LA police union will not defend cop accused of sexual assault on a corpse

Finally, a police union has identified a form of misconduct it will not defend: necrophilia. Read the rest

To do in LA, Jan 18: a special screening of Charlie Chaplain's "The Gold Rush" with live, improvised piano accompaniment

Heather sends us a notice of "a screening of Charlie Chaplin's masterpiece The Gold Rush, with live musical accompaniment at Hollywood's stunning new venue: The American Legion Theater on Highland Avenue." Read the rest

Hollywood assistants are the latest group to come together, share their salaries, and demand better working conditions

Back in October, TV writer Liz Alper started posting on Twitter about her harrowing experience as a writer's assistant in LA, hoping to break into the industry. Alper had spent more than a decade being overworked and underpaid, and, well, rightly had enough. Over the course of several weeks, she got the #PayUpHollywood hashtag trending, inspiring other film and TV professionals to share the stories of the less-than-glamorous lives they led in order to maybe, finally "make it" (whatever that entails).

Since then, Alper and her friend Deirdre Mangan, another TV writer, have surveyed more than 1500 support staff members from the LA entertainment industry about their incoming and working conditions. As they explain in a press release about the data they compiled:

“Hollywood has created a paywall around the industry that keeps out anyone who doesn’t come from money or who won’t put up with absurd, unsafe and potentially illegal working conditions,” said #PayUpHollywood co-founder Liz Alper. “We need to move past the tired myth that ‘this is just how it’s always been’, because it’s not true. Hollywood did not always negligently add to the income inequality, housing and mental health crises our country is facing. We can and must do better.”

Like the recent list of journalism salaries, the survey revealed a lot of people making $50,000 a year or less while struggling to survive in an expensive city where they're expected to live in order to do their jobs. And of course, there's racial and gender inequality a-plenty, and no clear path for upwards mobility for anyone, really. Read the rest

Los Angeles: The Tony Martini HOLIDAY Variety Show is this Saturday!

The Tony Martini Variety Hour rings in a swinging holiday season with an incredible line-up at Hollywood's Three Clubs!

Three of my favorite comedic actors: Mark Fite, Renee Albert, and Jim Turner are back in The Tony Martini Variety Hour. Every month Mark and Renee share their hilariously broken-down lounge act and Turner tries to fire them! The fantastic performances of their variety acts save the show!

Amazing contortionist Bonnie Morgan, charming puppeteer Pam Severns, and the bat-shit crazy Michael Rayner, who plays with his food, will be amongst the many wonderful performances comprising this holiday edition of the revue. They'll be accompanied by music man Ben Jaffe.

Oh, and I've been told Fite's Tony Martini and Albert's Bananas Foster have a band new "holiday number" to share!

Come join in all the fun! Read the rest

Los Angeles: Bring your kids to these two family-friendly installments of Boobietrap

Scot Nery's Boobietrap is made of wild energy. Halfway between the Gong Show and an alleyway dice game, Los Angeles' most eclectic and eccentric performances have always been staged for a 21+ audience... until now. On November 29th and 30th.

Many of my favorite variety acts and odd-ball performers consider Boobietrap their home away from home. I am not certain who is in the cast for these kid-friendly shows, but if I can I'll be bringing my daughter!

Scot Nery’s Boobietrap. Hollywood’s spectacle, now in its fifth year of weekly shows, opens up the fun for ALL AGES, Friday and Saturday, Nov 29 and 30, at 5PM.

For two shows ONLY, after Thanksgiving, kids are welcome. Discounted prices for children. Doors will open at 5pm with strolling magic. The stage spectacle begins at 6PM, and reinvents the wonder of vaudeville for modern short attention spans with the world’s greatest performers.

Normally a 21+ show every Wednesday, The Family Fun Weekend acts are safe, and riotous fun for kids, featuring contortionists, jugglers, magicians, songs, aerialists, comedy, characters, a live band onstage playing between acts and laughter for the whole family.

