Posts Tagged ‘You Tube’

FLASHBACK – Our Town Today, circa 1944

Stay on the job and finish the job, Los Angeles!

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Lb7obs3daM[/youtube]
From the book The Bad City in the Good War: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego:

In early 1944, fearing a labor shortage, the Citizens Manpower Committee of Los Angeles staged a drive to induce war workers to “Stay on the Job.” The Committee took advantage of the great Army and Navy show at the Los Angeles Coliseum to stress the need for housing. Like so many other institutions in the area, the Los Angeles Coliseum was built by city boosters. It arose in 1923 and was increased in size in order to lure the 1932 Olympics to that city. The Coliseum well illustrates the kind of hubris that Los Angeles’s detractors cite, but it also gave the homefront popularizers of the war effort a magnificent urban space in which to persuade defense workers to “Finish the Job” and landlords to keep renting to transients. (more…)


FLASHBACK – The Exuberant Zest of WW2 SoCal

I’m not sure how many of the Japanese Americans who were relocated into local internment camps (or their descendants) would’ve considered it a “minor incident” of World War 2… but hey, those people could write their own dagnabbed newsreels! Um, or not.

“This video (part two, which focuses on local character, is after the jump) looks at what the future might be for California after World War II ends. Would there be enough jobs given the rapid population growth that was occurring? What industries might take up the slack when military spending ended? The post-WW2 Cold War was not foreseen. References are made to opportunities for trade with Russia and China. Nuclear energy – surprisingly – is seen as an alternative to hydro (and this is before Hiroshima.) The movie industry is recognized as important for the future. References are made to prewar social movements such as EPIC and the Ham & Eggs pension scheme and religious movements.”

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J58jg9jWvsA[/youtube] (more…)


HAPPY SUNDAY – Lie Down and Relaaaax!

Here in Los Angeles, even tapirs have personal masseuses.

Jealous much?

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


MATINEE – Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles

After the jump, a really great 30 minute long documentary (shown in 3 parts) about iconic author Raymond Chandler‘s take on the corruption of Los Angeles in the 1930s… a paradise infiltrated by dope fiends, smut peddlers, schemers in low places and high, crooked cops and crooked politicians…
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zDqrSctpVw[/youtube]

Raymond ChandlerAnd here’s something you might not have known… I’ll bet you’ve passed The Cahuenga Building in Hollywood a million times and not thought twice about it… but the six-story structure erected by John and Donald Parkinson (they also built Bullock’s Wilshire and the Santa Monica City Hall) was once the tallest building on the Boulevard and the high-profile home for L.A.’s best-known fictional private detective. Cynical gumshoe Philip Marlowe‘s office was located on the top floor in Suite #615 and it’s for this very reason that the building’s intersection was officially named after his creator, author Raymond Chandler. Interested in checking the building out? Well you’ll soon be able to spend the night… it’s currently being turned into a boutique hotel.

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MUSIC VIDEO – Pre-Gaga Hollywood

gagaWhen I was in Austria over Christmas, the top question asked of me was this: “So this Lady Gaga, that’s a man, right? Not a woman?” I’m not kidding. Three people asked me that.

To answer this question definitively for everyone, let’s just forget about her overexposure and penchant for hair hats and flash back in time for a moment to watch a fresh-faced 19 year-old named Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta – a talented, ambitious and rebellious girl virtually identical to so many in the crowd here – sing about her sick ambition of making it big in “Hollywood” and losing her reflection. Which… she did on both counts, really.

But truth be told, I kinda liked Stefani Germanotta better… illegal though it would be, I find myself wanting to buy underage Lady Gaga a beer. But hey, I’m sure she can well afford to buy her own now.
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b2C20qN4Ps[/youtube]


VIDEO – Hidden Layers of the Million $ Theatre

post card of the Million Dollar TheatreScroll down to view the video.
Parts 2-3 after the jump.

The Chinese and Egyptian Theaters in Hollywood brought the showman more lasting fame, but The Million Dollar Theatre on South Broadway was failed prospector Sid Grauman‘s first movie house. Located next to the historic Grand Central Market (built in 1917 and still thriving) and across from the iconic Bradbury Building (built in 1893 and now housing internal LAPD offices), this incredible structure was first opened to the public in February 1918.

