Thursday, September 29, 2011

"a stunning visual presentation"

Celine is once again performing at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. This new show, designed exclusively for The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, features 31 musicians, consisting of a full orchestra and band. The show’s concept is one-of-a-kind and includes Celine’s biggest hits performed with a stunning visual presentation.

Tickets for performances from December 28, 2011 to August 19, 2012 are now on sale!

"a skilled and intelligent household robot"

Rosie the Robot could finally be coming to your home.

Willow Garage, a start-up in Menlo Park, Calif., has designed a robot called the PR2 that bears some resemblance to "The Jetsons'" beloved Rosie. It's still under development, but already the PR2 can fold clothes, fetch a drink from the fridge, set the table and even bake cookies.

The robot's backers aren't ready to say just how soon the PR2 will hit the mainstream market. Right now it costs too much, does too little and is too slow to be of interest to most consumers. But to many experts, the idea of a skilled and intelligent household robot finally is drawing near.

"The technology is much closer than most people think," said Andrew Ng, an associate professor of computer science at Stanford University. "We're not yet there, but I think that in less than a decade the technology will exist to have a useful household robot."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Peg Leg Ballet"

When Alexander Campbell of the Royal Ballet was asked, "Which role has tested you the most & how ?" his response was: "I had to perform Petroushka and Michael Corder’s brand new Le Baiser de la Fee in one evening and together they were a huge challenge. Being doubled over, pigeon toed and heavily made up as Petroushka was a test in itself but then having 20 minutes to get changed, showered and ready for the fresh faced Young Man in Baiser, which was completely classical and possibly one of the toughest things I’ve done stamina wise, was another level of testing! It was extremely rewarding though and possibly one of my favourite times in the company.

Above is Alexander Campbell as Eros in what I would call "Peg Leg Ballet."

"the Tony-winning force of nature"

Broadway stars don't come much bigger or more combative than Patti LuPone, the Tony-winning force of nature who has left her indelible imprint on numerous musicals including "Evita," "Anything Goes," "Sweeney Todd" and "Gypsy." Equally loved (by critics, the gay community) and feared (by cellphone abusers everywhere), she is an actress whose ferocious stage presence knows no compromise.

LuPone will perform a concert Tuesday at UCLA's Royce Hall as a benefit for Reprise Theatre Company. "Gypsy in My Soul" will feature the actress singing an eclectic array of songs with a 10-piece band. The program will no doubt skew Broadway, but LuPone isn't divulging the lineup, preferring not to tip her hand.

This fall, LuPone is returning to Broadway in a concert production titled "An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin," which opens Nov. 21 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The show has been traveling the country and has played at the Ahmanson Theatre and the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge. (It is scheduled to return to Southern California in March at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.)

LuPone spoke recently by phone from Barrier Island in South Carolina, where she was vacationing. When asked about the artistic influences in her career, she singled out the music teachers in her hometown of Northport on Long Island. She said students were introduced to musical instruments in elementary school and that she picked the cello, because the school didn't have a harp.

LuPone also chose to speak about four individuals who have inspired her in different ways throughout her life.

Edith Piaf: I'm an Italian and my emotions are just under my skin.... There's just a purity and rawness in her singing that goes straight to my heart and my gut and it always has. There's such expression in her voice.

Bette Davis: I grew up on Long Island ... and they used to show old movies on television at 10 and 1 o'clock. I saw Busby Berkeley musicals and Bette Davis movies. Davis wasn't the most beautiful actress but she was the most courageous at the time. I was maybe 8 or 9 years old when I first saw her. I used to cut school and feign illness just to see Davis. My mother never knew this because she was off at work.

David Mamet: We started working together in 1976. I learned more from acting for him than four years at Juilliard. There's a simplicity and paring down, a stripping away of control. I love it when he directs me because it's his material.

