Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Thump, Thump, Thump . . . "

Thumper appeared in the movie "Bambi," 1942. Paws down the most adorable movie rabbit, Thumper gets his name from the rapid thumping of his left hind foot. Angelically voiced by the then-4-year-old Peter Behn, Thumper is Bambi's best friend in Disney's animated masterwork. His appearance and personality were based on Beatrix Potter's Benjamin Bunny.

"masters of special effects puppetry"

Attend a screening of "Killer Klowns From Outer Space," a camp classic featuring creepy clown puppets by the Chiodo Brothers, who are masters of special effects puppetry. Their handiwork has spanned decades, from the toothy fur balls in the Critters franchise to the gun-toting, epically vomiting marionettes in "Team America: World Police." The Chiodo Brothers will host a Q&A after the film. Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A.. 11:50 p.m. Fri., $10. (323) 655-2520;

Tiny bubbles in the air . . .

The annual Bubblefest proves that soapy spheres can be both eye-catching and educational. Bubble artist Fan Yang and son Deni perform a dazzling show featuring bubbles in all shapes and sizes. Meanwhile, the Discovery Science Center's hands-on activities illuminate the science and math of bubbly concepts such as surface tension, air pressure and elasticity. Discovery Science Center, 2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. Adults $12.95, children $9.95; bubble-show tickets are an additional $7. (714) 542-2823.

KCET-TV said to be in talks to sell landmark studio to Church of Scientology

KCET, which has been struggling to rebuild viewership after its split from PBS, plans to move to a smaller location, real estate brokers say.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It was a Fifty-four-year run

In 2010 "As the World Turns" signed off after a 54-year run. When Betsy (Meg Ryan) married Steve (Frank Runyeon), it was the second-highest rated episode in U.S. soap history.

"What's ahead for Syria ??"

President Bashar al-Assad yesterday accepted the resignation of the Syrian cabinet in an attempt to defuse protests against his rule as hundreds of thousands of people attended pro-government rallies in most of the country's cities.

Syrians were awaiting a speech by President Assad, who has remained silent during the 11-day crisis, laying out reforms including the lifting of the 50-year-old state of emergency. Protesters will want to see a real reduction in the arbitrary power of the security forces and guarantees of greater political and civil rights.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Look Ma . . . No Hands !!!

A super-funny whoops !!"

Careful . . . this could hurt !!

"he was intensely out of fashion"

It's time for one of architecture's rites of spring: reading the Pritzker Prize tea leaves.

So what can we glean from the news that 58-year-old Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, barely known outside the profession, was on Monday named the winner of this year's Pritzker, the field's top honor?

Taken on its own, the award seems most clearly to honor Souto de Moura's unwavering commitment over the course of his career to a tough, muscular brand of Minimalist architecture. The seven-member Pritzker jury — which this year included the architects Renzo Piano, Glenn Murcutt and Alejandro Aravena — stressed that Souto de Moura's recent work remains very close in spirit and approach to his earliest projects, from the 1980s, which went against the grain of the decorative Postmodernism then on the rise.

As a young architect, the jury noted, Souto de Moura "was intensely out of fashion. … As we look back today, the early buildings may seem normal, but we must remember how brave they really were back then."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hacker exposes weaknesses

Marc Maiffret recently exposed weaknesses in a Southern California water system. Such vulnerabilities in computer networks exist in crucial facilities nationwide, U.S. officials say.

(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

"Noir City"

It was a time when a movie's "hero" could actually be the villain. A time when women were femme fatales who could wrap unsuspecting males around their little fingers. A time of dark streets, men in fedoras and trench coats who called coffee a cup of Joe and smoked unfiltered cigarettes.

In other words, it was the time of film noir.

On Friday, " Noir City: Hollywood, 13th Annual Festival of Film Noir" rolls into the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre for a three-week stay. Along with some of the usual noir suspects, the festival features rarities. More than 20 of the films being shown aren't available on DVD.

