Spiff New L.A. River Wildlife Guide Available

aniguideA couple weeks ago Joe Linton over at L.A. Creek Freak posted a contest wherein he solicited readers to enter by posting a comment declaring their favorite spots along any of SoCal’s waterways, with the randomly selected winner receiving a copy of the just-released “Animals of the Los Angeles River: Arroyo Seco and Environs” fold-out guide produced by the Audubon Center at Debs Park of Montecito Heights.

Being as I’m a sucker for free and for wildlife and wildlife guides (one of my favorites being John Muir Laws’ absolutely exquisite “The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada”), I didn’t hesitate to submit my comment singing praise for Ballona Creek and then cross my fingers hoping my name was picked. Turns out I won — along with the rest of the commenters thanks to Jeff Chapman, the center’s director who graciously sent all entrants a guide. Had I not benefited from Chapman’s generosity, I most certainly would have purchased one, and you can too. They aren’t yet available online, but you can get yours either at the center for $6 or by sending a $6.59 check to Audubon Center at Debs Park, 4700 N. Griffin Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90031, and they will mail you one.



It is not advisable, nor was it ever, to lead a Dada life.

— Andrei Codrescu

The Los Angeles Public Library runs a wonderful speaker series called ALOUD (really it is “lectures, readings, performances & discussions” according to its billing) at the Central Library). These sessions are free of charge, but it is a good idea to reserve tickets in advance, since they sometimes “sell out.” Better still, readers should definitely subscribe to the mailing list to get helpful reminders of what is coming up.

This Tuesday I had the great pleasure of seeing a relic of DADA, in from LA, New Orleans’ and Louisiana State University’s Andrei Codrescu. Somewhere before his LA to LA trip, our poet had some vampiric Transylvanian origin, much as did his favorite subject of the evening Samy Rosenstock (sometimes known by the more Romanian sounding “Tristan Tzara”), and also did Codrescu’s charming young interlocutor Oana Sanziana Marian (Transylvanian Yankee poet).

Continue reading ALOUD from LA

Here We Go… May Day Street Closures

Just received this email from Bringing Back Broadway about official street closures in Downtown Los Angeles for Friday’s events:

Tomorrow, Friday, May 1st, several marches and demonstrations will affect the Downtown & Civic Center area. The City recommends the use of public transportation for those coming into or out of downtown, and the City recommends avoiding driving throughout downtown if possible.

Continue reading Here We Go… May Day Street Closures

These Dogs Need Foster Homes

The people who run Karma Rescue are true heroes. I have fostered three dogs through Karma Rescue and am constantly amazed at the effort the Karma people go through to make a better life for these dogs. Karma Rescue is run by people who have full time jobs and busy lives (like most of us), but somehow manage to dedicate an enormous amount of time and often their own financial resources to rescue at-risk dogs from high kill shelters in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, Karma Rescue does not have its own facility so they rely heavily on fostering programs and non-kill shelters to help transition rescued dogs into permanent homes.

Karma Rescue recently sprang the following dogs and needs someone to show them a great home until they find a permanent one:






When you foster a dog through Karma Rescue, they provide you with dog food, a crate, leash, collar and regular guidance & training. All you need to do is provide a safe and nurturing home environment. Continue reading These Dogs Need Foster Homes

Save Taxpayers $328,301, Prevent Nationwide WTF!? Yes We Can!

OK, this may not be strictly Los Angeles-related, but it’s been chapping my hide since learning about 329,000 tax dollars that went into that panic-inducing bonehead-authorized photo-op of Air Force One’s low-flyover of Manhattan a couple days ago. And since there are taxpayers here in LA, go with me on this entirely frivolous attempt to save us all some money next time by introducing the White House Military Office and any other government agency about a little program called Photoshop (foe-toe-shahp) that can not only save about 99.967 percent of any future such taxpayer expense, but can also totally avoid idiots making really stupid decisions that end up scaring the fucking bejeebus out of civilians and shit.

Against my better judgment I’m going to assume that all the bureaucracts around the beltway have at least a passing awareness of The Google (gew-gull) and its pretty decent image library. So, crossing my fingers and hoping that’s indeed true, the first step is to get on an electronic device that accesses the internet (eeen-tar-net), such as a computer (cum-pew-tuhr) and search out the pictures that you’ll need — in this case lookeehere: one of the Statue of Liberty from the air and another of Air Force One from the air.

sol2 af1mr

It’s an amazingly simple process when approached from within an expanded noncomplex frame of reference (that’s interdepartmocratspeak for “easy-peazy”), but should difficulties be encountered, don’t panic: Al Gore (Al Gohr) is a self-ordained ready resource for online information and invention who could be and should be contacted in case of emergency.

After the jump, you know what’s next right? Yep, even with my rudimentary skills: clickably biggifiable, magic that cost NOTHING and freaks out exactly ZERO justifiably angst-ridden post 9/11 New Yorkers:

Continue reading Save Taxpayers $328,301, Prevent Nationwide WTF!? Yes We Can!

