Photo by Gendy AlimurungBats Day at Disneyland, When the Happiest Place on Earth plays host to the saddest people on Earth and the line for the Haunted Mansion is longer than ever
Read Gendy Alimurung's article about the Disney goth gathering here.
Photo by Kevin ScanlonFrom "Moz the Cat" by Kate Sullivan: "Moz lived here in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade, and Los Angeles has loved Morrissey from the first moment some lucky DJ at KROQ (Dusty or Rodney or Richard Blade?) played that first cassette tape according to legend, a demo of an unsigned English band called the Smiths. The music of the Smiths, with Morrisseys otherworldly voice and poetic lyrical vision, made sense immediately in Los Angeles a violent, romantic city of poverty, grime, gangs, glamour and streetwise youth; of underground punk clubs that gave way to underground new-wave clubs; a city where kids like me grew up aware that nuclear bombs were aimed straight at us (always a subtext in Moz lyrics). For L.A.s Mexican-American kids, Morrisseys lyrical perspective had special appeal: Here was a young, artistic man of Irish-immigrant blood, growing up trapped in the land of his forebears oppressor; fascinated by the 50s (and 60s!), by the pompadours and Gibsons and screen rebels of that time."
Photo by Rena KosnettThe Vader Project: Paint It Black by Mark Mauer
For 30 years Darth Vaders shiny black helmet has symbolized cool/evil, and not many dared mess with it. But last year DKE Toys founder Dov Kelemer approached dozens of artists about using the iconic helmet as a canvas, and now an army of die-hard Star Wars fans have arrived at a huge conference room at the Los Angeles Convention Center to examine the 66 painted, modified and stylized Vader heads on display this weekend through Monday at Star Wars Celebration IV. The list of artists answering Kelemers call is an impressive who-whos of underground and popular artists. Kozik covered his helmet in rusted iron and rivets. Shag took Vader tribal, with orange and black stripes and two hoop earrings. Paul Frank Sunich re-created a gimp mask in white leather. Winston Smith, best known for his Dead Kennedys artwork, covered his mask in a collage of details, and put eyes staring out of the helmets sockets as if someone was trapped inside.
Illustration by Mr. FishI did not mean to sodomize Dick Cheney.
I mean, Im not even gay. Not that it matters. Because when, to my surprise, I bumped into him literally at the counter of Heimlers Guns and Ammo in Casper, something clicked. And Im not talking about the safety on my Mauser.
You see, theres another side to Lil Dickens, as the VP liked to refer to himself. Or, at least, a certain part of himself. En privado, hes tender. Hes funny. Hes pink. And hes a gun man, just like me.
From Li'l Dickens, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Make Love to the Vice President by Jerry Stahl.
King Jeremy the Wicked by Linda Immediato from LA Weekly's 2007 fashion issue.
You could call Jeremy Scott the Jeff Koons of fashion. Hes transformed bosoms into ice cream cones and twin Capitol domes (a.k.a. Capitol Hills), he finds inspiration in 80s game shows and Vanna White, and his runway shows are always spectacles that shake the ennui out of fashion watchers. His Food Fight collection featured French-fry graphics on slinky dresses, a hamburger skirt, and long tees instructing observers to Eat the Rich. His Right to Bear Arms collection was all camouflage, guns and Care Bears. In 2004, The Face magazine listed him as number 32 in the 100 most powerful people in fashion.
Photo by Gregory BojorquezFrom Daniel Hernandez's feature on Mexican American Princes:
Sharp, articulate, clean-cut and well-mannered, the Mexican American Prince is proud to be Latino, extremely ambitious and coming to a position of power and influence near you. He loves the Dodgers, lowrider cars, the United Farm Workers and his mother. He collects Chicano art. He knows how to dance to cumbia, and no one ever taught it to him. He always looks his best. Hes really friendly. Hes probably already your friend.