The Historic Pantages

The grand Pantages Theater began its storied life as an Art Deco movie palace on June 4, 1930. Originally, the theater designed by B. Marcus Priteca and built by vaudeville giant Alexander Pantages presented vaudeville acts between screenings of first-run movies. Pantages sold the theater to Fox West Coast Theaters in 1932, and 17 years later Howard Hughes — who, legend has it, haunts its offices — bought it for his RKO Theatre Circuit. The theater was also home to the Academy Awards from 1949 to 1959. Pacific Theatres bought the property in 1965. It closed its doors as a movie theater in January 1977. Over the years, countless movies and TV shows have been shot there, including the Talking Heads' 1984 concert film "Stop Making Sense."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"The ritzification of the rooftops"

In Chicago, for more than 50 years, enterprising occupants of multistory residential buildings on Sheffield and Waveland avenues, behind Wrigley Field, hauled lawn chairs, barbecues and coolers up to their roofs and peered over the fences to see the Cubs for free.

Over time, this cherished custom has morphed into a commercial enterprise. Old buildings have been rebuilt into multilevel complexes blending sports-bar design with frat-house ambience. Floor after floor of enclosed terraces and outdoor patios with flat-screen TVs lead up to bleachers on the roof. The 16 houses on the two streets have about 3,000 seats.

This ritzification of the rooftops comes with a hefty price tag. Game-day revels, which include admission and unlimited beer and food, cost as much as $150. And while the lifeblood of the enterprises is weeknight corporate events (bachelorette parties and softball league junkets dominate the weekends), out-of-town fans can gain admission by contacting the buildings in advance.

A few innings spent on some of the rooftops last summer revealed their style points. Wrigley Field is a historic treasure, but the venue is cramped. The rooftops provide as good a view of the game as the park's fabled outfield bleachers, with the added attractions of no innings lost while waiting in food lines, available bathrooms and a party atmosphere no matter the score.

"They were cutting-edge innovations"

They're bright. They're bold. They're eye-catching.

California orange crate labels are viewed as quaint kitchen decor today, but there was a time when the colorful logos were cutting-edge innovations in national marketing.

It wasn't long after the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 that California's citrus economy exploded, thanks to a mild climate and easy access to water. From 1880 to 1893, California citrus acreage grew from a few thousand acres to more than 40,000 — with 90% of it in Southern California, according to Tom Spellman, president of the Citrus Label Society.

"It was a wonderful, wonderful year."

Dorothy Young was a 17-year-old New York City tourist in 1925 when she spotted an ad placed by master illusionist Harry Houdini seeking "girl dancer for Broadway show and tour of the United States."

She scurried to the tryouts and shyly hid in the back before being summoned to audition by Houdini and his manager. After breaking out in a Charleston, she was hired on the spot.

When her mother and father, a minister, refused to allow her to join the traveling stage show, Houdini persuaded her parents that he and his wife "would look after me as their very own daughter, which they did," Young recalled in a 2000 oral history. "It was a wonderful, wonderful year."

Young, who was the last surviving member of Houdini's stage troupe, died March 20 at her home in Tinton Falls, N.J. She was 103.

Human Tapestry No. 3

Sadegh Tirafkan's series captures the vibrant civil society taking hold in Iran.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Lots of Sparkle"

MGM CityCenter, the spectacular multi-use development on the Las Vegas Strip at night.

"700,000 embedded white light-emitting diodes"

With a 10-floor palace of glass at the ritziest of all Tokyo addresses, Chanel launched its biggest boutique in the world, featuring a concert hall, a restaurant by celebrated French chef Alain Ducasse, and 1,300 square meters of shopping space displaying unique designer products sold nowhere else. Designed by American architect Peter Marino, the 56-meter high building is set to dominate the elite Chuo-dori avenue. It has a massive curtain wall of glass that encapsulates a nest-shaped block of aluminum in Chanel handbags’ signature tweed pattern.The glass facade will light up Ginza each dusk to dawn with 700,000 embedded white light-emitting diodes.The Chanel Tower in the Ginza district of Tokyo is a true architectural integration of LED technology into a curtain wall. From inside and outside the LED technology appears transparent, allowing the office worker a clear an unobstructed view of the world during the day. The street view presents the worlds largest black and white video wall at night.

"Look for thousands of tiny lights embedded in the buildings' surface"

A pair of new Los Angeles skyscrapers could dramatically alter the lights of downtown, reigniting the city's long-running fight over outdoor advertising.

