Like a repellent exhibit at Ripley's Believe It or Not that you can't take your eyes off, Shaul Schwarz's documentary "Narco Cultura" keeps you riveted.
Observations on Los Angeles and beyond by LA Observed authors and invited guests
I went up to the Griffith Observatory at the end of the day on Saturday. The moon and Venus were bright in the sky and lots of people were capturing the city lights on their phones and cameras.
Mark the calendar. This week will go down as a crucial week in California's water history. The draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and associated Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) was filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday and the public comment period begins this week. We've got big decisions to make about our water future.
Jazz floats through Topanga like ribbons of gold, drifting through the Santa Monica Mountains on a cool Friday night from Larry Cohn's Canyon Bistro, laying a moment of serenity on a calamitous world. Martinez takes you there.
Take My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular Thursday feature of LA Observed. Gary's archive....
Humor comes to our downtown stages in two shows brimming with imagination: a "Magic Flute" that breaks the antique Mozartian mold and Matthew Bourne's hip "Sleeping Beauty" powered by a testosteronic high.
Despite a meciocre record at Washington, Steve Sarkisian has been hired as USC's head coach. It may work out, but Phil Wallace says it wasn't his first choice. Interestingly, this move could lead to Jim Mora, Jr's departure from UCLA.
"Wherever you go, there you are," says Buckaroo Banzai. Jon Christensen reads the new book "Trees in Paradise: A California History" on the long flight from LAX to Melbourne and reflects on what we can learn from history in a cosmopolitan era in which local diversity--biological and cultural--may be increasing rapidly, while the differences between places continue to shrink.
Martinez riffs on the aromas of Thanksgiving and is thankful that a woman might be headed for the White House. You might not have noticed, he writes, but the upraised fist of today's political revolution is wearing nail polish.
Take My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular weekly feature at LA Observed.
The Lakers signed Kobe Bryant to huge contract extension when they didn't need to. Their faith that it will work out is troubling, says Phil Wallace.
Using recycled objects like buttons, tin cans, wire, yardsticks, pencils, soda can pop tops, teddy bear eyes and rosaries, Clare Graham has created an environment that is a jaw-dropping homage to creativity, imagination and perseverance.
With public trust of the DWP at such a low point, will the public, the city council, and mayor Garcetti support the long-term rate increases that will be needed to transform LA's water system for the future?
An illustrious opening of a Beverly Hills performing arts complex, the Annenberg Wallis. A nod to cultural icon Martha Graham. Also to Giuseppe Verdi, with his delectable last opera, "Falstaff."
Grandpa Al Martinez tries a different way to talk about rain and a little girl's response to it. Welcome to the tea party.
The first AARP Films for Grownups Film Festival this past weekend at the Regal Cinemas at LA Live included screenings of "12 Years a Slave," "Nebraska" and other new films.
Take My Picture Gary Leonard appears on Thursdays at LA Observed. Check out Gary's archive....
Last week, UCLA announced a grand challenge--a major research initiative throwing the full weight of the university behind an effort to wean LA completely of imported water and become fully reliant on renewable energy by 2050, while preserving biodiversity and improving the quality of life in the city. Can we get it done?
Martinez ponders COPD by dawn's early light, skeptical of the notion that the survival rate for its victims is improving. He finally turns to his sister Mary, also a victim of the disease, and she tells him how to handle it: just pretend it isn't there.
Take My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular Thursday feature of LA Observed.
True. We need big plans to guide LA toward environmental sustainability. But we need lots of little plans and action too.
USC is rumored to be considering hot coaching names like Kevin Sumlin, Chris Petersen, and Jack Del Rio. But Phil Wallace says the Trojans may already have the right fit in interim head coach Ed Orgeron.
The goal for Walt Disney Concert Hall was to shake the dust off classical music and architecture and engage the contemporary world and popular culture, they agree.
The innovative opera staged inside Union Station continues this weekend. The whole is so much more than the sum of its parts, writes Iris Schneider.
Martinez senses warnings in the wind as a new fire season begins in Southern California, predicted to be the worst in a century. He stands on the rooftop of his Topanga home and remembers the howling fire storms of other days, and the sirens that wailed with the rising intensity of a woman's scream.
Take My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular Thursday feature of LA Observed.
Objects of artClare Graham at work in his Northeast LA studio. Story and photos by Iris Schneider at Native Intelligence.
Walking in LAMichael Schneider's Great LA Walk marked its eighth year with an 18-mile trek from Echo Park Lake to the bluffs in Santa Monica.
Owner won't raze Dutton's siteFive years later, landlord Charles Munger drops big development plans for former Brentwood bookstore. More
Films for grownupsCast members of "12 Years a Slave" at the AARP Films for Grownups Film Festival. Native Intelligence by Iris Schneider.
Griffith Park mountain lionCougar P-22 walking past Steve Winter's night camera with the Hollywood sign behind. National Geographic story
Folkenflik on MurdochDavid Folkenflik of NPR and Kevin Roderick of LA Observed discuss Rupert Murdoch at a Zocalo Public Square event in Culver City. Story and video
Governors ballThe best part of next year's Oscars show may already have happened. Read
Sungjin Ahn admires the Joshua trees of California's deserts so much that he spent year making a lovely time lapse. Watch
Drawers holding letterpress type at Iron Curtain Press pop-up store in Westwood Village, part of the Hammer Museum's Arts ReSTORE LA project. Bigger
O bloggerIf you can't see Veronique de Turenne in the Hollywood sign, check out the photo bigger.
Historic Wilshire chapel1899 design on VA land has separate Protestant and Catholic chapels. President McKinley was there. Bigger
Times pressPhotographer Julius Chiu shot a series of photos inside the Los Angeles Times printing plant south of downtown. More
Invisible Cities at Union StationOld Union Station ticket counters become part of the stage for the opera "Invisible Cities."Iris Schneider/Native Intelligence
Eastern SierraA mass of volcanic cinder near Aberdeen. Bigger | More LA Observed photos from Owens Valley.
Learning to love LAThe editors of Boom: A Journal of California asked writer Bob Sipchen and his son Rob to defend LA's right to exist. Which they did. Read
Garcetti photobombs Aja BrownMayor Eric Garcetti and Compton's new mayor were honored by the LA County Young Democrats. "I just couldn't resist this #photobomb opportunity," Garcetti posted on Facebook.
Hot Dog StickSunday afternoon, Santa Monica Beach boardwalk. Bigger
Invisible CitiesUnion Station patrons get to watch (without sound) the Invisible Cities opera. Photo by Iris Schneider.
Halloween stuffStore in Westwood. Judy Graeme — see bigger.
Photojournalism by mastersIris Schneider reviews big new books by Sebastiao Salgado, Steve McCurry and Elliot Erwitt. Native Intelligence