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."
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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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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. Read the rest

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! Read the rest

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) Read the rest

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: Read the rest

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) Read the rest

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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) Read the rest

Documentary on the Cydwoq shoe factory

Here's a short and beautiful documentary on Cydwoq's 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) Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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.

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] Read the rest

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!) Read the rest

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." Read the rest

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