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Back To The Future: The Turtles @ Grand Park

July 27, 2012 in Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Music

In retro-honor of Wednesday’s opening of the first segment of the long-awaited Grand Park, which will eventually span a 12-acre corridor between City Hall and the Music Center, let’s go back 47 years earlier to November 1965 with The Turtles singing “You Baby” at the west end then of what’s now this latest addition to downtown’s renaissance. Dick Clark, take it away:

(h/t LAObserved)

Los Angeles Plaza Historic District In 1869

July 4, 2012 in Downtown, History, LA, Vintage

Happy 4th of July! Being a sucker for historic images of our city, I just had to share the following two exquisite views of Main Street, La Placita Church and the historic Los Angeles Plaza that I found on the History, Los Angeles County blog and the Watt Way blog. Both photographs were reportedly made in 1869, and may very well have been done by the same photographer on the same day — the first one facing east from Fort Moore Hill and the second facing north from the Pico House Hotel that was completed that same year (click to slightly enlargify):

Bonus image after the jump is one from Fort Moore Hill looking a bit more southeast of the location seven years later with Pico House at the right and the plaza having adopted its round configuration that remains today.

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March against Walmart in Chinatown June 30

June 29, 2012 in Downtown, Events, Shopping, Social issues

Walmart pulled a fast one and pushed through its permitting knowing city council was voting to prevent them from going into Chinatown a few months ago.  They won.  The community is upset that they pulled a fast one but aren’t taking it lightly.  (This isn’t the only store they are opening that caught a community off guard and isn’t entirely welcomed either as Altadena recently discovered).

At the rally there will be many speakers to help explain why Walmart in Chinatown is a bad idea.  Among them:Speakers and performers will include 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta, U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, Grammy winning musicians Ben Harper and Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman, United Food and Commercial Workers President Joe Hansen, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the L.A. County Federation of Labor Maria Elena Durazo, Chinatown residents, Walmart workers and other Walmart supply chain speakers.

Deets:  Rally starts at 10:30AM at Los Angeles Historic Park (Corn Fields) with a rally at 11AM, then to march for a final Rally at Cesar Chavez Blvd. & Broadway: 12:00 Noon for the close.

Full press release after the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

Hero Complex Film Festival May 18-21

May 1, 2012 in Celebrity, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Media, Movies, Television

Hero ComplexSuperheroes, nasty villains, and zombies will visit us as the Hero Complex Film Festival returns to Los Angeles on May 18-21, at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live. Cinema classics will be screened with stars and creators of the movies, such as RoboCop with an appearance by Peter Weller, Shaun of the Dead featuring director Edgar Wright, and A Clockwork Orange with Malcolm McDowell. On Monday, pioneer comic book creator Stan Lee (Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc.) will be there for a not yet announced screening. Although the $105 festival pass is listed as sold out, individual screening passes can be had for $20, which isn’t much more than a movie ticket on a weekend night nowadays.

See link above for full schedule and details.

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“Mobile Pixels” opens at LA Center for Digital Art 4/12/12

April 11, 2012 in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Photography

mobile pixels poster

The images from the cell phone have evolved, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art has nearly 3 dozen photographers showing images taken with their cell phones. These promise not to be “instagrams” but rather documentation in an a sometimes digitally manipulated view of the world around us.

Mobile Pixels will run from April 12-May 5th 2012.  The show’s opening reception will coincide with the Downtown Art Walk on Thursday April 12 from 7-9PM.

Parking is brutal Downtown on Art Walk nights so I would arrive early if you must drive.  Public transportation is a better option given the lack of parking and traffic in the area, do yourself a favor and use the Red or Purple line to get yourself to Pershing Squares Metro station and walk the 4 blocks to this marvy show at LACDA.

Details: Opening Reception April 12 7-9PM.  Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, 102 W 5th Street, Los Angeles CA 90013.  MAP HERE.

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Congresswoman Judy Chu to speak out against Walmart in Chinatown Friday 3/23, 10AM

March 22, 2012 in Downtown, Events, LA, Politics, Social issues

March 23, 2012, 10AM, LA City Hall Steps, 200 N Spring Street, Los Angeles

china town dying

Congresswoman Judy Chu and API will be speaking on the steps of City Hall before they meet to discuss the “Formula Retail” motion in front of City Council for a vote tomorrow.  Show up and show your support for Congresswoman Chu who is working to support the preservation of China Town.

“Formula Retail” is a motion to prevent Walmart and other big boxes from coming in and changing the character of Chinatown.  Its about preserving the character of the community and its businesses.  Its about preventing the big boxes from coming in and running the existing shops out of business.

