Friday, July 30, 2010

"a sporty two-seat eco-activist"

The 2011 Honda CRZ hybrid has a far more aggressive stance than other gas-electrics on the market and shows off its road-hugging ability. Starting at $19,200.

Don Kelsen, Los Angeles Times / June 28, 2010

"three-dimensional version of string art"

The work of Los Angeles-based artist Megan Geckler lies somewhere between art and design, with architectural installations that are assembled from thousands of strands of multicolored flagging tape, a plastic ribbon typically utilized by surveyors to demarcate space on construction sites.

The end result resembles an updated three-dimensional version of string art that shares the seemingly kinetic territory of the Op Art and Light+Space movements. These site-specific projects are also strongly influenced by minimalism, but retain a sense of play and delight.

The exhibition will be on display at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, 490 E. Union Street, Pasadena CA , from July 17 till October 31.

Spanish Colonial Revival house

This Spanish Colonial Revival house was built for petroleum geologist Harry Roland Johnson and his wife, Olivia Johnson. The distinct style is associated with architect John W. Byers. Local conservancies had pushed to have the 1920 house declared a city landmark but the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission on Thursday voted "no." The decision relieves some pressure on the owners to preserve the home

"Hang on! Things may get better . . . and then again they might not"

Travis Pastrana performs a trick on his way to winning the men's moto X freestyle event during the X Games at Coliseum on Thursday.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / July 29, 2010)

"Even the practice session is electric"

A skateboarder practices on the vert ramp for the ESPN X Games.

(John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times)

"Pushing the Envelope"

Jake Brown performs his winning jump during the X Games skateboard big air final at the Coliseum on Thursday.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / July 29, 2010)

She was known as the "CAKE LADY"

Frances Kuyper (1918-2010), who was known as the "Cake Lady," founded the world's first cake museum. She was known for her pioneering use of the airbrush in cake decorating. The airbrushed Princess Diana cake was one of her favorites.

(Los Angeles Times / January 30, 2002)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The way to handle a wild bull

The Extreme Rodeo's wild bull chariot race entertains patrons at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa.

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times / July 21, 2010 )

The Red Hat Ladies are Red Hot

The Red Hat Society (RHS) is a social organization founded in 1998 for women approaching the age of 50 and beyond. As of July 2009, there are over 70,000 registered members and almost 24,000 chapters in the United States and 25 other countries. The Red Hat Society is the largest women’s social group in the world.

The founder of the Society is artist Sue Ellen Cooper, who lives in Fullerton, California. In 1997, Cooper gave a friend a 55th birthday gift consisting of a red fedora purchased a year earlier at a thrift store along with a copy of Jenny Joseph's poem "Warning." The opening lines of the poem read:

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me."

Cooper repeated the gift on request several times, and eventually several of the women bought purple outfits and held a tea party. Cooper never set out to ignite an international phenomenon. However, after spreading by word of mouth, the Society first received national publicity in 2000 through the magazine Romantic Homes[1] and a feature in The Orange County Register.[2] Cooper then established a "Hatquarters" to field the hundreds of e-mail requests for help starting chapters. She now serves as "Exalted Queen Mother", and has written two best-selling books about the Society.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"icons of American engineering"

The Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam are more than just icons of American engineering. They are Depression-era monuments that transformed not only California's physical landscape, but its social one as well. The bridge linked San Francisco to rural Marin County, hastening the consolidation of the Bay Area into a huge metropolis. The dam brought reliable irrigation to Imperial Valley farms, as well as drinking water and hydroelectric power to Los Angeles and other Southwestern cities, fostering their explosive growth.

Both structures smashed precedents: Rising 726 feet above the Colorado River bed, Hoover was more than twice as high as the tallest previous dam on its opening day in 1935; the Golden Gate, with its 4,200-foot-long main span, was the longest suspension bridge in the world when the first pedestrian crossed its span on May 27, 1937. With their soaring ambitions clad in sleek Art Deco designs, bridge and dam seem the epitome of New Deal optimism. Yet neither was a New Deal project.

