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.

Blogging (in) LA: Things To Do In LA

Anarchists, dinosaurs, and vinyl toys–TTDILA covers it all. The front page of the site explains:

Things To Do In LA was created out of not being able to find something to do in LA. It was created out of missing cool events that you would hear about later or because you didn’t read a certain post. It was created because you don’t know every place to visit in the city. There is always something to do in this city.

Things To Do In LA tells you what’s going on, and places to go.

TTDILA is a curated events list, clearly not guided by PR hack spam but rather by what seems exceptional, interesting, fun, and noteworthy. If you’re at all into video games, anime, local art, horror movies, or geek/fringe culture you should check out Things To Do In LA. Know this: TTDILA wrote to us at to ask if we were doing another Doughnut Summit this year before we’d even gotten around to asking ourselves the same question. Jonathan, the brain and muscle behind TTDILA is on the ball. He does the research for the rest of us. Without TTDILA, for instance, I wouldn’t have known about the Anarchist Book Fair or the Dead Flesh Fest this Saturday. I’m not sure if I’ll go to either, but being a fan of both anarchism and exploitation I’m glad to know about them regardless. Reading TTDILA is like having your own personal social secretary/concierge, except you’re on your own in terms of making reservations and dealing with double booking.

Comment below and get free admission to Art in the Streets Mondays

Actually, in all honesty, admission to the Geffen’s Art in the Streets is free every Monday thanks to a donation by Banksy, a street artist whose ability to garner publicity never ceases to amaze and impress this blogger. So this Monday, I set out with a couple of friends to take advantage of Banksy’s largess. The exhibit was larger than I’d thought it would be and it was crowded enough that there was a line at the gift shop and a guard monitoring admission. (I bought nothing. I might have considered a skullphone tee-shirt even at the rockstar prices, but they had no girl cuts.) But I digress. The exhibit itself was really great.
It spanned everything from early tagging on train cars by railroad employees to LA car art to reconstructed cityscapes complete with animitronic taggers and a dummy homeless guy sleeping in a doorway. All it lacked was the urine smell. (This is not a suggestion, MoCA–just an observation.) The exhibit runs through August 8, and I hope I’m able to get back to see it again before it goes. Do note: Art in the Streets is at the Geffen, not at MoCA’s Grand Street location. Also note, you can easily take the metro. The Gold Line stops just a couple of blocks from the front door.

Highlights from the exhibit after the jump. Continue reading Comment below and get free admission to Art in the Streets Mondays

THREAD Show Highlights

On Sunday my friend Roberta and I ventured out to THREAD show. It was my first time at THREAD and I’d go back. Inevitably I find myself comparing it to Unique LA if only because I found out about THREAD from one of the Unique LA vendors, Lindsay at Felt Up.

Relative to Unique LA, THREAD is significantly smaller and less crowded. What crowd there is, though, is quite diverse, particularly racially diverse–both vendors and shoppers. There are a lot of jewelry vendors and very few food vendors. We didn’t even try for a free manicure or massage or visit with a stylist though the lines were not unreasonable. We were just entertained enough by the people watching and the shopping. Trends that I could live without: feathers and ginormous necklaces. Trends I love: knee socks and recycled fashion. More pictures of the event after the break.

Vendor info:

Circles and Squares
Art Kills Artists
Dominique Ansari
Mother Plucker
Micha Design
Naughty Blonde
Felt Up
PeaceImages Jewelry
Bela Koi
Retro Outlaw
Bipolar Gear

My favorite thing I bought? Well, I love the little gray porcelain rose earrings from Bela Koi and the tee shirt with Julie Andrews giving the finger from Retro Outlaw and the mirrored spiral earrings from PeaceImages, but my very favorite would have to be the yellow tutu from Bipolar Gear. LaRae Wilson, the creative spirit behind the operation is a force to be reckoned with. Have I ever bought an article of yellow clothing in my life? No. Am I glad I did? Yes. Thank you, LaRae for being persuasive. You can catch Bipolar Gear at LA Fashion Week’s Fashion Minga in October. I’ll be there if I’m in town.

Win Passes to THREAD Show June 12

thread runway
the runway at thread

Let me start with a confession: I’ve never been to THREAD. In fact, I’d actually not even heard of it until after I posted about Unique LA and one of the vendors asked me if I were going. But don’t judge the event by my ignorance; I’ve never pretended to be a real fashionista. I can’t walk in high heels and I don’t own a purse that costs more than $20. I’ve spent most of my life in graduate school or working for nonprofits so I favor a bottom feeder aesthetic myself (you can see the whole pond from down here).  All that said, THREAD sounds super fun and I’m going.

