LA Observed archive
for September 2011

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

Free tix: John Lithgow, Jeff Jarvis

LA Observed readers can take their pick of events next week through Live Talks Los Angeles.

Cracked sidewalks and burgers on SoCal Connected

"SoCal Connected" begins a new season tonight on KCET with stories on deteriorating sidewalks and the link between obesity and fast food in L.A.

LA Plaza CEO out due to 'financial mismanagement'

Miguel Angel Corzo, president and CEO of the new LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes near the historic Plaza, has been removed and there have been layoffs.

Jason Schwartzman and John Baldessari make PST video

Taped at LACMA for Pacific Standard Time.

Morning Buzz: Friday 9.30.11

Villaraigosa on CNN, John & Ken play the phone number card again, Pico-Union left out of stadium talk and more.

Documentary on Harold Hayes looks for funding

Harold Hayes was the editor of Esquire magazine during its heyday at the birth of New Journalism in the 1960s, and for three years in the 1980s he was the editor here of California magazine.

Sandra Tsing Loh on the thrill of menopause

sandratsingloh.jpg Your loved ones will immediately read from your dull eyes that you don’t love them, never will again.

L.A. Times expands...in Fresno

Diana Marcum, a freelancer for the Times since 2010, is joining the staff as Fresno correspondent while the agriculture writer is leaving for Reuters.

Would you believe the 'Rampture' on I-405?

sunset-bridge-1957.jpg On- and off-ramps serving Sunset Boulevard at the 405 freeway will start closing Friday for 14-day periods of rebuilding. It's the other shoe falling from the earlier demolition of half...

Clifton's Cafeteria closes for remodeling

cliftons-flickr.jpg The landmark Clifton's on Broadway will be shut down for three to six months, according to Eater LA. The kitchen and the serving line will be redone, and the dining...

Kings announce 8-year deal with Drew Doughty *

The Kings said they have a verbal agreement with the 21-year-old defenseman, reportedly eight years at $7 million per.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives shout out to KPFK

joseph-gordon-levitt.jpg Appearing Wednesday on "Fresh Air" on to promote his new movie, "50-50," Joseph Gordon-Levitt interrupted host Terry Gross's introduction to ask "can i just have a gratuitous kiss-ass moment?"

Somebody will write a book on baseball's greatest day ever

The headline is a line from Buster Olney, the former New York Times baseball writer who's now a go-to baseball guy at ESPN — and who in a fashion foresaw last night's historic turns in the sport.

Fincher talks about Lisbeth as the hype cranks up

dragon-tattoo-uncensored.jpg Empire magazine puts Rooney Mara below Daniel Craig on the cover.

Fire truck and imagery in McOsker ad for cable

Pat McOsker became the first candidate in the 15th city council district to put a video ad on the local cable channels. Watch.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 9.29.11

Prison realignment on NPR, LA Weekly loves those porn eyeballs, media notes, an LAPD detective and Milton Bradley arrested, plus six characters you'll see outside the Conrad Murray trial.

Baseball closes with an incredible night

matt-kemp-crop.jpg Here are the highlights you need to know to appreciate how your friends, spouse, squeeze or co-workers are feeling after "the most shocking, unbelievable, thrilling night in baseball history."

Politics notes: Map drawing, ethnicity and more

Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe joined Warren Olney on "Which Way, L.A.?" to continue the conversation over redistricting.

KNBC adds Latina reporter from New York

Lolita-Lopez.jpg Lolita Lopez is a Harvard graduate and former sports anchor and reporter at WPIX. Also: Shane Goldmacher to leave LAT.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 9.28.11

Is Sly Stone really homeless? Reports of abuse by jail deputies, Controller powers, Christie here to raise money, Fox sues the Dodgers and more.

Two minutes of Zen: the Honeybees of Gilligan's Island

Mary Ann, Ginger, Lovey and The Castaways.

Pacific Standard Time finally here

ruscha-standardsta.jpg Los Angeles did not have a public exhibition space devoted to art until 1954.

Departures from the Daily Journal, more media notes

An editor and a reporter pack up to leave the legal paper, plus VVM layoffs and a Pulitzer winner to co-produce a Suge Knight doc.