And why not? The Mexican American Prince lets call him MAP for short projects himself as the happy merging of generally contradictory stereotypes: earnest lefty and appearance-obsessed metrosexual. He wears his social consciousness, barrio street cred and activism on one well-pressed sleeve, and glamour, fortune and power on the other. His persona is the antithesis of the lazy Mexican stereotype, which has lingered in the American imagination for decades.
Illustration by Erik SandbergThe End Of Murder: If New York can slash homicide by 76 percent, can Los Angeles contemplate a vanishing point?
David Zahniser examined the attempts by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Chief William Bratton (former head of the NYPD) to bring down murder in our city.
Photo by Kevin ScanlonRolling with Boy Boy, the Voice of Power 106 by Scott T. Sterling
The Baka Boys, who were on the air at Power 106 at the time, were good friends of mine, he says of the DJ duo, now on the Miami airwaves. I was never really interested in radio. I listened to it growing up, but it wasnt a daily part of my life. One Memorial Day, the Baka Boys, who were also known as the Two Fat Mexicans, and I had an itinerary of barbecues we were planning to hit over the course of the day. They were plus-sized guys, and I was around 470 pounds at the time. They were like, We have to stop at our bosss house, and I didnt want to go. I thought it was going to be an uptight white family with a picket fence. We got there, and it was a white family with a picket fence, but they were cool. I got a call about a week later from the owner of the house, Rick Cummings [then the program director of Power 106]. He asked if I ever thought about doing radio, and offered me a spot one night for $35 an hour. At that point, I was so broke I wouldve done KKK radio for some cash!
Photos by Orly OlivierLauren Weedmans Search for Home by Joe Donnelly
In her latest one-woman journey to the center of her psyche, Bust, which ran for three mostly sold-out dates in March at REDCAT, Weedman details the descent of a naive, self-absorbed creature/victim of Hollywood into the bowels of the prison system, where she has volunteered as a kind of inmate pal in a program called Behind Bars. Along the way, Weedman, acting about 15 different roles, mercilessly, lovingly and hilariously skewers her vapid network of friends and colleagues (unforgettable is her pillorying of a womens mag editor and a dog-rescuing friend), the inane prison bureaucracy, the self-defeating prisoners, the earnest volunteers and mostly herself. And while Im watching it, Im shitting my pants at how funny and poignant, ferocious and precise the whole thing is, and all I can think is: Who is she? Why isnt she a huge star? And Ive got to meet this woman.
Seriously, you want to meet her.
Photo by Kevin ScanlonHenry Rollins: Patriot Act by Shelley Leopold.
So far, hes gone on seven USO tours, making stops in Kuwait, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Honduras, Japan, Korea and the United Arab Emirates. He plans to go back to Afghanistan this year. While the schedule is regimented, the days are never typical.
You go to as many bases as possible in a day and meet as many troops as possible. Transport is in anything from Blackhawk to van. I tell them stories and try to make them laugh, says Rollins. I just hope to momentarily lift their spirits if that can be done. Its better than doing nothing, and its something good to do with [my] recognition, as dubious as it may be.
Photo by Kevin ScanlonClint Catalyst: Front and Center By Linda Immediato
Remember that guy who didnt let you in at Club Cherry? The one who made you wait as he picked out all the fashionable people around you at Club Make-up? Maybe back in the day you were lucky enough to know Clint Catalyst, the Midwestern exmeth head who came to L.A. by way of San Francisco, where he was a goth art-club darling the most photographed model of the underground. Here in L.A. during the 90s, he became the most sought-after nightclub cash-box bitch and guest-list gatekeeper, wooed by seemingly every hip promoter in the city. But even if he was short on rent money, Catalyst who had by this time cleaned up his act and gotten off drugs would turn down promoters if he deemed their spot unworthy. It only made them want him more.
Photo by Kevin ScanlonJeffree Star: The fairest one of all
Oh, I look like a troll doll, he says, pulling at his hot-pink locks so they stand straight up on his head.
I try to be polite, but there is a slight tonsorial resemblance between Stars morning hair and the electric-socket look of the 60s doll, so I just smile awkwardly. On his couch is a nearly naked 20-something boy.
