There's a place in LA that sells ukuleles and espresso, and it is terrific


I'm not as much of an ukulele fanatic as I once was, but when my daughter and I were in Little Tokyo on Saturday and came across U-Space, a store that sells ukuleles and espresso, I had to check it out.

The store has a large wall of ukuleles in all the sizes, from the itty bitty sopranos all the way up to the baritones (which are typically tuned like the four high strings on a guitar). U-Space has tables and comfy couches for drinking coffee and listening to ukulele music. There's also a counter with a couple of inexpensive ukes and instructions with simple chords so that everyone who comes in can have fun playing.

The proprietor, Jason Arimoto, is a very friendly guy. We had a nice chat and I asked him if I could take his photo. He was happy to oblige. He was holding a newly-released clear plastic ukulele, which cost $50 and sounds great. The non-clear plastic ukes sell for $40. These plastic models would make excellent starter ukes. Jason said they are modeled after the plastic ukulele that Arthur Godfrey pitched on TV in the 1950s, selling millions and millions of them. I was very tempted to buy the clear one, but I have enough ukuleles at home that don't get played as it is. Instead, I ordered an espresso, and Jason pulled a perfect double shot for me.

Check out the U-Space website. Besides selling ukes and coffee, they also have performances and teach ukulele lessons there. Read the rest

Saudi prince jailed in LA on sex crime charges, “bleeding woman screaming for help” survived

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Police were called to a gated property in the exclusive Los Angeles community of Beverly Glen today “after a caretaker at the home reported a disturbance.” A man identified as 28-year-old prince Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud was arrested on suspicion of forced oral copulation of an adult.

An LAPD spokesperson said that a diplomatic liason desk determined that Al-Saud does not have immunity in this case. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 19.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Neighbor Tennyson Collins said a resident reported seeing a bleeding woman scream for help as she tried to scale the property’s 8-foot-high wall Wednesday afternoon.

When Collins drove home from work after 1:30 p.m., police followed his car through the gates and onto the property, which he described as a compound. The website Zillow valued the 22,000-square-foot property at $37 million.

"Saudi prince arrested at L.A. compound for alleged sex crime" [LA Times/Joe Serna]

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Video: Spectacular aerial views of Los Angeles via drone


Ian Wood created this aerial exploration of Los Angeles, capturing the feel of a day in the city. Perfectly accompanied by Boo Boo Davis. Read the rest

Los Angeles is selling off some very odd lots, including a sidewalk corner

The 50 properties for sale on behalf of the City of LA are unusual and encumbered, the weird offspring of zoning rules, surveyors' errors, and complex subrights, like the "air rights" over a given piece of land. Read the rest

With stolen iPhone, burglar accidentally posts selfie video online


Los Angeles police are searching for the identity of this burglar, who accidentally shot and published a selfie with his victim's iPhone. Read the rest

Music video: Death Cab for Cutie's "The Ghosts of Beverly Drive"


Our friends in Death Cab for Cutie lead a strange star tour of Hollywood in this new video for "The Ghosts of Beverly Drive," from their gorgeous eighth LP Read the rest

Talking with stars of Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks

Xeni speaks with the stars of Love & Mercy about the music and magic inside Brian Wilson's mind. Directed by Bill Pohlad with a score by Atticus Ross, the film opens Friday, June 5, 2015.
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Going broke in LA

Anonymous in LA comes to terms with the disappearance of his profession.

Video: The LA Phil plays through an earthquake

[Video Link] Here's a video (well, real audio with some graphics) of the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing Ravel's "Daphnis and Chloé during a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. It's pretty interesting to hear the gasps and murmurs of the audience followed by the lovely music continuing without a hitch.

A couple of things to note here: -Walt Disney Concert Hall was built only 10 years ago and is made to withstand seismic activity.-I work for the LA Phil and had a hand in making this video. Read the rest

Exclusive free BB event in Los Angeles: screening of The Immortal Augustus Gladstone

Hey Los Angeles Boing Boing readers! You are invited to a free and exclusive screening for Boing Boing's feature film, The Immortal Augustus Gladstone. It's this Saturday, February 8, 2014 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM (PST) at the Cinefamily Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax in West Hollywood.

