All posts by la_xeni

Roll your own Coachella blog post

A little late, but nonetheless: an automated Coachella blog post generator.

Man, that Perry Ferrell is really {talented / fucked up / Jewish}. Gotta love him. Flash forward to that night. I’m completely {shitfaced / dehydrated / rolling my ass off} and feeling no pain whatsoever. I ended up making out with a 16 year-old emo girl as the sun was setting, right when Rivers Cuomo belted out “Your son is drowning in the bloooooooood.” It was {hot / surreal / illegal}.

Link (Thanks, Mara Schwartz!)

RES screening at the Egyptian tonight

The year’s first RES screening of digital shorts and music videos takes place at the Egyptian theater tonight. Among the works scheduled to screen at 8pm:

Interpol’s “Evil,” a troubling puppet-driven work that is the music video debut of acclaimed photographer Charlie White. Also on tap: 2 Many DJs side project Soulwax’s video for “E Talking,” an alphabetical lesson in pharmacological jargon directed by Evan Bernard; a pair of Fatboy Slim videos involving song, dance and frisky felines, directed by Jon Watts; and “Dream,” Dougal Wilson’s latest for Dizzee Rascal featuring the rapper as a pint-sized MC spitting his rhymes at bizarre ghetto puppets.


How long does it take for LAPD to retrieve a stolen vehicle?

About two weeks ago, my sister noticed something odd in the street outside a house we rent in Los Feliz. A strange guy who wasn’t a familiar face in the ‘hood drove up in front of the house and parked this big shiny late-model pickup truck with a huge dent in the side… and no plates. No plates on the front, no plates on the rear.

He parked it in such a way that the trash cans for this building couldn’t be removed from the side of the house and placed out on the streets for collection — so, because it was in the way, and because it sat there for days, and because the no plates thing was weird, we called the parking enforcement line and the police non-emergency line. Four times. Each time we were told that an officer would be sent out, but nobody came.

Finally, 7-10 days after the initial call, a parking enforcement officer shows up today, runs the VIN (vehicle identification number), and — suprise — yep, it’s a stolen vehicle.

But here’s the punchline. “Don’t expect LAPD to show up and tow right away, because there aren’t enough cops in LA to make nonviolent crimes like this a priority,” he tells me. “If the police aren’t here by, say, Tuesday, I’d suggest you call again.”


So we have a stolen truck sitting in the street for almost two weeks, and a witness who saw the suspect park it, and even after the crime has been identified, we should anticipate another 48 hour delay before LAPD responds? What if the thief decides to come back to our house, say, late tonight when nobody’s looking, and drive the truck away? The owner never gets their truck back, and there will no longer be any chance of nailing the thief.

The fact that stolen property has been sitting in front of *my* property for this long — and the fact that the thief knows it’s a safe place for him to dump his shit — man, that gives me a nice warm fuzzy safe feeling. I mean, I just want to run out into the street and HUG some motherfucker right now, it makes me feel so good.

The parking officer was a really nice guy, and he’s doing his job as best he can — as are many of the LAPD, I’m sure. But something’s seriously broken in this city if it takes two weeks for a stolen vehicle to be retreived and reported, after multiple proactive calls from concerned residents. We need more cops. If anyone’s capable of fixing this, it’s Bratton — but fixing this is all about more cops on streets.

Update: A friend suggested calling the local precinct to talk to an officer responsible for our ‘hood. I did, and asked to speak to a supervising officer… after a few rounds of discussion and a few short hours’ time, I’m very happy to say that The Man towed the vehicle away and filed a report. Sweet! Turns out it’s been missing for months, and belongs to some dude in Stockton. I kinda want to rig up a little hidden wireless cam on the spot in case the thief comes back. I’d love to capture the look on his face when he returns to discover that his stolen truck has been “stolen.”

