Watts Happening

The news last week was that the City’s Cultural Affairs Department (CAD) was about to bangbang its budget hammer and lay waste to all guided tours of the Watts Towers, the eccentric L.A. landmark built by construction worker Simon Rodia in his spare time from 1921 to 1954 using broken bottles and dishes and tiles and other such discards that neighbors would bring him.

The L.A. Times’ Mike Boehm writes today that CAD has managed to come up with enough money to keep the tours going into late June, but then the city’s new fiscal year kicks in and another $2 million goes away ó as do the accompanied expeditions.

Guided tours occur every 30 minutes Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and kids 12-17. Enjoy Rodia’s wonderful creation with one before they’re gone.

Screw star maps. I need ROCKSTAR maps!

Did you know that Elton John made his American debut at The Troubadour? Of course you did. But I bet you didn’t know that Janis Joplin partied at Barney’s Beanery the night she died! These are a couple of tasty tidbits available from the Los Angeles Rock ‘n’ Roll Roadmap. It’s not that deep, but there are a few nuggets here that are worth digging around for. (And if you’ve never been to Barney’s, I highly suggest you check it out. Their menu is like 80 pages long, they’ve got tons of beer on tap and their onion rings are awesome.)

Not a sound from the pavement…

Thanks again to CaliforniaAuthors.com for pointing out the “Goodnight Midnight” event being held this Friday at the Midnight Special Bookstore in Santa Monica. “ThereÔøΩll be music and readings with Cecilia Brainard, Robbie Conal, Mike Davis, Robert Greenwald (showing a clip from the movie Uncovered), Alicia Kozameh, Jerry Quickley, Luis Rodriguez, Michelle Shocked, Michael Ventura and David Warshofsky.”

Midnight Special has a going-out-of-business sale in progress. Stop by and say farewell to an institution.

B.LA Mystery Photo Contest / Vol. 1, No. 7

Sorry I’m a day late with this week’s contest, but I just flew back in from a weekend spent RVing from Reno to Redding to Dunsmuir and back, and boy is my witty repartee just this side of tired… so whatsay I just quit the chit and get on with it. This week’s winner to last week’s contest is “RMONT!” who claims the coveted Tush sticker by being the first to tell everyone that last week’s mystery photo subject was of “…the tibute to Anthony Quinn at the Victor Clothing Company on Boardway [sic] in Downtown Los Angeles ó ‘The Pope of Broadway’ it is named.” I’d love to be able to throw stickers to fellow contestants “RFW” who came who came in afterward with the building’s exact location at 242 Broadway, and “KM” who followed up with the fact that the mural can be viewed best from 3rd Street, but I’m running low on stickers so only one this time ’round.

Clue: I’ve been driving and biking by the caged and slowly decaying subject of this week’s image (click it to pop-up a larger version) , which has languished outdoors for mad years and so deserves to restored and lifted up where it belongs (note to self: add “Officer and a Gentleman” to Netflix queue).

tinytush.jpgRules: First one to post a comment most correctly and directly listing the location of the photo subject above wins the admiration of the blogging.la readership (or me, whichever’s greater at the time) and a collector’s edition Tush sticker printed with real ink and made with real adhesive. In the event of no one getting it right, the creator of the most entertaining guess will be hailed victorious.

Sad sad Christmas…

I just learned from my friend Jen that “the powers that be” are closing The Powerhouse and the comic shop on Highland between Hollywood and Franklin. I adore The Powerhouse. It’s one of the last dive bars we have in Hollywood proper. My friend SJ has been working there as long as I can remember so he’s gonna be out of a job. They’re apparently going to build another yuppie-eurotrash shithole. What was wrong with the shithole we already had? They had crappy beer, velvet clown paintings, darts and a great jukebox. Ye Coach and Horses is about all that’s left and it hasn’t been the same since April got hitched and left. Sad sad day. If anyone is going to The Powerhouse anytime soon steal me a clown painting and I’ll buy it off ya when I get back in town. And I’m always open for other little shitty bars in walking distance of Hollywood and Highland. Boardners does NOT count.

Rewarding Lives

Atmosphere.jpg

If you happen to be sitting around the parlor between now and July 1st and suddenly say to your manservant, “Littleworth, old duck, I am deathly bored! Let us away to some futuristic art exhibit with many photographs we’ve already seen!” your trusty Littleworth will recommend the Rewarding Lives exhibition of Annie Leibovitz photography at the Pacific Design Center.

As reviewer Emily Young wisely pointed out in the Times on Sunday, seeing Leibovitz’s talented yet all-too-familiar photographs isn’t the point, really, of this exhibit. “Instead of displaying the photos in conventional frames on a wall (that’s so 20th century), the organizers floated the 60 or so photos of accomplished actors, musicians, dancers, writers, athletes and politicians inside see-through boxes mounted on individual pedestals in an outdoor installation that is, in many respects, as arresting as the art it was intended to showcase.”

