UPDATE: Jaime Escalante passed away from cancer on March 30, 2010.
This article is a repost from July 2009.
HiddenLA’s HOT Angeleno of the Day: JAIME ESCALANTE!!!
Our HOT Angeleno feature was created to prove a point and counter the perception that we’re all shallow dimwits here. Knowing this, normally this is about the time I’d make silly jokes about whether or not the accomplished person being profiled has rock-hard abs – just to be a smart ass. Today I’ll refrain from the silliness out of respect for the subject, though. Jaime Escalante was born in Chochabamba, Bolivia, where he began teaching physics and mathematics. In 1964 he decided to find a new life for himself in America, although he spoke no english and had no valid American teaching credentials. He began to go to night school at Pasadena City and CSULA, and in 1974 was hired to teach basic math at Garfield High in East LA. His students were disrespectful, unprepared and uninterested. He considered giving up teaching, but over time his incredible educational and motivational skills as a teacher ended up turning around a low-priority public high school as he single-handedly built a calculus program rivaled by only a few well-funded private academies. His teaching style and students’ accomplishments were the focus of the 1988 movie Stand And Deliver.
So THAT’S why he’s our Hot Angeleno today. But unfortunately, the story of Jaime Escalante didn’t play out as happily as the movie, which is why I won’t joke about his abs. It just doesn’t feel respectful, and he deserves to be honored. Bureaucracy and office politics aside, for our own sakes we need to embrace our passionate and caring educators and leaders instead of underpay them, knock them down and drive them away.
*To see a great video of Jaime discussing his love for teaching, scroll down after the jump.* (more…)
WHAT: Los Angeles Magazine and Writer’s Bloc literary culture series presents John Buntin in conversation with LAPD Chief Bill Bratton
WHERE: The Writer’s Guild Theatre, 135 South Doheny, Beverly Hills
WHEN: Monday, Sept. 21, 7:30pm
PRICE: $20. Reservations required. Make a reservation via e-mail
DETAILS: Urban historian John Buntin writes a thrilling and gripping narrative about the relationship between Jewish mobster Mickey Cohen and LAPD Chief William Parker in the 50′s. His book, L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City, is as exciting a cops and robbers book about Los Angeles you’ll read, and it’s nonfiction. Chief Bratton loved it so much that he’ll chat with author John Buntin and do the post-mortem himself.
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.
SOME PEOPLE JUST *WANT* YOU TO FAIL.
“Hey there, drivers on Fairfax! I’m a fancy sign the city paid for you to see! Yooo hooo! Look up here! I wanna tell you something… look up here! Come on… look up here! NOOOO! FOCUS ON THE ROAD, YOU IDIOT!!!! What is WRONG with you!? What the Hell were you looking up here for!? What are you trying to do, kill someone!?”
*Click on the thumbnail below to launch a photo gallery of Zoe’s hike through Tree People’s Coldwater Canyon*
My dog Zoe and I have been exploring the canyons lately. I hate to admit that despite living in L.A. for decades, up until now I’ve never really spent quality time venturing through the hills. Now that I’ve started, I can’t seem to stop. When there’s nature to discover just five minutes away, it’s a shame to stay indoors… especially since exploring the hills is free (unless you get one of those infamous stop sign tickets). One thing for certain… people who lament the lack of wildlife and trees in Los Angeles haven’t spent much time making effort to look for them. There are plenty, and close by.
So the other day I drove up to the TreePeople campus and Zoe and I went for a leisurely sunset walk. Certain parts of the trails were more populated than others, but for the most part it was very peaceful… I sat at a picnic table for a few minutes to listen to the birds, and within moments I spotted a family of deer just feet below me. FYI, one thing about Coldwater Canyon is that it can be whatever you want to be, a workout or a leisurely stroll. Also, you don’t have to worry about getting lost unless you start blazing your own trail… the paths are easy to follow.
Other web sites have already spent quality time discussing what the Park has to offer, rating the trails, and exploring the wonderful good deeds of Andy Lipkis and the great folks at TreePeople (who maintain the park and are definitely unsung heroes of Los Angeles). No need reinventing the wheel, so I’m just going to share a photo gallery from our relaxing walk and hopefully inspire you to check out the canyons for yourself. And be sure to bring your pup… a tired dog is a good dog! :)
A few images from the Los Angeles Fire Department’s official Flickr stream. As Paris Hilton would say, “That’s hot.” (Sorry.)
Okay, I had a hell of a time registering my little clown car this year. It’s done now so I won’t go over the sordid details other than to say that apparently 1999 Mazda Miatas and smog checks do not get along like peas and carrots. But looking on the bright side, along the way I did happen upon a hidden gem of a government office in Hollywood. And since few government offices can be considered a “hidden gem,” this was a big shock. Now before I continue, please note that this DMV apparently does *NOT* handle drivers license issues… but if you need anything registration related? It’s awesome. I walked in with no appointment and got through the line in five minutes flat. There were only two people ahead of me! Now that I know about this location I will never go to another office. (more…)