What Giant Village?

I just read this report over at LAist about Giant Village being cancelled, so I called around and talked to a few area hotels as well as the helpful 311 Los Angeles info line and YES IT IS CANCELLED! Not that I was planning on going anyway (no drum’n’bass) but that little cancelation should make for an interesting night tonight! If you were planning on going Downtown there are still a bunch of things you can check out in the area, here are the raves / parties / underground events I will be attending:

  • Together As One : This is a big ass rave that happens every year at the LA sports arena brought to you by Insomniac and Go Ventures. Apart from the usual techno / trance DJs you can catch some great drum’n’bass DJs in the Bassrush room: DJ Zinc, Dieselboy, Ed Rush and Optical. This event will run you $60 at the door and that includes neither champagne nor E (not that I condone the use of drugs, I just thought I would point that out).
  • A New Beginning : This underground drum’n’bass event is brought to you by a collaboration of LA dnb heads: Tonz of Drumz, Ghetto Life, Project Sweatshop, Almost Famous, Jungle Riddim and Wreckignition and features LA’s best drum’n’bass DJs: R.A.W., Curious, Deacon, APX1, Subflo and more. This event will only cost you $20 and runs from 9pm to 5am
  • Some random afterhours at the Alexandria hotel. This runs from 6am to 11am and I have no idea how much it costs. I do know that there will be a drum’n’bass area and I will be there taking pictures if I can stay awake that long.

So I’ll see you folks out and about in LA! I’ll be the guy with the camera.

UPDATE: I just saw a comment from Brian Humphrey and checked out the LAFD blog where he wanted to make it clear that the event promoters cancelled the event and the LAFD did not shut it down:

We have been informed that the “Giant Village” New Years Eve Event in Downtown Los Angeles has been cancelled by event organizers.

This was a decision made entirely by event organizers. There was no order from the Fire Marshal’s Office.

WE AGAIN WISH TO STRESS, THE EVENT WAS CANCELLED BY EVENT ORGANIZERS AND NOT THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. THE LAFD HAS NO FURTHER DETAILS.

UPDATE 2:The promoters haven’t even updated the website nor the myspace page. I am guessing there are going to be a crapload of bummed revelers.

UPDATE 3: So far the Giant web pages still don’t mention the event being cancelled, but groovetickets does:

Unfortunately, the Giant Village event has been cancelled. If you bought tickets from Groove Tickets you will be notified in the next 48 hours regarding refunds. On behalf of Giant, we apologize for the inconvenience.

UPDATE 4: KESQ, the Palm Springs TV station I always turn to for my breaking LA related news, has a piece up on their website (via the AP wire) about the cancellation, which mentions poor Brian who is being barraged with vitriolic phone calls blaming him and the LAFD for canceling the show, which they didn’t. Come on now folks give this guy a break, he’s working NYE and I’m sure the angry calls aren’t helping.

UPDATE 5: I just finally woke up, both the parties I went to last night (TAO and A New Beginning) went off and were totally packed. I have never seen the sports arena so full of people.

Happy Birthday Pasadena Freeway

The oldest freeway in the state turned 65 today, according to dude on KFWB thatI heard when I was driving around this afternoon. I wasn’t on the Pasadena Freeway myself at the time, but I was in a car on a road, so I felt like I was celebrating – even just a little bit. Also, and this could be complete horse crap, but they went on to say that the reason it’s so damn wavey and serpentiney is that when it was built, the engineers were worried that with so few cars on the road that people would drive to fast so the cerves were put in to make people slow down. Nice work fellas!

Forget those gay cowboys: check out the singing lesbians!

Brief disclaimer: I am old-time Sunday Co. friends with Patricia Cotter, the writer of the new musical, The Breakup Notebook: The Lesbian Musical (and the play it was based on). But I really, really, really liked this show when I saw it in workshop form earlier this year, and apparently, it’s only gotten better as it’s moved to full production at the Hudson. It’s a good, fun musical…about lesbians! And hey, why not? Those gay cowboys are doing a brisk business, too.

So when I got an email notifying me of a half-price (well, twofer) dealio via Plays 411, I had to give it a shoutout here on b.la. To get it, go to the website and enter promo code “08” when prompted.

