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L.A. Stories

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

COURTESY OF PROCESS MEDIA
  • Courtesy of Process Media
Pacific Ocean Park profiles the former Venice Beach theme park that, for a time in the early-to-mid-'60s, rivaled Disneyland in innovation, if not appeal.

Pacific Ocean Park (P.O.P.) closed in 1968 and was razed into the sea by 1975. But in its heyday, acts like Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Ritchie Valens, The Doors and The Byrds all played the pier's legendary Cheetah Club.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

FRASER JONES
  • Fraser Jones
Sitting outside Angel City Brewery in the Arts District, Marcus Haney shakes his head in disbelief. A makeshift photo gallery is being set up by his team of interns, displaying four years of his improbable career as a concert photographer and documentary filmmaker.

The Arcadia native had nearly completed his junior year at USC in 2010 when he decided to do something that would change his life: Attend Coachella. He was broke and had no ticket, but the girl he liked at the time was heading to Indio, so he had no choice but to attend. After placing an ad on Craigslist offering a ride to whomever could paid for gas, Haney and his new pal Acid Chris hit the desert hoping to get into the festival.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

L.A. Stories

Further Proof That Kings of Leon Are Jerks

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Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 3:15 AM
COURTESY OF FLICKR/QUIQUE LOPEZ
On August 24, 2009, interns working for NBC’s Tonight Show (then hosted by Conan O’Brien) were surprised when musical guests Kings of Leon insisted on a closed rehearsal. Normally, employees and interns could watch artists sound-check during their lunch break, but Kings of Leon shut them out. It seemed an unusually douchey move, though that alone might not have been such a big deal …

… but the band’s antics were just getting started.

Let's be clear: Stories of stars acting like complete assholes around the little people are a dime a dozen in Los Angeles. But when we started asking industry insiders for some of their worst horror stories, we were so struck by Kings of Leon's Tonight Show visit that we stopped right there (for now, anyway — other assholes, you're not off the hook yet).

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hip-Hop

General Jeff Helped DJ Quik Hide Out After Biggie's Murder

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Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 3:00 AM
General Jeff - ANGELA BLAKELY
  • Angela Blakely
  • General Jeff
From 1995 to 2001, veteran Los Angeles hip-hop artist General Jeff (of Rodney O & Joe Cooley fame) served as an assistant and advisor to DJ Quik, handling such things as driving, security and other behind-the-scenes duties. During that period, Quik and Jeff went into hiding after learning that the LAPD believed Quik was involved in the shooting of The Notorious B.I.G.

In an interview with HipHopDX, DJ Quik opened up about the incident. But now we have an inside account from the person who drove him around while he was hiding. Currently working as a Skid Row activist, General Jeff took the time to give us more details about the incident.

Tell us what you remember from that night Biggie was murdered?
Earlier that night we were all at the Ambassador Hotel for Suga Free’s “If You Stay Ready” video shoot and decided to go to the Vibe party. We had to park on Fairfax because we arrived very late and the valet wouldn’t even park our car. It was taking really long to get in.

A moment later I saw people running frantically from the Wilshire and Fairfax area, including Quik, who told us there had been a shooting. We all left as quickly as possible.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Courtesy of Fort King
  • Courtesy of Fort King
For the video to his band Fort King's haunting "Everything Falls Apart," singer-songwriter Ryan Fuller wanted to pay tribute to two of his favorite symbols of a bygone Los Angeles: the late poet/boozehound Charles Bukowski and Hollywood Park Racetrack, which hosted its last race back in December and is being demolished to make way for condos.

With the help of director Mike James and fellow singer-songwriter Matthew Teardrop, who perfectly embodies a modern-day Bukowski in scruffy New Balance sneaks, he succeeded. See the video below for a final glimpse of the Hollywood Racetrack before it gets shipped off to the proverbial glue factory.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

L.A. Stories

Miles Tackett Has Musical Integrity

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Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 3:14 AM
Miles Tackett - DURAN CASTRO
  • Duran Castro
  • Miles Tackett
Miles Tackett has been a professional musician for over 20 years. The 45-year-old Highland Park resident plays guitar, bass, cello and more. He’s played around the globe founded several influential, long-running weekly parties in L.A. and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s musical history.

