Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Ode to Anaheim

ANAHEIM - We know this city where the Mouse calls home has had its share of disturbing problems in recent years, and after some rioting, protesting and court battles these issues are slowly being addressed. Beside Mickey Mouse riots there are some other things unique about Anaheim, and in a tribute to the fair town where this publication has called home for many years we present to you, "Ten Signs You Know You're From Anaheim" right after the jump.

A 1922 photograph of downtown Anaheim, which, sans for a few more buildings, looked the same for many years until the "development bomb." You know you are from Anaheim if you know exactly what that means. No copyright infringement intended; shown for historical and educational purposes only.

1. Here Comes The Train!

When that train goes by it could be a sad sound or a happy sound, because no matter where you are in Anaheim, be it downtown or the tony Anaheim Hills, you always hear the distant (and sometimes not so distant) whistle of a train. Perhaps it all began when Jack Benny announced, "Train leaving on Track Five for Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga."


While driving along Harbor Boulevard, Ball Road or Katella Avenue you hit every freakin' single red light and mumble to yourself, or yell, "why can't Anaheim program their traffic signals!" An Anaheim traffic programmer once said, off the record, the city believes people driving in the "Resort District" area will want to stop and shop at other places along the way to Disneyland if they have a moment to see it. In reality, while being stopped at every single red-light, you feel like screaming to whoever makes the city engineers do this, "Families with a bunch of hyper kids in the car who just spent a hour or two driving here aren't gonna want to stop at some other business on the way to Disneyland, get over it!"

3. A City With A Culture and Winning Sports Teams

When friends and family from outside of Orange County think Anaheim is just another bland, uninspiring homogeneous housing-tract city in "The OC" with no culture you gladly take them along Brookhurst Street, then to the revived downtown Anaheim and exploring amazing homes in The Colony, and that is just for starters. Then you kindly mention to the too-good-for-Anaheim naysayers we have a baseball and hockey team that has actually won a World Series and Stanley Cup, respectfully, in the new century. Finally, when talk turns to their family from around the country and/or world wanting to visit them and do all the super tourist stuff remind them, "Where is that one place they always insist on going when they come out to visit you?"

4. Somebody Was Once Good Friends With Her In High School

Somebody knows somebody who once attended Loara High School with Gwen Stefani and were "super good friends with her," and was a big No Doubt fan, years before they became big.

5. You Cannot Believe Another Anaheim Resident Actually Paid To Get Into Disneyland

You try to contain your laughter, or utter shock, when some fellow Anaheim resident tells you they actually paid full-price to get into Disneyland. People in Anaheim always know somebody who can get them in for free, or at the very least find them a very cheap ticket.

6. We Have a Haunted K-Mart

Not many places in the world have this claim to fame: Local lore has it that the K-Mart on Katella Ave. is haunted, which has to make you wonder, "Ghosts haunting a K-Mart in Anaheim? Those are some pretty damn boring ghosts." 

7. Best Bowling Alley Ever!

You know we have one of the best bowling alleys in the country with the best bowling alley signage in the country, Linbrook Bowl. In addition to 24-hour bowling there is a dimly lit bar with cheap drinks and karaoke. Oh, and going bowling here is pretty cheap too! 

 photo Bowling1.jpg
Linbrook Bowl sign. No copyright infringement intended; shown for historical and educational purposes only.

8. You Remember...

You remember when the Anaheim Plaza was an actually mall complete with The Broadway Department Store. You remember when Chain Reaction was called Public Storage. You remember when Anaheim had its own radio station, KEZY. You remember when Anaheim had an actual downtown with movie theaters and its very own department store, S-Q-R Store.

 photo SQR.jpg 
A 1978 photograph S.Q.R. Store, located at 202 West Center Street in Anaheim. Built in 1925 and demolished in 1978 as it was a victim of the "development bomb." Photograph source, Calisphere - University of California. No copyright infringement intended; shown for historical and educational purposes only.

9. You Still Can't Believe What They Did!

Thanks in part to businesses like The Lab and Rothick art haus life in today's downtown Anaheim has finally been brought back. Yet, when you are there maybe during Art Crawl Experience or having something to eat at Healthy Junk, you still cannot believe some overpaid bureaucrat thought it was a good idea to wipe out most of old downtown Anaheim, and worse yet, you are baffled that the centerpiece of the "new" 1978 downtown Anaheim is a bland, run-of-the-mill, typical Southern California strip-mall. 

10. The Best View In All Of Southern California

Sometimes you have to find the good in the bad, and the 1978 downtown Anaheim redevelopment had a lot of bad things, but there was a silver-lining in parking structures. You know the best view in all of Orange County, and Southern California, is atop parking structures in downtown Anaheim. From the top on a clear day in one long turn of the head you can view The San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains, downtown Los Angeles and the Santa Monica Mountains (if you focus your eyes you can make out the Griffith Observatory and Hollywood sign), Santa Catalina Island and the curve of the earth in south county. Indeed in just one turn of the head it is one majestic view, and makes good viewing for the fireworks, both legal and illegal.

So Cal Confessions: Have You Ever...

SOMEWHERE ON A FREEWAY - Have you ever caused a traffic accident, or minor finder bender, and taken off?

Was it on a freeway? In an overcrowded Trader Joe's parking lot? At a mall? The Pleasure Chest parking lot?

We know it happens. Traffic reporters do not report on hit-and-runs on an almost daily basis just to hear themselves talk.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Promise of A New Tijuana

This piece was originally written for another publication on October 25, 2010. This piece was meant to be a jumping off point for a larger series of a new era in Tijuana amid the drug war. What happened to the series? Well, there were some threats made on me, and advice I was given at the time by some officials on both sides of the border was to lay low. Sadly, many journalists covering the drug war in Mexico have been killed simply for doing their job.

