WTF WeHo Coyote?!

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What this picture fails to show very well is a coyote wandering the street of West Hollywood!!! I’ve seen coyote in more lush surrounds (like the hills) but never in such an urban environment. Last seen in trotting towards Plummer Park!

Car-Free Toys & Mittens Ride on Saturday

toy_n_mitten_ad.jpgI love saying “mittens.” I certainly enjoy saying it more than “gloves” – which is why, even though I wear bike-courier style fingerless gloves with the pull-over covering when biking in cold, I still refer to them as “mittens”. Also, with the cold weather this week, I will point out that mittens are actually more efficient in winter than gloves – they allow your fingers to warm each other.

If the cold keeps up, you can also wear your mittens to the CICLE.org Car-Free Haul-iday Toys’n’Mittens ride. Also, they are encouraging you to bring more new mittens, as well as hats and toys, for children in need of warmer clothing and Christmas presents. All proceeds are to benefit the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic. Being there with bells on is also a good idea: bikes can be decked out in holiday splendor for this ride.

More info is on the site, but this looks like a really fun, family-friendly ride. I think I may have to dig out some extra Hanukkah paper and wrap my bike up in some seasonal decor.

Virtual Tour of the Ambassador

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I just came across a link that was submitted to us several days ago via the Suggest A Story feature.

Hello. I know you’ve written about the Ambassador in the past and thought you should visit the 3D re-creation of the hotel lobby — this is part of the marketing effort from the movie Bobby. I’m glad to answer any questions. I work with The Weinstein Co. which released the film this weekend. Best, Jeff Greene Gold Group [email removed]

I am usually fairly skeptical when PR/Marketing people offer opportunities, as what they are usually asking for is free publicity and I am not fond of doing other people’s jobs (as you might imagine, this was troublesome when I was writing more regularly for Creature Corner). I confess, I clicked on the link ready to be annoyed. And now I feel stupid, because this is really cool.

http://ambassador.bobby-the-movie.com/

I’m not familiar with the interior of the Ambassador — can anyone speak to the accuracy of the recreation?

Photo by minuk used under Creative Commons license.

What rate, P.A.?

On Studio 60 a few weeks ago, a comment was made about the production assistant, Suzanne, who was first to turn on the lights and make the coffee, and last to lock everything up, and these five or six, fourteen hours days paid only $350 a week.

When I landed my first paid p.a. (production assistant) gig thirteen years ago, the going rate was $125 a day. A couple years later, I was finding that the rate had made its way up to $150 a day. However, as time went on, up til today, the rate seems to have magically dropped to $115 a day, sometimes a little more.

While I’m removed from a grunt world of p.a. work, I still feel like the eager beavers are getting the shaft. To make things worse, studios and productions continue to abuse to concept of interns – unpaid labor who legally need to be working for college credit and under tight restrictions, but in reality are producer’s ways of getting people to fetch coffee and make photo copies for free. While the experience for an intern may be invaluable as a foot in the door, it gives an unfair advantage to kids who can afford to work for free, thus usually from better off families who can support the effort.

In any case, while I’m sure the working plebes have little time to spend online outside of MySpace, but I’m curious if any of readers are still working as an intern or production assistant, have considered doing so, or have graduated from those ranks.

Billboard Blight

There was a very interesting op/ed column in the LA Times today about billboards. Written by Kevin E. Fry of Scenic America about the City of LA’s settlement with Regency Outdoor Advertising to “upgrade” their current signs, many with those annoying screens (that I’ve also whinged about) without any recognition that the up-til-now illegal signs are probably going to be given amnesty and allowed to stay.

From the LATimes … “We know the cost of litigating for year after year — for a lot of communities the blight stays up,” Garcetti said.

So there you have it, the big business can just keep suing the city and eventually they’ll capitulate.

(For the record, I took that picture about two years ago of a billboard that was left to fade and peel off. I drove by it this morning and it has FINALLY been replaced with a PSA for St. Jude’s. Tell me why that billboard is still there if they can’t fill it with a paying customer more than once every three years?)

High-end Donuts

Only in Beverly Hills would you find designer donuts. And that’s exactly what Frittelli’s is all about. Take a peek:

They are as crispy and yummy as they look. With too many yummy flavors like Ceylon Cinnamon Sugar and Blackberry Jelly Filled you’ll be tempted to take home a dozen. But at a buck a donut, you might think twice before eating them all yourself.

Now, who wants to get a donut with me?

* Video by Superviva Susie!

LA’s Fifth Gift to the World: The End Of The Road

hittheroad.jpgPeople come to Los Angeles from everywhere. And for the eight years I lived overlooking Hollywood Boulevard, it seemed like they all passed through my apartment.

