LA Observed archive
for March 2010

If you don't find what you want here, check another month or search below.

The Entryway responds to criticisms

The journalists who are living with a Mexican immigrant family near MacArthur Park posted some new FAQs tonight aimed at addressing some of the criticism directed at the reporting project.

Abby Sunderland rounds Cape Horn

abby-sunderland-face.jpg he 16-year-old from Thousand Oaks who is sailing solo around the world blogged this afternoon that she has passed around the tip of South America, and believes she's the youngest to ever sail alone around Cape Horn

City Hall duel over electric rates *

The Department of Water and Power board of commissioners defied the City Council and voted this evening for a higher rate hike than the council had endorsed yesterday. Barely an...

KCRW pretty happy with new ratings

The latest Arbitron count shows KCRW with 514,300 weekly listeners, a lot closer to KPCC's 544,500 than recent rating periods have found.

New web reporting venture debuts in OC

Voice of OC, by some veteran Orange County journalists, plans to concentrate on hard news.

This sign about covers it

gaylord-wilshire.jpg David Allen, columnist and blogger for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, spotted this regulatory perplexer in Downtown's Pershing Square.

The Jaime Escalante obituary I wanted to read *

Thumbnail image for escalante-mural.jpg Jay Mathews used to be Los Angeles bureau chief of the Washington Post and now writes the paper's education blog. In 1988 he authored a biography of Garfield High teacher...

'The Entryway' spurs dismay and a response

Daniel Hernandez's post about the white journalists living with a Latino family near MacArthur Park has attracted a number of commenters who agree with him that it's a misguided and in some ways offensive project.

Clinton and Burkle split looks final

No one until recently has been a better or more high-profile friend of Bill Clinton than L.A. billionaire Ron Burkle, but now "the symbiotic relationship has ended with great acrimony."

Peabodys for 'SoCal Connected' and 'Inventing L.A.'

This year's Peabody Awards, which the broadcasters really value, include KCET's "SoCal Connected" for its story Up in Smoke.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.31.10

L.A.'s homicide rate headed back up, Burbank PD's shooting at pursuit suspect, which sports Republicans watch, a court date for Frank and Jamie and more....

Celebrating the art of the desert

bray-train-desertart.jpg Ann Japenga's new website wallows in the art, history and landscape of the California desert, "an online magazine and gathering place for desert rats, collectors, historians, artists and anyone who loves the early painters of the desert...where landscape, history and art come together under the brow of Mount San Jacinto."

No L.A. plans for Bill Cunningham film

bill-cunningham-new-york.jpg Manhattan fashionistas and media people got their first look at Bill Cunningham New York, a documentary on the octogenarian who has been shooting street fashion for the New York Times for decades. But don't expect to see it in Los Angeles any time soon, the producer tells LA Observed.

Hollywood bankruptcy case turns...interesting

Judge seizes control in rare move after David Bergstein, who runs Capitol, ThinkFilm and related entities, was described in court as overseeing "the Enron of the entertainment world."

Criticizing the 'embedded in MacArthur Park' project *

devin+kara.jpg Daniel Hernandez, the former Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly staff writer now working for the LAT bureau in Mexico City, is not a fan of The Entryway.

Star litigator loses his first trial ever

John C. Hueston, the former federal prosecutor who secured the convictions of Enron executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, lost a case in an Orange County courtroom last week. That's only news because he had never before suffered a trial defeat, the Los Angeles Daily Journal reports tomorrow.

City Council votes for lesser DWP hike

The 4.5% hike in the electricity rate applies to businesses and residents. It's less than the rate hike requested by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and he was lukewarm afterward about the council's 8-6 vote

Tiger Woods covered in condoms

tiger-woods-condoms.jpg L.A. food writer and blogger Barbara Hansen discovered an unexpected restaurant in Bangkok. Called Cabbages and Condoms, it's part of a safe sex and birth control program.

Jaime Escalante, revered math teacher was 79

esacalante-board.jpg Friends of Jamie Escalante are reporting that the retired Garfield High School teacher died this afternoon in Reno, where he was seeking treatment for bladder cancer.

New L.A. charity: The Jamie Fund

Jimmy-Choo-shoes.jpg Boston and Fenway Park have the famous Jimmy Fund. Now eTrueSports.com thinks it's time for all of Los Angeles to get behind The Jamie Fund.

LA Sketchbook: Shotgun wedding in SFV

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Westwood Village movie house gems saved

westwood_village_theater.jpg The Bruin and the older Village (the one with the Fox sign on the tower) are being taken over by Regency Theatres.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.30.10

More DWP politics, Karl Rove disrupted, and the story behind Westside Rentals. Inside after the jump.

Yep, it's rattlesnake season

rattlesnake-spillman.jpg KTLA reporter Eric Spillman was riding his mountain bike in Sullivan Canyon when he saw what looked like a branch laying across the trail. It was no branch.

Deadline.com hires again, expands into TV

The show business news franchise anchored by Nikki Finke's Deadline | Hollywood has hired Nellie Andreeva, television editor of The Hollywood Reporter since 2004, to become TV editor.

Reading L.A. and its networked ecologies

la-port-mammoth.jpg Over the new few months, the architectural discussion website mammoth will be hosting an online discussion of a forthcoming book, "The Infrastructural City: Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles," as an "experiment in the cooperative reading and discussion of a text."

Jamie and Frank McCourt meet in court

jamies-mccourt-kabc-32910.jpg With the principal combatants sitting at their respective tables, the lawyers are busy today doing their best to make the other McCourt look bad.

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.29.10

A compromise on DWP rates, Villaraigosa considers naming his job czar to run the utility and gets some good reviews in D.C., and a report from the Cooley roast. Plus media notes and more.

