All posts by Travis Koplow

Travis used to surf the web for a living. Once upon a time she edited a book about virtual libraries, back when people were designing websites with stone chisels. Now she is "Director of Communications" for a nonprofit, which is like cat herding only slightly less respected a profession. She's a leftist, a PhD, a minister, an atheist, and an ominivore among other things. Fans are encouraged to send encomiums to travis818 at gmail dot com.

Outfest report, part two

There are only a few more days left of Outfest, and having been to the screening of Shelter at the Ford Amphitheater Wednesday night, I’m putting in another pitch for the festival. The Ford was sold out, and what a fun and fashion forward crowd it was. As a straight woman my first thought was, “No wonder it’s so hard to get a decent date in this town.” My second thought was, “No line for the women’s room. Woohoo!” Anyway, there are still plenty of great films on the program including the BUTT shorts and the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. How can you resist?

And I did promise a “ballsy” report from my roommate S, so I’ll give you a brief one after the jump.
Continue reading Outfest report, part two

The Valley of the Malls

Because, god knows, two malls within a quarter mile radius is not enough, Westfields has announced plans for a ginormous (3.8 million square foot) shopping “village” in Woodland Hills that would connect the Topanga and Promenade malls. Along with the stores and restaurants, the “village” would include apartments, condos, a hotel, and a senior center with “a space big enough for community meetings.” Apparently there are similar plans for Northridge Mall, which as of this morning is sporting big giant signs heralding the “lifestyle village” that is to replace the unsightly orange grove on Nordhoff Street. Can someone please tell me: WTF is a “lifestyle village”? I picture something like Logan’s Run only with shoe stores.

The Times article closes with this lovely bit:
Stephanie Collier, 22, of Calabasas, who sat outside the mall eating a frozen yogurt, said she welcomed the idea.

“I’m excited,” she said. “It’s easier to go to one place to do all your shopping.”

Can you hear me sighing over here? I try to defend the Valley, but it gets harder and harder all the time. A shopping mall does not constitute public space, people. I only pray that someone cares enough to poison my geritol if I ever end up at a senior center smack dab in the middle of a shopping “village.”

Rasputina ticket give away–El Rey July 21

Well, it appears Rasputina fans are too bashful to shake their money makers for a ticket giveaway. In fact, the only interested response to last week’s post came from Ken Quattara a fan who might have been willing to do a pole dance but was presently preoccupied trying to get his dead father’s 7.5 million dollar fortune out of the Ivory Coast.

So…let’s try a trivia quiz. The first two readers to answer correctly–send an email to [email protected]–each get a pair of Rasputina tickets–this Saturday at the El Rey. First question: What 1990 movie features Melora Creager in a cameo role? And second, what song did she play in that movie? So email me. Do it right now. And if you can muster up a pole dance, you’ll still trump the trivia masters.

Outfest 2007: Putting the “gay” into “gala” excellent roommate, S, pictured here on opening night, is volunteering for Outfest 25, and if his experience is any indicator, it’s a damn good time. Featuring parties, panels, performances, and of course, screenings, the festival–described on their site as “ballsy and titillating”–runs through the 23rd. (S volunteered at the gala opening and got winked at by one of the Queer Eye fab five, filling some of the titillating bill. I’m still waiting to get the “ballsy” report from him.)

Damn, I just realized while posting this that I missed one of my personal favorite films, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, which screened today at noon, but there’s still time to catch plenty of other gems, including tonight’s Home Video Gong Show. I fear to think, really.

Get up off your knees and dance for Rasputina tickets

Oh happy day, Rasputina is playing the El Rey (with My Brightest Diamond) July 21. And you, oh loveliest of lovelies, can win tickets. We have two pairs to give away to the two best pole dancers–if you lack a pole, any erotic dance will do, but I loves me some pole dancing, so if you’ve got one, don’t be shy. And boys this means you too. Come one; come all. Being really sexy or at least really funny can’t hurt. . Dancing will be judged on how well it captures the Rasputina spirit. That said, please keep your clothes on.

Just post your video to a publicly accessible site like and leave a comment here with the link by Wednesday night. Or, you can simply send the link to [email protected] if you’d prefer not to leave a comment. Winners will be notified by Friday. I am more than pleased to say, as well, that my friends and family cannot enter the contest (thank heavens).

Update: You can also upload your videos to the Rasputina group area on imeem. In fact, you are encouraged to do so. Photos and videos from shows as well as clips of you shaking your sexy tail feathers are all welcome.

