LA Observed archive
for March 2011

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

Mattingly undefeated as Dodgers manager *

mattingly-opening-day-2011-grab.jpg Today at Dodger Stadium, all was sunshine and warm breezes. Plus a media note.

Ruby, L.A. Zoo's former elephant, dies

ruby-elephant-lazoo.jpg The 50-year-old African elephant lived at the Los Angeles Zoo for about 20 years, then moved to a sanctuary in Northern California in 2007.

Beach day in L.A.: bikinis and burkas

venice-beach-alcorn-33111.jpg Jonathan Alcorn went to Venice Beach for the first warm day of spring in Los Angeles.

Five minutes of newsroom applause for NYT returnees

nyt-applause.jpg Former Libyan captives Anthony Shadid, Stephen Farrell, Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hicks were feted by their colleagues today.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.31.11

Opening day at Dodger Stadium, 'tragedy" at the community colleges, no Plan B for Jerry Brown, KCET staffers forced to sign NDAs, Chapman University gets into the film business and Alycia Lane tweets against naked women.

Pete Schabarum's son on coming out to dad

pete-schabarum-zevweb.jpg Tom Schabarum, a Seattle novelist, says his father the conservative county supervisor was never homophobic despite notable clashes with the gay community.

Parsing the stripes on RFK's tie

RFK-paul-jacobs.jpg The discussion continues on that Robert F. Kennedy campaign photo from 1968 Los Angeles.

Giants pitcher Barry Zito in WeHo car accident

Zito, who has a home in the Hollywood Hills, was taken to Cedars-Sinai after a two-car crash tonight near Sunset Blvd. and Sunset Plaza Drive. He was released from the hospital.

For LACMA's 46th birthday, a sculptor gets his day

david-smith-lacma-2.jpg Forty-six years after a fatal car crash ended talks on a major show, LACMA honors David Smith.

Councilman Rosendahl belongs to chicken nation

chicken-corner-eggs.JPG My Mar Vista neighbor, Councilman Bill Rosendahl, will talk on KCRW about raising chickens.

KCET in talks to sell studio to Scientology, Times says *

The L.A. Times report cites unnamed "people who know about the pending deal," which as yet has no terms publicly attached.

Bestsellers: what Angelenos are reading this week

Here is a first look at the bestseller lists at independent bookstores around Southern California through Sunday.

Why doesn't Hope Street go through?

normal-school.jpg One of the little quirks about Downtown L.A. is that a major north-south street, Hope Street, stops at the Central Library. Yet Hope Street predates the library.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.30.11

Look for a warmer day, Brown on YouTube again, Rosendahl gets a Lopez column, Anaheim votes to go after the Sacramento Kings and Amy Tan sells a new book.

Which mayor candidate doesn't control her web domain?

Check out the latest posts at

Anschutz assurances on stadium less than on Staples Center

stadium-first-look-gensler.jpg Bloomberg moved a story tonight saying that AEG's financial guarantee to the city on the NFL stadium the company wants to build near L.A. Live "falls short" of the assurances offered on Staples Center 13 years ago.

Observing L.A. for the British audience

los-angeles-freaks-007.jpg Author Anna Stothard, in the center of the photo, writes in the UK Guardian's Observer that "Los Angeles is more spectacular, and more unnerving, than its cliché suggests." She picks...

Loyola Marymount observes the lay of the L.A. land

layoftheland-e1301379988555.jpg I took part this afternoon in the third annual LAy Of The LAnd Writer’s Conference put on by Loyola Marymount University’s Creative Writing Program and Graduate English Department.

WWLA does Wilshire Grand story

Tonight's Which Way, L.A.? on KCRW delved more deeply into today's City Council approval of the special lighting rules for the Korean-backed project planned for the Wilshire Grand hotel site at 7th and Figueroa.

'Mad Men' returns in 2012, and not before

AMC announced that the show's fifth season will happen, but the sixth is up in the air. Creator Matt Weiner's status also remains unclear.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.29.11

Taxi contract at LAX, campaign endorsements, Nikki Finke on medical leave, Jonathan Gold's obituary of Nate Dogg and more.

LA Sketchbook: BloATT devours T-Mobile

qqxsg ATTbloat.jpg

Just try to see this play at the Geffen

nothing-is-taboo.jpg The Geffen's production of "The Escort" with Mad Men's Maggie Siff as a call girl has had a heck of a time getting its ads past censors.

Conservancy names preservation award winners

Gov. Jerry Brown (and Mark Lacter) may want to do away with the city Community Redevelopment Agency, but it's a hit at least with the Los Angeles Conservancy. The group is giving the CRA one of its nine yearly preservation awards.

Wendie Malick to star as 'Wild Horse Annie'

velma-johnston.jpg Good news for LA Observed contributor Deanne Stillman, whose book, "Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West," will be the basis for a Hallmark Channel movie on mustang activist Velma Johnston.

