LA Observed archive
for January 2012

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

New grants available to investigative reporters

The George Polk Program at Long Island University wants to help experienced journalists finish that investigative project that's crying out to be done. Grants are expected to range from $2,500 to $10,000.

Phil Jackson writing memoir of his coaching years

phil+jackson+nytcrop.jpg The former Lakers coach is writing "Eleven Rings" with Hugh Delehanty, the co-author of Jackson's previous bestseller, "Sacred Hoops." Penguin has agreed to publish.

Beutner's money pipeline appears to be clogged

beutner-lamag.jpg When the last campaign fundraising reports came in six months ago, Austin Beutner's camp crowed how he was setting the money pace for the 2013 candidates for mayor. This time, they are pooh-poohing any of that.

Hollywood gets a visit from Pelosi

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi entertained Hollywood political players last night with her plans for regaining a Democratic majority in November. Plus: Obama's biggest Hollywood bundlers.

Ansel Adams' 'lost' LA photos to go on display

ansel-oil-lacienega-beverly-lapl.jpg The images of 1940 Los Angeles that photographer Ansel Adams shot for Fortune magazine, then put away and forgot for awhile, are getting their first public display other than on websites.

Vanity Fair's Hollywood cover posted

vanity-fair-hollywood-cover-2012.jpg Yes, once again it's young and mostly white actresses, fronted by Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska. Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain.

Conan O’Brien to headline event for Geffen Playhouse

conan-geffen.jpg O'Brien, Nick Offerman and Patton Oswalt will take part in a family-friendly benefit for the Geffen Playhouse Story Pirates Play/Write program.

Honda's Ferris Bueller commercial for the Super Bowl

The Natural History Museum, downtown, Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Coast Highway are among the Los Angeles-area scenery in this new video pitch for the 2012 CR-V, featuring Matthew Broderick.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 1.31.12

Fired teacher arrested for lewd conduct on 23 children, Michelle Obama comes to town, a redevelopment agencies explainer, film critics who lost their cars to the Hollywood arsonist get some wheels, Ed Padgett talks about LAT firing, and more.

NPR: 'Good time to be a Clippers fan'

clipper-darrell-cd.jpg Today's "Morning Edition" has a feature all ready to go on LA Clippers superfan Darrell Bailey, better known as "Clipper Darrell."

Dodger Thoughts blog goes indie

jon+weisman+mug.jpg Jon Weisman's "outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers and baseball" has left ESPN for life on its own.

Whoa, the Clippers just beat the Thunder

clippers-beat-thunder.jpg The Clippers took on the NBA's best team tonight at Staples Center, built a first half lead and hung on to win.

Jazz Bakery coming back to Culver City in style

kirk-douglas-theatre-east.jpg Ruth Price's Jazz Bakery received approval today from the Culver City city council to develop a new Frank Gehry-designed, 250-seat theater.

Dangerous threats to America nabbed at LAX

brits-blocked-at-lax.jpg Oh sorry, it was just two British tourists on holiday. Were they sent home because of tweets?

Times employees' suit over Zell deal officially wrapped

dan-neil.jpg In the long legal fight over Sam Zell's dubious use of employee funds to acquire control of Tribune, the good guys have won, more or less.

Vin Scully collects another trophy *

Scully-miller-scsb-hoo.jpg Mister Los Angeles, getting ready for his 63rd season in the Dodgers press box, is the local sports broadcasters' choice for best radio play by play. Oh, you think?

Tribune has paid $231 million in bankruptcy fees so far

zell-hell-90.jpg That's $212.9 million in professionals' fees since Sam Zell's Tribune Company slipped into bankruptcy court in 2008, plus another $17.8 million in lawyers’ expenses.

Dueling releases on early money for 2013 mayor race

greuel-garcetti.jpg Periodic campaign reports are due Tuesday, so the day before brings the press releases trying to grab a headline (or prevent a headline) for a factoid that matters little at this stage.

Goodreads makes the break from Amazon

goodreads-screen-grab.jpg "Goodreads celebrates it's Independence today", founder Otis Y. Chandler tweets.

Hertzberg not running, but he got his name around

BobHertzberg.jpg Former speaker and losing candidate for mayor releases a statement (through campaign strategist John Shallman) saying thanks but no thanks.

'SoCal Connected' housing stories to get top Press Club award

hacla-grab-scc.jpg KCET's weekly news show "SoCal Connected" will receive this year's Public Service Award from the Los Angeles Press Club for exposing "lavish and out of control spending at the Los Angeles Housing Authority.

Video: Olvera Street in 1937 reflects the times

Every Anglo L.A. cliche of local history and Mexican-American culture you could want, with some quaint pronunciations.

Morning Buzz: Monday 1.30.12

SAG Awards winners, Gov. Brown defends high-speed rail, Mayor Villaraigosa on CNN and at USC, a question for Carmen Trutanich, who runs the LAPD and a detective goes on trial for an old murder.

Dodgers derby loses some players, gains some

Bill Shaikin of the Times reports that the finalists include a team of Santa Monica financier Tom Barrack and Leo Hindery, a New Yorker and founder of the Yankees' cable channel.

OR7 crosses highway 395, takes a break

or7-medford.jpg California's first wild wolf since the 1920s roamed east across U.S. highway 395 on the Madeline Plains north of Susanville in Lassen County sometime in the past ten days, then seemed to slow the "dispersal" quest that began last September in northern Oregon.

