One more time: LA Times revamps their interactive neighborhood maps

mapping_la_hoods_hedNo good deed goes unpunished was the case when the Los Angeles Times initially unveiled their interactive map of LA neighborhoods a few months ago. Much bickering about neighborhood boundaries ensued, and so nearly 100 border revisions have been made, along with the addition of a lot more information about neighborhood demographics covering topics like personal income, education, ethnicity and, interestingly, marriage statistics.

For example, Silver Lake has among the highest numbers of unmarried males and females in the city. I’m guessing this may be an indication of the prevailing sexual orientation of area residents, long known as a gay bastion. It led me to wonder if sexual orientation was a demographic included in the map (although such data is not officially collected,) would marriage statistics fluctuate accordingly once same-sex marriage is legalized (again.)

Anyway, LAT assures us the map will continue to be a work in progress as they go on collecting information and reader comments.

Exene Cervenka diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

exeneExene Cervenka, of the iconic LA band X, today released on her website a statement about her multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

After some months of not feeling 100% healthy, I recently had some medical tests run and the prognosis is that I am suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Apparently, it has been affecting me for quite some time.

Although this is obviously unfortunate news, I am choosing to see the positive in it. I, and X as a band, have supported the Sweet Relief charity since the mid-1990’s; the irony of this is not lost on any of us. Sweet Relief was started as an aide to uninsured artists by musician Victoria Williams when she herself was diagnosed with MS in 1992.

While this diagnosis will most certainly mean some changes for me, personally, it will not affect my commitments to the current X U.S. tour, nor will it affect my solo album that is slated for release this fall on Bloodshot Records.

My focus will certainly be on maintaining my health–many people remain strong and continue to live their lives as productively as they had before an MS diagnosis and I plan to be one of those people.

To find out more about Sweet Relief please visit www.sweetrelief.org

Conan is here!

conanBeing an expatriate New Yorker, when I heard Conan O’Brien was having a hard time wrapping his brain around moving from New York to Los Angeles, I could relate. I had the same experience six years ago, although I did not bring my late night TV talk show with me.

Fortunately, last night during the first installment of his new show (The Tonight Show, vacated last week by Jay Leno in case you’ve been living in a cave) from his new studio (on the Universal lot instead of NBC Studios in Burbank) in his new city, it was the same insane and strange Conan.

In an earlier time slot then his previous show and in a tamer town, the presumption is he may have to tone it down for a more mainstream audience. Last night that didn’t appear to be the case, although he seemed to be on his best behavior and he signaled as much, either intentionally or not, with a few nervous seconds here and there.

Filled with barbed humor and seemingly drug-induced antics, the show began with a hilarious opening montage of him wearing a suit as he, literally, ran (and swam) across the country; through New Jersey, Chicago, St. Louis, Midwest farmland, the Rockie Mountains, Las Vegas   (with a brief, bizarre rest stop at a Victorian doll museum) and into LA to get to his new workplace.

Another bit of a lunacy had him riding the tourist-filled Universal Studios tram out into the surrounding streets of Universal City, heckling passers-by and gleefully snarling traffic.

“Red is a girl’s color! Don’t buy it!” he screeched at a guy checking out a crimson vehicle at a car dealer.

In the land of cars, he may be asking for trouble. (Watch the opening clip here.)

The Moth’s Story Slam or: How Not to Judge

800px-tragic_life_storiesOne of the worst things I did in college and post-college was go to poetry slams.  They sound so great in theory, but the reality is, the ones I went to completely failed to build and strengthen community (which I thought they were supposed to actually do).  Instead, these slams were self-affirming forums to bolster rather privileged slammers and their enormous, and enormously frail, egos.  Enter The Moth, which offers an alternative: the short story slam.  The deal is this:  prior to every bi-monthly show held in either Silver Lake or Venice, The Moth releases a theme, sort of like Iron Chef’s featured ingredient.  Aspiring slammers sign up to tell a 5-minute short story in accordance with this theme (only ten are randomly picked).  Expectant listeners pony up the $6 fee and find seating in front, or on, the stage.  Audience members who I thought aspired to Pauline Kael, if Kael could live by a 10-point rubric, sign up as judges.  The highest-scoring winner is crowned at the end, and moves on, American Gladiators style, to compete at the next level, the LA GrandSlam.