Woman arriving in Japan via LAX tests positive for swine flu

A Japanese woman who flew from LAX to Japan’s Narita international airport has tested positive for swine flu and was sent to a hospital, according to Breaking News On and Xinhua.net.

Xinhua adds, “some 10 other passengers sitting around her would be transported to another medical institution for further examinations.”

Based on a search of the Northwest Airlines website, the related flight appears to be #1 that departed Los Angeled International Airport  on Wednesday with a scheduled departure of 12:35pm (with an actual departure at 12:24pm). The flight arrived in Tokyo 12:45am PST (3:45pm local).

Cartoon Dump!

Photo by gaelenh used under Creative Commons.
Photo by gaelenh used under Creative Commons.

I’ve said it before, and it continues to be true: One of the best parts of living in L.A. is that every night of the week there is something to do that will be fun, interesting, and perhaps more than a little unusual. Case in point, last night’s performance of “Cartoon Dump!” at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

Cartoon Dump! is a parody of a children’s television variety show which centers around some of the worst cartoons ever aired. The show was created by Frank Conniff (formerly of Mystery Science Theater 3000) and animation historian Jerry Beck. In addition to the really bad cartoons, there are songs, comedy, puppets, and (at least last night) a juggler.

Follow me past the jump for more about Cartoon Dump! Continue reading Cartoon Dump!

Do the Write Thing: PlayWriteGirl at Pasadena Playhouse this Sunday

girl_typewriter If I hear one more report about the swine flu, the stumbling economy or the diminished box-office expectations for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I might just do something drastic. Like blog about it.

But wait, what’s this? Don’t scroll down yet! Someone’s answered my desperate plea.

WriteGirl and Pasadena Playhouse are teaming up this Sunday at 6 p.m. for a benefit performance called PlayWriteGirl. The event will feature scenes and monologues written by teen girls and performed by actors like Angela Bassett (ER), Kate Flannery (The Office) and JoBeth Williams (Dexter).

But what makes this event really special? The works they’ll be reading will be pieces created earlier that day–the result of professional women writers of all genres mentoring 150 aspiring writers.

Think of it as a creative stimulus package. Or as immunization against the doldrums. Or, well, you get the idea. Just support a good cause, okay?

Photo: Girls love writing. Courtesy of Paul-W via Flickr.

High Speed Rail: Arriving in San Francisco


When you get on that swanky new bullet train at Los Angeles Union Station for a weekend excursion to San Francisco, here is what your destination might look like.

Curbed SF has the new renderings for the Transbay Transit Center, which will feature “fountains spurting whenever a bus passes by underneath,” and San Francisco’s modern day version of our own Angels Flight (which may, or may not be re-opened by then). Look for it in the simulated animation at 1:32.
Continue reading High Speed Rail: Arriving in San Francisco

Should L.A. Cancel May Day?


The current swine flu pandemic is starting to bring about closures throughout the nation. Texas has postponed all high school sporting events. In California, three private schools have already closed as a precautionary measure.

So what about May Day?

According to their website, A.N.S.W.E.R.L.A. is still hosting their annually mass march and rally in Downtown Los Angeles this Friday to “stop war & end racism” and demand “full rights for all immigrants.”

Having identified Patient Zero, we know that current strain of the flu originated in Mexico. While it may be a painful, politically-charged question to ask, is such a large gathering at this time a good idea?

Better yet, is any large gathering a good idea? Should we be talking about postponing Major League Baseball games? What do we do about large gatherings of people on trains or buses? Should there be flu screenings at LAX?

Of course, there is a tendency to say that we are overreacting. We hope we are. But, some are saying the United States isn’t reacting enough. According to the Associated Press, Malaysian health workers in face masks are taking the temperatures of passengers touching down from Los Angeles. FROM LOS ANGELES.

Now does the pig have your attention?

Photo from amitrunchal’s flickrstream

May is API Heritage Month: “Asian American Arts Stimulus Package” giveaway

As April is coming to an end, we head on into May — nationally designated as Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month. API Heritage month commemorates and recognizes the diversity of API languages and cultures and celebrates of the achievements and contributions of API communities in America. In that spirit, 8Asians (another blog I contribute to) is celebrating Asian Americans in the arts with an “Asian American Arts Stimulus Package” giveaway (deadline: Friday at noon) to one lucky winner who will be the recipient of a pair of tickets to THREE amazing events in the L.A. area. Although you’re free to enter the giveaway, I wanted to note that just about all these shows have availability for low-priced tickets, too.