Top Beutner advisers quit his campaign

beutner-lamag.jpg Ace Smith and Sean Clegg, the longtime Nothern California-based political advisers to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, have left the mayoral campaign of businessman Austin Beutner in the days since he gave a policy speech criticizing City Hall.

Friday desk clearing

Foo Fighters for Obamajam, Wesson punishes City Council rivals and an LAPD detective arrested, plus more.

South Bay author reported kidnapped by Somali pirates

At the request of friends and the advice of government officials, we will report limited information, including the author's name, until more is known.

Roger Carrick memorial draws a powerful group

Friends of the environmental attorney Roger Carrick held a well-attended life celebration last night at Para Los Niños, the Downtown childrens' center where he was on the board and the former chairman.

Quick morning links for Friday 1.27.12

San Fernando ticket controversy, James Franco upsets USC and more

LA Sketchbook: NoHo ho-ho

Noho CRA Cartoon lowres.jpg

It's back to the Westside for next month's Obamajam

obama-piolin.jpg I guess it's good news that the president's main venue on Feb. 15 will be in Holmby Hills, at the home of soap opera producer and writer Bradley Bell and his wife Colleen.

Seeking a bit more love for El Segundo

el-segundo-signs.jpg Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times did a story on the LAX-adjacent city of El Segundo becoming a trendy office location. It's got the ocean, a small-town feel west...

KPCC hits them where it hurts

kpcc-ad-on-kpfk.jpg Just another KPCC billboard — except this one is on the roof of the Cahuenga Boulevard building adjacent to rival public radio station KPFK.

Los Angeles Magazine editor on LA, buses and the Times

mary+melton+laane.jpg Since taking over as editor of Los Angeles in 2009, Mary Melton has "continued to push the publication beyond its former Westside comfort zone into the far corners of our megalopolis," says The Frying Pan News, the city and politics website from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.

Kings players give shoutout to the Easy Reader

Los Angeles Kings players Jarrett Stoll and Matt Greene let a video camera ride along as they drove from Hermosa Beach to a game at Staples Center.

Evicting the Latino Theater Company from LATC

ltc-logo.jpg Adam Leipzig, publisher of the website Cultural Weekly, doesn't pretend to be objective about the city's move to remove the Latino Theater Company from the Los Angeles Theatre Center, its Spring Street home for six years.

LA Times bureau chief in New York signs off

Geraldine Baum's farewell note to the Times newsroom reminds you what a collegial family a newspaper is to its inhabitants

If you think LA's new districts are bad...

chicagojigsaw-crop.jpg An architecture student made a jigsaw puzzle out of Chicago's 50 wards

Now this is a quick and dirty book review

taco-usa-cover.jpg OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano's new book, "Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America," was just praised by Publishers Weekly as one of the top cookbooks of the spring crop. That would be nicer for the author if it were a cookbook.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 1.26.12 *

News, politics and media notes plus a melting Prius

Million Dollar Theater projection booth

night-visions-million-dolla.jpg Iris Schneider was with projectionist Tom Ruff for tonight's showing of Kubrick's "Paths of Glory."

Philippe's raising a cup of coffee to...45 cents

philippe-roof-sign-lao.jpg Since 1977, Philippe has charged just nine cents for coffee — plus a penny in tax. Nice touch and marketing gimmick while it lasted

Let the redistricting fun begin

white+horse+inn+lao.jpg The secret City Council district maps were released publicly today, revealing whose ox is being gored. As she foreshadowed, Councilwoman Jan Perry is among the gored.

Brian Williams sends off George Lewis on 'Nightly News'

After 42 years (28 of them in Los Angeles), George Lewis' last day at work at NBC was today, not yesterday.

Gigi Gordon, lawyer was 54

The well-known criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles recently was directing attorney of the Post Conviction Assistance Center. She died last week.

Bratton says LAPD coordinated with CIA on terrorism

Former LAPD chief William Bratton was on "The Young Turks" on Current TV when he talked about the department's interactions with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Obama fundraising 'packages' for Hollywood get creative

obamajam-creshts-1011.jpg The Obama Victory Fund is sending out an invitation to upcoming Obama reelection events offering local high rollers some options on how to get past their upset at the president's stance on SOPA and PIPA.

Ex-Register reporter turns childhood rage into National Book Award

ThanhhaLai-ocm.jpg Former Orange County Register reporter Thanhha Lai "spent 15 years grinding away at a sprawling novel she could never quite get right. So, five years ago, she turned her creative energies to a verse novel about a single year in her childhood as a Vietnamese émigré."

Yaroslavsky bristles at criticism over his public comments plan

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky isn't a fan of the coverage of his proposal to cut back on the amount of time wasted listening to the same gadflies at Board of Supervisors meetings. And he really didn't care for the Los Angeles Times story about it this past weekend.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 1.25.12

Fighting over LA turf in redistricting, a post-election chat with Joe Buscaino, Steve Lopez stakes out disabled placard cheaters, LAPD will search the Calabasas landfill for gun and tough words for Frank McCourt from ex-Dodgers exec.

Tonight's sunset: as beautiful as you heard

alcorn+Los+Angeles+Skyline.jpg I kept seeing Twitter and Facebook posts go by marveling at the sunset over Los Angeles on Tuesday. I thought, well OK, sorry I missed it. Luckily, photographer Jonathan...

