Boing Boing 

An animator's sketches from the LA County Jail


Elana Pritchard (see her kickstarter), an animator who is a protege of Ralph Bakshi, was thrown in the scandal haunted LA County Jail for three months for violating a court order; on Bakshi's advice, she kept herself sane by illustrating her experiences using a golf pencil and scrap paper.

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FBI seizes LA school district's Ipad purchasing docs


It's not clear what they're investigating, but the DoJ subpoenaed everything related to the $70M program to give Ipads to all 650K kids in the district.

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Die Gstettensaga coming to LA

Johannes from Monochrom writes, "Award-winning post-apocalyptic hackploitation comedy 'Die Gstettensaga' is coming to a couple North American hacker conventions, film festivals and other cool locations."

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CHP patrolman videoed beating homeless black woman by roadside

An LA driver caught video of a California Highway Patrolman tackling a homeless black woman walking by the side of the road and then repeatedly punching her in the face.

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Disneyland's un-gangs


A number of friendly, charity-minded social clubs have sprung up in Disney fandom. They dress in disnefied versions of biker wear, gather together in Disneyland, help people out, and keep each other company. I encountered the Neverlanders several times last year when I had a residency at Disney Imagineering, and I loved the way they blended counterculture and fandom. A long, smart piece about the clubs in OC Weekly traces their history and growth -- fuelled by Instagram -- and the way they encountered mainstream Disney fandom through message-boards and in the parks.

As the article notes, there's a long history of counterculture at Disney parks, from the Yippie invasion to the goth takeover of Tomorrowland prior to the New Tomorrowland renovation. This sort of thing was my direct inspiration for proposing a fan takeover of Disney in Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and the goth redesign of Fantasyland in Makers.

The presence of counterculture/bohemians in Disneyland shows how appropriation runs in two directions, and also points to a new direction in fraternal organizations. The activities of Disneyland's social clubs -- Neverlanders, Pix Pak, Black Death Crew, Main Street Elite -- would be recognizable to my grandparents, who were active in groups like Kiwanis and B'nai Brith, and who unwound with their friends through bowling and card-games and multi-family picnics.

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The Coruscant Tapestry: 30' long Star Wars cross-stitch


Aled Lewis's "The Coruscant Tapestry" is a 30 foot long, 13" high tapestry depicting the tale of Star Wars in cross-stitch. In the manner of the Bayeux Tapestry, its borders are embellished with writing -- quotes in Aurebesh from the films. It's for sale for $20,000 at Los Angeles's Gallery 1988.

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Archway of books


Vivs Ngo snapped this wonderful shot of Los Angeles's Last Bookstore, an exuberant temple of the bookseller's faith.

Secret Headquarters at LA Book Fair this weekend: meet Jordan Crane, Jaime Hernandez, Paul Hornschemeier and more!


Secret Headquarters, LA's finest comic store, is hosting a booth at the LA Book Fair this weekend, with a dynamite roster of previously unannounced comics creators for your meeting and squeeing pleasure. The full roster includes Jordan Crane, Jaime Hernandez, Paul Hornschemeier, Lisa Hanawalt and many more.

They're also debuting two new original publications at the fair, and will be displaying some of their ultra-rare stuff from the stores, including an original complete run of RAW.

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LAPD declares war on downtown's pedestrians

Downtown Los Angeles's renaissance has led to a surge in pedestrian traffic, to the enormous benefit of local businesses and the neighborhood itself. The LAPD is having none of it, and have declared war on jaywalking, handing out $200 fines for infractions as minor as walking into the crosswalk after the pedestrian signal starts to blink red.

Italian lizards invade San Pedro

Deborah Netburn, at the L.A. Times, reports on the "complete" takeover of one part of town by a reptilian newcomer, the Italian wall lizard.

The wall lizards arrived in San Pedro in 1994, when a homeowner brought a few of them back from a trip to Sicily. He released four males and three females into his backyard, and they thrived and multiplied. Nearly 20 years later, the Italian wall lizards have almost entirely replaced native lizards in a five-block radius from where they were introduced. "Since I started studying this population, I've seen literally a thousand wall lizards in this area and just two native lizards," says Pauly, 36, who's decked out in a pair of Tevas and a pale blue T-shirt that says, "Newt and Improved." "The takeover feels pretty complete."

