There are few things we can truly count on in life,
but we can always count on Marty & Elayne to be…
Marty & Elayne.
‘Cuz they’ve got us… under their dermis.
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.”
“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.”
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…)
Some 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…)
Something about Bob I didn’t know… he was also the first organist for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nice little blurb about it here.
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
BOB MITCHELL Silent Film Organist
October 12, 1912 – July 4, 2009
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.
Sadly, flashing back to this city’s past isn’t always going to be beach parties and good times. Perhaps no crimes will ever stop the heart of Los Angeles the way the Manson murders did, and in honor of their 40 year anniversary, Los Angeles Magazine is currently featuring a web exclusive primer on Manson, including an oral history of interviews with the people involved.
Exactly forty years ago today – July 1, 1969 – a 34 year-old racist ex-convict and wanna-be folk singer named Charles Manson shot a black drug dealer by the name of Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe in an apartment building that once stood where the Magic Castle Hotel now resides. As the story goes, mistakenly believing that he had committed murder and that Crowe was a member of the Black Panther Party, Manson expected retribution from the gang. So throughout the summer of 1969, Charles Manson orchestrated the grisliest murder spree in Los Angeles history partly in an effort to frame the Panthers and force the police to arrest them. With these murders, Angelenos were consumed with pure confusion and terror. The wealthy, the famous and the beautiful had suddenly become innocent victims of horrific, unsolved violence… and if the privileged weren’t safe, who WAS? Los Angeles filled with fear, and its collective perspective on the face of evil changed the second Charles Manson and his unique brand of scary entered their radar six months later. In December 1969, Manson and several of his followers were arrested. The trial began on July 24, 1970. On January 25, Manson was found guilty of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. On March 29, 1971, Manson was sentenced to death. And there he remains, on death row.
The videos I’m including after the jump are in chronological order and, obviously, not for the faint of heart. They are as follows:
- Footage featuring original CBS news coverage of the Tate and LaBianca murders;
- News report filmed 8 weeks after Manson’s arrest with an eyewitness account of Spahn Movie Ranch;
- Charles Manson in all his crazy glory on the Today Show in 1994;
- A History Channel Series which followed the later lives of the people most affected (for the full 5-part playlist, click here);
- Diane Sawyer interviewing repentant and dying Family member Susan Atkins in 2008. (Atkins’ next parole hearing is set for September 2nd, 2009.)
What: Lisa Jack Photography Exhibit: Barack Obama: The Freshman
When: Until July 18, Tuesdays–Saturdays (10am–6pm)
Where: M+B Gallery 612 N Almont Dr, WeHo (310) 550-0050
I hate to break so many fantasies… but quite a few Americans who’ve never stepped within the city limits of Los Angeles have an awfully tough time believing that the typical “LA person” isn’t a shallow, illiterate, wanna-be fame whore who flashes their crotch at strangers and opens fire on other cars in traffic whenever possible. Admittedly, perhaps it seems less fun to acknowledge that the vast majority of our neighbors are actually just average, decent, hard working folks who are more focused on feeding their families than world fame, who regularly wear underwear and who don’t take sawed-off shotguns along to commute the 101. (Well, unless we’re having a really bad day.)
Sometimes the reality is interesting too, though. The People of Silver Lake is a sweet little documentary made by the Silver Lake History Collective in an effort to document and explore the human mixing pot of their neighborhood. The film is divided into four YouTube parts and follows five long-time locals as they tell their stories, exposing the diversity of personalities and cultures that make up a Los Angeles neighborhood. Note: No crotch flashing or violence shown. (Sorry!) Storytellers include: artist Alberto Hernandez, resturauteur Larry Nicola, Marion Spencer, Don Jarvis, and Dr. Sekaye Shigekawa (who tells of her stay in a Japanese internment camp at Santa Anita during WW2).
In case it doesn’t autoplay the clips in order, here is the full playlist for all four parts. Also, a map of Silver Lake is after the jump for those who don’t know the area.
Up until a few days ago, I had never set foot in the Angelus Temple in Echo Park. Not being much for organized religion myself, this might not seem unusual… except that the temple is one of the more noteworthy parts of my family heritage. At 19, my Grandma Beulah preached at Pentacostal tent revivals alongside the woman who built the temple, Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, and often babysat Aimee’s son Rolf who recently passed away. I’ve passed the huge structure so many times that getting out of my car and walking inside was a long overdue experience.
To say that Sister Aimee was one of the most influential and controversial women of the 20th Century in America is an understatement. Let me put it this way… her following was so large that she estimated the entire $1.2 million cost of the temple (we’re talking 1924, people – think about it) was paid for with an average donation of TWO CENTS. I’ll be writing more about her in the future… now that I have this site, I have a great excuse to make myself get off my rear and do some research. My dream is to go through their archives and find some incredible photo of my nutty Grandma as a young girl speaking in tongues or something, but that will take time. So for the moment I’ll just share with you a photo I took of one of the temple’s original stained glass window after the jump. Sister Aimee is the woman portrayed kneeling on the bottom left. CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR A LARGER VIEW.