October 25, 2010

TIJUANA - The violence that has plagued Tijuana as part of Mexico's larger drug war fell into a lull recently, so much to the point where Mexican President Felipe Calderón praised Tijuana’s improved condition. Two weeks ago the president helped inaugurate Tijuana Innovadora, a $5 million, two-week series of conferences aimed at improving the city’s image and drawing investment, which featured several high-profile speakers including the founders of Twitter and Wikipedia, and former Vice President Al Gore.

Tijuana Innovadora closed the event last Thursday with thousands of residents converging into Rio Zone to dance for three minutes in celebrating their love for their city. For those in town who could not make it to the main dance floor several dance spots were held throughout Tijuana.

Over the years the town along la frontera has been trying to wash away its image of a seedy town for Americans looking for a cheap thrill, and the effort has shown results with many areas of Tijuana looking like a modern, dynamic city. Some of the changes have involved drastic moves, such as firing the entire Tijuana Police force as the city makes attempts to do away with the police force's infamous corruption. Of course in recent times many Americans looking for those cheap thrills along with those looking to explore the real Tijuana have avoided crossing the border due to the violence, though truth be told most of the drug cartels who are behind most of the violence do not want anything do to with some random American tourist.

Probably the most dangerous place for American tourists making day trips into Mexico would be Ciudad Juarez, just across from El Paso, Texas. In Mexico's drug war, which has claimed 28,228 lives (up to that date in 2010), several deadly, brazen battles have taken place there, including 14 people being gunned down at a family birthday party earlier this month. Prior to the drug war for many years several women went missing in Ciudad Juarez and those cases still remains unsolved. With all due respect, the idea of a wild border town out of control has always been better suited for Ciudad Juarez than Tijuana.

Back in Tijuana, within the last two years stories of decapitations and mass murders have became commonplace, which surely did not help the city erase its seedy image of easy vice and corruption. Quite frankly the image of vice and corruption for many Americans was rapidly replace with that of a town full of sadistic murderers.

Tijuana resident Juan Gomez tells me as we walk across Universidad Autónoma de Baja California - Campus Tijuana, "A bunch of drunken American people avoiding our city gives us more room to better improve our image for Americans looking for a real international experience," but on the same token Mr. Gomez says, "a lot of our medical stores and other shops catering to border crossers closed, which means the families that run them are out of work."

Tijuana officials say prior to the drug war insurgency various medical shops catering to tourists looking for cheaper prescriptions, with or without a doctor's note, brought in on average over $100 million a year to the local economy. One Tijuana city official, one of many who asked to be anonymous, told me, "The medical tourism industry now brings about $20-25 million a year and this is one reason our city has been going after the drug cartel causing this problem, one of our main sources of revenue has been killed and hundreds of people have been put out of work."

Asked if such medical tourism added to the seedy image the city is trying to rid itself of the official says, "No, in fact once this war ends our medical tourism will improve and we'll be able to provide better facilities to address medical needs." When told how some residents still see such medical places as apart of the seedy image the city official said quite sternly, "Look, several places across the world have medical tourism, even Canada, and part of our new image is providing first-class medical facilities that will attract people from all over the world."

While there have been some improvements in reducing the crime rate the reality is law enforcement still has a long way to go.

The new and retrained Tijuana Police Department along with the help of Mexican troops throughout the city have helped reduce murders in the city. According to Tijuana officials the death toll this year (2010) is 638, while the death toll last year (2009) was 664, which was a significant decrease from 2008 where there were 844 homicides. Nonetheless the murder rate is still disturbingly high for a city its size.

Despite all their best efforts amid celebrations of a revived Tijuana, and all its potential, sadly within the last two weeks there have been sudden outbreaks of violence.

Late Sunday night in the Buenos Aires Sur area in east Tijuana masked gunmen forced residents onto the floor at El Camino a la Recuperacion, a drug rehabilitation center, and then sprayed them with bullets killing 13 people.

Then nearly a little over a week ago two days of sudden violence left 13 people dead, which included the discovery of a decapitated head in a black plastic bag with a note attached to the forehead left alongside a busy street.

Unfortunately Mexico's drug war has no immediate end in site.

Currently there are no powerful drug-trafficking organization currently maintaining control over Tijuana since the once-dominant Arellano Félix cartel had been broken-up. In fact the Baja California’s Attorney General’s Office believes this latest outbreak of violence is led by Fernando Sánchez Arellano, who commands the remnants of the Arellano Félix cartel.

While the remnants stir-up some trouble and perhaps look to take over their boss's old drug-pushing haunt the Baja California's Attorney General's Office believe another group is also leading this latest outbreak of violence, the followers of the detained drug leader Teodoro García Simental, who law enforcement authorities say have been receiving support from a Sinaloa-based group led by Chapo Guzmán.

A Tijuana law enforcement official, who asks to remain anonymous for his/her safety, tells me the latest violence, "is probably the two groups fighting for dominance and until the troops and police can get a hold of the masterminds of both cartels I have a feeling we're going to see renewed bloodbaths."

That sentiment is shared by Baja California officials along with U.S. officials who believe outside groups and members of the Félix cartel have begun fighting over control of the region.

So what is so special about Tijuana that cartels are willing to slaughter people over it? Well, the region is a major transitory point in supplying U.S. drug dealers and users with cocaine, meth and other hideous drugs.

The outgoing portal of drugs from Tijuana to America is Interstate 5, which supplies Mexican drug cartels an easy, if not perfect link to the West Coast suppliers and buyers, in which hundreds of thousands of dollars change hands. Upon changing hands the money quickly goes back south and ends up in the hands and pockets of the cartels and their people.

