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
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.
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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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!
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.
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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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
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)
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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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.
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.
LA's Museum of Contemporary Art invited the city to the opening party for Cai Guo-Qiang's "Sky Ladder" exhibition, the highlight of which was a massive explosion of rockets and other fireworks, titled “Mystery Circle.” Thousands of people filled the museum grounds for the big event.
Several introductory speakers (including the artist) described what was about to happen, but I don’t think anyone was anticipating the effect of 40,000 rockets launched directly at us. The light, heat, and concussive force were terrifying and beautiful.
MOCA shot video of the event from many angles, and made this nifty map to show the event videos from a myriad of perspectives. Here's a more composed video that combines a bunch of the views:
Cai Guo-Qiang has gotten so much attention lately that he is starting to get endorsements, including a limited-edition Lomography signature camera. I'm a crappy photographer, but that didn't deter the nice people at Lomography from lending me a Cai Guo-Qiang camera to document the explosion event and the exhibition. The camera is really neat and I enjoyed messing around with analog settings - it's harder and much more rewarding than slapping an Instagram filter on a digital image. Here’s the best shot I got of the installation, which includes a crop circle hanging from the ceiling:
The Cai Guo-Qiang "Sky Ladder" exhibition is open at MOCA (through July 30) and includes three gunpowder paintings, a crop circle installation, and videos of the various detonations. You can also see the scorch marks from the explosion event on the side of the building.
"OnCentral," a KPCC/Southern California Public Radio reporting project focused on the communities of South LA, has published a terrific series of very detailed posts by José Martinez on graffitti and gang tagging. Here's part one, here's part two, and here's part three, just published today. The latter digs in to the nuances of gang tags that indicate hostile conversations between gangs, or specific gang members; and tags that reveal the presence of Mexican Mafia or various gangs acting in collaboration with local businesses. The snapshot above shows a handpainted sign on a liquor shop in the area, bearing the name of that shop—but it contains a hidden symbol for one of these organized crime groups, suggesting that the liquor store is in cahoots. (via Tony Pierce)
Above, a man walks through a tunnel of Google homepage logos at the Google campus near Venice Beach, in Los Angeles. Below, Googler Katharine Ng zooms in to Paris on panoramic Google Maps screens. And, a man walks past the iconic pair of giant binoculars designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen at an entrance of Google's new LA home. The 100,000 square-foot campus was designed by architect Frank Gehry. Around 500 employees develop video advertising for YouTube, parts of the Google+ social network and the Chrome Web browser at the site. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
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