REASON 493: LOS ANGELES WILL EAT YOUR DREAMS FOR BREAKFAST
26 year-old Greg Insco‘s website begins, “The people that are crazy enough to change the world… DO.” Greg’s dream of changing the world? To be a contestant on Survivor. And knowing there was overwhelming competition to be noticed, Greg worked on a master plan… to walk directly from Cincinnati to the Survivor auditions being held at CBS in Santa Monica, more than 2,200 miles. The idea to make the journey on foot and hand deliver the tape first came from his best friend, Megan, who died more than two years ago. So as a tribute to her and his Tribal Council aspirations, he started his walk on April 9th youtubing and twittering the whole way. He arrived on Saturday. Along the way he didn’t lose faith… he was going to change the world and go to cast parties with Rudy Bosch come hell or painful blisters. He was going to follow the American dream and work hard… to get on a reality show.
Well, Greg made it to the auditions… (more…)
Next time you’re leaving the office and want to figure out the best route to make it home in time for Howie Do It, take a minute to log onto the online SigAlert page and see what’s happening on the roads first. The California Highway Patrol defines a SigAlert as “any traffic incident that will tie up two or more lanes of a freeway for two or more hours, as opposed to a planned event like road construction, which is planned separately.” Contrary to rumor, the name doesn’t come from the word “signal,” but rather is in honor of the system’s inventor Loyd C. Sigmon who passed away in 2004. Apparently the vanity license plate on his car even read SIGALRT.
Calvin Coolidge “Cal” Worthington was a bad ass. I mean, we’re talking about a man who braved Southern California heatwaves wearing a polyester cowboy leisure suit. For decades, he stood on top of biplanes in midair, rode charging hippos and wrassled bears and tigers. Just to get you to go see him. And it all paid off… a profile in the Sacramento Bee (published in 1990) stated that ol’ Cal grossed $316.8 million in 1988. Okay, now add inflation. That’s a lot of Fords, my friend.
Cal was one of the very first car dealers to appear in their own TV ads as a wacky character, promising if he couldn’t give you the best price that he would stand on his head or eat a bug. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any youtube videos of Cal eating bugs so I’m unsure if he ever actually ate any. But he did an awful lot of other stunts for rolling cameras, as evidenced below. (Turn your speakers down if you don’t want to be humming his theme song all day.)
From the first link:
Mr. Worthington came to Southern California in 1948 after a much-decorated military career piloting B-17 Flying Fortresses on 29 combat missions over Germany. He made enough selling used cars to start trading in war surplus. That’s what brought him to California, where it took him nearly two years to sell a ship full of corroded welding equipment he’d bought. He cleared $13,000, which was enough to buy a Muntz dealership.
Mr. Worthington became an early believer in the power of television advertising. Rather than buy ad spots, he produced entire programs. Every Saturday and Sunday night, he was host of a three-hour variety show broadcast live on a Los Angeles station from Cal’s Corral at his dealership. The show featured a who’s who of country music stars, including Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and Roger Miller. The rising cost of television time eventually forced Mr. Worthington to focus on shorter ads in which he praised specific cars on his lot while wearing a 10-gallon hat and a garish western suit from Nudie Cohn, the rodeo tailor.
One day a rival dealer appeared in commercials with his dog, named Storm. As a joke, Mr. Worthington started countering with ads featuring “my dog Spot.”
“Only Spot was never a dog,” he said with an infectious, off-kilter grin. “It was always a chicken, or a possum, or a duck or something. But it was never a dog.”
Over the years it became a signature gimmick. Mr. Worthington appeared with a zoo’s worth of creatures, including a lion, an elephant, a water buffalo, a gorilla, a tiger, a rhinoceros, assorted snakes and even a killer whale (which he rode) at Sea World.
Mr. Worthington, whose formal education ended with the ninth grade, said he had only one occasion to rue his lack of schooling. “I wanted to be an airline pilot after World War II, but the airlines wouldn’t take you unless you had a college degree,” he said.
Cal is 88 years old now and his son voices most of his current commercials. In addition to automobile dealerships, it’s said that the Worthington family owns ten ranches as well as three shopping centers and one office tower, grossing $600 million a year.
So really… there’s a big life lesson in this, people. Especially during hard economic times like these, if you really want to succeed in life sometimes you’ve just gotta just quit whining, take a deep breath, get up some courage and do something crazy to get yourself noticed. It might just pay off. Bug eating and bear wrestling (or trying out for a reality show, for that matter) isn’t original anymore so you may need to get a little more creative, though. Be a bad ass.
When the going gets tough, just think to yourself… WWCWD?