Shepard Fairey Responds to Critics

Local artist Shepard Fairey who created the main “Hope” image for Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign has responded to some growing criticism about the image and what it suggests. This from a reply just posted on his blog:

“The Obama image is a positive image that is patriotic and in no way Socialist or Communist. Is your assertion that my poster is “RED” based on my use of the colors from the AMERICAN flag, one of which happens to be red? I have criticized the U.S. government in my work, though I am a patriotic American. I believe patriotism is about trying to follow your conscience and make the country the best it can be. You are obviously a nationalist who supports the U.S. unconditionally. Nationalism brought Hitler to power. I’m not interested in promoting that mentality.”

This flyer has been distributed around Los Angeles and probably other places, though it’s not the first to make this incorrect assumptions. I’ve seen people make claims that Shepard only ever does portraits of communists and socialist revolutionaries so therefor he must be making a statement like that about Obama. Usually pointing these folks to any number of the portraits of people he’s just a fan of like Ozzy Osbourne, Jay Adams, LL Cool J or Flava Flav is enough to get them to reconsider. I guess in this case he felt like a more direct reply was in order.

(Disclaimer: I met Shepard over 10 years ago and have considered him a trusted friend ever since.)

Well, someone’s buying anyway

I just recently moved from a bourgie block in Encino with two boarded-up, foreclosed houses on it–one with a public auction notice on the front–to a place in Sherman Oaks with at least one abandoned house within a block that I have spotted. 

While the real estate market becomes more and more viscous every day, the LA Times reports that a group of South American investors bought William Morris for a cool $143 million:

“They give us ideal protection from inflation at a time when there is turmoil in the financial sectors,” Covarrubias said. “We’re putting our money into hard assets that are going to preserve their value.”

And that news made me think of the upside of the impending depression, those of us who have over the course of the last eight years, repeatedly contemplated emigration won’t have to contemplate such a thing any longer when we become completely economically colonized. (I wonder how much my student loans will cost me in Euros…)

“Let The Right One In” – free tonight!

What’s better than Vampires? Swedish Vampires. And what’s better than Swedish Vampires? Swedish Vampires for free of course. You know what I’m talking about. Yes you do. I know you do. Shut up.


Tonight at the The Landmark Theater on Westwood, Mahalo is hosting a free screening of “Let The Right One In” (aka Låt den rätte komma in) which is a warm, tender story about a bullied 12 year old who falls in love with a vampire. Yes it’s a classic theme you’ve seen a million times, but this one is from Sweden! So if you need a Vampire fix tonight, that’s your best bet. Grab a seat.

Steal This Documentary

Conspiracy Trial</i>.<br> Film still from <i>Chicago 10</i> courtesy of American Cinematheque.
No, this is not a screen grab from The Sims: Conspiracy Trial.
Film still from Chicago 10 courtesy of American Cinematheque.

Can’t find a reason to peel yourself away from Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday nights?

Are you also flat broke?

The American Cinematheque and PBS’s Independent Television Service (ITVS) have you covered.

Well, at least for one Tuesday a month.

Starting tomorrow night (September 30), ITVS will begin screening one free documentary a month on select Tuesdays at either the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood or the Aero Theater in Santa Monica.

Tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. at the Egyptian it’s Chicago 10, a film that explores the infamous 1968 Chicago Conspiracy Trial of eight anti-war protesters. Partially animated, and featuring the voices of Hank Azaria (Abbie Hoffman), Mark Ruffalo (Jerry Rubin), and Jeffrey Wright (Bobby Seale), the film received a lot of buzz at Sundance in 2007 but failed to make a splash when it opened in limited release in February.

So here’s a wonderful opportunity to see it on the big screen. It was also recently announced that there will be two sequels to this film, so best catch up now or risk being labeled a “square” by your peers.

And in November, ITVS is screening I.O.U.S.A., a film about America’s impending debt crisis. This film also received a limited release, quietly sneaking into a few theaters back in August.

I can think of 700 billion reasons why the film’s producers may be printing more reels as we speak.

Oasis goes onsale tomorrow–win your tix now!

Ayup, they just gave me a couple pairs of Oasis tickets for their show December 4 at the Staples Center. (Again, Goldenvoice, I owe you my first-born AND our first puppy.)

And need I mention that my future ex-husband Ryan Adams will open up for them? Squeeee!!!

To win a pair of tickets, tell me where you were when “Definitely Maybe” dropped (this should be interesting). I was in my junior year of high school, shaking off a grunge-rock hangover. You?

Wanna get in on the presale tomorrow, 10a-10p? Go here and enter the password, “WONDERWALL.”

Now, my fellow Angelenos, no assaulting Oasis when they get here. They’ve had quite enough.

Spy On Your Neighbors: Local political contributions

Want to see how much cash Mayor Antonio has raised in Florida for his election? Curious about how many employees at a particular development company have donated for a suddenly eminent domain happy city councilman? You have questions, the LA Ethics Commission has answers…

Huffington Post’s Fund Race, which allows anyone to see which Presidential candidates your neighbors are contributing to, isn’t much of a secret (or unique – many other sites allow similar searches). But if you want to get more local, and see who’s contributing to Los Angeles mayoral and City Council seats, check out the Campaign Finance database at the website for L.A.’s Ethics Commission.

By clicking on “2009 Municipal and LAUSD Election Totals” you can see find out how much money each candidate gearing up for election day March 3rd, 2009 has raised and from whom, and how much they’ve spent and where.

