All posts by Helen Jupiter

I love LA!

Los Angeles Noir

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I suppose you’ll call this a confession when you read it. I don’t like the word confession. I prefer the phrase ‘blog post.'” Outside, the wind is howling like a banshee, and palm fronds are taking the fall like remorseful sinners. It’s as though mother nature herself, the crazy dame, is in a tizzy over Los Angeles Noir.

In the tradition of James Cain, Nathaniel West, Raymond Chandler and so many others who penned the first noir stories about our fair city, this anthology of noirish LA features new stories by Michael Connelly, Janet Fitch, Susan Straight, Naomi Hirahara, Denise Hamilton and many others. The seventeen stories are grouped into four only-in-LA categories that include different neighborhoods:
Part I: Police & Thieves (Mulholland, Koreatown, Leimert Park, San Marino)
Part II: Hollywoodlandia (Los Feliz, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, East Hollywood)
Part III: East of La Cienega (Downtown, Los Angeles River, Commerce, Fairfax District, Mid-City)
Part IV: The Gold Coast (Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista, Belmont Shore, Westchester)

Yeah, you read it right. And for all of you Los Angeles cats and chicks, it gets even better.

Denise Hamilton and the bevy of supremely talented noir writers that contributed stories to this book are signing all over town this week. And the book will be, yes, you guessed it – available for signing at the readings two weeks before the rest of the country gets it.

Full schedule of readings here.

Extreme Fun(draising)

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If you’re interested in pro skating, blackjack, Red Bull and vodka drink specials, auctions, raffles and/or advocating for at-risk Los Angeles youth, Thursday is your night. Head on out to the Hermosa Beach pier, where The Collaboration Project will be working to “raise funds and awareness for Project Nightlight, an at-risk youth charity that uses short films, music, fashion and action sports to grab kids attention and inspire them to speak out against abuse.”

9:30 p.m., 21 and over
Sangria
68 Pier Ave (Cross Street: Hermosa Avenue)
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Forum and Resource Fair to Stop Global Warming This Saturday

The Democratic Party is hosting “A Convenient Truth: It’s Easy Being Green,” a special forum and resource fair to stop global warming this Saturday, April 14 at 2:30 PM. The program will run about three hours, and will feature:

  • Green ideas for the home, car and garden presented by the Natural Resources Defense Council
  • An Inconvenient Truth presented by Gretchen Lewosky of 20th Century Fox Studios
  • Industrial agriculture’s contribution to global warming and how you can make sustainable food choices, presented by the California Food Justice Coalition
  • Former Assemblywoman Fran Pavley will discuss the politics of global warming and how to make climate change a priority legislative issue

The event will take place at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, 5931 w. 18th Street, Los Angeles, 90035.

RSVP

Resources:
Natural Resources Defense Council
The California Food and Justice Coalition
Livingreen
Tree People
Environment California
Urban Revision
Large Marge Sustainables

Hope for Homeless Los Angeles Veterans

We see them everyday, haunting busy intersections and freeway off ramps. They gaze into our cars, hoping for a handout or even just eye contact–some small show of acknowledgment. Many of them hold weathered, cardboard signs proclaiming their status: Homeless Veteran.

Los Angeles has the highest concentration of homeless vets in the country: about 20,000 according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. That could be slightly eased, though, if a proposal to renovate Buildings 4 and 5 on the Veterans Affairs campus in the valley is successful.

The department is considering plans to transform the buildings, damaged in the 1994 Northridge quake and most recently used for film shoots, into permanent housing for homeless vets. If the plan is approved and the long-term lease signed, the project will also include social services and counseling.

Two nonprofit groups would be brought in to oversee the project: New Directions and A Community of Friends.

“To have 20,000 homeless vets and have these buildings used for movie shoots, we need to reprioritize about what we are doing in this country,” said Toni Reinis, executive director of New Directions, the nonprofit group that would run the facility.

Still, the proposed $40 million makeover faces some uncertainty. New Directions must raise the money for it, though Ms. Reinis said it was already lining up potential sources, and it faces objections from the congressman who represents the area, Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat, as well as some people living nearby.

New Directions and A Community of Friends hope to convert the buildings into 147 subsidized apartments and would aim to offer extended, long-term care and housing.

