Christopher Hawthorne: Los Angeles = Ancient Rome

The great architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne made a rather odd point in the LA Times this weekend, comparing Los Angeles to Ancient Rome. Not because it’s once-great empire now crumbling, or because our city fathers are fiddling (i.e., throwing around a football)… but because of a big rock and a giant space shuttle:

One city — ours — is unfinished, amnesiac and forward-looking; the other city — theirs — is so obsessed with past glory, its streets piled so high with landmarks and layers of history, that its 21st century personality can be tough to make out.

So when I began noticing similarities between an ancient Roman ritual and two huge public events in Los Angeles in 2012, I was tempted to dismiss them out of hand. Yet the more I dug into the comparison, the more it seemed to make sense: In parading both Michael Heizer’s huge artwork “Levitated Mass” — better known as the Rock — and the space shuttle Endeavour along our boulevards within a single calendar year, Los Angeles is in some striking ways reenacting one of the oldest public celebrations in Western urban history, the Roman triumph.

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Aggie Underwood: The Newspaperwoman

All Agness Underwood ever wanted was to be a housewife.

“I am no feminist,” begins her wonderful 1949 memoir, Newspaperwoman. “If I were asked what I regard as the woman’s place, I’d probably give the old-fashioned answer: In the home.” Aggie would have stayed there if not for the simple want of a pair of silk stockings. And she would have returned, except, she wrote, “I got a bear by the tail and I couldn’t let go.” And so, instead of remaining at the home, she would go on to become a celebrated crime reporter, and later, the first female city editor of a major american newspaper.

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Hopes for Economic Turnaround Dealt Bodyblow by First Review of Knotts Scary Farm 2012

As long and dark though our economic tunnel California has been, Native Angelenos have clung to the hope that when there is winter, sooner or later spring must follow.  And after that must come summer. And then eventually, fall.  And with fall would come the seasonal push our economy can always count on: the bounty we reap each year from our region’s Halloween mazes.

We may no longer make anything in California, but we haven’t forgotten how to be scary. This after all is the state whose film executives green-lit most of the Saw films and The Hills Have Eyes reboot.  Come each Halloween, when the world wants to be scared, and scared by professionals, it arrives on our doorstep, saying “Take us to your creepy mazes and we shall reward you with our lucher.”

But now, on top of everything we’ve been through, these hopes may be dashed as well.

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Ask a Hipster: What Music Should I Listen To?

Dear Hipster,
I really like this hipster chick who I think likes me, except every time I put on some music she makes fun of it. Help?

                                   – Heartbroken in Highland Park

Dear Heartbroken in Highland Park,

Hipsters have a complicated relationship with music, that can best be divided into four categories:

1) “I like their early stuff”
2) Ironic appreciation
3) The canon
4) The archaeological find

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California Anticipates Return of Its State Momument: The San Onofre Beach Boobs

It’s been about nine months since California’s most iconic and cherished landmark, the giant nuclear boobs of San Onofre, stopped producing their sweet mothers milk of nuclear energy, after some paranoid “safety worker” became afraid of a possible tube leak. But happy days are here again – Southern California Edison has filed a proposal with the Nuclear Energy Commission to start up one of the boobs.

Tree-huggers, who no doubt lack the appreciate of massive, concrete boobs overlooking a glistening Southern California Ocean, are against the plan to reopen the power plant. According to the Times:

Critics decried the proposal to fire Unit 2 back up as a dangerous gamble, saying it’s not clear that running the unit at reduced power will prevent the conditions that caused the tube wear, as Edison and a team of experts from other companies concluded.

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Five Fake Questions for: Holla!

(A a series of imaginary conversations with area newsmakers by Native Angeleno Editor At Lunch Stacey Grenrock Woods. In order to adequately hold their feet to the fire, Editor Woods will be supplying not only the questions, but what she believes would be the newsmakers answers as well. This week we are thrilled to bring our readers a major Native Angeleno exclusive: our interview with LA’s most beloved word: Hollah!)

Q: Why do people say you?
A: You know, just to say “yo” or “what up” and whatnot. Like, if you see your boy at the club, you could be like, “Is that my boy over there? Holla!” Or you could say like, “Aight, I’ll holla at you later.”

Q. So you’re short for “holler”?
A: Basically, yeah.

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Local Author Haunted by Apparition of Her Book in Britney Spears’ Hand

Two of the greatest mysteries of my life have been why Britney Spears was reading my second novel and whether she liked it. The fact that she was reading (or at least holding) To Feel Stuff came to my attention on July 1, 2008, according to the chain of “Re: i am crying” emails in my sent folder.

I’d received a Google notification about the book’s mention.

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