FOCUS – 500 Days of Los Angeles

Although the majority of American movies originate in Los Angeles on some level, local filming locations are often chosen based upon how easily LA can be made to look like another city entirely. Palm trees are airbrushed out; store escalators are disguised as New York Subway terminals; Downtown alleyways become cozy cobblestone streets found in a European village. It’s rare to find a movie where the city of Los Angeles is allowed to shine without shame as a featured character in a film. There are a few standouts, of course… LA Confidential, Chinatown, Sunset Boulevard, LA Story, Mildred Pierce, The Player… and everyone seems to agree  that this year’s 500 Days of Summer can be added to the list for shining a bright light on Downtown LA’s pre-1950 architecture in particular.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ef9t0b1M5E[/youtube]

It helps that the stars of the movie are young Los Angeles natives who both express refreshingly vocal personal affection for the city, as witnessed in the adorable-even-though-it’s-movie-PR video clip above. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt come across as poster children for cool people who know they shouldn’t have to ever apologize for or be ashamed of where they’re from. PR or no, we can’t help but love that about them. That and the French Canada joke, although admittedly my neighborhood feels a bit more like Mexican Canada.

After the jump is a second video clip showing various movie locations in the film as well as a handy google map (created by the Los Angeles Times) specifically pointing out the standout locations featured in the film if you’d like to check them out for yourself.


SURVEY – How are we doing?

It’s just a *little* test. It won’t hurt a bit, we promise.

©USC Digital Archive This week we’re trying to really weigh how we’ve been doing so far with HiddenLA and set up goals for where we should be heading in the future to make it a better resource for you. 

It would make us absolutely GIDDY (plus be incredibly helpful) if you could take a moment to fill out a quick survey and let us know your thoughts.

This site is for you, so we need your help. Pretty please? :)

HELP! – Zoe Needs New Ears

This is conceptual art. We call it: photo "Wiener With Wiener."

This is a Conceptual Art piece we call Wiener With Wiener No, it is not for sale.

As most of you know, HiddenLA has been a labor of pure love for me so far… which is a *great* thing in many ways, but admittedly kinda stinks when you take your little dog to the vet and realize that she has yet another raging and horribly painful ear infection that’s going to cost $200 you don’t have. Ouch. Sometimes income *is* handy after all! Huh.

Having a sick pet is tough… when you spend money you don’t have, you’re irresponsible. But if you allow an adorable, beloved little creature to suffer, you’re worse. No great options in that situation, really. So moral of the story… my sweet little puppy’s going to be fine, but my bank account just had some unexpected surgery.

I know a lot of you have purse strings just as tight as mine so you can relate. If you feel like helping poor little Zoe on her road back to health, I’ve set up a little “Zoe Ear Fund” below. (Fact is, my mom always taught me that it never hurts to ask, so I’m just listening to her for a change.) These funds will ONLY go to fixing her ears, not one dime will be diverted to my ginger cocktail addiction or tickets to see Pee Wee Herman. I promise. Down the road I’ll be working on monetizing this site so such blatant fundraising efforts will evaporate, but in the meantime a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Begging aside, to the right I’ve posted a little art photography project we did together about six months ago for your viewing pleasure. Zoe hopes you like it, and she would like me to express that – ear aside – she deserves donations just for going through the humiliation of sitting still for a long time with a hot dog on her head. I can’t disagree, really.

SINGALONG – Napkin! The Musical!

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkYZ6rbPU2M[/youtube]
In 2008, sixteen members of Improv Everywhere harnessed the power of wireless microphones, a PA system, cameras hidden behind two-way mirrors and impromptu song and dance to thoroughly confused shoppers at the Baldwin Hills Mall food court.

HAPPY SUNDAY, LA – Be exactly who you wanna be!

Take your favorite California girl out for some fried chicken and dirty dancin’ today. Treat her well and rock her world. Contrary to popular belief, she *does* know how to rock yours. Trust me.
[spike width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.spike.com/video/gretchen-wilson/2794440[/spike]

HUMOR – Neely Bros: we’re just down the river from Crazy Gideon’s!

