Top 10 LA Weekly News Stories Of 2010: Sex, Drugs, One Absurdly Long Tongue And The 'Attempted Lynching' That Shook Los Angeles
How better to determine the Top 10 news items of the year in our wonderfully fucked-up, always aggravating but certainly never boring City of Angels than by raw click count?
The following stories may not be the most important of the year, by measure of political weight or significance to our daily lives, but they're the ones you wanted to read the most, for better or worse. And really -- who are the Associated Press editors to tell us that Afghanistan and the Tea Party movement ruled the news in 2010? In this here recap, the customer is always right.
Starting from the top, complete with our favorite reader comments:
By Erin Broadley
June 24, 2010
The Suicide Girls' convention booth -- normally consisting of half-naked models from the funky, gaudy, wildly popular punk-porn website SuicideGirls.com -- were allegedly issued a ban this year by San Diego Comic-Con officials. Apparently, an underage kid was spotted buying an 18+ Suicide Girls DVD last year.
However, when contacted by the Weekly, Comic-Con denied it would ever do such a thing, instead claiming the girls just hadn't remembered to book a booth. Whether they were truly banned or just couldn't stop coyly nibbling their goth-polished fingernail long enough to fill out the proper paperwork, the dark princesses of Internet porn were sorely missed this year.
Erin says, "OH NOZ!!! Someone bought a video and saw a titty. Get over yourself America, you lead the world in porno sales, time to drop the goodie-two-shoes act."
For more evil bans, see "Top 10 Los Angeles Bans Of 2010: They Left Us Bagless, Smokeless And Puppyless, With Nary A Loko In Sight." And for a retrospective of all the year's hottest conventions -- including the suicide-free July event, sad face -- check "Best of the Cons 2010."
PHOTO BY WILLIAM MARC SALSBERRYSuicide who? Unofficial Hot Topic hotties filled in for the pouting Girls at Comic-Con. Browse the entire "Babes of San Diego Comic-Con 2010" gallery for 32 more sexy she-nerds.
By Michael Albo
Sept. 2, 2010
A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. For the brave souls trying their luck as prostitutes at Nevada's legal brothels, the economic downturn meant a controversial career choice that, in the end, was worth keeping food on the table.
The Weekly talked to newly converted sex hires at the Love Ranch, the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, the Sagebrush Ranch and the Kit Kat Guest Ranch, living in a rugged universe where a church minister runs the Brother Owners' Association and customers code-name themselves after the president. We don't blame y'all for caring.
Roclive says, "I live in Britain where prostitutes have few teeth, smell of broccoli, and work out of disused coal mines. So I suppose all in all, it was a good idea that we gave you the colonies in 1776."
PHOTO BY KEVIN SCANLONFor possibly the best recession-themed slideshow of all time, see "The Family Prostitute: Portraits of Women Brand-New to the Sex Trade."
By Gus Garcia-Roberts
May 13, 2010
Ever heard of Max Mermelstein? Even if the answer is no, if you ever did blow in the '80s, you're probably familiar with his legacy.
Mean old Max "pioneered the cocaine pipeline from Medellín to Miami" in 1978, and later became one of the most prolific criminal informants in U.S. history (in exchange for a reduced sentence). Though he's always avoided journalists -- and passed away two years ago -- the Weekly told his story this year through L.A. exile and current Miami resident Brett Tabor, who's making a film based on Mermelstein's life. We recommend laying off the white stuff before reading; the suspense is cardiac-arresting enough as is. Not to toot our own horn or anything.
Daniel Ramirez says, "Ha Ha....this ought to be intersting....a Jewish Scarface....maybe Woddy Allen can play Tony Montana....LOL!!"
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRETT TABORCocaine king Max Mermelstien, looking the part alongside his family, who he relocated through the Witness Protection Program.
By Dennis Romero
Mar. 22, 2010
Apparently, yes, you do care. A lot. Ever since it dropped in springtime, this news-blog item has been blowing up like LiLo after a long night of Manhattans with the girls. And all because of a couple bitter Tweets the rebellious redhead thumbed out after having to wait in line at West Hollywood club Trousdale. The horror!
