Burbankers! There's a Save Magnolia Park meeting on August 13th at Geeky Tees

The parade of evictions and rent hikes in Burbank's lovely, independent-dominated Magnolia Park retail district is up for debate: the Save Magnolia Park coalition is having a public meeting on Aug 13th at Geeky Tees (2120 W Magnolia Blvd) at 7PM (alas, I'll be in Edinburgh, but I'm there in spirit!). Read the rest

HGTV not saying how much it paid for the Brady house

The Hollywood studio that crushed Lance Bass' dream of buying the Brady Bunch house has been revealed. It's HGTV. But the amount they paid has not yet been disclosed.

'N Sync singer Lance Bass ... was “heartbroken” when his deal fell through after the bidding deadline. In an Instagram post, he wrote that an undisclosed corporate buyer wanted the house "at any cost."

Bass doesn't seem to have any hard feelings, though. In a tweet published Tuesday, the singer explained, "How can you be mad at HGTV? My television is stuck on that channel." He added, "Kudos, HGTV. I know you will do the right thing with the house. That was always my biggest worry. I can smile again."

Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced the sale Tuesday morning:

“One of our projects for HGTV will speak to those Brady Bunch fans on the call... You may have heard that the house from the iconic series was recently on the market in California. I’m excited to share that HGTV is the winning bidder and will restore the Brady Bunch home to its 1970s glory as only HGTV can. More detail to come over the next few months but we’ll bring all the resources to bear to tell safe, fun stories about this beloved piece of American TV history.”

Buy, buy, buy.

Previously:

Here's the story of how 'N Sync's Lance Bass won and then lost the Brady Bunch house

For Sale: The real-life Brady Bunch house

(The Wrap) Read the rest

Vintage photos of L.A. restaurants that were shaped like the food they served

With L.A.'s iconic Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup hot dog stand set to reopen, LAist posted a brief photographic history of the city's fantastic history of "'programmatic architecture,' buildings designed to look like food, animals or other items."

"LA's Awesome History Of Weird, Food-Shaped Restaurants" (via NextDraft)

images: Los Angeles Public Library Collection Read the rest

Lucy Sparrow's all-felt supermarket now open in LA

UK artist Lucy Sparrow is back with a new shopping opportunity for lovers of her fantastic felt products.

Until August 31, at The Standard hotel in downtown Los Angeles, Sparrow is showing her most ambitious exhibit yet: the Sparrow Mart Supermarket. This is her fifth and largest all-felt installation (it features 31,000 handmade products) and her first West Coast one.

She writes, "As a child, I was obsessed with the exotic, turbo-charged technicolour glow emanating from across the Atlantic. The source of this neon rainbow was Los Angeles – a seemingly mythical place to a child growing up in grey, post-recession Britain – and one that has hugely influenced my artistic practice. Thanks to the amazing team at The Standard, Downtown, the felt is finally coming home to the city of endless possibilities and colour.”

The store is quite spectacular. There's aisles of handmade awesomeness, including a felt ATM, as you can see here:

According to Sparrow (in this video), it took her and five assistants exactly one year to create all the items in the shop.

Special thanks to my friend Michael Fleming for the heads up on this! I hope I can get myself down to LA before the end of the month to check it out for myself. For those of you who don't know, I'm a Fluff superfan (long story). So, when Michael texted me from the store to see if I wanted one of Sparrow's felt Fluff jars, I was ecstatic. He delivered it today and it already as a special spot in the Fluff section of my trophy case. Read the rest

An LA gallery is selling "Molotov cocktails" from a vending machine

They aren't for throwing, but an art gallery in Los Angeles is selling Molotov cocktails from a vending machine.

Think Tank Gallery on Melrose Ave. writes:

This is an art object, not functional as a molotov cocktail.