Happy anniversary to the Valley

annex-map-1918-raremaps-com-200.jpg On this day in 1915, the voters of the San Fernando Valley chose to join the city of Los Angeles — and nothing here was ever the same

Channel 7 posts a bunch of job openings

No way to know how many, if any, of these positions will actually be filled by hiring from outside, but KABC has posted more than a dozen news jobs for which they'll take your application.

Santana steps down for now, enters treatment

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana announced Sunday that he will temporarily step down from his City Hall post and enter an alcohol treatment program.

Weekend reads: Christine Daniels and more

With a GQ piece said to be in the works, the L.A. Times was first into print with a reconstruction of Mike Penner's painful transformation into Christine Daniels and back again.

Who killed the GM plant in Van Nuys

cesar-chavez-waters-gmplant.jpg "This American Life" revisited the demise of the former General Motors assembly plant in Van Nuys, where an entrenched work force never came around to more efficient and reliable Japanese-style methods. The plant closed in 1992.

Now everyone will want a house in the deal

Variety columnist Brian Lowry must have been amused by Nikki Finke's claim that the new owners of The Hollywood Reporter included a $1 million home in Malibu as part of an offer to get her to come on as editor in chief (with a salary of $450,000.) From Lowry's BLTv blog.

Willie Brown is PG&E's man

Turns out that Willie Brown is more than an ex-Speaker and ex-Mayor who writes a lively California politics column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

LA Observed on KCRW: Media future

The recent onslaught of announcements about new ventures in local news media, leading with The Entryway around MacArthur Park — and my visit this week to a class at USC Annenberg — inspire today's LA Observed Friday commentary on KCRW. Keyword: optimism.

Suzanne Rico says goodbye on her terms

suzanne-rico.jpg Suzanne Rico, who lost her job last week as morning co-anchor on Channel 2, distributed an open letter that clarifies how it happened.

CAO Miguel Santana booked on suspicion of DUI, apologizes

The City Administrative Officer was arrested by the California Highway Patrol about 12:15 this morning in Covina after attending last night's Los Angeles Political Roast downtown. Santana, who was driving his city car when arrested, issued a written statement through the mayor's office this afternoon saying he would seek counseling.

Morning Buzz: Friday 3.26.10

Even higher DWP rates now envisioned, Nikki Finke and the Hollywood Reporter don't agree on what she was offered, a longer Gold Line, dark days at Channel 35 and more.

LA Sketchbook: SoCal tsunami

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Robert Cottle, LAPD officer killed in Afghanistan

robert-cottle.jpg Robert J. Cottle, a member of the LAPD's SWAT unit, is the first active Los Angeles police officer to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Cottle, 45, was a Sergeant Major with a United States Marine Corps Reserve battalion from Camp Pendleton. He was in the Marja region on Wednesday when a roadside bomb killed him and another Marine.

Breitbart, new media David or neocrank?

andrew-breitbart-time.jpg The Time magazine that hits print tomorrow will have a piece by Steve Oney on Andrew Breitbart, the Brentwood-based right-wing media impresario and culture war provocateur. The story covers the rise of Breitbart's website empire and his driving passion to conquer liberal influence on American culture and politics.

Brian Rooney: mood 'all over ABC News is dark'

After finding out that he was being let go after 22 years at ABC News, Los Angeles correspondent Brian Rooney talked to Michael Schneider at Variety'sOn the Air blog and said he kind of saw the end coming.

Variety threatens studios over online casting scoops

Variety Editor Tim Gray has been telling studio PR types that if they give casting scoops to the online competition, the paper won't run their big announcement stories in print. Plus: Nikki Finke for sale again?

Exene Cervenka in the news

exene-orange-coast.jpg Now 54, the doyenne of Los Angeles punk band X — called by Robert Hilburn "not just one of the greatest female rockers, but one of the greatest musical figures, period" — still does shows and lives quietly in Orange County. Scott Martelle profiles Cervenka in Orange Coast magazine's April issue.

Daily Journal memo: 'Our day begins no later than 9 a.m.'

Daily Journal editor David Houston breaks the news that the California Real Estate Journal will close, and reminds reporters to come to work on time.

L.A.'s not so Big Read

lapl-read-event.jpg Journalist Adolfo Guzman-Lopez went down to the Central Library for a panel discussion of this year's Big Read selection for Los Angeles, "Sun, Stone, and Shadows," a new collection of short stories by Mexican writers. Attendance was sparse and he left discouraged that "independent cultural events and arts spaces...are now on the endangered species list."

How Republicans reach out to bloggers

In case you doubt the importance that both political parties put on activating and exploiting bloggers, here's an example. It's an email LA Observed just received from the Director of Online Media Outreach at the House Republican Conference.

A mother's fear about the LAPD and autism

Betty Pleasant is best known as the colorfully opinionated Soulvine political columnist for the Wave newspapers that circulate across the southern swath of Los Angeles. This week, though, she writes as the mother of an autistic adult reacting to the police shooting of 27-year-old Steven Washington, who was unarmed and autistic.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.25.10

The pot initiative makes the November ballot, support for same-sex marriage reaches 50%, DA Steve Cooley to be roasted, the Burbank teacher pleads no contest and 300 tickets written in one Downtown swoop.

Jim Marshall, rock photographer was 74

grace-slick-joplin-marshall.jpg Marshall had the inside access and the eye to shoot some of the most iconic images of rock and roll musicians

In the District Weekly saga, freelancers are left unpaid

Greggory Moore writes at LBPost.com that he was the first and last copy editor at The District Weekly, and was steadily involved as a contributing writer for the last two years

Huffington loses investigative editor after 10 months

Larry Roberts, hired away last spring from the Washington Post to run the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, is leaving for Bloomberg News.