Anaϊs Nin and Henry Miller, the LA years

nin+to+kraft.jpg Visiting blogger Barbara Kraft, a Los Angeles writer and former Time magazine reporter, knew both Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller. She met the famous former couple independently while they were living here.

When art and politics collided on the Sunset Strip

DiSuvero-Peace-Tower1.jpg Historian Jon Wiener op-eds in the Los Angeles Times about a divisive 1966 art installation intended as a protest against the Vietnam War.

Ad for the 1 percent

aspen-jet-grab.jpg Spotted on the Los Angeles Times website.

Newhall Pass closed again? There's an app for that

what+will+close+nehall+pass.jpg The narrow squeeze between the San Fernando Valley and points north shuts down so often that a blog has come up with the, um, Comprehensive Newhall Pass Disaster Planning Tool.

Wolf OR7 still in California and moving fast

wolf+map+jan11+12.jpg The Oregon gray wolf that entered California on Dec. 28 has been tracked moving through Lassen County and crossing several roads and highways.

KPCC hires Russ Stanton, ex LAT editor, as VP of content

It's unclear whether this was in the works when Russ Stanton stepped down as editor of the Los Angeles Times in December.

George Lewis retiring from NBC after 42 years *

george-lewis-nbc-portrait.jpg George Lewis, the venerable NBC News correspondent in Los Angeles, is hanging up his microphone on January 31. What's he doing today, on his last day in the field? Covering the Oscar nominations.

Dennis McCarthy taking his leave from Daily News

dennis+mccartthy+DN.jpg "It's been 40 years since I took a vow of poverty and became a newspaperman," Dennis McCarthy writes in his column announcing he will retire from the Daily News on January 31.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 1.24.12

Eleven Oscar nomoinations for "Hugo," nine best picture candidates, Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. goes to trial with Dick Clark, Westfield will serve food at LAX, Cadiz water project is back, an Occupy protester gets jail for hitting cops, plus the New York Times moves Hancock Park to "downtown Los Angeles."

Yosemite time lapse

Two men who met through Vimeo made a stunning video from time lapse photos of Yosemite National Park.

John Levy, pioneering jazz manager was 99

John+levy+nea.jpg Levy's clients included Cannonball Adderley, Betty Carter, Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Mann, Les McCann, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson and many others. In 2006 the National Endowment for the Arts recognized Levy's role in jazz.

Dodgers receive more than ten offers by Monday deadline

magicdodgers.jpg As of Monday's soft deadline to float a non-binding bid to buy the Dodgers, the players include Magic Johnson, Peter O'Malley, Rick Caruso and Joe Torre, Mark Cuban, Steven Cohen, Stanley Gold and the family of the late Roy Disney plus others.

David Goldstein to be honored by Press Club

david_goldstein_cbs2.jpg The board of directors of the Los Angeles Press Club selected CBS2/KCAL9 investigative reporter David Goldstein for this year's Joseph M. Quinn Memorial Award for journalistic achievement and distinction.

Free tickets: Jason Alexander

Jason-Alexander-ltla.jpg Jason Alexander, the actor/writer/director, will engage in conversation with Val Zavala of KCET-TV on Wednesday night at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica.

'Yoga Girl' videomaker says he didn't sell out: just the opposite

David Wittman, the DJ Dave who made a hit YouTube music video spoof last year about getting real in the Whole Foods parking lot (on Lincoln Boulevard), and followed it up with a new satire of yoga studio culture, gets "noticed" in this past weekend's New York Times Sunday Styles section.

Judge kicks media out of civil trial about rich people's money

A fee dispute between the wealthy widow of sub-prime mortgage magnate Roland Arnall and her former tax attorney has gone to a civil jury trial in Los Angeles. That's not...

CHP officer guilty of killing her husband

Former California Highway Patrol officer Tomiekia Johnson was convicted Monday of first-degree murder for shooting her husband beside the Riverside Freeway in 2009.

Dean Murphy on his, and his sons', coping with loss

Those of you who remember Dean E. Murphy from his days reporting around town for the Los Angeles Times might want to take note of the piece he has in the Modern Love column in Sunday's New York Times.

Chief Beck loves him some Supercross

Video: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at Dodger Stadium talking about his fandom of motorbikes.

Morning Buzz: Monday 1.23.12

Sherman wins a round against Berman, what sets the two congressmen apart besides their backers, Jim Newton on Herb Wesson, Channel 4 rebrands news, and more.

The humble but iconic SigAlert to be feted today

sigmon-portrait2.gif This morning at 9 a.m., Councilman Tom LaBonge and others will gather at the Caltrans building in Downtown to celebrate the first use of Loyd Sigman's SigAlert system.

Chicken Boy lineage traced to Muffler Man

chicken-boy-big.jpg Highland Park's rooftop pollo gets cited as a prime example of a Muffler Man derivative on the "50th anniversary of the creation of these strong and silent giants, who, with their behemoth height, are some of the largest examples of American roadside kitsch."

Actor finds you can go home again

mueller+stahl+spiegel.jpg Armin Mueller-Stahl, the German actor who has settled in Pacific Palisades, recently returned to his birthplace in East Prussia to receive honorary citizenship. Oh, but it's so much more complicated than that.

Sunday news shorts

philip vannatter-obit-ap.jpg Rep. Gabrielle Gifords to leave Congress, Simpson case detective Philip Vannatter dies and more.