The wonderful video below goes behind the scenes to share some of the hidden beauty that still exists and few get to see. If you’d like to learn more about the downtown theatre district firsthand, the LA Conservancy offers a walking tour every Saturday at 10am. Tickets are $10. [youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoI1Px6ysIY[/youtube] (more…)


PART 2 – The Ambassador Hotel All-Stars

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIPrZzStLxg[/youtube]
click for larger viewDuring the roaring 20s and 30s, the Ambassador Hotel’s nightclub “house bands” quickly became the most popular orchestras in the world. An issue of (the then-popular and catchy-named) Talking Machine World magazine identified Abe Lyman’s California Ambassador Orchestra (see video clip above) as “Los Angeles’ most famous popular musical organization” in 1923.

Abe Lyman (August 4, 1897 – October 23, 1957) was a popular bandleader from the 1920s to the 1940s. He made recordings, appeared in films and provided the music for numerous radio shows, including Your Hit Parade… For an engagement at the Cocoanut Grove in The Ambassador Hotel on April 1, 1922, Abe added a violinist and saxophonist. Opening night drew a large crowd of 1500 guests in the Cocoanut Grove, plus another 500 more outside.”

For a five year run in the 30s, a dapper group of musicians known as Gus Arnheim’s Orchestra (see video below) was then stationed at the Cocoanut Grove and widely considered to be the most popular band on the West coast. In 1930, the band began to feature male singing trio The Rhythm Boys, featuring a young singer named Bing Crosby. Arnheim Orchestra alumni also included Stan Kenton, Russ Columbo (seen playing violin and singing in the middle of the trio in the clip below), Charlie Spivak, Woody Herman, and actor Fred McMurray (on saxophone).
[dailymotion width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1u2m8_gus-arnheim-and-his-ambassadors1929_music[/dailymotion]


PART 1 – The Ambassador Hotel 101

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5jPhsvONao[/youtube]
ambassadorI’m aware that many readers may not know much about the topic, so here’s a short film explaining the beginnings, the importance, and the demolition of The Ambassador Hotel to start our series on this lost landmark. It features a great narration by Cindy Olnick of the LA Conservancy which helps to explain just how important the Ambassador Hotel’s existence was (and still is) for our community.

Running time: 15 minutes, 40 seconds


VIDEO – The Night the Wall Fell on Wilshire

We predicted David Hasselhoff would show up on Sunday, but he must’ve been busy eating cheeseburgers. Also, in order to avoid angering motorists stuck in traffic for three hours on a weekend afternoon, the event time was changed: the temporary construction of a “Berlin Wall” near LACMA was re-scheduled to happen shortly before midnight and be symbolically toppled at midnight by artists who would paint on the symbolic wall. Apparently the event went relatively well, according to the LA Times:

About 700 people gathered on Wilshire Boulevard near Ogden Drive to take part in the Wende Museum’s “A Wall Across Wilshire” event, a symbolic re-creation of the Berlin Wall that once separated East and West Berlin. It was part of the museum’s Wall Project, which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the wall…

“I wasn’t too optimistic,” (City Council member Tom) LaBonge said about turnout for the event. “I felt the same way I did about the Berlin Wall: I thought it would never come down. And I never thought this many people would come out on a Sunday. It’s nice to see. Everyone is having a good night. I’ll probably get a few noise complaints tomorrow for the loud music … but it’s well worth it.”

After watching the video below, I’m now eagerly awaiting the upcoming Berlin Wall ride and stage show at Universal Studios. Okay, I just made that up. Or did I?
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS6OcmnYvxM[/youtube]
Video via LAist


FLASHBACK – It’s a Big Job

In this training film, our new friend Bill explains the daily struggles of Los Angeles Transit Lines‘ transit operators circa 1947. Him? He likes his job. If he didn’t, he never would’ve taken it. [youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNRA5LAVVD0[/youtube]
Part two and part three (which includes “motor coach” operator training and electric trolley buses) are after the jump for your matinee-viewing pleasure if you are so inclined.

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FOCUS – The Dunbar Hotel

©USC Digital ArchiveSince a lot of people don’t know much about the history of the Central Avenue jazz scene that happened in Los Angeles, to accompany my last post noting Mama’s passing I decided to expand on it. The neighborhood played such a crucial and historic part not just in jazz history, but in African American history as well, it’s a worthy point to add.

The top jazz club on Central Avenue during its heyday was Club Alabam and *the* place to stay was the Dunbar Hotel, with a guest list that regularly included the likes of Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Lena Horne. Originally known as the Somerville Hotel, the structure was erected in 1928 entirely by black contractors, laborers and craftsmen and black community members helped John Somerville and his wife Vada to finance the entire project.