After the jump is a copy of the motion for “Formula Retail”, if after you have read it and believe in its purpose please contact your City Council Person and ask them to vote for it. Read the rest of this entry →

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Protest against Walmart’s proposed Chinatown grocery store today at 1PM

March 8, 2012 in Downtown, Events, News, Politics, Social issues

LAANE logo

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) is the group spear heading the protest of the small neighborhood style grocery store that Walmart wants to open.  I am familiar with the market as I have seen them in Las Vegas where they have been for a couple of years.  The groc to a degree is similar to Fresh and Easy or Trader Joe’s in size and marketing.

LAANE takes exception to the store on several levels.  First is that the city and its residents can’t afford to subsidize benefits for their employees.  Why?  Because they alleged, and Walmart certainly has been held to scrutiny on this in the past, for paying wages that are so low that their employees qualify for medi-cal, food stamps and similar welfare.  Certainly Walmart hasn’t been accused of paying a living wage nor employing for enough hours to have their employees to be benefit eligible.

Deets: Thursday, March 8, at 1pm., Department of Public Social Services, on 2415 W. Sixth St. Los Angeles, CA 90057  MAP HERE.

Full press release after the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

Win Tickets to Pina 3D at the Downtown Independent

February 28, 2012 in Contests, Downtown, Entertainment, Movies

Winners have been selected and notified via email. Thank you for your comments!

It’s hard to remember when I was last affected by a film as much as I have been by Wim Wenders’ Academy Award nominated 3D documentary Pina. I’ve seen it in the theater three times and love it more each time.

PINA is a feature-length dance film in 3D with the ensemble of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, featuring the unique and inspiring art of the great German choreographer, who died in the summer of 2009.

PINA is a film for Pina Bausch by Wim Wenders.

He takes the audience on a sensual, visually stunning journey of discovery into a new dimension: straight onto the stage with the legendary Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch ensemble, he follows the dancers out of the theatre into the city and the surrounding areas of Wuppertal – the place, which for 35 years was the home and centre for Pina Bausch’s creativity.

Pina is going to being showing at the fabulous Downtown Independent starting Friday, March 2nd through Thursday, March 8th. Blogging LA has FIVE (5) PAIRS OF TICKETS TO GIVE AWAY TO THE SCREENING OF YOUR CHOICE AT THE DOWNTOWN INDEPENDENT.

Leave a comment by 12pm on Thursday, March 1st stating why you would like to see Pina. Five winners will be selected and notified by email.

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A Modest, Magnificent Exhibition Of Our City’s History

January 27, 2012 in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, History, LA

You’re probably not like me and are able to cope with the scope of the massively collaborative and on-going Pacific Standard Time exhibitions that fall under the ambitious region-wide initiative’s banner. Me, not so much. With so many institutions involved, I suffer from something of a paralysis when trying to decide whether I should go to the Getty or the Hammer  or LACMA or wherever. Case in point: I literally became immobile when I just now went to the Pacific Standard Time website and a banner popped up that told me there are 42 events taking place right this moment of 10:28AM — and that may even include a Big Gulp Cup retrospective at my local 7-11.

A few weeks ago I did manage to brush my intimidation aside and pay a first-time visit to MOCA to see the cool exhibition of Weegee’s Hollywood period photographs, but — pardon the digression — then I wandered around the museum’s permanent exhibit and found this piece of crap stuck to the wall, which reinforced both my abject disdain for “contemporary art” and my urge to punish whoever curated it with an extended indian-burn session to the forearm of his or her choosing.

So instead of getting all wound up trying to eenie-meanie-miney-mo to which big box the next I’d go, instead I brought along my inner map geek and together we ventured yesterday to the first floor galleries of the Central Library downtown where I spent an extended segment of the afternoon marveling at the selection of kick-ass cartography displayed as part of  its “As The City Grew: Historical Maps of Los Angeles” exhibit.

The 34 maps arrayed go back to the mid-1800s and offer an awesome and up-close glimpse back into our city as it was and as it became. Unlike the aforementioned contemporary bullshit I encountered, some of the maps are true and intricate works of art, and I would highly recommend paying them a visit whether you just find yourself in the library’s vicinity or are in between far better-decided visits than mine to the myriad Pacific Standard Time venues.

WHERE: Los Angeles Public Library, Central Branch, 630 W. 5th St, 90071
WHEN: Through November 4, 2012
COST: Free

Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to Trifle with. Win Tix!

January 19, 2012 in Contests, Downtown, Entertainment, LA, Music

Do you remember the movie Airplane?

Remember the two gentlemen who spoke “Jive?” Remember the subtitles at the bottom that translated what they were saying? Remember whenever one of them would say a certain word, the subtitle always translated it as “Golly?”