LA Observed on KCRW: Streetscapes

Today's radio column mashes up the Militant Angeleno's post on the evolution of Los Angeles street signs with the controversy over ad signs to be beamed on the skin of the new skyscrapers proposed for Wilshire and Figueroa.

Deadline hires from USA Today

David Lieberman, senior media reporter at USA Today, will join as Executive Editor on April 11.

LAT names new Washington bureau chief, local editor

David Lauter is moving to be Tribune Washington bureau chief, and Ashley Dunn takes over as California editor of the Los Angeles Times — basically the point editor on all local, regional and state coverage. Read the memos.

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.28.11

Robert Gibbs and Facebook, LAT looks again at value-added evaluation, DWP politics, Leiweke honored, a star push for Adam West and more.

Updates on that fresh RFK photo from last week *

RFK-paul-jacobs.jpg Those two aides around Robert F. Kennedy's car remain unidentified, but there's a factual question now: when was the photo actually taken?

Making public radio a little more private, one station at a time

Bloomberg Business Week looks at the grand ambitions of Southern California Public Radio, the parent entity behind KPCC.

Hollywood's heiress with a heart

aileen-getty-zevweb.jpg Aileen Getty, a former heroin and cocaine addict with AIDS, has quietly donated millions to the homeless of Hollywood.

California Watch wants your story

calif-watch-icon.jpg California Watch, the Northern California-based non-profit investigative newsroom, will have a staffer on the Eastside Monday morning to chat about potential stories.

LAFD TV is on the air

lafd-tv-brian.jpg The fire department is streaming live tonight from the desk of public information office Brian Humphrey.

Villaraigosa's national star doesn't shine on MSNBC

john-perez-msnbc.jpg Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa doesn't make MSNBC's list of Latino politicians whose stars are on the rise. Look who does.

'Marketplace' and NYT collaborate on your money *

money-through-ages-graphic.jpg "Marketplace Money" from American Public Media and the New York Times jointly produced a package of stories and advice columns about managing your money as you get older.

Film of murals being installed at Golden State Mutual *

Woodruff-mural-300x204.jpg Oscar Garza at LA Fwd has posted a two-minute silent clip of the Hale Woodruff and Charles Alston murals being installed and unveiled for the 1949 opening of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building at West Adams Boulevard and Western Avenue.

Weekend news and notes

billcunningham-square.jpg Smithsonian withdraws bid for historic murals, LAUSD's Deasy won't take $55,000 raise, a City Hall exit, art and books notes and a local media obituary.

Kings lose Anze Kopitar to broken ankle

anze_kopitar.jpg The Kings' best player, center Anze Kopitar, broke his ankle during this afternoon's win at Staples Center — and just like that the team's chances of going deep in the NHL playoffs suffered a big blow.

LA Sketchbook: Triangle Shirtwaist fire

qqxsgTriangleM.jpg Cartoon by Steve Greenberg.

AEG makes it official: Gensler to design stadium

stadium-first-look-gensler.jpg If AEG gets the go-ahead to build its NFL stadium and events center on the footprint of the existing Los Angeles Convention Center, L.A.-based Gensler will be the designer.

Street signs of Los Angeles

newsign-ma.jpg Excellent run through the variety and history of Los Angeles street signs at the blog Militant Angeleno.

Parks officially wins his City Council race

There will be no change in the election night results: Councilman Bernard Parks has squeezed out a reelection win with 51.2% of the vote over challenger Forescee Hogan-Rowles, who received...

Morning Buzz: Friday 3.25.11

Brown signs cuts, Republicans file initiatives, bus service cuts, lawyer Leonard Weinglass dies and more.

Zine the target of this year's L.A. political roast

Councilman Dennis Zine, the West Valley Republican, typically dresses in drag to do his bit for a laugh at the annual political roast thrown by City Hall lobbyist Arnie Berghoff. On Thursday night, Zine was the politico in the hot seat.

Lanford Wilson, playwright was 73

The Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist "rose to fame for his plays that explored such themes as contemporary gay identity, youthful angst and modern anomie."

LAT's Bell reporter was the son of her nanny *

orange-coast-411.jpg Ruben Vives, once illegal, got a green card and a college job at the L.A. Times. Then he got his chance at being a reporter.

They still dream of space flight out in the Mojave

Mojave_Launch_Lab3.jpg Nice feature in Smithsonian Air & Space on the private and amateur rocket teams figuring out space flight of the future way out in the Mojave Desert.

Museum of Neon Art finalizes deal to leave L.A.

mona-glendale-rendering.jpeg The Museum of Neon Art isn't moving far — to the heart of Glendale's Carusoland — but it will be the end of an era.