I attended Memorial Day’s StorySlam at Air Conditioned (theme: falling) with high hopes that slamming short stories would be better than slamming poetry. I’m not sure why I thought that.  Like a good short story, this event is only as good as its individual components.  If the storyteller can barely tell a tale to a 2 year old, if the audience is too polite, or if the judges can only count backwards from 10 to 8, the momentum of the slam is slowed to the insignificance of a tap.

Continue reading The Moth’s Story Slam or: How Not to Judge

Cheney supports gay marriage

cheneyFormer Vice President Dick Cheney is making headlines again but this time it’s not about torture.

Asked today at the National Press Club in Washington DC about recent state level decisions regarding same sex marriage, including California’s  state supreme court ruling upholding Proposition 8, Cheney said,

I think that freedom means freedom for everyone. As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support. I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis. … But I don’t have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that.

The report on Huffington Post also points out the Obama administration being seemingly at odds on the gay marriage question with a growing number of voices on both sides of the political spectrum.

The president has said he supports civil unions for gay couples but that he remains committed to marriage being between a man and woman. His press department has been completely quiet about the recent California Supreme Court case upholding a ban on gay marriage in the state.

Photo: US federal government/public domain

[UPDATE: Video of Cheney’s remarks after the jump.] Continue reading Cheney supports gay marriage

Win Tix to See Peaches June 7 at the Fonda

peachesI saw Peaches a few years ago on one of those electroclash tours. She came out wearing a long, blond wig & stripper heels, and the crowd, somewhat nonplussed, not for sure it was her, went into paroxysms when midway through a synth intro line she ripped off the wig & shook out her brown curls with a sneer.

Peaches is not a show to be missed. Plus former LA Metblogs author & Buddyhead creator Travis Keller will be DJing there.

Wanna win tickets? Don’t be shy. Tell me your favorite Peaches lyric in the comments. And if they don’t get past our obscenity filters, I’ll make sure to unmoderate them so you all can see those nasty, nasty lyrics.

Info on the show is here. FYI, she plays two shows: one on the 6th, a 2nd on the 7th. These tickets are for the second date, Sunday.

New Lawn Watering Rules for Los Angeles Start Today

Beginning today, in the City of Los Angeles, you are now only allowed to use your sprinklers to water your yard on Mondays and Thursdays, before 9am or after 4pm.  This new attempt, Phase III, to conserve water was announced by Mayor Villaraigosa earlier this spring.  The plan is to reduce household usage on the Tier I level by 15%. If your water bill has moved up to Tier II, you will see an increase fee on your utility bill.

Earlier announcements on water conservation prohibited watering on rainy days, watering between the hours of 9am and 4pm and hosing down sidewalks. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any enforcement of what was called Phase I. Local homeowners and shopkeepers I spoke to violating the rules were not aware of them.  Both the City and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power expect other citizens to alert them of ongoing water abuse.

Whether your water usage is reported or not, the goal is to reduce water usage in the home. There are penalties involved if your water usage does not fall below a certain level. You can find out more by read LADWP FAQ on water usage (PDF). 

For more information about these rules, visit the LADWP website. To learn more about water conservation, there is the Be Water Wise site.  And to report water waste, you can call the LADWP at (800) DIAL-DWP or email at [email protected].

Parking Tards! Our readers are hunting for you too.

photo_053009_001

One of our readers, Geoffrey McStroul sent in that photo and the following story:

Ok, so here’s my parking tard story (photos taken on a Treo 650):
I’m going to Western Bagel this morning (the one in Woodland Hills)
and the area of the parking lot nearest the Western Bagel and the
Coffee Bean mostly has compact spots, and there is this Chevy
Silverado taking up not 2 spots but FOUR spots. Silly me, I didn’t
take the pictures before I went into Western Bagel, but when I came
out I managed to take 2 photos before I was caught and unable to take
the piece de resistance of parking tard photos:

Owner: Can I help you?
Me: Is this your truck?
Owner: Yes.
Me: You’re taking up 4 compact spots.
Owner: Well it is a big truck.
Me: There are other non-compact spots to park in.
Owner: Sorry to ruin your day.

My thoughts after that were that “no, you didn’t ruin my day” and
“you’re going on teh interwebs about to be famous on LA Metblogs”.
(His license plate frame says “Ain’t goin down til the sun comes up”.)

Thanks Geoffrey! Another pic after the jump…

Continue reading Parking Tards! Our readers are hunting for you too.