Oscar love and road closure news…

white_gloves.jpgThis is the first year in many that I’ve actually looked forward to watching the Academy Awards. For once, almost everything and everyone I wanted to receive an Oscar nomination actually received one, from Terrence Howard’s performance in “Hustle & Flow” to the best film and directing nods for “Good Night and Good Luck.” And Jon Stewart as host? Pure genius.

Anyway, in spite of being one of the few contributors here that happens to love the movie industry, and who still gets a thrill when a film crew is crashing my neighborhood, it’s still my duty to give a heads up that Hollywood will be a pain in the ass to navigate until sometime early next week:

A block-long stretch of Hollywood Boulevard will remain closed for at least a week to accommodate preparations for the 78th annual Academy Awards presentation scheduled for Sunday, authorities said.

The closure from Highland Avenue to Orange Drive, in front of the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars will be handed out, will allow for the installation of bleachers, pre-show stages and red carpet. In addition, authorities will conduct thorough security checks, said Sgt. Karen Leong, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department.
Police recommend that motorists use Franklin Avenue or Sunset Boulevard.

Police recommend that motorists use Franklin Avenue or Sunset Boulevard. (LA Times)

And if you’re like me, you may want to check out the “Meet the Oscars” exhibition at Hollywood & Highland where you can hold and get a photo with an Academy Awards statuette. There’s also a gallery of Oscar related photos, plus the fifty statuettes to be handed out on Sunday will be on display. The exhibit runs until Friday. (picture from A.M.P.A.S.)

Angelenos Tuning Out Right Wing Radio

radiotower.jpgArbitron’s latest trends just came out, and here in Los Angeles, things look really bad for the right wing screaming heads who puke all over the AM radio dial:

Limbaugh drew a 4.1 last month. This month he dropped to a 3.3.*
Sean Hannity was at a 2.7 last month. He’s now at a 1.8.*
Laura Ingraham: 1.1 to 0.8.
Dennis Prager/Michael Medved: 1.2 to a 0.7.*
Hugh Hewitt: 1.3 to 0.7.
*These are 10am-3pm ratings. Limbaugh is on 9am-noon. Bill O’Reilly’s on 9 to 11am on the same station Hannity’s on (from noon to 3).

Did all talk radio take a shit? Nope. Just the right wingers.

How did KTLK, the Air America station do? Overall, 0.5 to 0.9, making it the only talk station in L.A. to score an increase. Stephanie Miller (mornings): 0.7 to 1.0.
Franken (9 to noon) and Ed Schultz (noon to 3): 0.7 to 1.0.
Randi Rhodes (3 to 7pm): again, 0.7 to 1.0.

Continue reading Angelenos Tuning Out Right Wing Radio

Axl Rose!

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(Photo courtesy of The Cobrasnake.)

I was browsing some of The Cobrasnake‘s recent photos and was surprised to see Axl Rose, cornrows and all, at a recent party with Jamie Foxx.

Maybe it’s Rose’s way of building buzz for the upcoming (apparently out later this year) Guns ‘N Roses album Chinese Democracy ?

Or maybe not.

UPDATE: Interestingly enough, this photo has now been removed from The Cobrasnake website, replaced by the word “Censored.” Wonder why?

Where’d I Leave That Ark?

I know that there’s thousands of people out there in Los Angeles right now who are smugly chiding their co-workers, friends and family for even noticing that it’s raining. I’m one of them. I can’t mutter about snow like the East Coasters or Midwesterners, but I am from a real rainforest. In fact, I’m getting a little nostalgic right now, seeing it all gloomy and dark and rainy out there.

Still, because we’re not used to rain here, I don’t think it’s overreacting to let people know that the LAFD blog has an entry up on storm preparedness. And to ask people to remember that the streets are slippery today, and many people drive like worse jerks than usual in this stuff. Please be careful.

A word from Dubai

Just a quick pointer post our friends at Metroblogging Dubai who have a great post up about this whole port deal you’ve probably been hearing so much about. It’s a refreshing perspective from people actually in UAE.

“Most In the Arab World feel that this deal is not a security issue but rather a racial and religious issue because of the misconceptions that most Americans have with the Arab World. Most Americans do not know much about Dubai & the UAE, but they know it is situated in the Persian Gulf, they know it is an Arab country and thus they feel that it is not safe.”

(Comments are off here, because the discussion should be there.)

Is cleaning up skid row racist?