From the creator of Myst comes a genre-defying tale of mystery, alienation and love in the digital age. Meet Augustus Gladstone, an eccentric who craves celebrity and connection via social networks. Augustus charms his fans with claims of immortality and a glamorous life history. But a documentary film crew prods too deeply into Augustus’ private life, raising questions about truth, identity, and friendship.

After the screening, I will interview Robyn Miller, the writer, director, and star of the movie.

Reserve tickets to The Immortal Augustus Gladstone screening here. Read the rest

The history of LA told through 232 objects

Los Angeles magazine is telling the history of LA through 232 objects. I'm learning a lot about my city! For instance:

#24: Explorer 1 Spacecraft The first object the United States launched into Earth orbit came from Pasadena. Explorer 1 was the beginning of space exploration and carried thirty pounds of high tech experiments that measured cosmic rays, meteor impact and solar radiation but had much larger political ramifications as it was launched from atop a retrofitted missile. The craft was created at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the same time as Sputnik, but launched four months later and marked America’s entry into the space race against the Soviet Union. A Universal newsreel described it as a “A three-way collaboration between private industry, academic science and the military.” The team that created it included ex-Nazi rocket scientist Dr. Wernher Von Braun, who also created the Saturn V that took astronauts to the moon in 1969, Dr. James Van Allen, who has that radiation belt named after him, and William Pickering, who ran JPL at the height of the space age. The vessel was shipped from Pasadena to Cape Canaveral and was sent into the dark night atop a Jupiter rocket. It remained in orbit until 1970 when it burned up upon re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.

The history of LA told through 232 objects Read the rest

Los Angeles' weirdest places

LA to Z is a fantastic site dedicated to "uncovering LA's secret treasures and elusive past, one letter at a time." Above: "I… is for LA's Nazi Compound."

This LA to Z post is devoted to the darker, more nefarious, side of LA's past. This excursion led me on a hike to the so-called Murphy Ranch, located in Rustic Canyon in the Pacific Palisades. Nestled amongst the hills is a hidden estate where Nazis sympathizers waited out for Hitler to come invade The United States. Here you'll enter into a bizarre world of derelict buildings and eerie staircases.
(Thanks, Matthew!) Read the rest

UglyCon at GR2 in LA this weekend: a gathering of Uglydoll fans

I had the great pleasure of visiting with Giant Robot's Eric Nakamura and collaborators last night at the GR2 space on Sawtelle in Los Angeles.

Way into the wee hours of the night, they were gathering one-of-a-kind Uglydoll art for the fourth annual Uglycon, which starts June 15 and continues through June 26. The show includes Uglydolls created by fans, and fellow artists.

Photo: Xeni Jardin

Boing Boing pal Tim Shey and I walked around the space and watched a mural and an exhibit take shape. Above, a time-lapse video of the mural creation shot by Eric Nakamura.

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Amy cooks at an actual restaurant

I'm going to be cooking a dinner featuring locally-produced honey at canelé restaurant in LA next Tuesday, February 19.  The restaurant has a program called "Friends Cook", where they invite neighborhood pals to cook a special menu at the restaurant. Here's how they describe it:

Every so often on a Tuesday night we share our kitchen with some special folks for our popular "friends cook at canelé." These pals, ranging from experienced chefs to absolute newbies, conceive, prep, and cook to order a 3 course prix-fixe menu with the advice and assistance of our chef, cooks, and servers.

Here's the menu:

SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALADwith dates, toasted walnuts & Stilton, and a honey vinaigrette

SMOKY HONEY-CURED SALMON*slow roasted and served with white beans & cavolo nero

SPICY GINGER/HONEY CAKE WITH HONEY GELATOFeral Honey gelato from Pazzo Gelato in Silver Lake

* Vegetarian option: pasta with white beans & cavolo nero

I'll be curing the salmon next Sunday morning, then cold-smoking it with alder wood that night. We'll slow roast it to order at Canelé on Tuesday. It's a long process, but with a super-delicious result.

It'll be really fun and a great opportunity to watch me burn myself. I'd love to see you there if you happen to be in LA! Read the rest

Jimmy O'Neill, RIP: Remembering Pandora's Box and the Sunset Strip teen riots

Vintage video of the Sunset Strip teen riot of November 12, 1966.

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