The show travels from city to city and showcases 100 independent designers. It’s taking place Saturday June 12 at the Cooper Design Center, which is a nice space, and there will be djs, art, a photo booth, a clothing swap, spots to get manicures and shoulder rubs, and even a “man cave” with beer and darts and “entertainment for male shoppers” (one fears to think). According to the website FAQ, goods are priced $15-$200 so even those of us on a budget should be plenty happy. I love to support independent designers, and an event with music and free stuff and snacks sounds perfect. Admission is cheap ($10 or $5 with an rsvp), but even better, I’ve got pairs of passes to give away. What’s better than something for nothing? Just leave me a comment below telling me what’s on your fashion wish-list, and winners will be selected randomly by June 8.  

When: Sunday June 12, noon-6

Where: Cooper Design Space, 860 South Los Angeles Street, 11th floor

(VIP entry 11-noon is  available for $25 to the first 300 in line and includes a swag bag and a free cocktail. We’re giving away a regular entry, not a VIP pass.)

Blogging (in) LA Now a Weekly Series

xkcd blogging
another excellent xkcd comic

If you’re a regular reader you’ve seen some of our Blogging (in) LA posts by now. We’ve tried to be fair, covering some of our favorites like Weho Daily and the perhaps regrettably named Eastsider LA, as well as at least one that we wish might be different. We’ve interviewed the bloggers responsible for L.A. Can’t Drive and Green LA Girl. We’ve done a round-up of photo blogs and touched on food, real estate, and public service blogs.

Of course, the smattering of blogs we’ve covered over the past two weeks represent not even an iceberg tip of the sites devoted to LA, and we plan to keep highlighting one or two of our favorite and not-so-favorite LA blogs weekly. Drop a comment or write to one of us if you have a site you’d like to have us check out.

Literary Break Brought to You by Sarah Labrie and This Recording

Sarah Labrie’s short piece “On (Not) Leaving Los Angeles” over at This Recording is really gorgeous. Go read it.

Lately, your life has been falling into place along a strange Los Angeles logic. That morning you got a $50 parking ticket, but last night you went to a party at Bret Easton Ellis’ house. The party was exactly what you expected, down to the minimalist monochrome décor, the celebrities famous for reasons no one could define. In an apartment overlooking Beverly Hills, you lived out the wildest dream of the college sophomore version of yourself. A gleam hovered over the fading film stars, the impeccable bartender, the party guests caught up in Bret’s orbit as he circled the room, glass in hand, imitating perfectly the person everyone assumes he is.

Thanks to Annie for the link.

Blogging (in) LA: Curbed

I admit it: I love Curbed LA. It’s a guilty pleasure and a sort of embarrassing confession from someone who doesn’t even get TV reception. Curbed is blogging junk food. It’s like cheetos or red vines–empty calories, but sometimes just exactly what you want.

For the unitiated, Curbed covers, for the most part, LA real estate. They do link round-ups of stories from around the blogosphere and occasional tangential news stories, as well as “rent check” posts about apartments for rent around LA, but their meat-and-potatoes posts are the ones that detail extraordinary houses/palaces/design catastrophes for sale. I’m sure my fascination with, for instance, this Versailles-lite Sunset Boulevard mansion is the same sort of engine that drives so many of those house-oriented shows on television, but somehow Curbed delivers it in a way that I find compelling instead of off-putting. Who hasn’t always wanted to see inside the House of Davids??!! I know I have. Thank you, Curbed, for making it possible. It is, in fact, more atrocious than I imagined.  

But it’s not all architectural traffic accidents on Curbed, there are also posts like this one that make me wish I had a spare $629,000 sitting around. Or this one that makes me want to organize a expedition to explore the old Nazi ruins in LA.

So thanks, Curbed, for being consistently entertaining and letting me peak inside some of LA’s interior decorating travesties.

Cinefile Extravaganza Weekend

Tod Browning's Freaks

This weekend is one of those times in Los Angeles when movie buffs wish they could clone themselves several times over. Seriously it almost hurts to be a cinefile when the options are so rich and you can only sit in one theater at a time. First of all, beginning tonight, the Aero has a Tod Browning retrospective, which runs through Saturday. Saturday night–be still my heart–is a double feature of Freaks and Devil Doll. (That offering, in and of itself, would be enough to merit a blog post.) I admit I’ve never even seen Devil Doll (though any movie with an X song named after it has, frankly, got to be good), but before the days of Netflix, I used to have a roommate who owned only two movies–Freaks and Sid and Nancy, so I’ve seen Freaks a ridiculous number of times, and I’ll probably head to the Aero Saturday to see it again. It’s that good. But that’s only a small part of the big screen amazingness this weekend. Continue reading Cinefile Extravaganza Weekend

New Series: Blogging (in) LA

Los Angeles sign
Omar Bárcena's Los Angeles photo used through Creative Commons license

Hello there readers,

Those of you who stop by regularly know what is about. We blog here because we love LA and we want to share what we love about it with you all. We don’t pretend to be comprehensive or “objective” and we aren’t paid. We’re just Angelinos with various passions and proclivities (even obsessions). We like to write about our favorite LA moments or upcoming events that we think sound interesting or news about vegan restaurants or bicycling or film noir or street art or elections or or or … fill in the blank.