If developers of the proposed billion-dollar Wilshire Grand project have their way, such colorful images as stars, butterflies and waterfalls would fade in and out along the upper floors of both their planned 45-story hotel and their 65-floor office tower, thanks to thousands of tiny lights embedded in the buildings' surface.

Both skyscrapers would see their lowest 10 floors emblazoned with an array of commercial images, from flashing digital signs to streaming "news ribbons."

Supporters say the plan, modeled after similar technology on the Chanel building in Tokyo and the Cira Centre in Philadelphia, would bring energy and vibrancy to a stretch of downtown — the Figueroa Corridor — that already is being remade by the L.A. Live complex a few blocks to the south.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Advice: "Don't Look Back !!!"

National Cherry Blossom Festival

WASHINGTON -- The flowering trees that symbolize friendship between the United States and Japan are blooming for the 99th time in Washington in the wake of one of the world's worst natural disasters.

Before the two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival opens Saturday, organizers held a fundraising walk and vigil Thursday evening among the trees for victims of Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami. An estimated 18,000 people have been killed in the disaster.

Several hundred people gathered at the Washington Monument on a cold evening, some holding Japanese flags or signs of support.

Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki told the crowd that his country needs help.

"Everything started on what I call 3/11 - earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident - and we are still struggling," he said. "This is a very tough fight, but the consolation is people around the world are trying to be with us."

Fujisaki said the U.S. sent one of the first rescue teams and military support.

"Really, we need your assistance, and you're giving that to us," he said.

After a gathering and moment of silence, the ambassador joined a crowd in walking to the cherry blossom trees along the Tidal Basin, holding glow sticks. Donation bins lined the sidewalk to benefit American Red Cross relief efforts.

"A Night Out With ...Trevor Donovan"

Trevor Donovan is a blue-eyed, handsome scamp best known for playing Teddy on the CW's "90210." Teenage Angelenos of the female variety would compare him to a young Brad Pitt when not busy shrieking, and his character's coming out has considerably raised the actor's profile. Don't waste your time counting abdominal muscles, however; let this young man show you how to paint the town red.

He was asked: "Any rituals at home before you hit the town?"

And his answer was: "I hop on my right leg three times, spin around, open a book, get through 20 pages or so, play my guitar, then fall asleep and end up not going out at all."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"The desert celebrates spring"

If you love nature — or live entertainment— this is the time to escape to the Coachella Valley.

From Palm Springs to Indio, the skies are blue, the temperature is mild and spring is busting out all over. Name your pleasure: Flowers? Baby animals? Cowboys? Music? The desert celebrates spring in myriad ways.

Cowboy enthusiasts can pull on their boots and high tail it out to the second annual Palm Springs WestFest & Frank Bogert Memorial Rodeo, March 24 to 27 in Palm Springs. Last year more than 12,500 people attended this whirl of riding, roping, reenacted gunfights and all things Western, said J. Alex Gomez, WestFest sponsorship director.

"WestFest pays homage to Palm Springs' movie cowboy heritage dating from the 1930s," he explained. Events include the three-day rodeo; a BBQ Showdown cooking contest; the Western Design Expo which features the Gene Autry Film-Fest; and the TwangFest Cowboy Music Festival of Western Music. Tickets are still available.

Desert flowers welcome the new season in the Coachella Valley.

(Photo courtesy of Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities Convention and Visitors Authority / March 13, 2011)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Life may not be perfect but some things are"

Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011

"Anytime, Anywhere"

With three prime-time animated series to his name and a feature film in the works, Seth MacFarlane doesn't seem like someone who has a lot of free time to indulge in personal side projects. But as devoted fans of his Fox comedies know, it takes a lot to keep MacFarlane away from a microphone and a big-band musical number.

On Saturday, MacFarlane is set to perform a concert of big-band songs, primarily from the '40s and '50s, at Club Nokia in downtown L.A. The evening will feature 14 numbers, many of them seldom performed, including "It's Anybody's Spring," "Anytime, Anywhere" and "You're the Cream in My Coffee." A 36-piece orchestra will accompany MacFarlane, who will sing with guest Sara Bareilles.


The Roman-inspired Getty folly in Pacific Palisades includes an inner courtyard with reflecting pool, statuary, covered walkways and hedged paths. The villa and its grounds, which have been undergoing renovation since 1997, will reopen to the public later this month.