"Trails End Ranch" featured as "Home of the Week" by Los Angeles Times

Wood-paneled walls, a beamed ceiling and a stone fireplace give a rustic character to the living room of the house, which was built out of redwood.

(Roberto Zeballos)

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Grand Avenue Project"

Renderings of the new Civic Park in downtown Los Angeles, designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios.

The 16-acre, four-block park in the heart of downtown will stretch from the Music Center to City Hall. The park is the first part of the Grand Avenue Project, a multibillion dollar project to revitalize the area with entertainment venues, restaurants, high-rise condos and retail outlets.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / July 15, 2010)

Long lost Charlie Chaplin film

The comedy called "A Thief Catcher" was made in 1914 and was missing for so many years that Chaplin's appearance in it as a buffoon policeman had been forgotten.

The 10-minute movie was discovered by the American cinema historian, Paul Gierucki, who bought a can of old film marked "Keystone" at an antiques sale in Michigan. He assumed it was just another Keystone Cops movie and didn't watch the 16mm reel for months.

When he finally looked at the film, which is in good condition, he was amazed to see what looked like Chaplin emerging from the bushes in a police uniform, several sizes too big, armed with a nightstick.

Mr Gierucki couldn't tell immediately but the actor's distinctive twitches seemed to confirm that it was Chaplin playing a minor role in one of his earliest films.

He showed it to a fellow film collector, Richard Roberts, who said: "I looked at it two seconds and said 'Yep, it's Chaplin.' Even though he's dressed as a cop, the rest of the character is still there – the moustache, the walk, the mannerism. This is a character he'd been doing for quite a while."

In the film Chaplin, who had yet to become famous, uses physical gestures that he would later employ for his most memorable, bumbling character The Tramp. After wiggling and shrugging in a way familiar to millions of filmgoers he delivers some instant slapstick justice by knocking around a group of hooligans.

The movie was made by Mack Sennett for his Keystone film company which produced a series of films about a group of incompetent policemen, the Keystone Cops, between 1912 and 1917.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

But does it come complete with the ghost of Marilyn?

A Brentwood house where Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 has been put up for sale for nearly $3.6 million, according to Curbed LA.

Curbed points to the Marilyn Monroe Memories website, which states she bought the cul-de-sac home in 1962 for $90,000. It was her first. The 2,624 square foot house has a swimming pool, four bedrooms and three bathrooms, according to a listing.

Agent David Offer describes the 1929 property as a "hacienda situated behind tall gates at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac on over 23,000 square feet (per assessor) of tree-filled grounds."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Here's Doctor Demento !!

The first thing you’re apt to notice is the head of Elvis floating in a jar of pink formaldehyde. Or the three-hundred pound statue of Howlin’ Wolf made of processed meat slices. Or the gold-plated throne that plays “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” whenever it’s sat upon.

Or not.

Actually, the high priest of radio weirdness, Doctor Demento—aka Barry Hansen ’63—lives in an unassuming house in an unremarkable Los Angeles suburb with none of the fanciful accoutrements listed above. Aside from several gold records adorning a living room wall (gifts from Hansen’s friend Weird Al Yankovic), there’s virtually nothing on view to indicate that its owner is the sort of man who plays songs like “My Girlfriend Is Inflatable” and “The Day Ted Nugent Killed All the Animals” on the airwaves, where anyone might hear them.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

(Photo from TRUE 2 DEATH's photostream on Flickr)

The Museum of Tolerance

Images of the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Albert Einstein are among the attractions at the Museum of Tolerance's Youth Action Lab, a high-tech classroom and exhibition space for teaching elementary through high school kids about prejudice. The Los Angeles museum has just finished a $13-million makeover of its auditorium and several exhibits.

(Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A "Class Act" for 65 years

The Santa Monica estate that the late film star and singer Kathryn Grayson called home for 65 years has come on the market at $8,995,000.

