEE!
Details: “Yesiree, it’s that ripe time of year again! Making jam and getting into sticky situations with Fallen Fruit collective is one of our favorite summertime traditions! Bring along your home-grown or public fruit and any clean, empty glass jars you have. At the end everyone will leave with a jar of communal jam. If enough people bring surplus, even the empty handed will leave with jam. Vats of fun for all!

The kinds of jam we make will improvise on the fruit that people provide. The fruit can be fresh or frozen. Fallen Fruit will bring public fruit. We are looking for radical and experimental jams as well, like basil guava or lemon pepper jelly. We’ll discuss the basics of jam and jelly making, pectin and bindings, as well as the communal power of shared fruit and the liberation of public fruit… Thanks very much to Slow Food LA for their help in funding this event!”
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FLASHBACK – A Day with The Doors

The following video “tells the story of Gary and Henry, two wild and crazy guys from the 60′s who designed albums covers for some of the biggest names in Rock and Roll… Gary and Henry discuss (with Ray Manzarek) how they came up with the infamous MORRISON HOTEL cover. They revisit the old hotel in downtown Los Angeles where they took the now classic shots of the doors in the hotel window. What’s amazing about this story is how different the world was back then. You can imagine today, taking a major rock and roll band to hotel with no advance notice and asking, “Hey mind if we take a few pictures?” Today, it would take months to set up the shoot and it would include bus loads of advertising people, reps from the record company, legal observers, and many many assistants. Ad to this, a full catering truck and security and you get the picture!”

See what The Morrison Hotel looks like today after the jump. Let’s just say I doubt you’ll be rushing there to book a room.

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(more…)

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RIP – Julius Schulman, California Cool Photographer

Case Study House No. 22 Sometimes I’ll start researching an article and then realize someone else has already crafted the post I was about to do. This is one of those times, so rather than re-invent the wheel, let me just say that Flavorpill did a great post on late architectural photographer Julius Shulman this morning. Schulman, who passed away on July 15th at 98, masterfully framed the “California cool” lifestyle as modernism entered the Southland landscape. His photos make me want to sit on an avocado green divan and drink a martini. Yes, I know it’s 10am. Your point?

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FOCUS – Me-Tagging the LA River

Chicano artist Leo Limón has been painting the drains of the Los Angeles River for twenty years. In this interview from 2005, he explains what he calls “me-tagging.”
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Leo Limón
‘s activities date back to the very formative years of the Chicano Art Movement and his work reflects the vision, aspirations and images of his surroundings and roots. For 30 plus years he has being painting the Los Angeles River Cat faces on the storm-drain covers and is involved with groups whose efforts are to revive the river as a historic region, cultural arts enclave and tourist destination.”

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GOOD CAUSE – 826LA’s Paddle Boat Regatta

***Echo Park Paddleboat Regatta deadline is MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!***

826LA Echo Park Regatta What: 826LA’s Echo Park Lake Paddle Boat Regatta
When:
Sunday, July 26, 2009, 4pm
Where: Echo Park Lake. Duh.
Who: You! Sponsor a team! Donate prizes! Just show up to gawk and cheer or JOIN IN AND RACE – bring friends or join a pre-existing team.
Why: Because it’s great Sunday fun to mow down swamp turtles with a paddle boat! Oh, and it’s also cool to raise money for the kids of 826LA. *PLUS* there are PRIZES and goodie bags involved! Wheeeee!

Details: “On Sunday, July 26, 90 paddle-boaters (45 teams) will meet for the second annual 826LA Echo Park Lake Paddle Boat Regatta. These fearless navigators will brave the elements, the geese, and each other as they race through (the possibly monster-infested) Echo Park Lake to earn the title of World’s Best Paddle Boat Racers and to raise funds for 826LA. Teams pre-register online, then solicit donations from friends, family, significant others, passers-by on the street, and large corporations—all to secure a better starting position.” Registration and fundraising for the Regatta closes midnight on July 24th.

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MATINEE – Simon Rodia & The Watts Towers

YouTube Preview Image rodiaTHE TOWERS (1957; 12 minutes) is a documentary about Simon Rodia (1879-1965) building the Watts Towers.

Details: Born near the Naples, Italy, Simon Rodia emigrated to Pennsylvania at 15. When his brother was killed in a mining accident, Simon moved to the West Coast and eventually settled in Watts in the early 1920s. He began creating the towers in 1921 and finished in 1948. Seven years later, frustrated by vandalism and disputes with his neighbors, he suddenly gave the property to neighbor Luis Sauceda and walked away. He was 75 years of age.

