Truck-driving is a modern form of indentured slavery

USA Today undertook a year-long investigation into southern California truckers, so-called "independent contractors" who form a critical link from America's busiest port to the rest of the country, and found that drivers are sunk into deep pits of debt due to predatory contracts they signed under duress, debts that are used to force them to work unsafe hours, falsify their work records, and sometimes bring home literal pennies a week after working 80+ hours (some drivers even finish the week in deeper debt, owing money to the companies they "contract" for).

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Bat-signal to shine above LA to honor Adam West

TV's Batman, the recently-departed Adam West, will be honored in a ceremony perfectly fit for a Caped Crusader.

DC Comics has announced that the Bat-signal will shine over the skies of Los Angeles on Thursday night to pay tribute to the late actor.

If fans are not able to join in the tribute Thursday night, the West family encourages Adam’s “old chums” to make a donation to the Adam West Memorial Fund for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Idaho-based charity for children diagnosed with cancer and their families, Camp Rainbow Gold.

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti will light the signal at the event which takes place at 9 PM at City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

(Hollywood Reporter) Read the rest

Mysterious ape-like creature caught on camera in Los Angeles

Jake Gardiner was walking in the woods in the foothills of La Crescenta, a suburb of Los Angeles, when he heard rustling in the trees. He recorded video on his mobile phone and later noticed what many are saying looks like an ape-like creature swinging around the branches.

“It could be some kind of ape, it also could be a bear, it could be a large bird,” says Andrew Hughan, a spokesman with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

He added that it could be someone's pet but it's difficult to say based on the blurry video and lack of physical evidence.

“It’s an interesting mystery right at the moment, and we'll see what happens," he says.

(Los Angeles Times)

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Real-estate advertisement for a $100m house "Makes Me Want To Be A Socialist"

Julia Wick found a cinematic trailer for a Opus, a "$100 million "state of the art dream home" currently for sale in Los Angeles." The creators "wanted to do something really high art," she quotes a spokesperson mercifully left unnamed. [via JWZ]

The video was created by the Society Group—a luxury public relations firm whose "mission is to spark authentic conversations in society by intersecting the worlds of art + architecture + lifestyle"—along with a "celebrity developer," a high-end realtor, and "a french director who specializes in marketing luxury brands." We spoke to the Society Group's Alexander Ali over email for some more information.

It's all so Trumpian. Read the rest

A look back at The Hags, a 1980s all-girl skate gang

The Los Angeles punk and skate scenes of the mid-1980s produced a brief, shining moment of total badassery in the form of The Hags, a now-legendary all-girl skateboard gang that prowled Hollywood and West LA. Bust magazine takes a loving look back. Read the rest

Jane Morris explains improvisation and life

This video is an absolute gem! Jane Morris, one of the best improvisational actors alive, explains what makes the art so magical!

Jane has improvised, written, performed, and directed shows around the world. Beginning in Chicago, where she helped found the Second City ETC, later from her own theaters in Los Angeles, no one has done more to advance the art of improvisation.

If you are a writer looking for help getting unstuck, building a regular ritual of daily writing, or just help figuring out how to get the story out of your head and on to paper, Jane runs a wonderful writers workshop. If I was an Angeleno, I'd be there every week.

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Update: The Future of HOME

Here's a brief audio update on the immediate future of HOME: Stories From L.A. The TL;DR version is, I'm slowing down the production schedule to make the project more sustainable over the long term. Give a listen for a little more background on the hows and whys of it all. The show returns this spring for Season 5, and in the meantime, the archive is a great way to load up your podcatcher. (Oh, also: I'm looking for a social media/publicity ninja; if that's you, drop me a line.)

HOME is a proud member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network

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If you're already a subscriber, many thanks. And if you have a minute to leave the show a short review at the iTunes Store it'd be much appreciated.  Read the rest

Finally, a mime for the rest of us

Billy the Mime is working through some things. What they are, exactly, I don't want to guess.

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Split-screen video of LA in the 40s and today

The New Yorker made then then-and-now split screen video of Los Angeles. On the left side, LA as it was 70 years ago. On the right, LA as it is today.