A parody commercial courtesy of The Groundlings

From Crackle: Neely Bros

FEED – Link Spotlight

spotlight More added when we feel the urge. :)

> Ahhh. Sweet Undy’s! – Jessie B
No new books for California kids until somewhere around 2016. Sigh. – UPI
> The jobless need to look good too! Every Wednesday, Flair Drycleaners will clean 4 FREE items for unemployed customers. Ends Sept 2. – Fighting Mad Mary
> Welcome back to the neighborhood, Laura Ling. – Fighting Mad Mary
Happy Birthday to HLA fave Ralph Bunche!
Haunted Manson members speak – LA Times
The closed case of William Bratton – LA Times
Let’s not be NIMBYs, okay? – Travelin’ Local
I’ll take a Manhattan – Caroline on Crack
> For the right thing to happen at the right time, at the right moment, one must make it happen. – LA Metblogs
> Top Chef runner up/lesbian lover Stefan Richter opens up a new restaurant – EaterLA
> The latest on the subway to the sea – Curbed LA
> Homegirl Cafe, where heart meets soul – Viva LA Foodies
> Los Angeles fights to save the LACMA film program – LA Times
> PLEASE be careful buying cars on Craigslist, people – Laist

HELP! We’re out of 2 Buck Chuck!

baglady1 Appreciate our efforts? Help us!

As you may have noticed, we’ve gotten a running start here at HiddenLA. I started the site as a way to distract my idle hands and brain (and learn new web skills) after losing a job… and it ended up being more fun than I’d expected so it just kinda snowballed. In less than two months, we’ve amassed over a hundred articles, over 400 Facebook fans, and Mayor Villaraigosa is apparently following us on Twitter. Wow.

People keep asking me why the site isn’t packed with ads yet, and the fact is I’m looking around at options but I’m kind of particular about what I want to do here so I’ve been taking my time to focus initially on content and readers. I really don’t want HiddenLA to become some flashy marketing billboard, that’s the opposite of what it’s about. This site is a labor of love and so I’m really trying to make the right choices about where I take it for the reader’s benefit. Not that I don’t need the money mind you, I definitely do. But at the rate things are going at least someday I’ll be able to proudly tell my other dwelling-challenged neighbors that I’m the bag lady with the bestest blog on the streets of LA. So yay for me!

Anyhow, I digress. I was looking for other monetizing options to try out while I’m weighing long term options, so if you click around the site today (or look up), you may notice a little button asking for donations.

I know these buttons don’t work a lot of times and they’re easy to ignore, but my mom always taught me it never hurts to ask. So all I request is that if you like what we’re (I’m) doing and appreciate our (my) efforts, consider throwing us (me) a bone. It would very much make a difference.

Thanks, Los Angeles. You da bomb!

Also… thank you North Dakota. :)

ALERT – Big Giveaway Coming Up!

puppyWe really appreciate your support, and we’ve been working on some exciting treats to reward you for it. Pretty soon we’ll be announcing our first HiddenLA giveaway contest! Woo hoo! Are you excited? Well, YOU SHOULD BE. Seriously.

So keep an eye out… and be sure to join the community on our Facebook fan page so you can stay in the loop on this kinda stuff and more.

Hidden Los Angeles on Facebook

SNL – Sheila Choad’s Los Angeles Face

I think I saw a few of these women this weekend. Seriously girls, KNOCK IT OFF.

Aging gracefully is way sexier than being a fish-lipped plastic freak. You are already beautiful.

HANDSHAKE – We love you, North Dakota!

North DakotaAccording to Google Analytics, the only state in all of America that has yet to visit HiddenLA even *once* is North Dakota. Seriously! Even though we did a nice big feature on one of their native sons! Sigh.

Feeling a bit sad and rejected with this news, naturally the only solution was to turn to the internet for possible answers. It was tough admitting that all I really knew about North Dakota was to stay away from wood chippers. It seemed a good time to learn a bit about the commonalities we share so that perhaps we might have a better chance of forging a bond of web friendship. (I mean, how tough could it be… the word Dakota MEANS “allies” in the Sioux language, for Christ’s sake, so they’ve gotta be super friendly people. Right?)

After a bit of research it’s easy to see why North Dakota might be a bit intimidated by Los Angeles, though… the entire state contains nearly ONE THIRD the population of the San Fernando Valley alone. Wow.

Well, we may be big city folk, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about stuff that’s important to our fellow Americans, though. We do! So after a bit of research, here are a few things I’ve come up with… an olive leaf of sorts. An itemized list with links after the jump.



Turn off the television and go make some music today.

