Posts Tagged ‘What Lies Beneath’

EVENT – The Berlin Wall Falls in Los Angeles

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zXiClnK8oE[/youtube] Let’s just pray David Hasselhoff doesn’t show up and start singing.

In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 8th the Wende Museum of the Cold War and artists Shepard Fairey, Kent Twitchell, and Thierry Noir will be erecting a symbolic Berlin Wall aross Wilshire Boulevard. No, I’m not kidding.

The Wall Project, painted by professional and amateur artists, will close Sunday afternoon traffic on one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares for three hours on Nov. 8 beginning at 3 p.m. The project involves the Culver City’s Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War, the city of Los Angeles, the German Consulate General in Los Angeles and other partners… In a reenactment of the actual events, invited dignitaries will break down selected portions of the Wilshire wall, which will be placed directly in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Project leaders plan a live feed of the events between Los Angeles and Berlin, official sister cities since 1967. (Because of the time difference, it will already be Nov. 9 in Berlin, the day the wall came down in 1989).


TONIGHT – Jazz Photography *Icon* Herman Leonard!

ellafitzgeraldWhat: Mingling with 86-year old legendary jazz photographer Herman Leonard in person. Enjoy art and refreshments along with music provided by Joey Altruda and his Cocktail Crew.

When: Tonight (8/29),  8-11pm 

Where: Reserve,
420 North Fairfax

Price: FREEEEE!

Details: AIGA/LA & Reserve present The Photography of Herman Leonard. Meet legendary jazz photographer and coolest guy in the world, Herman Leonard, at his solo exhibition.

“In the late 1940’s, Herman Leonard’s passion for jazz brought him to the swinging clubs of Broadway, 52nd Street and Harlem. With the camera as his free ticket, he photographed and developed friendships with some of the greats of jazz history including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and many more.

A year’s apprenticeship with Yasuf Karsh provided invaluable experience photographing the likes of Albert Einstein, Harry S. Truman and Clark Gable. In 1956 Leonard was chosen to be Marlon Brando’s personal photographer for an extensive research trip to the Far East. In the late 1950’s Leonard headed for Paris where he worked in fashion and advertising and served as the European photographer for Playboy Magazine.

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FLASHBACK – A Day with The Doors

The following video “tells the story of Gary and Henry, two wild and crazy guys from the 60’s who designed albums covers for some of the biggest names in Rock and Roll… Gary and Henry discuss (with Ray Manzarek) how they came up with the infamous MORRISON HOTEL cover. They revisit the old hotel in downtown Los Angeles where they took the now classic shots of the doors in the hotel window. What’s amazing about this story is how different the world was back then. You can imagine today, taking a major rock and roll band to hotel with no advance notice and asking, “Hey mind if we take a few pictures?” Today, it would take months to set up the shoot and it would include bus loads of advertising people, reps from the record company, legal observers, and many many assistants. Ad to this, a full catering truck and security and you get the picture!”

See what The Morrison Hotel looks like today after the jump. Let’s just say I doubt you’ll be rushing there to book a room.

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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…)


FOCUS – Me-Tagging the LA River

Chicano artist Leo Limón has been painting the drains of the Los Angeles River for twenty years. In this interview from 2005, he explains what he calls “me-tagging.”
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0gSI6r16dA[/youtube]
Leo Limón
‘s activities date back to the very formative years of the Chicano Art Movement and his work reflects the vision, aspirations and images of his surroundings and roots. For 30 plus years he has being painting the Los Angeles River Cat faces on the storm-drain covers and is involved with groups whose efforts are to revive the river as a historic region, cultural arts enclave and tourist destination.”


COVET THIS – 20th Century Props Auction

*To launch a captioned photo gallery of crazy stuff, click on the little image below labeled LOT #4030*

austinpowerscapsuleSigh. After over 40 years in business, Harvey Schwartz, owner of Twentieth Century Props, will be closing shop and putting 113,000 square feet of tangible movie history up for auction from July 28 to August 1.

Cool Movie Props YOU Can Own!!!