Variety looking to hire in New York

kingsthings-tweet.jpg Variety is "in search of a full-time NY-based reporter to cover finance and entertainment," Variety.com editor Chris Krewson posts on his Twitter feed.

Exercise echoes a scary night in Los Angeles

interstate.GIF At 2:30 this afternoon, the Los Angeles Fire Department will supervise the full evacuation of the Aon Building, the 62-story tower at Wilshire and Hope that was known as the First Interstate Tower when a fire broke out on the 12th floor in 1988.

End of the line for Broadway Deli?

broadwaydeli_logo_small.png A big rent hike and the desire by the landlord to break up the space at the south end of Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade looks like it spells the end, the Santa Monica Daily Press says.

ABC sheds L.A. correspondent Brian Rooney

Rooney's contract won't be renewed, part of a network staff trimming that includes Laura Marquez in San Francisco and that TV Newser says is expected to reach 300-400 by the end of the year.

Valley Fair returns to the Valley

devonshire-downs-flier.jpg The San Fernando Valley Fair used to be a pretty big community affair — with horse racing, rodeo events, and barns full of sheep and rabbits raised by 4-H kids in their backyards — that kept alive the Valley's equestrian and agricultural tradition.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.24.10

City Council asserts itself on the DWP rates, California's algebra experiment not working, The Standard pays for pouring pool chemicals down the drain, plus Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown, Lee Baca, Walter Karabian and more.

LA Sketchbook: Health care reform

qqxsgHealthcareDeclaration.jpg

L.A. Marathon was a downer for some

Tina Dupuy at Fishbowl L.A. says the runners she has heard from had tons of horror stories about pre-race traffic, the course and the experience for runners after they finished the race. Especially the traffic.

Why the rain is likely done and June gloom happens

ecliptic.gif We can probably close the books on this year's local rain season, JPL meteorologist Bill Patzert says in an email exchange picked up by Emily Green, the ace water blogger at Chance of Rain.com.

Much activity in the media future sphere

Lots of interesting stuff going on, from the in-box in recent days.

In defense of the second, silent n

The Times got it wrong. The Dodgers' own website did too — misspelling the name of farmhand Jamie Hoffmann. Notice the two n's at the end of his name? New LA Observed contributor Bob Timmermann did, but then he would.

New editor for W

Stefano Tonchi, the editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, has jumped to Conde Nast as the editor of W.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.23.10

Baca goes right back at it after D.C. dustup, Whitman's spending, Jerry Brown's old apartment, LAist's owner close to sale and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awards. Plus more, of course.

NYT launches daily web newscast

The New York Times' new Timescast, hosted by former L.A. Times Washington and state editor Jane Bornemeier, will include coverage of the NYT's daily page one news meeting. Link...

Kuh, Gold nominated for Beard awards

Of the three food writers nationally who are finalists in the top journalism category of this year's James Beard Foundation awards — Craig Clairborne Distinguished Restaurant Reviews — two are from L.A.: Patric Kuh of Los Angeles magazine and Jonathan Gold of LA Weekly.

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.22.10

Johnny Mountain retires as part of the KCBS/KCAL turnover, Trutanich won't cut pay, Speaker Perez's low district profile, a dirty trick aimed at Gavin Newsom, a Times arts hire and a birth in the media family.

Downtown's 10 worst eyesores

I couldn't believe recently how bad the empty lot at 1st and Broadway looks — a deep pit filling with rancid- looking water and overgrown with weeds a block from City Hall.

Gagne released by Dodgers

Yeah, anybody who believed in the fairy tale that Eric Gagne would return to the Dodgers bullpen can move on now. He asked for and was given his release Sunday....

Mark Ferber, voice of Hollywood Bowl was 60

Ferber, the Hollywood Bowl's longtime production supervisor and special events manager, provided the voice that greeted concert-goers: "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Hollywood Bowl."

L.A. Marathon is Sunday, but you probably knew that

marathon-official-map.jpg Marathon organizers are advising runners to get out early Sunday since getting to Dodger Stadium could prove difficult: "ARRIVE EARLY! We suggest you be there by 5:30am.," says an official tweet. Plus street closures, bus changes and more.

The Hump shuts its doors

the-hump-logo.png The Santa Monica Airport restaurant that served whale sushi posted on its website that it was closing today after 12 years with an apology to "our loyal customers, the city...

LA Sketchbook: Angels flight

qqxsgAngels Flight.jpg

KPCC has nearly 30 reporters, big expansion plans

A front-page story in the L.A. Times on the opening of KPCC's new studios in Pasadena says that next up for the NPR station is "a major expansion that its board of trustees hopes will make KPCC the hub of a regional constellation of public radio stations and a major source of news and information in Southern California."

More Hollywood supergraphics coming down

The city attorney's office says 20 new cease-and-desist letters have gone out and that at least eight supergraphics have come down or will shortly.

Big day for newsroom carnage at KCBS/KCAL

Rumors have been flying for the past day or so, and about three hours ago KCAL anchor Pat Harvey tweeted: "Sad day at the duopoly. Some of my co-workers lost their jobs.Want to thank them for their hard work and friendship."

OC's brotherhood of acid-dropping surfers

Orange-Sunshine.jpg OC Weekly staff writer Nick Schou's new book is "Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World."

LA Observed on KCRW: Political season notes

Today's weekly commentary looks in on the election season gathering steam in California, with mentions of Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner, Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Janice Hahn and Mickey Kaus.