Don’t be one-upped by a silly cat.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeoT66v4EHg[/youtube]

VIDEO – How to Fix California

Next time someone tells you Northern Californians are smarter than Southern Californians, just quietly nod and then send them this video. I came across it a few days ago and wasn’t going to post it here… but frankly, I keep finding myself watching it. Honestly, this girl is just too dang adorable to keep to myself. She just wants to help, y’all!!! [youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxe_kwc8klw[/youtube]

OPINION – Get off our lawn, Perez Hilton!

Astronaut-Michael-Collins-249x300 One of the reasons I created this site was due to my aversion to the whole Perez Hilton/Speidi celebrity culture that’s slowly taken over our region and culture. I wanted to create something that would actively put focus on the more substantial and positive human realities that our community of 10 million people offers its residents and visitors. Because that stuff exists.

Fact is, I don’t want to live in a world where people are encouraged to believe it’s no longer cool to aim towards pursuing meaningful or rewarding stuff that makes the world a better place to live in. What kind of future do we have to look forward to and build upon if we set up a standard where being a narcissistic jerk is a paying accomplishment to aspire to? (Mind you, I’m not nearly as old as I’m sounding right now… but whatever. Get off my lawn!) Anyhow, in light of this… I would like to announce that Astronaut Michael Collins is officially my favorite person of the day. No, he has nothing to do with Southern California really… I simply love what he had to say in his recently posted Q&A statement featured on NASA’s web site.

Think about it… Michael Collins was the third Apollo 11 crew member. He was an integral team member on the first successful moon landing… a contributor to world history. Yet nobody remembers his name because he was the person who stayed inside while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon. Basically, he made it all the way to the moon and then had to wait behind in the car. And had Michael not stayed behind, despite being terrified that his deepest fears would be realized and he would have to navigate back to Earth alone, the mission couldn’t have succeeded. But is he upset that whenever people are asked about the event, nobody remembers his name? Nope. As a matter of fact, during the big Apollo 11 40th Anniversary celebration, Collins decided not to give any media interviews and instead issued the previously mentioned Q & A of the questions he is most frequently asked. He just doesn’t feel he deserves the attention.

*Highlights of his Q&A and a video of Michael Collins discussing his thoughts (and wishing out loud that we’d flown to Mars instead) after the jump* (more…)

PSA – Your Dog Is Cool

It’s been awfully hot lately, so this is just a little reminder… please leave your dog safely at home instead of in your car. A Stanford University study shows that even on comparatively cool days, such as 72 degrees, a car’s internal temperature will rocket to 116 degrees within 60 minutes. And contrary to rumor, keeping the windows open a crack hardly slows the rise at all.

Think the weather might be cool enough to risk leaving Spot for a little bit? Well before you leave the house, plug your zipcode into MY DOG IS COOL.com to find out whether or not you’re right. Right now, you probably aren’t. Just know, accidentally sending your dog to heaven will send you directly to jail.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwRTRD1LpME[/youtube]

AWWWWW! – Wet Zoe

This has absolutely nothing to do with hidden Los Angeles. My dog just makes me laugh.

Yep, it’s my site and I’ll post pictures of my pathetic wet dog if I want to. :)bath time

FREEEEE – Hot Dogs vs. Tacos

chicasWhat: Two hot, overly perky Latina actresses giving out free hot dogs and tacos
Hollywood & Highland
TODAY – Thursday, July 9, 2-6pm

Details: According to Wikipedia, The Chicas Project is “a reality television show on the bilingual television network Mun2, preeminent voice for Latino youth in America, that chronicles the adventures of the ‘Chicas,’ two VJs for Mun2, Yasmin Deliz and Crash Barrera.” Apparently their show is in its third season, but up until now I had no idea they existed. Which is okay… after watching a few clips it was easy to tell I’m just not their focus demographic. Well, I wasn’t until today. I am officially their demographic as of this moment solely because they’ll be handing out free food from 2-6pm and I’m always a fan of pro bono deliciousness. Yep, these two cute girls have decided (or rather, their show’s PR people did) that the best way to find out whether people prefer a Pink’s Hot Dog or a Joselito’s taco (ie, the best publicity stunt they could think up to promote season four of their show) is to give away 1,000 of each delicacy at a tourist mall. So if you’re in the area and feel like finding parking and braving the Captain Jack Sparrow impersonators this afternoon to snag a free snack from hot chicks, go for it. ¡Buen provecho, Los Angeles!

CRAZY – Historic E-mails for Sale!