There are limited seats for this deal and it’s only for four shows (tonight, the 30th, and January 1, 6 & 13). The Hudson is a pretty great venue, the show has gotten raves from the critics and hell, you’re gonna need something to do when holiday post-partum depression hits.

True or False: Shooting your gun into the air on New Years Eve is perfectly OK.

saddam.jpgThat’s actually one of the questions on the California Handgun Safety test. Which you have to pass before buying a gun in California. Leagally anyway, I’m not sure if the kids down the street selling guns out of their appartment have the same requirements. Anyway, the answer is false, which you’d think was pretty damn obvious, but apparently it isn’t because Mayor Villaraigosa, Chief Bratton, Sheriff Lee Baca and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo are about to step up on Lynwood and beg people not to do it this year. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any of the fantastic billboards that were all over the place last year. Maybe it’s different approach time. Funny enough BoingBoing is linking to this piece explaining just why it’s a bad idea.

“…a lot of people think that retired army General JS Hatcherís book, called Hatcherís Notebook is probably the most complete treatment of gun facts ever written. Hatcher describes several studies conducted to figure out just how dangerous this practice is. Bottom line of these studies, says he, is that the terminal velocity of your typical bullet coming back down varies a lot but is normally more than 200 feet per second.

And, other writers on the subject (there have been quite a few) say that tests on cadavers show that skin is punctured and underlying organs messed up (my words, not theirs) at bullet velocities that exceed 180 feet per second. And, since falling bullets typically strike people in the head or shoulders, this appears to me to be a very dangerous practice.”

GATORWATCH!!!111 Returns

As 2005 draws to a close, I look back on the year, and ask myself a lot of questions: Is it worth living here, with the traffic, and the overcrowding, and the high cost of living? Why didn’t I hike up to Mount Wilson this year? Will the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles make another exciting run at third place in 2006?

But the biggest question, the one that’s kept me up at night, is: What the hell happened to GATORWATCH!!!!!111!?!!?? I mean, for days, we had reporters camped out on the shores of Machado Lake! There was scandal, and intrigue, and drama, and the Crocodile Hunter was coming to town to save us all from Reggie the Killer Alligator. Then, as quickly as the GATORWATCH!!!!!111! started, it stopped.

Until yesterday, baby, when GATORWATCH!!!!!111! was back in full effect, when two jerkass dirtbags were arrested and charged with dumping Reggie the Killer Alligator:

Anthony Brewer and Todd Nato were charged with several criminal counts, NBC4 reports.

Those charges include causing a public nuisance and possession of several restricted animals.

Both men could face jail time and fines.

In August, authorities arrested former Los Angeles police Officer Natow, 42, and Brewer, 36, after a tip led investigators to Brewer’s home.

Investigators allegedly found evidence of an alligator habitat, photographs of alligators, drugs and two live snapping turtles, police said. Both men were arrested but later posted bail.

Natow was an LAPD officer from 1984 to 2001, when he resigned after a second DUI arrest, LAPD officials said.

Police said investigators seized three alligators, four piranha fish, one rattlesnake, three desert tortoises, six tortoise eggs, one scorpion and about 10 pounds of marijuana at Natow’s home.

See, these guys are my kind of jerkass dirtbags. This guy is so hardcore, it wasn’t enough for him to resign from the LAPD for two DUIs, or to have drugs and alligators running all over his house like pot-bellied kids at the Redneck Riviera. Oh no, he kicked it up to a whole new level and brought snapping turtles into the equation. Awesome.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2006 is the Year of the Dog. I say it’s the year of the GATOR!!!111