Coming to LA: Krampusfest!, from the remains of the Cacophony Society

Al writes, "KKrampusfest LA is a series of of Krampus events produced throughout December 2013 by the remnants (or 'sleeper cell') of LA Cacophony Society. We have been working on hand-crafted scratch-made Krampus costumes & masks for about a year, and we are the first Krampus run in the Western US. These events were contrived, in part as a response and alternative to the Santacon mess we Cacophonists set loose oh, so many years ago. The first official event is 12/7, the costumed 'Krampus Ball' with traditional Bavarian folk dancing, alpenhorn, as well as costumed bands like 'The Kramps' and 'Krampwerk.'

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Burglar surprised to discover the lady he's robbing is an armed ax-throwing champ

A retired competitive ax-thrower surprised burglars who'd broken into her home and chased them off. Robyn Irvine of Hemet, CA caught a burglar trying to steal her jewelry while she slept with her cat, and she snatched up her favorite ax and brandished it at him until he ran off. She says she chose not to throw it at him, though she's pretty sure that she could have paralyzed him if she'd chosen. Police later arrested 22-year-old Nicholas Uolla with many of her possessions (she believes that he had at least one accomplice who got away). Ms Irvine is a sweet lady, and is wont to utter phrases like, "If you're in my house, you're not walking out."

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Where Disneyland almost was

A reader writes, "Picture Disneyland not between Ball, Katella, Harbor and whatever they call West Street in Anaheim these days but in La Mirada, Whittier Narrows or on Willowick Country Club in Santa Ana. Urban planner Sam Gennawey has looked at those alternate sites and many others for the Mouse." Gennawey is the author of Walt and the Promise of Progress City , from which this work is drawn.

The Optimist: Disney alternate reality game

The Optimist is a new alternate reality game from Walt Disney Imagineering R&D. It's a six-week story that plays out across social media and across the LA area, culminating with the D23 Fan Expo in August. Here's the setup: "Amelia, a young filmmaker, has stumbled upon a revolutionary secret...and she needs your help." Go!

App shows you the way to the illegally hidden public beaches of Malibu


Back in May, Mark wrote about a Kickstarter project to fund a mobile app that will help you locate the hidden entrances to Malibu's public beaches, which the local rich and famous people have done everything they can to obscure (including putting up illegal fake signs that falsely declare passage to be trespassing).

The Kickstarter was fully funded and the app is out, and the public is finding its way to Malibu's public beaches, which is great news -- unless you're one of those people who's spent decades treating a public beach as your own private patch. Local residents are pissed:

“I don’t think it’s a snobby thing. It’s like letting someone into your backyard. You’re paying for the beach house and the property you own is technically the beach in front of your house,” said Emma Ravdin.

Oh, diddums.

Battle Over Access To Malibu Beaches Goes High-Tech With New App [CBS]

(via MeFi)

Photodocumentary: the electrification of Los Angeles


Form and Landscape is a stupendous collection of photos documenting the electrification of Los Angeles, culled from ConEd's archives (Edison International underwrote the exhibition). The pictures are presented with fascinating articles in Spanish and English, and are curated by William Deverell and Greg Hise.

The documentary record tells a story of better living, improvement, and uplift all made possible through the power of electricity or “white gold,” the company’s term of art for its product. Boosters spoke fervently about the opportunity a regular supply of electricity created and the benefit it would provide a mass of people for whom ready access to white gold meant extended hours of productive labor, enhanced quality of their leisure hours, and greater safety while traveling in and about the company’s service area by foot, by mass transit, or by automobile. It is a story of private enterprise elevating individual and collective wellbeing and in doing so contributing toward the public good by taking the smoke out of manufacturing; by making the labor of workers, both wage-earners and domestic, more efficient; by increasing safety and deterring crime; by improving health.

About the Project — FORM and LANDSCAPE (via The Guardian Art and Design)

(Image, above: "Commercial Lighting Doug White (No date)")

I've included some of my favorites below:

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Guy on hood of moving pickup begs passing drivers to call the police

Have you seen a video floating around showing a guy on the hood of a moving pickup truck, begging people to call the police? When I saw it, I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on, but thankfully, some context is now in hand: it's all down to Baton Rouge's notorious "sign guy," a hoarder who confiscates roadside signs put up by local businessmen and fills his backyard with them:

BATON ROUGE, La. - A man pleaded for help after jumping on the hood of a moving truck on Coursey Blvd. after his sign was picked up, according to Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Tommy Stubbs.

Stubbs says the man was on Coursey selling shrimp when another man driving a pickup truck pulled over and picked up his sign.

