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Man shouts ‘I love Jesus,’ breaks into cop car as Darth Vader looks on and Superman does nothing
07:50 am


Los Angeles
Darth Vader

This item is… so so many things.

Yesterday on the “Walk of Fame” near the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles, a man armed with an iron pipe was caught on video yelling “I love Jesus” as he smashed out the windows of a parked LAPD patrol car, before stealing the cops’ laptop! Then he just walked a few feet away and started using it!

Even better? A Darth Vader impersonator watched as a KTLA news crew captured the scene.  Additionally, a man dressed as Superman remarked “I saw the whole thing. It’s not my job to jump in the middle.”

Only in LA, kids, only in LA…

[The video autoplays, so I’m tucking it after the jump.]

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
07:58 am


Los Angeles

Call the National Guard! Call FEMA! It’s raining in Los Angeles everybody!!!

I live in Los Angeles. It rained (not heavily) for about five hours. This reminds me of when I lived in Cincinnati, OH, and everytime there was a possibility of snow—even for a freakin’ flurry—the news would call it “White Death.”

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Awesome aerial video of Los Angeles shot with a quadcopter and GoPro camera
11:14 am


Los Angeles

For those of you who have never been to Los Angeles, this video pretty much captures the essence of the City of Angels. This is what LA—or large chunks of it, at least—really looks like.

For those of you who used to live in L.A. or haven’t visited in some time, you’ll probably find it nostalgic.

Video by Clay Folden.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
How We’ll Live: Futurists’ 1988 predictions about life in 2013
02:25 pm


Los Angeles
Syd Mead

I love “futurism” but I like it even better when it’s being seen in the rear view mirror. That’s when it gets really interesting for me.

A few years back I re-read most of the 70s and 80s books by Alvin Toffler, futurist author of such best-selling and influential works hailing “the shape of things to come” as Future Shock, The Third Wave and Power Shift. It’s simply amazing how right on the money Toffler was (for the most part) and his classic, now literally decades out-of-date books are still just as much fun to read to see what he got wrong, as much to see what he got right, and why.

In 1988, The Los Angeles Times Magazine published an ambitious, 16 page cover story written by Nicole Yorkin that drew from interviews she had conducted with a few dozen futurists trying to project how people would live in Los Angeles in the year 2013. They got the great Syd Mead, the “visual futurist” and conceptual artist behind Aliens, Blade Runner and Tron—an inspired choice—to illustrate it.

How much of the piece got it right is now, 25 years later, the subject of a graduate engineering class taught at USC by Prof. Jerry Lock­en­our:

Lockenour provided his 25 students with electronic copies of the magazine and they divvied up the articles to determine which of the 1988 predictions came true. To their surprise, the students — some of whom weren’t even born when Yorkin’s look into the future was published — found that many predictions have become reality.

Yorkin’s experts had foreseen smart cars that would drive themselves by 2013. The luxury cars that she wrote about zipping eastbound in the 118 Freeway’s “electro lanes” were outfitted with “inductive couplers” — something that isn’t on the market yet. But the technology exists: Google engineers are testing driverless cars that are equipped with a laser radar system.

“You find some cars that will help park themselves now, so parts of it have already happened,” said Mohammadali Parsian, a 23-year-old USC student from Iran. “Electro lanes? It makes sense…. It takes 25 or 30 years for new things to come into place.”

Classmate Chiraag Dodhia, 24, of Kenya, was also startled by how many of the 1988 transportation predictions were on target. “Things like every car will have computers. Back then it wasn’t common for cars to have diagnostic features and low tire-pressure alarms,” he said.

Other things forecast by the magazine — magnetic induction that lifts cars off the road, car computers that talk to other cars’ computers — may be on the horizon, Dodhia said.

The 1988 forecasts saw a high-tech revolution occurring in public schools by 2013. There would be neighborhood satellite campuses of about 300 pupils with high-resolution computer screens for walls and ceilings. Desks would have built-in computers operated by smart cards.

“Her prediction was not that far off,” said graduate student Nikolaos Vagias, 26, of Greece. “We don’t have smart cards, but we have smartphones and tablets with all these applications. Just like the article said, the price of computers is going down so every kid can afford one.”

Hitendra Mistry, a 25-year-old student from India, noted that even Lockenour’s course is live-streamed to students elsewhere through USC’s Distance Educational Network.