Stephen Sondheim: He's a task master when it comes to pitch and what is considered Broadway singing -- no bending of the note, no swooping. I was in "Company" this year at the New York Philharmonic -- at the after-party, he gave me a note and I wanted to smack him. Well, I didn't want to smack him. But this was two hours after the production closed.... Basically, [he said] I was slurring two words and that I recovered. It's his music and his lyrics so of course he's going to notice.... It takes a lot of concentration and discipline to sing him as written. When I see musicals in New York today, I usually don't know if I'm watching "American Idol" or a Broadway performance. It should be as precise as an operatic aria

"a freewheeling tour through centuries of architectural history"

The new West Hollywood Library, set to open to the public Saturday on a curving stretch of San Vicente Boulevard across from the Pacific Design Center, is a building that offers a freewheeling tour through centuries of architectural history. Explicitly or implicitly, it points back to the work of Charles Moore, Pierre Koenig, Frank Gehry and even Michelangelo.

The library includes long expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass, in the great California midcentury tradition, as well as bands of marble and generous helpings of architectural ornament. Along with computer terminals and shelves full of actual books, it incorporates a pair of parking garages, rooftop tennis courts, murals by the street artists Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf and new chambers for the West Hollywood City Council.

Whatever you want to call its style (the first local stirrings of a postmodern revival, maybe?), it sounds altogether too busy and too stuffed with architectural influences to succeed. And yet it does succeed — beautifully.

Designed by Steve Johnson and James Favaro of the Culver City firm Johnson Favaro, the library is one of the seven or eight most impressive pieces of public architecture to open in Southern California in a decade.

End of an Era !!

After 33 years of piquant and sometimes irascible commentary, 92-year-old Andy Rooney will surrender his regular gig on CBS' legendary newsmagazine "60 Minutes" this weekend.

Rooney will sign off with a final piece — his 1,097th — on Sunday's program, preceded by a retrospective segment on his career with longtime colleague Morley Safer, the network said in a news release Tuesday.

Shown above: Andy Rooney at the "60-Minutes" office in 1978, the year he joined the program.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"exploring ways to get the “physically challenged” down to the ocean"

Evelyn Frey might get her 96th birthday wish granted.

For more than five years, the longtime Manhattan Beach resident, who has been physically unable to make it down to the water for several years, has urged the city and L.A. County to explore ways to get the “physically challenged” down to the ocean.

For years, the issue was continuously placed on the back burner because of budget concerns.

The county brushed aside her recommendation of Mobi-Mats, portable rollout pathways which are used on beaches up and down California and in the Middle East, citing liability and operational concerns. In April, the county promised the city to front the initial costs and study different options for a permanent pedestrian walkway to the water. Tuesday night the issue was back on Council’s plate and they weren’t pleased. Staff, in their report, recommended that City Council deny the request for a permanent walkway due to initial and continual cost concerns.

“This is not what we wanted presented to us,” said Mayor Nick Tell. “I’m very disappointed with this. Santa Monica seems able to figure it out. I don’t know why we’re stuck with such a lousy choice.”

According to city staff, the county researched three materials for the walkway - wood lumber, concrete and a composite decking product. The wood walkways included wide gaps between the planks and uneven surfaces that could lead to trip-and-fall liability, staff said. The composite walkways included difficult-to-remove panels; damaged panels would need total replacement. The voids between the panels could also create trip-and-fall hazards, the county said. The concrete walkway was the best option, the county concluded, recommending it be placed near the El Porto concession stand, extend about halfway down the shoreline (66 feet) and measure six feet wide.

“Staff is concerned that a walkway halfway to the shoreline would not accomplish the goal of allowing seniors and those physically challenged to reach the shoreline,” staff said in their report. The purchase and installation of a concrete walkway would be $50,000.

Currently the county offers two balloon-tire wheelchairs on the beach to allow people with disabilities to get down to the water, staff noted. The wheelchairs can be checked out by contacting any ocean lifeguard.

At an April meeting, Frey told Council she asked a lifeguard for a chair.

“He said, ‘What wheelchairs?’” she said.

Councilman David Lesser said staff should have worked harder on their report and researched different cities that already have permanent walkways on their beaches.

“We’ve got to come up with an answer that really works,” Tell said. “This is such an important thing to have. We’ve got to spend some time figuring this out.”
Tell recommended that Council form a subcommittee to study the issue further.

“Hang in there, Evelyn,” he said. “We’re gonna get this done.”