When the man in the truck went to pull off with the sign, the man selling the shrimp jumped on the hood of the pickup.

Man pleads for help on hood of truck in Baton Rouge [Troy Gaulden/WBRZ] (Thanks, Spocko)

Beautiful vintage jetpack-futurist car


On Super Punch, set of photos of a beautiful, enbubbled, betailfinned Los Angeles land yacht spotted on the 101. Hoo-ah.

Saw a this on the 101 in Los Angeles today. It was caravanning with a bunch of classic cars.

Rumor: Koch Brothers to buy 8 major newspapers, including LA Times


The Koch Brothers -- billionaire ultra-conservative puppet-masters and Tea Party funders -- are rumored to be in talks to buy eight newspapers, including the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant from the Tribune company, which is emerging from bankruptcy protection. Half of the LA Times's newsroom has threatened to quit if the Kochs take over.

One thing sure to happen if the Koch brothers take over the paper is a conservative agenda on the editorial page. As other newspapers have cut back on editorials and endorsements, the Times is now often the only LA news outlet that issues endorsements on political candidates and on ballot measures and initiatives. This is particularly crucial in California, where even the most educated voter is left clueless and confused -- or worse, tricked -- after reading the state propositions put on the ballot by Californians who simply gathered enough signatures to push a private agenda.

If the Times' editorial page is filled with the Koch brothers' libertarian opinions, other journalists in LA will need to step up and voice opposing views.

If Koch Brothers Buy LA Times, Half of Staff May Quit (VIDEO) [Kathleen Miles/HuffPo]

(via Reddit)

(Image: LA Times, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from 24293932@N00's photostream)

Documentary on the Cydwoq shoe factory

As mentioned before, I'm a big fan of the beautiful handmade shoes from Cydwoq, who manufacture their wares to order in Los Angeles. Here's a short and beautiful documentary on their factory and manufacturing techniques.

Disneyland Dapper Day: when Disney fans dress up


Disneyland fans have created many of their own theme days, some of which I've been lucky enough to happen upon or attend -- Bats Day (goths); Gay Days, and more. But I didn't know about Dapper Day, where 10,000+ people descend on Disneyland and Walt Disney World in natty outfits and style their way through the fun park. Just looking at the official gallery makes me want to mark this in my calendar for next year.

"People are looking for an excuse to dress up," said Justin Jorgensen, who started Dapper Day in 2011 and has organized five of the events, all at Disneyland. The latest Dapper Day — the same Sunday as the Oscars, Hollywood’s own dress-up day — drew an estimated crowd of 10,000 to the Anaheim park and about 1,000 more at Florida's Disney World.

"Everything, including the workplace, pushes this idea of being casual," said Jorgensen, 38, of Burbank. "When do I get to wear my great stuff?"

Most of those in attendance that day were in their 20s and 30s. They had come of age in a time of shoulder-padded power suits, windbreakers in neon colors and frizzy hair — not exactly a time that will be remembered for its classic elegance.

"I think people like history, people love nostalgia," said Heather A. Vaughan, a historian studying 20th century fashions. "People love imagining a time they didn’t live in."

Dapper Day at Disneyland, the nattiest place on Earth [LA Times/Rick Rojas]

(Photo: Christina House)

Los Angeles is not full of self-driving pod cars (and other disappointments from a 1988 view of 2013)

In April 1988, the LA Times Magazine published a cover article predicting what the spring of 2013 would look like for the typical Angeleno family. In a story that is bound to give you disconcerting flashbacks to Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains", a family of four (and their automated house full of whirring robots) goes about a full day — from mandatory staggered work times beginning at 5:15 am, to 11:00 pm, when the lady of the house sits down with her laser disc of The Collected Works of Jackie Collins. (Creepily, the story ends with the house catching fire. I'm not kidding about the Bradbury shout-outs.) Not all the predictions were totally off base, but, as a whole, it's definitely a neat example of how hard it is to look at current technology trends and correctly extrapolate them out to the future.

Young pro-science/anti-Creationism activist wins TroubleMaker award

Zack Kopplin, the 19-year-old anti-Creationism/pro-science activist I wrote about last month, has won the TroubleMaker Award, which comes with a $10,000 prize.

Zack’s bold campaign to repeal the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) has made waves in state politics and in public education. Kopplin has gathered the support of 78 Nobel Laureate scientists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the New Orleans City Council, and other major organizations. His petition to repeal the law has 74,000 supporters across the US. Working with Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, Zack has fought for two bills to repeal the LSEA. He has spoken out before the Louisiana legislature and State Board of Education, debated creationist politicians, held rallies, and had been covered in hundreds of interviews in national and international media. Kopplin is preparing to fight for a third repeal bill.

