Native Intelligence

Observations on Los Angeles and beyond by LA Observed authors and occasional guests

How to escape social grit and grime: hear the music, see the dance

venezuela-ascaf.jpg Our world can seem more simplistic and superficial, but not if you seek refuge in the right places.

Ed Ruscha and Kent Twitchell

LAO__EdRuschaKentTwitchell-2.jpg Artists Ed Ruscha and Kent Twitchell in front of the latter's mural of the former in the Arts District downtown.

Fallen tree

LAO__OlveraFigTree.jpg One of the last 150-year-old Moreton Bay fig trees in the Old Plaza downtown fell after the rains this winter.

Why aren't LA's blocks in CTG's 'Block Party'?

america-adjacent-5.jpg I'd like to propose a challenge to Center Theatre Group as it begins to consider which productions might make up the 2020 Block Party.

Partner practice makes perfect

Cenzano HP3 3-19 - Copy.JPG Ellen Alperstein: A tiny group of hard-hitting unknowns help the top tennis players in the world sharpen their game at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Their compensation? A sandwich and a pat on the back.

The Grand (Parcel Q)

LAO__GrandProjectGroundbreaking.jpg Big turnout for the groundbreaking at the new high-rise project across Grand Avenue from the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Local kid makes an impression at the BNP Paribas Open

Collins DeGier6 3-7-19 - Copy.JPG Ellen Alperstein: As always, the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells draws big crowds and big action. New this year are a few winged creatures.

New at LACMA: Charles White and Central Asian Ikats

ian-white-at-lacma.jpg Two exhibits featuring art from separate but equally captivating worlds have taken up residence until summer.

Elizabeth Warren at the Alex Theatre

LAO_ElizabethWarrenW_Rebecca&DavidTokofsky.jpg Gary catches up with Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren in Glendale.

Rats, demon cats and politicians from LA to Washington

rats-los-angeles-1924.jpg Kitty Felde: Don't be too embarrassed, Los Angeles. City Hall isn't the only political palace overrun by rodents.

Cinderella goes to war, Benjamin Britten shares the blitz

07_MATTHEW_BOURNE_S_CINDERELLA._Ashley_Shaw_Cinderella_and_Andrew_Monaghan_Harry_.jpg Matthew Bourne's 'Cinderella' is the choreographer's show-dance extravaganza that everyone must see.

John C. Reilly and Jackie Goldberg

LAO__JackieGoldberg_JohnCReilly.jpg Former school board member Jackie Goldberg wants to return to elected office.

Prepping for the super bloom at Anza-Borrego

Anza Borrego28 San Ysidro mtns. 2-22-19.JPG Ellen Alperstein: We're on the brink of a super bloom of wildflowers, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is open for business. Maybe.

Walking through 4,000 photographs with Annie Leibovitz

annie-leibovitz-at-show-iris-schneider.jpg A "river" of the photographer's work, starting with the early Rolling Stone years, is on view at Hauser & Wirth in the Arts District.

The death of Lyndon LaRouche and lessons unlearned

lyndon-larouche.jpg Joel Bellman: We laugh at the comically deranged LaRouche because "it can't happen here." It already has.

Green New Deal

LAO__GreenNewDeal_MayorGarcetti.jpg Mayor Eric Garcetti's press conference announcing his decision not to upgrade three natural gas-burning power plants the city operates along the coast.

Pianists in 'Ragtime' and 'Green Book' make history

greenbook-4.jpg "Ragtime" at the Pasadena Playhouse is, among other distinctions, a great way to observe Black History Month.

Climate change in the Coachella Valley

Coachella Valley Preserve4 2-8-19 - Copy.JPG Heavy desert rain this month is pushing Nature into a bipolar mood.

Madeleine Albright

LAO__MadeleineAlbright.jpg The Secretary of State for President Bill Clinton was in Culver City.

Olde-time L.A. journalism

la_star_front.jpg Susan La Tempa: The free-wheeling, deeply divisive newspapers of L.A.'s early days.

Skid Row

LAO__SkidRowMan&Sign-3.jpg Spotted on San Julian Street in downtown's Skid Row district

Rorschach and Rashomon on the Washington Mall

washington-mall-video-grab.jpg Joel Bellman: The recent media blowup over the Covington Catholic kids and the tribal drummer at the Lincoln Memorial may have been too much ado, but it was about something.

