All posts by la_justin

Walk! Los Angeles with Her

If you see someone walking on the streets of LA this summer, it might be Lisa Salem – an artist who has decided to leave her house in Echo Park and not return until she’s traversed the city. Her site Walk! Los Angeles With Me has the details – starting May 15th, she’s going to be pushing a babystroller with a digital video camera attached, broadcasting videoblog footage on a WalkLA VBlog. Thanks to San Francisco-based media activist Steve Rhodes for the notice.

regional cost of cars

I discovered that I haven’t had car insurance for the last two weeks. D’oh – that’s what a deep postal-mail antipathy will get you. Surprises.

So I went to re-register for car insurance. My old carrier from Northern California directed me to a Southern California provider. Fine. I gave out all my information to the sales agent, including my mailing address at the University of Southern California.

The initial estimate came down the line. For my particulars, $3000 a year for auto insurance. Holy smokes! I remarked. That’s amazing. The price of living amidst car culture, I wondered?

Then I realized that I should give him my home address, in Culver City. He re-ran the numbers. Same particulars, different zip code – my car insurance estimate went down to $2000.

It blew my mind! USC is in a poor neighborhood, and people driving cars there are paying more. $1000 more in this case! Hard to work your way out from under that.

Rainfall Record Spreads Sewage

These Biblical rains have wiped the city clean; yesterday as I was driving to school for the first time after the rain stopped, the sky seemed extra-clear, and the roads seemed extra-sparkly. Like the rain had just taken the pollution away for a little while.

Of course all that filth had to go somewhere; here’s an LA Times piece “Rain Overwhelms Sewage System” – Massive amounts of runoff cause wastewater to overflow from pipes and treatment plants, fouling Southland waterways and beaches. It doesn’t sound pretty; especially this little moment here, where a luncheon to celebrate the city was surrounded by raw sewage:

On Tuesday, raw sewage could be seen spilling onto the shoreline near the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Long Beach Convention Center, which was playing host to the popular annual State of the City luncheon. Dr. [Darryl M. Sexton, Long Beach’s health officer] said it was much better to stay indoors during the event.

Is it silly to wonder if the rains will cause some retrofitting of sewage systems, and even moreso, that they might lead to some greater environmental protection for the beaches? I’m relatively new to town here, and I love the urban wisdom I was handed – don’t swim for days after it rains. And then to read about the piles of trash that accumulate there. We’ve adapted our behaviour on the avoidance side; I wonder what it would take for prevention.

Rap and Rock, together?

I love KDAY – it’s my favorite non-NPR station in LA. It’s revolutionary because it plays old rap, and new rap! It’s like two different genres, KRS-One and Ja Rule, except they have a sort of continuum to them you can pick out.

Still, as charming as old and new mixing is, I’m curious to see more divergent synergies. Is there a radio station in Los Angeles that might play both rap and rock? Besides KCRW; I’m talking about commercial or underground radio, not the smooth sounds of everything becomes eclectic.

Culver City Light Rail!

I’ve been living in Culver City for six months now and I just now looked up Culver City on Wikipedia. Aside from the usual “Roots of Hollywood” context, there’s some good news:

Looks like Culver City might get some light rail! The MTA’s Mid-City/Exposition Light Rail Transit Project will run from downtown LA, through USC/Exposition Park, to downtown Culver City (check the map). That is totally totally awesome – public transit I can take from my house to USC, where I’m going to school!

Groundgreaking is in 2006, delayed by noise protests from nearby Cheviot Hills (according to Wikipedia). The light rail line is predicted to be finished by 2010, just 3 years after I am set to graduate.

the right price

Checking to my hotel “the Farmer’s Daughter” June 9th at 10:30pm, the front desk is empty. A voice from a group of people nearby asks, Can I help you?
I’m here to check in, I announce, towing my briefcase.
A bearded man in overalls answers back – For the Price is Right? You’re here for the class on the Price is Right?
I notice a circle of 17 people sitting around him – class is in session.
Stunned, if takes a moment for me to process and accept my near future – why, yes, yes I am!
Well take a seat, and I’ll check you in afterwards, he drawls.

Continue reading the right price

King Crab

Friday night, I had some dancable fun watching local rappers “King Crab” bust out the nerdy white rhymes, including some smart political stuff – “Watch out for the Patriot Act – now there’s a camera in my Big Mac. Just the other day I was smoking a Jay, now I’m stuck up in Guantanimo Bay!”

They’re having another show this Monday, June 14; free, in Echo Park:

Hey gang, King Crab is in full swing.
Join us for another night of pleasure and leisure at

The Echo
1822 Sunset Blvd.
in beautiful echo park east of Alvarado
Los Angeles, Ca.
Mon Jun 14th @ 11pm

We love to rap. We love you too