Walter Glaeser, a 50-year-old Boeing systems engineer who lives in St. Louis, is one of nine students taking the class through the network. Some of the magazine’s predictions were far-fetched, he said, but then again, “I’ve never actually met any of my USC professors face to face in the time I’ve been pursuing my master’s degree.”

Some of the original 1988 article is a little locally focused to be of much interest to non Los Angelenos, but man, oh man is it fascinating to those of us who live here to see how much of if they—especially Syd Mead, who once called science fiction “reality ahead of schedule”—got right. If the image on the cover didn’t predict today’s gleaming, overly-developed area near the Staples Center in downtown LA with eerie prescience—downtown was exactly like Mad Max back in 1988, one of the worst, most insane skidrow areas in all of America—then I don’t know what would have!

Ironically, it was the Los Angeles Times Magazine itself that didn’t make it to 2013, as the magazine was shuttered in 2012.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Think Pink: Angelyne, the Billboard Queen of LA sings her totally 80s New Wave non-hit
06:51 am

Pop Culture

Los Angeles


“Barbie wishes she were me.”—Angelyne

At one time she was impossible not to notice around the City of Angels: Angelyne the billboard queen, famous for being, uh, “famous” and for having large outdoor billboards of herself plastered all over Los Angeles (Her billboards quasi-qualified as LA “landmarks” just like smog, the Hollywood sign or palm trees; one of them even made the opening montage of Moonlighting, something later parodied in the Futurama credits). For decades she has been a well-known sight, driving around town, as she still does, in her shocking pink Stingray Corvette. She sells Angelyne tee-shirts and merchandise from the trunk of her car.

Although she seemed to have no talent, no real career and no visible means of support, there were rumors for years—Angelyne is notoriously tight-lipped about her “mystique”—that her boyfriend owned the outdoor advertising company that festooned her doughy features across Los Angeles County. Angelyne would say only that she had “investors.” Her signs were everywhere. In 1996, the height of it, probably, I counted fifteen large ones, some of them in prime places—such as Hollywood Blvd and overlooking the 101 freeway near Universal, the very same location that inexplicably kept up a sign for Terminator III: Rise of the Machines before, during and even after the Governator’s term in office—but the LA Times estimated that there were as many as 300 including bus shelter ads. I’d guess that the total cost per year was well in excess of a million dollars. These days there aren’t any that I am aware of, although a new one popped up briefly when they were shooting the Tom Cruise movie Rock of Ages.

Angelyne seems to be a loopy sort of gal. In 2001, I wanted to do a TV piece about Angelyne for UK TV (she had an art show at the time that consisted entirely of self-portraits) but she demanded a ridiculous amount of money per minute—it wasn’t even a round number, something weird like $2242.00 per half-hour—and she just would not budge (I’ve read of producers going up against this same issue, but getting her to finally agree to an interview for $20 worth of candy).

I’m pretty sure that her album came out in 1984. I wanted to post this one a while ago, but all of the versions I could find online were pretty ratty. Here, at long last(?) is Angelyne’s “My List”:

Get a look inside of Angelyne’s tastefully appointed pink Malibu condo: Angelyne the Billboard Queen Sellin’ Short in the ‘Bu (Realestalker)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Mark Ebner’s ‘The Rat’: An incredible true tale of a Drug Kingpin who turned Informant

DM pal, Mark Ebner has posted an excellent article “The Rat” about a former drug king pin turned informant, over at his Hollywood Interrupted site.

“The Rat” tells the story of the man who “ran one of California’s biggest drug empires… …complete with all the trappings — Ferraris, strippers, tricked-out jacuzzis, and garish fake waterfalls – then, the Feds ran him.” 

Mark first met “The Rat” while he was working on one of his books:

‘While researching Six Degrees of Paris Hilton, from out of the blue I received an email from someone claiming that he knew more about one of the criminals I was writing about than anyone. Intrigued, I phoned him, and soon realized that it was HIS story I wanted to tell…

‘“The Rat” and I have remained friends through the years, and I trust him with my life. Once, when I had to confront a pair of Russian mobsters operating out of a pawn shop front, The Rat flew down from Seattle to simply stand behind me and look intimidating. Only a true friend would do something like that.’

Mark also tells Dangerous Minds that “The Rat” will be going public this Thursday, when he will reveal his true identity for the first time on camera.