Oh, dont worry, there are always boys around, he smiles. You should see the guy in my bed.
Photo by Wild Don LewisThe Bookish Set: Inside the indie booksellers by Gendy Alimurung
Tyson Cornell is the events organizer and publicity guy for Book Soup, and in that capacity one evening before an author reading, he found himself in the shops tiny upstairs office area drinking Chivas Regal with Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro. Thompson, having also ingested a quantity of cocaine and getting surlier by the minute, vomited on Cornells shoe while, downstairs, some 500 people were waiting in a line that snaked around the block for the gonzo journalist to sign books. Which he eventually did. But only for a couple of minutes. Thompson, to Cornells chagrin, signed 80 copies, got annoyed, then took off down the street and disappeared. It was his last public signing; four months later, Thompson shot himself in the head.
This is the kind of thing that Cornell says happens all the time to varying degrees at the store on Sunset Boulevard, the kind of thing he tells his parents about at Thanksgiving dinner when he goes home to Minnesota. They roll their eyes, usually, and tell him to shut up.
Photo by Jennie WarrenThe Boras Factor: Is super agent Scott Boras destroying the game of baseball? And what does he want now? By Jeffrey Anderson
As baseball revenues grow, so do salaries, thanks in large part to him. He was the first agent to sign players to multiyear $50 million, $100 million and $200 million contracts, as league revenues rose to $1 billion, $3 billion and $6 billion, respectively. Last year, he negotiated the largest contract ever for a Japanese player, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who signed with the Boston Red Sox for $52 million after the Sox paid $51 million for the rights to sign him and the largest ever for a pitcher, Barry Zito, who went with the San Francisco Giants for $126 million.
Boras works both ends of the spectrum. He revolutionized the amateur draft by signing players out of college and sometimes high school; now he has a team of former pro ball players and international associates sniffing out young talent from Cape Cod to Caracas.
Illustration by Mr. FishChristopher Hitchens on the Essential Stupidity of Religion by Dwayne Booth (aka Mr. Fish)
He appears equally capable of pissing into your grandmothers fish tank and beating you at chess: the quasi-omniscient Johnny Rotten of political journo-intellectualism, looking as if he were assembled hastily by sausage makers hoping to fill a suit with all the succulent impropriety of vitriolic yet delectable meats. A man well aware that the shortest distance (and least interesting path) between birth and death is a very straight line, he has the reputation of someone prone to the rich experiences offered by staggering. But contrary to the corroborating promises all but guaranteed by the YouTube versions of himself, Christopher Hitchens was not an as-advertised fucking dickhead asshole bully, much to my dismay.
It was like meeting a clown without his makeup, away from the hysteria of his profession, who appears lovely and handsome and noble, if only because he isnt trapped in a spotlight at the center of a ludicrous pie fight.
Photo by Gregroy Bojorquez''This was beyond any novela'': Above, Diane Gamboa today.
The Art Outlaws of East L.A.: They called themselves Asco and pulled off stunts that tweaked the establishment, but love affairs, jealousy and rival newcomers tore them apart. By Daniel Hernandez
Harry Gamboa Jr. has been making art more or less in this style for more than 30 years. Spontaneously bringing disparate people together, he creates an ephemeral scene or moment, and documents it. Then, as soon as he gives the signal, everyone disperses. As if nothing had ever happened.
Long before flash mobs, Gamboa began perfecting the practice of the spontaneous art action when he and three other East L.A. artists formed the venerated avant-garde performance group known as Asco, named after the Spanish word for nausea. Here you had, in the middle of the 1970s, four style-conscious art jesters three men, one woman cavorting in outrageous outfits around the streets and empty lots of East L.A., making a scene, actions sprinkled with cutting social commentary, then disappearing. A Dada daydream in Chicanoville, USA.