Get Naked and Heal Thyself

The week between Christmas and New Year’s always feels a little weird to me. LA is so oddly quiet. To banish some of the residual anxiety I get from living in this city, I decided a tranquil trip was in order. That usually means going some place where the water is nice and warm. Being low on funds, the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii or the Caribbean were not options. My wonderful lover suggested we hit Desert Hot Springs for a couple of nights. We found two great places that transported us to another world. The first: Hacienda Hot Springs was a quiet oasis in the desert. A small six room place, completely renovated by it’s new owner in the California Mission style, it was a perfect spot to start the vacation. The place has wonderful desert landscaping and lots of herbs in the garden and the rooms are sweet (all with small kitchens). It’s decor is a mix of cool western antiques with modern touches. The have a gorgeous pool and a nice sauna. We soaked til three in the morning under the stars and didn’t see another soul….there was only one other couple there that night, so we basically had the place to ourselves. Serenity.
(more after the jump)
Continue reading Get Naked and Heal Thyself

Rebirth of the Arcade

Before the Mitsuwa marketplace chain absorbed the Yaohan supermarket chain, Little Tokyo Shopping Center at 333 S. Alameda was called Yaohan Plaza. Back then, Yaohan Plaza had a rocking arcade that was full of cool Japanese games, like the train conductor game in which you started and stopped the train by moving a handle. Unfortunately, like Yaohan, the arcade suffered its own economic difficulties and eventually shut its doors.

But, based on reports from friends, I towed my 11-year-old nephew downtown last week both to raid Mitsuwa for Japanese candy and (more importantly to me) to check out the reopened arcade. Now located on the second floor (didn’t it used to be on the third?), the arcade at Little Tokyo Square is indeed open again and full of a whole slew of cool games. There are, of course, a bunch of variations on Dance Dance Revolution (guitar, drum, DJ and taiko versions, in fact). There’s also a Golgo 13 sniper game which, unlike modern run-and-gun shooters, is all about taking your time and lining up the perfet single shot, and a samurai game in which you hold the handle of a virtual samurai sword and swing it wildly at the screen. And fans of the light-gun game House of the Dead might be interested in a version of the game called Typing of the Dead, where you wield a keyboard instead of a gun. But it’s not all novelty games, there are plenty of straight-forward fighters and shooters, as well as a soccer game that lets you save your own teams if you buy a memory card from the counter for $1. If you don’t read Japanese (and I don’t), it can be difficult to figure out what’s going on with some of the titles. But the place is pretty empty so if you have enough tokens you should be able to get most of them through trial and error. And if you have an 11-year-old nephew in from out of town he’ll think you’re the coolest uncle ever.

All’s Wells that ends well.

Interesting little tidbit in a Boston Globe story, Sox in hunt for Tejada. While the Padres and Dodgers have been reported as the most likely ‘landing spots’ for pitcher David Wells, there were indications the last couple of days that Arizona, having cleared Troy Glaus’s contract off the books, might pursue Wells. No idea what those ‘indications’ were, and pursuit does not equal probability.

While having Wells in our rotation would be intriguing, my fear is two-fold: first, his 43-year-old, 250-pound body’s recent problems; and second, what we would be giving up to get him. And as far as Boston players go, I still have unrealistic dreams about a certain outfielder.

However, I’m expecting Jeff Weaver to get re-signed any day now, which would lessen the need for Wells. Our rotation would be something like:

* Brad Penny
* Jeff Weaver
* Odalis Perez (assuming he’s not out the door)
* Derek Lowe
* Brett Tomko

Which is not too shabby.

Oh, and a “See ya!” to ex-Dodger reliever Gio Carrara, who has signed with the Pirates, joining his old manager, Jim Tracy.

Re: Cyling

goose.jpg There are a couple of unique and interesting group rides during the 10 days of Bike Winter LA 2006 coming up next month I just want to spread the word about.

The first is the free Sixth Annual Nacimiento Ride at noon on January 8, encompassing about a 15-mile, family-friendly tour through Highland Park, Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights that begins and ends at the Boyle Heights park at First Street and Chicago. An after-ride party is scheduled to take place at downtown’s 727 Gallery (727 S. Spring Street). More info available at Bicycle Kitchen’s website.

On January 14 at 9 a.m. the free 7- or 14-mile Tour de Watts will get rolling from Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers (1727 East 107th Street) on a route that will include the Compton Creek bike path. For more info see the Tour de Watts blog.

Oh, and the pic at right is of one of a gang of gargantuan graveyard geese who took a distinct interest in The Phoenix during a roll around the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This fine fowl took a gander at my bike and decided to see if it was food. Yum-may!

