All posts by Spencer Cross

Spencer Cross, a.k.a. 5000!, is an artist and graphic designer and is the founder of Los Angles-based creative services boutique, Tokyo Farm. He is also the creator of KERNSPIRACY, a unique effort to foster community and camaraderie among Los Angeles creative professionals through a combination of ongoing events and discussion forums. Spencer also co-founded the art collective PopRocks+Soda, who are intensely focused on the study of the issues surrounding the eating of fermented milk and the drinking of fermented grapes. Yay, fermentation. Spencer also occasionally updates blogTHOUSAND!, widely recognized as the internet's topmost authority on who would win in a fight between a ninja and a pirate.

Today I’m Gonna Gas Up Like it’s 2006

gas.jpgI am thrilled to see that gas has actually dropped below $3.00/gallon once again in Los Angeles. Then I remember that gas supposedly always drops before an election because Big Oil wants people to think things are great so they’ll re-elect the incumbents to whom they’ve been funneling donations. Then I Google it and discover that the pre-election drop is probably a myth and am happy again!

UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies Conveniently Catalogs Confusing Ballot Recs

The Institute of Governmental Studies Library at UC Berkeley CA Ballot is maintaining a convenient table listing California ballot measure recommendations from a whole slew of political parties, newspapers and non-profits that anybody who’s daunted by California’s lengthy ballot will likely find very useful. And if you’ve lost your Voter Information Guide, they’ve also got in-depth analysis of the propositions themselves. Now, if only I could find one for the numerous city and county of LA measures!

Beautiful/Decay Sample Sale on Saturday

My friends at Beautiful/Decay are holding a sample sale this weekend and it’s looks to feature deep discounts on some rare and unique stuff:

They will be selling rare, limited run and unreleased samples and never before seen Beautiful/Decay prototypes- for all you who love those exclusive designs. The sale will feature the insane discount of 50 to 80% off everything, including shirts and hoodies. Who wouldn’t like a one of a kind t-shirt or hoodie for the holidays? So come out, meet the Beautiful/Decay crew and get your hands on some great deals.

This is a good opportunity to pick up some early holiday gifts for the streetwear fans on your list and save some scratch at the same time.

B/D Sample Sale
Saturday, October 18, 10am-3pm

Agenda Showroom
645 N. Martel Ave., L.A., CA 90026

Sexism and Homophobia “Alive and Well” at Downtown’s Weiland’s?

A user of Downtown’s LA Life‘s Yahoo! Group recently shared an experience at Little Tokyo’s Weiland’s Brewery in which they claimed “Sexism is alive and well and working at Weilands Brewery:”

It’s not often that I will get on my soapbox and vent my anger and frustration to the world. I’m not a blogger or a rabble rouser and quite to the contrary, I prefer to read these types of stories rather than author them. But this incident, in my opinion, is one that I cannot keep quiet.

Recently, a very dear friend of mine walked into Weilands Brewery in Little Tokyo to apply for a job. He was looking for a bartender role or waitperson role- either one as he needed some work.

After dropping off his resume and talking with the manager, he was told that “…everyone here knows his place. The men work behind the bar and the women serve the food.” Since there weren’t any bartending positions available, and even though there were waitstaff positions available, he was told that he couldn’t be hired “because he was a man.” The manager went on to say “….this is a very macho environment and men don’t serve the food”. Umm, when did Little Tokyo become a “macho environment” and when did Weilands become a testosterone headquarters where customers are so uncomfortable with a man serving food, that they have to set up hiring rules preventing this from happening?…

More to the story and another experience after the jump. Continue reading Sexism and Homophobia “Alive and Well” at Downtown’s Weiland’s?

