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Another Local Blogger Headed to The Show

12:49 pm in LA bloggers, Media, Real Estate by Jason Burns

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.

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

10:22 am in Celebrity, Entertainment, LA, Media, Movies, Television by Matt Mason


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.

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Anchor Meltdown

6:54 am in Entertainment, Media, People by Dave Share

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.

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Driving School

9:15 am in Driving, ICME, Media by Matt Mason

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.

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

1:00 pm in Celebrity, Food & Drink, LA, Media by Queequeg

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.

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Free Admission at Hammer Museum through December 18

2:28 pm in Art, Events, Media by Matt Mason

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.

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The 2010 Naughty List: Meg Whitman

2:10 am in Media, People, Politics, Rants by RobNoxious

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.

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Summer Is Back; Time to Hit the Beach

9:05 pm in Art, Crafts, Events, Food & Drink, Media, West Side by Matt Mason

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!

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The Triumphant Return of Fred Rated (UPDATE)

1:45 pm in Art, Entertainment, History, LA, Media by Mike Winder

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.

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Dear Los Angeles Times: Blow This!

4:00 pm in Crime, Law, Media, Rants, Seasonal, Shopping by Will Campbell

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

12:11 pm in Downtown, Media by Jason Burns

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?

Discuss.

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Silver Lake’s Reservoir Of Black Balls Makes National Geographic

2:23 pm in environment, Media by Will Campbell

Cruising through the April issue of National Geographic, an edition with a global scope focused on the subject of water, my wife Susan and I were surprised to find the following Best Shot Ever from photograher Gerd Ludwig of a local body of water — Ivanhoe Reservoir — made somewhat ongoingly infamous by its artificial surface of some three million black plastic balls that were added back in 2007 to deflect UV rays and prevent the carcinogen bromate from forming.

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PaleyFest 2010 Is Upon Us

6:48 am in Announcements, Entertainment, Events, Media, Television by Jodi Kurland

Terry O'Quinn & Michael Emerson at the PaleyFest "Lost" panel on 2/27/10. Photo by Jodi

I’m a little late in getting this post up, considering the 27th Annual William S. Paley Television Festival (PaleyFest) has already started. You’ve only missed three events, Modern Family and Lost, which were both fantastic and NCIS, which I didn’t attend. There are 10 nights left highlighting such acclaimed shows as Breaking Bad and Dexter. The only one aside from Lost that is sold-out so far is Glee.

This is the 9th year I’ve attended PaleyFest, the ever-changing and growing celebration of television programming and its creation. It is hands-down one of my favorite annual L.A. events. For the past two years, it was held in the Cinerama Dome at the ArcLight Hollywood, a much bigger venue than the previous theater at the Directors Guild. As the festival continues to grow, it has once again moved and is being held at The Saban Theatre (formerly The Wilshire Theatre) in Beverly Hills, which can hold 1900 people.

The full programming schedule can be found here. Ticket prices are tiered based on seating section and Paley Center membership status. Seats are not assigned, just the section. Check for more information on ticket availability for the remaining shows on this site.

The Saban Theatre is located at 8440 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, 90211. The surrounding neighborhoods all have permit street parking, so be prepared to pay $10 to park in one of two designated lots.

Let us know if you plan to attend any of the events. I’ll report back on my experience at the end of the fest.

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How the Internet is Spoiling My Olympics

2:57 pm in Events, Media, Online, Sports, Technology, Television, Twitter by Matt Mason

I suppose it was inevitable.  This past year, social networking shot through the roof, with everyone and her grandmother (literally) on Facebook.  That is in addition to the explosive popularity of Twitter, as well as websites pumping out up-to-the-minute news 24/7.  At the same time, the old media NBC television network decided to tape delay its Winter Olympics broadcast on the West Coast, apparently three hours behind the East Coast, even though the events are taking place in our time zone.  And finally, as do many others I’m sure, I multitask when watching television, laptop in front of me, news headlines and social networks (and Vancouver Metblogs) never more than a click away.  All of these phenomena have come crashing together this month like a perfect storm, threatening to spoil my Olympics.

The problem is, I keep learning the results from these Internet sources hours before seeing them for myself.  I learned of Hannah Kearney’s mogul skiing gold medal, Apolo Ohno’s record-tying silver medal in speed skating, and the generous figure skating judges doling out high scores to skaters who fell during their short program, all before seeing it on tv.  I tried appealing to my Twitter peeps who aren’t located on the West Coast not to post Olympics results, but they seem to need to do so, as if their reactions won’t count unless shared electronically and immediately.

I’m sure some of you are more computer-advanced than I, and can tell us how to get a great webcast of the Games on our computer in real time, even on our big-screen hdtv.  If so, I would love to hear the solutions.  I investigated this briefly, and did not find a satisfactory solution — for example, the online ads I saw were even more annoying than those on NBC.

I’m afraid the only solution I have found to watch the Winter Games unspoiled by spoilers is the most radical solution of staying off the Internet altogether.

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Can ESPNLosAngeles.com Draw As Many Readers Away From LA Sports Outlets As It Has Writers?*

8:00 am in LA, LA bloggers, Media, Online, Sports, Twitter by Janna Smith

ESPN’s new online hub for local sports, ESPNLosAngeles.com, officially launched today, providing a new source for LA Sports news, as well as a new home for several LA Sports writers, including the LA Times’ (former) Lakers bloggers.

ESPNLosAngeles.comMeant as a hub for local online sports coverage one could set as their homepage, the site features SoCal-specific “SportsCenter” segments, local breaking news, and direct links to pages for all the major pro teams, including the Galaxy, Chivas USA, the LA Sparks, as well as the Angels and Ducks. There’s also a “Headlines” tab you can click to view nationwide sports headlines, in case you care about what happens outside of our little bubble. ESPN launched similar local sites for Dallas, Boston and Chicago earlier this year, and the sports network opened a new broadcast studio (along with an ESPN Zone sports bar) Downtown at LA Live this past spring.

But the best part of the site is the local team blogs and columnists, providing quick-access to news and columns about your favorite teams that is also easy to subscribe to by e-mail or RSS feed to keep up on everything. The other ESPN city sites have Twitter accounts you can follow as well, but as of this writing, @ESPNLosAngeles exists but hasn’t tweeted a thing. The @ESPNLosAngeles Twitter account is also up and running, providing links to stories on the site. So far there’s a USC blog (but no UCLA blog yet), a Clippers blog (sort of – it links to the outside ClipperBlog.com, part of an ESPN affiliate network), and of course, that Lakers Blog, which is basically a direct transplant from the LA Times’ Lakers Blog. Brian and Andy Kamenetzky, who just yesterday afternoon announced their departure from LATimes.com, pick up at ESPN right where they left off, except now the blog is called “Land O’ Lakers”. The Lakers Blog was regularly one of the most-visited on the site, sometimes getting over a million page views per month. No announcement has been made yet as to who or what will replace the brothers at LATimes.com. It seems that, at least for now, a few different staff writers are taking turns contributing posts to the Lakers Blog to keep it going.

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