Joe Paterno, former football coach was 85

The Penn State football legend who was fired last year over a child sex scandal involving an assistant died Sunday, his family announced. CBS Sports apologized for posting an erroneous news story about his death on Saturday.

NBC 4, KPCC dominate the Golden Mike Awards

rtna-logo.jpg Channel 4 swept the best TV newscast awards at Saturday night's Golden Mikes, and KPCC picked up nine trophies in the radio categories.

Gingrich wins pretty big in South Carolina

Newt Gingrich got 40 percent of the vote in Saturday's South Carolina primary, well ahead of both Mitt Romney (27 percent) and Rick Santorum (17 percent) — "upending the Republican race for the presidency."

Phil Jackson not looking to coach Knicks or anybody else

phil+jackson+nytcrop.jpg Phil Jackson, the ex-Lakers coach, sat down for lunch by the beach on Thursday and talked with Mark Heisler, the ex-LA Times basketball columnist now writing hoops for the New York Times.

Top (and bottom) TV sports anchors or reporters per Hoffarth

patrickoneal+with+mom.jpg Curt Sandoval of Channel 7 tops Daily News columnist Tom Hoffarth's annual list of the top 10 sports anchors and reporters on Los angeles television. A local female reporter leads his bottom ten list.
qqSan Fernando Laundry.jpg The acting police chief in the city of San Fernando has been placed on administrative leave during an investigation into an allegation that he fixed a traffic ticket for Fred Flores, an aide to Rep. Howard Berman

Jabba, LA's only hippo was 28

jabba+the+hippo.jpg The Los Angeles Zoo announced today that it had euthanized its 28-year-old hippopotamus. Jabba had been sick for about a month.

Six more hours of local TV news start this weekend *

kaj+goldberg+cbs2.jpg The CBS 2 and KCAL duopoly launch new morning news shows this weekend with Serene Branson and Kaj Goldberg anchoring.

KPFK to air Johnny Otis tributes

johnny+otis+bill+gardner-kpfk.jpg KPFK (FM 90.7), which had a long association with Johnny Otis, will air tributes starting tonight with Bill Gardner's 8 p.m. show, "Rhapsody in Black."

Long Beach stakes a claim to the bike-friendly elite

Long Beach wants to be known as more a bicycle friendly city than Portland, Oregon — and even put its claim of two-wheeled superiority on the wall of city hal

Anthony Bourdain lays over in LA on Monday

bourdain-innout-cameras.jpg The Layover, Anthony Bourdain's new food and (a little) travel show on the Travel Channel, has been to London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Montreal, Hong Kong, Miami, Singapore and Rome and now comes to Los Angeles. Here's where he goes.

Beyonce on Etta James: 'This is a huge loss'

etta+James+beyonce.jpg Beyonce Knowles released this statement on today's passing of Etta James, who she portrayed in "Cadilac Records."

Geraldo coming to KABC talk radio after all

geraldo-fox-grab.jpg Cheech Marin will be the first guest on the new Gerald Rivera show that debuts Monday at 10 a.m.

Ron Grover jumps to Reuters *

The longtime Business Week correspondent in Hollywood is leaving Bloomberg BusinessWeek to be the Los Angeles bureau chief for Reuters.

Etta James, singer was 73

Etta James, who was 73, is another of the great R&B figures to come out of the Los Angeles area. She died Friday in Riverside after suffering from ill health, including leukemia and dementia.

Buzzless Friday

No Morning Buzz today. Here are Mark's headlines at LA Biz Observed....

Dr. Lucy, the earthquake lady, profiled in Smithsonian

lucy+jones+smithsonian.jpg Lucy Jones, the best-known seismologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, has been holding the hands of Southern Californians (and science-challenged reporters) through earthquakes for a long time now. "I’m everybody’s mother," she says in a new Smithsonian piece by Amy Wallace.

Gray whale tracked from Russia to our waters

gray-whale-map.png A female gray whale that summers off Sakhalin Island in the wetsern North Pacific was expected to swim past the Los Angeles County coast on Thursday and head south on Friday. Named Varvara by scientists, the eight-year-old whale is interesting to researchers for a couple of reasons.

Sarah Burke, Winter X Games champion was 29

angela-ruggiero-uni.jpg The 29-year-old freeskier from Canada who suffered a head injury and brain damage during a Jan. 10 training run on the superpipe at Park Mountain Resort in Utah, died this morning. Her organs and tissues were donated in accordance with her wishes.

Afternoon notes *

Bronson Canyon body parts, Johnny Otis tribute and more.

New York tabloid headline o' the day

moldovan-woman.jpg Chicken of the sea.

The Economist's man in Los Angeles

andreas+kluth+zocalo.jpg If he didn’t work at The Economist, Andreas Kluth "would still be precisely the type of cosmopolitan his magazine would want as a reader," Andrés Martinez writes for Zócalo Public Square.

Johnny Otis, R&B figure was 90

Johnny Otis, the white songwriter and singer from the Bay Area who said he "chose" to live as a black man, died in the Los Angeles area on Tuesday.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 1.19.12

Rick Perry out, Jerry Brown at City Hall, Antonio Villaraigosa at breakfast in Washington, a new radio talk show and Jonathan Gold's eulogy to Angeli.

