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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Community

L.A.'s 10 Most Pervasive Stereotypes: True or False?

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Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 6:00 AM
That ain't smog, it's haze! - ROBERT S. DONOVAN / FLICKR
Has there ever been a more misunderstood American city than Los Angeles? Despite being the nation's second most populous metropolitan area, despite being the entertainment capital of the world, and despite having near-perfect weather 300 days out of the year, L.A. is routinely reduced to the most banal of stereotypes.

Perhaps it's because of its sheer vastness — how else to sum up the Valley, the South Bay, the Westside, the Eastside, the mountains, beach and skyscrapers all in one? And let's be honest. Lots of stereotypes are true! But which ones?

Allow us to educate the rest of our country:

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Pacific Ocean on a sunny day — smell that breeze. - PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
  • Photo by Sarah Fenske
  • The Pacific Ocean on a sunny day — smell that breeze.
It's hard to argue that any one smell can be truly representative of Los Angeles. This city's simply too sprawling; we Angelenos and our tastebuds, far too diverse. But any number of aromas still have a way of instantly transporting us to various parts of the city — and that means each one of these smells, in its own way, means "home."

Good, bad, and even sometimes downright rancid, here are the 15 smells that instantly let us know we're in L.A. Take a deep breath and inhale your city in all its complicated glory.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Above the Law

I Choose to Live in My Car in L.A.

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Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 6:01 AM
PHOTO BY TED SOQUI
  • Photo by Ted Soqui
By The Office Hobo

It was our first trip together. My lovely travel partner, Ashley, and I had been asleep in the back of my pickup truck, surrounded by the bowl of muted, molten mesas above Lake Powell, Arizona. I rose quietly from the mattress, careful not to wake Ashley by once again slamming my head on the ceiling of the camper shell. I inched my way toward the rear tailgate and — smack! — knocked my head against the battery-powered light Velcroed to the ceiling. It fell, landing squarely on Ashley's shoulder. Whoops.

Ashley and I had met earlier in the year at my work, hitting it off after a conversation about our favorite authors. When I opened up to her about my lifestyle, I worried that her interest would wane.

For nearly two years, I've been what I like to call "home-free." Selectively homeless. Currently, I live in the back of my pickup. Not just when I'm on a road trip — full-time.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

The Iranian World Cup team - PHOTO COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS/INTERAMIR
Watching Iran play in the World Cup over the last few weeks, I found myself grappling with a series of contradictory emotions.

As an Iranian-American who was born in the United States, at times I've wished that I could claim another heritage. Like the time in 2007, just months after my graduation from Columbia University, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke on the campus and denied the holocaust or the existence of gays. Or when I visited the country at age eight, traveling with my mother and four-year-old sister, and we were pulled aside in the Tehran airport and taken into a room where my mother was forced to hand over her American passport. We were stuck in Iran for months, finally rescued by my father who flew to Germany and pulled some strings with the Iranian embassy.

Or throughout my upbringing in the 1980s, when resentment toward Iranians still lingered from the hostage crisis. Though I grew up in a relatively liberal and open-minded neighborhood in the Bay Area, I couldn't help but feel like I was viewed through a negative lens. I couldn't help but feel dread or embarrassment anytime someone asked me, "What kind of name is Najafi?"

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor in the 1958 film version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. - PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  • Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor in the 1958 film version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
As an actor in the Santa Clarita production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which was canceled Monday following an incident with a homophobic heckler, John Lacy had more reason to be bummed about the scrapped shows than just about anyone.

It wasn't just that Lacy had been the star of the production, portraying Tennessee Williams' iconic Big Daddy. It's also that his mother was due to fly in this weekend from Hendersonville, North Carolina, to see him on stage - for the first time in his 27-year career as an actor.

And even beyond that? After Lacy had disrupted the production to confront a heckler hurling gay slurs at another actor, some of his cast-mates blamed him for the production shutdown. One actress, he says, called it "unforgivable."

See also: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Production Canceled After Homophobic Fracas

"I don't know about you," he says, "but I reserve 'unforgivable' for serial killers." Still, Lacy found himself wondering if he'd done the right thing.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Community

Yoga en Español Comes to East L.A.

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Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 7:03 AM
LAUREN, LEAH, COURTESY PEOPLE'S YOGA
  • Lauren, Leah, courtesy People's Yoga
When you think East L.A., you think cruising on Whittier Boulevard, bomb Mexican food, and decades of Chicano culture and activism.

You don't necessarily think "downward dog," deep breathing and yoga pants.

See also: Boyle Heights "Gentrification" Tour Canceled; Real Estate Agent "Sorry"

But there they are, on the real Eastside. A pair of yoga instructors who have been taking their show on the road around East L.A. and Boyle Heights is now opening a new, permanent studio caled People's Yoga on Pomona Boulevard:

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Community

Bodybuilding in Ukraine: An Angeleno Fitness Model Goes Home

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Thu, May 1, 2014 at 6:00 AM
Maidan Square, filled with debris - SASHA BROWN
  • Sasha Brown
  • Maidan Square, filled with debris
The first thing I noticed was the smell. I'd arrived in Kiev the night before, and at the break of day I took the subway downtown, like I'd done so frequently in years past. This time, things were different. The main exit from the station was blocked; barbed wire had been strung across it in threatening curls.

At a third exit, I found a way to the surface, to Maidan, but then I noticed the smell. It was hard to place at first. Something had burned, to be sure, but just what - rubber, wood, maybe even bodies - was unclear. It filled what should have been fresh air as I exited the station into a paradise lost. Maidan, the most beautiful square in Kiev, a national symbol of pride, was in ruins: Debris littered the streets, tent camps filled the formerly pristine square, and the burnt-out shells of buildings loomed over the whole destroyed scene.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Community

Silver Lake's 'Hipster Beach' Idea Is No Joke

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Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 7:02 AM
A CONCEPTUAL RENDERING COURTESY SWIMSILVERLAKE.ORG
A pie-in-the-sky idea to turn part of the inaccessible yet visually stunning reservoirs atop Silver Lake into a public, beach-like swimming venue has the community abuzz.

The concept by local resident Catherine Geanuracos and her supporters would actually transform the northern, Ivanhoe Reservoir portion of the venue, which is smaller than the Silver Lake Reservoir portion, into a watering hole with swim lanes, a separate lake, and a sand-covered strip for sunbathing, at least according to an initial rendering (above).

The idea, dubbed "Hipster Beach" by the website Curbed LA, has excited some folks in Silver Lake ... 

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Community

Strip Clubs Win Fight Against LAPD

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Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 7:07 AM
CARMEN LUCAS/FLICKR
The LAPD wanted to shut down a pair of adjacent strip clubs in Canoga Park. But the venues' operator won the battle.

A city decision set to go into effect Monday says Xposed and neighboring Wet Spot can keep the music playing with no further restrictions.

See also: Valley Strip Club With Pot Shop Next Door Targeted by L.A. City Hall.

The police department claimed the site had a potent mix that included alcohol served at one place, full nudity displayed at another, liquor available at an adjacent store, and marijuana peddled at a neighboring dispensary. But ... 

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Community

Glendale Wants Recognition as One of L.A.'s Best Communities

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Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 8:03 AM
A lot of cities and communities in greater Los Angeles vie for the title of "best." You damn well know that the likes of Venice, Eagle Rock, Santa Monica and Atwater Village have their fans.

See also: Venice Is the Best Neighborhood in Los Angeles, But I'm Leaving.

But there are metrics that go beyond your personal feelings. Like crime.

The city of Glendale this week proclaimed that it's the "safest city to live in." And local officials might have a point:

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