( Stephen Osman / LAT )

Libya invades New Jersey

The Libyan government has owned this mansion in Englewood, N.J., since 1982. Englewood's mayor is seeking to revoke its tax-exempt status.

(Mel Evans, Associated Press / August 24, 2009)

Red Bull Soapbox Race

Grant Delgatty, wearing an outfit from the "Star Wars" parody "Spaceballs," steers his Eagle 5 soapbox racer through a course as part of a preview for the May 21 Red Bull Soapbox Race on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. Organizers are seeking entries that will be judged on creativity, imagination and speed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Clean Water Challenge"

Environmental artist Wyland, who painted the whale mural at Underground Atlanta, returns to Atlanta for the first time in nearly 15 years to paint an 8’ x 25’ mural at the Georgia Aquarium. The painting will kick off the Wyland Foundation’s 4th annual Clean Water Challenge Tour, with stops by Wyland to paint in the Rockies, Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and everywhere in between. All part of the National campaign to raise awareness on need to preserve clean water.

"Mafia Wars"

The mafia wanted Danny Greene dead and they weren’t taking any chances.

He’d already been stabbed, shot at by a sniper, and run down by a drive-by shooter. He’d escaped several attempted car bombings, including one where he dismantled the explosive himself and then turned in the bomb’s caps over to a police acquaintance. When the policeman asked where the explosives were, Greene responded, “Those are going back to the son of a bitch who sent them to me.”

By some accounts, eight of the hit men who’d been sent to kill him died by the hand of Danny Greene.

By May of 1975, the mob had had enough. The Italian-run mafia decided to finish off this upstart thug who’d started as a longshoreman on the docks of Lake Erie and who now defiantly called himself “The Irishman” as he challenged La Cosa Nostra itself. They blew up his house.

The explosion rocked Cleveland. Former Cleveland Police Chief Ed Kovacic recalled hearing the rumble as he sat at breakfast. He immediately knew what had happened. “Danny Greene was just killed,” the chief told his wife, according to writer Rick Porrello’s subsequent account.

Miraculously, Greene and his girlfriend picked their way through the rubble and emerged from the wreckage of his home largely unscathed. He later told Kovacic that he’d grabbed his girl, run to a refrigerator, and rode it down through the explosion “like an elevator” as the two-story house collapsed.

When a television news crew showed up, Greene went on camera. The reporter asked him how he kept surviving attempts on his life. Greene smiled.

“You want to hear the Irish version?” he said. “The guy upstairs pulls the string, you’re gone. There is no other way.”

After the rubble had been cleared out, Greene installed two trailers – living quarters and an office – where his house used to stand. He then erected a flag pole and flew the Republic of Ireland tricolor flag. A sign announced that the site was the “future home of the Celtic Club.” He took to sitting on the sidewalk out front in lawn chairs with his friends, often bare-chested and wearing a gold Celtic cross.

Later, after a friend and close associate had just died in a car bombing, the television news cameras showed up again. Greene was asked if he was still a mafia target.

“I have no axe to grind, but if these maggots in this so-called Mafia want to come after me, I’m over here by the Celtic Club,” he said. “I’m not hard to find.”

They would find him. But not until Greene and his “Celtic Club” had waged a fierce counter-offensive in an intense two-year war with the mafia. In 1976 alone, 36 bombs exploded as Cleveland became known as “Bomb City, U.S.A.”

Danny Greene was killed by a massive car bomb on May 6, 1977, as he left an appointment with a dentist. His death led to several arrests that eventually managed to achieve his life’s work – taking down the Italian mafia in Cleveland – in what many law enforcement observers believe was the beginning of the end of the mob in America.

Manhattan Beach resident Tommy Reid produced and directed the documentary Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman and produced the newly-released feature film Kill the Irishman.