'The Descendants' music coming to South Bay

descendants-soundtrack.jpg The Southern California Slack Key Festival on Sunday at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center will feature some of the top Hawaiian musicians whose work made it into Alexander Payne's...

How our brains navigate in the city

city-overview-from-getty-la.jpg Turns out we might keep our own little mental map inside our heads. That's no surprise. But where it's pointed did make researchers think.

Police find hands and feet near head in Bronson Canyon

Investigators believe the body parts found off a trial under the Hollywood sign belong to a man who was only dead for a day or two.

Is Hollywood boycotting Obama for turning against SOPA?

universal-studios-gate-clos.jpg Clearly, top Hollywood executives feel burned that President Obama has stopped backing their very controversial pet measures to fight content piracy. But enough to drop their support? Two views from Hollywood websites.

KPFK shuffles the afternoon lineup

kpfk.jpg The Pacifica station builds around Truthdig Radio and also announces a new backup generator on Mount Wilson to guard against outages.

Huffington Post planning web TV 'network' to rival CNN

Arianna Huffington and AOL chairman Tim Armstrong have been dropping hints about the Huffington Post Streaming Network, or HPSN.

Impressive gallery of photos from the Costa Concordia

costa-concordia-pic.jpg The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has posted pics of the sinking cruise ship and passengers from before, during and after....

Bad headline pun o' the day

erectile-screenshot-breeze.jpg From the Daily Breeze, sent in by a reader. And is there a single media outlet in Los Angeles that hasn't headlined, or written into the news lede, the...

Co-sponsors moving away from SOPA and PIPA *

wired-site-protest.jpg Online protests today against the Stop On-line Piracy Act in the House and the Senate's Protect Intellectual Property Act appear to be having an effect.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 1.18.12

Wikipedia and other sites go dark, Brown coming to town after speech, Alarcons in court, Hahn on Buscaino's election and more, including a book sale by the original MTV veejays.

Buscaino elected, and it wasn't close

joe-buscaino-campaign-pic.jpg LAPD cop Joe Buscaino won't have to do any more patrols if he doesn't want to. He was elected to the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday with 60 percent of the vote to just under 40 percent for Assemblyman Warren Furutani.

High school goalie may have been killed over jealousy

murder+suspects+pancho.jpg Romantic rivalry, not gangs, appears to be the motive in the murder of Francisco Javier Rodriguez Jr. outside the teenager's home in Winnetka. Two suspects with long rap sheets, a man and a woman, have been arrested.

Capitol Weekly suspends print edition, goes web only

The Sacramento-oriented weekly published by the York family of Malibu announced today that Thursday's ink-on-paper edition will be the last. The publication will continue on the web.

Paula Deen confirms diabetes and endorsement deal

The Southern TV chef known for her Krispy Kreme doughnut bread pudding and similar recipes went on "Today" to explain that she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years ago.

This day in L.A. history: Northridge earthquake

northridge1994-pkng-structure.jpg The Jan. 17, 1994 earthquake went in the books as a magnitude 6.7 quake that woke up millions about 4:31 a.m. It was the largest earthquake to strike under the city of Los Angeles (beneath Reseda to be precise) since the record-keepers began writing things down.

Morning Buzz for Tuesday 1.17.12

Berman raising money fast, Brown's State of the State coming, Yaroslavsky gets exasperating, plus HuffPo, NPR's Alex Kellogg and a girls' basketball team on the Eastside.

Why are L.A. skyscrapers so flat on top?

dtla-skyscrapers-flattop.jpg City code since 1974 has required helipads on top of tall buildings. (Luckily for the First Interstate Building, circa 1988.) Things could be different, though, if plans move ahead for skyscrapers along Hollywood Boulevard. Empire State Building anyone?

This day in L.A. history: Carole Lombard killed

gable-lombard-home-postcard.jpg Good on Cheryll Devall of KPCC for working up a radio piece on today's 70th anniversary of the day that Hollywood comic actress Carole Lombard died in a plane crash. Famously married to Clark Gable, Lombard was honored by FDR as the first American woman to die in the line of duty during World War II.

LA Observed on KCRW: Buscaino and Furutani in CD 15

buscaino+furutani.jpg On Tuesday, the race between Joe Buscaino and Warren Furutani comes to a close. On KCRW today I talked about what I'll be watching for on election night. Plus: a roundup of media coverage.
Politics page

Huntsman out of the race, endorses Romney

jon-huntsman-abc.jpg The former Utah governor went before the cameras in South Carolina this morning and formally pulled out of the race for president. He called on the remaining Republican candidates to clean up their acts.

'The Artist', 'The Descendants' and 'Downton Abbey' get globes

the-artist-pan-1.jpg Check out some of the locations from "The Artist" that have played roles in silent films by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and others.

Free tickets to see author Eric Weiner

eric-weiner-pic.jpg His new book is "Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine." He'll be in conversation with Lisa Napoli.

Why Boing Boing will go dark on January 18

access-denied-flickr.jpg Pioneering and wildly popular Los Angeles-based blog Boing Boing will take down all content temporarily on Wednesday, Jan. 18 to protest the proposed Protect IP Act and Stop Online Piracy Act pending in Congress.

'Mad Men' season to debut March 25

mad+men+draper+car+amc.jpg The opener of the AMC show's fifth season will run two hours, it was announced Saturday.