15 Acts; it’s a fast-paced, eclectic mix of circus acts, performance artists, magicians, comedians and singers, and events that can’t be easily described. Past performers include Reggie Watts, Kate Flannery, Tom Arnold, Steve-O, the world’s fastest Etch-a-Sketch artist, live house band, Cirque Du Soleil performers, and winning acts for all the top talent shows on TV.

Special Family shows: Nov 29 and 30, 6555 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028 Doors and Magic start at 5, show starts at 6.

Read the rest

Oculus headset giving you a headache? Come see ye olde analog virtual reality in Los Angeles!

Image: Forest Casey

If you’re hankering for an unusual outing in Los Angeles, look no further than the Velaslavasay Panorama. Home to the only panorama west of the Mississippi and the only one painted since the nineteenth century, the Velaslavasay is the art form’s newest entry in its long and illustrious history. Panorama paintings were antiquity’s preferred immersive medium, predating film, VR and a much cheaper sightseeing trip than hopping aboard a train.

From the Velaslavasay Panorama website:

The Velaslavasay Panorama panoramic exhibition encircles the spectator within a fully enveloping atmosphere; a vast painting of a continuous surrounding landscape, accompanied by sound stimulation and three-dimensional elements, affords the viewer an opportunity to experience a complete sensory phenomenon. Historically, the panorama was an immersive 360-degree painted environment, often including a three-dimensional faux terrain in the foreground of the painting to enhance the illusion of depth and simulated reality. An early ancestor of the motion picture, the captivated public would visit these paintings-in-the-round as an entertainment or novelty, much along the same lines as the cinema is seen today.

Panoramas were widely accessible, extremely popular (and were lambasted for being so by art critics) and immensely entertaining. The decline in the proliferation of panoramas came about following the spread of cinema and became largely forgotten about, at least in the United States. Enter the Velaslavasay Panorama, first founded by Sara Velas in Hollywood and now located in West Adams. The Velaslavasay has both preserved and updated the medium, incorporating light and sound for a completely immersive panoramic experience. Read the rest

Burbankers! Tell city council to enact a rent freeze between now and when statewide rent control kicks in

On Jan 1, 2020, Californians who rent will gain new protections under the law, thanks to AB 1482, which comes on the heels of the defeat of Prop 10, which was shattered by a lavishly funded dirty tricks campaign by the state's dominant private-equity landlords, who have snapped up much of the state's rental stock, driving up rents, evicting tenants, and slashing maintenance budgets. Read the rest

LA is going to get cheap nighttime power from a massive solar and battery array in the Mojave

LA's next source of energy: a massive solar panel and lithium battery array in the Mojave, operated by 8minute Solar Energy, and capable of supplying 6-7% of the city's energy budget, with four hours of nighttime use. It will cost an eye-poppingly low $0.03.3/kWh, cheaper than natural gas. Read the rest

Charles Phoenix's "Raw" Turkey Tiki Meatloaf Mug

Pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix (previously) has been busy this year. He's written a book:

Holiday Jubilee is loaded with original eye-popping “test kitchen” recipes and over 500 vintage images, serving up an intoxicating, action-packed extravaganza of America’s favorite seasonal traditions past, present, and future. Your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar!

And he's created this hilarious and kitschy "Raw" Turkey Tiki Meatloaf Mug ($80). This "meatloaf pan-shaped Moai" is inspired by his Tiki Turkey Dinner, an alt-Thanksgiving recipe found in the book.

Hey! Charles will be at Soap Plant WACKO in Los Angeles this Sunday, September 15, signing that new coffee table book of his from 2 to 4 p.m. This line alone, from the event page, makes me want to hop down to LA this weekend: "LIFE ALTERING SNACK and ARTIFICIALLY COLORED AND FLAVORED REFRESHMENTS will be served." Read the rest

Los Angeles invites doggos to swim in their public pools on Labor Day

Who let the dogs out... and into the swimming pool? L.A. County does, as part of their third annual "Pooches in the Pool" event.

