Owner of civil war reenactment business sues school district that canceled field trips after his far-right social media came to light

Riley's Farm is a staple of Los Angeles overnight school trips (my daughter visited last year with her elementary school); it's an apple farm with a pick-your-own apples sideline that branched out into civil war re-enactments, with some students staying overnight in tents. Read the rest

LA Times demands that reporters sign away rights to books, movies and other works they create while working at the paper

The LA Times Guild has been negotiating a new contract with the newspaper, but has hit a wall thanks to an unprecedented demand from the paper's owners: they want writers to sign away the rights to nonfiction books, novels, movies and other works they create separate from their reporting for the paper. The newspaper is also demanding the right to use reporters "byline, biography and likeness" to market these works. Read the rest

Oakland's tech startups are reportedly being gentrified out of their spaces by deep-pocketed marijuana growers

Former Wired editor-in-chief and drone entrepreneur Chris Anderson tweets: "Hearing from tech startups getting priced out of Oakland warehouse space because of soaring demand for indoor hydroponic pot farms. Yes, because it's 2019 and everything is nuts *techies are being gentrified out of neighborhoods by drug dealers.*" Read the rest

Emboldened by the LA teachers' "blue state" victory, Denver's teachers declare strike

Just days after LA teachers declared victory in their strike for better classroom conditions and limits on charter schools, their colleagues in Denver -- another "blue state" -- have voted to walk off the job, with a very similar set of demands. Read the rest

After six days, LA teachers settle their strike, wringing huge concessions out of the school district

After six school days on the picket line, more then 30,000 LA public school teachers voted to accept an offer from the nation's second-largest school district that amounted to a near-total capitulation by management in favor of the teachers' broad demands: smaller classes; more aides, librarians and counselors; better school maintenance; support for a statewide moratorium on new charter schools; and releasing the cost-of-living-allowances that the state had paid to the LA Unified School District, but which the district had not passed on to the workers for several years, giving every teacher a real-terms pay-cut every year. Read the rest

Lorna Doom, bassist for the Germs, RIP

Lorna Doom, badass bassist of influential Los Angeles punk band the Germs, died yesterday. Formed in 1976, the Germs -- Doom, Darby Crash, Pat Smear, and Don Bolles in the classic line-up -- were at the center of the early Hollywood punk scene that spawned Black Flag, X, Fear, the Go-Go's, and so many seminal acts. From the Los Angeles Times:

Born Teresa Ryan, Doom became an icon of the U.S. punk explosion despite having to learn her instrument after already joining the band. Along with her high school friend Belinda Carlisle, who would become lead singer of the Go-Go’s, the bassist was part of the posse of Hollywood punks who sparked a West Coast music movement.

Doom’s death at age 61 was confirmed by her longtime friend and former Germs bandmate Don Bolles. A cause of death was not immediately available...

Germs' primal first album, “G.I.,” set the tone for the U.S. hardcore punk movement. The debut release by the fledgling indie label Slash, which was founded by the punk fanzine of the same name, the 1978 album felt zapped onto turntables from a way messier, more uncontrolled galaxy...

Slash Records also released the soundtrack to the Penelope Spheeris documentary “The Decline of Western Civilization,” which documented the Germs and other bands in performance. When the film became an unlikely indie hit, Doom’s work served as inspiration to countless female punks itching to break through the genre’s male-dominated glass ceiling.

Read the rest

#TacosForTeachers: crowdfunding to feed LA's teachers as they strike against privatization and austerity

Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (America's largest district) are walking the picket line this week in the pouring rain, demanding an end to the billionaire dark-money backed privatization movement that funnels public education funds to the shareholders of racially segregated, underperforming charter schools. Read the rest

The Flying Morgans threw another insane NYE bash

This year I missed the party, but as usual stellar photographer Star Foreman captured an amazing gallery of images! Read the rest

LA school district prepares for strike with army of expensive scabs

30,000 employees of the LA Unified School District are preparing to go on strike tomorrow, demanding a reversal of the trend to privatizing public education. Read the rest

Ahead of new Star Wars land, Disneyland raises pass prices by up to 25%

For years, Disneyland annual passes, parking fees and single-day-tickets have seen above-inflation price-hikes, but this year's will take the cost of the no-blackout-day "Premier Pass" (good for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, in Florida) to $1,949, up 23.4% from last year, a firm push away from the idea of Disneyland as a "locals park" for casual visits and into the kind of place that most local families could only visit on very special occasions. Read the rest

LA's teachers are ready to strike on Tuesday, rejecting privatization of public education

Last year saw a wave of teachers' strikes across America, but mostly in red states where public education has been starved of funds, putting teachers on starvation wages, subjecting kids to dangerous conditions, and stripping schools of resources and even putting schools on four-day weeks. Read the rest

Regulating Airbnb drives down local rents (as well as house prices)

Airbnb has led to much of the rental housing stock in some of the world's most expensive cities being turned into unlicensed hotel rooms, driving up both rents and house prices even further. Read the rest

Disgusting Food Museum coming to Los Angeles

Sweden's Disgusting Food Museum is opening a touring exhibition in Los Angeles's Architecture and Design Museum. The exhibit runs from December 9 to February 17. "What we find disgusting has to be learned -- it's purely cultural," says curator/psychologist Samuel West. This is a fine opportunity to taste foods you've been curious about, like fermented shark, durian, maggot-infested cheese (above), bull penis (seen below), or mouse wine (also below). From CNN:

...American favorites such as root beer and Jell-O salad sit in the museum alongside fried tarantula and cooked guinea pigs. "If you give root beer to a Swede they will spit it out and say it tastes like toothpaste, but I think it's delicious," he notes...

While many food-related "museums" of late have mostly just been opportunities for novel selfies, West is adamant that the Disgusting Food Museum is there to help people learn and think critically, not just to pose for photos. The downside? "One of my worries that it will start stinking in here," West says.

Also see posts about Samuel West's previous Museum of Failure here and here.

Read the rest

The Groundlings launch original sketch comedy video series

The Groundlings — the comedy troupe that boasts top-notch alumni like Paul Reubens, Cassandra Peterson, Phil Hartman, and many more — are now producing original sketch comedy shorts on YouTube.

Here is a look at what they've got so far:

If you're in the Los Angeles area, check out their live sketch comedy Halloween show this Friday or Saturday. Read the rest

Los Angeles's homelessness epidemic has created a typhus epidemic

Los Angeles county has some 104,000 homeless people, thanks to a real-estate bubble that has priced housing out of reach of working people, while programs to reduce homelessness have been incoherent and unwilling to take the only proven step for reducing homelessness. Read the rest

To do in LA this Saturday: I'm speaking at the Pasadena Loves YA festival!

Angelenos! Bring your teens to the Pasadena Loves YA festival this Saturday; I'm chairing a panel on graphic novels with Mairghread Scott and Tillie Walden; other panels and events go on all day, from 11-4PM, at the Central Branch of Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena CA 91101. Admission is free! Read the rest

A public bank for LA: instead of sending hundreds of millions to predatory finance, Angelenos' taxes can fund community development

The City of Los Angeles sends the nation-wrecking finance industry more than $100MM/year in the form of fees and penalties for its banking business, supporting the institutions whose racist lending practices, financial engineering and mortgage fraud have wreaked untold harm on the city's residents. Read the rest

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