LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes

Barbara Carrasco Murales Rebeldes.jpgBarbara Carrasco's mural commissioned for the city's bicentennial in 1981 is finally on display at Union Station.

Our occasional roundup of news and notes, from media sources and our in-box. As always, between posts you can keep up with LA Observed on Twitter — now with 24,506 followers.

Shooting at Las Vegas concert

Police say a lone gunman armed with an automatic weapon fired from an upper floor at the Mandalay Bay hotel during an outdoor country music concert on Sunday night, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 100. Graphic video of people screaming, running and taking cover during long bursts of gunfire are all over social media. It's the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Hours after the shooting, ambulances continued to arrive at Las Vegas hospitals. Airport traffic was halted and Interstate 15 closed for a time during the immediate aftermath. Police say the shooter, who was confronted and killed, lives in the Las Vegas area. A female acquaintance is being sought.

Among the injured is at least one member of the Bakersfield Police Department, the department announced. Former Los Angeles City Hall reporter Art Marroquin is now at the Review-Journal in Vegas and tweeted regularly in the aftermath.

Photographer spends a year with the homeless

homeless-gutknecht-kim.jpgDaily News photojournalist Hans Gutknecht spent the past year traveling among the thousands of homeless on LA streets and taking their pictures. He gave each homeless person he met a white board and a marker and asked them: “If you could say something about yourself to anybody, what would it be?”

"One of the things that a lot of people I talked to spoke about was being judged and being characterized and looked at in generalities like they’re just bums or drug addicts,” Gutknecht said of the 50 men and women he photographed and interviewed over the course of more than a year.

“For a lot, it hurt them,” he noted “I think that a lot of them were like: give me a chance. Don’t judge me”...

"I have been a photographer covering Los Angeles for almost 30 years. During that time I have seen a dramatic increase in the homeless population, with people living on the street everywhere in the county. I wanted to give them the opportunity to say something to those who live a more comfortable existence and remind them of their humanity."

His gallery of images on the Daily News website, and his thoughts about the project with DN reporter Susan Abram.

Media notes

A bleak assessment of the future of local journalism by daily newspapers around America from Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post media columnist: "It’s not exaggerating to say that all kinds of local reporting — from day-to-day city hall coverage to world-changing investigations like the one celebrated in the movie 'Spotlight' — is faced with extinction." Her Sunday column.

Analyst Ken Doctor also observes trouble for local media outlets, which are not seeing the boom in paid online subscribers that the national outlets like New York Times and Washington Post are reporting in the Trump era. Doctor says the LA Times is doing the best of the second tier, which he calls the regionals, with 105,000 digital subscribers.

Donald Trump's callous mishandling of the Puerto Rico humanitarian crisis and his verbal attacks on residents and the mayor of the biggest city — while golfing at his private club over the weekend — has liberated some media figures to stop trying to put lipstick on this particular pig. On SNL, "Weekend Update" host Michael Che called Trump "you bitch" and a "cheap cracker" and said it's hurricane relief: "You just did this for white people twice." "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has personally raised lots of aid for Puerto Rico, responded to Trump tweets by calling him "a congential liar" and saying "you're going straight to hell." Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo tweeted "don't forget this moment of national disgrace."... "Puerto Rico is all our worst fears about Trump coming real," writes Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias.... LA Times photog Carolyn Cole is in Puerto Rico.

Los Angeles Times entertainment reporter Steven Zeitchik is jumping to the Washington Post to cover the business of entertainment, based in New York. He will "travel frequently to Los Angeles, giving us a footing in the country’s two entertainment centers," the Post says... Meanwhile, the Times is "looking to hire talented digital journalists for six-month temporary positions, with potential for extension." They are for the paper's digital hub, "the center of The Times’ web-first efforts."... The LAT on Sunday debuted a second serialized multi-platform story by reporter Christopher Goffard. Dirty John is about love, deceit, denial and, ultimately, survival in six parts, per the flackage. It began in print and online on Sunday, the podcast follows today.

Gloria Allred's crusade, in the latest New Yorker: "Gloria Allred may be the most famous practicing attorney in the United States. She has attained that renown less through litigation—though she has done plenty of that—than through a blend of high-profile legal advocacy and public relations."... At Los Angeles City Hall, Naomi Seligman made it LinkedIn official that she is leaving as director of communications for Mayor Eric Garcetti, "with a heavy heart... I remain committed to the Mayor's vision and goals -- and I look forward to the days and months ahead when we can all create even greater change for those around us. News on my next adventure will be coming soon!!"

Author John McPhee's huge body of work features some noteworthy reportage on the West, including personal favorites "Assembling California" and "Basin and Range." Now 86, he's still very private and very obsessive, the New York Times Magazine says... Behind the scenes at the LA headquarters of Occupy Democrats, "now the leading political page on the left, according to a recent analysis by BuzzFeed. It wields more influence, at least on Facebook, than virtually any other news source in America." LA Weekly... NPR's Code Switch podcast is going on stage. Host Gene Demby, correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates, reporter Adrian Florido and special guests will do a live taping on Oct. 6 at the Skirball Cultural Center. Tix

Digby Diehl, 76, former LA Times and Herald Examiner books editor

Digby Diehl was the original editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review section in 1975, after a career as a feature writer at the New York Times. He left the LAT in 1978 to become editor in chief of the publisher Harry N. Abrams in New York, then returned to Los Angeles as book editor of the Herald Examiner. He also was movie critic and entertainment editor for KCBS Channel 2 in Los Angeles, Hollywood correspondent for “The CBS Morning News” and literary correspondent for ABC’s “Good Morning America.” And book columnist for Playboy magazine; he also wrote several episodes of the NBC soap opera “Santa Barbara.”