Geeking out over Gehry organ at Disney Hall

Last night, I crawled out from behind my laptop to go hear Handel’s Messiah at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, with a few friends. The performance was beautiful, the architecture of the space was beautiful, but the coolest part of the evening by far? Geeking out over the awesome, gigantomongous, french-fry-esque pipe organ at the back of the hall. It’s comprised of more than 6,000 pipes, only a portion of which are visible. Some are conical and made of metal, others are shaped like long, slender boxes and are made of wood. The pipes range in size from ballpoint pens to palm trees. The organ wasn’t played last night, but I’m told that when it debuted privately to a group of pipe organ professionals earlier this year — they all removed their shoes so they could feel the deep bass vibrations in the floor. Image: a phonecam snapshot I took of the organ: Link to full-size. Here’s an organ FAQ, from the LA Phil’s website: Link. NPR did a cool segment about the organ’s construction and sound, here: Link. And Link to a San Diego Union-Trib article. (thanks tons, Shawn, Michael, and Cynthia!)

Xeni on NPR: gadgets for angelenos

On the NPR program “Day to Day” this week, I hit the streets with Alex Chadwick to try out a few new gadgets, including two which seem particularly fitting for LA residents:

* A PDA-like traffic reporting device called TrafficGauge ($80, thanks to Mike Outmesguine for turning me on to this one!). Only available for two cities right now, and LA’s one of them.
* A kick-ass handheld theater called the DVXPod (shown here) that plays music, movies and television shows ($599)

Link to archived audio for this program, Link to NPR Day to Day home.

RES screening tonight at Egyptian

Holy crap! It’s time for another RES screening of brand new music videos, short films and motion graphics — tonight at the Egyptian.

This month we present our last monthly screening before RESFEST LA, with a special focus on the art of film title design featuring special guests Kyle Cooper (Prologue Films), Karin Fong (Imaginary Forces) and David Peters (Design Films, San Francisco). The screening will contrast recent work chosen by Cooper and Fong with a selection of groundbreaking works from the 1960s, the golden age of film titles. This tumultuous decade saw seminal talents like Saul Bass, Maurice Binder, Pablo Ferro and Richard Williams do their most iconic and experimental work for some of cinema’s most demanding directors. A conversation will follow the screening.

Also screening: new music videos from Air, Zero 7, Introπs Prodigy video, plus the latest from Michel Gondry and Ruben Fleischer.

Special guest DJs Damon Way (DC Shoes) and Kiino Villand will helm the after party. See breaking new work on the big screen, hear from special guests in attendance and join us for a drink following the screening.

8:00 p.m., Egyptian Theatre 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, $10

Link to event info

To do in Tijuana: IAF 04 digital film fest, Sep 17-18

If you’re in driving or flying distance of Tijuana, Mexico mid-September, check out the 8th annual IAF Fest: video, film, music, and multimedia on September 17 and 18. The project’s aim: “To create and maintain alternate spaces for the expression of audiovisual multidisciplinary art in the Mexico/U.S. border region.” So, why Tijuana? “Because of the… cultural and economic exchange that takes place daily in the region,” say organizers of the frontera festival created to “serve as a meeting place for the international digital art community.” Some great DJs, artists, and filmmakers participating this year — definitely a don’t miss.

Link (Thanks Sal!)

LA’s first GPS stalker case

Inevitable: A Glendale businessman has been charged with stalking an ex-girlfriend by attaching a cellphone with GPS to her car, then showing up at random to threaten her in person.

In what authorities said was the first stalking case of its kind in Los Angeles County, Ara Gabrielyan, 32, was charged Tuesday with stalking and threatening over a six-month period to kill his former girlfriend and himself.

Gabrielyan — who ran an Armenian CD and video specialty shop — is suspected of using GPS technology to pinpoint her location so he could arrange apparent chance encounters at the bookstore, at the airport, even at her brother’s grave site. (…)After the unidentified 35-year-old woman broke off their nearly two-year relationship, Gabrielyan would follow her by car, show up at her doorstep and call her 30 to 100 times a day, she told police.(…)

Gabrielyan had purchased a Nextel phone device that has a motion switch on it that turns itself on when it moves. As long as the device is on, it transmits a signal every minute to the GPS satellite, which in turn sends the location information to a computer. Gabrielyan, who paid for a service to send him the information, would then log on to a Web site to monitor her locations, police said. Police are investigating where Gabrielyan purchased the device and the tracking service.

Link to news story, Link to LA County DA’s report.