This closing is incredibly sad to see on many many levels, but you *know* you want to sit in Dr. Evil’s pod (aka LOT #504) while you’re watching television. So because I’m nice, I took a moment to go through the online catalog and pull out a few things you might not even realize you need, BUT DO. You’re welcome. Just click on the beer keg at left.

You can also inspect the merchandise in person at 11651 Hart Street in North Hollywood through Monday (9am-4pm) and after 8am on the mornings of the sale.


FLASHBACK – Black Gold at Kiddyland

Ever wonder what was on the corner of Beverly and La Cienega before the Beverly Center existed?

Kiddie rides and oil rigs. And the oil rigs are still there. Huh.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUYc3uZbRW4[/youtube] “In 1946, Dave Bradley opened Beverly Park and Playland (Kiddyland) at Beverly and LaCienega. It had a Tilt-a-Whirl, bumper cars, a roller coaster, merry-go-round, pony rides, blue hippo, you name it. And gourmet food, according to their ads.

…One of his visitors at Playland (Kiddyland) was Walt Disney, and Bradley became an advisor to Disney on many of the rides at Disneyland. He was one of the geniuses who decided that everything on Main Street would be built to 7/8 scale, so people would feel tall and not so overwhelmed as they walked around.” (SOURCE)

“This little amusement park, complete with roller coaster and spook house, sat in the shadow of one of the thousands of disguised oil pumps creakily pumping up profits from the huge oil reservoir under the area. Many a bedraggled parent found solace here, as for the price of a few 25 cent tickets, children could be let loose to ply the cheesy old rides while Mom and Dad sipped soda under a tree.” (SOURCE)

After 28 years, Beverly Park closed in 1974 and in 1978 plans for Beverly Center were announced. The mall opened in 1982. More than you ever needed to know about Kiddyland can be found on the Facebook page dedicated to the park.


VIDEO – LAPD’s Notorious Evidence Vault

[googlevideo width=”590″ height=”420″]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8376199523322794642[/googlevideo]

“The three floors near the top of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Building in downtown Los Angeles, domain of the district attorney’s office, house a cache of mementos, evidence from prominent trials and even artwork... Two floors below is a locked walk-in closet officially known as the Historical Vault. It’s the repository for evidence collected in some of the county’s most infamous cases, many of which have been the subjects of books and movies.  (more…)


MATINEE – Simon Rodia & The Watts Towers

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9njXNZuASi0[/youtube] rodiaTHE TOWERS (1957; 12 minutes) is a documentary about Simon Rodia (1879-1965) building the Watts Towers.

Details: Born near the Naples, Italy, Simon Rodia emigrated to Pennsylvania at 15. When his brother was killed in a mining accident, Simon moved to the West Coast and eventually settled in Watts in the early 1920s. He began creating the towers in 1921 and finished in 1948. Seven years later, frustrated by vandalism and disputes with his neighbors, he suddenly gave the property to neighbor Luis Sauceda and walked away. He was 75 years of age.

Simon Rodia lived in Martinez, California until his death in 1965. He never viewed his Towers again. (more…)


HOT ANGELENO – Ralph J. Bunche

Ralph J. Bunche signing stuffSome people believe L.A.’s most important residents are the ones who have reality shows… but today’s sizzling Hot Angeleno was sexy cool in his own right. He didn’t have rock hard abs (that we know of), but he clearly worked pretty hard on other less-important things.

HiddenLA‘s HOT Angeleno of the Day: RALPH JOHNSON BUNCHE!!!

(August 7, 1904-1971) Orphaned at age 12, Ralph and his two sisters moved to Los Angeles to live with their grandmother, a former slave who “appeared Caucasian on the outside but was all black fervor inside.” As a teen he was an accomplished athlete who worked all sorts of odd jobs to help his family survive. He was the senior class valedictorian at Jefferson High School in South Central and began his college studies at UCLA (which was then located on Vermont where City College is). Then he went on to get a few other degrees and do a few other important things. And he helped to write some stuff too. Oh yeah, I almost forgot… then at 46 years of age he became THE VERY FIRST PERSON OF COLOR FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD to ever receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. OMG! TOTALLY HOTTTTT!!! (more…)


MATINEE – How Doogie Met the Los Angeles Riots

doogieandrodneyToday we’ll return to a time that was a bit less idyllic. On April 29, 1992, violence erupted in our city and the life of every resident was affected… as shown below, it even took a toll on the life of the average American pubescent doctor. Today we will relive the night of April 29, 1992 as we watch erudite teen/medical prodigy Doogie Howser, his wacky sidekick Vinnie and the caring staff of a strangely nameless local hospital cope with the aftermath of the L.A. Riots. Can’t we all just get along?