Lohan was later kicked out of the same club (and banned for life) after throwing a drink in the face of ex-lezzie lover Samantha Ronson. Still, Weekly readers seemed to care way more about her L.A. diss, and for good reason -- nobody favorites New York Shitty 'round these parts and gets away with it. Go ahead, Lindsay. See how accommodating NYC clubs are to your belligerent divahood. And never fear: We'll be watching -- and loving every second of it -- from the sunnier side of the blogosphere.
Steve says, "Poor Lindsey. Hollywood doesn't want you anymore and now neither do the clubs. I'm sure Vivid Video has some work for you in the Valley."
how to make a permanent magnet says, "I am always interested in informative posts about electro magnetic generators and free energy. This really opens my mind. Great post and I have added you as a bookmark. gracias"
The year in illicit drug use, after the jump!
By Dennis Romero
June 29, 2010
Sasha Rodriguez was far too young to die. After dropping some ecstasy pills at the notorious Electric Daisy Carnival this year, the 15-year-old's brain was deprived of oxygen -- a complication called ischemic encephalopathy, or "brain death," that can be a direct result of ingesting the drug.
The tragic fatality was accompanied by 60 largely drug-related arrests and over 200 medical emergencies (partly resulting from a mass fence-hop onto the main field) among 185,000 attendees, but it was Rodriguez' story that ultimately prompted lawmakers to ban, un-ban and consider re-banning Los Angeles raves in the months that followed.
No matter your take on the rave issue, dopamine depletion and ecstasy overdose in younger and younger children emerged as a major problem this year -- and it's not going to fix itself. The debate on this one got really heated, so we'll share both sides:
Amanda says, "Raves ARE about drugs to the little kids that are trying to be cool. Which is why I repeat, make it 18+."
Johnny Suede says, "200,000 people show up anywhere and people will die/get hurt. I drive shuttles for Disneyland and there are fatties there that stroke out practically every hour. I know this because I see the Ambulances leaving the east entrance 1-2 times an hour on hot days."
PHOTO BY NATE "IGOR" SMITHLess disastrous bits of the rave Rodriguez attended can be viewed at "Electric Daisy Carnival: 60 Most Memorable Moments."
By Dennis Romero
Nov. 3, 2010
Though the day-after print story "What Killed Prop. 19?" was also a giant hit, the election-night coverage of everyone's favorite 2010 proposition is the piece that really went through the roof. Maybe the combo of "marijuana" and "FAIL"?
All told, weed was the Weekly's hottest item this year, from pot shops shut down by the city to one high-school chick that allegedly kept her stash in a mini R2D2. Love it or hate it, Los Angeles can't stop reading about pot. Of all 248 comments on the election article, we'll choose the biggest stoner FAIL:
Cletms says, "dont worry what this article says all the votes arent in yet plus everyone likes smoking weed humans have enjoyed it for thousands of years and arent going to stop now or ever! theres no doubt in my mind that prop 19 will push through. by this time tomorrow ill be smoking legally :D"
For all the news that put the "munchies" in our meals this year, check out "Year in Review: Top Food and Pot Stories of 2010" over at the Weekly's own Squid Ink.
PHOTO BY TED SOQUIIn pre-election LA Weekly cover story "Proposition 19 Dreams of Legal Weed," Bruce Margolin and his daughter Allison described themselves as "L.A.'s dopest lawyers"
By Clarissa Wei
July 21, 2010
After landing a spot on iCarly for his record-breaking tongue, Hollywood "actor" and SoCal resident Nick Afanasiev is hoping it continues to further his career. No word on how that's going for him.
As for the rest of you -- really? We're all about wacky yellow-journalism nuggets, but if you knew how many hits this got... you'd probably have less faith in humanity.
Still, get a load of that 3-and-a-half-incher!
nelle says, "If he goes into acting, perhaps he could change his last name to Silver, as in Long Tongue Silver. Or he could have his appendage bifurcated so he could be billed as the Porn Star with 4 heads, the one that can "do it" on both sides and on both ends. A pun my word! That ought to drive them wild!"