Zacatecas is the new Iowa

Zacatecas is to modern-day Southern California what Iowa was for a previous generation of Angelenos: a place known for its work ethic and its conservative values, and for sending hundreds of thousands of its residents to our sunny wonderland. But no restaurants.

Morning Buzz: Friday 3.19.10

More DWP activity, Cooley investigating Board of Supes, political writers feud, who's missing from "The Runaways" and a Cesar Chavez movie in the works.

Scully hospitalized after hitting his head at home

The Dodgers say that Vin Scully fell getting out of bed at home in Hidden Hills and was admitted Thursday night for observation at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center.

Jesse James all but confirms the Bombshell McGee story

If you're keeping score: One day after Sandra Bullock abruptly dropped out of the London premiere of "The Blind Side," just ahead of a report that husband Jesse James had...

Google ads as a force in elections

"Marketplace" aired a story today that looked at how Google ads were used to good effect by the Scott Brown Senate campaign in Massachusetts.

Los Angeles magazine's eight Get L.A. film finalists

The finalists reflect a pretty rich selection of points of view about the city. See who the finalists are, and the panel of judges.

Kausfiles goes indie

mickeykaus-new.jpg Mickey Kaus posts that Slate was quite prepared to let him keep blogging about politics as a candidate for U.S. Senate, perhaps in the form of a Diary of a Longshot. But he made the decision to step off the site for now, "though I reserve the right to come crawling back."

John McPhee, plus DWP on KCET *

Prize-winning author John McPhee is Michael Silverblatt's guest today at 2:30 p.m. on KCRW's Bookworm. McPhee's most recent book is "Silk Parachute." Tonight at 8 p.m. on KCET's SoCal Connected,...

Fess Parker, actor and winery owner was 85

Fess Parker's first credit was in the 1950 film "Harvey," but he became widely known as Disney's Davy Crockett later that decade and as Daniel Boone. More recently Parker has...

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.19.10

Boxer's popularity down, Pau Gasol seeks paparazzi help from the police, a gay bishop for L.A. gets approval and Metro may bring back beer and wine ads.

Alex Chilton, 1950-2010

The musician who began as the lead singer for the Box Tops in the 1960s died in New Orleans.

Adrienne's social diary

Adrienne Crew has posted her latest Angeleno Social Diary, listing some upcoming events of interest. Find it at Native Intelligence. In addition, an event on my calendar: Frank Gehry will...

7 L.A. councilmembers have refused to take pay cuts *

While City Hall cuts everything in sight, seven City Council members have resisted a voluntary cut in pay. Here they are.

Obama coming to L.A. to help Boxer

President Obama plans to visit Los Angeles in mid-April and speak at a fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Sheriff Baca comes to Washington, goes away mad

baca-in-dc.jpg Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca testified before the House subcommittee on Homeland Security today and, before he was done, had accused a Republican congressman of acting "un-American.

Tribune reminds employees: we're loose!

CEO Randy Michaels has sent every Tribune staffer — that takes in the L.A. Times and KTLA, among others — an email reminding them that they there are no strict dress codes, unneccesary rules or retaliation for speaking up. Oops...on that last one, people at the Times may have to disagree.

Sounds like slim hope for District Weekly *

LongBeachReport.com just talked to Heather Swaim at the District Weekly, who confirmed last night's report that the paper is on the verge of closing. She left open hope that something...

Creator of Deitch-Broad Hitler video comes forward

Last month's pretty funny and creative spoof of Jeffrey Deitch's selection to run MOCA (with some great insider references to the L.A. arts scene and digs at Eli Broad's power)...

Angels Flight in popular culture

angels-flight-eels.jpg Today's observation du jour regarding Angels Flight: the Downtown funicular, in a scene evoking its authentic pre-1969 setting, makes an appearance in a You Tube video for the End Times album by the band EELS.

Father Boyle and his new book hit the circuit

father-greg.jpg Double praise in the L.A. Times today from friends of Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries for his new memoir, "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion."

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.17.10

Politics day in the Morning Buzz, plus some media notes.

Email from Long Beach: District Weekly folding

If the report is true, it will be just shy of three years since the paper's launch.

She could have warned Edwards about Rielle Hunter

rielle-baby-gq.jpg Ann Bardach has been sitting on this piece of information until the right moment, which is now: Rielle Hunter used to be her tenant in West Hollywood. As tenants go she was pretty good, if peculiar.

Christine Daniels story on HBO tonight

On "Real Sports" at 10 p.m. on HBO, Bryant Gumbel talks to the country's two transgender baseball writers and reviews the story of the L.A. Times writer Christine Daniels.

Great balls of fire, they got the wrong Jerry

martin-lewis.jpg Reader Doug emails to say that both the Daily News and the Daily Breeze made note on page 2 of today's 84th birthday of comedian and actor Jerry Lewis. But, oops, he says the Breeze's photo showed the wrong Jerry Lewis

LA Sketchbook: Anthem Blue (Double) Cross

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FT gives Sitrick some ink

sitrick-ft.jpg The Financial Times' Matthew Garrahan writes in tomorrow's paper that Michael Sitrick "has carved out a lucrative niche offering crisis advice for embattled companies and celebrities who have found themselves in the media’s cross-hairs."

State Dept. issues travel warning for Mexico

The new warning authorizes the dependents of U.S. employees to leave Tijuana and the other border cities of Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros.

L.A. vets — that's veterinarians — in Afghanistan

"Nightline" did a nice feature last night on the 40th Infantry Division Agribusiness Development Team from the California National Guard, on duty in Afghanistan helping the locals keep their goats, sheep and cows — and even a monkey — healthy.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.16.10

An early morning quake, Villaraigosa raises DWP bills a whole bunch, the Whitman-Poizner debate and Jamie McCourt as a candidate for mayor — and president

One more interpretation of Angels Flight *

angels-flight-sheets-crop120.jpg I've been receiving some nice comments all day for posting yesterday's item about the Millard Sheets painting called Angel's Flight. Here's a cover from the literary journal Black Clock that shares the noir vibe and Bunker Hill setting.