Playboy to end Chicago era, join Larry Flynt in Beverly Hills

playboy-drive.jpg Playboy Enterprises, founded in Chicago by Hugh Hefner in 1953, has been slowly moving west.

LA Sketchbook: Lap Band


Friday desk clearing

A roundup of news briefs, observations and email items.

Angeli Caffe, thanks for the memories *

insalate-forte-he.jpg Lots of tweeting and checking-in online tonight from the final night at Angeli Caffe on Melrose Avenue. And a call for food trucks to come feed the staff.

LA Sketchbook: Gallegly's choices

qqGallegly Choices.jpg

DUI charge dropped in Randy Michaels case

Just to close the circle in a story we reported earlier.

Ouch, that's a pisser

PissProbeLAT.jpg It seems the web people at the L.A. Times forgot that certain tags pop up when a mouse rolls over a photo on the paper's site.

Berman-Sherman reminds him of earlier speakership fight

This year's showdown in the Valley between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman does more than just echo the 1980 fight in Sacramento when Berman tried to unseat fellow Democrat Leo McCarthy as Speaker of the Assembly.

Bestsellers of the week

It's in hardcover nonfiction where some change is occurring.

Morning Buzz: Friday 1.13.12

High speed rail, impounding the cars of unlicensed drivers, a Wendy Greuel audit, growth at the Natural History Museum and more.

How Scientology spied on Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

cruise-salute.jpg Tony Ortega at the Village Voice reports that the top man in the Church of Scientology used Michael Doven, then Tom Cruise's personal assistant, to get reports from inside the actor's household. The former #2 backs up the account.

Correction o' the day *

Armand-Hammer-bw.jpg No, the Los Angeles Times acknowledges in a For the Record item, the late oil legend and Los Angeles power player Armand Hammer was not also a "baking soda tycoon."

Took a village to build Metropolis II

metropolis2-jg.jpg Chris Burden's installation now at LACMA came together with the help of an interesting crew that reflects Southern California.

Manny wants to play, cries about his family

manny-espn.jpg Manny Ramirez sat down for an attempt at image rehab with ESPN and vowed that if someone will just let him play baseball this season, he'll be a good role model.

'The Artist' wins Critics' Choice award for best picture

the-artist-100.jpg George Clooney and Viola Davis grabbed the best actor wins, Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer the supporting actor wins.

Some guy in the Valley wants to buy the Dodgers *

dodgers-buyer-stree-sh.jpg Sports talk has been putting Josh Macciello on the air to plead his case, so Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA went over to talk to him at his rented house in Studio City.

Mayor Villaraigosa headed back to Washington

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be in Washington from Tuesday to Friday next week in his role as head of the US Conference of Mayors.

Look at Obama's leaked celebrity 'wish list'

tina-fey-nbc.jpg President Obama's reelection team has furnished donors with a list of more than 190 well-known Americans who the campaign hopes will stand in for the president during the year.

Rep. Jerry Lewis really isn't running

Jerry Lewis, the dean of the California Republicans in Congress, confirmed today what's been around for a few days now

Before there was Starbucks...

mannings+highland+park+eastsider.jpg There were Manning's Coffee Shops.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 1.12.12

Student murdered in the Valley, City Hall park plans, making fun of TV critics, Olivia Munn gets naked, interviewing with Arianna Huffington, the KKK's membership roster in OC and more.

Furutani and Buscaino debate tonight on WWLA

At 7 p.m. on KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?," City Council candidates Warren Furutani and Joe Buscaino talk about the 15th district race that culminates this coming Tuesday.

Video: Sheriff shows off new high-tech patrol car at CES

Capt. Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is in Las Vegas talking up the electronic features of a black-and-white developed for the county by Raytheon.

Berman picks up a nice union endorsement

The Service Employees International Union in California will announce today its backing of Rep. Howard L. Berman in the San Fernando Valley showdown with fellow Democrat Rep. Brad Sherman.

Video: Deputy slugs woman on bus in Bellflower

Doesn't look good. The woman has a history of mental issues and assaults on police, says Sheriff Lee Baca, but she wasn't arrested in this incident.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 1.11.12

Judge OK's Dodgers deals, LAUSD may propose parcel tax, City Hall faces life without the CRA, a new editor for Huffington Post and more.

Dodgers and Fox make up, clearing way for sale

The Dodgers won't try to sell the team's television rights now, and Fox agrees not to object to the settlement between baseball and Frank McCourt.

No new conclusion in Natalie Wood death

After taking another look at the 1981 drowning of actress Natalie Wood, sheriff's detectives see no reason to alter the original finding: accidental death.

Video: Villaraigosa talks about hiding from abusive father *

For the first time that I remember, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa talks about hiding under the bed with his sister while his mother was beaten by a drunken father. “It’s probably the only time in my life that I’ve ever felt helpless," he tells Channel 2.

City Council votes to require condoms on porn actors

The 13-1 preliminary vote today would remove to need to spend $4 million to $5 million on a ballot measure — by adopting the measure's provisions.

LAPD vet doesn't stray far for his first CBS story

John Miller, the TV reporter who came into the LAPD with William Bratton and left to work in counter-terrorism in Washington, is now at CBS News. He does a story on bomb-sniffing dogs at LAX.

The Wrap grabs executive editor from the L.A. Times

The Wrap just announced it has created the position of Executive Editor and filled it with Lisa Fung, most recently the online editor for arts and entertainment at the Los Angeles Times website.