“Search Contributions” allows you to find out who donated by name, employer, city or state, and other criteria. Continue reading Spy On Your Neighbors: Local political contributions

It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here

Was skimming through my RSS reader and this chart posted on LAist caught my eye:

That lead me to this article “Cool Summer, Warm Future: Extreme Heat Days Increase for Southern California” published by NASA’s JPL which just finished a study where they were trying to find out why it’s so damn hot. They write:

“One hundred years of daily temperature data in Los Angeles were analyzed by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the University of California, Berkeley; and California State University, Los Angeles. They found that the number of extreme heat days (above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32.2 degrees Celsius in downtown Los Angeles) has increased sharply over the past century. A century ago, the region averaged about two such days a year; today the average is more than 25. In addition, the duration of heat waves (two or more extreme heat days in a row) has also soared, from two-day events a century ago to one- to two-week events today.

“We found an astonishing trend – a dramatic increase in the number of heat waves per year,” says Arbi Tamrazian, lead author of the study, and a senior at the University of California, Berkeley.

They say that not only has it been increasing, but it’s going to keep on that trend and we’re going to see longer and hotter heatwaves in the years to come. But before anyone freaks out about global warming, that doesn’t seem to be the cause here. Instead point your finger at something called “urban heat island effect.” Basically this effect is seen worldwide and comes from buildings, cars, lawns, and every other damn thing that makes something a city absorbing heat and making urban areas up to 10 degrees hotter than surrounding areas. Couple that with the temperature in Southern California to begin with and bang, heat wave. Read the full article here if you are so inclined.

Are You Ready To Move To Watts?

The problems with LAUSD have been corrected. The Subway to the Sea has been finished. Ånd one million trees have been planted.

Having solved every other major issue facing the city of Los Angeles, the Mayor now wants to address housing.

Today, Antonio Villaraigosa announces his $5-billion plan to build housing for the poor and middle class. The Times gives us a quick rundown of what this plan will include, like more mixed income housing along the Metro Gold and Expo Lines.

It will also include this nugget:

Redeveloping the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts into a mixed-income housing development with some units for very poor people and some units of market-rate housing.

If you happen to be one of the candidates looking for market-rate housing, and should you decide to relocate to a swanky new loft at the Jordan Downs projects development, might I recommend an affiliation with the hometown 103rd Grape Street Watts Baby Loc Crips?

Photo from Ilpo’s Sojourn’s photostream

More damn Calexico

I’m super stoked about their show tonight at the Fonda but I only had one pair of tickets to give away in my last post. Because I really want more people to win, I begged Goldenvoice for more tickets and they kindly obliged! Thank you Goldenvoice, I owe you my first-born.

So, new Calexico contest! Ready?

If you could pick a Calexico song to pair with a movie (because so many of their songs are very cinematic and soundtrack-y), what song & movie would you pair? If you can’t think of a movie and aren’t a film buff, you can instead tell me a particular stretch of highway that would suit a particular song.

The LA Times wrote up the show tonight here.

One grand prize winner also gets their latest CD, Carried To Dust. woot!

Walking Western Ave in 3 Weeks — Are You Ready?

The Dual Airport 16 Miler
The Dual Airport 16 Mile Training Walk

Today I walked 16 miles in anticipation of the Big Day, October 18, when a rag tag bunch of bloggers (and friends of bloggers) will be cruising down Western Ave. using only our feet. I’m really looking forward to it.

Well, I’ll be completely honest and say that somewhere around miles 12-14 today I was actually thinking, “f*** this sh**!” and considered hailing a cab or catching a bus. But I persisted, my ipod full of great podcasts to keep me entertained and family on the phone to chat with while putting one foot in front of the other.

As always when walking, there is much to see that you probably would miss from your car. Photos of a few of those things after the jump as well as a mystery that I need help solving about one of the things I saw.



Continue reading Walking Western Ave in 3 Weeks — Are You Ready?

Win Detour Festival Tickets Right Here!

This Saturday, October 4th kicks off the Detour Festival downtown.  The line-up is great, The Mars Volta, The Submarines, Shiny Toy Guns, Gogol Bordello, and lots of super groovy DJ’s including Adam Freeland and The Bloody Beetroots.

I went to a cool concert downtown last March at City Hall, where this is taking place and it really rocked.  But this should be even better… four stages, so there’s something for everyone!  Truly Awesome.

We are giving away two pairs of tickets… and the grand prize also gets a free CD of Gogol Bordello.

If you want to win tickets, check out the line-up and tell us who your favorite artist is and why you want the tickets.  Two most impressive, win two tickets each!  Super simple…. but make sure you use your real email address on signing in if you want to get the tickets.

Are you a WaMu customer? Get ready for a name change!


I used to think of Washington Mutual as the Trader Joes of banking. It seemed to be the alternative place where Angelenos would bank that didn’t suck you dry by charging for checks and account fees, and the staff was always nice. Unfortunately, it turned out that after getting that first overdraft fee waived, WaMu was just more like a new Ralphs, but no different than any other grocery store. Or bank. (I’m writing this while I’m hungry, so please forgive me).

Anyway, this really has nothing to do with the big news this week that Washington Mutual became the largest bank failure ever, as they were so nice they gave out way too many loans too easily, and people weren’t paying them back. As a result, the bank was pretty much going bankrupt, so the government swooped in, and sold WaMu to JP Morgan Chase, whose name will soon begin appearing on your banking statements, your checks and debit cards, and the bank itself.

Or something like that. Seriously, I’m mostly thinking about getting some food. Have a snack with me, then make the jump for more details… Continue reading Are you a WaMu customer? Get ready for a name change!

Paul Newman Died

CNN reported he was 83 and died of cancer. I haven’t even looked much further for specifics because it’s just sad. My impression of the man was that he was a good human being, full of integrity and loyalty and passion. And a pretty good actor too.  I am sorry to see that light extinguished.