Beverly Hills makes ready for a celebrity mayor

delshad-cruz.jpg It's not quite the return of Will Rogers, but when Jimmy Delshad rotates into the office of mayor tomorrow he will become the country's highest-ranking Iranian-American public official. Again.

Pacific Palisades loses its last video store

palisades-blockbuster.jpg With the local Blockbuster closing, Tabloid Baby blogs that the community at the far end of Sunset Boulevard from Downtown — home to Hollywood heavies such as Steven Spielberg, Kate Hudson "and until yesterday, Peter Graves" — will be without a bricks-and-mortar video outlet.

Sam Rubin to be honored by Press Club

sam-rubin-square.jpg KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin will receive this year's outstanding achievement award from the Los Angeles Press Club during the 2010 National Entertainment Journalism awards on April 22.

Pacific Daylight Time

mt-wilson-cam-31510.jpg The view from Mount Wilson, just a couple of minutes ago. It's not dark at 7 o'clock any more....

France's man in Los Angeles

martinon-lamag.jpg You don't have to follow French pollitics to know how David Martinon came to be the consul general in Los Angeles, though it helps.

Reporter in exile in Thailand

thai-woman copy.jpg Todd Ruiz, the former politics reporter at the Pasadena Star-News and hand at other newspapers hereabouts, has landed in Bangkok. He's blogging about the political turmoil there and calls his blog Reporter in Exile.

Kaus gets the launch any candidate would love

Thumbnail image for mickey-kaus-wpedia.jpg Only one California political hopeful got featured in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, answering Deborah Solomon's questions. That would be Mickey Kaus, who talks about why he's running against Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Sylvie Drake is an old joke-telling Jew

Sylvie Drake, theater critic of the Los Angeles Times for a couple of decades, shows up now in the video series Old Jews Telling Jokes.

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.15.10

Free rides for local politicians, Hollywood and Barbara Boxer, Villaraigosa's carbon surcharge and the New Yorker looks at Hollywood publicists. Plus more, after the jump.

Is the end near for Hollywood trades?

The New York Times sets up a piece examining the future of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter by saying the "feisty tradition of entertainment trade reporting and criticism...has been so severely tested in recent weeks that some wonder whether the entire era is drawing to a close."

Beckham tears Achilles' tendon, career may be over

beckham-pain-times.jpg Galaxy midfielder David Beckham suffered a ruptured left Achilles' playing in Italy tonight for AC Milan, ending his quest to return to the World Cup and possibly his playing career.

Peter Graves, actor was 83

peter-graves-bw.jpg Graves was found dead Sunday at home in Pacific Palisades.

Back to 1930s Los Angeles: 'Angel's Flight'

angels-flight-inset-wp.jpg In honor of Angels Flight re-opening Monday to paying passengers, let's return to the days when the funicular originally called the Los Angeles Incline Railway was an integral part of Downtown life.

Suburbanites make the transition to life Downtown

abelardodlpjr1.jpg After a lifetime in outlying parts of town, Abelardo de la Peña Jr., the editor of LatinoLA.com, and his family are trying Downtown. He's blogging about the transition.

The timelessness of Little League in the Valley

encinoll-sherman-flickr.jpg Saturday was opening day at the Encino Little League baseball diamonds, located at Hayvenhurst and Magnolia since 1954. John Scheibe, the author of "On the Road With Jim Murray: Baseball and the Summer of '79" and an editor in Sports at the L.A. Times, played there as a boy and returned for the annual ritual.

NPR's Anne Garrels to leave the building

By the time NPR's senior foreign correspondent gets to town to pick up her Daniel Pearl Award from the L.A. Press Club in June, she will already be three months into her next life.

LA Sketchbook: Crazy Legs Poizner

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Friday desk-clearing: Return to PDT edition

Remember: Pacific Daylight Time resumes its rightful place in the natural order of things on Sunday.

Sign of the (L.A.) Times

It's come to this. The Los Angeles Times website seems now to think the Silver Lake section of L.A. is a city unto itself.

LA Observed on KCRW: Whale of a story

Today's LA Observed piece during "All Things Considered" on KCRW talks about the L.A. story of this week that had a little of everything. That would be Jennifer Steinhauer's New...

Shuttle service to Dodger Stadium is back

A $300,000 grant from the South Coast Air Quality Management District will pay for free shuttle buses this season between the stadium and Union Station. The service was cancelled last season when neither the city nor the Dodgers wanted to pay for it.

Couple of investigative reporter jobs are open

California Watch is looking to hire two experienced investigative reporters to cover the environment and public safety. In addition to at least five years doing the job, the unit is looking for "a proven track record of delivering high-quality investigative and enterprise reporting projects."

Will Los Angeles go broke?

CNBC's Jane Wells talks to Mayor Villaraigosa and author Joel Kotkin about the city's self-inflicted budget crisis and whether Los Angeles should, perhaps, go bankrupt. Villaraigosa vows there is no...

SkyTag offers to save the Hollywood sign view

There's a catch: the firm wants City Hall approval for 20 of its disputed supergraphics.

Morning Buzz: Friday 3.12.10

City Hall spending, Villaraigosa delays, Whitman stages, a new candidate runs for assessor and a local politics obituary. Plus more, all after the jump.

Blogger endings and beginnings

The newest LA Observed contributor, Bob Timmermann, has blogged about American and Japanese baseball, "The Prisoner," and every president of the United States.

