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.

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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:

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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

Tonight in LA: Cory at the Last Bookstore (then Chapel Hill, Boston, Chicago, Waterloo, Phoenix, Santa Fe, San Jose...)

Tonight at 7PM, I'll be appearing on a panel at the Last Bookstore in downtown LA, with the title "Truth to Power: Genre Fiction in Post-Fact America," alongside of Gretchen McNeil, Jennifer Brody, Christina Cigala, Bobby Goldstein, CB Lee, Michael Paul Gonzalez, Kate Maruyama and Samuel Sattin. Read the rest

MAD Magazine gets a reboot

MAD Magazine has made the move from New York City to Los Angeles, relaunching itself with a new logo and staff (for instance, the magazine has its first female art director, Suzanne Hutchinson, aka Suzy Splab).

Issue #1 has already hit the newsstands.

Here's what's in store:

Introducing MAD's first issue EVER*, featuring full-length spoofs of Star Wars and Riverdale! Plus, "A MAD Look at Harassment" from Sergio Aragonés, "Pop Culture That Didn't Make It Into Ready Player One," an all-new Potrzebie Comics section, The MADifesto, Spy vs. Spy, the Fold-In, and much more! (*Technically, this is our first magazine-format #1 issue ever!)Introducing MAD's first issue EVER*, featuring full-length spoofs of Star Wars and Riverdale! Plus, "A MAD Look at Harassment" from Sergio Aragonés, "Pop Culture That Didn't Make It Into Ready Player One," an all-new Potrzebie Comics section, The MADifesto, Spy vs. Spy, the Fold-In, and much more! (*Technically, this is our first magazine-format #1 issue ever!)

I noticed you that if you get a 2 or 3 year subscription, they'll send you a little tiki mug that looks like Alfred E. Neuman. Want!

WELCOME TO THE ALL-NEW, SOMEWHAT-FAMILIAR MAD!

Issue #1's cover art by Jason Edmiston

(Pee-wee Herman) Read the rest

Waze has turned the nearly undriveable, fifth-steepest hill in America into a disaster-strewn major thoroughfare

Baxter Street in Echo Park, East Los Angeles, is the fifth-steepest hill in America; it's so steep that inexperienced drivers struggle with it, spinning out and crashing, especially in the rain. Read the rest

To do in LA, April 24: come hear from the people fighting for Right to Repair, freedom to tinker and the right to know

Update: due to popular demand, we've moved to a bigger space! We'll be at UCLA Moore Hall, Room 3340 (Reading Room), 457 Portola Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095. There's 20 new spaces open: RSVP today!

A law intended to stop people from making off-brand DVD players now means that security researchers can’t warn you about dangers from the cameras in your bedroom; that mechanics can’t fix your car; and that your printer won’t take third party ink. Read the rest

An afternoon with L.A.'s lady-in-pink: Angelyne

When my pink-haired pal Brittany High told me that she won a ride with Angelyne in her signature pink Corvette and that she wanted me to come along, I thought, "Oh, this will be interesting."

When identical twins Marian and Vivian Brown twins were still alive, it was considered a good omen to run into them up here in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I was pregnant, I spotted them in Union Square and felt my unborn child had been charmed in some way by their mere presence.

An Angelyne sighting in Los Angeles has the same effect on people.

I had briefly met the famous-for-being-famous L.A. icon once before. Near the end of 2013, I was driving to a lunch place in Burbank with my pal Allee Willis who startled me, "Pull over! Pull over! It's Angelyne!" And sure enough, there was her pink Corvette parked in front of a paint store. Allee told me to have cash ready but I didn't have any on me. I told her so. Allee, an icon herself, has known Angelyne since 1986 and knew the drill. Pushing money into my hand, she said, "You WILL buy something from her." I promised not to embarrass her and we headed to the Corvette.

Our visit was short but yielded this epic photo of the three of us. I used the money Allee palmed me to quietly buy a t-shirt. Like the time I saw the Brown twins, I felt lucky stumbling upon Angelyne that day in Burbank. Read the rest

Will Ferrell and Joel McHale visit the Hammer Museum

"It's definitely art. I would say... I think." -- Joel McHale

No, it's not a museum of hammers. That's in Alaska.

What UCLA's Hammer Museum does have is an exhibit called “Stories of Almost Everyone” that is "about the willingness to believe the stories that are conveyed by works of contemporary art."

Will Ferrell and Joel McHale try to unravel the art's meaning in a private tour with its curator, Aram Moshayedi.

The exhibit is open until May 6, 2018.