Missing Persons was wrong: Someone’s walking in LA

Here’s a confession: Before I moved to LA I didn’t drive. I bought a car and learned to drive because everyone said–and I have always believed–you cannot live happily in this city as a non-driver. So how surprised was I to learn that LA is above the national average for public transportation use. The US Census Bureau just released a data set that breaks down how people get to work city-by-city. (It’s true: I am enough of a complete geek that I subscribe the US Census’ feed. So sue me.) I wasn’t surprised to read that “about half of the nation’s public transportation commuters can be found in 10 of the nation’s 50 cities with the most workers age 16 or over,” I didn’t expect to see LA on that list. Shows what I know. On average 4.7% of United Statians take public transportation to work, while 10.3 of Los Angelenos do. We rate higher than average on carpooling (11.7% versus 10.7% nationally), bicycling (.6% versus .4% nationally), working from home (4.7% compared to 3.6%), and even walking to work (3.2% in our fair city, 2.5% in the country as a whole). I know living in Encino and working in Chatsworth, as I do, does not exactly grant one an accurate lens through which to view the city as a whole, but still….I’m pretty blown away by the fact that LA is above the mean in every category. I don’t know whether to be proud of LA or distressed about the country as a whole.

What no Mogen David?

I swore to myself I wasn’t going to blog about Villaraigosa’s peccadillos because who needs one more blog entry about who AV is shtupping really? But I cannot resist sharing this tidbit from the LA Times story of the fourth that details the whole genealogy of the relationship because it made me laugh out loud. Though I admit it’s entirely possible that it’s only funny if you’re Jewish:

Jean Rouda … said she and her niece entered the lobby, where they encountered Villaraigosa, who was wearing a dress shirt and slacks, and was carrying bags of takeout food and a bottle of wine. . . .

Rouda said she was certain that Villaraigosa was visiting Salinas because everyone else in the 15-unit complex was “older and Jewish” except for her. “I knew he was not going to visit an elderly Jewish woman with wine and food,” she said.

(The photo–courtesy of hsivonen–doesn’t really have anything to do with Salinas or Villaraigosa, but it makes me smile too.)

At least it’s Tuesday
According to, today is the second deadliest driving day of the year (though happily, Tuesday is the least fatal driving day of the week). This particular creepy fact comes via Taco who, by way of illustration, links to a flickr photoset, which is filled with accident- or CHP-related images–the photographer, 7mary3, apparently being an officer. (Me, I opted for awe rather than shock–Independentman’s lovely image to the right shows the 5 freeway reflected in the LA River.) And the last stop on today’s morbid traffic tour is CHP’s site itself which breaks down auto death just about every way you could want to sort the data–by location, victim, vehicle, time, etc. So do be careful everyone.

Taking the “free” out of freeways

Following the lead of cities like London, LA is considering a “congestion tax” on freeways (which would of course, make them simply highways. Curbed LA mentioned as much last week and the LA Times reports further today. The idea behind congestion pricing is to charge drivers for using roads in the busiest parts of town during the busiest hours. Bloomberg has been pushing for congestion pricing in New York, and now Villaraigosa has come out in favor of the idea as well. There is talk of introducing toll roads at LAX first to encourage people to take public transportation to the airport. The Times does admit that, at present, there really isn’t public transportation that serves most folks who need to fly out of LAX. But hey, since when has reality interfered with city planning in LA? Clearly, without intervention of some kind, traffic is only going to get worse. Palmdale and Lancaster both rank among the twenty-five most rapidly growing cities in the country and it shocks none of us to learn that LA proper has made number one on the list of most congested cities already. But congestion pricing is an idea that works best in cities that offer a viable alternative to driving, and LA, sad to say, is not yet among them.

Yay for pyrotechnics

The LA Times has posted their annual list of Fourth of July fireworks displays, some of which, counter-intuitively, have already taken place. We stumbled upon the Santa Monica bombs bursting in air quite by accident last night on our way from dinner at Lare’s to SM’s Third Street. (Dinner, by the way, was fantastic, and I’m enough of a non-native to admit that it was made even better for me by the fact that we were seated next to Hilary Swank.)
Cruising down Pico, we pulled over and watched and took some phone pics when the gunpowder bouquets started. (This photo courtesy of Ken Justice who wishes he had an iphone for this and so many occasions.)

We’ll probably hit the Culver City school fireworks on the fourth because it’s convenient to the bf’s place and the crowds and traffic at the bowl and Dodger Stadium are more than I want to deal with. As a DC native, it feels a bit wrong to not at least make an effort to see some fireworks for the holiday. Though the Times does have a list of five patriotic films you can watch if you choose to opt out of the explosive option. (I’d add Easy Rider and Manchurian Candidate (1962) myself, but that’s just me.)

There are two fireworks options I can give an experienced thumbs-down to:
Continue reading Yay for pyrotechnics