Kaiju Big Battel comes to LA Sep. 08

In today’s Wired News, a report I filed about Kaiju Big Battel — a multimedia event in which costumed combatants spew toxic ooze on audience members. The phenom is growing in popularity. There are already websites, message boards, monster profiles at online social networking services, and a DVD series. Coming next: a book and TV pilot… and a live show in LA on September 08.

A Kaiju commissioner presides over these battles to ensure fairness. The clandestine Kaiju Regulatory Commission also functions as a sort of secret United Nations of monster fighting, regulating league activity and protecting humans from harm. As the group’s slogan warns, “Danger can happen.” “It’s their job to ensure that these events continue as a safe form of monster therapy,” says [Kaiju Studios’ Bill] Woods. “Monsters who have legitimate grudges need to work things out without destroying Cleveland in the process.”

(…)Show videos are streamed on the group’s website, where one also finds a monster manifesto. “Planet Earth is under threat,” the website warns visitors. “Scattered throughout the galaxy is a monstrous mob of maniacal villains, menacing alien beasts and giant, city-crushing monsters waging war against one another.” Global monster terror threats aside, organizers are optimistic about at least one thing: the size of their growing fan base. Nearly 2,000 are expected at the L.A. event.

“Now is a great time to be a monster — people really need a little distraction,” said David Borden, who co-founded the performance troupe with his brother Randy. Given America’s current fixation on the approaching 2004 elections, could Big Battel’s creators imagine one of their domination-craving members seeking office? “I could definitely imagine a monster running for president,” says Borden. “In fact, I think there may be two of them running for president right now.”

Link to story. Image: Kaiju announcer Louden Noxious exchanges heated words with Dr. Cube.

Beachside inline skating for n00bs

Having recently filled my new iPod with a cache of vintage ’80s bubblegum soul-pop roller rink MP3s, I am suddenly inspired to learn how to repeatedly fall down on concrete do inline skating. Anyone have suggestions on beachside inline skating classes/hotspots/rental stores? Stuff not to miss, or stuff to avoid? Or, LA area urban roller rinks? Post ’em in the comments! I know I’m painfully late to the rediscovering-roller-skating party — but that’s okay, feel free to diss me in the comments, too. Also — I keep hearing a lot lately about LA area girly derby gatherings (large numbers of goth chicks on skates rolling around on indoor rinks, looking sexy, hurting each other, the team with the most chyxxors standing at the end of the game wins I guess). I’m definitely not butch enough for that, but it might be fun to watch.

Oh, and here are just a few of the songs I’m talking about.

CaBOOM design fest in Santa Monica

BoingBoing reader Peter Giblin says:

CaBOOM is an experiental trade fair and festival showcasing designers and resources from the contemporary architecture, landscape and interior design communities at LA’s Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. B.LA readers are invited to tonight’s opening night extravanza which benefits the LA Conservancy, and are offered a 40% discount on festival passes (Discount code: PET9976). Event opens tomorrow, continues through Sunday Aug 15th.

Cool things, good music, and should be a fun crowd. Link

Hollywood Zen: Still life on CBS lot

I was working on the CBS lot in Studio City around sunset today. I had a digital camera with a few minutes and megabytes to kill, so I took some quickie snapshots of abandoned TV sets. Everything you see here is life-sized, but fake (not unlike my city). The trees are painted on drywall, the houses are 3 feet deep, even the ivy is two-dimensional. Vacant studio lots emit a strange kind of sorrow and character that’s not there when they’re full of bodies. Like flat sketches that pop off the page when liberated from their daily human cargo. After actors depart and crews go home, the lots wake up to live moody, secret little dream lives we don’t know about. LA is full of promises and lies. Here, even the studio sets lie to you about being inanimate.

Mullets. Copyright. Beer.

Beer behemoth Miller Brewing Co. is suing L.A.-based clothes manufacturer Brandlab for copyright infringement and brand dilution. The problem? Parodical T-shirts that riff off the Miller slogan, bearing messages like “It’s Mullet Time” and “Mullet Low-life.” The shirts are available at stores including The Buckle and Nordstrom (where you can buy by them online, for now). Link to news story. (Thanks, Kyle)