(Original Airdate: September 23, 1992)


HISTORY – The Manson Murders

Sadly, flashing back to this city’s past isn’t always going to be beach parties and good times. Perhaps no crimes will ever stop the heart of Los Angeles the way the Manson murders did, and in honor of their 40 year anniversary, Los Angeles Magazine is currently featuring a web exclusive primer on Manson, including an oral history of interviews with the people involved.

Exactly forty years ago today – July 1, 1969 – a 34 year-old racist ex-convict and wanna-be folk singer named Charles Manson shot a black drug dealer by the name of Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe in an apartment building that once stood where the Magic Castle Hotel now resides. As the story goes, mistakenly believing that he had committed murder and that Crowe was a member of the Black Panther Party, Manson expected retribution from the gang. So throughout the summer of 1969, Charles Manson orchestrated the grisliest murder spree in Los Angeles history partly in an effort to frame the Panthers and force the police to arrest them. With these murders, Angelenos were consumed with pure confusion and terror. The wealthy, the famous and the beautiful had suddenly become innocent victims of horrific, unsolved violence… and if the privileged weren’t safe, who WAS? Los Angeles filled with fear, and its collective perspective on the face of evil changed the second Charles Manson and his unique brand of scary entered their radar six months later. In December 1969, Manson and several of his followers were arrested. The trial began on July 24, 1970. On January 25, Manson was found guilty of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. On March 29, 1971, Manson was sentenced to death. And there he remains, on death row.

The videos I’m including after the jump are in chronological order and, obviously, not for the faint of heart. They are as follows:

  1. Footage featuring original CBS news coverage of the Tate and LaBianca murders;
  2. News report filmed 8 weeks after Manson’s arrest with an eyewitness account of Spahn Movie Ranch;
  3. Charles Manson in all his crazy glory on the Today Show in 1994;
  4. A History Channel Series which followed the later lives of the people most affected (for the full 5-part playlist, click here);
  5. Diane Sawyer interviewing repentant and dying Family member Susan Atkins in 2008. (Atkins’ next parole hearing is set for September 2nd, 2009.)

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HISTORY – The Hollywood Canteen

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aDrPsbLwuY[/youtube] The Hollywood Canteen existed at 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood between October 3, 1942 and Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1945

With Steven Colbert’s recent adoption as USO mascot, I thought it might be timely to revisit one of Hollywood’s biggest efforts to bond with our nation’s soldiers.

Throughout World War II, Americans were very much in the habit of making hospital visits, putting on shows at military bases, and serving doughnuts and hot coffee in canteens in an effort to boost the spirits of enlisted men. As many of them were enlisted themselves, the biggest stars of stage and screen were very much involved in the morale building as well. On American soil, the goal was set to give the servicemen an option to come to the celebrities instead of vice versa… and that was how The Stage Door Canteen Nightclub (located at the 44th Street Theater in Times Square) was born. The driving forces behind the creation of the USO‘s West Coast location, The Hollywood Canteen, were Bette Davis and John Garfield, along with legendary songwriter Jule Styne (FYI, he wrote more than a few tunes you’ve heard before). The Canteen was operated and staffed completely by volunteers from various aspects of the local entertainment industry. By the time the doors opened in 1942, over 3000 stars, players, directors, producers, grips, dancers, musicians, singers, writers, technicians, wardrobe attendants, hair stylists, agents, stand-ins, publicists, secretaries, and allied craftsmen of radio and screen had registered as volunteers. On any given day or night, actresses such as Ann Sothern, Hedy Lamarr and Linda Darnell could be found pouring coffee.

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L.A. Is A Nicer Place Than You Think – #1

OUR GORGEOUS VINTAGE TRAIN STATION STILL EXISTS. WHERE’S YOURS?