Yosemite reopens under blanket of new snow

Yosemite National Park was cut off to road traffic by snow and downed trees on Monday, but highways 120 and 140 reopened into the park this morning.

Jimmy Wong as Internet savior

jimmy-wong-grab.jpg Jimmy Wong is the 24-year-old Los Angeles performer whose amusing video answer to UCLA student Alexandra Wallace's anti-Asian rant set a high bar for video responses and helped defuse an...

Liz Taylor, uncredited, in 'Jane Eyre'

A young Elizabeth Taylor plays Helen Burns in this 1943 rendition of "Jane Eyre," and shows up in the first scene (and others) in this YouTube clip.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.24.11

Brown's support slipping, Feinstein's too, Montiel's severance, Ed Harris as McCain, press photographer honors, La Villa Basque and more.
liz-taylor-1945-gilmore-lifecom.jpg posts unpublished photos of Elizabeth Taylor, the magazine's favorite movie star.

Mammoth Mountain about to hit record for snow

mammoth-storm-dec2010.jpg In all the decades that Mammoth Mountain has been a destination for SoCal skiers, this looks to be the winter with the most snowfall. At least since they began keeping records in 1969.

RFK on the street in L.A., hours before the Ambassador

RFK-paul-jacobs.jpg Never-published photo shows Sen. Robert F. Kennedy greeting well-wishers outside the Biltmore on election day in June 1968, hours before he was shot across town at the Ambassador Hotel.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.23.11

More cold rain coming, Jerry Brown's biggest problem, massage parlors are back, studying the San Andreas and more.

Elizabeth Taylor, movie star was 79

liz-taylor-young.jpg Taylor died early today of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She entered the hospital six weeks ago. Taylor won two best actress Oscars, for "Who's Afraid of Virginia...

In L.A., streets and bikes are fight-worthy

wilbur-mtg-streetsblog.png Last week in the Valley, something like 450 people turned out at a raucous community meeting called to discuss the restriping of upper Wilbur Avenue to add left-turn and bike lanes.

New general manager at KMEX

alberto mier y teran.jpg Alberto Mier y Terán has been named Vice President and General Manager of Univision's Spanish-language Channel 34.

Author's quake prediction for San Andreas debunked

Author Simon Winchester has written some nice books, including about earthquakes and other geological phenomena, but quake scientists say he's a little shaky in his latest stab at seismology. After...

And you think L.A. is in bad shape *

detroitruin3.jpg Images from a new book, "The Ruins of Detroit,“ by French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.

Dowie loses another round

The imprisoned former Fleishman-Hillard executive and Daily News editor lost an appeal that sought to require his former employer to pick up some legal bills.

By one measure, L.A. Times is up

By one way of looking at combine print and online local readership, the Los Angeles Times came in second to the New York Daily News.

The Valley as cricket mecca

cricket-espn.jpg ESPN Los Angeles discovers the Woodley Park cricket field in the Sepulveda Dam Basin, "a Shangri-La to cricketers around the world."

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.22.11

Brown looks good in Field Poll, LAPD hiring, lunch with Warren Christopher, HuffPost hires again, James Beard nominees, more media notes and a new book on Roy Campanella.

LA Sketchbook: Nuke power

qqxsgCalif NukePlants.jpg

About 50,000 now live in Downtown

bdowntown-redistrict-map32011.jpg One of the most eagerly awaited discoveries from the 2010 census (at least for me) is to find out how many people actually live in the Downtown neighborhoods after more than a decade of in-movement.

Freed NYT staffers were roughed up while in Libyan hands

Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks, Lynsey Addario and Stephen Farrell were kept tied and often handcuffed while held by pro-government forces in Libya, before being transferred to Tripoli and released today.

City fires housing chief Rudolf Montiel

Montiel, who has run the agency since 2004, six months ago tried to evict nine tenants who had protested outside his home.

Los Angeles in the 1930s, a time traveler's guide

white-king-stack-fajack.jpg My favorite new Los Angeles book — the one I took driving with me on Saturday — is a guidebook from the distant past. "Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels" has been reissued after years out of print.

When you're an author, life sometimes imitates art

The caller, a grade school friend from 30 years ago, demanded $2,500 from the author of a new novel on homeless kids in Hollywood.

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.21.11

Jerry Brown takes to YouTube, Republican convention aftermath, a bigger city council, GLAAD awards and more media and politics notes — plus more for a Monday.

Four NYT journalists released by Libya

Reporters Anthony Shadid and Stephen Farrell and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario were released Monday into the custody of Turkish diplomats.

From Bruin to CIA shooter

company-we-keep-cover.jpg Dayna Baer, one of the co-authors of "The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story," joined the CIA while a grad student at UCLA.