It is a vicious circle that is going to require drastic measures on both sides of the border.

Until there is action with both the U.S. and Mexican governments with their drug policy the people of Tijuana are going to be under the gun, and even so, there is no quick solution that will immediately free Tijuana of its problems.

Hopefully with changes within Tijuana and action by the Mexican government, and help by the U.S. government, Tijuana will become a dynamic world city that it is destined to be.

Four Things To Do Beside Watch The State of The Union

LOS ANGELES - It is that time of year where President Barack Obama will give his State of The Union address on Tuesday to a rather catty, cliquey joint session of Congress. The State of The Union has turned into the equivalent of a high school pep-rally with all the cliques bringing all their "cool friends" trying show up everybody else. After all, invites to this year's affair include Fort Lee, New Jersey Mayor Mark Sokolich, Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson and Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity.

Let us face it, most of the president's speech has leaked out and most of it will be things he has been said before. About the only real revelation is Mr. Obama will likely announce he will use his Executive Order privilege to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 a hour for government contract workers.

Adding to the high school pep-rally feel are some lawmakers clapping at everything the president says during the speech, and at times looking around awkwardly wondering if they should give the president a standing ovation. Then there are other lawmakers who refuse to clap sitting there acting like an angry child. Surely the reaction of some lawmaker during the State of The Union speech will get the attention of the news cycle and trend online with some catchy hash-tag.
This whole thing has turned into a bunch of theatrics, and so here are four other things to do beside watch the State of The Union:

1. Go To The Record Store!

Support your local record store. In fact, if you have not got around to it check out Jungle Beat Records in Montebello. A lot of great records at great prices, and the owner is an awesome guy.

Jungle Beat Records
2461 W Whittier Blvd
Montebello 90640
Dial (323) 725-0940

2. Go To This Show at The Detroit Bar

Go see Let's Drive to Alaska, Robot Work and AtariSUNSHINE at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. If you have not heard of these bands then go check them out, because you will not be disappointed. Also, the show is free, but it is 21 and over.
Detriot Bar
843 W 19th St
Costa Mesa 92627

3. Go Volunteer!

This of course does not have to be during The State of The Union, but consider volunteering and making your community a little bit better of a place (let's see some sour face lawmaker not stand up and applaud that). A lot of people want to do this, but not too sure where to even start. Well, Volunteer Los Angeles, One OC and Volunteer Match: Riverside-San Bernardino Volunteer Opportunities, are very good places to start.

4. Go To This Art Museum

Go to The Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College (yes, that Vincent Price). Among featuring work from many up and coming artists the museum also features a collection of artworks from ancient civilizations in Central and South America. This museum is one of these hidden gems in Southern California and it is highly recommended you check it out. The museum is open until 4 p.m. and admission is free.

The Vincent Prince Art Museum at East Los Angeles College
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Monterey Park 91754

Dial (323) 265-8841

As for The State of The Union, you can always read the transcript of it at the White House website. If you really want to torture yourself you can listen to the cable news noise channels and what the many pundits believe the speech really meant.

Whatever you decide to do, hopefully you have a very good day.

Monday, January 27, 2014


IN SOME PARTS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - Holy jumping Jesus, it actually rained late Sunday night into Monday morning in some parts of Southern California. It was a very light rain, but it was rain nonetheless.

It will probably be the closest we have to any kind of rain for awhile, and so hopefully you enjoyed it.

California is headed into a very horrible drought, and so this little mist of rain was really nothing. 

To recap this news, precipitation has fallen from the skies and landed on various streets throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, and possibly causing minor inconvenience.

This is otherwise called something that should happen during winter time.  

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2014

LOS ANGELES - Today, January 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. If this is the first you are hearing of it, well, you probably are not alone. This is a rather new remembrance day as this day came about following a resolution after a special United Nations session held in 2005, which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust. 

This otherwise came about following UN Resolution 60/7, which urges every U.N. member nation to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide.

Perhaps you have some new people in your life and they are at that age where they need to start understanding some not-so-pleasant moments in our history, or maybe you still need to figure out what this was all about (it is a lot for even the best of scholars to attempt to wrap their head around). Well, if you have a moment during the day, or perhaps sometime during the week, please go to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.

Aside from the unique aspect of the museum the L.A. Museum of the Holocaust is the oldest Holocaust museum in the United States, or so they claim. Whatever the case may be it is a very important place to visit as they have an impressive research center and library, and in 2010 the museum moved into a new building at Pan Pacific Park.

On the note of the library and research center, if you are searching for a family member, or curious if you had a family member if lost in this obscene tragedy, this museum is a wonderful resource to track down lost family members.  

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
100 S The Grove Drive (Across the street from The Grove at Pan Pacific Park between Beverly Boulevard and 3rd Street)
Los Angeles  90036
Dial (323) 651-3704

Museum hours are:
Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. 
Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Along these same lines another important place you should go to at some point, especially if you have never been, is the Museum of Tolerance, which is run in conjunction with the the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

There is a lot of injustice here in Southern California and in the world, and if you maybe want to try to help these are two good places to start.

On this day take a moment, please, to remember what happened then, and to remember what is still going on in the world today.

Go To This Thursday: L.A. Art Book Fair

DOWNTOWN L.A. - Barnes and Noble may be dying, and Borders is long dead, but books are not dead, much less art books, or zines, or the independent publisher, and especially the independent bookstore owner, and proving this point that books are still alive and will never, ever die is the 2014 L.A. Art Book Fair.