Simon Rodia lived in Martinez, California until his death in 1965. He never viewed his Towers again. (more…)

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HOT ANGELENO – Ralph J. Bunche

Ralph J. Bunche signing stuffSome people believe L.A.’s most important residents are the ones who have reality shows… but today’s sizzling Hot Angeleno was sexy cool in his own right. He didn’t have rock hard abs (that we know of), but he clearly worked pretty hard on other less-important things.

HiddenLA‘s HOT Angeleno of the Day: RALPH JOHNSON BUNCHE!!!

(August 7, 1904-1971) Orphaned at age 12, Ralph and his two sisters moved to Los Angeles to live with their grandmother, a former slave who “appeared Caucasian on the outside but was all black fervor inside.” As a teen he was an accomplished athlete who worked all sorts of odd jobs to help his family survive. He was the senior class valedictorian at Jefferson High School in South Central and began his college studies at UCLA (which was then located on Vermont where City College is). Then he went on to get a few other degrees and do a few other important things. And he helped to write some stuff too. Oh yeah, I almost forgot… then at 46 years of age he became THE VERY FIRST PERSON OF COLOR FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD to ever receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. OMG! TOTALLY HOTTTTT!!! (more…)

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LOCAL – L.A. Nature Lovers

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2099984916464728483 At left is a silent video (circa 1930s) taken by the NATURE FRIENDS LOS ANGELES, headquartered in Sierra Madre.

Their umbrella organization was originally founded in Austria in 1895 as Naturfreunde, a non-profit Alpine social club formed to promote tourism with a minimal effect on the environment (an early version of eco-tourism), international friendship and understanding. The Los Angeles branch was opened in 1920. The club is still active and membership is very affordable. In order to join you need to be sponsored and recommended by two members, but if you are a nice person who’s really “interested in nature, conservation, hiking and the outdoors” I’m sure they’d probably befriend you. Maybe you could see about joining them for movie night on Saturday, July 25th and introduce yourself.

This (again, silent) video captures images of:
• The club’s weekend activities at their lodge in Sierra Madre;
• Construction of a cabin in the San Jacinto Mountains;
• Outings to the Coachella Valley desert;
• A beach party near Corona del Mar in Orange County;
• Skiing at Big Pines;
• Driving through Angeles Crest;

• Hiking to San Gabriel Peak… and other vintage L.A. nature-lovin’ stuff. :)

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AMEN! – Let There Be Pumpkin Bread

slice

*To launch a photo gallery documenting our pilgrimage for holy pumpkin bread, click on the adorable nun below.*

“Faint angel whispers in the breeze
in roses,
in pumpkin bread,
chocolates.
The best kept secret in Hollywood
tucked in folded hands,
behind eyelids,
and closed corridors…”

Read full story after the jump. (more…)

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BEST OF LA – Dwell’s List

figueroa-hotel-squaresmall-world-bookstore-square heath-ceramics-squarefathers-office-square Dwell Magazine‘s fancy shmancy LA design event ended last month, but they left something very cool behind for us to enjoy. Behold Dwell’s GUIDE TO LOS ANGELES, a handy little compendium of coolness compiled for their event attendees. (I love alliteration, don’t you?) The Dwellsters clearly have good taste. Me likey this list. Me likey this list long time.

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GLORY DAYS – Sheriffs Love LA!

YouTube Preview Image Once upon a time, in a land not far away at all, existed a magical paradise a land filled with the sexiest weather in the world, beautiful and witty people, strange languages and edgy, rockin’ kids that never had to grow up… a place so inherently charming that even the prostitutes and lawyers were *totally* adorable.

Yep, once upon a time, being an Angeleno was such a source of pride that even our civil servants were all-smiles… as documented in this (sadly poor quality) recruitment video for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Believe it or not, I actually remember seeing this promo aired on regular tv and I was in awe of it even then. So for a moment, let’s embrace our carefree glory days… back when criminals were just harmless middle-aged crazy-haired punks and successful CPR on a child only took one breath. And be sure to keep your eye open for the quick Michael Landon cameo. Also featured: long-time County Sheriff Sherman Block, a man who almost kept the job posthumously, even managing to cast an absentee ballot for himself as he died. Now *that’s* dedication.

As for those of you who think this video was a bad representation of the Sheriffs Department? Well, they’ve had worse.

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EVENTS – The Close Up 7/6-12

Note: Event listings are updated during the week as we see fit.