Read the rest

Yuri's Night L.A., April 7: Bill Nye, astronaut Nicole Stott, David Pescovitz and the Voyager Golden Record

On Saturday April 7, celebrate the wonder of space exploration during the Yuri's Night bash taking place under the Space Shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center! Special guests include astronaut Nicole Stott, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and many more. Among dozens of far out talks and stellar interactive experiences, I'll be there playing the Voyager Golden Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials launched into space 40 years ago. (My friends Tim Daly and Lawrence Azerrad and I co-produced the first ever vinyl release of the Voyager Record and we were honored with a 2018 Grammy award.)

I hope to see you there! Tickets: Yuri's Night L.A.

And of course if you're not in Los Angeles, there are Yuri's Night happenings all over the planet!

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I experienced the Stash House escape room with friends and we had a blast

I've experienced other incredible interactive-type adventures (for instance, 49 Boxes, Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return, and the Jejune Institute along with its offshoot, the ongoing Elsewhere Philatelic Society), but I had never gone through an escape room proper before. I was definitely not disappointed.

Late Saturday afternoon, I arrived in Los Angeles to host a meetup I had planned for the readers of my inbox zine. A new Koreatown escape room called Stash House topped our agenda.

Per the instructions emailed to us at the time of booking, our party of seven arrived promptly at 6 PM to a storefront painted matte black. A green glass light clued us in that we were at the right door. I buzzed the video doorbell, the door cracked open, and the fun began.

For a little over an hour, we chaotically cracked codes and solved puzzles in small groups which then led us to more clues and surprises. Our host watched us through surveillance cams in the back room and, when we appeared to be getting stuck, offered us gentle clues through texts on a provided cell phone. For the finale, we all gathered to crack the last code together. Everyone seriously had a blast. Stash House has my highest recommendation.

The object of the Stash House escape room is to find the six little baggies of coke a drug dealer named Ray has hidden in his apartment and flush them down the toilet (shown above in the "Shitter" cam) before the cops arrive. Read the rest

Tikiphiles: Disneyland to add 'The Tropical Hideway' to Adventureland

Adios, Aladdin...

My friend Otto von Stroheim (who, with his wife Baby Doe, host Tiki Oasis, the world's largest tiki festival) shared some cool Disneyland news on Sunday:

Polynesian Pop is alive and healthy and growing and this is another sign of the future of Tiki Style: Disneyland has invested in Tiki and is installing another new Tiki section (after the HUGE success of Trader Sam's bars in Anaheim and Orlando)

The official announcement came Thursday on the Disney Parks Blog:

Calling all adventurers! There will soon be a new area of Adventureland to explore at Disneyland park.

The former Aladdin’s Oasis will soon be transformed to The Tropical Hideaway! This new experience will soon appear along the tropical shores nestled between the Jungle Cruise and “Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.” This one-of-a-kind destination will be a popular rest stop for Adventureland locals and weary explorers alike. Guests will be able to rub elbows with their favorite skippers in an exotic traders’ market, featuring all of the sights, sounds and flavors of the tropics

TimeOut Los Angeles reported on the surprise announcement (calling it "a simple but effective Adventureland bomb") and dug a little deeper into the the history of Polynesian Pop at that location in the Anaheim park:

Sporting a name that's likely a nod to the adjacent Tiki Room’s theme song—“Welcome to our tropical hideaway, you lucky people, you”—the Tropical Hideaway will sit on the former grounds of Disney’s long-running restaurant, Tahitian Terrace, a Polynesian-inspired eatery that stood from 1962 to 1993 before transforming into a theater for a former Aladdin live show.

Read the rest

LA's soaring homelessness is distorting the national statistics

LA's homeless population is up 75% over the past six years; remove LA from the national statistics and the rate of American homelessness is actually in decline. Read the rest

The City of Los Angeles is searching for a "Graphics Designer" with the best ad ever

The City of Los Angeles posted on Facebook -- with this awesome ad -- that they are hiring for a Graphic Designer, sorry, "Graphics Designer." Applicants clearly must know MS Paint inside and out.

Thanks, Heathervescent! Read the rest

The best Indian food in Los Angeles is served in a gas station

The Bombay Frankie Company makes Indian "burritos" in a gas station in Los Angeles. People are going out of their way to get them.

The best things come from the most unexpected places. At least, that’s the case with the Bombay Frankie Company. They’re serving up some of the best Indian food in Los Angeles—all out of a gas station. Brother and sister Hiram and Priyanka grew up in California eating classic Indian cuisine. Now, they’ve launched the newest Indian food concept in California with their take on Mumbai’s street food classic, the frankie. Get ready to fill up your belly and your tank.

Read the rest

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