Serial killer Rodney Alcala
By Christine Pelisek
Jan. 21, 2010
The same Weekly crime reporter that uncovered the bloodbath of serial killer Grim Sleeper in 2008 dove into the psyche of the Sleeper's white, composed, upper-crust counterpart in 2010. Rodney Alcala is a modern-day American Psycho, all chiseled jawline and unfeeling grin.
Writes Pelisek: "The once-dashing ladies' man, UCLA fine-arts grad, former Los Angeles Times typesetter, amateur photographer and film student of Roman Polanski's is believed to have used his smooth-talking charm and access to the creative communities in L.A. and Greenwich Village during the 1970s to entrap and murder seven women and girls, and to rape several others."
It's enough to make you leave the library a few hours earlier than you might have, or at least go with the uncalculating dweeb on your next "Dating Game" appearance. Our commenter of choice could very well be Pelisek's soul mate:
Bill Deane says, "When I was a kid, I collected 'Wanted' posters from my local Post Office. I had about a hundred 1968-70 posters, and kept them in a stack, alphabetized by surname. I finally sold them for $2.50 at a garage sale several years ago. I distinctly remember the smiling young guy at the top of the stack: Rod James Alcala. Who knew he was destined for stardom, still making news four decades later?"
First Place and Grand Prize winners, involving gay sex at a Korean spa, after the jump!
By Dennis Romero
Nov. 19, 2010
L.A. author Robert Randolph dropped a media bomb with new book You'll Never Spa in This Town Again, sending celeb-scandal trollers a-click like only a major actor's alleged homosexuality could. Randolph's victim: John Travolta, star of so not gay "Saturday Night Fever" and loving husband/father of two.
According to the author, Travolta engaged in a large amount of very, very gay sex (and he's a bottom!) at City Spa & Health Center, located in Los Angeles at 5325 West Pico Blvd. But can you really trust a book whose website plays "Stayin' Alive" and whose subhead reads "who's packin' and who's lackin'"? Plus, as Romero notes in the piece, City Spa doesn't attract a particularly gay crowd. Since news of the book leaked, Travolta has threatened to sue. Randolph, meanwhile, reports receiving death threats. If this train wreck isn't worth rubbernecking, we don't know what is.
dannyboy says (read: spreads more rumors), "why is this so hard to believe? it's hard to believe he's a bottom? why? because he played a T-bird?? are you fucking kidding me? Hollywood is NOTORIOUS for gay men. Has Kevin Spacey officailly come out? No. But he's fucked a few of my pals. Bryan Singer has notorious twink parties in the Hollywood Hills. Tom Cruise used to cruise Royce Hall at UCLA."
By Katharine Russ
Dec. 9, 2010
This one blew all Weekly coverage -- besides the craptastically popular Star Wars Burlesque piece, go figure -- straight out of the water. Guest writer Russ revealed the shocking account of 18-year-old high-schooler Jeremy Marks, who was imprisoned eight months ago for "attempted lynching" after muttering "Kick her ass" to a fellow student being beat up by campus police officer Erin Robles.
Marks was sent to the ruthless Pitchess Detention Center alongside violent adult criminals, and the rest was history -- until the story hit. Marks was granted a re-trial and reunited with his family just in time for Christmas, thanks to a $50,000 bail-out from Google exec Neil Fraser. Which brings us to the second wildly popular Weekly-Marks union: "Jeremy Marks Bailed Out" (also penned by Russ).
RobE says, "All you dumbasses who inveigh against WikiLeaks for what it exposed about official and corporate misbehavior on the international level should read this article because it shows how authorities react when there is evidence produced against them (in this case, the cellphone video). What Marks and Assange are being subjected to is morally the same and permitting authorities to act this way endangers the freedom of every person on the planet."
Yeah, Wikileaks is kind of a longshot, but we thought we might as well squeeze the national No. 1 item in here somehow.
Jeremy Marks, a Verdugo Hills High School student who was unjustly imprisoned for eight months.
Thanks for reading, Los Angeles! And here's to an even sexier 2011. Much love, LA Weekly.