Supes go with modified Knabe plan and no second Latino seat *

Some Latinos were moved from Gloria Molina's district to Don Knabe's, and voila, there were four votes to leave the Board of Supervisors' districts pretty close to what they are today.

Stats: Race and ethnicity in city politics

Mike Bonin, the chief of staff to Councilman Bill Rosendahl, posted to Facebook some illuminating census data about Los Angeles city council districts.

Andy Rooney to sign off '60 Minutes' on Sunday

Rooney has been on "60 Minutes" since 1978 and this weekend's bit will be his 1097th essay for the show.

County probation chief out

LA County Probation Chief Donald Blevins has been informed that he's no longer needed, according to Celeste Fremon at Witness L.A.

Garcetti endorses second Latino Supes district

City Council President Eric Garcetti was one of the 850 speakers who signed up to address the Board of Supervisors this afternoon on the divisive issue of political redistricting.

Obama on his way to Denver

If you were caught in traffic near Sunset Boulevard between Beverly Hills and Brentwood between 9:30 and 10 a.m., that was just President Obama heading for his helicopter.

Miller-McCune wants a new name

miller-mccune-cover-62011.jpg Miller-McCune magazine up in Santa Barbara is finally going to change its name — and who can disagree with that.

Erin Aubry Kaplan on black L.A.

The former Los Angeles Times op-ed columnist talks about the post-civil rights generation of African Americans in Los Angeles and her new book, "Black Talk, Blue Thoughts, and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches from a Black Journalista."

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 9.27.11

Air Force One departure time, transportation for Farmers field, Supervisors' redistricting, Parks endorses Perry, the LAT catches on to the Sly Stone is homeless story and more.

Obama in for the night

So far the timing of the president's moves across the Westside seems to be smooth and on schedule.

Mindy Kaling's guide to women in the movies

mindykaling.jpg For some reason, because a Hollywood writer wrote it, the New Yorker labels the humor piece in the current magazine an "L.A. Postcard."

Notorious Mexican drug lord's wife has twins in Lancaster

The girls' father is "one of history’s biggest and most sought-after drug lords," Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

LA Radio signs off for the last time

LARadiocom-final.jpg Don Barrett is hanging up his virtual microphone after 15 years chronicling the radio community in Southern California.

LA Observed on KCRW: Why Obamajam annoys

sunset-strip-obamajam.jpg Coming up on my Monday KCRW commentary: why presidential visits are mainly traffic events for Angelenos, and why they also tend to create the worst jams.

UCLA kid back from Libya, has home movies

Chris Jeon shows video he shot with the Libya rebels and reveals them to be fans of Justin Bieber.

Video: Great white shark rescue at Venice Beach

Locals saved a juvenile shark that became tangled in fishing line over the weekend.

Obama's day in California is underway

President Obama woke up in San Francisco, is in La Jolla now for a fundraising lunch and will be in L.A. this afternoon.

Around LA Observed

Lots of new stuff from the weekend.

Extended DVD of Swedish 'Girl' trilogy coming

lisbeth-salander.jpg The boxed set to be released here will add two hours of additional footage not seen in the Swedish theatrical films made from the late Steig Larsson's best-selling novels.

Morning Buzz: Monday 9.26.11

More fundraising after Obama, what to make of Yaroslavsky, Feuer waits on Trutanich, City Hall staff moves, a newspaper here is hiring, and the Angels beat the Dodgers. Plus more for Monday.

Economy's so bad in Van Nuys, even garage sales are hurting

Marcos Villatoro, the author and former KPFK host who lives in the Valley, made a short video for PBS on the sorry state of the American garage sale.

Times 'expecting a really bad fourth quarter'

latimes-east-face-tighter.jpg Los Angeles Times veteran pressman and blogger Ed Padgett says the forecast for fall is bad, and worse in the long run if you like the printed paper.

Here's your Obamajam advisory for Monday (and Tuesday) *

405-traffic.jpg Presidential visits (of both parties) typically create the most intense surface street traffic jams most of us have ever seen in L.A., but they tend to be localized and avoidable if you just plan ahead.