His coffee - and lobster dinner - with Saif Qaddafi

saif-gaddafi.jpg Doug Flahaut, a lawyer living in Echo Park, studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science eight years ago with the son of, and presumptive successor to, the strongman ruler of Libya.

Journalists sent to Japan freaked out by radiation

KTLA's Frank Buckley wasn't the only visiting foreign journalist to parachute into Japan after the earthquake then want to quickly get out once the story became about nuclear radiation.

Jake Gyllenhaal rides around L.A.

mensjournal-april11.jpg In the April cover story in Men's Journal, actor Jake Gyllenhaal takes his bike into Griffith Park and is called The Fittest Guy in Hollywood.

Thinking about home in Japan

The folks at Southern California Public Radio made a nice video with Tony Tsukui, one of the Japanese businessmen and women who were here when the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

Winter doesn't want to leave SoCal *

rainfall-map-3202011-826pm.jpg The last day of official winter has been having some fun with us in and around Los Angeles.

L.A. Marathon goes off in the rain

la-marathopn-2011-flickr.jpg Markos Geneti of Ethiopia, running his first marathon, set a course record 2 hours, 6 minutes and 35 seconds. It's the fastest marathon ever run in California and the second fastest in the world this year.

Pat Casey, TV news director was 54

pat-casey-obit.jpg Pat Casey, the former managing editor at Channel 2 in Los Angeles, died Saturday in Cincinnati after a year-long battle with brain cancer.

Warren Christopher, former Secretary of State was 85

WarrenChristopher-ucla.jpg The Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration and longtime Los Angeles civic leader and Democratic politics figure died Friday at home of complications from bladder and kidney cancer,

Report: UCLA student who made 'Asians' video won't return

Alexandra Wallace, the UCLA political science student whose video mocking Asian students and their families became a huge social media sensation, says in a letter to the Daily Bruin that...

It's print journalism's awards season

Bunch of awards for journalists handed out today.

Fat man's goal: finishing the L.A. Marathon

Good story by Kurt Streeter on Kelly Gneiting, a sumo wrestler who stands six feet, weights 405 pounds and has a 60-inch waist.

One NYT photographer to be released, Gadhafi son says *

It sounds as if the four missing New York Times journalists are in the hands of the Libyan armed forces.

Talk now of a 'terrible' situation without end at Japan plant

In a sign of how bad it may be, Japanese officials finally accept help from American nuclear experts.

Frank Buckley blogs about the trip to Japan

frank-buckley-japan-crew.jpg Channel 5's morning anchor explains how he came to be sent to cover the Japan disaster on short notice — and why he and his crew, producer Toni Molle and photographer Mike McGregor, came back so soon.

Husband of NYT photographer missing in Libya makes appeal *

nyt-photogs-missing-reuters.jpg Lynsey Addario (almost off-camera, on left) and Tyler Hicks (on the right, in the glasses) are the two New York Times photographers missing in Libya. This photo by Reuters...

Big-wave surfer dies in the water at Maverick's

Sion Milosky, a surfer in Hawaii of growing repute, became only the second surfer known to die at the famed surfing spot off Half Moon Bay.

AQMD to announce radiation levels daily

This might help prevent locals from going a little crazy over the arrival of airborne radiation particles from Japan.

Best defense for LAX is 1) punctuality 2) many planes

Effort to defend LAX against criticism lands a little short of the runway.
Nikki Finke alleges at Deadline Hollywood that The Hollywood Reporter "deleted embarrassing information about Summit Entertainment principals from a financial story about the studio's refinancing in order to 'horse-trade' it for the cover story interview with Jodie Foster that appears in this week's print edition.

Blog's call gets gang tag taken off billboard

clean-billboard.jpg When CBS Outdoor didn't respond, an LAPD officer asked The Eastsider LA to get involved.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.17.11

More on Japanese radiation, state budget cuts, Smear arrested, Villaraigosa and Carlos Fuentes on the radio and SPJ cancels tonight's event.

Best-selling books in Southern California for this week

"Unbroken" beats out Keith Richards' "Life" for the top spot in hardcover nonfiction.

Minor radiation expected over California on Friday

Experts said that small amounts of radioactive isotope that escaped from the crippled Japanese nuclear power stations would blow across the Pacific in the upper atmosphere.

Prominent developers among five dead in LB plane crash

The crash Wednesday morningat Long Beach Airport claimed Tom Dean and Jeff Berger, developers at LCW Partners who were involved in a city of Long Beach land swap for the Los Cerritos Wetlands, and Mark Bixby, a bicycle advocate and member of one of Long Beach's founding families.

Piece of Highway One near Big Sur falls into ocean

hwy-one-slide.jpg Don't plan to drive between Big Sur and Carmel or Monterey any time soon.