In 1907 Jamaican-born John Alexander Somerville became the first African American to graduate from the USC School of Dentistry. He earned the highest grade-point average in the class of 1907, and had passed the State Dental Board examination six months before graduation. His wife, Vada Watson Somerville, became the school’s first African-American woman graduate in 1918, going on to achieve distinction as the first black woman licensed to practice dentistry in California. Besides managing a successful practice, the Somervilles were instrumental in opening the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP. John Somerville also contributed to the local landscape by developing upscale properties. He was the second African-American member of the Chamber of Commerce and served on the Los Angeles Police Commission from 1949 to 1953.” SOURCE

After the jump is a video discussing the important role the Dunbar played in American history and a vintage postcard of the hotel circa 1938 (according to the card, the room rates at the time were $1 per day and $5 a week).

The Dunbar Hotel still stands, however its current future is sadly uncertain. (more…)


FLASHBACK – LA Doesn’t Need Rapid Transit, So Says Paul Lynde

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3QT69KyPq4[/youtube]

Los Angeles has had a tempestuous history with public transportation. This 1968 educational film starring actor/center square Paul Lynde and iconic Los Angeles newscaster Ralph Story was produced and distributed to libraries, schools and community groups by the Southern California Rapid Transit District in advance of a failed 1968 ballot initiative proposing a ½-cent sales tax that would go towards funding an 89-mile, five-corridor rail system (costing $2.5 billion). The bill was rejected by voters fifty-five percent to forty-five percent.

“Blame for the defeat was placed, officially on the public’s dislike of higher taxes, not hostility to rapid transit itself. Blame was probably shared by an antipathy to more taxation, and a general feeling, still prevalent, that Los Angeles was an autopian, decentralized garden city with no place for rail transit.”

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POETRY – Ode to Density

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYiTAU-4QuI[/youtube]Part of the Urban Hike Series organized by the Architecture + Design Museum, Mike The Poet shares his poem “DENSITY” in the historic geography of MacArthur Park in downtown Los Angeles. Found on CurbedLA


FLASHBACK – Olvera Street circa 1937

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50DnilLc7x0[/youtube]


HAPPY SUNDAY – Have a rockin’ Labor Day!

I’ll be adding more stuff to our event calendar tonight, so check back tomorrow!

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo74OnQbhr4[/youtube]


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.

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FLASHBACK – Coming Into Los Anjuleez. Far out.

First, let me just say that the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock has brought what is perhaps the best ABC News story headline I have ever seen. Although wow, the article’s pretty depressing.

Anyhow, in honor of this auspicious anniversary of the biggest day in naked muddy hippie history, I’m posting Arlo Guthrie’s Woodstock performance of “Coming into Los Angeles.” In case you were not aware, this song was written in 1968 about illegal drug smuggling – SURPRISE!!!!!  Yeah, that’s a shocker, I know. But I digress. In 2007 LA Times reporter Geoff Boucher asked Arlo to speak  a little more in depth about the story behind the song… you can read his comments after the jump.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uoq4ar-0p4[/youtube]

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FLASHBACK – Philnjims. Philnjims. Philnjims.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaaROqaVEl0[/youtube]
Phil & Jim’s TV & Appliance unexpectedly went kaput in 1994.


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.


VIDEO – A Little Face Time with Marty & Elayne

There are few things we can truly count on in life,
but we can always count on Marty & Elayne to be… 

Marty & Elayne.

‘Cuz they’ve got us… under their dermis.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”425″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nrzOHH8tOo[/youtube]
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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]


FLASHBACK – Disco Duck vs. Disgorilla

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc5d01_riBo[/youtube] Sure, some of us older folk may remember L.A. radio personality Rick Dees from his creepy Disco Duck days. But raise your hand if you remember Disgorilla, the Disco Duck sequel.

Yeah, me neither.

The 70s were full of questionable taste, so it’s not entirely surprising that Disco Duck hit number one in the pop charts of 1976. The song sold six million copies – [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTOqeBEtyLY[/youtube] one of which was bought for me by my sister. But believe it or not, it also rose to number 15 on the Black Singles chart. (Really? Huh.)

As for Disgorilla? Yeah, Rick didn’t have quite as much success with that one. But it’s okay. Even though Ryan Seacrest usurped his 30 year career in an Eve-like swoop, the 59 year-old Dees seems to be keeping busy as co-founder of Fine Living and founder of Rick.com.

Hey, just as long as he’s not planning on spending his retirement writing more disco songs, we’re good.


FLASHBACK – Hollywood by Helicopter 1958

I’d explain this clip, but it’s pretty obvious.
[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox6rtwhMWKE[/youtube]


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.”