Neighborhood councils take over City Hall...for a day

neighborhood-congress-sign.jpg The 2011 Congress of Neighborhoods got a visit from the mayor, heard from city officials about how to influence decisions, and shared some tips on how to act at meetings.

Coyote picking off the birds at Echo Park Lake

echparklake-cam.jpg Echo Park Lake was drained a few weeks ago for an improvement project, but geese and ducks remain inside the fence.

Sly Stone lives in a van in Crenshaw district

It's the usual story: he blew all his money, he's suing his former representation for squandering even more of it, and he feels the FBI and his enemies are after him.

Diana Nyad ends second swim after more stings

nyad-stops.jpg Nyad got out of the water at about 8 a.m. Pacific time, after swimming 67 nautical miles from her starting point in Cuba.

Art walk in Frogtown

frogtown-artwalk-mural.jpg There was a bit of extra buzz this year due to the participation of former television journalist Bill Lagattuta.

Nyad stung multiple times, still swimming

nyad-in-water.jpg Diana Nyad ran into some Portguese Man-of-War and endured several stings, but her team says she is still swimming toward Florida and gaining strength.

Fox 11's new news show the right lead-in for TMZ

liz-habib-fox11promo.jpg Fox 11 is flubbing its golden opportunity at 5 p.m. by going with an even dumber form of TV news than celebrities, animals and car chases: pre-planned "outrage" by the...

20 years after Nirvana at Sound City

sound-city-nirvana.jpg Sound City Studio Center in Van Nuys is where many top records were made. "If you're a fan of rock and roll...this is hallowed ground."

Blogdowntown becomes part of KPCC

As of Monday, the Downtown blog will be under the banner of KPCC, the NPR station in Pasadena.

Diana Nyad is back in the water again

Extreme swimmer and KCRW host Diana Nyad is trying again tonight to swim from Havana to the coast of Florida.

Berman endorses Cardenas for Valley seat in Congress

Rep. Howard Berman today endorsed Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas in his bid to win the Valley's newly drawn 29th congressional district.

Kenneth Reiner, commissioned Silver Lake's Silvertop home

silvertop-birdseye.jpg Reiner never got to live there, but the home has become a modernist landmark considered one of John Lautner's masterpieces.

L.A. media moves: AP and ABC

Cecilia-Vega.jpg Jacob Adelman leaving AP for Bloomberg, Cecilia Vega joining ABC News here.

Morning Buzz: Friday 9.23.11

Bad week for Feinstein, MTA will hire locally, more famers markets, porn and the fire truck, vandalism at an Obama office, Patrick Goldstein on being Jewish and more.

LA Sketchbook: Dodger franks

qqDodger Franks.jpg

Bryan Stow able to carry on a conversation

Stow, the victim of the Opening Day assault at Dodger Stadium, progressed this week to speaking with relatives and asking to see his children.

L.A. sheriffs shoot a lot of unarmed people and Latinos

A new report from Special Counsel Merrick Bobb looks at more than 380 shootings by sheriff's deputies over 15 years.

Sunderlands in the media again

Zac Sunderland, the Southern California sailor who navigated solo around the world at age 17, and his father Laurence will be on the new season of the CBS reality show,...

Obama visit: not much on the entertainment list

Rapper and singer-songwriter B.o.B., Adam 12 and the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles will provide the entertainment at House of Blues.

KNBC gets a new boss *

Steve Carlston is the new president and general manager of NBC4 Los Angeles. He comes from the CBS stations in Salt Lake City.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 9.22.11

SoCal's commute not so bad, solo driving up, Schwarzenegger to pen memoir and more.

Latest Mexico atrocity: 35 bodies dumped, Calderon in L.A.

Felipe Calderon, the president of Mexico, is being welcomed in Los Angeles this evening by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — to promote tourism.

OC officers charged in death of Kelly Thomas

It's one of the first times – if not the first time – that prosecutors in Orange County have charged an on-duty police officer with murder, the Register says.

R.E.M. and 'My So-Called Life'

With the news that R.E.M. is breaking up, James Poniewozik warns: "For the next day or two, those of us who attended college in the '80s and '90s are going to be insufferable."