Mark Gold leaves Heal the Bay for UCLA

mark-gold-blog.jpg The 23-year veteran of Heal the Bay and the group's president for many years is stepping down to become associate director of UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He will stay on the group's board.

Chief Beck holds book party for Connie Rice *

The event was held in the Compstat room at the new Police Administration Building, was hosted by Chief Charlie Beck, and included red and white wine for an audience of Civic Center types, reporters and cops.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 1.10.12 *

Politics, media and more.


jake-vdt.jpg Best thoughts for Veronique from everyone connected with LA Observed, and our thanks for sharing Jake with Los Angeles all these years. He was one happy Malibu dog.

UCLA in the 1940s — in color

A new history book, UCLA: The First Century, has hundreds of photographs of the campus through the years, but this might be my favorite.

Vin Scully gets a bobblehead night

The reigning Mister Los Angeles will be the subject of the last bobblehead giveaway of the coming season at Dodger Stadium.

Behold the captive noses of Venice

noses-of-venice.jpg A Venice landscape designer has a Facebook album of almost two dozen dog noses poking out as she walks by.

John Stodder back in L.A. and working

Stodder, you may recall, reported to federal prison authorities last February to serve a term for his part in the Fleishman-Hillard episode that roiled City Hall a few years ago.

LA Observed on KCRW: The mystery billionaire of downtown

In my weekly commentary segment tonight with Lisa Napoli, we talk about media-shy Colorado mogul Phil Anschutz and his local right-hand, Tim Leiweke.

Video: Deputy Lalezary gets his Ellen moment

Shervin Lalezary, the Beverly Hills real estate attorney and reserve deputy sheriff who made the bust of arson suspect Harry Burkhart, was on Ellen DeGeneres' show.

Hertzberg pondering run against Pavley for state Senate

The former Assembly Speaker and unsuccessful candidate for mayor says he can win and she can't.

Morning Buzz: Monday 1.9.12

Those wacky Burkharts, Chargers to stay in San Diego, LA's potholes in the NYT, arguing Proposition 13 and more.

The New Yorker on Anschutz: 'The Man who Owns L.A.'

leiweke+spread+tny.jpg Connie Bruck's profile of Philip Anschutz, Tim Leiweke and their empire in downtown Los Angeles — Staples Center, L.A. Live, the Los Angeles Kings, the proposed Farmers Field football stadium and more — is behind the magazine's pay wall. Here's a brief pre-look.

Finke calls out Variety over time stamp allegation

Read Nikki Finke's note to Variety executives, including this line: "When is Variety going to stop stealing Deadline's scoops without any credit?"

Surf culture stops and honors Sean Collins

They paddled out Sunday by the hundreds in Huntington Beach to chill for a few moments of silence in memory of pioneering wave forecaster Sean Collins — followed by a ritual splashing of water and cheering that could be heard from shore.

Meghan Daum on today's online hater culture

Being attacked these days isn’t the result of saying something badly, "it’s the result of saying anything at all," Los Angeles Times op-ed columnist Meghan Daum writes in a long essay on the instant commentary (and abuse) culture so prevalent online, including and perhaps especially at

Note to editor: check the lower third before going to air

lower-3rd-fox5.jpg 'Nuff said. Look at the photo.

Tony Blankley, KCRW commentator was 63 *

Tony Blankley
Tony Blankley, the former Reagan speechwriter and press secretary to Newt Gingrich in Congress who was the conservative presence on KCRW's Left, Right and Center, died Saturday after battling stomach cancer.

Los Angeles plays itself: 'Video Games'

Lots of L.A. in the video for Lana Del Rey's first hit.

Rep. Gallegly won't run for reelection

The Republicans had their own local primary election fight between House incumbents brewing due to redistricting. But Rep. Elton Gallegly said Saturday he won't run, leaving the district to fellow Republican Rep. Buck McKeon.

Donor puts up $150,000 to keep Rancho Los Encinos open

History buffs in the know revere it as the spot where the Portola expedition, the first European land explorers in the region, left the riverbank that later became Los Angeles and came upon a Tongva camp beside a spring in a wide grass-covered valley in August 1769.

Berman-Sherman starting to get the media's attention

Berman+Sherman+Town+Hall+JJ.jpg The number of links to coverage of last night's forum between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman (and their Republican accessories) has kept growing through the day. So I'm gathering them here.

The Music Box at the Henry Fonda closes its doors

It may come back, but for now The Music Box on Hollywood Boulevard has the feel of a former venue

Looking back at the lost tunnels of Downtown

air-raid-drill-in-tunnel.jpg Hard to see today, but Downtown was encircled on at least two sides by big hills that blocked access. As L.A.'s outlying areas grew, the traffic poobahs punched through the hills with tunnels.

Morning Buzz: Friday 1.6.12

Berman and Sherman, John and Ken, Buscaino and Furutani, and more.

CRA crash


Eve Arnold, photographer was 99

marilyn-monroe-arnold-magnum.jpg Eve Arnold was one of the first female photojournalists to join the Magnum Photos agency, in 1951. She did a book of her photos of Marilyn Monroe.

Linda Deutsch celebrates 45 years at AP

linda+deutsch+45yrs.jpg They had a cake yesterday at the Los Angeles bureau of the Associated Press for special correspondent Linda Deutsch.