All it takes is a quick look around to see how many other vintage train stations across the nation have been taken down by the wrecking ball and replaced with boxy concrete structures or freeway ramps and yet our vintage train station remains beautiful, in daily use by citizens and historically intact for the most part. Union Station opened in May 1939, and is known as the “Last of the Great American Railway Stations.” Even if you’ve never been inside, you’ve still seen the beauty of it many times. So let’s just have a little cheer for the fact that we still *have* Union Station.

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WEB – In SRO Land

Each spring, L.A.’s popular time-travel blog 1947project reinvents itself. For the first three years, it followed a chronological crime-a-day format by painstakingly scouring newspapers for incredible forgotten tales of crime and infamy from particular years (1947, 1927 and 1907 were all featured). Then the On Bunker Hill blog which followed was “a house-by-house survey of the great old downtown residential neighborhood that was demolished to create the high rise district that shares its name, but none of its charms.” The contributors – including authors, librarians, bloggers, psychologists, film scholars, art historians, artists and tour guides – dug deep into historic archives to uncover fascinating tales of more than a century of life on old Bunker Hill.

Well, the latest incarnation of Kim Cooper‘s baby has officially been born as of today, and it’s got a name: In SRO Land: lost lore of the Historic Core. The blog’s contributors are an eclectic mix of prominent social historians and journalists who will “explore the forgotten history of Downtown LA, up the grand entertainment boulevard of Broadway (where SRO means “Standing Room Only”) and down the mean streets of Main (where SRO stands for “Single Room Occupancy,” shorthand for a rented room with a sink in the corner, shared toilet down the hall). Between these two poles, straddling the financial center of Spring Street, modern Los Angeles was born.” Check it out!


IMAGERY – Sister Aimee’s Stained Glass

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnHNUIx-bks[/youtube] Up until a few days ago, I had never set foot in the Angelus Temple in Echo Park. Not being much for organized religion myself, this might not seem unusual… except that the temple is one of the more noteworthy parts of my family heritage. At 19, my Grandma Beulah preached at Pentacostal tent revivals alongside the woman who built the temple, Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, and often babysat Aimee’s son Rolf who recently passed away. I’ve passed the huge structure so many times that getting out of my car and walking inside was a long overdue experience.

To say that Sister Aimee was one of the most influential and controversial women of the 20th Century in America is an understatement. Let me put it this way… her following was so large that she estimated the entire $1.2 million cost of the temple (we’re talking 1924, people – think about it) was paid for with an average donation of TWO CENTS. I’ll be writing more about her in the future… now that I have this site, I have a great excuse to make myself get off my rear and do some research. My dream is to go through their archives and find some incredible photo of my nutty Grandma as a young girl speaking in tongues or something, but that will take time. So for the moment I’ll just share with you a photo I took of one of the temple’s original stained glass window after the jump. Sister Aimee is the woman portrayed kneeling on the bottom left. CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR A LARGER VIEW.
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MUSIC – Cowabunga, Daddio

Sunday’s passing of Bob Bogle, lead guitarist of The Ventures (the “most successful instrumental combo in rock and roll history” according to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame), has inspired us to pay tribute to what was the original soundtrack for much of Southern California’s beach culture, Surf Music. Strange as it seems, as a third generation native Southern Californian who’s never surfed and is allergic to the sun… Surf Music is the music of my people. Other folks have this and I have this. There are worse lots to have in life. If it wasn’t for the Chuck Berry-on-crack guitar riffs of musicians like The Ventures (who were actually from Washington), Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, Duane Eddy, Link Wray, and even the Bel-Airs, the Beach Boys, and the Surfaris? Well, the Southern California beaches (not to mention the films of Ennio Morricone, Quentin Tarrantino, Robert Rodriguez and Annette Funicello) would’ve been *much* less groovy and danceable. Let’s not even think about a horrible world like that: it totally harshes my mellow, dude. Surf music’s awesome. Learn it. Know it. Live it.

So, in tribute to the talents of Mr. Bogle and the wonders of my musical heritage, I present some totally rad music videos. Some vintage… some newer… all awesome. More after the jump. Enjoy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8__EwAT8VM[/youtube] (more…)