New bestsellers in SoCal: Jackie O

The top sellers at Southern California independent bookstores through Sunday.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 9.21.11

Politics don't favor a Latino seat, Mexico's president comes to town, crime and pot shops, Rainey poses a question on class, World Peace gives away money and more plans for Pacific Standard Time.

Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw wins his 20th game

Two things have gone right for the Dodgers in what has basically been a lost season: pitcher Clayton Kershaw and centerfielder Matt Kemp have turned the corner and become elite...

Paramount unveils major redo of its Hollywood lot

paramount-studio34.jpg Paramount Pictures said today it will seek city approval for a 25-year makeover and expansion of the 56-acre studio lot on Melrose Avenue, the last of the big studios actually located in Hollywood.

Durkee confronted on camera by Fox 11

Kinde Durkee, the campaign treasurer suspected of absconding with the funds of many California Democrats, has been avoiding the cameras since her release on bail.

Missed it by that much: car on the edge

car-at-edge copy.jpg Check out the car hanging over the edge of a parking structure on Wilshire Boulevard near Veteran Avenue in Westwood.

PBS station in San Diego to unveil intelligent news show

KPBS in San Diego plans to launch "Evening Edition," a weeknight local news and analysis show, on Sept. 26.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 9.20.11

FPPC might ease limits for Durkee victims, Villaraigosa still in D.C., Jan Perry gets an endorsement, Cenk Uygur joins Current TV and more.

Finke, from vacation, accuses The Wrap of misusing moguls' names *

Finke says she's gone until October, then blasts rival Sharon Waxman.

Californians love cool trains...not

Historian Richard White provides a dose of reality for the romantic notion of high-speed trains zipping across California, just like in "France, Japan, and now China."

Tickets: Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Live Talks LA has made tickets available for a few LA Observed readers and their guests to see Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson on Thursday at Track 16, in Santa...

Catherine Mulholland exhibit opens in Northridge

mulholland-exhibit-cover.jpg I'm taking part in a panel discussion Tuesday at the Cal State Northridge library.

LA Observed on KCRW: The economy

My radio column tonight on KCRW: the new poverty numbers, signs that a new recession may be ahead and the death on a Hollywood street of homeless former basketball star Lewis Brown.

Dolores Hope dies at 102 *

The widow of comedian Bob Hope died this morning.

Did Heisler scoop the Times on Marinovich?

mikhail-marinovich-200.jpg A bit over a month since Mark Heisler was excused as the Los Angeles Times' NBA columnist, his byline showed up on a story in the New York Times on Mikhail Marinovich. A few days before the LAT ran a story.

City of L.A. sues SkyTag over supergraphics

In court documents filed Friday, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich asked for $2,500 for each day that the Beverly Hills company allegedly violated Los Angeles rules.

Daily News publisher adds Breeze, P-T

jack-klunder-mustang.jpg Officially, Jack Klunder is now publisher of the Los Angeles News Group’s metro division.

Morning Buzz: Monday 9.19.11

Emmy winners, Durkee fallout on campaigns, some candidate chatter, getting longer yellow lights in L.A., media notes and two journalist obit notes.

Shepard Fairey art in Westwood

fairey-ww-cityproject.jpg The City Project has posted a series of photos of wall art that has been popping up in Westwood Village.

Frogtown, the movie

Cassie spent her adolescence on the streets of L.A. then got herself together, only to slip back into the rabbit hole of urchins, dealers and characters in...Frogtown.

Eleanor Mondale, media personality was 51

france-bay-imdb.jpg The daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale died of brain cancer.

Daunt gets a Hollywood job for her birthday

daunt-mug-thr.jpg To go with her first story this week in the print Hollywood Reporter, former City Hall reporter Tina Daunt has also joined the staff as the trade's contributing editor for politics.

Orcas put on hunting show two miles off Palos Verdes

A pod of seven killer whales is filmed going after a sea lion right beside a whale-watch boat.

Artest, Ron is now World Peace, Metta

artest-psa-shoot.jpg Mr. World Peace also intends to switch to number 70 on his Lakers jersey.

Sherman-Berman is now a blog

ShermanANDBerman.jpg The Jewish Journal intends to keep a close eye on the divisive local race.