Where there's smoke...

Sunday fire13 1-27-19 - Copy.JPG The car seemed to spontaneously combust. The fire brigade was prompt, effective and kept the neighbors safe.

Molly Barnes

LAO__MollyBarnes.jpg Gary caught up with the curator at the West Los Angeles College Gallery.

Phishing season

Jury-duty-fraud.jpg The jury duty phishing scam isn't new. That doesn't make it easy to detect.

Kosher Nostra reunites: Music makers in all their unfaded glory

zubin-mehta-wilfried-hosl.jpg As a finale to the packed LA Philharmonic centennial, Zubin Mehta and other celebrated virtuosos of an earlier era came to Disney Hall.

March for public education

LAO__UTLA_Rally.jpg A UTLA rally downtown during the run-up to the teachers strike.

Red Hot Chili Peppers and Santa

LAO__ChilliPeppers&Santa-2.jpg Gary and the band outside his studio in DTLA

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

LAO__Sheriff Alex Villanueva.jpg At the swearing-in ceremony for newly elected Sheriff Alex Villanueva, held at East Los Angeles College.

Don Shirley's theatrical highlights of 2018

Crucible-girls-ian-flanders.jpg Here are some of my personal favorites from 2018. But first my usual caveat. I've seen 155 productions in greater LA, fewer than half of those that were available.

Pickle Works Building

LAO__DT-Pickle-Works_Fire.jpg A landmark of the downtown Arts District burns.

Joe Frank, somewhere out there

JoeFrank_SomewhereOutThere.jpg A documentary on the late KCRW radio storyteller premieres at this weekend's New Filmmakers Los Angeles DocuSlate program in DTLA.

Jose Huizar and Nate Hayward

LAO__JoseHuizar&NateHayward.jpg Community celebration in Little Tokyo.
New at LA Observed

KCET control room
kcet-rehearsal-control.jpgA peek inside the TV station's Burbank studios.
Whitt's Wood Yard
whitts-wood-yard.jpgElon Musk wants to drill here at Pico and Sepulveda.
bcam-stairs.jpgThe Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA.
David Hockney at LACMA
hockney-arrives-lacma.jpgThe artist arrives to open his latest exhibit.
Mountain lion family
mountain-lion-family-martinez.jpgFrom Robert Martinez's trail cam in the San Gabriels.
The power of 'pluribus' plays
Allegiance-9-(1).jpgDon Shirley on theater in LA
Macy's winds down
mannequin-graveyard-macys.jpgThe store in Westside Pavilion has closed down.
Streetscape: Westwood
westwood-sky-lao.jpgWestwood Boulevard looking north and a little bit skyward.
Streetscape: East LA
la-luz-del-mundo.jpg Iglesia La Luz del Mundo, East 1st Street.
Sign from LA's past
loves-bbq-valley-relics.jpg Sign from an old Love's BBQ restaurant at the Valley Relics Museum in Chatsworth.
Visiting her old ballet costumes
melissa-barak-cost-iris.jpg Melissa Barak at LACMA Chagall exhibit with the artist's memorable designs.
Engine Co. 17
engine-co-17-side.jpg Inside the long-closed Arts District fire station on Santa Fe Avenue.
Wilshire Grand Center lobby
wilshire-grand-lobby-wall.jpg Visitors check out the wall-mounted sculpture by artist Do Ho Suh.
Barnsdall Park
barnsdall-park-trees.jpg Under the trees.
Inside Hollyhock House
hollyhock-columns.jpgPhoto taking was allowed for one weekend. So we did.
Streetscape: Lincoln Heights
el-milagro-market.jpgProductos Mexicanos at El Milagro Market on Avenue 18.
June 6, 1968
rfk-hearse-wide-lapl.jpgThe body of Robert F. Kennedy leaves Good Samaritan hospital. More pics
Streetscape: DTLA
spring-street-bike-lane.jpgSpring Street bike lane.
Palm weeds of Santa Susana
santa-susana-palm-weeds.jpgOak trees, sandstone ridges and fan palms? Ugh. More
Streetscape: West LA
405-at-smblvd.jpg405 North at Santa Monica Boulevard.
Hills turning brown
grman1.jpgThe hills above Gorman.
Arcana Books
arcana-books.jpgIn the Helms Bakery complex in Culver City.