laapff-20091) The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival: 2009

Visual Communications, the nation’s premier Asian Pacifc American media arts center, established the Los Angeles Asian Pacifc Film & Video Festival in 1983 as a vehicle to promote Asian and Asian Pacifc American cinema. The Festival has grown from its humble beginnings as a weekend-long series into a major annual showcase presenting the best of Asian Pacifc American and Asian international media in the United States. As of 2008, the Film Festival is known by its permanent iteration The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

tentolifeimage2) Lodestone Theatre Ensemble: Ten to Life

A Census agent exposes a family’s perverse, hidden secret…A desperate loser turns to experimental surgery to seduce his high school crush…A happy homemaker struggles against an ancient evil that lurks in plain sight…A controlling psychologist must protect his life’s love from her memories. Lodestone kicks off its final season with four twisted one-acts touching on the bizarre and unnatural. It’s been ten years… Time to pay.

ewp-marrymealittlethelastfiveyears3) East West Players: Marry Me A Little & The Last Five Years, an evening of 2 one-act musicals!

MARRY ME A LITTLE: A compilation of songs, composed by Stephen Sondheim for many of his Broadway musicals but for various reasons didn’t make it into the final stage, are woven into a simple tale of two lonely people during one evening in their small, one-bedroom apartments. Featuring Mike Dalager & Jennifer Hubilla
THE LAST FIVE YEARS: There are two sides to every story…Jamie and Cathy’s 5-year old relationship is coming to an end, and through the funny , sweet and heart-breaking songs, you hear both versions of what happened–from beginning to end, and from the end to beginning. Featuring Michael K. Lee & Jennifer Paz

Over the years, I’ve attended events put on by each of these organizations and always come out feeling lucky that L.A. has such a vibrant Asian American arts scene. Why not take some time out in the month of May to do something for API Heritage Month, like attending one of the shows listed above? If you do, I’d love to hear what you think.

New immigration reform posters from Shepard Fairey


Shepard Fairey has designed a series of screen prints that will  be sold to raise money for materials for May Day marches and immigration reform organizations.

Collaborating  with Ernesto Yerena, an Obey associate, and with the support of Zack De La Rocha of Producciones Cimarron, an East LA-based independent multimedia organization dedicated to helping immigrants form a supportive community and lobby for humane and sensible legislative solutions, Fairey made two images based on Yerena’s photographs of the historic May Day march in 2006.

Editions of 450 screen prints measuring 18″x24″ will go on sale for $45 each on Thursday, April 30th at noon at Cimarrones.org.

Both Obey.com and Cimarrones.org have free downloadable versions of each poster available “to spread the word and post the images in windows, on street poles, offices, and wherever you think the message will reach people.”

Songs About Los Angeles: “LA” by Neil Young


Neil Young’s song LA is darkly funny and since I heard it six years before I would ever set foot in Los Angeles (for a visit) it made me think of the city as a hazy, weird, quaking place where guys like Neil Young hung out. In the song, he seems to be trying to talk sense into a town that can’t concentrate on what he’s saying. He spits out a list of real and imagined cataclysmic scenarios to the fault-straddling metropolis, slapping it in the face to no avail.

But when the suppers are planned

And the freeways are crammed

And the mountains erupt

And the valley is sucked

Into cracks in the earth

Will I finally be heard by you, LA?

He sweetly sings, “LA, uptight city in the smog.” And then, with hauteur or maybe mockery, “Don’t you wish that you could be here too?” There’s the city’s duality again, which underlies all it creates and exports. Continue reading Songs About Los Angeles: “LA” by Neil Young

Swine flu outbreaks spur state of emergency in CA

Reacting to new reports from around the world about swine flu outbreaks, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this afternoon declared a state of emergency in California.

Is swine flu the next SARS? By that, I mean is it just another eyeball-catcher for news organizations to blather on about but ultimately not much of a threat? Or are we headed toward a replay of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic or even a real life version of The Stand, the Stephen King novel about a planet decimated of most human life by an easily spread virus? I guess it’s best to err on the side of caution but try to keep a level head in the face of the blaring media hysteria.

LA Times has the breaking story.

Surfing legends tour SoCal, from Duke’s to Barney’s to Rusty’s

Life’s not bad when you’re a surfing hero. You get scooped up by Hawaiian beer brands to tour Hawaii and California, for example. And then of course you get to surf for a living. There’s that.

primotourMy dad’s a die-hard longboarder and I grew up with a great appreciation for surfing matched only by my mortal terror of the vast ocean and that big scary board. And sharks. But I still really love watching the sport, and I *have* overcome my fears from time to time & ventured out with Dear Old Dad for a few waves. I then feel like a badass for two weeks.

So when I heard Rusty Keaulana, Keoni Watson, Micah Nickens, Brad Gerlach, Chris Malloy and some guy named Spam were touring in a classic VW Double Cab and a custom woody through LA, chez Primo Island Lager, I had to post it. Locations where you can get your board/posters/boobs autographed by pro surfers & enjoy a refreshing island beverage, behind the jump.

Continue reading Surfing legends tour SoCal, from Duke’s to Barney’s to Rusty’s