I’m a fan of urban art, especially the stuff that goes beyond the ordinary. This painting I’ve only caught a glimpse of over the years at Kingswell and Vermont in Hollywood. Glimpse is an understatement as traffic is so busy and all the parking spots full I never got the chance to get up close and personal with the painting.
This morning was different. What a wonderful set of images. From left to right it reads of the morphing of a human to something not of this world with its heart in its hand. Interestingly, if you step just right you can see the Scientology Fortress Church.
My wife walked into work this morning and got the news. HSBC is closing all 600+ former Household and Beneficial offices in the US and Canada. Some 6,100 people are going to be out of a job. That includes the West Covina, Panorama City, Van Nuys, LA Eagle Rock, West Covina, Long Beach and Ladera Heights offices that she has worked at over the years.
She is shell shocked. She feels horrible for former peers and bosses that are in the affected branch office closings. As I type this she said that her friends are being called into their various offices and being given their severance packages.
Those offices were closed as they were the branches that for years had specialized in secured personal loans and most recently sub-prime mortgages that HSBC had put an end to over the last few years. Without them creating loans they were a huge expense that warranted closing, just bad timing with unemployment so high at the moment.
On Friday I challenged Metblogs readers to use the tools of the journalistic trade and find out which L.A. businesses owing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes donated money to local political campaigns. Either I overestimated your interest in some potential muckraking, or I underestimated how nice the weather would be. Hope you had fun tossing frisbees, cruising along the PCH, and mocking your friends back East.
If you had taken the time to search the City Ethics database, some items you may have discovered:
An individual identifying themself as the owner of United Valet Parking is listed as having donated $500 to Eric Garcetti’s incumbent campaign for City Council seat and $500 to Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign to be reelected as Mayor. The question here isn’t why either Garcetti or Villaraigosa need money for their relatively unopposed races, but why the owner United Valet Parking is donating $1000 to political campaigns while his business owes the city over $1 million in taxes?
Possibly more interesting is that while the legal firm of Engstrom, Lipscomb, & Lack is listed on the Office of Finance Top Debtors List with a tax debt of $451,659.25, eight employees donated a combine total of $6750 to the Jack Weiss for City Attorney Campaign.
Of course, I’m not suggesting any skullduggery – after all, the campaigns are required to make this data available and remain transparent. But as a citizen, it is your responsibility to take an occasional peek and keep an eye on who’s paying to keep the machine running.
Class dismissed. You’re now free to check on the latest news about the Octomom.
Two messages from the Los Angeles Fire Department and one YouTube video tell at least part of the story of what happened at West Bethel Presbyterian Church on La Brea Blvd. Sunday afternoon.
Shortly after 8am, Los Angeles Fire sent out a “tweet” reading: “Person at the top of a church threatening to jump.” It wasn’t until 3:17pm, over 7 hours later, that they sent an update: “Person down from cross & in custody.”
During the interim, La Brea Blvd. was shut down for a portion between Wilshire and Olympic, while police and fire crews set up “crash pads” on the sidewalk below the man. According to an eyewitness, the unidentified “jumper” defecated and rubbed feces on himself and the church cross. The video above shows part of the event.
Members of the police Special Weapons and Tatics team climbed a rickety ladder propped against the church cross, meeting the man halfway. The man was taken into custody and would likely be placed in a pscychiatric hospital for observation.
Thanks to the fine folks at the Los Angeles Historical Theater Foundation (LAHTF) in conjunction with Bringing Back Broadway, the doors of the 98-year-old Palace Theater were flung open for a free presentation and tour, offering pretty much unfettered access to almost practically every square inch of the fabulous place. Front to backstage, top to bottom I went a-wandering and a-pixelizing
Most unique thing: the mens lounge restrooms are actually beneath the sidewalk in front of the theater. Most vertigo-inducing thing: getting up into the long-closed gallery section, with its original bench seating whose last row is literally built right up against the theater ceiling.
My Flickr photoset is here. Next on the LAHTF calendar is a tour of the Los Angeles Theater March 21, followed by the Tower & Rialto, April 18.
An interview with Leah Peterson, technical consultant for the Steven Spielberg and Diablo Cody produced “United States of Tara.”
Long time Los Angeles blog readers probably know Leah Peterson for her blog leahpeah and as creator and coordinator of the live reading event series LA Angst and LA Bloggers Live! She’s also contributed to Huffington Post, crocheted hats for Amy Sedaris and sold paintings that hang all over North America. And she’s a mom. Oh, and she also has Dissociative Identity Disorder, commonly referred to as multiple personality disorder. While many people suffering from disorders prefer to keep them secret, Leah wrote a book about it. The book was read by an Oscar winning screenwriter, and now Leah is a consultant for one of cable TV’s hottest shows.
Leah graciously accepted my offer of an e-interview… following are her answers to some of my questions, discussinghow she became involved with “The United States of Tara,” when the show veers from reality, and what Leah is up to next. You reading this, Mr. Spielberg?
How did you become involved with United States of Tara? Is working as a consultant a part of your background?
Leah: The story goes that somehow, my book (Not Otherwise Specified) made it into the hands of Diablo Cody while she was researching DID for the show. She sent me an email and since I’d never heard of her, I forwarded it to my husband, my own personal Snopes, and he looked her up and deemed the name Diablo Cody as a real person. A person really named Brooke Busey. So, fictional, but also real. Crazy? Yes.
In my ongoing series of Random Valley Front Yards, I’ve been trying to express to everyone who reads LA Metblogs the joy I find in looking at all the different houses in suburbia. While to many cruising the streets of the Sam Fernando Valley looking at house after house seems like one of the levels of Hell, I confess I am absolutely fascinated by the way in which tract homes, initially indistinguishable from one another, transform over time as homeowner after homeowner places their personal touch on their own little postage stamp of Los Angeles.
Because the age of the house plays a large role in how differentiated from its neighbors it becomes, I usually find the older sets of tract homes, many built between 1940 and 1960, to display the greatest variety. But sometimes the very design of the home — from “birth” — makes it unique.
On and around Hollywood Way in Burbank, a set of early tract homes built with rustic brick fireplaces and unusually slanted front windows has been partially erased by later developments. The exposed brick of the fireplaces serves a greater-than-utilitarian role in giving the house the appearance of a Hobbit-ish residence, and on almost all the homes an angled front window slants skyward slightly, creating what I’m sure is a nightmare for anyone trying to hang curtains on the inside…