(excerpts from an article by Mark McDermott in The Easy Reader)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Santos says:

Fern Dell in Griffith Park "is quite literally a dell full of ferns--fifty different varieties at last count, along with a thick tangle of tropical trees and plants that fight for space amongst cedars and coastal redwoods planted along a lively brook that hosts a number of crayfish within it, and colourful blue and red dragonflies around it. the dell is always ten degrees cooler than anywhere else underneath its shady canopy, and although early morning walks often find it gray and foggy, I've encountered oppossums, squirrels and deer drinking from its rather clear depths. Yes, yes, I know, it's very 'Snow White,' but it's very charming. Although I am quite enamored by this bit of natural beauty, I do know its truths and am more than charmed by it, I am gleeful in sharing them to all and sundry (you, tg, you, and whoever else may be reading). You don't really have to look too closely at the winding paths and footbridges that follow the brook, the fakey wood railing that keeps you from falling into the water (theoretically), and the well built up stone beds to know that there is a certain manufacture about it, not to mention where in the world would you find hibiscus bushes naturally growing next to cedar trees? Here's the rub: the crystal clear waters of the stream that I tra-la-la along were actually a by-product of the cooling system used for the giant telescope housed in the Griffith Observatory, which is directly above Fern Dell. Instead of just letting the flowing water go to waste, it was channeled into this lovely little haven, and Fern Dell was born. (this however, is no longer the case, and there are currently plans to renovate the whole water system....) oh Hollywood, your Oz-ness is everywhere."

(excerpts from Santos' "Meet me at the corner of Third and Fairfax" blog -- Click on the heading above to visit her blog.

Have a bite !!!

The "Manly Burger" -- which features beer-cheddar cheese, smoked-salt onion strings and bacon lardons -- at Umami Burger.

(Ringo H.W. Chiu)

An L A Treasure

In 1896, mining magnate Griffith J. Griffith donated 3,015 hilly acres that became L.A.'s biggest park. Later he put up the money for Griffith Observatory (above)and the Greek Theatre. And in between donations, the hard-drinking Griffith shot his wife in the face (it wasn't fatal) and served two years in prison. But you come here to hike, not judge.

( Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times )

Palm Springs Contrast

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes passengers more than 8,500 feet up into the San Jacinto Mountains, part of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

"Detours can take hours"

Here’s an alert for motorists headed to the Big Sur area in Central California: California Highway 1 is shut down for about two miles between the historic Bixby Bridge on the south (about 13 miles south of Carmel) and Palo Colorado Road on the north because of a landslide. Detours can take hours.

The damage: The landslide, which happened Wednesday just south of the Rocky Creek Bridge, dropped a section of the scenic coastal road into the sea, according to the website of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It added: "The damage has yet to be fully assessed, but early estimates are the road will remain closed for at least 1 month."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cinematic Magic

Playing at the Nuart in West Los Angeles for one week only is a new 35mm print of the 1925 "Battleship Potemkin" restoration that is the result of a 20-year collaboration between film archives in three countries. It is a knockout.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The unmatched beauty of Yosemite captured by Mark Boster

A shaft of warm, orange light from the rising sun strikes the water and ice at Lower Yosemite Fall in the Yosemite Valley, February 3, 2010.

(Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times/MCT / AP Photo)

"The Lady had a Vision"

Elisabeth Biondi was the visuals editor at the New Yorker for nearly 15 years. Now that she's moving on, the magazine's photo department asked a handful of photographers to share a memorable shot on which they worked with her. The photo of the George Washington Bridge above is by Robert Polidori and was featured in the March 26th, 2001 issue. An excerpt from his reminisces:

The execution of this photograph permanently changed my working methodology. To be honest, the subject--a temporary lighting treatment on the George Washington Bridge--is something I would never have contemplated shooting on my own. Probably sensing this, Elisabeth got me involved in a conversation in which we both described our mental projections of what the resulting photograph should look like. By the end of our office session I had actually penciled in a crude drawing of the shot that I was to seek.

Prior to this assignment, my modus operandi had been quite rudimentary (or at least monopolar). Setting up the camera implied my request for the world to exteriorize and reveal its nature. It was then simply left up for me to know when and how to catch it. I was now asked, however, to actually solicit and implore the world to present a specific facet of its nature that we had already chosen for it to show for us. Being essentially a phenomenologist, I could not help but harbor the secret fear that the world would simply not want to comply with our imposition, just to prove to us who was really boss.

"Is this picture the work of Ansel Adams?"

The long-running dispute over the legitimacy of a collection of "lost" Ansel Adams negatives found at a California garage sale has been settled out of court. The Bay Citizen reports:

Details about the settlement are confidential, according to a joint statement received today, but no money appears to have exchanged hands. The legal costs of each side's litigation were absorbed by the individual parties.