Now through 8/31/09 – Photography: The Billboard Show
7/9/09 – Downtown LA Artwalk
7/10-12/09 – Echo Park Community Festival
7/11/09 – Historic North Hollywood Walking Tour, 80′s Prom
Party
7/12/09
– Bastille Day Los Angeles; Art and Poetry with Exene Cervenka

billboard showONGOING THROUGH AUGUST 31st
What: THE BILLBOARD SHOW
Selling the California Lifestyle – Photographic Landscapes of the 1950s & 1960s
Where:
Take My Picture Gary Leonard 860 South Broadway, Downtown (213) 622-2256
When:
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am–2pm & 3–6pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am–2pm; Saturdays 12–6pm; Sundays 12–3pm
Price: FREEEEE!

Details: “Ever since taking a photograph of the Dodgers as a little boy in 1959, Gary Leonard has documented the mercurial landscape of Los Angeles, from the political to the cultural and economic. A former employee of billboard advertising company Pacific Outdoor recently gave Leonard thousands of billboard slides, a hundred of which are now on view at Leonard’s gallery, Take My Picture (named after his column in various regional publications). Advertising everything from funeral services and early fax machines to civic defense and entertainment, the images provide a rare historical survey of mid-century American commercial design, proving that, much like one of his influences, Weegee, Gary Leonard has an excellent sense of timing.” (SOURCE)

(more…)

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RIP – Local Legend Bob Mitchell, 96

UPDATED 7/12/09:
Something about Bob I didn’t know… he was also the first organist for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nice little blurb about it here.

UPDATED 7/9/09:
A funeral Mass for Bob Mitchell will be Friday, July 10, at 9:30 a.m.
at Christ the King Catholic Church, 624 N. Rossmore Ave., Los Angeles 90004 Map Website.
Interment will follow at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90038 Map Website.

A Tribute to Bob Mitchell A memorial noonday concert will take place at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, 540 S. Commonwealth Ave. (at 6th St.), on Thursday, August 13, at 12:10 p.m. Several organists will participate in this program and admission is free to all. More

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BOB MITCHELL Silent Film Organist

October 12, 1912 – July 4, 2009

(more…)

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JULY 4TH – Eating Doritos for My Country

©USC Digital Archive Still no plans for July 4th? I’m with ya. So much to do, so many possibilities, yet I always just end up sitting in a backyard somewhere eating too many Doritos. While I’m definitely an America Lover, I’ll be honest, the 4th isn’t really my fave holiday so who am I to tell you what’s best to do for it? I’d rather just open up your scope of possibility by giving a few links (see after the jump) to other people who will tell you where to haul your patriotic butt. Meanwhile, I’ll just sit here and eat my Doritos. Fair enough? My only request is that you avoid going to see craggy ol’ John Fogerty at the Hollywood Bowl, as he is my arch nemesis. Long story.

Okay kids, all together now… Ooooh! Aaaaaah! (more…)

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LOCAL – The Crazy Robertson

YouTube Preview Image I’ve been learning surprising new things every single day since I created this site. I now know that there’s a catfish pond on La Cienega and a secret DMV, for example! But today’s revelation has blown me away.

Right after I moved back into town last August, I was walking down Robertson and pondered aloud to a friend, “I wonder what ever happened to the homeless guy who used to roller disco on this corner…” Prior to moving away, I had eaten many a weekend breakfast while watching this long-limbed man in spandex dancing spastically to a boombox… the corner seemed so empty and sad without him on it. My friends and I always commented on his groovy dance routines (while wondering aloud how anyone could possibly bear to exercise in the Santa Ana sun while wearing so much tight black clothing), and I’ll admit I felt a pang of remorse to consider I might never have his sweet moves to go with my pancakes ever again. Fearful that the man’s story of homelessness and mental issues may have ended in the worst way, I tried not to dwell on it. But the thing is, I’m a dweller. I *had* to know the answer of what happened to him. So today I turned to Google to research the fate of my mystery homeless dance king.

There was no possibly way on Earth to expect what I found… it appears that John Wesley Jermien (AKA “Crazy Robertson“) apparently became a hipster fashion icon while I was away.

WAIT… WHAT??!?

(more…)

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MATINEE – Muscle Beach Party

FULL FILM AFTER THE JUMP! YAY!
In honor of the upcoming festivities celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Venice’s Historic Muscle Beach and the crowning of Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach 2009, we would like to take this moment to present a true piece of Southern California movie nostalgia, the star-studded 1960′s beach classic… MUSCLE BEACH PARTY!!! WOOO HOOOOO!!!!