The English Tudor, built in 1926 and designed by Elmer Grey, sits on a double lot of more than an acre with views of the Riviera Country Club golf course. Neighboring homes date mostly from the 1920s and 1930s on the street dotted with Moreton Bay fig trees and vintage street lamps.

Throughout the house are rounded archways, hand-crafted leaded-glass windows, English oak paneling and beamed ceilings. The living room, with floor-to-ceiling stained-glass windows, a minstrels' gallery and a cathedral ceiling, was often a spot for entertaining or singing a duet accompanied on Grayson's grand piano. The 5,381-square-foot residence also has a formal dining room, a library, a breakfast room, a walk-in butler's pantry, 7 1/2 bedrooms and four bathrooms. The grounds include plum, avocado and four varieties of orange trees, an expansive lawn and camellias.

The operatic soprano made a name for herself playing supporting roles in musicals. She went on to star in "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), "The Toast of New Orleans" (1950), "Show Boat" (1951) and "Kiss Me Kate" (1953). Grayson died in February at age 88.

Her movies are as mysterious and elusive as she is . . .

Kim Novak is scheduled to be on hand for the kickoff of an American Cinematheque tribute to the No. 1 box office star of 1956-58 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood this month.

She'll appear for a question-and-answer session about her career on July 30 between screenings of "Bell, Book and Candle" (1958) and "Pal Joey" (1957).

The tribute will continue that weekend with screenings of "Picnic" (1956) and "Middle of the Night" (1959) on July 31 and "Vertigo" (1958) on Aug. 1.

Novak, 77, who now lives in Oregon, was also feted by American Cinematheque in 2004. The new tribute is being co-sponsored by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which on Aug. 3 will be releasing a three-disc DVD set, "The Kim Novak Collection."

Friday, July 09, 2010

To infinity... and beyond!

If you fancy a dip in this pool, you'll need a head for heights - it's 55 storeys up.

But swimming to the edge won't be quite as risky as it looks. While the water in the infinity pool seems to end in a sheer drop, it actually spills into a catchment area where it is pumped back into the main pool. At three times the length of an Olympic pool and 650ft up, it is the largest outdoor pool in the world at that height. It features in the impressive, boat-shaped 'SkyPark' perched atop the three towers that make up the world's most expensive hotel, the £4billion Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore .

Don't look down: A guest swims in the infinity pool of the Skypark that tops the Marina Bay Sands hotel towers - 55 storeys over the city of Singapore yesterday
To infinity... and beyond! The pool stretches 150 metres, three times the length of an Olympic swimming pool.
The view over the side: An artist's impression shows the Skypark that tops the Marina Bay Sands hotel towers, including the infinity pool. The hotel, which has 2,560 rooms costing from £350 a night, was officially opened yesterday with a concert by Diana Ross.

The Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi , estimated to have cost £2billion when it opened in 2004, was previously the world's most expensive hotel. But with its indoor canal, opulent art, casino, outdoor plaza, convention centre, theatre, crystal pavilion and museum shaped like a lotus flower, the Marina Bay Sands has taken its crown.

The infinity pool on the roof is in the 'SkyPark' which spans the three towers of the hotel. The platform itself is longer than the Eiffel tower laid down and is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Infinity pools give the effect that the water extends to the horizon. In reality, the water spills over the edge into a catchment below, and is then pumped back into the pool. The pools have two circulation systems. The first functions like that of a regular pool, filtering and heating the water in the main pool. The second filters the water in the catch basin and returns it to the upper pool.
The resort from across the bay. The three towers were based on a deck of cards, according to designer Moshe Safdie.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

"20,000 Leagues" and Stephin Merritt

A splendid combination of sight and sound is in store Sunday for those who venture to the Cinefamily. Not only is the 1916 silent version of Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," complete with then-state-of-the-art underwater photography, going to get a rare screening, but the live musical accompaniment is by the gifted Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields. Merritt, whose music enlivened the indie hit "Pieces of April," will be working from a score commissioned by the San Francisco Film Society. Tickets are $35, but this event is worth it. 611 N. Fairfax Ave. -— Kenneth Turan in the LA Times

In-N-Out Burger in Westwood Village, California

A Stephen Kanner design in Westwood riffed on the company's boomerang-shaped logo.