But we know we’re not the only game in town. We were the first group blog about LA–we’ve been blogging in LA since 2003–and we’ve seen a lot of other sites and bloggers come and go.  Most of us who write for read a lot of other sites devoted to Los Angeles. At one of our last meet-ups we decided it would be a good idea to share some of our favorite LA-based sites with you. So for the next two weeks, we’ll be posting every day about our LA compadres–from the ridiculous to the sublime. As with so much of what we cover here, we are simply writing about what we think is noteworthy (both for its virtues and faults); we aren’t attempting to be encyclopedic about our approach. That said, after the first couple of weeks of daily posts, we plan to continue the series indefinitely with weekly posts about other LA sites. We aren’t promising anything, but If you have a favorite you’d like us to cover, of course, you should write us and let us know.


Click here for posts in this series.

Save King Dave Fundraiser: Good music for a good cause

What are you doing this Saturday? What if I told you you could hear some great music, go to an art auction and a rummage sale, eat good food, meet interesting people, and possibly save a life while you were at it? Some friends of mine have put together a fundraiser to help pay for Dave Melrose’s cancer treatments (more information on the treatments here). It’s an all-day event in Altadena (noon until midnight) and the entertainment includes, among many others–Jack Black doing, according to the Facebook page for the event, a Black Sabbath tribute(!); and Dos, a band consisting solely of two of the best bassists ever–Kira Roessler (of Blag Flag fame) and Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, etc.). For the complete schedule look here. What I know is this, the people putting on this thing are dedicated and creative. There will be some great art for auction and the “rummage” at their sale will be far superior to most rummage. Yes, it’s in Altadena, but it’s $20 for the whole day and how often do you get to say you spent your Saturday saving a life?

When: Saturday 14 May 2011–noon to midnight
Where: 711 W. Woodbury Road, Altadena, CA 91001
How much: $20 suggested donation
RSVP: Facebook

Unique LA Highlights

So Saturday, we did venture out to Unique LA, as we commented that we might. My friend Roberta said Monstertrocity was her favorite booth, and it was certainly among mine.

Kat at Monstertrocity

I remember when Kat was selling wares off her bike in front of Bazaar Bizarre and I loved her stuff then and I do now. If you missed it, fear not, Unique LA is adding a summer show so you can go buy cool monster stuff or all kinds of other wonderful things. More pictures from the show after the break. Continue reading Unique LA Highlights

Suicide in Downey

Back Door Crime Scene TapeAmong the reasons you don’t want to get sent home from work early on a Monday morning are that someone packed a suitcase, brought it to the back entrance of your office building, sat down on it, and proceeded to put a bullet in his head something like 50 feet from your desk.

That’s what just happened to my friend who sent me this picture from his office building in Downey. People at his work speculated that it was a disgruntled ex-employee [update: there are indications he most likely was not], but there’s no real information. [Further update: this definitely wasn’t a disgruntled employee incident, and the address of the building has been redacted due to a request by the occupant.] I’m using the occasion to remind the rest of you that there are resources available should you feel desperate enough to contemplate suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline: 800-273-8255 or use LA Counties’ Department of Mental Health site to find a provider near you. Regardless of your insurance status, if you walk into the emergency room of any hospital and tell them that you want to kill yourself, you will get treatment. However limited our public health options may be, they are preferable to the “permanent solution to a temporary problem” that is suicide. Hang in there, people. Whatever you’re dealing with, it will eventually change, and killing yourself will break the hearts of the people who love you.

LAFD Rescue Hawk

I saw this on the LAFD blog and I just had to share it with you all because it’s damn heartwarming. It seems a hawk got tangled in some fishing line or nylon thread of some kind too high up for animal control or anyone else to be able to reach it, so the LAFD came to the rescue. It’s like the badass version of getting a cat out of a tree. Go LAFD. Thanks for being so awesome.


My Mother, Let Me Tell You About My Mother…

Mommie Dearest
Mara Hobel and Fay Dunaway in Mommie Dearest

Yes, this Sunday is Mother’s Day, or as some of us like to think of it, Avoid Brunch Restaurants As If Your Life Depended On It Day. My fellow bloggers have helped you figure out where to shop for your momma and where to take her out. I’m here to let the dysfunctional family set know the Egyptian Theater has planned a Sunday evening just for us. In the programming equivalent of scheduling My Bloody Valentine on February 14th, the Egyptian is screening Mommie Dearest at 7:30 Sunday night. You’ll never look at a wire hanger the same again. See you there.


We’re Number Ten: Racial Segregation in LA

It may come as little surprise to many of you that Los Angeles is one of the ten most segregated large urban areas in the United States. With a segregation level of 67.84 (where “1” is the most integrated and “100” is the most segregated), LA is only marginally less segregated than the City of Brotherly Love which weighs in at 68.41 or Cincinatti at 69.42.

Map by John Paul DeWitt of and U Michigan’s Social Science Data Analysis Network

Continue reading We’re Number Ten: Racial Segregation in LA