Huntington announces exhibit of Al Martinez work

al+martinez.jpg The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens doesn't honor very many L.A. journalists with an exhibition, so it's notable that they will mount a show for Al Martinez this spring.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 1.5.12

Burkhart charged, heat records, lawmakers return to Sacramento, endorsements in the 15th council district and the Huffington Post moves into science now.

Hahn and LaBonge go for a swim

LAO_2012_polarbear.jpg Take My Picture Gary Leonard.

Don Shirley critiques the L.A. Times theater critic

don+shirley+stagetimes.jpg Charles McNulty's year-end lookbacks "demonstrated anew [the paper's] curiously constricted view of the importance of the other LAT — LA theater."

Politics notes: Nicole Avant comes home to help Obama

olbermann-current-tv.jpg She resigned as ambassador to the Bahamas and will return to Los Angeles "to help fix the president's troubled relationship with the entertainment industry." Plus: Keith Olbermann, Berman-Sherman.

Wolf that crossed over into California now has a photo

OR7 is ready for his closeup. Or he was back on November 14, when the first gray wolf known to roam in lower Oregon and California in many decades was likely photographed by a hunter's trail camera.

Drago to close Santa Monica restaurant

drago+logo.jpg Celestino Drago has decided not to renew the lease for Drago on Wilshire Boulevard.

KCRW hires host from 'Marketplace'

Steve Chiotakis has host "Marketplace Morning Report" since 2008. He will be the afternoon news anchor during "All Things Considered."

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 1.4.12

Joe Torre joins Caruso bid for Dodgers, Wesson wields the gavel, Jan Perry as mayoral candidate, more on the deputy who nabbed the arson suspect, MTV caves to Movie Smackdown and an auxiliary bishop admits fathering two children.

Take the test: how to pronounce words in English

the-poke-logo.gif British website The Poke (slogan Time well wasted) posted a poem containing most of the pronunciation variances you're ever likely to encounter in speaking English.

Angeli extends closure by almost a week

Email from Angeli Caffe says that Evan Kleiman's Melrose Avenue Italian trattoria will stay open until Jan. 13, instead of closing after the meals of Jan. 8 as previously announced. has a new look and scope

pocho+logo.jpg Cartoonist and satirist Lalo Alcaraz has relaunched Pocho, his news y satire site, to target Latinos nationwide. Bylines include Barney Asada (get it?) and posts from Alcaraz, including his review of 2011 in cartoons.

Beckham not going to Paris, wants to stay in LA

David Beckham won't be joining the Paris Saint-Germain soccer club after all, and that team says he will be staying in Los Angeles with the Galaxy.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 1.3.12

Villaraigosa's fiscal health game, LAWA looking for PR help, Dukakis jumps into Sherman-Berman, the Union-Tribune rebrands in San Diego and an L.A. journalist writes about the death of his brother over the holidays. Plus it's caucus day in Iowa.

Who is Shervin Lalezary? He's a good story, is what he is *

I guess the Los Angeles County reserve sheriff's deputy who made the traffic stop that netted arson suspect Harry Burkhart is OK looking too.

Police ID arson suspect as Harry Burkhart, 24 *

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says at the presser that Burkhart has been booked on one count of arson. Chief Beck says they got their man.

An addendum to fake Christmas snow in the Valley

Last week's post about Life magazine's newly available trove of unpublished on-set photos from the film shoot for "It's a Wonderful Life" brought a nice email pointer to a story by Michael Fessier.
Previously on LA Observed:
Valley of 'It's a Wonderful Life'
When Encino became Bedford Falls

Has SoCal become home turf for visiting orcas?

At least one of the family groups videotaped up close off the Southern California coast last month was back this weekend. Maybe they live here now.

Arson suspect, 24, now officially arrested *

The German native is 24 years old and suspected of setting as many as 53 fires, with property damage over $2 million.

Photo: $4 billion in warplanes over the Valley

Photo: B-2 bombers circle over the northeast San Fernando Valley this morning before the Rose Parade flyover.
Photo: Roger Vargo/Explore Historic California

Author comes along at the right time, arson-wise

red-flag-warning-book.jpg Kurt Kamm's "Red Flag Warning" is about an arsonist setting fires around Los Angeles.

Arson 'person of interest' stopped after more fires this morning *

A German man who several sources said "is believed to be the same person seen in a surveillance video released by police Sunday" was detained by a reserve sheriff's deputy this morning near Sunset and Fairfax.

Sex and the Woodstuck generation of Orange County

Senior communities are being changed from the inside by aging baby boomers. Headline for the Orange Coast magazine cover story: "Sexagenarians, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll."

What's the Rose Parade without Mack Sennett?

If Occupy LA members sneak a little civil disobedience into today's Rose Parade, they won't be the first to exploit Pasadena's big day. Sennett got there first.

Buscaino adds Wendy Greuel to his endorsement list

Greuel joins City Council President Herb Wesson and the Times in backing the LAPD cop in the race. For the Times, the endorsement comes with a caution that Buscaino is not all that impressive.

Year-end desk clearing

Yes, a roundup of news briefs that's about a day too late. But still, out with the old and in with the new.

Arson 'person of interest' caught on videos *

Police distributed video Sunday of a man they say was seen near more than one of the fires in the recent spree of arson fires that has centered in Hollywood and West Hollywood. Plus more updates and a Facebook page.
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