“What’s More American Than Violence?” is a sculptural installation and series of dysfunctional art objects inspired by Edward Abby’s “The Monkey Wrench Gang.” The installation features a fully-functional molotov cocktail vending machine, full of converted Mezcal El Silencio bottles, customized with a limited edition, hand signed and numbered, spot-UV instructional art sticker, and custom “STEAL THE FIRE” bandana, each designed by artist Phil America and designer Dino Nama. The piece seeks to call attention to the ease of access to deadly weapons in America, and a large portion of proceeds of each sale are donated to Every Town.

This series is limited to 200 bottles available online, and an extremely limited number of bottles available for $5 at the vending machine on Melrose Ave, released at an undisclosed date and time leading up to and during the “We Stole the Fire” art exhibition.

Thanks, Chris!

images via Think Tank Gallery

Read the rest

California home-buyers are increasingly reliant on parental gifts to afford their down-payments

California's housing bubble has pushed prices so high (the median Californian home sells for double the national average) that, in some cities, 48% of first-time buyers could only afford to purchase their homes because their parents gave them the downpayment. Read the rest

Wealthy investors are buying Long Beach's old low-rent buildings and evicting everyone, making them homeless

Unlike neighboring LA, the city of Long Beach has no restrictions on evicting tenants from old buildings by doubling or tripling the rent and then booting them out. Read the rest

Karaoke casemod: it's surprisingly easy to hook up a karaoke machine's CRT to a Raspberry Pi

Brett writes, "As a critique of the IoT buzz, I hacked a portable karaoke machine, stuffed a Raspberry Pi in it, connected it to the internet, and installed Docker on it." (tl;dr: he needed a portable CRT for an installation, found one embedded in a thrift-store karaoke machine, and got it wired up to the Raspi on the first try and discovered it made a perfect and delightful casemod). Read the rest

Photographers capture the beauty of LA car culture

German photographer Stefan Eisele and Markus Weber spend most of their time doing commercial shoots of high-end cars, but they have also created a remarkable series of street shots that capture LA car culture. Read the rest

For Sale: The real-life Brady Bunch house

The house at Klump Ave. and Dilling St. in Studio City, also known as the Brady Bunch house, has been put on the market for $1.885 million.

LA Times:

The Brady Bunch house, a Traditional-style residence near the Colfax Meadows neighborhood, was used for outdoor representations of the beloved television family’s abode. That included the show’s opening and closing scenes as well as numerous interludes to denote the time of day. Interior scenes for “The Brady Bunch” were filmed in studio.

Violet and George McCallister bought the two-bedroom, three-bathroom house in 1973 for $61,000, records show. The series ran from September 1969 to March 1974 before moving into reruns in syndication.

Ernie Carswell, a Douglas Elliman agent who is listing the property, said the split-level house has been updated and upgraded but retains almost the exact interior decor from that era, though the layout does not resemble the TV show home.

The article reports that Carswell is expecting many lookie-loos and to thwart the masses, he will not be holding any open houses. Interested buyers will need to book an appointment to see the "never-ending attraction." There's also a chance that its new owners will tear it down as it "sits in an area that has been ripe for tear-downs and new development." Caswell says the sellers would prefer to sell it to someone who will preserve it.

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So, I have a funny story about this property. A few years ago I had the opportunity to ride in a Wienermobile. Read the rest

We've reached peak avocado toast with this chocolate bar

I'm pretty sure L.A.'s Compartés Chocolatier didn't stop to think if they should when they made their latest creation, the avocado toast chocolate bar ($9.95 each). In the video, you'll see to make this limited-edition bar that they literally throw avocado and toast into white chocolate.

Creamy white chocolate blended with premium California avocados and crunchy bits of caramelized toast create a crunchy, sweet unique chocolate sensation unlike anything you've ever tried before!

As much as I'd like to pooh-pooh this oddball mashup candy, I would totally try it. What can I say? I'm weak for weird sweets.

Read the rest

Buzzkill alert: The thousands of illegal fireworks over L.A. cause air pollution

It brings me no joy to write this, as I love me some fireworks (including the amateur ones) on the Fourth of July. However, it seems the thousands of (mostly illegal) fireworks set off over Los Angeles each Independence Day are causing bad air pollution.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Americans’ fervor for Fourth of July fireworks has some unfortunate side effects.