Opening this Thursday at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Downtown Los Angeles the L.A. Art Book Fair will feature, according to the press release, "a unique event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by over 250 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers."

If you love the arts, love the independent press, and love Los Angeles, then go to this on Thursday.

Expect to see, according to MOCA, "Featured projects include a Queer Zines Exhibition curated by Philip Aarons and AA Bronson, The Classroom series of talks and lectures curated by David Senior, K-CHUNG Radio with live coverage of - and broadcast from - the fair, and a number of special project rooms. In addition, MOCAtv and the LA Art Book Fair team up to bring you a series of curated screenings, panels, and performances by some of our favorite artists and performers, and the CABC comes, for the first time, to the west coast for a one-day conference."

Of course if you cannot make it Thursday to the opening the show runs at MOCA through Sunday.

Hopefully this will inspire you to support the arts, or perhaps have your very own zine or printing press. Or maybe just a little bit of both.

Other highlights of the weekend show include, We Want to Talk About Feminism, Laura Owens in conversation with Wendy Yao, FEAR, by Karl Haendel Belvedere, by David Hartt, Johan Kugelberg, Suppose and a Pair of Jeans, by Anna Sew Hoy, and XE(ROX) & PAPER + SCISSORS, among others.

There will also be a lot of people signing their books at this event, too.

Here is a complete list of events.

If you have been wondering, "how can I support the locals arts, and crazy zine makers, and all these indie bookstore owners," well, this is your answer, and so go to the L.A. Art Book Fair and help support part of what makes Southern California great.

Here is something really cool about all the L.A. Art Book Fair, it is free! So go!

Cannot make it Thursday for the opening, well you have until Sunday. 

The 2014 L.A. Art Book Fair.

Opening: Thursday, January 30, 6–9 pm
Friday, January 31, 11 am-5 pm
Saturday, February 1, 11 am–6 pm
Sunday, February 2, 12 pm–6 pm

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles 90012
Dial (213) 626-6222

Free free to take The Gold Line to the show.

The After Party!

What would a good show be without an after party, and there is quite an after party MOCA and Burger Records have planned.

The L.A. Art Book Fair will be presenting the L.A. Art Book Fair After Party at The Church on York on February 1. Over there and up there on York Boulevard will be performances by Colleen Green, La Luz, White Fang, and Wyatt Blair.

So go!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Brief Understanding of the Unrest in the Ukraine

ANAHEIM - This is a story that is well outside Southern California, but it has been mostly under the radar in most U.S. and local media. However, we feel it is best to bring you a little bit understanding of what is happening in the Ukraine and why it is important.

Now presented here is not a definitive view of the conflict in Kiev by any means, but rather we hope this is a jumping off point for you to further explore and understand the unrest in the Ukraine.

There has been plenty reported about protesters and rioters taking over government buildings and allegedly torturing police officers, but the question is why?

This all began with a protest being called Euromaidan in November 2013 with very large public protests and civil unrest demanding closer European integration, especially with the European Union. The protesters have called for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and accused his government of corruption, abuse of power, and violating human rights.

This may be seen as a battle between the pro-Russian government, whom the current president, Yanukovych has long been a Russian sympathizer, and the protesters, who want closer ties to the West and European Union. Many protesters are quite upset as they believe a Russian supported government is standing in the way of having Western style democracy in their country.

Many scholars and observers are debating if what is underway right now is a large scale protest and civil unrest, or if this is a revolution

  In the middle of this whole unrest in the Ukraine is in fact Russia itself.

Ukraine is very important to the Russians as, aside from it being apart of one of the fifteen constituent republics of the Soviet Union from its inception in 1922 until 1991, Ukraine has a very important natural gas line, and Russia likes having buffer space between them and their perceived enemies. 

Much of the Ukraine government is backed and supported by Russia, and over the years Russia has also lent the Ukraine billions of dollars in loans. In a lot of ways Russia views the Ukraine as "their country," and with calls of protesters to join the West and EU it is making Moscow nervous. In a way it is not a stretch of the imagination to say Moscow fears losing an old Soviet country to the West. 

Russia's ties to the Ukraine go well beyond current geo-politics as Russia-Ukraine ties go back to the Ninth Century during the Kievan Rus era and Rurik Dynasty. Under this historic context it one may understand why Russia has historically considered the Ukraine to be "their country," and why it has historically been subjugated in one form or another by the Russians. 

As of this time it remains to be seen what the end result in the Ukraine will be.

Go To This Saturday Night: Nice Dreams at King Eddy Saloon

DOWNTOWN L.A. - Saturday night is here and you want go out, but refuse to deal with all the nonsense many Los Angeles bars and clubs are up to these days (what is up with bottle service after all?), and you also want to hear some good music? Look no further than Downtown L.A., because tonight is your night as it is highly recommended you check out Nice Dreams. If you are looking to get your dance on to northern soul, backbeat, rare soul, heavy R&B, chunky funk, "Art Laboe oldies," and the best of the 1960's and what promises to be the best of "Pre-1975 nostalgic vinyl," then go to Nice Dreams at King Eddy Saloon.

For those that grew up listening to KRLA, or KGFJ, and still listen to KJLH on your transistor radio this is a great place to hear the music that really had an influence on your life (and about the only place in L.A. you can hear this great music broadcast given our so-called oldies radio stations refuse to even touch most of this music these days). Even if you never listened to those legendary L.A. radio stations, but love the music this is going to be a fantastic club. If you have been curious about this music here is the place to check it out. It is music that will never be lost to time and decades later will still fill a dancefloor.

At the deejay deck armed with a stack of vinyl about a mile high will be Alex Transistor, King Steadybeat, DJ Mila, along with famed rotating Nice Dreams residents, Soul Libre, Huckleberry Friend and Rob Free. Perhaps there may be some others spinning the wax on the turntable as the night goes on.   