Michael Jackson ebayAre you actively mourning Michael Jackson still? Did you want to go to MJ’s memorial service Downtown… but not enough to actually be one of the 1.6 MILLION people who registered to get one of the 8,750 tickets to the Staples Center? Or perhaps – like me – you just hate HUUUGE crowds of actively crazy people and had plans for Tuesday anyhow so if you’d been chosen you probably wouldn’t have even wanted/been able to go?

Well thanks to a few thoughtful souls, you can still own part of the Michael Jackson magic without worrying about your Tuesday plans. Now up for sale on ebay: copies of the MICHAEL JACKSON MEMORIAL NOTIFICATION E-MAIL that was sent to the losers who DIDN’T GET IN. These historic pieces of digital rejection are reasonably priced at “Less than ten dollars” WITH FREE SHIPPING, and there are still more than ten copies available – so act fast! (Screen capture after the jump.)



adHiddenLA has been a labor of love so far, but in order to keep our Los Angeles treasure hunt going for the long term we’ll need to expand this labor of love into something self-sufficient and profitable down the road. Fact is, it’s highly doubtful that we’ll ever run out of things to discover in Los Angeles if given the chance to keep looking.

So if you appreciate what we’re trying to accomplish here at HiddenLA and would like to support our continued efforts, we *really* want to talk to you! We are currently looking to build and nourish strong sponsorship, activity and advertising relationships with appropriate foundations, businesses and individuals that will hopefully benefit the community as well. So please contact us via the e-mail or phone number listed above under “contact.”

Thanks for the support, Los Angeles! Love ya! :*


This is hands down the best Fourth of July video I could find for you. Have a great weekend. I’ll see you back here soon, once I’m out of my Dorito coma…

Update: hard to believe, but an even better video has been called to my attention. Enjoy.

HATING LA – via Futurama

As we’ve established, Los Angeles – like all cities – does have good and bad points. That said, it’s simply in every resident and visitor’s best interest to learn how to handle themselves properly. In my grandmother’s generation, it was common Angeleno knowledge that the very best way to divert the ravenous, wandering packs of gun-toting pre-teens that wander like gypsies through our city (see clip above) was just to tell them to sit down while you go and make them a sandwich and then head for cover as they impatiently waited to be served. But times have changed and so have ten year olds.

According to our sources, in 2009 a better technique is to carry a book – any book – with you in case the gang is female. When the rabid little girl gang approaches, hide the cover of the book from them and pretend to be reading. Suddenly scream out “OMIGOD! I CAN’T BELIEVE I GOT THIS UNRELEASED TWILIGHT BOOK BEFORE EVERYBODY ELSE!” and in your excitement, throw the book skyward INTO THE OTHER DIRECTION. Run. Do not look back. You do not want to see what armed little girls will do to each other to get that book.

If the gang is all boys, the sandwich thing still works like gold. For a mixed group, sandwiches and books, in that order. Be safe out there, Los Angeles.

IMAGERY – The Pinata Delivery

Pinata delivery on Victory Boulevard in Valley Glen, Sunday afternoon. See full-sized image after the jump. (more…)

RIP – Sad Day for 1970s Pop Icons :(

I sure hope Erik Estrada and Kristy McNichol are feeling healthy. All you 1970s celebs might want to look into getting a thorough checkup soon. Clearly something is in the air and frankly, we’re awfully worried about you. It’s really bumming us all out. Please be well.

FARRAH FAWCETT (February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009) – I really love the Farrah commercial below… it’s like she’s up in heaven with the man of her dreams (who is hopefully nicer than Ryan O’Neal)… sitting in God’s hand on a big shaving cream cloud… rest in peace, oh Beautiful Queen of Feathered Hair.

MICHAEL JACKSON (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) – An insanely talented and very troubled human being, wherever he may be I sincerely hope from the bottom of my heart that Michael Jackson has finally found the peace and perfect nose he spent his life searching for. In my living room I have a photo he autographed for me in the early 90s… in tribute, I think I’ll go set his photo on my piano and then moonwalk backwards into the kitchen. Sha-mon!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVHw4UFhIv0[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLzalseE2mo[/youtube]


The sixties were a kerrraaaaayzeee time… the hippies were taking over with their crazy druggie ways and there was no way dedicated Sargeant Joe Friday, lover of Los Angeles, was going to let that happen to the youth of His City without a fight. The LSD Story was the first episode of the 1967 season of Dragnet, and it’s more than a little ironic that it was the first episode they filmed in glorious technicolor.

Note: The address given for the vacant lot where Blue Boy saw the pilot light of creation and reality was here.