Ex-LAT Magazine publisher sues over redlining of readers *

Steven Gellman says he was fired for objecting to the paper discontinuing magazine delivery to less desirable Zip codes.

Lewis Brown, basketball star featured in NYT, dies on streets

Back in May, New York Times bureau chief Adam Nagourney wrote about Lewis Brown, a homeless former star for Verbum Dei and UNLV who roamed the streets of Hollywood.

Morning Buzz: Friday short stack

Hollywood's disappointment with Obama, Republicans come to town, audio of Tim Rutten and more.

Los Angeles magazine, the women's issue *

LosAngeles_Maria.jpg Maria Shriver makes her return to journalism by interviewing philanthropist Wallis Annenberg in the new issue of Los Angeles. Plus: 50 local women who are game changers.

Migrating Vaux's swifts have arrived

swifts-dtla-2010.jpg The Vaux's swifts that come down the coast from Alaska every fall are roosting again in the chimney of the Chester Williams building at 5th and Broadway.

Andrew Malcolm's GOP blog leaving L.A. Times

After years using the paper's website to push Republican talking points, Malcolm will take his blog to Investors Business Daily.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 9.15.11

Romney still leads GOP race here, Zev and Latinos, possible end to the city's freelancer tax, a Hollywood hustler, a new blog with folks from the old lefty LA Weekly and today's LA Times comes wrapped in Kardashians.

Meteor streaks across SoCal sky *

People spotted the glowing object moving west to east as far away as Phoenix.

Hollywood Reporter deletes code grabbed from Finke's site

The Wrap saucily offers to let THR use its website code.

Schwada and Solyndra on WWLA at 7 tonight

LA Observed columnist John Schwada's reporting on the emerging political story over the Bay Area solar venture Solyndra Inc. has gotten a fair bit of attention.

Scarlett Johansson calls FBI over nude photos hacked off phone

scarlett-johannson-buzzfeed-crop.jpg The FBI confirms it's looking into a report that Johansson's nude self-photos were stolen from her mobile phone.

LA wins 2015 Special Olympics

The Special Olympics will return to the United States for the first time in 16 years.

Author visits Metropolis Books 'with a heavy heart'

metropolis-ream.jpg Author and humorist Ashley Ream blogs about stopping in to say goodbye to the Downtown bookstore.

Finke threat actually turns into lawsuit against Hollywood Reporter

Federal suit by Penske Media Corporation alleges copyright infringement and more.

Newest Mexico atrocity: tortured and hung over blogs

Mutilated bodies of a man and woman found hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo on Tuesday bore a sign naming two blogs and a warning that this is what happens to Mexicans who denounce the drug cartels online.

You were wondering about 'Pacific Standard Time'?

The video that explains Pacific Standard Time in less than two minutes and why the museums in L.A. are so excited.

LA Sketchbook: Bullet train

qqxsgBulletTrain.jpg

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 9.14.11

Durkee money may not be replaceable by campaigns, Obama approval plummets in California, high-speed rail "a mistake," running Doonesbury, Shriver makes the cover (as a reporter), tiger cub dies at the zoo and more.

Obama and Villaraigosa are the not-so-odd couple

The president and the mayor could benefit from each other's help.

'The Shame of College Sports'

Cover story in The Atlantic by Taylor Branch is the longest piece the magazine has run in four years.

Flying in America while half Jewish and half Arab

shoshana-hebshi-atlantic.jpg The short news items on Sunday about an airliner being escorted into Detroit by Air Force fighters on the anniversary of 9/11 — "false alarm" — didn't do justice to...

NYT restaurant critic Sifton named national editor

This makes Sam Sifton the editor more or less over most California reporting

Glendale coyote pack won't be killed

Once again, it appears the initial plan did not take into account the wholly predictable public backlash -- or the L.A. media's obsession with anything animal.

Mid-morning thunderheads

mt-wilson-thunderheads.jpg The thunderstorm towers are soaring high over the San Gabriels.

Water district uses public money to game Google

The obscurely powerful Central Basin Municipal Water District is in the news again — in more ways than one.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 9.13.11

John Calley dies, more Durkee victims, Feuer files to run in L.A., a new Villaraigosa press secretary and more.