Diehl collaborated as co-author on celebrity autobiographies with Esther Williams, Natalie Cole, Patti LuPone, Bob Barker, Dan Rather and more. Diehl died last last Tuesday in Los Angeles at age 76. He had Alzheimer’s disease. New York Times obit. Nothing yet from the LA Times.

Busy week for media obituaries: Hugh Hefner, 91, the creator of Playboy and everything that brand stands for; S.I. Newhouse Jr, 89, the East Coast magazine publisher; Monty Hall, 96, the TV game show who just wanted to make you a deal; Richard Pyle, 83, AP's former Saigon bureau chief; Anne Jeffreys, 94, actress on Broadway and in TV's Topper; Bernie Casey, 78, the actor and former Los Angeles Ram; Kit Reed, 85, novelist and short story writer, and the mother of former LA blogger and journalist Mack Reed.

You saw him on TV: Frank Hamblen, an assistant coach behind Phil Jackson on the Lakers and Bulls, at age 70.

Behind the cameras: Sam Rubin's on-air tribute to longtime KTLA stage manager Paul Coderko.

NY Post food critic can't find LA food trucks

In the genre of naive outside journalists dropping into Los Angeles and writing stupid things, this by the New York Post restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo stands out. He posted on Twitter that over five days in LA, he never saw any food trucks. OK. A smart or savvy self-aware journalist might have figured maybe it was him. Not Steve Cuozzo. He concluded, apparently, that everybody else had it wrong and that the LA food truck phenomenon was bogus.

LA is a difficult concept to grasp for some New Yorkers. We get that. But sheesh. Get out of the office a little, as newsroom city editors used to say. Eater LA had a few guffaws over the NY Post rube's excellent LA adventure. Sample: "It seems Cuozzo has either been going to bed before 8 p.m. every night, not leaving his hotel room, or only sticking to the priciest residential neighborhoods — or perhaps all three. That’s about the only way one person could spend five days in Los Angeles without seeing a single taco truck on the streets."

Media people doing stuff

Author and sometime LA Observed contributor Nancy Rommelmann had the Modern Love column in this weekend's New York Times, about her experience (and husband Din Johnson's) taking in her ex while he underwent treatment for throat cancer. Nice read. Nancy and Din founded Portland's Ristretto Roasters.

In his other column, at the Jewish Journal, Bill Boyarsky reads the new memoir by political consultant Arnold Steinberg and homes in on the origins of Bustop and the 1970s anti-busing movement in Los Angeles.

For news media, transparency is the new objectivity, writes USC Annenberg professor Gabriel Kahn... Sam Quinones in Los Angeles Magazine on Arlene Rodriguez, who "lived a double life as the first female shot caller for the Florencia 13 Gang, and a real estate agent."... City of LA poet laureate Robin Coste Lewis' "fierce and arresting poetry has its roots in Compton," writes the LAT's Jeffrey Fleishman... What happened to the Crenshaw Cowboy Lovell Moore, by Gideon Brower on KCRW's DnA... Silver Lake filmmakers Lisa Klein and Doug Blush are behind The S Word, a documentary about suicide that premiers at ArcLight Santa Monica on Oct. 22... “My Olympic Life” is Anita DeFrantz’s forthcoming memoir, written with Josh Young. Alan Abhramson covers at 3 Wire Sports... At home with the new superstars of porn, by Susannah Breslin at Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen had a successful encounter with lost and found at LAX.

Photographers of La Raza

la-raza-raided-maria-varela.jpgPhoto by Maria Varela.

Over the weekend I took in the Autry Museum of the West exhibition of news photographs from ten years of La Raza, the newspaper that covered the height of the Chicano movement on the Eastside of Los Angeles. It's a wow — a must-see for people interested in recent Los Angeles history, dramatically presented with murals and an underlying soundtrack that impresses upon visitors the gravity of the protests, riots and everyday life depicted in the several hundred black-and-white photos of Los Angeles. Included is the killing by a sheriff's deputy of LA Times columnist and KMEX/KCET journalist Ruben Salazar. La Raza published from 1967-1977 with an unpaid staff of activist-journalists.

The photos from La Raza have been covered in the New York Times, on NPR and CNN, and by KPCC and the LA Weekly, among others. That's probably more attention than La Raza received from the mainstream media back in its day. Nearly 25,000 images by the LA Raza photographers are housed at UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center. The Autry exhibition is part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time:LA/LA series.

What I can't find anywhere online is the names of the photographers in the exhibition — I'd run their names if I could find them all. La Raza veteran Luis C. Garcia co-curated the show, and photographers Devra Weber, Raul Ruiz, and Joe Razo will be at the museum for a seminar led by chief curator Amy Scott on Sunday, Oct. 15. While at the Autry, check out Harry Gamboa Jr.'s photographs of Chicano men, also part of PST:LA/LA. LA Times photographer Genaro Molina is one of the featured males.

Also from PST:LA/LA: If you like Dia de los Muertos imagery, get over to Self Help Graphics and Art in Boyle Heights. The center has put up its popular posters from past years as well as some new pieces, including this intense past altar, or ofrenda, by Ofelia Esparza.

Photo by Judy Graeme

And at Union Station, a Barbara Carrasco mural, L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective, has been taken out of storage after 27 years. It's on display at the train station's former ticketing hall through Oct. 22. The mural was commissioned for the city's 1981 bicentennial by the old Community Redevelopment Agency, which then didn't want to display the mural without changes to the content by Carrasco, who refused.


Auto racing is leaving Irwindale again. The Irwindale Event Center, a few miles from the original site of the Irwindale Raceway, will close in January and be demolished for a shopping mall. - Hot Rod Magazine

Selected tweets

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