The beat begins at 9 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m.

Best of all there is no cover charge, no bottle service, but it is 21 and over.

So dance to the tunes and drink where Charles Bukowski had more than a few in his time!

Nice Dreams at King Eddy Saloon
131 E. 5th Street (Between Main St. and Los Angeles St.)
Los Angeles
Dial (213) 629-2023

Go To This Saturday Evening: Colleen Green at Touch Vinyl

WEST LOS ANGELES - Perhaps after visiting one or several museums on what is essentially free museum day in much of Los Angeles and Orange County, maybe you want to seem some live music. Maybe not only do you want to see live music, but perhaps you want to see something new. Well, you are in luck, because Saturday evening at 7 p.m. it is highly recommended you go see Colleen Green perform at Touch Vinyl in West L.A., right off Santa Monica Boulevard and the 405 Freeway.

Coming onto the music scene about January 2010 Ms. Green, who originally hails from the land of Oakland, has an album or two out on the Burger Record label, and she describes her musical interest as, "staring at the the ceiling and wall." Perhaps so, but the music of Ms. Green shows that lo-fi not only still exists in this current decade, but maybe if Phil Spector was not quite as crazy and kept himself out of trouble it would be easy to see the famed producer producing Ms. Green's work, which has that modern girl-group sound blended with a minimalist post-punk sound. It is not a stretch to say that maybe the tunes of Colleen Green is a modern mash of Cold Wave and No Wave.

Imagine Rough Trade Record's and now Sub-Pop's Jennifer Gentle mixed with the famed Mr. Spector 1960s girl groups sound jumping into a dance between Siglo XX, The Ramones, Lydia Lunch and The Runaways, and then you may get a little bit of a sense of who and what Colleen Green is all about. Quite frankly, such a description hardly does Ms. Green justice.

Colleen Green will be performing, along with an opening set by Jerry Rogers, at Touch Vinyl.

There are two very cool things about this, first, it is FREE, second, it is all ages!

Colleen Green and Jerry Rogers at 7 p.m.
Touch Vinyl
1646 Sawtelle Blvd. (Just about a block south of Santa Monica Blvd., and two blocks west of the 405)
Los Angeles 90025 


Ms. Green will be performing in La Luz, White Fang, and Wyatt Blair at the L.A. Art Book Fair After Party at The Church on York on February 1.

A Real True Dodger Blue Fan

LOS ANGELES - We may not have a professional football team and given the way things are going that may forever be the case, but never let it be said Los Angeles has no die-hard sport fans.

In case you missed it on this past Tuesday on Twitter a true L.A. Dodger Blue fan revealed his love for the team. 

The Twitter user, who goes by the ever oh so appropriately enough name, Mr. Dodgers Baseball, or, MrDodger323, revealed an epic back Dodger's tattoo featuring Jackie Robinson, Vin Scully and what appears to be a Los Angeles Railway yellow car.

The Dodgers came so close last season to making it to the World Series, but perhaps with the love of people like MrDodger323 that will just be enough to have the next World Series at Dodger Stadium.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Where Do Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin Eat?

SOMEWHERE AROUND DODGER STADIUM - When Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin go out to lunch together where do you think they eat at?

In Case You Missed It: Getting Lost in L.A. History Online

LOS ANGELES - If you are a native Angeleno, native Southern Californian, or just one of the many thousands of migrants to our fine land, chances are you want to know a little bit of history of this place you call home.

Places like the National History Museum of Los Angeles and even the Los Angeles Central Library are great places to start, but if you cannot make it out to the museum or library right away look no further than your computer.

Just go over to and get lost in L.A. as a Subject with Nathan Masters. In association with University of Southern California Libraries, "L.A. as Subject is an association of more than 230 libraries, cultural institutions, official archives, and private collectors dedicated to preserving and telling the sometimes-hidden histories of the Los Angeles region."  

With the work of Mr. Masters you will find the answers as to why L.A. became a place of palm trees, to how and why Broadway obtained its name, and rediscovering some of L.A.'s lost railways. Nothing about L.A. and Southern California's past is too obscure or too odd.

Mr. Masters, by the way, is a writer specializing in Los Angeles history, and he serves as manager of academic events and programming communications for the USC Libraries.

We promise that once you click on one story at L.A. as a Subject you are going to end up clicking on several more stories, and suddenly you are going to find yourself spending an entire afternoon, or evening, or perhaps both, digging deeper into the sight.

This is a fantastic collection online, and we are lucky this is so readily available, and it is highly recommended you spend some time going through it exploring unique bits of L.A. and Southern California history.

Go To This Saturday: Free Admission to L.A. Museums All Day!

LOS ANGELES - This has been going around the past few weeks, but it case you missed it and have not heard, on Saturday there will be 20 Los Angeles area museums offering free admission all day.

If you have been putting off going to a museum now you have no excuse! 

So why all the fabulous free admission?

In a press release from the Pasadena Museum of California Art, "In a joint effort to present the arts and culture to the diverse and myriad communities in Southern California, SoCal Museums (previously the Museum Marketing Roundtable) announces the ninth annual “Museums Free-For-All” Saturday, January 25, 2014."

So go this on Saturday! 

Or rather, go to one, or two, or how many museums below you can possibly fit in this coming Saturday: 
A lot of tough choices to be sure. After all, do you want to explore art galore, or get lost in Western history at the Autry Center, or perhaps immerse yourself in L.A. Fire Department history, or just need to figure out how the part of the world works, and you want to see the space shuttle too, at the California Science Center?

