Life, cultures, architecture, geography, neighborhoods, history, demographics, urbanism, nature, the environment. And anything else.

30 years ago today: 'Rhapsody in Blue' in the Coliseum

1984-opening-ceremony.jpg During the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympic Games, a dramatic moment came when 84 grand pianos appeared in the peristyle of the Coliseum and began to play George Gershwin.

Historian of the Valley hangs up his tour shoes

fernand-vncityhall.jpg Richard Hilton guided his final walking tour of old Van Nuys on Saturday -- so I just had to go along.

'Chinatown' revisited

chinatown1.jpg Our modern water systems have made it not only possible, but virtually inevitable, that we should forget where our water comes from and the responsibilities it carries. Myth and art may be our best ways back into that understanding.

Oregon's OR7 has himself a wolf family now

or-7-pup-usfws.jpg The male gray wolf that walked around in far northern California for a year or so looking for a mate — unsuccessfully — has fathered puppies with the mate he found back in Oregon's Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Obama stops in Canters for some lunch chat

obama-at-canters-crowley.jpg Between the Brentwood high-roller breakfast and Trade-Tech, President Obama made a stop on Fairfax to have lunch and swap some stories.

Talking more about LA's palm trees *

palm-weed-commerce.jpg My Monday segment on KCRW and a collaboration between the LA Review of Books and Flaunt magazine show the ongoing power of the palm in the LA narrative.

The LA River: A cabinet of wonders

unfinished1.jpg Natural history museums grew out of the "Wunderkammer"--a device for cultivating wonder in the face of the amazing diversity and weirdness of the world, but also for discovery, of the new, the unknown, of patterns, and laws. The LA River has become a kind of cabinet of wonders for Los Angeles: a site for thinking about and making sense of nature and culture in the city.

Downtown LA beach fun

grand-park0beach.jpg On a pleasant Los Angeles summer day, the bouncing fountain in Grand Park becomes a concrete urban beach.

Here are some FAQs about sharks in Manhattan Beach

manhattan-beach-pier-sign.jpg Chances are your favorite media outlet over-hyped what happened over the weekend. Heal the Bay scientists offer the lay of the land.

Newport Beach lifeguard dies during surf rescue -- first time

lifeguard-dies.jpg Ben Carlson, 32, had been a lifeguard for 15 years. The swimmer he rescued made it back to the beach.

Blue whale capsizes boat off San Diego (video)

Hook-whale.jpg Two whale watchers on an inflatable boat were thrown into the sea and rescued. Plus: 5 whales and dolphins to watch for this season.

Paul Mazursky's table at Farmers Market (video)

mazursky-table.jpg Couple of scenes at the director's morning gathering two years ago. "Lots and lots of dick jokes," says the videographer.

Desert ghost town where Hollywood got fake snow

midland-bldgblog.jpg Out near Blythe in the lower desert, the abandoned industrial settlement of Midland has been empty for nearly half a century.

LA's last Hamburger Hamlet may have closed

hh-sherman-oaks-mural-mark-london.jpg The Sherman Oaks location on Van Nuys Boulevard has gone dark. There's some talk of reopening under new ownership.

Gorky's sign still hangs over DTLA

gorkys-lamag.jpg The sign at 8th and San Julian should be in a museum, Ed Fuentes blogs. Gorky's Russian cafe was a big thing for downtown in its day.

World Cup halftime flush registers on LA city water meter

WorldCupFlush3-law.jpg So many fans went to the bathroom as play stopped between the U.S. and Germany that water use spiked. It then spiked again at the end of Thursday's match.

Photo: U.S. vs. Germany at Hermosa Beach

soccer-crowds-hermosa-spillman.jpg Eric Spillman, the reporter for KTLA Channel 5, posted this photo to Twitter of World Cup fans watching in South Bay.

Route 66 exhibit at the Autry National Center

rte-66-Dixon.jpg The mother road that brought so many families to new lives in California -- and introduced so many young Americans to their country -- gets an entertaining treatment at the Autry. Treasures on display include Jack Kerouac's manuscript for "On the Road," an entire Corvette and the Getty's print of "Migrant mother" by Dorothea Lange.