What if California politics were more like 'Glee?'

barstow-glee.jpg A cartoon by Donna Barstow featuring J. Brown, Lady Lockyer and the new cool kids.
Channel 5's morning anchor flew into LAX tonight and tweeted there's a new addition to the customs procedure: a radiation wand.

Add Jan Perry to the list for mayor

jan-perry-arms-folded.jpg City Council veteran Jan Perry did what everyone expected her to do and filed the papers to form a fundraising committee for a 2013 mayoral bid. Nice and quiet, no...

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant: no plan for earthquakes

The nuclear power generating station near San Luis Obispo on the central California coast was allowed to open without an emergency plan for earthquakes — and still doesn't have one, the HuffPost says.

Palin's semi-secret weapon in Hollywood

Rebecca Mansour, who lives in Hollywood and got an MFA from American Film Institute, is in Sarah Palin's inner circle as message crafter and social media defender.

Four NYT journalists missing in Libya *

The New York Times says the Libyan government is helping try to locate the four: two reporters and two photographers.

Oney sells book on NPR

Los Angeles author Steve Oney's next book will be on the history, travails and tribulations of National Public Radio.

Dentist morning

No Morning Buzz today, folks. Mark's morning headlines are here at LA Biz Observed....

Blogdowntown suspends print weekly

bdownown-print-feb32011.jpg Blogdowntown's weekly print edition hit the streets last August, and it stopped regular publication in February.

Nate Dogg, Long Beach rapper reported dead at 41

nate-dogg.jpg The Long Beach-raised rap music star Nathaniel D. Hale, known in the music industry as Nate Dogg, died today, his family told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Reporter posts AOL 'request' to be nicer to movie *

jake-alexia.jpg File this in the corner of your mind where you're a least a little concerned about editorial standards at the new AOL.

LAFD warns of risk from Nowruz celebrations

lafd-persian.jpg Ahead of the vernal equinox and the Persian celebration of Nowruz, the L.A. Fire Department blog has posted a reminder — in english and Persian.

Villaraigosa statement on nuclear threat

Release from the office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says "no immediate threat to the United States" from radiation in Japan.

Go surfing with Liz Phair

liz-phair-grab-2.jpg Los Angeles Magazine asked the Chicago native to riff a little on life in Manhattan Beach.

Tsunami surges (gently) up Ballona Creek

L.A. Creek Freak posted this video of Friday's tsunami wave rolling uphill in Ballona Creek.

Remembering '60s figure Owsley Stanley III *

deadlogo.gif L.A. food writer and author Charles Perry writes about his former roommate in a Visiting Blogger post for LA Observed — and insists he did not turn on the former LSD designer.

Late-night talk show host to get in mayor's race

kevinjamesmug.jpg Kevin James, who does midnight to 3 a.m. on KRLA, is throwing his microphone in the 2013 race for mayor in Los Angeles.

Ellroy goes undercover in France

ellroy-france.jpg Los Angeles author James Ellroy on Sunday received France's Order of the Arts from Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand. Note photo caption.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.15.11

Manuel Jamines killing, date of Jane Harman election, more politics and media notes and sizing up the radiation threat to California.

Radiation levels rising in Japan, most workers leave plants

nyt-nuke-graphic.jpg Danger of nuclear disaster reaches a new level in Japan, "threatening to overshadow even the massive damage and loss of life spawned by a devastating earthquake and tsunami."

Shrinks who help screenwriters get past mental block

new-yorker-hwd-shrinks.jpg Dana Goodyear has a good piece in this week's New Yorker on therapist Barry Michels and psychiatrist Phil Stutz, whose niche is helping Hollywood creative types.

Talk of the web: UCLA student's video slams Asians

Video goes viral and sparks angry comments, death threats, official denunciations and mocking remixes.

Appreciating the art of the LAPD report

ellen-collett.jpg Author Ellen Collett knows a well-written LAPD incident report when she sees one.

KCET says enough viewers are hanging in

al-jerome-knbc.jpg Ratings are down by half compared to a year ago and donations by former members have also dropped off, but KCET chief executive Al Jerome says that the station's broadcast...

Al Jazeera English gets an L.A. radio outlet

KPFK will start airing AJE on weekdays at 3 p.m., plus Truthdig Radio and Brad Friedman on Wednesdays.

LA Weekly admits it reached on Lara Logan *

Blogger Simone Wilson concedes she didn't know whether CBS' Logan was raped by crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Japan quake bumped up to 9.0

As if the March 11 quake off Japan's northeast coast needed any more historic cred, the USGS recalculated it upward in magnitude.

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.14.11

An abbreviated batch of politics, media and news notes today.

What a tsunami looks like on the ground

This clip catches the start of Friday's tsunami flooding into the streets of Kesennuma, in Miyagi Prefecture, and watches up close for six astounding, frightening minutes.