Do be advised that while it is quite awesome admission is free this DOES NOT include free parking. Furthermore this free admission day may not not cover special exhibits these museums may be having, and as such may require separate tickets.

So you really want to go, but really cannot make it out this Saturday?

It seems January is one of these months a lot of people have to work over the weekend, and if you cannot make it this Saturday there are still ways to visit a museum for free.

Over at Free Museum Day they have a list of L.A. area museums that offer free admission during the week or month.

When ever you can get around to it please do visit our museums as we are very lucky to have this unique collection available to us.

So go Saturday to the museums!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Anaheim City Council District Vote and The Irony

ANAHEIM - Amid the protests and riots in 2012 came a lawsuit that alleged Anaheim’s current at-large election system discriminates against Latinos. A settlement soon came requiring a citywide vote on the council districts system on the November ballot, along with the option of expanding the City Council from five members to seven.

Yet nothing is ever as easy as it seems and, in case you missed it, as Adam Elmahrek of Voice of OC reports, "The election that will decide whether the council districts system becomes a reality will be held under the current at large system, which the activists say is tilted against the Latino community."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Go To This Thursday: No Silver Bird Debut Show at The Bootleg Bar

LOS ANGELES - It may have been about six months since they last played in Los Angeles, but the band once known as The Hallucinations will now debut under their new name, No Silver Bird, on Thursday at The Bootleg Bar.

Why the name change, well, according to the band, they simply felt like it.

No Silver Bird is a band that may perhaps conjure up the ghosts of Jesus and the Mary Chain with perhaps a little bit of Crispy Ambulance haunting the scene, and they could be maybe be L.A.'s own home grown Stone Roses, but comparisons aside, they very much have their own thing going on, and it is quite fantastic.

The band will be joined on stage by, Francisco the Man and Wax Children.

This is a show that is highly recommended you go to on Thursday, because you will have a fun time.

The only bit of bad news is that the show is 21 and over.

The music begins at 9 p.m. and the doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are only $10.

Bootleg Bar
2220 Beverly Boulevard (About two blocks west of Alvarado Street)
Los Angeles


So go!

Why This Warm Winter Is Not a Good Thing!

LOS ANGELES - As the Midwest and East Coast freezes again Southern California is yet again the envy of the nation with its warm winter weather. However, as you have probably noticed much of this winter it has been unusually warm, even by Southern California winter standards. The dreaded Santa Ana Winds, which usually blow between late September and November, have been hanging around much longer than usual blowing havoc as evident by the recent destructive Glendora brush fire.

Brush fires aside many people have been enjoying this warm winter, but there is real cause for concern that this warm winter is not a blessing.

The reason being, according to Weather West, California is under what is being called the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, or just RRR. Now it may have a ridiculous name, but the RRR is a very serious problem for California, because, simply put, it is preventing rain from coming into much of the state, and causing Santa Ana Wind events when typically there should be no major wind events.

According to Earth scientist Daniel Swain at Weather West,
[The] Ridiculously Resilient Ridge [is a] region of strong and incredibly persistent anomalous geopotential height ridging is centered over the Gulf of Alaska but extends across much of the northern and eastern Pacific Ocean, and has been a coherent and distinct feature of the large-scale atmospheric pattern for over a year (beginning in early December 2012). This persistent ridging has resulted in a flow pattern that has deflected existing Pacific storms well to the north of California and suppressed the development of other systems closer to the state. Persistent ridges that disrupt the prevailing westerly winds in the middle latitudes are often referred to as “blocking ridges” because of their propensity to impede and deflect typical atmospheric flow patterns, and the RRR is no exception.  

This has not been receiving the wide attention it should be receiving, but with Governor Jerry Brown recently declaring a drought emergency, and what is leading to be possibly the worst drought in California history, hopefully people will start receiving this warm winter weather with concern.

Now the RRR is nothing new, but the RRR in the last two years has been cause for concern.

As Mr. Swain goes on to report,

[The] RRR has behaved in a manner not typical of most North Pacific ridging events. Since December 2012, large geopotential height anomalies have been observed in approximately the same region of the North Pacific. While the spatial structure of the ridge itself has varied somewhat over that interval (and even broken down in a couple of instances), the RRR keeps re-building itself in essentially the same place each time an atmospheric event–such as a surge of low-latitude westerly winds with the potential to “undercut” the ridge or an invasion of a cold/high potential vorticity Arctic airmass with the potential to disrupt the anticyclonic circulation–might otherwise act to displace or collapse it. This resilience is extremely unusual, and I don’t find evidence that persistent North Pacific ridging of this magnitude spanning two consecutive winter seasons has occurred previously in the observational record. 
Full report from Weather West.

With state reservoir levels sinking and dry air with no rain in site this warm California winter is not a good thing that it may be made out to be, and in the end we could all end up paying for this in more ways than simply higher water bills.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Brutal Santa Ana Beating and the Words of Martin Luther King Jr

SANTA ANA - The story in Southern California this Martin Luther King Junior day is sadly not one of Mr. King's words of peace, but rather a dreadful story out of downtown Santa Ana where a 23-year-old Kim Pham was beaten early Saturday morning by five suspects as onlookers watched, and recorded the attack.

TUESDAY UPDATE:  Ms. Pham was taken off life support and pronounced dead Tuesday afternoon.

There has been a lot written up about this and for full coverage please check out  

With so many onlookers and people recording this hideous act it makes a certain quote from Mr. King all the more powerful:

“Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” 

Could the bystanders jumped in and helped, well, maybe, but perhaps, hopefully, those people standing around that downtown Santa Ana street are now doing some soul searching.