For my money, Ebner is the best investigative journalist around. He digs up stories long before anyone gets a whiff that there is anything bad going on, and delivers top drawer copy every time. He has also written 3 killer books:  Hollywood Interrupted, Six Degrees of Paris Hilton, and We Have Your Husband: One Woman’s Terrifying Story of a Kidnapping in Mexico, and is currently working on his next.

Here is an extract from Mark’s article on “The Rat”:

The first sign that something was wrong was when a car followed him onto his street – a one-way cul-de-sac at the top of Nichols Canyon in the Hollywood Hills where the mansions start at a million dollars. He was driving back from Bad Boys Bail Bonds, where he’d just dropped three grand to spring one of his drivers who had gotten popped in Santa Monica on a routine haul. Earlier in the day, he had pulled off the kind of transaction that some dealers go their whole lives without seeing – 300 pounds of primo weed for $1 million, which had netted him a cool $90,000 for two hours work. His senses heightened, he could feel the vibe going sour as he steered his discreet rental car past his own driveway. Another 60 feet, and suddenly there were searchlights washing every street corner – at least 30 undercover police cars – with a helicopter swooping down on top of him in case he decided to make a run for it down the open cliff face.

“I hadn’t done a deal in six months,” says Oz (most names in this story have been changed), a 48-year-old ex-marijuana trafficker and big-time baller who once dominated the I-5 corridor from British Columbia to Tijuana, was responsible for 70 percent of the marijuana smoked in Los Angeles and saw $4 million move through his operation every two weeks. “They take me inside – they’re stripping the house, and here’s my $90,000 all out on the table. I said, ‘Dude, just shoot me now. I don’t blame you guys, but I’m not going to rat on any of my people, so I’d prefer to be dead.’ The Fed says, ‘No, man, I can’t do that. But we need to talk.’”

Cruising through the Hills in a tricked-out Lincoln Navigator, on loan from a fellow drug runner who got out of the game when he found religion, Oz can’t help but point the sites of his former glory: The Russian tanning salon in Hollywood where you could order up Vicodin or steroids on demand; the Melrose Avenue tattoo shop that moves 50 to a hundred pounds of weed a week; the Mexican restaurant that serves up kilos of coke with its carne asada. But he is less expansive when describing his life since the 2004 bust that curtailed his hand-built empire – and his uneasy resurrection as an undercover informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency. In the world he lived in for over 20 years, the worst thing you could be was a rat – a turnabout of fate that obviously weighs heavy on him. In the past three years, Oz has survived three suicide attempts – not counting his choice of livelihood.

Still retaining the hard angles and displaced muscle mass from his early years as a bodybuilder and protracted steroid enthusiast, Oz today most resembles Arnold Schwarzenegger if you put him through a threshing machine and then tried to spot-weld the bigger pieces back together. He’s had his bicep torn off from trying to break a guy’s neck in a bar, all his teeth are capped from being broken off in fights and he’s literally got screws in his head to hold his skull in place. He earned the sometimes nickname “Shrek” from taking so many punches to the face that his eyebrows calcified into scar tissue, leaving a large protruding ridge in his forehead. And in the kind of colorful anecdote that no doubt made it easier for him to do his job, he once bit his best friend’s ear off in the back seat of a limo.

“I have a short man’s complex,” admits the 5’8, 220-pound brawler, still capable of flashes of intense anger and pervasive menace, as well as intense emotion over the secondary victims of his chosen lifestyle. “I realized at one point that most people were my friends because they were scared of me. I’ve never killed anybody, but I’ve hurt a lot of people – and every one of them deserved it.”

Now read on…

More from Mark Ebner at his site Hollywood Interrupted.


My DM colleague, Marc Campbell has passed on this episode of Media Mayhem, with Mark Ebner, which contains the first on-camera interview with ‘The Rat’.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Being a Short Tale of Mark Ebner and His Adventures on Drastic Radio



Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Time-lapse of Hollywood sign restoration
06:48 am

Current Events

Los Angeles

Hollywood sign
The sign in the 1970s, during a particularly shaggy time
I have always found the Hollywood sign to be charmingly anachronistic— a dated landmark, but delightfully so. Built in 1923 to promote a housing development (originally “Hollywoodland”), the sign has gone through various stages of disrepair and restoration over the years. It was even defaced as “Hollyweed” a few years after the decriminalization of marijuana in California.

Seeing this much work go into something that was never intended to be permanent seems to go against the impression I have of Los Angeles as a high turnover city, dismissive of its own history; it’s oddly comforting to see this kind of effort go into its preservation.


Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Tony Scott as a young man starring in his brother Ridley’s first film

A young Tony Scott stars in his brother Ridley’s first film Boy and Bicycle.

This was the film that inspired Tony to make movies, and it’s a long way from the loud, brash, stadium rock ‘n’ roll films he became famous for in later life.

Tony Scott had considerable skill as film-maker. He was great at large scale, set-piece action scenes, which he manipulated with the ease of a master conjuror. He was more than capable at getting strong performances from his cast, even when characterization was flimsy. And interestingly, his films brought together the most unlikely groups of fans - the Goths of The Hunger, the jocks of Top Gun, the Hip of True Romance, and the Geeks of Enemy of the State. I always thought he should have made a Batman or a Spiderman, or teamed-up again with Tarantino.

The news of his death was shocking, but the manner in which he chose to die had something terribly dramatic about it - his fall from the Vincent Thomas Bridge was witnessed by on-lookers and even filmed.

Tony Scott will be remembered for those populist, large scale movies that captured the audience’s imagination, while at the same time reflecting the cultural ambition, fantasies and fashions of their decade.

Tony Scott R.I.P. 1944-2012


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
John Lennon’s Tower Records commercial, 1973
12:24 pm


John Lennon
Los Angeles
Tower Records

YouTuber SacramentoHistory writes:

“John Lennon recorded this commercial for Tower Records’ Sunset Strip store in 1973 as a promotional for his newly released album, Mind Games.”

I’m assuming this was probably played like crazy on LA radio stations back in day. 

I found a different version of this recording on YouTube after the jump….
With thanks to Henry Baum!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Institute of Oral Love: All talk and no action?

institute _of_oral_love_l_a_1970s
The Institute of Oral Love was situated on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Spaulding Avenue, and this photograph was taken in 1976, as part of an article on LA’s growing porn scene.

Though there has been the bizarre suggestion this was a dentist and oral surgeon, as well as the more obvious belief it was “blow job central”, the Oral Institute of Love was, I am reliably informed by the lovelies over at World of Wonder, not exactly what it seemed, as it mainly “dispensed talk”.
Via Los Angeles Relics

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Green Mile: A perspective from deep in LA’s busiest pot district on the weed ban vote

The Los Angeles City Council voted 14-0 yesterday to ban pot dispensaries in the city limits. The ban would force approximate 750 storefront pot shops to shut down immediately. Any dispensaries that fail to comply voluntarily will face legal action from the city.

From The Los Angeles Times:

Medical marijuana activists who had packed the council chambers jeered when the vote came down. More than a dozen Los Angeles Police Department officers were called in to quell them.

Under the ban, medical patients and their caregivers will be able to grow and share the drug in small groups of three people or less.

But the activists say most patients don’t have the time or skills to cultivate marijuana. One dispensary owner told the council that it would cost patients a minimum of $5,000 to grow marijuana at home.

In a seemingly contradictory move, the council also voted to instruct city staff to draw up an ordinance that would allow a group of about 170 dispensaries that registered with the city several years ago to remain open. Councilman Jose Huizar, who voted against that motion, said it might give the public “false hope” that the ban wound not be enforced.

He said the ban would be enforced, especially against problem dispensaries that have drawn complaints from neighbors. “Relief is on its way,” he said.

Fuck you, Jose Huizar! Relief from what? Who gets relieved?

And to the rest of the clowns on the City Council, have fun shutting 750 businesses that pay some of the best service industry wages in Los Angeles (many pot shops are unionized and offer healthcare benefits to employees). I can’t think of a STUPIDER use of the LAPD than firing people and forcing law abiding businesses to close. What a waste of taxpayer resources this is.

I’m furious about this vote and as a city resident, I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of condemnation of the City Council’s actions.

I live in an area of the city near the so dubbed “Green Mile,” a stretch known for its numerous, highly visible cannabis dispensaries. Within walking distance, there are approximately twelve dispensaries. Take a slightly longer walk and that number rises at least threefold.

By contrast, there are but two Starbucks, one McDonald’s, One Burger King, one KFC, one Jack in a Box, two Subways, two 7-Eleven stores and no Carl Jrs. It goes without saying that these are minimum wage jobs, whereas the average wage at a pot dispensary is $20 per hour.