Ex-Times reporters launch investigative unit

Myron Levin and Joanna Lin's nonprofit FairWarning.org plans to plans to investigate issues involving safety, health and corporate conduct.

Gavin Newsom in the race, LAT says *

gavinnewsomusat.jpg San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is telling supporters that he will announce Friday he is running for lieutenant governor, Capitol Weekly editor Anthony York reports.

New music editor for LA Weekly

Gustavo Turner was introduced today as the music editor of the LA Weekly, replacing Randall Roberts. Read the memo.

Adam Nagourney to be NYT chief in L.A.

adam-nagourney.jpg Adam Nagourney, the chief national political correspondent for the New York Times, is leaving Washington to be the paper's Los Angeles bureau chief.

Merlin Olsen, ex-Rams star and actor was 69 *

merlin-olsen-card.jpg When the Rams were a big deal in Los Angeles, Olsen anchored their Fearsome Foursome defensive line. He went on to be longtime color commentator for NBC’s pro football and Rose Bowl telecasts, and a television actor on “Little House on the Prairie” and in his own series, “Father Murphy.”

Tribune's banned words, all in one sentence

NPR blogger Ian Chillag endeavored to use all 119 words and phrases that Tribune CEO Randy Michaels told radio station WGN not to use. Here's how it starts: In other...

USC names new president

It will be C. L. Max Nikias, currently executive vice president and provost at USC. He will succeed Steven Sample, who previously announced he would retire on Aug. 2.

Politics notes: Antonio for Hahn and more

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa endorsed Councilwoman Janice Hahn in her bid for the Democratic nod to be lieutenant governor. "Sticking with a vote he needs on the City Council," Rick Orlov...

Steve Erickson's nominated reviews

steve-erickson-lamag.jpg Los Angeles magazine arts critic Steve Erickson's nomination for an American Society of Magazine Editors award is for three reviews he wrote last year.

Things to do for smart people in L.A.

left-coast-crime-logo.jpg LA Observed contributor Adrienne Crew is an entertainment attorney by day. At night she goes to interesting places, and wants you to know where you can go too. Her Angeleno...

Supes' discretionary spending comes under fire

Each member of the county Board of Supervisors gets $3.4 million a year to spend on pet projects and doesn't have to account for it to the public — or share much info at all, according to a Times story.

L.A. TV news: mostly crime and fluff

An average half-hour of L.A. local news devotes almost three minutes to crime stories, but only 22 seconds to all kinds of local government coverage, according to a big new study by the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

Bonuses in the Register newsroom

The editor's memo says the hard time aren't over, but that things are looking up.

The Hot Blog turns 5,000

bigelow-video-dp30.png David Poland's Hollywood blog debuted Sept. 5, 2004 and with this entry today has reached 5,000 posts — with more than 140,000 amassed comments. In post number 4,999, he observes and elaborates that Hollywood killed Corey Haim.

Libel suit over vaccine story dismissed

Amy Wallace was served two days before Christmas with the suit seeking $1 million in damages from a woman mentioned in her November cover story in Wired on the anti-vaccine movement.

Willie Davis 'the coolest ballplayer I ever saw' *

willied-sutton-66.jpg Sportswriter Bruce Jenkins in, of all places, the San Francisco Chronicle, recalls the late Dodgers centerfielder as the coolest of them all.

KPCC adds Madeleine Brand, new 9 a.m. show

brandcrop.jpg Brand, the former host of "Day to Day" on National Public Radio, will host a news magazine show in the old DTD slot at 9 a.m. on KPCC's daily schedule....

Nomar Garciaparra retires, joins ESPN

He was a Dodger for three injury and cheers-filled seasons, but for this morning's announcement Garciaparra returned to the Red Sox on a one-day contract so he could say he retired with the team where the fans truly loved him.

Tribune's forbidden words

Even with his company deep into bankruptcy, Tribune CEO Randy Michaels found time to issue a proclamation banning the use of "newspeak" words and phrases on the company's AM radio...

Heal the Bay vs. The Hump *

hump-nyt.jpg Heal the Bay president Mark Gold is trying to get the whale-serving restaurant closed — but this time doesn't have to worry about his brother, Jonathan Gold the food writer.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.10.10

Gavin Newsom chatter, Cooley calls out his deputies, National Magazine Award finalists, another AOL Patch in South Bay, the death of Corey Haim and more.

Clippers will do without Dunleavy altogether

"The team has simply not made sufficient progress during Dunleavy’s seven-year tenure," says the Clippers' statement.

Media swarm The Hump over whale meat

hump-nyt.jpg It's been amusing watching today's Twitter traffic from reporters who showed up at The Hump, the exotic food restaurant in Santa Monica fingered in this morning's New York Times for serving outlawed whale meat.

Variety sued by 'Iron Cross' producers

The producers contend that a negative review violated the terms of a $400,000 deal with the trade to promote the movie for Oscar consideration.

Four Seasons heist gets better

It's no longer "millions" in missing jewelry, but the yarn gets more interesting.

Willie Davis, centerfielder was 69 *

willie-davis-dt.jpg Willie Davis, the Dodgers centerfielder through most of the 1960s who came out of Roosevelt High in Boyle Heights, was found dead today at home in Burbank.

Burbank teacher turns herself in for sex with 14-year-old

amy-beck-300x235.jpg Amy Beck is 33 and a sixth-grade teacher at Jordan Middle School in Burbank.

Enjoy a little Beethoven with your afternoon

Video of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, which performs at UCLA's Royce Hall on Wednesday night, traveling and playing at the Auditorio de Madrid, set to the second movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.