The basic facts -- the Adams Trust does not believe that the 65 images were taken by Adams, the Norsigian team believes in their authentication effort -- remain open to interpretation. But the prints, priced from $7,500 to $1,500, cannot be sold with any association with the Adams' name, although they will remain available online with a disclaimer approved by the Adams Trust.

Arts Beat says the most expensive print from the disputed cache of negatives is now priced at $960.

Mark Boster knows how to capture beauty !!!

Los Angeles Times photographer Mark Boster has taken a number of spectacular sunrise and sunset photos of the Grand Canyon. One is shown above. Amazing how differently it can look throughout the day.

Amazing "Inside the wave" photo by Mark Boster

Nordstrom to move to Americana

An artist's rendering shows the planned expansion of the Americana at Brand shopping center in Glendale. Nordstrom is expected to occupy the site between Barnes & Noble and the cafe.

(Caruso Affiliated)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"It's what we do"

Reports are starting to filter in with information about just what happened last night in New York when the Alice Cooper band were finally inducted into the 'Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame'.
Rolling Stone confirms Rob Zombie joined the band for 'School's Out' (one of three songs they performed) which also included a "small pack of school children wearing make up like Alice's', and the snake made an appearance. Said Alice: "I hope I never outgrow a Pete Townsend windmill chord," he said. "I hope I never outgrow a Jeff Beck lead guitar. I wish I could tell you that being in the Hall now, we'll never embarrass you, but I really can't make that promise. After all, we are Alice Cooper. It's what we do."

"How does art survive in a time of oppression?"

How does art survive in a time of oppression? During the Soviet rule artists who stay true to their vision are executed, sent to mental hospitals or Gulags.

Their plight inspires young Igor Savitsky. He pretends to buy state-approved art but instead daringly rescues 40,000 forbidden fellow artist's works and creates a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan, far from the watchful eyes of the KGB. Though a penniless artist himself, he cajoles the cash to pay for the art from the same authorities who are banning it. Savitsky amasses an eclectic mix of Russian Avant-Garde art. But his greatest discovery is an unknown school of artists who settle in Uzbekistan after the Russian revolution of 1917, encountering a unique Islamic culture, as exotic to them as Tahiti was for Gauguin. They develop a startlingly original style, fusing European modernism with centuries-old Eastern traditions.

Ben Kingsley, Sally Field and Ed Asner voice the diaries and letters of Savitsky and the artists in "The Desert of Forbidden Art," which opened recently at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills. Intercut with recollections of the artists' children and rare archival footage, the film takes us on a dramatic journey of sacrifice for the sake of creative freedom. Described as "one of the most remarkable collections of 20th century Russian art" and located in one of the world's poorest regions, today these paintings are worth millions, a lucrative target for Islamic fundamentalists, corrupt bureaucrats and art profiteers. The collection remains as endangered as when Savitsky first created it, posing the question whose responsibility is it to preserve this cultural treasure.

"The truth will set you free"

Every year for more than 50 years they have gathered on the morning of March 13 to remember Clarence Darrow, one of the greatest lawyers and civil libertarians in American history.

An eclectic group of students, lawyers, activists and politicians stand on a bridge overlooking the Jackson Park lagoon and urge support for causes Darrow held dear. Though he had promised to return to this site on this date — the anniversary of his death — his ghost has not appeared in the 73 years since his passing.

His spirit, however, is an entirely different matter. Darrow devotees swore they felt his presence at Sunday's gathering, which took place just a few days after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation abolishing the death penalty — an issue Darrow championed nearly a century ago.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"fighting the extraterrestrials"

If aliens are going to land tomorrow, and you can only pick one movie to watch the night before you fight off the alien swarm, Battle: Los Angeles would be a pretty good choice.

This "war movie with aliens," opened at No. 1 at the weekend box office with $36 million.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Three-Wheeler at 103

Octavio Orduño, 103, taking his daily tricycle ride through the streets of downtown Long Beach, is “our poster boy for healthy, active living around here,” says Charles Gandy, the city’s bike coordinator. Three years ago, Orduño's wife insisted that he give up riding two-wheelers in favor of a trike.

(Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times / March 14, 2011)