Dodgers PR exec jumps to Arizona

Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers' vice president of communications, is moving up in the standings by taking the position of senior vice president for communications with the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.

Manny Ramirez arrested, domestic abuse case

The former Dodger's wife called police Monday and said he slapped her face during an argument.

LA Observed on KCRW: East-West axis

jmichaelwalker-map-piece.jpg In my Monday afternoon column coming up on KCRW, I praise today's Expo Line groundbreaking in Santa Monica — and the Libros Schmibros bookstore at the Hammer Museum.

KNX drops Michael Josephson

His ethics commentary has aired on KNX radio for 14 years.

Feinstein says campaign funds 'wiped out' by Durkee

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said today she doesn't know yet the exact losses, but says her campaign fundraising account has been "wiped out" in the scandal growing around popular Democratic treasure Kinde Durkee.

Morning Buzz: Monday 9.12.11

Expo Line phase to Santa Monica breaks dirt, ghost of Howard Jarvis, a new candidate for city Controller, Hollywood conservatives booked, Nikki Finke has another hissy fit and more.

Hollywood obits: Cliff Robertson, Charles Dubin

Robertson, an Oscar-winning actor whose credits span "Picnic" (1955) and "Spider-Man 3" (2007), died Saturday on Long Island at age 88.

Surfing history in Malibu

julie-cox-msa-zevweb.jpg The Malibu Surfing Association, which formed at Surfrider Beach in 1961, held its annual MSA Classic this weekend.

Comedy in the age of terrorism

Patt Morrison's Comedy Congress group talks about 9/11 and telling jokes about tragedy.

The Tamale lives on

the-tamale-lapl.jpg The East Los Angeles building that used to house The Tamale is a beauty salon these days.

Around LA Observed: 9/11 reflections and more

pepperdine-flags.jpg Around the LA Observed blogs this emotional weekend, 9/11 posts from Ellen Alperstein, John Schwada and Veronique de Turenne. Plus more.

Video: Air Force flies over Santa Monica Bay *

Four fighters, apparently F-16s, and an AC-130 gunship flew over the coast of Santa Monica Bay on Saturday afternoon.

LA Sketchbook: Fair food

qqLAFairFood.jpg

Laura Diaz leaves anchor chair, Rick Garcia in at CBS 2

Diaz_Headshot9911.jpg CBS 2 announced today that Diaz will leave after this Sunday's 9/11 special "to produce projects under her own banner."

Otis Redding's 70th birthday

Otis Redding, a Stax/Volt artist from Dawson Georgia, broke ground twice in California. He introduced R&B to the Whisky on the Sunset Strip in 1966. The next year he...

Sarah Spitz to retire from KCRW

The founding producer of "Left, Right & Center" and first co-producer of "Which Way, LA?" has been with KCRW since volunteering in 1983.

Morning Buzz: Friday short stack 9.9.11

Another bill to ease CEQA, ignoring City Hall audits, speculation on Yaroslavsky and more.

KNBC investigative producer headed to NYC

jeff-michael-fox.JPG Fred Mamoun was an L.A. Press Club journalist of the year in June.

Tamales as L.A's first street food

the-tamale-lapl.jpg Interesting piece by Gustavo Arellano in the L.A. Times Food section this week on the historical place of tamales — and the XLNT company — in Los Angeles cuisine.

La Niña conditions are back, says NOAA

drought_300-noaa.jpg La Niña typically means a drier-than-usual wet season in Southern California and across the Southwest, but wetter months for our friends in the Pacific Northwest.

Lights start coming on around San Diego

signonsd-blackout.jpg Much of the city of San Diego is still dark, but some areas — including the south end of Orange County and the desert cities of the Coachella Valley — are gradually getting power back.

Belarus honors a hockey team

minsk-ceremony.jpg Tears, candles and a moving display as each player from the Minsk team knelt at a photo of a deceased counterpart, then skated a solitary puck the length of the ice.

Current conditions in the SoCal desert

Without power or air conditioning, it could be a long night in the lower deserts. Here are the current temperatures.