Okay, so it’s no Beach Blanket Bingo, I’ll admit… but if you have doubts about the cheesy, iconic goodness of this hormonal-teens-on-the-beach saga then dig this, chickies:

  1. The film was directed by William Asher, who besides being a driving force of the beach movie genre was the lead director on both I Love Lucy and Bewitched (he was also Elizabeth Montgomery‘s husband). All of which by default brands him as permanently awesome.
  2. The cast of this little flick included the following people: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Don Rickles, Dick Dale, Morey Amsterdam, Buddy Hackett, Dan Haggerty (aka Grizzly Adams), Bill Graham (!!!), Peter Lorre (!!?) and LITTLE STEVIE FRIGGIN’ WONDER (he’s towards the end).

Yes that’s right. Stevie Wonder was actually in Muscle Beach Party. Learned something today, didn’t you? Well, don’t worry… school’s over now. Time to hit the beach, moondoggie! (more…)

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TIP – Best Driving Shortcuts

If you’re traveling to LAX any time soon, the Trip Films video below might be a lifesaver for you, so check it out.

There are also many more great driving tips to be found at MyTrafficShortcuts.com (11/09 UPDATE: WHOOPS. LOOKS LIKE THE SITE IS DOWN)… not just to help you get around Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, but also if you find yourself stuck in that pesky bumper to bumper gridlock from Sharjah to Dubai. Because wow, that’s a bear, ya know what I mean? (Nah, I’ve never been there either.)

Have your own shortcuts? Leave them in the comments… we want to know too!!!

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SURPRISE! – Your Local Catfish Pond

Ever dream of going straight from work to your favorite local fishing hole to unwind… your loyal dog by your side? Unfortunately, although Andy and Opie Taylor’s fishing hole is right around the corner, fishing isn’t legal there. But if you feel like dropping your hook in the water tonight you can try skipping right down La Cienega to Kenneth Hahn Park. There’s a small, fully-stocked man-made pond right there — fully planted with catfish just three weeks ago. The catch limit is five fish per person per day and leashed dogs are welcomed. Quien es mas macho than taking home some fresh dinner you caught yourself? CATFISH. YUM.

Here are some tips on how to catch them. See pretty photos of your local catfish pond after the jump!
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If you prefer natural stream fishing, there are plenty of places for that as well… they’re just a bit more of a drive.

Never been fishing before, but still dream of channeling Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It (sans near-drowning)? Doc’s Ski Haus in Santa Monica offers up far more than snowboards, they also hold introductory classes designed for the beginner to intermediate fly fisherperson. No fly-fishing experience is necessary. The cost is $60 dollars and it includes two one-hour classes:

First class (Wednesdays 6:30pm): You’ll learn knots that will last you a lifetime and the basics on flies;
Second class (Saturdays 9am): A casting lesson at Douglas park in Santa Monica.

As a promotion, Doc’s issues a $30 dollar credit from your tuition to spend on new equipment for your fishing trips.

OTHER CURRENT FISH-STOCKED WATERS IN LOS ANGELES Trout: Bouquet Canyon Creek, Castaic Lagoon and Pyramid Lake;  Catfish: Alondra Park Lake, Belvedere Lake, Hansen Lake, Hollenbeck Lake, Lincoln Park Lake and Magic Johnson Lake. FISHING LICENSE INFO.
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SOCIALIZE – SoCal Movie Fanatics

scmf Longing to find the Siskel to your Ebert? Well SoCal Movie Fanatics is a Meetup group for local movie addicts and holds events at least a few times a week. Their latest upcoming schedule follows below:

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WEB – In SRO Land

Each spring, L.A.’s popular time-travel blog 1947project reinvents itself. For the first three years, it followed a chronological crime-a-day format by painstakingly scouring newspapers for incredible forgotten tales of crime and infamy from particular years (1947, 1927 and 1907 were all featured). Then the On Bunker Hill blog which followed was “a house-by-house survey of the great old downtown residential neighborhood that was demolished to create the high rise district that shares its name, but none of its charms.” The contributors – including authors, librarians, bloggers, psychologists, film scholars, art historians, artists and tour guides – dug deep into historic archives to uncover fascinating tales of more than a century of life on old Bunker Hill.

Well, the latest incarnation of Kim Cooper‘s baby has officially been born as of today, and it’s got a name: In SRO Land: lost lore of the Historic Core. The blog’s contributors are an eclectic mix of prominent social historians and journalists who will “explore the forgotten history of Downtown LA, up the grand entertainment boulevard of Broadway (where SRO means “Standing Room Only”) and down the mean streets of Main (where SRO stands for “Single Room Occupancy,” shorthand for a rented room with a sink in the corner, shared toilet down the hall). Between these two poles, straddling the financial center of Spring Street, modern Los Angeles was born.” Check it out!

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