Tackett’s solo debut, the independently released The Fool Who Wonders, is out this week. The guitar-centric record marks a return to his roots, after decades of playing other instruments.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

L.A. Stories

At Zorthian Ranch, a Return to Bohemia

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Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 4:00 AM
Zorthian Ranch - PHOTO BY DANNY LIAO
  • Photo by Danny Liao
  • Zorthian Ranch
The parties Jirayr Zorthian threw at his ranch in the foothills of Altadena were invitation-only events, yet everybody in Los Angeles seemed to rub elbows there: Caltech physicists, modern artists, Pasadena bluebloods, jazz musicians, the famous and infamous, hipsters, hippies and hedonists of every stripe came to dance, drink and seek the divine under the moon. The parties featured bonfires, naked dancing nymphs, spontaneous art happenings, drumming that went all night and, of course, a roast pig borne by barechested men and blessed by a virgin. At the center of it all was Zorthian himself, a short, bearded Dionysus, who would take center stage clad in a red union suit and a bedsheet toga, and let the naked nymphs feed him grapes. The parties at the ranch raged for more than 60 years, until the old man died in 2004.

See also: Everybody Got Naked with Charlie Parker at the Wildest Party in L.A. History

A Turkish Armenian who’d emigrated to New Haven, Connecticut, as a youth, Zorthian came out West in the 1930s with his wealthy first wife, Betty, and bought 27 acres of scruffy land in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. They had three children and divorced — Jirayr was awarded the land in a settlement that is said to have made him the first man ever to receive alimony. He remarried and, with second wife Dabney, engaged in what Burners now call “radical self-reliance.” They grew their own food, including meat, slept under the stars, rode horses, raised five children and practiced sustainable living long before there was a term for it.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Daniel Wright-Fresco - PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT CIFUENTES
  • Photo courtesy of Robert Cifuentes
  • Daniel Wright-Fresco
In February Daniel Wright-Fresco, the homeless man who considers himself a security guard at downtown DIY punk venue The Smell, was arrested

The mostly-beloved Skid Row resident was charged with the crime of "criminal threats" after flashing his knife. Shortly before his trial was to take place on Friday, he cut a deal, and was sentenced to serve 486 days in prison.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Daniel Wright-Fresco - PHOTO BY ROBERT CIFUENTES
  • Photo by Robert Cifuentes
  • Daniel Wright-Fresco
If you've ever been to downtown DIY venue The Smell, chances are you've met Daniel Wright-Fresco. He's the 44-year-old homeless man who hangs in the alley out back every night, telling stories about how No Age played his birthday party (which is true) and how he returned from a honeymoon vacation in Waikiki by bus (probably not).

Mostly, however, he focuses on his self-given role of unofficial venue security. Though his appearance can be scary to those who don't know him - he's short and thin, with dark shaggy hair and a penchant for baggy, found duds - he's genuinely protective of Smell patrons, many of whom are teenagers. He'll walk you to your car, he keeps the area (which borders Skid Row) clear of pan-handlers, and he enforces the venue's strict no-alcohol policy. He's completely sincere about all of it. 

"He's an asset to the place," says Jim Smith, owner of the Smell. "It makes him feel good to be out there protecting people, providing a service."

So, when news recently broke that Daniel had been arrested, concern rippled through the Smell community.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Atomic Cafe Patrons - PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAN CARRILLO
  • Photo courtesy of Sean Carrillo
  • Atomic Cafe Patrons

By Paige Osburn

Once upon a time, Sid Vicious walked into a tiny café in Little Tokyo, got six orders of fried rice and started a food fight. On another occasion, David Byrne ordered an Egg Foo Yung and a glass of milk. And on different night, an all-girl band from Los Angeles picked up a plate of Gogo Chicken and decided they liked the name.

This is 422 East First Street, the corner of First and Alameda in Little Tokyo. Down the street is the Digby Hotel. Beyond that, the Los Angeles Soap Company. And inside is the Atomic Café, noodle house and one time after-hours punk hangout.

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