In five years of living in this part of Los Angeles, I’ve seen every single one of these places pop up and what changes the neighborhood has gone through in that same period of time. Not only that, I have PERSONALLY visited almost all of them.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:

Since the recession, there have been very, very few new retail businesses that have opened along the “Green Mile” other than pot dispensaries. A few things, but not many. In every case, they are inhabiting real estate that was not being used, and that had not been used in some time. A lot of these previously empty buildings got much needed paint jobs, let’s just say, and many long empty buildings were rehabilitated by the dispensary owners.

I have seen no appreciable rise or fall in the neighborhood crime rate and I am sure the local police would probably agree. There is no discernible difference. No change. None.

From everything that I HAVE SEEN, these places all seem to be run by law-abiding, friendly, intelligent people. They all seem to be doing okay financially, even though there are so many of them (you’d think the density of pot shops would be a drag on business, but even with the shops that are two to a block this doesn’t seem to be the case. I guess people in LA must like pot, huh?).

I’ve never heard one neighbor complain about the pot dispensaries.

I have seen many of the people living in the neighborhood going in and out of the various dispensaries. My neighbors on either side of me go to the same place I go to.

Only one of the dispensaries operating along the “Green Mile” seems in any way shady to me, but to be honest, I’ve never actually seen anything even remotely shady (nothing) in the three years the place has been open. Maybe I just steer clear of it because I think they sell schwaggy weed!

Who’s actually complaining to Jose Huizar or is he hallucinating these complaints? What’s the point of this citywide ban? I live in the heart of one of the areas most dense with pot dispensaries and I’d have to rate their existence as “positive” for the neighborhood and in no way negative.

It’s worth noting that last October when President Obama made a campaign stop at the popular soul food restaurant, Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, that he was within a few blocks, if that, of about six HARD TO MISS medical marijuana dispensaries. I’m talking about places with green glowing neon pot-leaf signs. Obviously the Secret Service checked out the area and the entire route the President’s bus would take down Pico Blvd. beforehand and YET THEY HAD NO PROBLEM WITH THIS.

So what up, Jose Huizar?

Councilman Huizar and his pal City Attorney Carmen Trutanich have had bugs up their asses for a long time about the cannabis dispensaries, but I doubt that many other Los Angelenos feel the same way as they do. The train left the station on this matter back in 2007.

No one cares but the politicians. The issue has been settled by the free market, so to speak. The local range of opinion, in my experience, ranges from positive to benignly not giving a shit. My neighbors, from what I can tell from living here for five years, look at it variously from the POV of being pot users themselves, non-pot users who don’t give a damn what other people do, people who would rather have ten more pot dispensaries than one additional liquor store with pan-handling winos in the parking lot, people who never thought of it one way or the other, etc, etc. I’ve not seen one business harmed by their proximity to a medical marijuana dispensary, nor have I heard a peep from any local business owners about any perceived negative effect the pot shops have had on them, because there haven’t been any negative effects.

I live here and I mean to tell you, nothing has changed for the worse and arguably, they have changed for the better. More people are employed, more taxes are paid, more landlords get paid, more landlords pay taxes on what they got paid by their new tenants, the buildings get tidied up, and so forth.

Jose Huizar probably thinks he’s going to be mayor one day for pulling this off. Carmen Trutanich, clearly, sees himself one day as the California State Attorney General, and getting the law enforcement and prison unions on your side is necessary to make a statewide run like that. Carmen… Jose… I gotta tell you two knuckleheads something: I would never vote for you. You’d have to be running against, I don’t know, Sarah Palin, for me to ever even consider voting for you.

In fact, I wouldn’t vote for ANY of these sitting city council members (Bill Rosenthal was on vacation and didn’t vote) at least in a primary, either. I’m looking at YOU, Eric Garcetti. What the fuck is wrong with you? Herb Wesson, I will NOT be voting for you again. You do not represent MY interests with a vote like yours.

Yesterday’s Los Angeles City Council 14-0 vote against the pot dispensaries was predictable, but annoying, even if you suspect, as I do that they won’t actually do anything and that the ban will just be ignored by most of the dispensaries as it is appealed.

Does anyone on the city council actually think that the hundreds of thousands of pot heads living in the Los Angeles metro area are just going to stop smoking weed if the city closes the dispensaries down?