Why worry about the drought when we've got the beach?

CaltransDroughtSign.jpg A roundup on the state of the drought and water in LA and the rest of California. There is a lot to worry about, but a lot that can be done to solve our water woes. And a silver lining to celebrate: clean beaches this summer.

Dig this! La Brea fossils are ready for their close-up

tar on the lawn3 6-14 - Copy.JPG This month, two long-hidden demonstration sites reopen at the La Brea Tar Pits. LA is oilier than a hedge fund manager with a portfolio full of credit default swaps.

An oral history of the Valley's Palomino club

willie-nelson-palomino-lamag.jpg The club on north Lankershim was the premier West Coast venue for country music for a few decades. Los Angeles Magazine revisits the good old days.

Broad museum plants 100-year-old olive trees

bcam-olive-trees.jpg The fifteen Barouni olive trees were transported to LA on large trucks and transplanted into the plaza outside the museum.

Reporters remember talking to O.J. back then

ojsimpson-bronco.jpg Linda Deutsch of AP was the reporter Simpson felt he could talk to and be treated fairly. Jim Newton of the LA Times thought he was going to get into a fistfight when he interviewed Simpson. Plus more.

Google Street View, before and after

street-view-before.jpg In just seven years, some streets in downtown LA have changed quite a bit. Check it out.

Another Donald Sterling lawyer now says he's suing again

Thumbnail image for sterling-roggin.jpg I guess this is what they call negotiating through the press.

Monday news and notes 6.9.14

aaron-kushner-usc.jpg Register staff meeting at 4 p.m. How the Clippers bidding went down. Garcetti as governor material. Another bear in Monrovia on video. Plus more.

D-Day radio broadcasts from KFWB found and restored

kfwb-dday-grab.jpg A disc containing some of the news that went out over the air on KFWB on June 6, 1944 about the invasion of Nazi-held France have been found at USC — broken in half — and heard again.

Griffith Park's mountain lion looks healthy again

p-22-screen-grab.jpg New trail camera video of P-22 shows the young male cougar is mostly over the mange that alarmed researchers earlier in the year.

Donald Sterling folds his cards, agrees to Clippers sale

sterling-roggin.jpg Sterling will also drop lawsuit against the NBA. "Everything is just the way it should be, really," he tells NBC4's Fred Roggin. "It may have worked out differently, but it's good. It's all good."

Union Station plans would alter and preserve

union-sta-detail-1936-gri.jpg I moderated a planel last week at the Central Library that got a sneak peek at Monday's unveiling of plans for the next upgrade to Union Station.

When Sandy Koufax owned a West Hollywood motel

sandy-koufax-tropicana-mote.jpg Fun item from historian Michael Beschloss: In 1962, Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax invested in Sandy Koufax’s Tropicana Motel.

Sterling's latest move: go to church in South LA

sterling-at-black-church.jpg Embattled (and possibly former) Clippers owned Donald Sterling headed down into the 'hood on Sunday and attended a morning service at Praises of Zion Missionary Baptist Church on San Pedro Street.

Jenny Price is back at it on the LA River, Malibu beaches, and more

jennyprice.jpg The author, environmental historian, advocate, and LA Urban Ranger is back in town between fellowships at Princeton and in Munich, and working on new projects on the LA River and Malibu Beach access. We caught up with her between scouting trips to ask her thoughts about the latest big news on river restoration, what she's got up her sleeve, and when she's coming back to LA.

Army Corps of Engineers goes for the bigger LA River fix

la-river-metgro-cars.jpg After being lobbied by Mayor Eric Garcetti and river activists, the Army Corps of Engineers said it would recommend an ambitious $1 billion makeover of 11 miles of the Los Angeles River upstream from downtown. "The greatest thing to happen to the river since it was paved over,” say advocates.

The best pictures I've seen of Van Nuys Boulevard cruising

van-nuys-blvd-mack-girls.jpg Deep collections of photos showing the faded Wednesday night car culture tradition don't really exist. These photos by Ricard McCloskey are fun to look at.