Leslie Pollner back on the city payroll

Pollner replaces Jim Seeley as the top city of Los Angeles lobbyist in Washingto

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.9.10

Another anti-gay Republican admits he's gay, trespassers at the Oscars, Caruso gets political, the City Council's voting machines and more.

LA Sketchbook: Alice in Timesland

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Anderson Cooper, Dave Bryan to be feted

cooper-in-haiti.jpg The L.A. Press Club's top awards are going this year to Cooper, Bryant and NPR reporter Anne Garrels.

How's this for a juicy Oscar jewelry heist

Jose Pepe Fanjul, said to be one of the world's richest men, and his wife Emilia reportedly were cleaned out of millions of dollars worth of jewelry on Friday at the Four Seasons hotel — by a man in a tuxedo who chatted them up in the elevator then came to their room.

Daily Journal doing some restructuring too

Our Friday newsroom buzz about the Daily Journal closing its Washington bureau was half wrong (or half right, if you prefer.) Read the memo.

Actually, Variety restructures across the newsroom

Today's moves turn out to be about much more than dropping the chief film and theater critics, who have been asked to write as freelancers. Variety is restructuring its newsroom,...

Work resumes tonight on the 405

405projectlogo.jpg You'll start to see K-rails brought onto the San Diego Freeway tonight as part of the carpool lane and bridge repair project in and around Sepulveda Pass.

Variety loses Ebert

His tweet: "Variety fires Todd McCarthy & I cancel my subscription. He was my reason 2 read the paper. RIP, schmucks"

Long Beach man who tackled bank robber talks *

Rich Camp told LongBeachReport.com this morning that he doesn't see himself as any kind of hero.

Variety drops two reviewers, goes freelance *

Two of the trade's most prominent writers, film reviewer Todd McCarthy and theater critic David Rooney, have been cut as cost-saving measures. Reviews will be done by freelancers.

Story behind that weird Oscars moment *

roger-ross-williams-oscar.jpg The Chic Leak blog has some backstory on the woman who popped up to commandeered the microphone from documentary short winner Roger Ross Williams.

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.8.10

Top LAT editors opposed last week's "Alice in Wonderland" ad, evolution of the Howard Jarvis organization, Sheriff Baca to hit the streets, KUSC, Jaime Escalante and more.

Nope, not Adam Gadahn

Pakistan now says the American it arrested recently is not Adam Gadahn, the Al Qaeda spokesman from Orange County, but Abu Yahya Mujahideen Adam of Pennsylvania....

Book notes: John McPhee, fact-checking and more

mcphee_index.jpg Jonathan Kirsch broadens his review of John McPhee's latest collection into a paean to fact-checking and, in particular, to former New Yorker editor Sara Lippincott, who lives here in L.A. Plus some book notes.

Kathryn Bigelow's big moment

kbigelow-oscars.jpg Bigelow becomes the first woman to win the best director Oscar, and "The Hurt Locker" takes best picture. Bigelow's previous movies: Mission Zero, K-19: The Widowmaker, The Weight of Water,...

Call it the Lu Parker effect

av+lu-oscars.jpg On the Oscars red carpet, Mayor Villaraigosa complimented the animal welfare message of "Avatar" while Lu Parker smiled over his shoulder.

Pakistan says it arrested Adam Gadahn

AP is reporting that the Southern Californa-bred spokesman for Al Qaeda has been arrested in recent days by Pakistani intelligence officers in Karachi.

Leno pokes fun at KCAL 9 anchors

Men just don't listen to women, Jay says.

Can you spot the real LAT front page ad?

spot-brown.jpg Satirical website Not the LA Times challenges readers to spot which ads really did appear on (or wrap around) the front page of the Los Angeles Times, and which are merely inspired by the paper's stumbles in the crazy world of innovative ad-editorial separation.

Friday desk-clearing

Variety has restored that missing "Iron Cross" review to its website and says it was only down for factual vetting in response to a legal threat, not because of...

LA Sketchbook: Scary supergraphic

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Q: How low is L.A.'s murder rate?

arts-chili.jpg A: So low that "blood-chasing local television news stations will have to import footage from other cities to uphold their reputation for practicing the nation’s worst and silliest local reporting," writes New York Times online commentator Timothy Egan in a piece that praises L.A.'s turnaround from the depths of 1992.

LAT's mock front page ad via Twitpic

lat-mock-front-page.jpg It's a wrap around the real L.A. Times front page this morning, arguably not as bad as last year when the paper sold an actual story spot on the real front page.

Morning Buzz: Friday 3.5.10

Sheriff Baca releases inmates early, Joel Grover goes after bogus disabled parking, Arnold and Maria get paid to promote California, editor hospitalized after meeting with New Times' Mike Lacey, and more...after the jump.

Architect killed in crash after SCI-Arc lecture

raimund-abraham.jpg Raimund Abraham, a visiting faculty member at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, died in a Downtown crash hours after giving a lecture at the school.

Burned dancer speaks about sentence, her life

Roberta Busby, the exotic dancer who was severely burned outside a Tarzana club, testified today at the sentencing of one her attackers to life in prison. She also talked on camera about her life, including that she and her two children are about to lose their home.

Alice in Thursdayland *

alice-wonderland-crop.jpg Sure was strange to see the Los Angeles Times lead the Calendar section with a big photo and Kenneth Turan review of "Alice in Wonderland" on Thursday, instead of the usual Friday. The reason for the change, according to a soft-section insider at the LAT, is that the ad department sold Disney two front-of-Calendar spots for Alice ads in Friday's paper.