San Diego declares emergency, asks drivers to get off roads

With essentially all power off across the region served by San Diego Gas & Electric, the biggest problem faced by the SDPD right now is rush-hour traffic without stop lights.

End of an era: Rocket Video closing on La Brea

The La Brea Avenue video rental store will stop renting Saturday and put everything on sale. Doors close at the end of the September.

It's spider web season

spinder-rabe.jpg The spiders are out in L.A., plus remembering 9/11 at KPCC.

Villaraigosa, Torrance mom get good seats at Obama speech

The White House list of invited guests sitting in First Lady Michelle Obama's box for the president's jobs speech tonight includes Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Tamara Washington, "a single mother."

Garcetti announces he's running for mayor *

City Council President Eric Garcetti tossed his name in the crowded ring this morning.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 9.8.11

AEG bill advances, Amazon cuts a tax deal, Villaraigosa to D.C., Saul Gonzalez moves from KCET to KCRW and more.

Historic Wilshire church for sale

wilshire-church-for-sale.jpg You don't see this every day, even in Los Angeles. A big ol' yellow For Sale sign on a church, and not just any church.

Lynn Newcomb Jr., local skiing legend was 91

Newcomb installed the first ski lift in Southern California, at Mt. Waterman.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl website fades to black

lokomotiv-website.jpg HCLokomotiv.ru...

On the relationship between beat writer and athlete *

Nice blog post on Ruslan Salei, the former Ducks player who died today in the Russia plane crash, of the L.A. Times.

Afternoon media notes

It's hot in the media tent in Simi Valley, plus more.

Schwada runs into Leonard Shapiro

Schwada1.jpg The newest contributor at LA Observed is John Schwada, the longtime reporter in Los Angeles who was recently let go by Fox 11.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 9.7.11

U.S.S. Iowa win for San Pedro, Sacramento's scary week, shark fin ban, a new LAFD chief and media notes galore.

Former L.A. hockey players presumed dead in Russia crash *

Former Kings forward Pavol Demitra and former Ducks defenseman Ruslan Salei.were believed to be on the plane.

Durkee remains in jail

Arraignment for Kinde Durkee, the Burbank campaign treasurer accused of stealing as much as $677,000 from at least one of the hundreds of Democrats she works for, was postponed until Friday.

Koretz wants to ban your paper bags too

Many cities ban plastic bags, but Los Angeles city councilman Paul Koretz also wants to forbid stores from providing you with paper bags.

Buddy Holly day in L.A.

GlassesSign.jpg Today would have been the 75th birthday of the rock and roll pioneer who died at 22 in the 1959 plane crash that also killed Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson. At 11:30 a.m.outside the Capitol Records building, Holly's widow Maria Elena Holly will accept his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Lessons on science from Sandy Koufax

Wesleyan biology professor Frederick M. Cohan and his Little League pals sat in the stands at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 9, 1965 and watched Koufax pitch a perfect game.

Batman invades Downtown

batman-dr-street.jpg Gotham City goons tried to stop Jeff Schultz from getting a shot of this weekend location shoot for "The Dark Knight Rises."

Enviro attorney: build that stadium

On tonight's "Which Way, L.A.?" on KCRW, lawyer David Pettit of the Natural Resources Defense Council introduced his comments about AEG's bill in Sacramento by saying that he — and NRDC — want the downtown NFL stadium to be built.

Baquet gets a top job at NYT

Dean Baquet, whose tenure as editor of the Los Angeles Times ended over his refusal to make deep budget cuts, was named today as the managing editor for news of the New York Times.

Durkee case details spill, and it's bad

The government's accusations against the big Democratic campaign treasurer are substantial.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 9.6.11

Showdown today at the Board of Supes, thinking about Sacramento, a new land use website, a Downtown blog signs off, a tree falls in Echo Park and much more for a short week.

Free tickets to see Hal Holbrook, Jim O'Shea

Holbrook-Jacket.jpg Live Talks Los Angeles is offering LA Observed readers tickets to see actor Hal Holbrook discuss his memoir, "Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain," with Robert Patrick.

Labor Day weekend political notes

There's no use denying it: the political season is upon us.

When is a Calderon just a Calderon?

Good item regarding the perpetual presence of family members named Calderon in the 58th Assembly district at the eastern end of Los Angeles County.