As of this time there has been one arrest, and four suspects remain outstanding

Human nature has proven somebody always knows something, and with four suspects at large, somebody will talk and they will be arrested.

If you have any information please call Santa Ana Police at, 714-245-8390. Also, if you wish to remain anonymous you may contact Mr. Arellano via the Weekly link provided above. 

Did You Know: How Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in L.A. Came To Be

 LOS ANGELES - As we reflect on Doctor Martin Luther King Junior this day we should all (hopefully) know and understand the legacy the civil rights leader left, and one unique lasting testament Mr. King left throughout the country are the hundreds of streets named in his honor. According to a 2006 East Carolina University study it is believed that at least 730 streets are named after Mr. King.

 photo 633px-USMC-09611.jpg
Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. addressing the crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he delivered his historic, famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech during on August 28, 1963, in Washington, D.C. Photograph in public domain.

It would be 1983 Los Angeles would see Santa Barbara Avenue in the South L.A. area become Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and just in time for the 1984 Summer Olympics.

So just how did L.A. get one of its streets named after Mr. King? Well, it partly involved Stevie Wonder and Jesse Jackson.

The transformation from Santa Barbara Ave. to Martin Luther King Blvd. began with businessman Celes King III. Mr. King III strongly believed L.A. should and must have a street named after the civil rights activist.

Of course nothing is as easy it seems, and personal partisan politics got in the way then, as they do today, in naming a street after Mr. King, because Celes was not entirely thrilled to turn to Mayor Tom Bradley about the idea, because Mr. Bradley was not a fan of Celes. Why, well, Celes was a Republican, and in fact was one of the most prominent African-American Republicans in the country at the time. Now it really did not help matters that Celes worked hard to keep the Democrat Mr. Bradley from getting elected and reelected mayor.

So knowing this was not going to be an easy pitch Celes took his idea to L.A. City Councilman Robert Farrell. Whether it was because Mr. Farrell was an active participant in the civil rights movement and Freedom Rider who's 8th District was in the South L.A. area, or perhaps another reason altogether, Mr. Farrell liked the idea.

Many streets were considered, but the reason Santa Barbara Ave. was chosen is that it ran west-east and did not go through numerous other council districts, unlike many north-south streets, according to Mr. Farrell. The proposed street name change would only run through two other council districts, and this proposal would hopefully garner the very important needed support of the full L.A. City Council.

Right after the street name change proposal came the protests. Many businesspeople objected to the street name change because it would apparently be a financial burden to change their business cards and letterheads, and then various city departments loudly objected to the street name change for mainly budget reasons. Then there were a lot of people in the community who objected to this change simply because it was Celes' idea (again, personal partisan politics have not changed much in 30 years).

As the debate raged in L.A. City Hall word got around that Jesse Jackson would be in town for the Urban League’s national convention. One of Mr. Farrell's council staff members was Gwen Green, and Ms Green once worked with Martin Luther King Jr., and happened to know Mr. Jackson from her days working with Mr. King. After making a series of telephone calls Ms. Green asked Mr. Jackson to come speak at a city council meeting and hopefully broker some kind of peace deal in the various warring factions over the proposed street name change.

Not only did Mr. Jackson come in to speak, but also the National Rainbow Coalition founder brought along one Stevie Wonder, who also spoke at the meeting. The words said by Mr. Jackson and Mr. Wonder worked, because shortly after the city council voted unanimously in 1983 to pass the motion to rename Santa Barbara Ave., Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

To celebrate the occasion the first Kingdom Day Parade was held on the street, and has since become an annual tradition every Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Today Martin Luther King Blvd., sometimes called just "MLK" or MLK Blvd, or King Blvd, and is about five miles long beginning near Jefferson High School at Hooper Ave. and ending near Rodeo Road.

It should be noted that Santa Barbara Ave. was not named after the famed city up the coast, but rather named after Saint Barbara, a saint of the Middle Ages who was allegedly tortured and beheaded by her pagan father for refusing to denounce her newly acquired Christian faith. The word “allegedly” is used as there have been doubts among many scholarly and theologian historians about the accuracy of St. Barbara's account.

Now you know a little bit on how Martin Luther King Blvd. came to be in the City of Angels.

Go To This Tuesday: The Aquadolls at The Smell

DOWNTOWN L.A. - If you are looking for something fun and maybe discover a new, excited band then it is highly suggested you go to The Smell in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday evening to see The Aquadolls.

The Aquabats will be sharing the stage with, Together Pangea and The Audacity.

As The Aquadolls, who are on the independent label Burger Records, tell on their Facebook page, the band was, "Founded by Melissa Brooks, The Aquadolls started in January 2012. The current lineup is Melissa Brooks on vocals/guitar, joined by Ryan Frailich on vocals/guitar, Josh Crawford on bass, and Colin Moore on drums. The Aquadolls songs put forth “trip out” sorta vibes, as well as quite aggressive ones."

Here is a recent interview The Aquadolls did with Impression Magazine.

Tickets to Tuesday's show are $10.

UPDATE: Oh crap! According to The Smell's website this show is SOLD OUT and no tickets will be available at the door. Well, if you are a regular show goer then you know when a show is reportedly sold out there is always a way to get in, and so it is still highly suggested you try to do what you can to get into this show.

Checking out The Aquadolls' tune below, "Our Love Will Always Remain," you can tell there is going to be a lot of fun at their show Tuesday.

So go!

The Aquadolls at The Smell, Tuesday January 21.

The Smell
247 South Main Street (Just about at 3rd and Main Streets)
Los Angeles

If you are not familiar with The Smell just remember when you go Tuesday the entrance is located in the alley between 3rd and Spring Streets.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Remember the Last (Slightly) Damaging Earthquake in L.A.?