"horrifyingly real"

The film "Contagion" may have been fiction, but the 1918-19 influenza epidemic was horrifyingly real. The "Spanish flu" epidemic tore a path of destruction across the globe, killing an estimated 50-100 million people within months before disappearing into history.

Now, evidence from U.S. soldiers felled by the virus reveals that it circulated in the country for four months before the pandemic was even identified.

The findings, published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer a picture of a virus as it turned from common pathogen to killer bug, said senior author Jeffery Taubenberger, a pathologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md.

"Levitated Mass"

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art recently introduced its newest VIP in a Riverside quarry: the 340-ton, 211/2-foot-high granite boulder that will form the centerpiece of Michael Heizer's massive outdoor sculpture, "Levitated Mass."

When the piece is complete, the rock will sit on steel rails at ground level, north of the Wilshire Boulevard museum's Resnick Pavilion. A 456-foot-long, ramp-like slot in the ground, descending to 15 feet deep, will run beneath it. The rock will appear to levitate above people walking through the underground channel.

Because of its size and weight, bringing what LACMA calls "the monolith" to the museum is an intricate, complex, potentially dangerous and very expensive process that has required more than a year of logistical preparations. It's one of the heaviest objects to be moved since ancient times, says museum director Michael Govan.

"It's much contested, the movement of monoliths in ancient times. The estimated weights of certain objects are speculation. But it is pretty clear that this is one of the largest monoliths that's ever been moved," Govan says.

LACMA is working with Emmert International, a company that specializes in moving "extreme objects" like nuclear generators and missiles, says project manager John Bowsher. Emmert is building a custom "transporter" around the boulder that will likely be 200 feet long and almost three freeway lanes wide. A road will first have to be carved out of the quarry; then the transporter will travel to LACMA at night, on closed roads and at less than 10 mph, led by a police escort. The approximately 85-mile journey, normally a one and half hour drive, will take a circuitous route lasting a week to 10 days.


In 1900, according to the London School of Economics, 10% of the world's population lived in cities. Five years ago the figure reached 50%. By 2050 it is likely to be 70%, or even 75.

That headlong rush into the world's cities — and its implications for the environment, architecture and the way we live — is the subject of "Urbanized," a sharp, good-looking documentary by Gary Hustwit that had its first Los Angeles showings Sunday evening at the Independent theater downtown. The film, which premiered this month at the Toronto International Film Festival, features interviews with the architects Rem Koolhaas, Yung Ho Chang, Alejandro Aravena and Ricardo Scofidio along with mayors, activists and planners. It is both a love letter to urban life and a cautionary tale about what happens when more newcomers crowd into a city, or the slums on its outskirts, than the place can begin to comfortably absorb.

John Lautner's Silvertop house

Kenneth Reiner, the man who commissioned John Lautner's Silvertop house, died earlier this month at 95, the LA Times reports. Silvertop is one of Lautner's most standout works and Reiner was a standout client--he didn't just hand over cash, he actually invented and built some of the house's coolest features. Reiner made his fortune in hairclips and aircraft nuts, and in 1956 he hired Lautner to design the house on Micheltorena St. in Silver Lake--a concrete dome with a cantilevered driveway, filled with "faucet-less sinks that automatically filled with water; a dining table with a hydraulic pedestal that was lowered for cocktails and elevated for meals; a system for heating and cooling that could not be seen or heard; and controls for lights and appliances that were discreetly set into walls and doors jambs," as the LAT describes.

"Here the invader was stopped"

A lieutenant -- a lawyer from Los Angeles before being drafted -- was hastily given what seemed like a suicide assignment: to stop a column of German tanks with an artillery piece that was intended to shoot down airplanes, soldiers who weren't trained for the job and a firing position that provided no protection.

"If they got one shot at us, we were dead," Leon Kent said. "I remember thinking: Do the shells go through you, or do you just go up in pieces?"

But what Kent and three enlisted soldiers under his command accomplished soon became symbolic of the Allies' determination to blunt the German offensive.

With two "miracle" shots, soldiers of 143rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion disabled the two lead German tanks, blocking the rest of the column from advancing along the narrow road outside Stoumont Station in Belgium.

