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I’ve Seen “Blade Runner” Remakes You People Wouldn’t Believe

August 24, 2011 in Crime, Driving, Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Media, Movies, Social issues

The number of versions of “Blade Runner“, which had already jumped the shark, has now jumped the Loch Ness Monster: director Ridley Scott plans to make yet another “Blade Runner” movie. It is not yet known whether the new “Blade Runner” will be a sequel, prequel, reboot, or otherwise. Either way, what can Angelenos expect if the new “Blade Runner” is again set in Los Angeles?
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“It’s THE 10!”

August 4, 2011 in LA, Media

I always appreciate any joke about LA that goes beyond the easy Hollywood punchline.  Like this one, during tonight’s repeat of 30 Rock:

Oh, Liz.  You’re a long way from Burbank.

This Just In: Old Is News

May 12, 2011 in History, LA, Media

I know it’s a print-is-dead digital world in which what’s new is old already, but if there’s something that still demonstrates the power and worth of newspapers, it’s the jaw-drop that happens when you unexpectedly find yourself holding almost half-century-old history in your hands, which in this case came when I moved some boxes out of my mom’s place and into our basement today. One such box in particular was my stepdad’s — something of a collector — and right on top of an amazing stack of Life and Look and Saturday Evening Post magazines from the 1920s through the ’70s were these two local publications, the first editions to hit the street after the assassination (click them for the bigger pictures):

LA Herald Examiner 11-22-1963

Los Angeles Herald Examiner / Nov. 22, 1963


LA Times 11.23.1963

Los Angeles Times / Nov. 23, 1963

You can bet I’ll be going carefully through these pages gape-mouthed on a slow analog ride in the wayback machine.

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by frazgo

Wanna be in a Weird Al Yankovic video?

May 6, 2011 in LA, Media, Music

weird al yankovic

Weird Al in concert

Time is running out fast but here’s the deets.  If you are a male 25-45 (that’s what they are looking for in particular but will consider anyone) and want to play the role of paparazzi in a Weird Al video you need to get moving.  All you need to do is send them a picture of yourself holding a “professional looking camera” (my guess a DSLR).  Send that pic to [email protected] along with your contact info.  They have no deadline, but say that the earlier you get it to them the better as they are shooting on May 15 for release in June.  Weird Al’s blog has all the details HERE.

Now I wish I had a pic of me with my DSLR as this would be a fun adventure to add to my bucket list of things done.

Pic by computer_saskboy on flickr and used under a creative commons license.  Link to him HERE..

Another Local Blogger Headed to The Show

May 3, 2011 in LA bloggers, Media, Real Estate

Congratulations are in order for outgoing Curbed Los Angeles editor Dakota Smith.

Dakota took over the LA edition of the popular real estate and development blog when it was barely in the terrible 2’s. After a 4-year run, she heads to the Valley to report for the Daily News.

We look forward to reading her take on the always amusing 818. Maybe she can help us get the trains rolling.

You Know You’re On a Flight Back to L.A. When …

April 12, 2011 in Celebrity, Entertainment, LA, Media, Movies, Television

It includes:

— the reality show celebrity/mom telling her little kids about the “lady with a face like plastic”;

— the actor from “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”;

— the music producer-looking guy with the very long grey pouffy hair and dark sunglasses (yeah, that guy);

— the flight attendant asking you if you’re a particular actor, and then threatening to check the passenger manifest when you say “no”; and

— the Lady with the Face like Plastic.  It really was, and I guess I’m really back home.

Anchor Meltdown

February 14, 2011 in Entertainment, Media, People

Most of you probably saw, or at least heard about this happening last night on our local CBS 2 News:

……..yeah. Funny right? Maybe not. Turns out she was taken to the hospital to rule out the possibility of a stroke. Inability to speak can often be the first sign. I REALLY hope this isn’t the case. I went to school with her and I seem to remember her being very nice. Hopefully it was just a quick flub. Cause if she’s OK, then we can laugh.

Driving School

February 5, 2011 in Driving, ICME, Media

To say that Los Angeles is car crazy omits half the story: sometimes it’s not the cars, but what the drivers put on their cars, that is of interest.  Case in point: spotted while parked on the West Side yesterday, this otherwise nondescript Honda Fit pretty much covered the cultural spectrum with its stickers.  When you’ve devoted equal automotive real estate to Fellini, Pablo Neruda, Oscar Wilde, Phil Jackson, Severus Snape, and the Lakers, you’re probably an L.A. area driver.

How to Feed 1,250 Emotional People at an Awards Show

January 26, 2011 in Celebrity, Food & Drink, LA, Media

What happens when you ask Suzanne Goin to look "fierce."

