Drone video of downtown Los Angeles

Ian Wood's beautiful drone footage of downtown Los Angeles. (via Laughing Squid)

Going broke in LA

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

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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.

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.

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

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!)

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 SALAD
with 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 GELATO
Feral 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!

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

Last week, deejay Jimmy O'Neill died at his home in West Hollywood at age 73. O'Neill was a central figure in hippie culture, and he got a pretty raw deal from The Man for his efforts. O'Neill was host of the enormously popular teen music show Shindig!, then used his clout to open a nightclub called Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip and book his favorite acts. This led to massive throngs of teens and traffic on the strip, and soon the killjoys descended. The city hastily enacted a series of loitering and curfew laws targeting teenagers. The footage in this clip from November 12, 1966 shows what happened next.

In what would become a template for youth resistance, young people gathered at Pandora's Box to defy the 10pm curfew. The riots kept growing, and the panicked L.A. City Council quickly moved to condemn and demolish Pandora's Box, which they ultimately did in 1967. The incident inspired many songs, including Buffalo Springfield's anthem “For What It's Worth," often interpreted as an anti-war song. The young people who witnessed this injustice, including Peter Fonda, Phil Proctor, and Jack Nicholson, came away with renewed resolve to fight even bigger political battes.

Die Antwoord & Boing Boing, Tue. 13 Meltdown Comics in LA (live webcast)

Art by Dave Kloc for Meltdown Comics

I'll be hosting an event with our friends at Meltdown Comics tomorrow night, Tuesday November 13, 2012: an evening with Ninja and Yo-Landi of the South African band Die Antwoord.

The zef ones will be present, signing a beautiful limited-edition Die Antwoord/Meltdown poster by artist Dave Kloc (9-10pm), and screening a bunch of their videos and short films (10-1130pm, this part is sold out).

More details here.

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Fall of the Pumpkin People: a halloween walk-thru in Los Angeles


I admire artist gerG Maclaurin's work. His Ghost Phones exhibition at Maker Faire 2008 was one of my favorite attractions that year. This year, gerG is building a walk-through diorama experience in his backyard. Admission is going to be free. The project was fully funded on Kickstarter, but he is still accepting donations.

You'll walk thru my back yard which has been transformed into an abandoned field, then peer thru branches and weeds at the little buildings of the pumpkin people. Inside the buildings 2' tall pumpkins will be sitting and working, others will be waiting in the pumpkin health clinic, nursing their unfortunate wounds. One will be sitting at her boudoir, staring at a shattered mirror. There's dozens more scenes, and each is unique... the surgery suite... the knife sharpening shop…
Fall of the Pumpkin People: a new type of walk-thru diorama

Science of L.A.'s 'Carmageddon' proves (shock!) that cars cause much of LA's air pollution

Suzanne Paulson, UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, saw "Carmageddon" as an opportunity to make use of a "natural experiment." She and a colleague "measured pollutants in the air during the LA freeway shutdown last year, and have now released their findings.

Air quality near the normally busy highway improved by 83 percent that day last July, relative to comparable weekends. Elsewhere in West Los Angeles, the improvement was equally dramatic. Air quality improved by 75 percent on that side of the city and in Santa Monica, and by 25 percent throughout the entire region, as a measure of the drop in ultrafine particulate matter associated with tailpipe emissions.

"We saw what we expected: you take motor vehicles away, the air gets really, really clean," Paulson says, "which tells us that most of the pollution is from motor vehicles from one type or another in this area."

More: L.A.'s 'Carmageddon' Produced Dramatic, Instantaneous Air Quality Improvements (The Atlantic).

Another "Carmaggedon" just took place in LA. Wonder if there will be more science to come from this edition.

(Image: Dallas Traffic 10/19/11 1227pm, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (2.0) image from nffcnnr's photostream)

Me, Al Franken and the worst meeting in the history of show business: a true story

I've never publicly shared my story about The Worst Meeting In The History Of Show Business, but this seems like an appropriate time, for reasons I'll get to in a minute. 

In the late '90s I was working as a sitcom writer, and in the spring of 1998 I was between jobs and needed one. My agent lined up a meeting for me with Al Franken, who was then running a show called "Lateline," a behind-the-scenes comedy about a TV news program. Franken wanted to meet me, my agent told me, because I had a news background, having been a writer for Newsweek before I moved to Los Angeles. My recollection is that "Lateline" was produced out of New York; Franken would fly out to Los Angeles to hold a few days' meetings with prospective hires at a hotel in West Hollywood. And so the meeting got set, for breakfast a week or so later. I arrived a little early and found Franken in the hotel restaurant, where he was meeting with another writer. He asked me if I'd mind waiting for a few minutes, so I took a seat in the lobby.

After a few moments the telephone rang at the host's station, which sat in the lobby, a few feet outside the dining room entrance, and about 20 feet from where I was sitting. The host answered the call, listened for a moment, then went inside and came back with Franken. The writer with whom Franken had just met, their meeting now concluded, continued through the lobby and left. Franken picked up the phone. Here's what I heard him say:

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“Freeware” compilation of LA Post-Punk and Indie-Wave music, 1977-1987

My friend Sean Bonner just pointed me to a wonderful music history project, put together by Brian Stefans: at lapostpunk.blogspot.com, an MP3 compilation of post-punk and experimental pop music in the Los Angeles area from the mid-seventies through the mid-eighties.

I kind of think of this as a portrait of the city at the time more than a collection of tracks that will change the world (though more than a handful I think are unfairly neglected). I’m wondering if someone like Rhino Records would want to do a Nuggets-type collection from the period? They already have one of Los Angeles from 1965-1968 called Where The Action Is.

Incredibly comprehensive. What a labor of love. There's a Volume one, and a Volume two.

To do in LA: Stanley Donwood show at Subliminal Projects

Artist Stanley Donwood, whose work you may know through the many Radiohead album covers and inserts he's done in collaboration with the band, has an exhibition at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects gallery: Lost Angeles. Up through May 26, 2012.