"We stopped them cold," Kent said.

In the four hours it took the German tank commanders to resume their advance, the U.S. soldiers were able to establish a blocking position several miles away. After the war, the locals put up a plaque that, in French, reads: "Here the invader was stopped."

The three enlisted soldiers who fired the 90mm gun were given the Silver Star for bravery. Kent was meritoriously promoted to captain.

As an officer, he should have taken up a safe position away from the gun. Instead he had stayed on the platform beside his men.

Now 96 and living in retirement in Beverly Hills after resuming his law career, Kent eschews any suggestion of courage on his part. He felt obligated to stay with his men.

"I think it was more guilt than bravery," he said.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. John Crowe sees it somewhat differently. He'll be at the ceremony at the December 1944 Historical Museum in La Gleize, Belgium.

"What Capt. Kent showed was extraordinary leadership," said Crowe, now retired in Visalia. "He wouldn't ask his troops to do anything he wouldn't do himself. That's the kind of leadership that inspires troops."

"caught up in the moment" if you can believe that ???

Wednesday's night's episode of "The X Factor" featured some good contenders, and some not-go-great performances. But only one audition had Paula Abdul running backstage, feeling sick to her stomach.

Geo Godley, 43, a self-proclaimed Internet blogger who's "classically trained on the piano," caused quite a stir when he approached the "X Factor" stage and announced he'd be singing to a piece he composed himself. He continued to prance around stage to the beat, and then dropped his pants.

As a result, the Parents Television Council filed a formal broadcast indecency complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Fox Broadcasting. The act aired shortly after 9 p.m., during hours when indecent content is prohibited on broadcast television.

As described on PTC's website, their mission is "to promote and restore responsibility and decency to the entertainment industry in answer to America's demand for positive, family-oriented television programming."

PTC president Tim Winter called Godley's performance downright "indecent." He also added, "As the broadcast decency law comes before the United States Supreme Court in the coming term, Fox has offered a compelling demonstration as to why that law needs to be upheld. If Godley performed his act in public, he would have been arrested. But if he performs it in front of a Fox camera, his act is beamed via the public airwaves into every home in the nation."

Along with judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, several mothers with children and teenagers in the audience appeared disturbed by Godley's act. Some people even stood and left the arena.

Godley, on the other hand, insists his attire was nothing worse than what is seen on a beach.

"We always dance in g-strings," he told "G-Strings are legal. The PTC have no complaint to make."

HBut he added, "I apologize to anyone that was exposed to my behind ... I had no intention of showing it and it was an accident when I fell. I was caught up in the moment."

Randy Travis --- O K !

Country singer Randy Travis was resting at home Monday after passing out on stage during a benefit concert in front of a roomful of doctors.

The 52-year-old performer fainted in mid-song Sunday during an annual benefit for the Huguley Memorial Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

The doctors who treated him at the scene said Monday that Travis was struggling with laryngitis because of chronic allergies and had taken several over-the-counter medications.

—Associated Press

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

On a rainy and blustery day at Boeing Co.'s facilities in Everett, Wash., the aerospace giant formally delivered the world's first passenger-ready 787 Dreamliner to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways Co.

Standing shoulder to shoulder, a crowd of about 500 employees, local politicians and aviation industry insiders gathered on a wet tarmac to see Boeing hand over the ceremonial key for the new aircraft to All Nippon.

Depending on how individual airlines configure the new planes, they hold the prospect of being faster, more fuel-efficient and having more legroom and overhead space for baggage. The first passenger flight from Narita, near Tokyo, to Hong Kong is set for Oct. 26.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee . . . no, wait, that's boxing!!!

Matt Evans

The Inquisition

Only in hindsight does earthquake prediction work with real accuracy. Seismologists can assess long-term risks and likely scenarios, but they'd be the last ones to say they can foretell the time, date and epicenter of the next Big One. Yet in Italy, a trial is underway for a group of seismologists and a government official accused of manslaughter for being overly reassuring about underground rumblings that preceded a killer quake in 2009.

The charges they face for doing their job aren't just ludicrous but potentially damaging to scientists worldwide. Society increasingly relies on expert scientific advice; it won't receive that advice if scientists are afraid to speak.

