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Tony Mostrom

Frank Zappa; Credit: Heinrich Klaffs/Wikicommons

L.A. ’68 a-Go-Go

You think these are contentious and nerve-racking times? Well, they are. But America in 1968 had reached a truly dangerous flashpoint, one that fulfilled T.S. Eliot’s prediction decades earlier: a time of “blood in the streets.” With a slew of assassinations and cities in flames, the then-prevailing countercurrent of “peace and love” and massive and reckless drug-taking could be seen, in retrospect, as a desperate attempt just to calm people’s nerves....
David Lynch; Credit: Dean Hurley

When Dreams Are Real: David Lynch’s New Memoir Reveals His Truth

Hardcore David Lynch fans probably will come to this new book, Room to Dream, hoping to get the inside dope on where their hero’s creepy artistic vision came from and what it is that’s inside that feverish (non-severed) head. But be warned that Room to Dream, released Tuesday, June 19, is a slow-paced and “granular” biography....
Lisa Fancher of Frontier Records; Credit: Grove Pashley

Frontier Records, L.A.’s Longest-Running Punk Label, Is Still Making Music History

A goodly number of early L.A. punk and hardcore records were released on Frontier Records, which stands today as L.A.’s oldest and longest-running punk label. What’s most impressive about the whole Frontier enterprise is that the company has been run for the last several years by its founder, all by her lonesome: Lisa Fancher, lifelong music fanatic, record collector and proud Valley native....
The Mulholland Fountain in Los Feliz is named after William Mulholland

The Mirage Factory: Tales of Magic, Movies and Mayhem in Early L.A.

Bestselling author and biographer-of-cities Gary Krist has chosen a focused biographical approach in his new book, The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination and the Invention of Los Angeles, which looks at early-20th century L.A. through the life stories of three hugely influencers: William Mulholland, D.W. Griffith and Aimee Semple McPherson....
Credit: City of Los Angeles Police Department/Federal Bureau of Investibation

The Top 10 L.A. Crime Books

There are a small but growing number of true-crime books out there on the subject of Los Angeles murder cases. This Top 10 list is meant as a (handy) guide for the discriminating yet prurient true-crime fan who wants her cadavers (most true-crime readers I’ve met have been women) served up piping hot in the glare of the Southern California sun....
Credit: Courtesy Harper Collins

Hippie Chick's Memoir Goes Inside the Manson Family

Like Susan Atkins' memoir, Child of Satan, Child of God, this book comes from the POV of a religious, born-again ex-Mansonite. The difference is, unlike the repentant-but-guilty knife wielder Atkins, Dianne Lake was no sinner while she was in the Family; she was just a happy hippie who was perhaps too eager to please everybody....
Ornette Coleman

Musical Revolutionary Ornette Coleman Unleashed Free Jazz in 1950s L.A.

It was mostly young jazz musicians who pushed “America’s music” in an extremely radical direction, into something that was suddenly wildly dissonant, rough, freely improvised and emotionally explosive. Newsweek was quick to label the movement “the New Thing” in 1961, but L.A. transplant Ornette Coleman gave the burst of freedom he’d suddenly unleashed a simpler name: free jazz....
Elizabeth Short outside of John Marshall High School in Los Feliz in 1946. Her mutilated body was found on Jan. 15

New Book on the Black Dahlia May Finally Have Solved the Mystery

British author Piu Eatwell's new book, Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption and Cover-Up of America's Greatest Unsolved Murder (Liveright, $26.95), is an important one because it revives the long-forgotten fact that a few "very strong" suspects came to LAPD's attention at the time. One of them, Leslie Dillon, was an unemployed bellhop with criminal tendencies....