I’m a pretty good roommate. I don’t care when you come or go. I don’t care if you’re a slob. I keep my own sloth hidden away in my room. I won’t eat your food, borrow your clothes, steal your boyfriend or stalk you–and that’s a promise. I don’t throw annoying parties, and the obnoxious friends I do have never come over. I am usually not home. You would love living with me. But during the time I lived in one of the most desirable and high-profile neighborhoods in LA, my roomie turnover was insane. I had about nine roommates in eight years.

They came from all over: Boston, New York, San Diego, Fresno, Seattle, Pomona. Kansas and Minnesota. Bright eyes, big smiles, full of hopes and goals about making it big in LA. One wanted to be a writer. Two were in school. Several were aspiring actors; one young woman was a comedian, interning at one of the studios. Two others were in the design field. All of them came to LA with starry visions and big dreams. They’d walk down to the star map kid on the corner, yell at him through his stereo headphones and buy a map, then drive all over the city and come back to tell me, full of great annoyance, that the map was completely outdated and the homes were all hidden behind vast hedges.

Most went home disillusioned within months…
Continue reading LA’s Fifth Gift to the World: The End Of The Road

Mike Dukakis Finally Doesn’t Tank At Something

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“Park it right over there, soldier!”

He’ll nevereverever live down the picture above, but it only took former Massachusetts Governor and current UCLA teacher and part-time Westwood resident Michael “The Duke” Dukakis 18 years to find a modicum of redemption from his resounding defeat to Bush The First in the 1988 presidential election… in the form of parking activism.

With today’s frontpage story the L.A. Times’ Hector Becerra is reporting that Dukakis is victorious following a protracted battle against chronic “apron parkers,” drivers in the university’s vicinity who station their vehicles across driveway aprons so as to block sidewalks and streets.

“It’s a disaster,” he’s quoted as saying about the long-accepted custom — not the eternally goofy photo of him pretending to be playing tank commando. “Beyond being illegal, it’s dangerous. You get two SUVs with their rear ends sticking out into the street and you end up with a one-way road. It’s time to end it.”

And the end is near. This January parking enforcement officers are scheduled to quit turning a blind eye to this illegal practice and begin aggressively ticketing violating vehicles. And with an estimated 5,700 residents’ automobiles plus untold student-commuters scavenging for a measly 857 legal curb spaces in the village’s northern reaches that’s gonna mean chaos for the citizens and cha-ching-a-ling for the city.

Free This Film is Not Yet Rated screening in LA TONIGHT!

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Cory Doctorow is introducing Kirby Dick at USC tonight for a free screening of This Film is Not Yet Rated Sponsored by the USC Free Culture Club. Cory writes:

“This Film…” was the best documentary I saw this year. It delves into the shadowy world of the MPAA’s rating system and the way that it forms a nearly invisible but all-encompassing censorship regime that punishes indie filmmakers far more than the major studios, who run it. The censor board is set up like a star chamber, the members, criteria, and appeals process shrouded in secrecy (Dick punctures the veil by hiring a charming private eye to uncover and reveal the hidden identities of the censors). The MPAA ratings process has been called “Jack Valenti’s other mistake” — apart from seeking wildly expanded copyright, that is.

That’s tonight, Thursday, November 30, 2006, 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles: University Park Campus, George Lucas Instructional Building, 108. More details can be found here.

City Council upholds LAFD $2.7 Million Veto

Yesterday I told you that City Council was voting again to decide if they should uphold or override the Mayor’s veto of the settlement. Today, with all 15 members voting, the veto was upheld overturning the previous settlement agreement. 10 votes were needed to override, but it failed with 9-6. I’d still like to hear from the Council members who supported this settlement, but more importantly, who supported that $2.7 million figure. From UPI:

During meeting Tuesday, the council’s three black members said they would vote to override the veto because the act could be seen as racist, and because the city could lose more money if Pierce were to succeed in a lawsuit against the city. Other members said they had come to see the matter as a firehouse prank — especially after photos appeared showing Pierce participating in department-banned hazing rituals.

The council postponed a decision on overriding the veto until all Wednesday, so all members could be present.

During his appearance before the council Tuesday, Pierce said: “This is wrong. If four black firemen did it to a white fireman, I would stand up (with) the white fireman and say it was wrong.”

LA’s Third Fourth Gift : Motion Pictures

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Los Angeles, which contains the faux-city Hollywood, has been the center of the motion picture industry since 1910 when D.W. Griffith moved to a lot in Downtown. Oddly enough, Hollywood currently films a huge number of productions in Downtown LA, many of which are set in New York and even Iraq, like the photo above. Although much of the industry is no longer located in Hollywood proper, the Hollywoodland sign is a world famous symbol of the industry.

Our country has exported her culture throughout the world through moving images on film. Movies have given untold millions of people an insight into cultures they otherwise would have never experienced. Every year there are scores of films from Hollywood that are total crap, but the few that are great make up for them.

I love watching movies, and have a fairly large collection of DVDs that I enjoy watching when I have some down time. I am thankful that we’ve collectively created and distributed this gift of motion pictures to the world.

UPDATE Oops… I meant 4th gift!