Zack plans to use the $10,000 awarded to him to increase the impact and reach of his campaign. The funds will greatly aid Zack’s most recent venture to call for accountability on the issue of millions of dollars in school vouchers being spent to fund schools across the US that teach creationist ideas. He also plans to use this money to help build the Second Giant Leap movement, which calls for a permanent end to science denial legislation and for a trillion dollars of new science funding in the next decade.

Kopplin said, “We need a Second Giant Leap for Mankind and we need a student movement of troublemakers and truth-tellers who are willing to stand up and speak out to make this a reality.”

Troublemaker Award (via IO9)

Exhibit of LA buildings that never were


Wired reports on a nearly complete Kickstarter to mount an exhibit of grand and glorious LA buildings that were never built, including the design for LAX shown above:

Wired: What is it with Los Angeles and mega scale architecture?

Goldin: Los Angeles had room to grow, with few geographical limitations, except the Pacific Ocean. All that open space engendered a spirit of wide imagination, and the two fed off each other. Los Angeles has also always been a place to jettison the past and begin anew, and from the beginning the city developed a reputation for embracing originality and reinvention. The happenstance of early aviation and aerospace and the creative, sometimes over-the-top spirit of Hollywood, only further fueled the imagination. Everything seemed possible.

Documenting the Never-Built Dreams of the City of Angels [Wired/Tim Maly]

Kickstarting the LA Makerspace

James sez,

The Los Angeles Maker Space is an inspiring project that comes along only once in a while, and many people apparently realize this. They reached their $15K funding goal within 30 hours of starting the plea. They are now guaranteed to have an expensive laser cutter and a couple of 3D printers in their space, yay kids!

However, these amazing tools will sit unused a lot more than they should if they do not reach their secondary funding goal of $25,000. This money will pay for live, talented adults to open and supervise the space on weekends. Recent events have shown us how important our children are, and how important qualified, responsible supervision of them is. Please visit their kickstarter page today and lets see their second goal hit the rear view mirror too, done, and done.

LA Makerspace needs 3D Printers, a Laser Cutter, and Open Project Time for Members to Innovate. (Thanks, James!)

Library gift-shop, on wheels, in LA

Katie from the Library Foundation of Los Angeles sez, "The Library Store On Wheels, a mobile truck version of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' beloved Central Library gift store (which LA Weekly named 'LA's Best Gift Shop'this year) hits the road December 10. Over the next two weeks, we'll be taking the mobile store around to different Los Angeles Public Library branches, as well as Amoeba Music. Packed to the gills with the most lovingly-curated selection of lit-themed gifts and nostalgic library decor, all proceeds from the store will go to benefit the Los Angeles Public Library."

Caviar vending machines in LA malls


Caviar vending machines have been installed in three upscale malls in LA. In addition to $500/oz caviar, they also dispense blinis, mother of pearl spoons, and other caviar essentials. The vending machines (they're billed as "ATMs for caviar") can be found at Westfield Century City, Westfield Topanga, and the Burbank Towne Center. Apparently, these are old news in Russia, where they are favorites of oligarchs and their entourages.

Finally! Caviar by ATM (via Super Punch)

Portraits of LA voters


Dan sez, "Two LA-based photographers shot photos of voters 'to document and celebrate the diversity of the Los Angeles electorate. All photographs were taken outside of polling locations across the city on Election Day, November 6th, 2012.' I especially like this one.

(Thanks, Dan!)

New Secret Headquarters sister store in LA

Secret Headquarters, my favorite comic store in LA (a very competitive field!), has opened a sister-store called Thank You Comics and Books, in Highland Park.. It's bound to be one of the great awesomesauce emporia on the west coast.

Bacon ice cream sliders


Further nutritional oddments from a touring author (see yesterday's installment). I stopped into the most excellent indie bookstore Diesel at the Brentwood Country Mart in LA for my Pirate Cinema book tour, and noticed that the ice-cream parlour next door was advertising bacon-spiked ice-cream sliders, as well as a corn and spicy cheese crisp ice-cream sandwich.

I'll be in Lansing, MI tomorrow (tell your friends), and look forward to discovering more characteristic local cuisine.

Bacon and spicy corn Ice Cream Sliders, Brentwood Country Mart, Los Angeles, California, USA