Trutanich nabs four more accused sign criminals

qqTrutanichObey.jpg City Attorney Carmen Trutanich kept to his vow to go after more illegal supergraphcs, obtaining four more arrest warrants on people allegedly tied to sign violations at Hollywood and Highland. No million-dollar bail this time.

Mayor's Oscars party comes under fire

Tonight at Getty House, Mayor Villaraigosa is hosting a pre-Oscars reception for Academy Awards nominees

Prius flowers get nice ride on Channels 2 and 9

prius-ad-crosses.jpg KCAL's news went out in the field this afternoon for a report from that Prius flower patch beside the 110 freeway where that makeshift memorial to Toyota victims was taken down — four days ago.

Morning Buzz-less Thursday

Other duties call this morning. Check out Mark's morning headlines at LA Biz Observed....

First wave of city cuts 'finalized'

It's impossible to know with this group if anything is ever final, but the initial group of 542 positions being eliminated went out to department heads with a message from Mayor Villaraigosa’s chief of staff, Jeff Carr, that “full cooperation” was expected.

Hitchens here to give Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture

hitchenslrg.jpg The annual lecture series at UCLA in memory of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl continues at 5 p.m. with author and journalist Christopher Hitchens.

LAX as metaphor for America's decline

Thomas Friedman, the New York Times' well-read Op-Ed columnist, starts his latest column on America's need to be more innovative and competitive with a short riff on how bad Los Angeles International Airport looks.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.3.10

DA Cooley told to stop punishing his deputies who belong to the union, Trutanich called out for that excessive bail gimmick, LAT loses another top Washington reporter, a new Janice Hahn video hit on Newsom — plus Jello Biafra looks back at Jerry Brown. All that and more after the jump.

RFK shirt removed from evidence display

LAPD chief Charlie Beck has apologized to the Kennedy family for including items worn by the slain Senator in a Las Vegas display.

Food blogger thinks positive

Rob Eshman got soooo much strong reaction to last week's list of nine things wrong with L.A. food culture that he tries again this week with an up-beatier Nine Ways to Make LA the “Ultimate Food City."

Toyota flower patch on 110 culture-jammed

prius-ad-before.jpg White crosses were laid out over the former site of Toyota's floral ad for the Prius beside the Pasadena Freeway near Downtown. A sign reads, "You Reap What You Sow."

Trutanich explains felony-level bail for supergraphic

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich tells KTLA's Eric Spillman that the $1 million bail he got for that sign misdemeanor at Hollywood and Highland was based on the public safety threat...

Kaus comes clean, a little

Slate blogger Mickey Kaus posted at Kausfiles that news of his run against Sen. Barbara Boxer got out sooner than he hoped and explains a little of what it's all about.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.2.2010

Jay Leno returns, Jerry Brown and Sun Tzu, Ebert on Oprah, a local college president resigns and a media person drives and survives Laurel Canyon for the first time.

LA Sketchbook: ABC News broken

ABC News-sg.jpg

News for dummies

Yeah, don't call 911 to ask about possible 911 surcharges.

Tsunami carnage only now becoming clear

Tsunami surges killed hundreds and devastated ports and towns along the Chilean coast in the first hours after Saturday's 8.8 magnitude earthquake. Check out the animation.

Kaus clarifies his candidate status

mickey-kaus-wpedia.jpg Mickey Kaus, the Slate blogger who delights in needling his fellow Democrats, liberals and the L.A. Times — and even sometimes a Republican — confirms via email that he's looking...

Afternoon notes: Brown to finally declare

Jerry Brown plans to announce officially that he's running for governor, and other notes from the day.

Million-dollar bail for sign violation cut to $100,000

The curiously high bail amount levied on illegal sign purveyor Kayvan Setareh was slashed by 90% after he agreed in court today to take down the supergraphic he posted at Hollywood & Highland, scene of the Oscars in less than a week.

Paul Serchia, blogger with AIDS was 52

I posted about Serchia in January, when I was introduced to his blog Thinking Positive, where he wrote with humor and insight about his life as a cancer and AIDS patient.

Schickel on 'the insufferable optimism of America'

richard-schickel-ifc.jpg Remarks by curmudgeonly Time critic Richard Schickel stole the show at a weekend panel to discuss the state of film criticism, pegged to the screening of the documentary "For the Love of Movies," by Boston Phoenix critic and filmmaker Gerald Peary.

Did Variety kill bad review for an advertiser?

Gawker suggests that a $400,000 advertising campaign by the producers of "Iron Cross" led to Variety's publisher spiking a mediocre review by Robert Koehler from the trade's website

Where's Erin Brockovich?

erin-brockovich-labj.jpg The SoCal legal assistant who became famous when Julia Roberts portrayed her in the movies now runs Brockovich Research & Consulting with a couple of assistants out of her Agoura Hills home.

On the death of serious film criticism

An essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education traces the history and decline of film reviewing in the face of competition from Internet critics. "If the traditional film critic was...

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.1.10

Villaraigosa wants another new fee on DWP customers, AP covers L.A's budget problems, Speaker Perez's influence issues, the Rafu Shimpo in big trouble and Ban Ki-moon comes to town.
David Garth, political consultant
david-garth-bradley.jpgNew Yorker David Garth played a big role in the elections of Tom Bradley and John Tunney. Obit
LAO_die-in copy.jpgTake My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular weekly feature of LA Observed. Click on the pic to see larger. Gary's archive.
Campaign 2015 takes shape
city-hall-night-alt.jpgHere is the certified list of who is running for Los Angeles City Council, school board and community college board. Story
A tale of two Sugar Plum Fairies
joy-womack-iris.jpgJoy Womack comes to the Santa Monica Nutcracker from Moscow, Lyrica Blankfein from NYC. More