And since miserly Littleworth will nod approvingly at the lack of cost to attend, sally forth to West Hollywood post haste.

Frood?

While driving to work last week, I heard a traffic announcer on some major radio station announce an event at the “Frood Playhouse at UCLA.” Twice.

I don’t know of a “Frood Playhouse” at UCLA, but I’m pretty sure there is a FREUD Playhouse.

Frood? Dude.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jake M for pointing out that the correct pronunciation is indeed “frood.” You learn something new everyday.

Every Day Is Like Tuesday

mylifewith.jpgLos Angeles Morrissey fans (is there any other kind?), here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for:

We are looking for 250 diehard Morrissey fans to be a part of PEPSI SMASH presented by Pepsi and WB. PEPSI SMASH will take place in Los Angeles, CA on May 25th, 2004.

If you are chosen, you will be one of only 700 people at this event. Thatís right, the best and only seats in the house and chance to be on television. PEPSI SMASH will feature four hit artists per episode. If you want to be a part of this unforgettable event, please click Pepsi Smash or visit www.1iota.com and choose PEPSI SMASH on May 25th to request tickets.

IMPORTANT INFO:
– YOU MUST BE AT LEAST 16 YRS OLD AND APPEAR TO BE NO OLDER THEN 25 YRS OLD
– YOU MUST BE AVAILABLE FROM 5:00PM UNTIL 10:00 PM ON MAY 25TH. NO EXCEPTIONS!
– YOU MUST LIVE WITHIN 100 MILES OF THE LOS ANGELES AREA

This looking-no-older-than-25 business sounds like the PR equivalent of “no fatties,” doesn’t it? I was carded buying beer on Saturday, but I was a teenager when The Smiths broke up. One of those should count for something, right?

In other L.A.-related Morrissey news, I read a review of the My Life with Morrissey DVD this weekend and it sounds creepily hilarious. Check it out:

Jackie, a hard-working assistant at a TV studio, pours herself into her work with an odd enthusiasm that her co-workers embrace with mixed feelings. An obsessed Morrissey fan, her off hours are spent talking to posters and photos that plaster her apartment. Her nights are spent scouring places Morrissey has been spotted around L.A. One fateful night things take a turn for the worse when by chance her dream comes true. Meeting Morrissey in a deserted parking lot, Jackie’s world is suddenly turned upside down.

UPDATE: I got Pepsi Smashed.

Concert Calendar

Yesterday, I scored tickets to KROQ’s annual Weenie Roast show, which will be occurring this year on June 12 at Irvine Meadows Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. The lineup is always fantastic, but this year I absolutely HAD to go because the Beastie Boys are headlining. It’s almost as fantastic as the lineup three years ago when the concert was opened by Stabbing Westward, one of my favorite bands, and I got to watch the lead singer perform shirtless with sweat dripping down his perfect, six-pack abs… wait, what was I talking about again?

I’m feeling a bit conflicted, though – I don’t usually go see live music by major-label bands anymore because I hate Big Evil Ticketbastard, and not only did I have to utilize their evil, evil systems to purchase my tickets to this show, the show is also organized by Big Evil ClearChannel’s concert division, who I also avoid at all costs. (I even removed ClearChannel-owned stations from my radio presets in my car, because I’m a nutjob and I know which major stations in L.A. are owned by which major entertainment conglomerates.)

Anyway, if you weren’t a complete goober like me and didn’t sit in front of your computer refreshing the presale website every 1.5 seconds until the “buy your shizzle now!” button appeared precisely at 3:00:01 p.m., the tickets are available for sale to the public tomorrow at noon. Get ’em while they’re hot, if you’ve got easily manipulated anti-corporate convictions like I do.

Smog?

OK, Iíve got a question for the long-time Angelenos in the house. Tell me about the smog. Because yeah, I can see it sometimes. But you know what I smell when I take a big, deep breath in LA. I smell flowers. I smell trees. Vegetation. Plant life. i.e. It smells GOOD.

Iím in NYC this weekend, and you know what I smell? Ashes. Bus fumes. Subway flatulence. Eau de bum. i.e It smells FOUL.

So whatís all the complaining about? Are people just confusing natural haze with pollution? Or is it that LA is bad, but NY is the pit of hell?

Andy Kaufman – Alive and kicking?

I came across this press release, which claims that Andy Kaufman is alive and has returned on the 20th anniversary of his (now believed to be faked) death, just like he promised to do. Instead of returning in a comedy club or television appearances, he’s launched a blog. He makes a point of apologizing – “Sorry about faking my death,” he says in his first post – and talks a bit about what he’s been doing, and how he managed to fake his death for 20 years.

Interesting, because the press release claims that DNA testing has been done that proves this is the real Andy. Whether it’s a hoax or not remains to be seen. It certainly seems like something Andy would do, though!

Maybe he’s been hiding in the Scientology Center all these years, right under our noses.