Some people seem to think so. And by some people, I think I mean only the folks at the LA Community Action Network. In their latest newsletter (PDF) they have an article called ‘The Fear of a Black Planet’ and while I love a good Public Enemy reference, the article is kind of crap. Have a look:

“What LA CAN reads in these mass media articles, as we look deeper, are the messages that support gentrification: 1) Racism is alive and kicking in downtown Los Angeles, through the vilification of an entire community based on often unfounded stereotypes; 2) Fear of Black men threatens the success of business ventures, such as trying to sell and rent luxury housing; and 3) Wealthy people simply will not pay for million dollar properties with poor Black folks living too close to them, so there must be a justification for moving them out.”

skid3.jpgReally? Have these folks ever driven down 5th street at night? I mean, as much as you can without hitting tents with people sleeping in them of course. Have they walked down there on a summer day and tried to take a deep breath without gagging from the urine soaked concrete ‘a brewin? Ever driven by in daylight and seen a guy dropping a cocopuff right there on the sidewalk? These are not ‘unfounded stereotypes’ these are things I’ve seen first hand. It has nothing to do with race either. The guy I saw with his pants around his ankles growing a tail was and old dirty white guy. LA’s homeless blog where I found this checks in and seems to agree, but much more eloquently of course:

“However, in this case, I don’t think the color of the residents is the issue. If anything, it is a socioeconomic struggle between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. The big question is this… what is the real agenda for cleaning up Skid Row? Is it so developers can make millions off of building million-dollar lofts? Is it because public officials are embarrassed over this blighted neighborhood? Or is it because we really want to help those who are languishing on the streets of Skid Row?

Given my experience interacting with public officials and interested parties in the last year, I do sense that our community really wants to help people who are homeless on our streets.

I don’t think this is a “color” issue. And given that the L.A. City Council is seeking to stop the redevelopment of downtown SRO hotels (typical homes for the poor and homeless) from becoming market-rate housing, I don’t think the “haves” are trying to take over the “have-nots” housing.”

I

groundwork

After my last few coffee rants I thought it would be a good time to point out a place that I’ve never had a bad experience at, or a bad cup of coffee from. That would be the Groundwork Coffee Co downtown on Traction. I’ve mentioned this location before, Jillian has professed her love of the westside store and Caryn has talked about how cool they all are but the downtown one is my favorite. The people there are always friendly, and the coffee is always outstanding. Unfortunately it’s not super close to me but anytime I’m in the area it’s a mandatory stop. Also, their “large” lattes come with three shots. w00t.

Hello Nashville!

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This morning the Metroblogging family turned 43 with the addition of Nashville. When I used to drive between Florida and Chicago Nashville was a manditory stop because of their amazing fireworks. Which we always set off safely and leagally in the state of Tennessee and I certainly don’t have any scars from said fireworks. I guess there’s also music or something there as well. Anyway, swing by and see what they are up to. (photo from wikipedia)

Man vs Car on the I-10

This is one of the craziest things I’ve ever heard…

From abc7.com:

A man died today after being hit by three different cars on the Santa Monica Freeway less than 24-hours after he was released from jail. The accident in the eastbound lanes near La Cienega Blvd. was reported to the CHP just before 3 a.m., said CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos.

The 50-year-old man who has not been identified ran across the westbound lanes of traffic where he was struck by a 2001 Honda Civic. The impact spun the man around, but he kept running across the lanes, crossing the center divider into the eastbound lanes, according to the CHP.

He was then struck by a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban.

While lying in the road, he was struck by a 1991 Ford Probe.

Ex-con or bionic man?

Will the Film Industry Kill the Downtown Rennaissance?

I love downtowns in general, and L.A. is no exception. I spend tons of time there, and the revitalization of L.A.’s historic core excites me to no end. However, I don’t know how the city thinks it’s going to support a fully realized downtown revival if they continue to shut down half the streets and parking every weekend to facilitate film production. As an example, I’ve been going to Lost Souls pretty frequently since it opened, but every Sunday when I get there the parking situation is more and more ridiculous. Today, production on the popular series House had taken over at least three square blocks smack in the center of the financial district, which itself is the center of much of the most completed revitalization efforts. After fighting traffic and a lack of parking, I came back home to eat, and followed up with coffee in Silverlake. Goodbye downtown dollars.