Such fun.

It’s in this spirit I would like to remind you, one and all, that The Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin’ to Trifle With!

(And if you haven’t seen Airplane, get your golly together and watch the trifling thing.)

In Any Case, I’m giving away Tickets to see The Wu on Saturday, Jan 21st! Wanna Go?

Email your Full Legal Name as it appears on your Legal Driver’s Licence or State ID card to [email protected]

Winners will be notified and will show said ID at the Will Call booth the night of the show to claim tickets. Protect your neck.

Wu-Tang Featuring All Original Members: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa
Saturday January 21, 2012
Club Nokia
Los Angeles, California
Show time: 9:00pm
Door time: 8:00pm
Age: All Ages+

Step to the Wu.

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Win Family 4 pack of Tickets to L.A. Auto Show

November 14, 2011 in Contests, Downtown, Events

The good folks at the L.A. Auto Show hooked me up with a Family 4 pack of tickets…that’s admission for 4 to this years show that will run November 18-27 at the Convention Center.  You’ll need to read the whole post in order to get to the details on what to do to win.

I’m really jazzed that the L.A. Auto Show has invited me back for Press Days this year which is this Wednesday and Thursday.  There is so much going on with some 50 premieres set for those days.  Add in the Green Car of the Year award and the press days driving of the green cars there is much to do and tell about. Read the rest of this entry →

Theater Review: East West Players present Julia Cho’s “The Language Archive”

November 10, 2011 in Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Theatre/Stage

I should begin with the caveat that I have never reviewed a play before.

And while I enjoy going to the theater from time to time, I would hardly consider myself an informed critic.

And now that I’ve gotten my excuses out of the way, I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed the opening night performance of “The Language Archive,” which took place last night at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo.

The play is an exploration of how love, language, meaning, and relationships intersect, all portrayed through a mix of humor, philosophical meanderings, and emotional gravity. The East West Players did a very nice job hitting these various notes through most of the play, with my personal favorites being Ryun Yu as George and Jennifer Chang as Emma. Read the rest of this entry →

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“Moving Violations” at the LA Center for Digital Art opens 10/13

October 12, 2011 in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, Media

Rex Bruce’s exhibit “Moving Violations” opens for a 2 month run at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art on October 13.  The opening reception will be that day held in conjunction with the Downtown LA Art Walk.

Moving Violations is a capture of life in LA through the windows of a moving car.  It is really a commentary on the destruction of the city and its environment done by the cars that we pretty much live in getting from place to place.  The exhibit is still images and video aimed at a sensory overload with a political message.  The full artists bio and description of the show can be found HERE.  In the artists words:

The work is pretty self explanatory—toxic SoCal overkill and maximum carbon emission, but it is informed by a particular vision of my era that has coalesced in my mind.

Deets:October 13-December 3, Reception Thursday October 13, 7-9pm, 102 W 5th Street, Los Angeles CA 90013 MAP HERE.

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Blogging (in) LA: Preserving what we lost in LA with On Bunker Hill

September 29, 2011 in Blogging (in) LA, Downtown, Entertainment, History, LA, Vintage

Hat tip to my friend Petrea Burchard over at Pasadena Daily Photo for turning me onto On Bunker Hill this morning via a tweet.

On Bunker Hill has blogs and historical archives of the history we lost when Downtown LA grew so explosively after World War II.  George Mann has quite the historical archive of images of some of the old homes that once stood on Bunker Hill taken in the 40’s and 50’s.  (They are for sale too if you are so inclined).  A little quoted from their blog to get you interested in checking out the site:

Bunker Hill is a ghost, and though you may today walk streets named Grand and Hope and imagine that you stand where once were grand Victorian homes turned flophouses, you are in fact one hundred feet beneath the old roads, which the city shaved away to make a wider footprint for the high rise tenants that replaced them.

Its always just a little interesting to see what we have lost in the name of progress.

Baby Let’s Cruise: 1940s Bunker Hill

September 9, 2011 in Downtown, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, History, Vintage

Thanks to the Internet Archive by way of Blogdowntown I found this high-resolution digitization of some amazing footage of 1940s downtown, apparently filmed for use in some unidentified motion picture. Look close and you might see John Fante (or perhaps even Arturo Bandini) walking around.

The clip is made up of several segments, and is literally the next best thing to actual time travel. As best as I can plot it the car follows this route from 2nd Street to Grand, to 5th Street to Flower and back up to 2nd. I’ve already spent too much time scrolling through it frame by frame just entirely mindblown at the slice-of-life details to be discovered in the people and places and passenger vehicles the camera captures in passing, and invite you to get lost in this record of a long-gone Bunker Hill (best viewed full screen in 1080p) :