Pepy's Galley at Mar Vista Lanes may face eviction

pepys-mar-vista-front.jpg Plans to evict Pepy's Galley to make way for a supper club has inspired a Facebook group with 4,000 members and a petition site with 1,200 signatures. A bunch of those are probably LAPD motorcycle cops.

DTLA strand
On a pleasant summer Friday, the fountain in Grand Park becomes a concrete beach. See bigger / Joel Sappell
Mazursky's table at Farmers Market
mazursky-table.jpgLots and lots of dick jokes. Watch
Mental health 'emergency' on Skid Row
deon-joseph-dtla.jpgSenior lead officer Deon Joseph has seen it bad. But not like this. Post
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
At home with Olivia Munn
olivia-munn-vogue-grab.jpgFast answers to 73 questions from Vogue magazine. Video
Union Station at 75
union-station-construction-acp.jpgPalm trees were planted even before the 1939 opening. Story and photos
Van Nuys Boulevard, 1972
van-nuys-blvd-mack-girls.jpgClub night cruising photos we haven't seen before. Take a look
LA does too have seasons
jacaranda-close-vdt.jpgSuch as jacaranda blooming season. Veronique de Turenne
La Placita
Front door of Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles on a Saturday morning. LA Observed.
Streetscape: High clouds over LAPD
highlcouds-lapd-bldg-pal.jpgHard to take a picture in this town without getting a palm tree. Bigger
Van Nuys church
Central Lutheran Church surrounded by palm trees. View bigger
Ridiculous palm weed
Spotted in Pasadena by author Lynell George, who knows her ridiculous palms. Bigger
LA cougars
p-30-in-mtns-smnra.jpgThree mountain lions at a kill, starring P-13 and cubs. More pics
Lion trackers
cougar-magic-lion.jpgSoCal's trail camera trackers. Story
LA Observed list
Richest, biggest and most valuable in Los Angeles. List
Huntington acquires Marquez collection
sm-beach-visitors-marquez.jpgVisitors to Santa Monica Beach in the 1880s, from the photography collection of Ernest Marquez. More
Skyline DTLA
The view from the roof deck of the Ace Hotel on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles. Bigger. LAO.
Another ridiculous LA palm tree
palm-north-main-ridic.jpgDowntown fan palm shows pluck but little else. Kevin Roderick
La Placita
Front door of Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles on a Saturday morning. LA Observed.
alphacast-foundry-santa-fe-.jpgAlpha Cast Foundry casts molten metal about 200 feet from the DTLA hipsters at Stumptown Coffee on Santa Fe Avenue. LAO.
Streetscape: Stoner Avenue
Stoner Avenue in West Los Angeles.
Stained glass
stained-glass-eave.jpgWhen on Wilshire, remember to look up. At Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. LA Observed photo.
Arts District color
color-jg-hewitt-street.jpgSpatters of color on the sidewalk outside the former Al's Bar on Hewitt Street. Judy Graeme/click the pic to enlarge.
Mission Road in Boyle Heights
Mission Road, Boyle Heights. See bigger.
La Brea Avenue
labrea-shop-dino.jpgDinosaur head next to the sidewalk in a shop on La Brea Avenue. See larger.
Exposition Park lawn
expo-park-friday-eve-lao.jpgNice light on a Friday evening in front of the Memorial Coliseum. LA Observed photo.
Sidewalk art
cat-san-vicente.jpgSan Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood. LA Observed photo.
Streetscape: DTLA
streetscape-6thstreet.jpgEast 6th Street in downtown Los Angeles. LA Observed photo.
Streetscape: Emmy campaign signs
emmy adsIn LA, even the political campaign lawn signs are for Hollywood. Veronique de Turenne
Oscars on Wilshire

oscars-civlavia-rhoffman.jpgRodney Hoffman's Flickr stream of photos from Ciclavia includes Oscar statuettes outside the academy's future museum. See more.

Sidewalk piñatas
pinatas-dtla-jg.jpgPiñatas for sale on Olympic Boulevard at Central Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Judy Graeme. See bigger.