New literary map of L.A.

walker-map-hammer.jpg As part of David Kipen's Libros Schmibros pop-up bookstore at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, artist and author J. Michael Walker created a map that spans 23 feet by 5 feet that depicts L.A. literary figures.

LA Observed on KCRW

In tonight's column, my observation that Labor Day doesn't mark the end of summer here merges into some thoughts on crows and the mountain lion killed last week on the 405 freeway.

New character for Denise Hamilton

denise-hamilton-200.jpg Eve Diamond, reporter, gives way to Maggie Weinstock Silver, an Adderall-addicted crisis PR consultant who formerly worked at Sitrick and lives in Cypress Park.

FT takes Bratton to lunch, they talk L.A. and London

ft-bratton-toon.jpg Bill Bratton to the Financial Times editor taking him to lunch: "So I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I was expecting a much older woman."

Just another ballplayer, up close and personal

Sometimes Angels bench warmer Reggie Willits is now 30, has never stuck in the major leagues, and probably never will.

Journo couple competes, writes columns about it

Dan Evans, the editor of the Times Community News papers in the foothills, and Donna Evans, the editor of La Canada Flintridge Patch, are married and their publications compete for news and readers. They just want you to know that.

Viewing Bill Burke and the Dodgers through smoggy eyes

Chip Jacobs, the co-author of "Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles," observes on Burke being partners with the world's worst air polluter.

Lights dim for the last time at Charlie O's

charlie-os-logo.jpg Daily News columnist Doug McIntyre on the weekend shuttering of the Van Nuys jazz bar.

LA Sketchbook: Cornerstone

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Farewell email from LAT 40-year man and soccer writer

Grahame L. Jones, the Los Angeles Times' longtime soccer writer, was among the last of the 40-year newsroom presences. He began on the news side as a reporter and editor...

Forced vacation use ordered at L.A. Times

The same week that parent Tribune asked the bankruptcy judge to approve bonuses for 640 managers, Los Angeles Times employees received an email saying they will not accrue vacation for the rest of 2011.

KNBC gonna need a new truck

nbc-van-on-fire.jpg Twitter user @veisandrew posted a cellphone picture of an NBC truck burning up just now on the 405 freeway in Sepulveda Pass.

Jewish Journal names a president and a publisher

Tribe Media Corp, the parent of the Jewish Journal weekly, announced that David Suissa is joining as president

AEG stadium a tough sell in Sacramento

There are the San Diego folks, who are protective of the Chargers, and then a broader problem: the rest of the state don't much like L.A.

Afternoon news notes

chria-jeon-libya-national.jpg UCLA student in Libya, a light quake, a professor selling meth, big waves and more.

Berman v. Sherman divides Hollywood

Many in Hollywood (and especially in Valleywood) wish the looming primary fight between the two Democrats would just go away.

National correspondent signs off at LAT

Add Faye Fiore, a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times based in Washington, to the list of those taking the paper up on the offer to leave this week.

Lost creeks of Westwood

ucla-bridge.jpg Blogger Militant Angeleno explores the four arroyos that used to direct runoff from the Santa Monica Mountains across UCLA and on toward Ballona Creek.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 9.1.11

Amazon offers to trade jobs for taxes, Liu confirmed, maneuvering in congressional districts, Obama to La Jolla and A.J. Duffy suddenly sounds like a suit. Plus more.

Daragahi, Petruno, Jones latest names to leave L.A. Times

daragahi-grab.jpg A marquee foreign correspondent, the markets columnist and the soccer writer are moving on, while talk heats up about a rival L.A. news operation.
Streetscape | Sunset@Alvarado
LA-Express-box-Sunset-alvar.jpgPorn must be affected by the print apocalypse too. Earlier spotting
Vin Scully sends off Yaroslavsky
scully-zev-grab.jpgWatch the video of Scully advising Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky on how to get started as a baseball announcer — far away from his chair at Dodger Stadium. Inside
Where 'drank the Kool Aid' comes from
jonestown-massacre.jpgThe phrase may be offensive to someone you know.
LAO_JeremyScahill copy.jpg Click to see bigger.