Come Monday, September 2, 2019, doggos will get the opportunity to swim (doggy paddle?) in select Los Angeles-area public pools. Little dogs can swim from 5 to 6 p.m., and big ones from 6 to 7 p.m. at these eight participating locations:

City Terrace Park - 1126 N. Hazard Ave., City Terrace Don Knabe Park - 19700 Bloomfield Ave., Cerritos El Cariso Pool - 13100 Hubbard St., Sylmar Knollwood County Club - 12040 Balboa Blvd., Granada Hills Lane Pool - 5520 W. Ave., L8, Quartz Hill Loma Alta Park - 3330 Lincoln Ave., Altadena Martin Pool - 35548 N. 92nd St. E., Littlerock Victoria Park - 419 E. M.L.K. Jr., Carson

But wait, you have to fill out a form and there are rules.

KTLA5:

Before their pooch can jump in, dog owners will have to present current licensing and vaccination documents, and fill out a form.

There are a few rules, like there must be one handler for every two dogs and they can only be off-leash on the pool deck. Click here for a full list.

This is the final event before the pools are closed and cleaned for the season. What a terrific idea!

image via L.A. Read the rest

Watch the 1983 breakdancing documentary that inspired the movie Breakin'

Directed by Topper Carew, "Breakin 'n' Enterin'" (1983) documented the Los Angeles B-boy scene emerging at Venice Beach and MacArthur Park's Radio-Tron nightclub. Keep your eyes peeled for a young Ice-T, Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, and Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones who all appeared the following year in Breakin'. The dancing in this documentary is much better than in the feature film though -- more complex, raw, and aggressive.

Read the rest

To do in LA this weekend: laugh your head off at PUBLIC DOMAIN THE MUSICAL at the Hollywood Fringe

Last night, I went to see Public Domain: The Musical at the Actor's Company Theater in West Hollywood. I had no idea what to expect, but I was prepared for the worst (I've been to shows at fringe festivals where I would have walked out in the first five minutes, except I was the only person in the audience), and I was totally wrong. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard. Read the rest

In homeless LA, the families, retirees and working people who live in their cars are desperate for overnight parking

LA's homelessness epidemic continues to rage unabated as housing prices soar and wages stagnate; the result is a "wheel estate" boom of people living in cars and vans, with the greatest proportion of vehicles-dwellers being seniors, families with children, and working people. Read the rest

Los Angeles! Come see me at Exposition Park library tonight talking about Big Tech, monopolies, mind control and the right of technological self-determination

From 6PM-730PM tonight (Thursday, May 23), I'm presenting at the Exposition Park Library (Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library, 3900 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90062) on the problems of Big Tech and how the problems of monopolization (in tech and every other industry) is supercharged by the commercial surveillance industry -- and what we can do about it. It's part of the LA Public Library's "Book to Action" program and it's free to attend -- I hope to see you there! Read the rest

LA! Come see me this Saturday at the Nebula Awards Conference, and next Thursday at Exposition Park Library!

This Saturday, May 18, I'll be appearing at the Nebula Awards Conference, at the Marriott Warner Center in Woodland Hills: I'll be participating in the 1:30PM mass signing in the Grand Ballroom and then I'll be on the "Megatrends for the Near Future" panel at 4PM in A/B Salon. Read the rest

Uber drivers across America are going on strike -- UPDATED

Update: Shona from Gig Workers Rising clarifies: "Gig Workers Rising isn't organizing the national day of action. Drivers in each of the 6 cities taking action are coordinating the day of action together. Drivers in LA with Rideshare Drivers United Los Angeles called a strike and asked other cities to take action on the same day. Gig Workers Rising supports and educates drivers who are organizing across the state. We are not organizing drivers."

On May 8, Uber drivers are organizing a nationwide shutdown of Uber, with drivers turning off their apps in protest over low pay: so far, seven cities' drivers are signed up: Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Minneapolis, LA and DC. Uber and Lyft have both slashed pay for drivers and raised prices as they try to assuage the capital markets. Read the rest

Come see John Scalzi and me today at the LA Times Festival of Books!

I'll be at the LA Times Festival of Books today, with a signing at 1PM at the Mysterious Galaxy booth (#368) and then a 3-4PM "in conversation" with John Scalzi, moderated by Maryelizabeth Yturralde from Mysterious Galaxy. I sure hope you can make it! Read the rest

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