Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Election '08

Election '08: Let Sarah Be Sarah, But Don't Let her Wear That

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Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 4:39 PM

All the talking heads are saying that the key to Sarah Palin's success in Thursday night's Vice Presidential debate with Joe Biden is to "let Sarah be Sarah."

I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I think the gist of it is that Palin has been over-managed by handlers who are stuffing her head with too much knowledge. And we all know a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Seems she does better in these setting when she knows less and is free to just let her stunning disposition shine. To put it another way, people like her when she's not trying to be knowledgeable. You could say she's on a need-to-not-know basis. I think it's about time we elected someone who doesn't know much. That would be a refreshing change.

Well, whatever they decide -- whether to try to fill her mind with useless stuff like knowledge, or not -- I do hope they give Palin one piece of advice. Stop wearing those Mother of the Children of The Corn, stiff-collar, hawk-neck, Amish prom dress type blouses. Particularly that red one. Put them away. They kill whatever tiny amount of kinky sex appeal is still left.

Unless you pick up a pitchfork to go with it. Then, I'm back in!


Here's the only tin-foil if not exactly the silver lining in yesterday's literally depressing economic news: Next year's bread lines will be administered by a Democratic, not a Republican, administration. You can bet on it.

For personal reasons (like now I have to work till I'm 113) I'm not going to dwell on the monetary side of yesterday's events.

Let's stick with the political. Get out your tops, mix-masters or even your cement trucks but there are ain't no possible way to spin this episode other than as a crushing and humiliating setback for McCain in specific and the Republicans in general. It's not just that McBumbler was taking credit for the deal before the deal imploded.

That, my friends, is but a mere detail.

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On Monday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled a $5 billion housing plan for the middle class and poor. Reaction to the plan was definitely mixed, and with good reason: According to the LA Times, "many City Council members and business and housing groups said they had not yet seen" it.

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Like so many young actors after the ravages of puberty or the pitfalls of adulthood had rendered them into celebrity non grata, Linda Blair’s post-Exorcist acting career dove headfirst into low-budget exploitation like Roller Boogie (1979) and Night Patrol (1984, which partners her with Pat Paulsen and The Gong Show’s Unknown Comic). However, unlike such never-was cases as Richard Grieco or Christopher Atkins, Blair’s fallow period was actually kinda fun, and she took to the grimier material with a remarkable good cheer motivated either by financial appreciation or genuine let’s-put-on-a-show spunkiness. The best of her B-pictures, 1984’s Savage Streets and Chained Heat (1983), get a rare screening at the New Beverly Cinema’s Grindhouse Film Festival tonight, which has been keeping creeps and weirdos off the streets with prints of rare horror and sexploitation movies for the better part of the last five years.

Savage Streets (which also received a recent double-disc treatment from Code Red) has Ms. B copping the Runaways’ fashion sense and attitude as the leader of the all-girl Satins, a good-girl gang who run afoul of the Scars, a psychotic male gang who rape and butcher Linda’s deaf-mute sister (psychotronic saint Linnea Quigley) over a perceived slight. Blair’s all-grown-up (and decidedly va-va-voomish) frame is central to the imagery of the film’s second half; decked out in spandex tights and toting a crossbow, she invests herself whole-heartedly into her role as avenging street angel, and if you don’t entirely believe her, she’s at least awfully nice to look at. TV habitués will note the presence of Johnny Venocur, a.k.a. Johnny V, whose deep-rooted bromance with Scott Baio is one of the most curious aspects of the latter’s reality series.

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Last week, the City's planning commission voted on a proposal that would tighten up the city's "specialty billboard district" laws. The plan to revamp the sign district ordinance came about after concerns that the city was frivolously granting too many sign districts to billboard companies.

The plan sets the minimum size of a billboard or sign district to one block or three acres, "which would have the effect of discouraging very small sign districts designed for one or two signs," says Dennis Hathaway, president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

What would you think if you saw a Fed Ex logo made out of tulips as you were motoring along one of California's freeways? How about the Golden Arches made from yellow roses or buttercups along the shoulder of the road?

It turns out that putting "vegetative advertising" - a logo or advertisement made out of flowers, shrubs and other plants - along California's freeways is Caltrans latest plan to raise funds towards the financially strapped highway fund.

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced this morning (well, if you don't count the New York Times and L.A. Times, both of which got the story last week for publication today) a $45 million donation from Stewart and Lynda Resnick. The gift will fund the building of a large new Renzo Piano exhibition space directly behind the architect’s Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM). The one-story building, 200 feet by 180 feet, will feature all natural light via a skylight system like that of BCAM, and is expected to house special exhibitions.