John Montorio surfaces with Huffington Post *

montorio1011a.jpg John Montorio, the former features editor at the Los Angeles Times, will be named the top features editor of the newly AOL-ized Huffington Post.

Republican lawmakers fear John and Ken, Jon and Jon

john-and-ken.jpg As Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrats go looking for Republican votes to pass a state budget, one of the political realities they face is that elected Republicans in California fear being picked on by KFI's afternoon talk hosts, John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou.

Laid-off LAT editor counts her recession blessings

Ann Brenoff writes on the L.A. Times op-ed page that "without question, the recession changed my life for the better."

McConaughey, Connelly go for a ride in L.A.

As part of the publicity onslaught for "The Lincoln Lawyer," the new movie from Michael Connelly's mystery of the same name, the author and lead actor Matthew McConaughey chat for a Times reporter while parked in an SUV on Connelly's old street above Laurel Canyon.

Rafu Shimpo functions as L.A. community center

rafu-logo.jpg The Rafu Shimpo website has, of course, gone heavily into disaster relief and communication mode.

Japan toll goes over 10,000 dead

japoan-tsunami-image-31311.jpg Japan is probably the most prepared country in the world, but the spreading misery and risk of nuclear disaster shows that you can't prepare adequately for an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami.

Lakers blogger in Japan reports he's OK

The blogger behind the site called With Malice — "the half-crazed ramblings of a Laker fanatic in Japan" — has posted his reactions to news coverage and the local reality of the quake and tsunami.

Task Force 2 headed for Japan

L.A. County Fire's urban search and rescue team boarded buses last night for LAX.

Crescent City tsunami in time lapse

Sped-up video of the tsunami surge entering and leaving Crescent City's harbor on Friday morning, leaving extensive damage behind.

Watch NOAA's animated tsunami graphic *

japan-tsunami-modelmap.png These are always a mix of awesome and frightening.

Friday news and notes

mexico-city-cyber-goth.jpg Tsunami coverage, Mel Gibson, Arianna Huffington, book notes and more.

Tsunami damage mounting in Crescent City, Santa Cruz *

Crescent City, near the Oregon border, appears to have suffered significant damage to its harbor.

Scenes from Japan

japan-tsunami-natori-kyodo.jpg Tsunami coming ashore at Natori in Miyagi prefecture. From Kyodo News Service at New York Times. Wave inundating Sendai airport on closed-circuit video....

Waves barely perceptible here, some damage in NorCal and Hawaii

TV reports are showing not much happening along the Southern California coast as the hour passes for the arrival of tsunami surges.

Tsunami alerts in California upgraded

NOAA has put up a tsunami advisory for us and a higher tsunami warning for north of Point Concepcion.

Japan hit by 'great' quake and tsunami, Pacific put on watch *

sendai-area-quake-damage.jpg Updated monitoring of media reports on the Japan earthquake, which the USGS is calling a magnitude 8.9 event. Number aftershocks over 6.0 have occurred.

Baca speaks up for Muslims at Congress hearing *

Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca has let Congress know before that he doesn't cotton to broad-brush slams on the Muslim community. He was back at it today, telling the panel...

Plastic sheeting from strawberry field rides dust devil

Another great find by Boing Boing: a mesmerizing video of plastic sheeting from a Bavarian strawberry field dancing in the sky on thermal air currents. Just watch it.

Rare color photos of San Francisco's '06 quake carnage

sf-quake-color2.jpg A volunteer at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has made a fantastic discovery: perhaps the only color photographs of the devastation in San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fire.

Chris Schauble moves up the dial to Channel 5

FrankBuckley-ChrisSchauble.jpg Channel 4 reporter and anchor Chris Schauble is leaving KNBC to be a morning anchor on KTLA.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.10.11

Colleges, fish, a ton of politics notes and an update on La Villa Basque, all inside.

LAFD film on the 1961 Bel-Air 'conflagration'

In November it will be 50 years since one of the city's scariest wind-whipped fire storms burned through Brentwood and Bel Air.

Politics of football on 'SoCal Connected'

Times columnist Steve Lopez plays TV reporter on tonight's "SoCal Connected" on KCET for a story billed as a look at the politics of bringing the NFL back to a new L.A. stadium.

Zocalo Book Prize: They have a winner *

intheneighborhood_main.jpg The first Zócalo Public Square Book Prize goes to "In the Neighborhood" by Peter Lovenheim.

King Harbor needs volunteers for fish cleanup

Heal the Bay put out the call for help with the massive die-off of sardines and other fish inside King Harbor in Redondo Beach.

David Broder, politics writer was 81 *

David S. Broder, 81, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post often called the dean of the Washington press corps, died Wednesday in Arlington, Va. of complications from diabetes.