Barack On Obamathon Friday Night at Fresh Pressed

BarackOn!.jpgThis will be entirely uninteresting to all the McCain, Nader, Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKiney and, if they’re not in the same class as the fictitious leprechaun, Alan Keyes supporters in the audience, but one of my favorite places in the city is Los Feliz’s Fresh Pressed, and this Friday night they’re hosting a fundraiser for Barack Obama:

We’ve teamed with local artists who’ve contributed pro-Obama designs for live screen-printing of shirts, garments, and posters. Artists include Max Erdenberger, Jimm Lasser, Jessica Louise, Megan McGinley, Lenny Mesina, Keith Scharwath, and more! PROCEEDS WILL GO STRAIGHT TO THE OBAMA/BIDEN CAMPAIGN TO CONTINUE RAISING AWARENESS IN THE REMAINING SWING STATES . Pricing for goods will go as follows:

$20 shirt/garment
$10 B.Y.O.T. (bring your own T or other printable garment)
$10 poster on French paper

In addition to designs, drinks, and djs, the good folks who put on the Obama Bake Sale Fundraiser will also be in attendance to fill your appetites for change!

If you’d like to contribute but can’t make it, please help us reach our fundraising goal by visiting our webpage and making a donation.

They’re also looking for people to donate to the bake sale and volunteers to work shifts at the event. Interested parties should contact Nikki Braendlin at [email protected]. And regardless of your political affilliation, I still recommend everyone stop by Fresh Pressed’s unique shop and print your own one-of-a-kind garment the next time you’re in the neighborhood. Kids, especially, seem to the chance to turn their drawings into a t-shirt.

“We, the People” Documentary Film Festival Begins Thursday

homeWe.pngBeginning this Thursday and running through Saturday, Trade&Row is presenting “We, the People,” a documentary film festival showcasing portraits of American culture, from Thursday, October 16, 2008 to Saturday, October 18, 2008:

In the year of a presidential election, it is important to think about the magnitude of what Americans are asking one person to represent to the world. Who are we? How do we come together? What do we, the people, stand for?

Over the course of three evenings, We, the People will showcase films that go beyond generalities to inform Americans about the economic and social issues that may uplift or immobilize certain areas, and show how they can extrapolate to other parts of the country.

Three distinct venues have been selected in hopes of bringing people together to promote multiple perspectives: Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, Echo Park Film Center and Self Help Graphics. In addition, Trade&Row will facilitate dialogue and ask audience members to comment on the film or films of each evening that had the most impact.

This event looks well worth a visit as there is a ton of really intriguing stuff being shown. I’m particularly interested in night number one’s Lost Colony, described as “A short documentary following a few days in the lives of residents of Crusoe Island, North Carolina, who are known for suspicion of outsiders and subsistence living along the Waccamaw River.”

Full schedule and film synopses after the jump. Continue reading “We, the People” Documentary Film Festival Begins Thursday

blogdowntown Kickoff Event: “Take It to the Bank”

kickoff_logo.jpgA few weeks back, Eric at blogdowntown announced the launch of verbdowntown, a not-for-profit project that’s the new parent of blogdowntown and whose mission is to create online community resources for Downtown Los Angeles. Tomorrow night they’re celebrating with a kickoff event at Farmers & Merchants Bank at 4th and Main. Festivities include DJ’s, art and live screenprinting by the ubiquitous Hit+Run and are going down during the Downtown Art Walk so there’s sure to be a good crowd.

Take It to the Bank: A blogdowntown event with Little Radio and Hit+Run
October 9th, 6pm – 10pm / Farmers & Merchants Bank, 401 S. Main.




Hustler Pailin Video on the Way; Possible Source of Craig’s List Ad?

Susannah Breslin at The Frisky is reporting on leaked info that Hustler Video is at work on an adult film inspired by GOP VP nom Sarah Palin entitled Nailin’ Paylin. I can’t help but wonder if this is the possible source of the racy “Palin Lookalike for Adult Film” Craig’s List post that Julia stumbled across this week? Given that the CL post specified “no anal required” and one of the leaked tidbits that Breslin reveals is that Nailin’ will feature “the Russians, who come knocking on her back-door,” it seems there must be multiple Palin-themed adult films in the works. Quelle surprise.

Via BoingBoing

CA Law Tip o’ the Month: Cash Back on Gift Cards!