The announcement, held in a tent on the site, was made by LACMA director Michael Govan. (Okay, the CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, yadda yadda.) He introduced Lynda Resnick, who has been on the acquisitions board at the museum for 16 years. She credited Govan's leadership as being central to her and her husband's decision. Stewart Resnick said there were two reasons he decided to make the donation: "Number one, because Lynda wanted to do it."

At this point, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, sitting next to the podium, made an aside to Stewart Resnick, who laughed and said, "Antonio, who knows something about the relationship between men and women" – doh! – "says that's also the second reason." Stewart Resnick went on to add that Los Angeles had been very good to him, better than other places might have been, and that he believed in giving back to the community.

When the mayor spoke, he said how amazing it was that the Resnicks had accumulated so much wealth having started washing windows. Lynda Resnick, who was wearing a fetching gray outfit that suggested there are more millions where the 45 came from, immediately noted with a faint look of horror that it was not she who had done the windows.

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The Yes on Prop. 8 campaign has released a new television ad today, featuring San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Frank Schubert, campaign manager of ProtectMarriage.com, the umbrella group leading the fight to ban same sex marriage in California, also asks supporters to donate $3.6 million in the coming weeks so TV ads can be aired throughout the state. The additional money would put anti-gay marriage proponents over the $20 million mark in total contributions.

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Amidst the failed federal bailout and the ensuing stock market tumble, the media world had its own depressing contribution to today's news cycle. Tampa-based Creative Loafing, owners of the second largest alternative weekly chain in the country, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today.

The move comes just more than a year after Creative Loafing's purchase of the highly regarded Washington City Paper and Chicago Reader. Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason counters suggestions his company may have overstretched by insisting the chain's failure to pay nearly $500,000 in interest payments and service fees, which contributed to the filing, "has little to do with the acquisition."

Washington City Paper's Erik Wemple reports that the company has no immediate plans for "liquidation," or layoffs, and that the move even has its sunny side: "Cuts to edit staffs at all the papers would be rolled back."

Wemple goes on to report, however, that the chain will hereby follow a new editorial mandate that "stress[es] that all the papers should proceed with “Web-first” publishing strategies, in which writers and editors customize their content for the Internet and subsequently transfer that content into their print products."

For some reason this sounds ominous. As good as putting LOL cats on the front page seems, take it from the L.A. Times -- not the way to go.

They say people turn to comfort food in times of grief and, well, nothing proved more true in Los Angeles over the weekend. To ease the worry brought on by the current economic crisis and looming presidential election, we gladly welcomed a weekend of over-eating and over-imbibing. Check out what we ate, who wet met and what we drank...

Dodger Debauchery

The Dodgers started their weekend early as they celebrated their Western Division championship on Thursday night in Echo Park. Pitcher Chan Ho Park and shortstop Angel Berroa donned goggles and snorkel masks as they showered fans with Moet champagne. Read Mark Groubert's full account of the evening.


Photo by Mark Groubert.

Art About Bukowski

Saturday at the Hyaena Gallery in Burbank was the opening of Art About Bukowski, a group show dedicated to the life of Charles Bukowski. In addition to the 13-plus artists involved, the opening also showcased Weirdo Delux author Matt Dukes Jordan who signed copies of his new book Bukowski's L.A. Guests were treated to a surprise appearance from Bukowski's wife, Linda, who smiled and greeted artists as she checked out the many portraits done of her husband. Check out the slideshow here or click on the image below.


Artist Jeremy Cross and Linda Bukowski.

Precious Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro L.A.

Friday through Sunday marked the seventh annual Precious Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro on Highland in Hollywood, hosted by funny guys Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla. We ignored the creepy carnies while we drank Pironi beer, feasted on cannolis and boned up on our history of Italian-American culture in Los Angeles. Check out the slideshow here or click on the image below.


Photo by Shannon Cottrell.

Abbot Kinney Festival

On Sunday we took in the ocean air and enjoyed the swap meet vibe of the Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice Beach. Later that night the weekend ground to a sobering halt when news broke of a deadly shooting that occurred on Abbot Kinney and San Juan streets, almost three hours after the festival closed. For details, read Liz Ohanesian's account of her day in Venice. Check out the slideshow here or click the image below.


Photo by Shannon Cottrell.

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