The Italian official and seismologists, who make up a panel called the Commission of Grand Risks, had been asked to assess the risk in quake-prone L'Aquila, in central Italy, after a series of tremors. In a March 2009 memo, the commission concluded that a major earthquake was unlikely, though the possibility couldn't be ruled out. In addition, one member of the commission said, imprudently, that residents of the area should relax, preferably with a glass of wine. A week after the memo was released, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck, killing more than 300 people.

Modern society is apt to look at science as a sure thing. But scientific insight can neither take all the uncertainty out of life nor make people safe in all situations. What it does, more often than not, is guide us to better-informed decisions than we could obtain by blind guessing.

In this tragic case, the experts were wrong. But what if the commission had taken the opposite approach and told the public that the situation in L'Aquila was very dangerous and that everyone should evacuate immediately? In the rush to leave town, there could have been fatal car accidents; if the prediction was mistaken and there was no quake, lives would have been needlessly lost. The only safe answer becomes "I really don't know," which is of no help to anyone.

Obviously, scientists shouldn't be flippant about seismic safety. But Italy supposedly ended the business of prosecuting irreverence and science after the 16th century Inquisition. No matter what the verdict is in this case, the only possible outcome is a chilling effect on seismologists and any other scientists called on to venture an opinion in an uncertain world.

Would you buy a car from this man ?? How about a quick cure ??

On an HBO Documentary, Benny Hinn freely admits that "He cannot heal the truly sick, such as people with cancer, Aids, heart disease". Hinn adds, " I use Hypnosis Techniques to make people feel better at my crusades."

Despite the admission from Hinn, Tens of Thousands of Christians rush to Benn Hinn Crusades and pray for the healing of serious diseases such as Cancer, Aids and Heart Disease.

When you tell Hinn's Followers about the HBO Documentary, many say, "That was a trick of the Devil. HBO took Hinn's word out of context."

Benny Hinn was sued and lost three wrongful death law suits. (out of court settlements/ undisclosed payments). All three times, Hinn told people at his crusades they were healed of cancer or AIDS. These victims, believed the lies of Benny Hinn, stopped taking their medicine and died.

Followers of Benny Hinn claim this is all "tricks of the devil" and Hinn "payed the $$$$ to avoid controversy."

On Dateline Interview, Benny Hinn was questioned about another donation campaign. Benny Hinn raised $25 million dollars to build an orphange in S. California.

Benny Hinn never built the Orphange and ended all plans to build it. When questioned on Dateline, Benny Hinn smiled and said, "The Lord told me not to build the orphange. God will reveal new plans."

Benny Hinn refuses to account for the $25 Million or say where the $$$$ is. His Faithful Flock doesn't seem to care.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Warren Buffet says . . .

OUR leaders have asked for shared sacrifice. But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as carried interest, thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if theyd been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. Its nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income and thats actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. Its a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didnt refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know whats happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion a staggering $227.4 million on average but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)

I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldnt mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.

Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our countrys finances. Theyve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. Its vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our countrys fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America cant fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million there were 236,883 such households in 2009 I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more there were 8,274 in 2009 I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. Its time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

Are the republicans and specially Tea-Party of now the worst politicians of American history ?

Bolivia's 'Road of Death' is beautiful but . . .

North Yungas road clearly endangers your life. It runs in httpthe Bolivian Andes, 70 km from La Paz to Coroico, and plunges down almost 3,600 meters in an orgy of extremely narrow hairpin curves and 800-meter abyss near-misses. A fatal accident happens there every couple of weeks, 100-200 people perish there every year. In 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank named the La Paz-to-Coroico route "the world's most dangerous road."