LA Blogger on Alaska Flight 536

Photo_122605_004.jpg

That photo is of Los Angeles bloggerJeremy Hermanns, snapped with his Treo when his flight depressurized at 30,000 feet.

“Nothing can describe the helpless feeling you go through during a time like this, when you are absent any control, you cannot breathe, and everyone around is stunned into fear. It all started with a loud bang – the cabin air began to swirl and the engine sound became deafening. As a GA-VFR pilot, I knew something was terribly wrong. As the smell of acrid AV-gas/JP4 and burning plastic filled the cabin, it created more fear in the eyes of the holiday passengers around me. We were all gripped in silence, surrounded by the white noise from the engines that eerily engulfed the plane into a surreal atmosphere. And as the oxygen masks deployed from the ceiling in a familiar, video-esque manner, we all grasped them in fear – trying to figure out how to breathe through the flimsy pieces of plastic. Parents were the most confused ñ as the masks were too large for their babiesí faces and were not easy to put on in such a panicked situation. The next few minutes passed like seconds ñ the plane started diving down to a lower level Ö and fast.”

You need to go read the rest right now.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments here, plenty of the comments there are very critical of Jeremy to the point of being outright attacks, and as noted in this post most of those comments are coming from an IP address owned by Alaska Air.

Metblogs Saves Room For Mumbai

Metblogs city roster is now The Big Four-Oh with the unveiling of Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. That’s right, as in India. But for a taste of how small the world is, check out Sakshi Juneja’s excellent post delineating the various subspecies of gym rats found there. Halfway around the world Sakshi could be writing about the people to be found at the local Bally’s.

Local Color: Strelitzia reginae

bop.jpg

Lived here all my life, but for whatever reason I’ve never before noticed the irony that it’s this least-tropical time of year that the bird of paradise begins to blossom like mad. Like jacarandas in June and floss silk trees in the fall, all of a sudden their distinctive and spectacular blooms are freakin’ everywhere! I snapped this one yesterday amidst a veritable orchard of them at Union Station brightening up an otherwise gunmetal gray and drizzly day.

LAPD Sponsoring and Recruiting at Gay Games

The boys in blue are sponsoring the upcoming Gay Games VII in Chicago next year and will also be there recruiting. The LAPD is an equal opportunity employer and had this to say about the games:

“The LAPD is an equal employment opportunity employer committed to diversity. Our landmark participation in the Gay Games as one of the proud sponsors, demonstrates the Department’s commitment to creating an open and inclusive workplace among its officers. LAPD will continue to aggressively reach out to men & women from all races, economic backgrounds, religions and sexual orientation,” said Officer Michael Jolicoeur, LAPD Recruitment Section, Gay and Lesbian Coordinator.

You can read more about the LAPD Gay Games VII sponsorship on 247Gay.com.

LA Freecycle offering 25,000 Bilingual Children’s Books

Saw this on the LA Freecycle mailing list and thought that one of you may be interested in this:

From: [email protected]
Subject: [LA Freecycle] Offer: 25,000 Bilingual Children’s Books
Date: December 27, 2005 8:27:38 AM PST
To: [email protected]

I have 3 titles of an estimated 25,000 total Spanish/English children’s books that I need to move by Friday 12/30. These books can help teach a second language. Three different titles cover colors, numbers, and positions. You must arrange for pick up in El Segundo. More details can be provided to anyone interested.

Dumpster Diving Gone Horribly Wrong No More Room in the Dumpster

8th street trash heap

Some unscrupulous person emptied out several dumpsters on 8th street south of Boyle, probably in search of valuable recyclables. I have no problem with people looking through dumpsters for trashed recyclable items, but don’t leave the trash on the street when you are done, that is just rude. I grabbed a few shots with my new camera, my Christmas / Chanukkah present to myself (I gave one to my lovely fiance, too).

UPDATE I’ve been thinking about this and I am guessing that the garbage is actually just the overflow from Christmas that the garbage removal experts didn’t haul away because it wasn’t in the dumpster. It was wrong of me to assume that it was people digging through the trash.