LOS ANGELES - Remember the last earthquake that did any sort of damage in Los Angeles? It is not the one you are probably thinking about.

On this 20th anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake many people are sharing the stories of where they were the the ground wobbled like mad at 4:31 a.m. Unsurprisingly the common answer to the question of, "Where were you with the earthquake happen?" is, "I was in my bed sleeping."

If you were to ask when was the last damaging earthquake in L.A. you would likely be told it was the 1994 disaster with good reason, but, as we look over L.A.'s very recent earthquake past over the last ten years, there was a much less damaging earthquake in L.A. seven years later.

Though it was not a very big jolt it was the first earthquake after Northridge to cause any sort of damage in L.A. proper, and the largest earthquake to occur in the L.A. basin since the Northridge Earthquake and its aftershocks. Like many typical "garden variety" jolts before it this quake was quickly forgotten, but given the date this particular earthquake occurred this shaker was probably thrown down the memory hole quicker than usual.

On September 9, 2001 a magnitude 4.2 earthquake occurred in West Hollywood at 4:59 p.m., and as Dr. Egill Hauksson and Dr. Kate Hutton at the California Institution of Technology, along with Dr. Lucy Jones of the United States Geological Survey report, this earthquake may have be associated with the north end of the Newport-Inglewood Fault, which was the cause of the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake.

Of course with an earthquake of this size you would not expect any sort of major damage, and there was no major damage. However one window in the West L.A. area shattered, but luckily nobody was hurt. As well there were dishes that broke and items that flew off the shelves.

As you see the date of this quake no doubt just two days later this jolt would be all but forgotten. A quake of this size under a very populated area is always enough to get the nerves up, and it is interesting to think what the reaction would have been had this M4.2 quake occurred two days later on September 11, 2001, or frankly just anytime later that week.  

After that the next real notable shaker in L.A. proper would not be until nearly eight years later on May 17, 2009, which a M4.7 with an epicenter about 3 miles east of Los Angeles International Airport occurred at 8:39 p.m., otherwise called the Inglewood Earthquake. This quake was felt by a lot of people throughout Southern California, including Ventura and San Diego Counties, and had the type of damage you would expect from this kind of jolt, such as items falling off shelves. One window of a business was reportedly shattered in Long Beach. Like the West Hollywood shock in 2001 seismologists believe this too was an act of the Newport-Inglewood Fault.  

Now the last real damaging earthquake of any sort in Southern California was the 2008 M5.4 Chino Hills Earthquake, which caused a lot of property damage in the western Inland Empire and Pomona Valley areas. This was also the last magnitude 5-plus earthquake to occur in the metro L.A. area.

The last earthquake of magnitude 7-plus to hit the general region was the M7.2 2010 Sierra El Mayor Earthquake located south of Mexicali in Baja California, Mexico and felt throughout much of Southern California on Easter Day. 

It should be noted that the last magnitude 7 earthquake in Southern California was the M7.1 1999 Hector Mine Earthquake, which, luckily, had an epicenter in the rural San Bernardino County desert about 47 miles east-southeast of Barstow.

It has been said that L.A. and Southern California has been lucky no major earthquake has occurred right under its populated areas in 20 years, but if you spend any time at the gambling tables in Las Vegas you know luck has a way of running out sooner rather than later.

So on this anniversary take the time and prepare yourself for the next disaster.

Did You Know This About Olympic Blvd?

LOS ANGELES - One of Los Angeles' major, and perhaps not quite as iconic, roadways is Olympic Boulevard, which is a heavily traveled East-to-West, or depending on your view, West-to-East arterial.

What some people may not know is that Olympic Blvd. is longer than the more famous Wilshire Blvd. as it stretches from Santa Monica all the way across the city to East Los Angeles into Montebello.

There is more to the story of the boulevard, and what a lot of people may not know is, like many other streets in L.A., Olympic Blvd. was not always called Olympic Blvd. In fact, it was once called Tenth Street.

So how and why did Tenth Street become Olympic Blvd.?

In 1932 L.A. was selected to host what would be the Games of the X Olympiad, or rather, the Tenth Modern Olympics. To honor the occasion the L.A. City Council voted to change the name of Tenth Street to Olympic Blvd (See what they did there?).

As you may know these days a city bidding to host the Olympics is a major competitive event in and of itself with a lot of wooing and impressing International Olympic Committee officials. Of course, and here is something else you may not know, L.A. did not have a lot of competition in bidding to host the Tenth Modern Olympiad. By not having a lot of competition that is to say L.A. had no competition in bidding to host the games, because L.A. was the only city to bid to host the games.

Why was L.A. the only city to bid for the games? Well, when the selection was made at the 23rd IOC Session in Rome, Italy, in 1923 it was on the heels of the end of a major world war and a lot of countries were broke and tired.

It did not help matters that by the time the 1932 Olympics came to the City of Angels the Great Depression was fully underway. 

The depression was so bad that many nations and athletes just simply could not afford the trip to L.A. to compete in the 1932 Olympics. 

With the Depressing going on these Olympics were not even consider important to President Herbert Hoover, because he did not make the journey to L.A. to see the games. Mr. Hoover would be the second U.S. president to miss the Olympics in the United States held during his term behind President Theodore Roosevelt who refused to attend the 1904 Summer Olympics held in St. Louis, because St. Louis Mayor David R. Francis declined to let Roosevelt help officiate the games.

As another interesting side-note, Olympic Blvd. was once a highway of sorts, California State Route 26.

So now, when you are stuck in traffic at Olympic Blvd. and San Vicente Blvd., you know how Olympic Blvd. obtained its name and you know a unique bit of the history of the modern Olympics.