(Photo by Mark Lohman)

"the Lubitsch Touch"

For some nine decades, scholars, critics and fans have described German émigré Ernst Lubitsch's skill as a comedic director with the phrase "the Lubitsch Touch." But what exactly is the "Touch"?

"Everybody has been trying to define that for so many years," says Rick Jewell, professor at USC School of Cinematic Arts. "I would have to say it all distills down to wit. There was a very special wit in the Lubitsch films. It was a visual wit, but it was also a wit in terms of the performances, which he clearly shaped. Of course, the obvious, was the verbal wit, which he can't take full credit for because of the wonderful writers he worked with."

Los Angeles audiences can get the "Touch" beginning Friday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's new retrospective, "Laughter in Paradise: The American Comedies of Ernst Lubitsch." Among the classics being screened are his 1932 masterwork, "Trouble in Paradise"; his 1939 classic, "Ninotchka," (above), which marked Greta Garbo's first comedy; 1940's exquisitely beautiful romantic comedy "The Shop Around the Corner," which is the favorite of many of Lubitsch admirers; and his last completed film, 1946's "Cluny Brown."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Liberty Bell rings out 1776, the Liberty Bell rang out from Indepedence Hall (as the building is now called) to call citizens to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The bell is inscribed with the biblical quotation, "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof." It cracked in 1835 during the funeral of Chief Justice John Marshall. The dulled sound of the bell was broadcast around the world on June 6, 1944 when Allied forces stormed Normandy. The bell was moved to its current site, a pavillion close to Independence Hall, in 1976.

"Bloodless bullfight"

In a bloodless bullfight, the animals are not killed in the ring, and their shoulders -- which are pierced with javelin-type implements in a traditional bullfight -- are covered with Velcro. But despite their name, such fights are "anything but bloodless," Animal Cruelty Investigations spokesperson Jane Garrison told our colleague Carla Hall.

Others say the bloodless fights are exactly what they claim to be -- a statement on the website of bloodless bullfighting company Ranch Cardoso describes the events as "'Nerf' bullfighting." The bulls are treated with respect, the site alleges, adding that the fights it produces are "no different from rodeos, horse jumping events, horse racing, etc. An animal or a person can easily get hurt from a simple horse show just as easily as they would from the bloodless bullfight."

"Natural disaster makes an impression"

Lightning streaks across the sky as lava flows from a volcano in Eyjafjallajokul, Iceland in April.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

London at night

Photo by Jason Hawkes

"A Lotta Bull"

Revelers jump into the sea followed by a bull during the "Bulls to the Sea" festival in the town of Denia, Spain. The bulls are later brought back to the coast in boats.

Alberto Saiz / Associated Press

Saturday, July 03, 2010

LAX Theme Building Reopens

The Theme Building’s observation deck offers a 360-degree view of Los Angeles International Airport. A ceremony marking the completion of repairs and seismic upgrading was held on Friday.

Miss Kitty and Marshal Dillon

The "world's oldest profession" has long been a favorite subject in novels, plays, films and television. Real-life madams such as Sydney Biddle Barrows, a.k.a. the Mayflower Madam, and Heidi Fleiss, the Hollywood Madam, have captured the attention of the media and filmmakers for decades.

And let's face it, Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) on the long-running western series "Gunsmoke" wasn't just serving drinks to Marshal Dillon ( James Arness) and the boys at the Long Branch saloon — and the second floor of her establishment was more than just a boarding house (even if censors of the time wouldn't allow anyone to say that).

The NEW Spiderman !!

The new "Spider-Man" movie finally has a leading man and it is… Andrew Garfield? Sony Pictures made the announcement on Thursday that Garfield would take over for Tobey Maguire as the new Peter Parker, reported, and ever since fans have been furiously googling this little-known actor.