Mahony 'surprised' more didn't leave church over sex abuse

Tim Rutten returns to the L.A. Times op-ed page with part two of the conversation in which Roger Mahony reflects on his term as cardinal in Los Angeles.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.9.11

Bell voters throw the bums out, more election and census coverage, NPR's chief resigns over Tea Party comments and more.

Cancel the revolution in City Hall

city-hall-over-bldgs.jpg The only City Council incumbent who has to sweat out the final count late into the night is Bernard Parks. The others could go to bed early.

Census 2010: Long Beach in perspective

Long Beach doesn't get a lot of respect around LA Observed, or around Los Angeles generally. It fell to 7th among California cities.

'Carpet of death' in King Harbor

I don't know if folks will be as bemused in Redondo Beach, but the LAT's holy cow approach to the fish die-off works for me.

Election results starting to roll in

City Hall had tabulated absentees only until about 10:30, but now some votes cast today are starting to come in. Bernard Parks is the only incumbent City Council member anywhere...

Census 2010: California counties by growth

census2010-calif-counties-c.jpg Inland areas, led by Riverside County, grew the most since 2000. The coast, not so much.

USC receives $200 million gift -- no limits

The gift of $200 million from David and Dana Dornsife is the largest ever to USC, surpassing the $175 million from George Lucas.

Final bids for Register's parent company due

Tribune, MediaNews Group, and private-equity firms Gores Group and Plaitnum Equity are all said to be circling with Thursday's deadline to bid on Freedom Communications, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Kim Ng leaves Dodgers front office

kim-ng-espn.jpg The Dodgers' assistant general manager has been talked up through the years as a viable candidate to be the first woman to run a major league team's baseball side. She'll go work for Joe Torre at Major League Baseball.

Election results links

Where to follow results tonight, plus Ruben Gonzalez resigns over Bernard Parks mailer.

Los Angeles population back under 4 million *

census2010-calif-counties-b.jpg The state may say L.A. is over four million, but to the U.S. Census Bureau we're at 3,792,621.

Center Theatre Group joins 'It Gets Better'

Staff members of L.A.'s leading live theater organization tell their personal stories from childhood for the It Gets Better Project.

Now we know where anchovies go to die *

king-harbor-fish-ktla.jpg Thousands, perhaps millions, of dead anchovies are floating this morning in King Harbor in Redondo Beach.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.8.11

On election day the Times finally covers the community college races, more LAX concession bids tossed out, questions about the AEG stadium and designs for an Expo line station in Westwood. Plus more.

Brando Skyhorse, 'Madonnas of Echo Park' win at PEN

SkyhorseMadonnanewcover.jpg Brando Skyhorse and his novel about growing up in Echo Park have won the $8,000 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.

First novel arrives from Nancy Rommelmann

bad-mother-cover.jpg The LA Observed contributor's book, The Bad Mother, is set among street kids in Hollywood.

'Rango' as watery homage to 'Chinatown'

rango-0591.jpg The animated movie is set in the fictional town of Dirt. There's a character, a desert tortoise named Mayor, who dreams of imported water turning Dirt into a green paradise.

Two views of Creole Los Angeles

Harold-Legaux-la-fwd.jpg I've recently enjoyed two pieces of writing on the local Creole community spurred by the Feb. 21 passing of restaurateur Harold Legaux, proprietor of Harold & Belle’s on West Jefferson Boulevard.

Afternoon news and notes

New web editor at LA Weekly, candidates for mayor file papers, more media and politics notes.

LA Observed on KCRW *

My weekly column on KCRW -- on the air at 6:44 p.m. -- praises the L.A. Times' series on the community college building program but notes that the college trustees on the ballot Tuesday will still be invisible to most voters.

LA Sketchbook: DWP measures I & J

qqMeasures IJ.jpg

Morning Buzz: Monday 3.7.11

John Bogert writes about his cancer, political jostling for Tuesday and 2013, free parking near polls, HuffPost hires six — plus Rashida Jones, Tate Donovan and the Dominator anniversary....

Duke Snider was a mensch

Ralph Branca met Duke Snider in the spring of 1947, when they were both trying to make the Brooklyn Dodgers club. It was the year that Jackie Robinson was being...

L.A. losing out to proper 'aerotropolises'

A new book on the importance of world-class airports suggests that Los Angeles is being passed over in global commerce due to LAX.

Weekend politics roundup

A little of this, a little of that on the last weekend before Tuesday,

College trustees still under the media radar *

Times does a terrific job on its community college investigation, but lets the college trustees off the hook in Tuesday's election.

Banksy pieces gone from PCH, Westwood *

banksy-pch-alcorn.jpg The tank painted with the words "This looks a bit like an elephant" was towed from the field along Pacific Coast Highway on Friday.

Tina Fey and Steve Martin to talk on stage *

fey-martin-ltla.jpg They're at Live Talks Los Angeles in April. Plus: Michael Connelly and James Gleick.

