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Adam Gropman 

News,

How Personality Job Tests Turn Us All Into Liars

If you're applying for work today in Los Angeles, chances are that you will cross paths with a mandatory online "personality" test. The tests, now a $400 million–plus industry with annual growth estimated at 10 percent, feature multiple pages of questions asking the respondent about his or her thoughts, feelings,...…
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News, The Informer The Best Neighborhood in L.A.? Try North Hollywood

The Best Neighborhood in L.A.? Try North Hollywood

Could the best neighborhood in L.A. actually be in the Valley? I think so, and even though you might be a total anti-Valley snob, if you'll hear me out, you might change your mind. First, let's get this out of the way. North Hollywood's charms might at first seem hidden,...…
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News, The Informer How Six L.A. Businesses Got Their Weird Names

How Six L.A. Businesses Got Their Weird Names

Every city has at least a handful of strangely named businesses -- it's an inevitable expression of local quirkiness pretty much wherever you go. There are different categories of weird, though, so distinctions must be made. In the Boston area, for instance, there's Newbury Comics which, while it does sell...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Meet the Man Who Shines the Stars on Hollywood Boulevard

Meet the Man Who Shines the Stars on Hollywood Boulevard

It's not yet 9 a.m. as John Peterson cautiously steps off the westbound 780 bus near the intersection of Hollywood and Highland and crutches his way to a stretch of sidewalk a couple blocks to the east. After lowering himself down to the ground, Peterson pulls from his knapsack a...…
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News,

Why Do You Hate the L.A. Parking Violations Bureau So Much? Maybe Because It Lies and Steals Your Money

You return to your car to a disgusting sight: a rectangular slip of paper tucked under your wiper, which could cost you $63, $68, $93 or more — and double that if you pay late. In fiscal year 2007-08, parking citations in L.A. generated about $128 million, and by 2011-12...…
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News, The Informer How 6 SoCal Places Got Their Really Weird Names

How 6 SoCal Places Got Their Really Weird Names

There are all sorts of unusual places names in this part of the country we call "The Southland." We have names of historic English derivation, not so unlike what you'd find back in the civilized East (Whittier, Torrance, Hawthorne, Glendale). We have place names of Spanish derivation (Tujunga, Reseda, Calabasas,...…
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News,

Lost Highway? How Metro Turns the 405 Into an Impossible Detour Maze

You're on the Westside at night, trying to take the 405 north during endless freeway construction. How ridiculously convoluted and frustrating might Metro's suggested detour be? Los Angeles residents are experiencing astonishment and outrage over Metro's ever-changing closures and baffling detours that lure drivers into a hell from which it's...…
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News, The Informer Shrikanth Narayanan: USC's People Reader

Shrikanth Narayanan: USC's People Reader

One of the fascinating Angelenos featured in L.A. Weekly's People 2013 issue. Check out our entire People 2013 issue here. People who spend lots of time around Shrikanth "Shri" Narayanan may not hear him ask "What are you thinking?" too often. That's not because he doesn't care but because he...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Stephen Glassman Wants to Create Billboards Made of Trees

Stephen Glassman Wants to Create Billboards Made of Trees

The helicopter hangs in the air over downtown L.A. for what seems like a very long time, its whirring blades adding the slight chill of potential alarm over the otherwise quiet Sunday night streets. The airship hovers at around a hundred fifty feet, it's powerful bluish spotlight illuminating the roof...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle <em>Please Subscribe</em>: New Documentary Looks at What Makes a YouTube Star

Please Subscribe: New Documentary Looks at What Makes a YouTube Star

See also: *Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera and Friends Create a YouTube Channel *Our Profile of YouTube Star Jenna Marbles *Our YouTube Issue Some people like to have only egg whites in their omelet," declares a tomboyish young woman as she weaves around a sparsely appointed L.A. apartment kitchen, her words...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Comedian Cash Levy Explains His Odd Path to Stand-up Success