A producer friend of a friend once described his pre-Oscar ritual as something akin to a runner prepping for a marathon: “Eat.  Because you’re not going to until hours and hours later.”  That he has to go hungry during the 3+ hours of The Emmys or The Oscars is the worst thing about the gala for him (for people who actually are in it to win it, the worst thing probably is not being nominated or losing what may be your only chance to claim the “O” in “EGOT“).  Anyway, the reason why, say, The Golden Globes and The Screen Actors’ Guild Awards are better in his book is in part because you get to eat.  Eating is, after all, the panacea for all the ups and downs during any awards ceremony, whether it be The SAG Awards at The Shrine or your kid’s end-of-the-year award ceremony at The Overcrowded Multipurpose Room.  Anxious?  Snack, nervously.  Weren’t nominated?  Chomp, vengefully.  Didn’t win?  Nosh, sadly.  Did win?  Feast, gluttonously.  Bored?  Eat, mindfully.

Now, say you’re the chef who has to cater said eating awards event.  What do you do?  Suzanne Goin, chef and owner of Lucques, AOC, and Tavern, is doing the cooking for the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards this Sunday.  She and her entourage at Lucques Catering will serve some 1,250 people who are hungry/nervous/overconfident/not confident enough given the caliber of their work/there for the swag.  To ease the emotional roller-coaster, she will plate a lovely quartet of palate-pleasers that reflect local, seasonal cooking.

Clockwise from the top left: beluga lentils with carrots, pine nuts, and feta; slow-roasted salmon with ginger-mint chutney; slow-roasted lamb with chickpeas and feta salsa verde; a beautiful salad with blood oranges, dates, arugula, and parmesan; and a baked herbed crostini with parmesan and chopped thyme and parsley to bring it all together.  When each part is consumed, and why – well, to each his or her own.

And, because if you’re anything like me and sometimes like seeing how they made, say, Toy Story 3, almost as much as you like seeing the finished product, a couple of photos of the kitchen at Lucques:

For those of you not part of the SAG action on Sunday night, Lucques and AOC are both participating in DineLA.  Lucques is offering a three-course lunch menu for $28, and a three-course dinner menu for $44.  AOC is offering a three-course dinner menu for $44.  Given the caliber of the food at both restaurants – really, unlike other high-end restaurants, I can’t recall ever having a meal at either Lucques or AOC that I regretted – the prix fixe menus are a great deal.  Go on, snack, chomp, nosh, feast, eat.  Your emotions will thank you later.

Free Admission at Hammer Museum through December 18

December 5, 2010 in Art, Events, Media

The Hammer Museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary with 20 days of free admission.  The celebration began on Black Friday and continues through December 18, which is more than 20 days, but hey, why look a gift horse in the mouth?  Admission is usually $7 for adults.  I hope to hit the Hammer and help celebrate this milestone during the next couple of weeks.

The 2010 Naughty List: Meg Whitman

December 2, 2010 in Media, People, Politics, Rants

My best friend lives in Vancouver BC, but he grew up in San Pedro. Expatriate though he may be, he’s still lived the bulk of his life in California, thus far. And while he’s now, as a Canadian Citizen, largely removed from the noise of California politics, it can still pique his interest when he comes to visit.

Back in July, he was here for Comic Con (something rarely missed) and, of course, Meg Whitman’s ads were running constantly on every available media outlet, short of Big Gulp cups and Happy Meals.

“Who’s this ‘Meg Whitman?'” he asks me.

“Used to run eBay. Dumping a crap ton of her own money into the race. Record amount, in fact.”

“Who’s running against her?”

“Jerry Brown.”

The look of disbelief that crossed his face will haunt my soul.

“Does anyone really need anymore proof that the Democrats are in collusion with the Republicans?”

Mike’s a cynical bastard.

Look, you can take any politician, ANY, and create a laundry list of their lies and deceit; they’re politicians. They are liars. All of them. Your favorite candidate, in whatever race that was? Yep, them. Big, fat liars. Pants ablaze. The Great Statesmen and Orators of History? Fibbers, every last one. So, I will not even to attempt to recount a play by play of campaign inaccuracies and skullduggery here. Putting a politician on the “Naughty” list for lying or running a rough campaign is like blaming a spider for having too many legs. It may creep you out, but that’s just the way the damn thing is built.

So, why bother? Well, I’ll tell yeh, and frankly, I kinda find it funny:

Bitch tried to buy us off.

Seriously. Slice it up any way you wish, it was a blatant attempt to run an unstoppable money-fueled juggernaut of a campaign, which collapsed under its own hubris.

I’m not even going to take up the tract of, “She should have just poured all that money into our failing education system,” or whatever. Would that have been great? Oh, hell yeah! I would love to see a politician actually do that, or similar, on that scale. I ain’t gonna ride her for not deciding to do something so grand.

No, what gets you the coal in your stocking this year, Meg, as far as I’m concerned, is the hubris. The unmitigated gall. You thought you had us, that you could just buy us. That that’s all it would take. We heard it in your voice. Well, take your lump and heat your stove, let that keep you warm, we’re gonna let Jerry do his thing. At least he didn’t try to buy us out.

The part that tickles me, really, is that it did happen here. Like it or not, the stereotype of a typical “Californian” tends to be either the dimwitted surfer or the shallow “Movie Star.” This tends to piss me off, but that’s really how much of the country sees us. And yet, the State known to be all flash and no substance passed on Meg’s Millions. Whatever else Jerry Brown may or may not be, “Flashy” he’s not.