Lost among the voluminous chatter about talking and texting while driving earlier this year was a tidbit that I think is especially good to know in light of our beleaguered economic sitchyashun: as of January 1, 2008, California law requires merchants to provide cash back to the purchaser or holder of any gift certificate with a balance less than $10. Of course, there are a number of loopholes that card issuers can use to extract value from your card balance (keep an eye out for “dormancy fees for non-use” in particular), but if you’ve got less than $10 left on your Starbucks card and want to exchange it for cold, hard cash in lieu of a warm, satisfying Caramel Dolce Latte you’re good to go. And, just in case you forget, some Starbucks like the one I haunt at Glendale and Fletcher even sport a convenient counter sign giving you the lowdown! For full details on the ins and outs of getting your cash, check out the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ “FAQ and Tips and Gift Certificates and Gift Cards.”

Spotted in the Wild: They Shoot Pay Phones, Don’t They?

Empty Pay PhoneI spotted this sad fellow outside of the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s over the weekend and it made me wonder, in an age of ubiquitous mobile phones and always-on connectivity, how much priority the phone company places on repairing busted pay phones? I don’t remember the last time I used a pay phone (unlike some people), but something about staring into this bleak, empty socket really makes me melancholy.

Click to embiggen, but it ain’t gettin’ much better.

Author, MacArthur Genius David Foster Wallace Commits Suicide

I’ve been battling a cold all weekend, so I’m just now finding out that one of my favorite authors, David Foster Wallace, was found dead in his Claremont home on Friday night, apparently a victim of suicide. Wallace was a nimble writer that bounced easily between essay, novel and short fiction, and is likely most well known for his epic tome of a novel, Infinite Jest, a serious contender for the top of my Best Book Ever Written list. To my shame, I never knew he lived so close, but he’d been teaching creative writing at Pomona College since ’02.

Photo by Flickr user Steve Rhodes, used under CC license.

More Overzealous Security Shennanigans: Hollywood Bowl Guards Allegedly Beat Group Off-Property and in Front of LAPD

The LA Weekly’s Play blog is reporting that a group of Hollywood Bowl security guards allegedly assaulted a videographer and his associates outside of the Radiohead show in an effort to acquire a tape of the guards forcibly ejecting a patron earlier in the night. It’s an infuriating story that just gets more infuriating as it progresses:

“I figured, there’s no way that the security guards are just going to assault this random dude in front of a cop.” He was wrong. Remembers Dawes: “It landed within five feet of me. I leaned down to pick it up and I got tackled by two of the dudes. They threw me into that ivy-covered wall and I was trying to get them off me. At one point there were three guards on me. I threw the tape to Sean, and that’s when it got really ugly.” Dawes alleges that one of the security guards threw Carlson into an electrical box. “He hurled him into it, then threw him onto the ground — at this point there are two or three officers there. [The security guards] smashed his head into the pavement as they’re trying to cuff him, the cops aren’t doing anything. I’m yelling, ‘Officer, this is your jurisdiction — this isn’t Hollywood Bowl property anymore. Don’t let them do this.’” Dawes recalls that the officers replied that they “give event staff leeway.”

“They beat the shit out of him in front of a cop,” says Reich, “and the cop was like, ‘What do you mean? We didn’t see that.’” He adds that despite the officers witnessing Reich get hit by a car, they did not call an ambulance or offer any support.

Carlson, who had bore the brunt of the action, was screaming for help as the guards were trying to subdue him. “The cop told me to stop crying,” he recalls.

If you were inclined to call the Bowl in order to tell them your concerns about attending events staffed by guards that behave like street thugs, the number for their Community/Public Affairs office is 213.972.7297. Likewise, Tom LaBonge’s office, within whom’s district the Bowl sits, may be interested to hear about how the LAPD handled the situation: 213.485.3337.

Federal Rent-A-Pig Boots Van Nuys Woman from Building for Wearing “” Shirt

In yet another infuriating example of how the war on terror has done little but empower bullies looking to live out their revenge fantasies, the Daily News reports that a guard working for a private firm on behalf of the DHS kicked a woman out of a federal building in Van Nuys for wearing a shirt bearing the phrase “” The guard claimed that “The Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property” gave him jurisdiction over her clothing, though according to the News it doesn’t, in fact, address what type of clothing is allowed in Federal buildings. I’m tempted to don my years-old “Fuck Art, Let’s Kill” shirt and head up to Van Nuys to see if it merits a similar response.