Scandinavia's Big Link

The Øresund Bridge links two of Scandinavia's largest cities - Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmö in Sweden. Following the opening of the bridge, the Øresund Region is poised to become a major European centre for IT, research and other knowledge-based sectors.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Thanks for the Memories"

Artist Tom Wilson Jr., who took over the Ziggy comic strip his father created in 1971, draws a cartoon celebrating the strip's 35th anniversary in 2006. Tom Wilson, Sr. passed away last Friday. He was 80 years old.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A "Drive" through the inderbelly

A stylish and often dreamlike mood piece with flashes of a 1980s aesthetic, "Drive," which opens Friday in Los Angeles, romanticizes and occasionally criminalizes the activity many of us dread most about Southland life. Inside their vehicles, characters seek peace, make escapes, find romance and commit murder.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Look for the Unusual

At least 25 major museums around Southern California will be offering free admission on Oct. 2 as part of Pacific Standard Time, the initiative led by the Getty focusing on the history of art in the region from 1945 to 1980.

Museums offering free admission on Oct. 2 include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hammer Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Pacific Standard Time comprises more than 60 participating cultural groups throughout Southern California. The event officially begins in October.

—David Ng

Paramount to Expand

A rendering shows the proposed future Bronson Gate at Paramount Pictures. About 1.4 million square feet of development would take place over the next two decades at Paramount’s Melrose Avenue headquarters and some adjacent properties owned by the company, if city officials approve.

(Paramount Pictures Corp. / September 21, 2011)

"Avatar" Themed Attractions

Before you think "hey, Avatar isn't Disney," we know that. But it appears as though the Walt Disney Company has made a deal and secured the rights from Twentieth Century Fox and James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment to make Avatar themed attractions.

The LA Times brings this news, reporting that Disney plans to make their new acquired Avatar property to be a large part of all their Disney theme parks throughout the world, and it looks as though they will be starting with Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I wonder how it felt to be such a dominating force ??

If he did not get injured in the prime of his career, it is very possible that Sandy Koufax would be in the discussion as the best pitcher in MLB history. He is however, the best player in the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Koufax led the National League in ERA during each of his last five seasons in the majors. His dominance was clear, as he also won at least 25 games three times during that period. Koufax also collected three Cy Young Awards and an MVP.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"two canvases competing"

Pablo Picasso, Portrait of a Woman, 1910, oil on canvas: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. With these two images the subjects were simultaneously visible and invisible, as if there were two canvases competing; the first layer being the image of a woman, and the second being a broken space of shapes, lines and color.

"woefully underexamined"

Museums and galleries all over Southern California will be filled to overflowing this fall with exhibitions that are part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945-1980. The Getty-sponsored historical survey chronicles countless nooks and crannies of the first two generations of the region’s art made after World War II. In all, some 60 shows will open over the next six months, offering the most in-depth look imaginable at a woefully underexamined period.

Above at Los Angeles County Museum of Art: "Folding Screen With Indian Wedding and Flying Pole," circa 1690, is part of the museum's "Contested Visions" exhibition.

"Brooklyn Book Festival"

On Sunday in Brooklyn, as people are standing in line to hear Pulitzer Prize winners Jennifer Egan and Jhumpa Lahiri, others will be parking their strollers so Adam Mansbach can sign copies of his alt-parenting book "Go the F-- to Sleep." The Brooklyn Book Festival has become New York City's preeminent public daylong literary event — even though it takes place across the river from Manhattan, the epicenter of publishing.

Above: the Brooklyn Bridge ties a less glittery borough to Manhattan.

"pure poetry"

This photo is from a roundup of Los Angeles Times readers’ best summer vacation photos.

Photo: Hunan, China. Credit: Peter Leung


The British Columbia Government Parliament Buildings near the Victoria Inner Harbour.

"Tough Journey"

Hikers head carefully through the Boulder Field as they make their way to the summit of Longs Peak, Colo.

(Photo by David Kelly)

"A custom-built ship's den with floor-to-ceiling wood and a 550-gallon saltwater aquarium "

This seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom home in the Naples neighborhood of Long Beach has brick exteriors, walkways and patios and is listed at $9.95 million.

(Gary Marsh, / September 18, 2011)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"a 2,500-square-foot detached gym with a boxing ring"

Mark Wahlberg has listed his Beverly Hills home for sale at $13,995,000.

The contemporary Mediterranean, built in 1985, has been updated throughout. In addition to the main house with a two-bathroom master suite and four other bedroom suites, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom guesthouse and a 2,500-square-foot detached gym with a boxing ring are on the property. The actor trained there for his starring role in "The Fighter" (2010).