[via] Read the rest

100 of the coolest buildings in Los Angeles

From Spanish-style adobe to Art Deco to Googie to Midcentury Modern to new experimental forms, Los Angeles is one of the most eclectic cities for architecture. Los Angeles Magazine curated this great list of 100 architectural gems worthy of a visit. Read the rest

Eating at all of LA's grand old restaurants and dives, one at a time

The Remains of LA blog has a mission: to "visit all the cool old places in LA (not all at once)." I met its proprietress today, working at my local Burbank library, and I share her passion for LA's old restaurants, though I lack her devotion! As she notes, "sometimes the food is good, and there are nice people." Read the rest

My neighborhood realtor is determined to turn a buck on electoral eschatology

(found this hanging from my front door-knob) Read the rest

Afghan Whigs benefit concerts for their guitarist Dave Rosser who has cancer

My friend Dave Rosser, the NOLA-based guitarist for the Afghan Whigs (and the Gutter Twins, and Mark Lanegan, etc.), was just diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer. Dave is a brilliant musician, a true gentleman, and a total laugh riot. Now he has a long, hard road ahead of him and the medical expenses he faces are absolutely overwhelming. There's a GoFundMe campaign to help Dave with those bills and the Afghan Whigs have just announced two very special benefit performances to support their much-loved bandmate. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Afghan Whigs's dark soul-rock masterpiece Black Love, they will play the album in its entirety in New Orleans on December 10 and Los Angeles on December 14. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Friday 11/3).

“Dave Rosser has been my close friend and bandmate for over a decade now,” Afghan Whigs singer Greg Dulli commented. “By doing these shows for him we hope to ease any financial stress he may face as he pursues treatment to combat his illness. 100% of the proceeds from these shows will go to his medical care. I’m hopeful that folks will come out and show their support for Dave who will be performing with us.”

The New Orleans show will take place at The Civic Theatre on Saturday December 10th and feature performances from: The Afghan Whigs, Mark Lanegan, Ani DiFranco, Morning 40 Federation, King James & The Special Men, and C.C. Adcock & The Lafayette Marquis along with special guests.

The Los Angeles show will take place on December 14th at The Teragram Ballroom featuring sets from: The Afghan Whigs, Mark Lanegan, Moby and Carina Round.

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Everything Must Go

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:

Some stories don't end when you think they do. Some stories just pause. And then they sneak back around and whap you across the back of your unsuspecting head. So here's one I didn't expect to revisit, although maybe I should have: Part 2 of Episode 7, "Unmaking A Home."

If you like what you hear, please drop by the iTunes Store and leave the show a rating and/or review. And don't forget to subscribe: 

iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS Read the rest

The Modernist Utopia that never was

HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network, is back for its fourth season. This week:

What happens to a utopia that never got off the ground? Bits and pieces of one, an experiment in postwar living for the masses, are hiding in plain sight in the hills above Sunset Boulevard. Architect and author Cory Buckner talks about Crestwood Hills, a Modernist vision for a cooperative future that never quite arrived.

A note from the producer: If you'd like to help HOME get off to a good seasonal start, drop by the iTunes Store and subscribe. And if you have a minute to leave a rating and/or review, that helps stir the algorithmic stew that gets shows noticed. Thanks for listening.

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS Read the rest

Come see me in Portland, Riverside, LA, and San Francisco

I've got a busy couple of weeks coming up! I'm speaking tomorrow at Powell's in Portland, OR for Banned Books Week; on Wednesday, I'm at UC Riverside speaking to a Philosophy and Science Fiction class; on Friday I'll be at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, speaking on Canada's dark decade of policy denial from climate science to digital locks; and then on Oct 6, I'm coming to SFMOMA to talk about museums, technology, and free culture. I hope to see you soon! (Image: Alex Schoenfeldt Photography, www.schoenfeldt.com, CC-BY) Read the rest

LA water hog exposed as "Wet Prince of Bel-Air"

Who is the top residential water hog of Los Angeles? The Center for Investigative Reporting has narrowed it down to 7 Bel-Air mansions, with billionaire Jerry Perenchio's estate the prime suspect for using almost 12 million gallons of water a year. Read the rest

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