Comedian Cash Levy Explains His Odd Path to Stand-up Success

See also: *5 Best Comedy Shows in L.A. This Week *10 Best Stand-Up Comedy Shows in Los Angeles It's around 11 a.m. on a Wednesday as Cash Levy enters a banquet room within the pleasant, faux-sylvan Etiwanda Gardens event center near Rancho Cucamonga. Sixty employees of a major Southern California...…
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Calendar, Archive By George

By George

Kelly Carlin nicely defies expectations. Having grown up in an L.A. celebrity home, she is authentic and down-to-earth. The daughter of one of America's most acclaimed stand-up comedians, she's felt no need to try to be a jokester. And in a town where people with her family-name situation have projects...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Alan Katz, L.A.'s Most Hilarious Wedding Officiant

Alan Katz, L.A.'s Most Hilarious Wedding Officiant

It's a mellow day at Point Dume. A scattering of beachgoers lies in the Malibu sand or walks ankle-deep inxto the waves, while the occasional sandal-clad hiker ascends the adjacent hilly path. Over to the side, near a rough wall of boulders that jut out into the ocean, a couple...…
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Calendar, Archive Justin

Justin

Justin Willman's favorite compliment from a show attendee was that he's "a magician for people who don't like magicians." Not that the youthful-visaged entertainer is self-hating. Willman is a proud, card-disappearing member of the species Magicus Illusionus, yet he's also something more. Far from a rakishly mustached, ultra-dramatic showman executing...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Inside L.A.'s Chemtrails Community, a Group That Thinks We're Being Sprayed By Toxic Chemicals

Inside L.A.'s Chemtrails Community, a Group That Thinks We're Being Sprayed By Toxic Chemicals

On a recent Saturday morning, a small buzz of activity emanates from the stately Wilshire Ebell Theatre abutting Hancock Park. This is not a theatrical production but rather "Consciousness Beyond Chemtrails," a conference for those sharing belief in "chemtrails" -- a theory alleging that the government is spraying us all...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Justin Willman, Alternative Magician, Mixes the Dark Arts With Irony

Justin Willman, Alternative Magician, Mixes the Dark Arts With Irony

It's Tuesday night in the loftlike performance area semi-hidden behind Meltdown Comics' retail floor, and a crowd of more than 60 in neatly arranged chairs intently watches the show's youthful host, Justin Willman. He disappears behind a large black cloth, then asks an audience member to name a fruit. When...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Is OK to Spoof the Dead? Comedy Writer Jim Earl's Book <em>Mourning Remembrance</em> Tries It

Is OK to Spoof the Dead? Comedy Writer Jim Earl's Book Mourning Remembrance Tries It

It is said that one shouldn't speak ill of the dead. No proverb, however, seems to proscribe writing about the dead with a dark, cutting sense of humor and a jaundiced appraisal of their worldly accomplishments. Mourning Remembrance: A Collection of Mocking Obituaries Ripped From the Deadlines is the work...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Tom Leykis, One of Radio's Top Talkers, Is Off the Airwaves -- and Online

Tom Leykis, One of Radio's Top Talkers, Is Off the Airwaves -- and Online

"There were a lot of greedy home flippers!" radio talk-show host Tom Leykis exclaims into the microphone. "Everyone who got evicted got exactly what they deserved. They didn't evict enough people."Leykis is blasting what he considers the avaricious, irresponsible impulses of those participating in the real estate mortgage boom --...…
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News, The Informer Varun Soni: The Real Spirit of Troy

Varun Soni: The Real Spirit of Troy

One of the fascinating Angelenos featured in L.A. Weekly's People 2012 issue. Check out our entire People 2012 issue here. When he was named dean of religious life at USC, Varun Soni became the first Hindu in American history to serve such a role. Even today, four years later, he's...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle Why the San Fernando Valley Hate Needs to End Once and For All

Why the San Fernando Valley Hate Needs to End Once and For All

Midafternoon at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Santa Monica's Main Street, an impromptu conversation sparks between two strangers just feet from me -- he a cheerful, swarthy, well-fed, balding accountant originally from New York City, she a pretty, willowy, 20-something brunette, just arrived from the Boston area and...…
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