The 1.75 acres include a swimming pool with a grotto and waterfalls, a putting green and a sports court.

"Pacific Standard Time"

Hundred of artists stand to gain exposure through the upcoming museum-fest known as Pacific Standard Time. In a story running this Sunday as part of our fall preview section, curators involved in the project identify over a dozen artists they feel are especially ripe for reappraisal.

Some are largely unknown. Ever heard of Robert Kinmont? Chauncey Hare? Didn't think so. Others--like Suzanne Lacy--are prominent L.A. artists who have not, curators argue, received the widespread recognition that they deserve.

The photo above is from Robert Kinmont of Sonoma and is included in the exhibition, "State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970" at the Orange County Museum of Art.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Identity and Affirmation"

The Getty Foundation has awarded CSUN’s Institute of Arts and Media $80,000 to cull its rich collection of photographs and create an exhibition as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, a regional initiative led by the J. Paul Getty Trust.

From October 2011 through March 2012, more than 60 cultural institutions throughout Southern California will come together to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene.

At CSUN, the University Art Galleries will present Identity and Affirmation: Post War African-American Photography from Oct. 23 to Dec. 10, 2011. The exhibition will feature 125 images by more than a dozen artists who captured the vibrant development of the arts, music, politics, family and social life in the African-American community and Los Angeles at large

Muhammad Ali with Boy (ca. 1962), a photograph by Harry Adams, will be featured in the fall 2011 exhibition Identity and Affirmation at CSUN.

Kukulkan's pyramid.

Chichen-Itza (chee-chehn eet-sah) in Maya, was a sacred city of the Itza and the name literally means: "Mouth of the well of the Itza". Located 75 miles east of Mérida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, Mexico; this archaeological site is rated among the most important of the Maya culture and covers an area of approximately six square miles where hundreds of buildings once stood. Now most are mounds but more than thirty may still be seen by tourists.

Possibly the best known construction in Chichen itza is Kukulkan's Pyramid. El Castillo (Kukulkan-Quetzalcoatl), a square-based, stepped pyramid that is approximately 75 feet tall. This pyramid was built for astronomical purposes and during the vernal equinox (March 20) and the autumnal equinox (September 21) at about 3pm the sunlight bathes the western balustrade of the pyramid's main stairway. This causes seven isosceles triangles to form imitating the body of a serpent 37 yards long that creeps downwards until it joins the huge serpent's head carved in stone at the bottom of the stairway. Mexican researcher Luis El Arochi calls it "the symbolic descent of Kukulkan" (the feathered serpent), and believes it could have been connected with agricultural rituals. Its magnificent architecture has elements of the Maya-Tolteca combination and some buildings on Puuc style of the classic period. The Kukulkan pyramid, also known as the castle, where every year, during the spring equinox, anyone can enjoy the light and dark effect, produced by its astronomical orientation, projecting the shape of an snake descending by the stairs.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"The Nick Jonas Simple Inspirations Contest"

Contest Runs September 2nd through October 3rd, 2011!

Nick Jonas says: I am excited to partner with Bayer on this contest to help inspire people who are newly diagnosed with diabetes. The winner will win a trip to L.A. to meet me at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Walk for a Cure on November 6, 2011. The grand prize winner and 12 runner ups will win a 2012 inspirational calendar compiling all the winning entries.

We are asking that you submit your inspirational thoughts about living with diabetes — think about what you would share with someone recently diagnosed with the condition to motivate them. You can get as creative as you like — try writing lyrics, a poem, or a short essay. You can also upload an image — perhaps a photo or drawing. Can’t wait to read your entries! You must be 13 years or older to enter. Eligibility restrictions apply.

For details, click on the heading above.

"Apocalyptic Express"

"Apocalyptic Express" by Jamie Grant won First Place in the Easy Reader 2011 Photography Contest.

"Up, Up and Away !!!"