All this ban is going to do is see a few thousand people put out of some of the only decent paying jobs being created in the city at a time of super high unemployment, and the marijuana trade, previously taxable, going underground again, but much more openly than it was done in the past. The whole thing is just stupid and a waste of time and money.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Tig Notaro meets Taylor Dayne, hilarity ensues

The comedienne TIg Notaro is new to me, but she is a well-known figure on the American stand-up comedy circuit (and to viewers of The Sarah Silverman Program, where she played a cop SIlverman goes “les” for). While I may not live in the States, or even have a TV, I am very happy to have found this woman, ‘cos she’s hilarious. 

I discovered the wonders of Tig while innocently browsing Zach Galifianakis interviews on the web. Anyone who has seen the excellent Between Two Ferns knows that an interview with Galifianakis can be a brutal, painfully funny ordeal. Well, Tig is one of the only people who can match Galifianakis’ surly, steely cynicism beat-for-beat, and in this clip for Bright Young Things she actually gets the better of him at his own awkward-interview game. That is no mean feat.

Once my interest had been pricked by this clip, I had to go and find out more about this woman, and thankfully her hilarious dalliance with Galifianakis was no mere fluke. Notaro pulls off that west coast, drawling, “Whaaa?”-style delivery perfectly. It’s one of my favorite types of American comedy, and a style that tends to be over-looked in favor of the polemicism of Bill Hicks and George Carlin (not that it’s a competition, you understand). Maybe it’s got to do with all the sweet weed growing over there, but it’s something I think you guys do better than almost anyone else, if I’m honest. 

There are some excellent Tig performance clips floating around online (particularly sketches recorded at the Purple Onion) and last year Notaro released her first album of comedy material, Good One. Here’s one of the longer sketches from the album, called “Taylor Dayne”, which recounts Tig’s run-ins with the eponymous 80s songstrel/actress. The way this sketch keeps looping back to the same punchline reminds me of Stewart Lee in a way, but stripped of all that “comedy-about-comedy” pretence that can become tiresome:

Tig Notaro “Taylor Dayne”

You can buy Good One here, and find out more info on Tig at her website.

In the meantime, you can download the sketch “Can You Believe It” by putting your email address into this little widget, then clicking “Download” when it directs you to her site:



Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘A Brief History of John Baldessari’ narrated by Tom Waits
02:25 pm


Los Angeles
Tom Waits
John Baldessari

“I will not make any more boring art”—John Baldessari, 1971

The epic life of a world-class artist, jammed into six minutes. Narrated by Tom Waits.

Commissioned by LACMA for their first annual “Art + Film Gala” honoring John Baldessari and Clint Eastwood.

Directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman.
Produced by Mandy Yaeger & Erin Wright.

Thank you, Omar Perez!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Skating around Los Angeles

I loathe The Doors, but their song “L.A. Woman” works nicely in this skate video featuring Kenny Anderson, Alex Olson, Braydon Szafranski, as well as Doors members Robbie Krieger and John Densmore.

It’s very... El Lay.


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The beautiful murals of Los Angeles are being destroyed

Mural by El Mac.
In the past few years the City of Los Angeles has painted over and buffed into oblivion more than 300 murals effectively destroying the city’s reputation as the mural capitol of the world.

Some of the problems started in 1986, when the city was looking for a way to alleviate the growing scourge of billboard blight. The city was being blanketed with unsightly commercial advertising, so the Los Angeles City Council adopted a code to reduce commercial billboards. The new restrictions exempted artwork. Advertisers responded by suing the city, arguing that they had the same right of free speech as the muralists. So in 2002 the Council “solved” the matter by amending the code to include works of art. “The law left many murals technically illegal,” wrote the Times in an Oct. 29 editorial, “no matter how talented the artist or how willing the owner of the wall or how inoffensive the subject matter.”

Since then, murals that were already in existence have come under increasing threat from two sides: from graffiti “artists” who mark their territory by defacing murals, and from a city that seems determined to find any pretext to paint over them. This is the subject of Behind the Wall: The Battle for LA’s Murals (above), a six-minute documentary by students in the Film and TV Production MFA program at the University of Southern California. It was directed by Oliver Riley-Smith, shot by Qianbaihui Yang, and produced and edited by Gavin Garrison.

The loss of these murals is not just a blow to the world of art it diminishes the culture of the people who’s lives and history are depicted in the murals. L.A. is a lesser place without these glorious human creations.

As L.A rejects these artists, they are being welcomed in cities all over the world who want art to beautify the walls of their buildings. Check out El Mac’s website and see the possibilities.

Via Open Culture

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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