KCET adds world news in the morning

Starting on Monday, KCET will broadcast a daily one-hour block of morning newscasts from international sources.

Dodger Stadium shuttle bus back for another season

Shuttles between Union Station and Dodger Stadium will begin with the March 28 exhibition game. Buses will run 90 minutes before games and 45 minutes after the final out. Dodger...

How to run for office on $4,000 or less

KCET and Annenberg News21 have co-produced a piece on Rich Goodman, the 27-year-old political novice who is running against Councilman Tony Cardenas.

Departing LAT reporter cites 'hostile work conditions'

Resignation email from Calendar's Maria Elena Fernandez says 'I cannot work under these hostile work conditions anymore."

Morning Buzz: Friday 3.4.11

Satellite launch from Vandenberg fails, Trutanich dismisses charges against protesters, city campaign notes, NYT editor on L.A. radio and the last founding member of The Mattachine Society dies.

Suzanne Rico is letting her hair down

suzanne-rico-from-blog.jpg The former Channel 2 anchor is blogging about being unemployed, seeing the world, getting older and quitting Botox. Plus her annoying former co-anchor.

Media notes

Bert Fields, Maria Elena Fernandez, Charlie Sheen and Amy Wallace, Lesley McKenzie and more.

When is a goose not a goose? Take a gander...

Maria the famous Echo Park goose has had quite a first week at the Los Angeles Zoo. For starters, the name is now Mario.

From the vault: Greenberg on Rodney King

qqRodneyKing.jpg Steve Greenberg, LA Observed's editorial cartoonist, penned this cartoon for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer after the Rodney King beating.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.3.11

Rodney King day, more community college waste, DA Cooley promotes a key aide, rave review for "The Hollywood Sign" and more.

Bestsellers this week in SoCal indie bookstores

"When the Killing's Done" by T.C. Boyle is the top-selling hardcover fiction in Southern California this week, at least at independent bookstores. Not so in Northern California.

Here are the finalists for Zocalo's first book prize

From thousands of published candidates and eighty contenders, the judges have selected three finalists.

Big scissors to fill

big-scissors.jpg County supervisors used to have five giant ceremonial scissors — one each — for ribbon-cuttings and other essential events in the life of a district elected official. Only two remain, "closely guarded implements, ferried to events in custom-crafted cases and quickly packed away once the TV cameras have gone home."

Impersonating Pau Gasol at $600 an hour

gasol-impersonator.jpg Michael Fanter is tall and hairy and looks enough like Pau Gasol, especially when he wears a Lakers jersey, that he's been turning heads.

Serena Williams recovering from pulmonary embolism

The tennis star had treatment last week at Cedars-Sinai, and on Monday was treated on an emergency basis for a related hematoma.

Garcettis move to Silver Lake

City Council President Eric Garcetti and his wife, Amy Wakeland, have moved from their long-time home in the Elysian Heights section of Echo Park.

Dodgers get a whole new infield

dodgers-new-turf.jpg Yesterday was turf-laying day at Dodger Stadium.

Citizen photojournalism after Rodney King, Dallas and Neda *

Upon the 20th anniversary of the Rodney King beating by LAPD officers in 1991, media analyst Dan Gilmoor looks at how photojournalism has changed since the video by George Holliday went viral.

Did Rutten attribute a fictitious quote to Obama book?

Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, blogs at the magazine's site that a quote used by LAT columnist Tim Rutten has an unusual origin.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.2.11

Jerry Brown and police pensions, Kamala Harris and gay marriages, Jamie McCourt and a judge, and Laemmle announces that the Music Hall will stay open at least another year.

Variety names its TV editor

Andrew Wallenstein moves from paidContent to be television editor at Variety.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 3.1.11

It's Legionella bacteria at the Playboy Mansion, Christina Aguilera released without charges after drunkenness arrest, and Frank Rich leaves the New York Times for New York magazine. Plus more politics and media notes.

Echo Park's Maria in protective custody

mariadom.jpg.png Maria the goose is now in residence at the Los Angeles Zoo. Dominic Ehrler is OK with the move, and has visiting privileges.
Clinton fundraises in LA
kermit-la-brea-closer.jpg Jim Henson Studios on La Brea became a presidential campaign stop on Thursday.
Brown declares disaster area
porter-ranch-sign.jpgThe natural gas leak above Porter Ranch now qualifies for various government actions. Story
Wet coyote
wet-coyote-vdt.jpgSpotted between the storms at Here in Malibu.
Performing arts with cheer
guys-dolls-kevin-parry.jpgDonna Perlmutter closes out 2015 with productions downtown and on the Westside.
Junkyard down
upick-firetruck-560.jpgAfter 53 years, Sun Valley's Aadlen Brothers and U-Pick Parts cleans out. Photos