For extra fun Windsports Soaring Center holds public hang gilding lessons at Dockweiler Wednesdays thru Sundays, 11AM until sunset. Prices range from $59 for 5 flights, and $99 for 10 flights. The take off point is a 25ft. sand dune on the beach. The instructor stays with you the entire way. Call for more information: 1-800-Hang Glide

"Hagoromo" and "Manorah"

"A Rainbow of Dance: A Tale of Two Cities," a blending of traditional Japanese and Thai performing arts, commemorating the 60th anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's accession to the throne, was held at the Tokyo International Forum, Chiyoda, Tokyo. Shown above are "Hagoromo" and "Manorah", celestial maidens of ancient Japanese and Thai myths

"It started with cookies and cordial"

When Ray Chen picked up a toy guitar at age four in his hometown of Brisbane, put it under his chin and played it with a chopstick, his parents knew the violin would be his instrument.

“I started with the Suzuki method, which was fun and made me want to play,” said Ray. “Every Saturday there would be a ‘group lesson’ where all of my teacher’s students would gather. At the time, there were two things that were important to me about those lessons: the part where I played in front of everybody, and the break where we would snack on cookies and cordial.”

Now, 17 years after his first lesson, 21-year-old Ray Chen is making his debut with the Sydney Symphony in Brahms’s Violin Concerto, one of the most technically demanding works in the violin repertoire.

Born in Taiwan, immigrated to Brisbane with his parents when he was only a few months old. He went on to study at the Queensland Conservatorium before being accepted at the age of 15 to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Nice work by artist Robert Richards.

Princess Zsa Zsa

LOS ANGELES -- Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband is saying happy anniversary in a big way. Frederic Von Anhalt has taken out a billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles to celebrate the couple's 25th wedding anniversary. Beside the couple's wedding photo, it reads, "Prince Frederic & Princess Zsa Zsa 25 years and counting." It also includes Von Anhalt's website.

The Nation will never Forget !!

World Trade Center Lights

"Wings Across the Channel"

Featuring stunning footage of seaplanes from post-war Catalina, "Wings Across the Channel: Catalina Island's Aviation History, 1946-Present," features the "Knights of Avalon" who tirelessly flew their Grumman Goose G-21s and the mighty Sikorsky VS-44 Mother Goose to the island. However, due to the rising air fares, and the increasing number of accidents, the seaplanes were grounded in the 1980s ending a unique era in America's aviation history.

This two-hour on-air fundraiser will be hosted by Daisy Torme (daughter of jazz legend Mel Torme) and Wheel of Fortune announcer, Jim Thornton, with guest appearances by Bruce Belland of The Four Preps and Jim Watson, writer/producer/director of the film.

Those wishing to donate during KCET's presentation of "Wings Across the Channel: Catalina Island's Aviation History, 1946-Present," will receive round-trip tickets to Catalina Island on Catalina Express and all-access passes to 'Weekend 1' of the 25th Annual Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival (October 7-9).

"The World Trade Center Memorial in Los Angeles"

The World Trade Center Memorial in Los Angeles is seen following a public memorial ceremony on September 11, 2005. (Photo courtesy Will Campbell)

The Los Angeles Fire Department unveiled the Memorial on September 11, 2003 as a formal remembrance of the 343 New York Firefighters killed in the the World Trade Center collapse, and all who perished in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our nation.

The 23-ton, approximately 22-foot tall steel column was originally part of the lobby structure of the World Trade Center. Believed to be the largest remnant of the attacks on the west coast, it now rests safely on reinforced concrete pilings that sink nearly 30 feet below ground at the LAFD Training Center in Elysian Park.

The task of delivering, preparing and erecting the monument came at no cost to taxpayers - thanks to a donation of time, material and professional talent by a team of public and private sector volunteers. This group's single and cohesive goal was to assure the courage and sacrifice of those killed would never be forgotten. It is a goal they have achieved, and one that the Los Angeles Fire Department pledges to proudly maintain.

Brightly illuminated, the WTC Memorial is easily viewed at all times. It can be closely approached during weekday business hours by anyone visiting the LAFD Training Center at 1700 Stadium Way, near Dodger Stadium in Elysian Park.

Kindly note: a separate Memorial created by the LAFD Historical Society to honor fallen Los Angeles Firefighters is located adjacent to the LAFD Museum in Hollywood.