I know that film is an integral part of our economy (though last time I looked into it I discovered that aerospace was actually SoCal’s largest industry). But for downtown to be a fully functional community people have to be able to live and visit there 7 days a week, 24 hours a day without consistent, major hassles. Occasional gaffes and interruptions are to be expected, but if a recent story in LA Downtown News (which unfortunately I can’t find online) is any indication, conflicts between residents and production needs are shaping up to be a serious hurdle to a downtown that’s actually useable and livable. And the film industry, used to years of working in an area that was mostly abandoned after hours and on weekends, doesn’t show a lot of enthusiasm for making changes. Hopefully some of that $12 billion being funneled into the city center is earmarked for some huge, multi-story parking lots. But that’s only part of a larger problem, and personally I don’t even know where to begin addressing the rest.

UPDATE: Here’s the Downtown News article to which I was referring, and here’s another one that refers to the same problem (scroll down to the section header “Lights, Camera, Cut!”).

MySpace is blamed for disappearance of two teens.

Mothers Think Teens Were Lured Away By MySpace.com Suitors

POSTED: 9:41 am PST February 26, 2006

http://blogging.la/images/2006/02/alexandradimarco-thumb.jpgCALABASAS, Calif. — Sheriff’s detectives sought clues Sunday in the disappearance of two teenage girls whose mothers believe were lured away from home by men who contacted the girls via MySpace.com. Alexandra Nicole Dimarco, 13, and Alexis Anne Beyer, 15, were last seen Feb. 15 at a condominium complex at on Las Virgenes Road where both girls live, said Deputy Alba Yates of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau. Detectives said they believe the two are together and may have run away, she said.

Alexis’ mother, Edie Beyer… and Alexandra’s mother, Kim Bridradfield, told the Daily News they believe the girls’ disappearance is linked to MySpace.com, where both girls had “blogs.” Bridradfield told the newspaper that men who Alexandra met via MySpace.com had called the family’s home before her daughter disappeared, prompting Bridradfield to forbid her from logging onto the site. “She had a blog and I kept her off of it,” Bridradfield told the Daily News. “I’ve had several phone calls from men. That’s why I took her off of it.” Neither girl has logged onto MySpace since their disappearances.

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2006/02/alexisbeyer-thumb.jpgThe mothers told the newspaper that their daughters did not take many belongings with them and even left behind prescription medication. Alexandra is white, about 5 feet 1 inch and 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Alexis is white, about 5 feet 8 inches and 160 pounds, with green eyes and brown hair.

Anyone with more information as to the the girls’ whereabouts was asked to call sheriff’s detectives at (818) 878-5538.

The worst part of this story is obviously that there are two girls who are missing and their mothers are worried beyond belief. But I can’t help but to think that this story is being spun by local media to focus on all the hoopla about all the reports of kids being the prey of sexual predators on MySpace. Regardless of the reasons of the girls’ disappearance, I hope that they return home safely and quickly.

An article in the LA Daily News mentions that Alexis left her mom a note that said, “Mommy,” said the note, scrawled in her daughter’s handwriting. “I love you very much. Goodbye forever.” The article from The LA Daily News seems to be the most thorough article on this story.

Photo credit: Handouts, reposted from LA Daily News website

ACME Games Gone, Not Quite Forgotten

022406_acme.jpgGiven their current troubles, I wasn’t entirely surprised to see that ACME Game Store seems to have closed its doors. A brief drive by yesterday revealed that the entire store is gone. Zip. Kaput. In its stead is about 2,500 square feet of empty space. In the meantime, a bunch of people including Cult leadman Ian Astbury, Dim Mak spoiled-rich-kid-of-the-moment Steve Aoki and the ubiquitous Shepard Fairey have banded together to put on a benefit for the ACME legal defense fund. While I’m not really down with the way the flyer copy tip-toes around the more heinous elements of the charges, the idea that they’re facing 17 years in prison for violating a law intended to protect the bottom line of a giant corporation disgusts me. Jason and Jonathan are nice guys. Not rapists. Not drug dealers. Not murderers. As with the ridiculous GTA: San Andreas lawsuit, it makes me wonder WTF has happened to our priorities.

Click on the flyer art for full details on the benefit. Actually, the details on the flyer are pretty sparse. The event is Monday, Feb. 27th at Cinespace. Cover is $20. The email that they sent out was very clear that the only way to guarantee that you’d be in the main room for the “Cult” performance is to book bottle service. So, if you’re dying to see “Ian Astbury with CFFC” which other places are promoting as “The Cult,” make sure to contact Cinespace to book bottle service.