Resources:
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
Homeless Health Care Los Angeles
My Friend’s Place
Habitat for Humanity, Greater L.A.

Villaraigosa Under Fire for Plan to Replace Coal-Fired Power

Good ol’ Mayor Antonio “Green” Villaraigosa is being condemned like Cal State Northridge after the 1994 quake. The Mayor’s “Green Power” Proposal has preservationists, conservationists, environmentalists (and various other fill-in-the-blankists) fuming over plans for an “85-mile-long ‘Green Path’ energy corridor designed to bring solar, geothermal and nuclear power from southeastern California and Arizona.” The path would:

slice across the Big Morongo Wildlife Preserve north of Palm Springs, Pioneertown near Yucca Valley, Pipes Canyon Wilderness Preserve and a corner of the San Bernardino National Forest before crossing over the Cajon Pass and connecting with existing power lines in Hesperia.

The impact across these regions could manifest in the form of power lines and transmission towers. Critics are saying that not only is this kind of energy consumption not “green,” but that there’s no way the ends can justify the means.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Villaraigosa hasn’t returned calls for comment, however DWP commission President David Nahai claims that no route has been officially confirmed. Nahai was appointed to the DWP post by Villaraigosa in 2005. He also currently serves as Vice-Chairman for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.

While Villaraigosa’s Green Power proposal isn’t promising, those willing to spend a little extra green to go green can seek solace in the LADWP’s Green Power for a Green L.A. program, which already offers the opportunity to support cleaner energy resources for Los Angeles.

LADWP’s residential Green Power Program enables you to support renewable energy by paying a small premium on your bill. The extra cost for this package is 6% or approximately $3 a month for the average customer with a monthly electricity cost of $50. Customers who sign up for Green Power will receive two complimentary compact fluorescent bulbs.

Villaraigosa should totally sign up for that program! He could use one of those fluorescent bulbs. Lit, and over his head.

Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley Accepts Pioneer Woman Award with Arms Outstretched

Jenny Lewis is one of the fifteen women representative of each Los Angeles City Council District chosen to receive a Pioneer Woman Award this year.

Lewis received the Pioneer Woman award– given out annually in conjunction with National Women’s History Month, and meant to honor “outstanding community service and accomplishments…that continue to expand opportunities for generations to come”– from Garcetti during a ceremony last Friday, March 30.

Ever humble, Lewis had this to say: “It is an honor to be recognized in the company of all the women gathered here whose accomplishments far outstrip my own. These women are actually affecting the community in a tangible way while I’m just up there singing about it.”

Pshaw, lady. Certainly I’m not the only member of the community who you’ve inspired to be a better son or daughter. Tell me that’s not tangible.

Sikhs Seek to Help Helpless

A couple of years ago I landed an (extended) temp job with Golden Temple–you know, the Sikh-run company that makes the Yogi Tea on the menu at Swingers. Anyway, they’ve got this tiny little satellite office on Preuss (just off Robertson), south of Pico. It’s right next door to their Guru Ram Das Ashram, in front of which they serve(d me) Langar (aka Free Lunch!) every single day. All your life people tell you, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” and then you meet the Sikhs. The reality is, some days were better than others. The best days were authentic, homemade Indian feasts (sometimes cooked by a local family, sometimes provided by India Sweet House on Pico. The not-as-good days were pasty, bland, mung bean stew. Still, it’s a lovely experience–one that I hope all of you will try someday.

Annnnyway. Point being: the Sikhs are pretty damn cool, and this weekend hundreds of Los Angeles Sikhs (there are about 50,000 living in California) will donate and distribute 1,000 boxed lunches to the homeless on Skid Row at the Fred Jordan Mission’s 63rd annual Easter Festival of Life, 445 Towne Ave, in Los Angeles.

As it happens, this act of service will mark the beginning of Baisakhi, the holiest Sikh holiday, the celebration of which you can participate in or observe at the L.A. Convention Center, Sunday, April 8th – 4 AM – 3 PM.

Skeptic? Cynic? Well, they never proselytized or tried to convert me… If you join–whether for the Easter Festival, Baisakhi, or Langar someday–simply offer a smile and say, “Sat Nam.” That’s all it takes.

Try Langar at the Guru Ram Das Ashram.
1620 Preuss Rd.
Los Angeles, California 90035
Every day around noon.