Native Intelligence

Observations on Los Angeles and beyond by LA Observed authors and invited guests
Occupy LAFerranoGetty viewBruce Lisker

Walking a lonesome road

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-sketch.jpg Martinez walks a lonely road once crowded with friends and colleagues such as John Wiebusch. Time has diminished the crowd and left only shards of memory.


LAO__bookworm copy.jpg Take My Picture Gary Leonard appears weekly at LA Observed.

Where's the LA in CTG? Not in the new season

Paul_Oakley_Stovall-ctg.jpg CTG's website vowed to produce programming that "reflects and informs our own community" through "stories inspired on our own streets." But that language was removed two years ago.

A field guide to the future former birds of LA

Allens_Hummingbird_FInch-FlickrCC.jpg This weekend the Allen's Hummingbirds sparred around our feeders in Venice as usual. It's a sight likely to become more rare and perhaps even vanish in the future. The Allen's Hummingbird is climate endangered. Something is going out of the air in LA.

Toughing it out: Naked and not afraid

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-sketch.jpg Nudity in the wilderness is television's latest obsession and Martinez' mission to wonder if there really is anything behind those blurred camera spots meant to conceal the secret genitalia.Who knows? Keep your eyes on the spots. He is.

The mayor's endorsement

LAO__JimMcDonnell copy.jpg Take My Picture Gary Leonard is regular weekly feature of LA Observed.

Chapter 11. The Curse is Renewed

veronica.jpg Caleb felt himself watched as he departed, unwelcome.

Overheard: Denver International Airport

denver-and-rockies.jpg When in Rome...

The plastic bag ban epic

plastic bag mockumentary2.jpg Our efforts have shown the world that Californians can live without plastic bags. Can we do the same for styrofoam cups, snack packaging, sporks, straws, and bottle caps? For the sake of our rivers and oceans, we need to. Now. It shouldn't take another decade.

A snake in the grass, and elsewhere

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-sketch.jpg Martinez warns of snakes in the otherwise peaceful suburbs of Thousand Oaks, while remembering his own experience with a baby rattler that looked very much like a weed.

LA's 233rd birthday

LAO__LA233.jpg Take My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular weekly feature of LA Observed.

Chapter 10. Here Comes Jim Dandy

veronica.jpg What natural right did he have to know her name?

Untrammeled thoughts on wilderness, land, water, and civil rights at 50

Noa Batle.jpg There are a lot of reasons to reconnect the dots between the Civil Rights Act, the Wilderness Act, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which all turn 50 this year. The arc of the history in which these three pieces of legislation represented signal turning points is long and still unfinished.

Water water everywhere, but ne'er a drop for water-boarding

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-sketch.jpg As California's water shortage becomes more critical Martinez finds substitutes for water---unless human sweat, dog drool and purified pee-pee are a bit too much for you to take.

Clippers rally @ Staples Center

LAO__Garcetti&Ballmer copy.jpg Take My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular weekly feature of LA Observed.

Chapter 9. The News Travels

veronica.jpg Ayla was a revved up little engine, narcissistic, and brutal.

Surf's up. Sort of

SM Beach lifeguard high surf1 8-14 - Copy.JPG Unlike the south-facing beaches, the sand at Santa Monica was relatively undisturbed by the high-wave action courtesy Hurricane Marie. But lifeguards were on high alert.

Arts window: Dance audition

barak-audition.jpg Melissa Barak concentrates during an audition Sunday for the Barak Ballet, at the Westside School of Ballet.

The butterflies of Griffith Park: A tale of extinction and survival

cloudy tailed-copper.jpg "A Hollywood drama of butterfly extirpation and persistence over a century of urbanization," reads the headline on a recent scientific study in the Journal of Insect Conservation. The story that unfolds offers glimmers of hope for the rich biological diversity that lives amongst us in Los Angeles.

Always leave them laughing

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-sketch.jpg Martinez learns how to laugh and how to cry as he observes, and later becomes, one of those people with tubes up their noses and oxygen canisters slung over their shoulders.