There’s a jump in fires, gruesome injuries and runaway pets spooked by the noise.

But there’s also a more widespread hazard from the yearly outburst of pyrotechnics: It spikes air pollution so sharply it becomes dangerous for everyone to breathe.

Independence Day and July 5 consistently have some of the worst air quality of the year. With so many fireworks going off at once, levels of fine-particle pollution — a stew of tiny, lung-damaging specks of toxic soot, smoke and ash known as PM2.5 — surge several times higher than federal health standards across Southern California, air monitoring data show...

Fourth of July pollution may pose even greater risks compared with typical smog because it contains higher concentrations of toxic metals like barium and copper that are used in fireworks to generate bright colors, said Jun Wu, a professor of public health at UC Irvine who has studied the effects of air pollution.

Previously: Watch this timelapse of illegal 4th of July fireworks over L.A. Read the rest

LA's high-tech, thoughtful water management is cause for cautious optimism about adapting to climate change

Southern California is almost totally dependent on Sierra snowpack and the Colorado River for its water, and both sources are endangered by climate change, even as SoCal's cycle of long droughts and catastrophic, torrential rains gets more extreme thanks to climate change. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders rallies Disneyland employees for a $15 minimum wage

Disneyland employees' average hourly wages have decreased in real terms every year for more than 15 years, while the company has taken in record municipal subsidies from the city of Anaheim and soared in profitability, returning high dividends to its shareholders. Read the rest

L.A. stories: New podcast looks at the real Los Angeles

Often when people think of Hollywood and Los Angeles, they perceive it to be glitzy and glamorous. The bubble is thick, but what is L.A. life really like?

In KCRW's new podcast Welcome to L.A., host David Weinberg bursts that bubble to examine what's really going on in (native-or-not) Angeleno culture.

He writes:

Since the first boosters marketed Los Angeles as a Paradise by the Sea people have been rolling into town with big dreams. And the city has crushed a lot of those dreams. In this series I explore a few of the many L.A.s that exist between the Pacific and the Mojave. And you’ll meet a lot of fascinating characters along the way.

A judge who throughout her career had been told to just keep her mouth shut. But she refused. And because of that she became a star.

The former voice of Ronald McDonald. He considers himself a sexual healer now. He convinces straight men in the military to have sex with him on camera and then sells those videos online.

A musician who spent his inheritance to put up a giant billboard of his face on Sunset Boulevard which was all part of a long game strategy to completely redesign the city of Los Angeles.

I'm your host David Weinberg and in Welcome to L.A. I take you into the corners of the city that L.A. noir fiction writers know. The seedy motels, the yachts, the broken down RVs and the mansions of the successful.

Read the rest

Superstar Limo: The story of Disney's "worst attraction ever"

We can all take some comfort that even Disney, with all its money and creative resources, can fail.

Take for instance, Disney's epic failure, a long-gone ride called Superstar Limo. The dark ride, that was once in California Adventure's Hollywood Pictures Backlot area, took guests in a sparkly purple limousine through a distorted version of Hollywood and Los Angeles. It was open just under a year and was later (and as you'll see in the video, hilariously) repurposed as the Monsters, Inc. ride.

Kevin Perjurer of the YouTube channel Defunctland describes it as their "worst attraction ever" and offers this critical history of it. His video is 20 minutes long but worth a watch, as his research goes deep and this "Superstar Limo" truly has to be seen to be believed. Be sure to stay to the end to see the reactions of the cast of The Drew Carey Show and Rosie O'Donnell when they all took a whirl in it together.

Also, in case you're curious, here's a look at the ride without commentary:

Read the rest

For decades, it was an open secret that patients of USC's only full-time gynecologist were complaining about sexual assaults during exams

For nearly 30 years, there was only one full-time gynecologist on staff at the University of Southern California's student health clinic: Dr. George Tyndall, about whom there was a widespread understanding among staff and students that he sexualized his examinations, making overt sexual remarks to the teenagers under his care, fondling them, and waxing creepy about his predilection for Asian women. Read the rest

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