Photo Courtesy LAPDAbove, When the bullet hits the bone: The lone casing found at the crime scene, Courtesy LAPD
The Fuhrman Factor by Christine Pelisek
Thirteen years later former LAPD detective is still haunted by one that got away. Was justice in the Dawn Gamez murder case another casualty of the O.J. Simpson debacle?
PHoto by Kevin ScanlonChristian Bale and the Art of Extreme Acting by Joe Donnelly
When the best actor of his generation pulls up in front of Shutters, a place famous for seeing and being seen that could only have been chosen by a publicist, its in a black pickup truck. Hes wearing a baseball cap and an unassuming getup of T-shirt and jeans. The look is trucker chic, though Im pretty sure Bale has no idea what trucker chic is. He tells me the pickup is for hauling his motorized dirt bikes, which is what hes into these days, though he confesses hes not very Zen about the art of motorcycle maintenance.
I know how to ride. When something goes wrong, I just look at it and want to kick it and bang it with a hammer, he laughs.
Photo by Shelley LeopoldOne of two Buddhas by RETNA and EL MAC at Western and Marathon
The Rise of the Seventh Letter by Shelley Leopold
Largely figure-based and mosaic-like, Retnas approach to his art is a personal one. Raised in a deeply religious family, hes painted the Digital Virgin Mary in various neighborhoods to fight the evils of drugs and crime. All too often, they became shrines to someone whos been killed in front of them. He didnt go to school for art, but encourages others to get formally educated. It just so happens my degrees are from the street schools of AWR/MSK. Ive discovered Im a traditionalist; as I read more books, I gain a greater understanding of my place in the world [of art], regardless if I agree with it or not. I never thought graffiti would be this much a part of my life. Im about to be 30 and theres still so much work to do. Im not going to front and say that graffiti is the greatest gift, but its important to people and its not stopping anytime soon.
Matt Groening: Life Is Swell by Dave Shulman
On the few occasions that weve spoken over the past 10 or 12 years, Groening has always appeared conspicuously and genuinely modest. No matter how fast he speaks, how excited he gets, something about him remains low key. This is not a man who set out to conquer the world and become a rich bastard. This is a neobeatnik surfer-scientist art-dude man, who, by his own estimation, was in the right place at the right time.
(Illustration by Matt Groening The Simpsons and 2007 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.)
Photo courtesy of Isis Aquarian/Source Family ArchivesCalifornia dreaming: Father teaching water aerobics from the article, Tapping the Source: Excerpts from Isis Aquarian's cult chronicle.
Photos by Kevin ScanlonExiles On Main Street: Portraits of downtown's endangered artists. By Linda Immediato
The hookers downtown dont look anything like they do in movies. No fishnets or pushup bras. They are in their 50s and 60s and look like little grandmas which is why theyve become known as the abuelas. They dress like secretaries and keep bankers hours, working days to cash in on a little lunch and rush-hour action. For years, they were fixtures at the perpetually C-rated greasy spoon known as El Trouble but whose real name nobody seems to recall. It was part of the Canadian, a building on Skid Rows Main and Winston streets, which also held a XXX movie theater, an adult bookstore, a few empty storefronts and, on its two top floors, a collection of crumbling lofts. The Canadian used to be called the Birdhouse, because pigeons had come through broken windows to roost in a few of the vacated lofts; they covered the floors with bird shit and flapped their wings through the wide hallways.
Above: There isnt a courtyard or rooftop garden at the Canadian, so Liz McGrath and Morgan Slade took advantage of the foot-wide strip of sunlight that pours in from the space between their loft and the building next door to make a small garden. At night Christmas lights tucked above the window illuminate the brick wall, and of course the dead things, like animal antlers, that Liz collected and hung there. Leave it to an artist to make the view of a brick wall an aesthetically pleasing focal point.
Photo by Kevin ScanlonIt is as youve always suspected: Rob Zombies house is way cooler than yours. For one thing, the punk/metal god turned filmmaker has a 12-foot stuffed polar bear in his living room. (Zombie to dumbstruck interviewer: I know, right? How fuckin big is that bear?) From Chuck Wilson's interview, "Zombie Vision"