Have you driven the Ford lately?

ford-theatre-daylight.jpg Plans for the Ford Theatre in Cahuenga Pass could turn into "the most important new theater/dance-specific venue in LA since the construction of LATC three decades ago."

Plaza firehouse

LAO__Smokey copy.jpg Take My Picture Gary Leonard is a regular weekly feature of LA Observed.

Chapter 8. How To Get Rid of Henrik

veronica.jpg Caleb returned to Ayla unconditionally.

Ballot box buffoonery

city-hall-lat-etc.jpg Using a lottery to bribe people to vote is beneath our dignity.

Curator's guide: The Huntington expands on American art

Thumbnail image for lao-smith-august.jpg Jessica Todd Smith talks with Karen Wada about what you should know and see while visiting the newly expanded American art galleries at the Huntington.

"To Be or Not to Be," that was Williams' question

Thumbnail image for al-martinez-sketch.jpg The suicide of Robin Williams was as much due to his success as to his failure. He was America's clown, not its Hamlet, and the inability to truly cross over haunted him.
Giant floating ducky
duck-tall-ships-meg.jpgThe big rubber duck was the most photographed thing about the tall ships festival recently held in San Pedro. Photo: Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Ridiculous palm weeds
palm-weed-family.jpgIt's almost as if the three fan palm young 'uns have come to visit the palm tree zoo. Or a jailed parent. Bigger
City of LA historical photos
lachs-baldwin-hills.jpgMen on a storm drain project near the Baldwin Hills in the Depression. More images from newly digitized collection
La chambre photographique
la-chambre-sb-600.jpgSanta Barbara. Click to enlarge.
Dancers audition
barak-audition.jpgTryouts for LA's Barak Ballet. Photo by Judy Graeme
Weird Pacific summer
Velellas-htb.jpgCool, strange jellies are washing up on on LA beaches. Fauna
Take our picture Gary Leonard
gary-crowd-at-lapl.jpg Gary Leonard photo of the audience at his Central Library conversation with Kevin Roderick. Bigger
Curator's guide to Huntington
Learn about the redone gallery of American art. Native Intelligence
Voices of LA
voices-of-la-iris.jpgKamau Daáood recites poetry backed by a klezmer jazz ensemble at Breed Street Shul. Iris Schneider
Scythed chariot
Second Street, Santa Monica Place3 8-14 - Copy.JPGSpotted in Santa Monica by Ellen Alperstein. More
Streetscape | Sawtelle
street-art-sawtelle-pregnan.jpg No pressure. LAO photo.
Fans at KCON
kpop-emoting.jpg Fans swoon at LA's big Korean music festival. More photos by Iris Schneider
La Crescenta
lion-sign-lacrescenta.jpg What else is there to say? The sign is true.
Engine Co. 39
lafd-engine-39-diag.jpgWe like this old fire station in Van Nuys. Pics and backstory.
Sylmar ranchette
rancho-temblor-sylmar.jpgSylmar ranch still evokes the disaster of 1971.
Awesome video over downtown
quadcopter-dtla-easterncol.jpgEvery familiar building, landmark, roofline and mural, photographed via quadcopter by Ian Wood. Watch
Under the 405
under-405-parthenia.jpgHomeless' belongings parked in the shade under the freeway on Parthenia Street in North Hills. LA Observed photo
Industrial palms
palm-street-calvert-vn.jpgCalvert Street in Van Nuys.
Sign of the print apocalypse?
newsbox-apocalypse.jpgNews boxes on Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana. Bigger
Mazursky's table at Farmers Market
mazursky-table.jpgLots and lots of dick jokes. Watch
New girl in town
janie-taylor-sitting-iris.jpgJanie Taylor retired as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet this year and moved to Los Angeles. Native Intelligence
Route 66 at the Autry
rte-66-Dixon.jpgThe story of Route 66 could not be more mixed in with the story of Los Angeles. Some highlights