I suppose those who insist upon State drawn stereotypes will shrug us off as “Hippies” now. Funny how such a bunch of Hippies have elected so many Republicans in the past. Whatever, I’ll take Granola over Vapid any day.

I can’t wait to find out what my friend in The Great White North thinks about all of this when I go to visit him over Christmas. Should be interesting.

Summer Is Back; Time to Hit the Beach

September 23, 2010 in Art, Crafts, Events, Food & Drink, Media, West Side

Summer may have ended a couple of days ago, but we never really got one, and it looks like our real summer may be ahead of us.   If you are heading to the beaches west of Los Angeles this weekend, you’re in luck.  First, you should check out the Summer of Color public art project.  Billed as the largest public art project in the U.S., Summer of Color involves thousands of children and adults from local schools, hospitals, and social services programs, many of whom have physical and other challenges, who painted the lifeguard towers along the beach from Zuma to San Pedro.  Each tower is different, but many of the designs incorporated flowers and geometric shapes for symbolic reasons (see the above link for more info).  These towers were painted some time ago, but if you’re like me, you may not have checked them out up close.  I did so recently in Marina del Rey, and was rewarded with the glorious sights pictured above (at Mother’s Beach in the Marina Harbor) and below.

N. Channel tower near Marina boat channel

This Saturday night, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., the beach adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier will light up, as  GLOW returns after a two-year hiatus.  According to its website,

Glow is the only all-night art event in the United States that emphasizes the commissioning of original artwork. Glow projects invite active audience engagement and exploration and constantly surprise in their unexpected placement in spaces and times not normally reserved for fine art.

I covered the first Glow event in 2008, and found some first-time shortcomings.  This year, however, a friend of mine is working there, and I’m looking forward to seeing the new and hopefully improved version.

On Sunday, a few blocks from the beach, the 26th annual Abbott Kinney Festival will take place along Abbott Kinney Blvd. in Venice, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The festival features live music, gourmet food trucks, handcrafted items for sale, beer gardens, valet stations for those arriving by bicycle, and much more.  The festival is lots of fun, provided you do not mind very tightly packed crowds.

I’m looking forward to having a really fun summer this fall!

The Triumphant Return of Fred Rated (UPDATE)

April 19, 2010 in Art, Entertainment, History, LA, Media

Look, I’m not one to kiss and tell, but I have to share this breaking news from Cinefamily:

Just met with the legendary Shadoe Stevens; we’re almost done booking a tribute night to him and the Federated Group commercials for June. All L.A. locals, rejoice!!

Never seen a Federated Group commercial before?

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

Well now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

UPDATE: The date has been set: June 15 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now.

Dear Los Angeles Times: Blow This!

March 25, 2010 in Crime, Law, Media, Rants, Seasonal, Shopping

I know times are tough and sold ad space is sold ad space, but did you really have to run the Stihl ad on page 16 of the front section of today’s paper? You know, the one partially pictured at right that among a whole passel of fossil-fueled devices features a certifiably badass leafblowing dude sporting the latest in righteous gas-powered leafblower technology beneath the headline “This Spring I Want Something Lightweight” (and to which I answer “Try a fucking rake, blowhard.”).

The reason I ask isn’t because of anything wrong with Stihl, just the primary subject matter of this specific ad because for the last 12 years or so there’s apparently been something you folks there in your downtown bunker might not have heard about known as a citywide ban on gas-powered leafblower use or more officially “Los Angeles City Municipal Code 112.04(c),” which nutshelled says: “Gas powered blowers cannot be used within 500 feet of a residence at anytime.”

See the problems with the devices are myriad: they make a whole mess of noise pollution, and while making all that noise they’re also creating a bunch of air pollutions what with the harmful emissions they shit and all the particulate matter they push off the ground and into the air. Overall it’s a lose/lose but it appears a lack of prevailing wisdom on the subject (or maybe you knew and just don’t give a crap) allowed you to shill for Stihl, and having done so you gotta know that a whole bunch of yard-warrior homeowners are gonna go grab them some of that anti-green goodness and start using it on any given Saturday or Sunday morning, probably around 10 a.m. Hopefully they’ll all live next door to wherever you all get up in the morning.

You see where I’m going with this? Yeah: NOT a very conscientious, connected decision there, guys. Not by a longshot. In fact if there was a Lame Hall Of Fame, I’d nominate you for the Way Out Of Touch category. So in an effort to help you help yourselves and your paper from looking so idiotic in the future, after the jump I’ve put together a quick list of other things your ad sales department might want to just say no to, no matter how much money that four-color half-pager might bring in. It’s far from complete and some of the subjects you’re probably familiar with, but it should give you a place of responsibility and integrity from which to start:

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Downtown News Kinks It Up

March 25, 2010 in Downtown, Media

Are Downtowners kinkier than their counterparts in Hollywood or the Valley? Or, is the Downtown News just a little more flexible when it comes to ad money?