Saturday, December 20, 2008

From ArtB's Bill (L.A. arts mailing list): anyone knows how to save a gallery in Downtown?

hello friends.

a friend of mine who runs a gallery in downtown Los Angeles
is possibly facing closure due to low art sales from the recent
economy.

if you can be of help in directing them towards grants, loans, etc.,
please let me know.


the gallery is their dream.

they have put a few years
of hard work into the gallery,
and it would be nice to keep
it around.

thank you.
bill farroux (mahnase@googlemail.com)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bill's dog ran away in Downtown! Anybody seen this guy?

His Name Is Mulholland
He Is A Much Loved Family Dog
Male Black/Grey Tibetan Terrier 20 - 25 lbs 6 Years Old
Was Wearing A Brown Collar Lost At Spring Street and 8th Street In Downtown Los Angeles
Between Thurday Dec 11 and Sunday December 14th 2008
He Is Very Loved & Special To Me
Please Call 323.872.4622
With Any Info
REWARD

Feministing.com event downtown tonight

Contact: Sarah Richardson, 650-269-1150, Richardson@stanford.edu

From http://www.feministing.com/:

Reminder - Los Angeles Feministing Reader Holiday Happy Hour at the cozy Redwood Bar tonight, 7-10 pm. Drop in and take a break from holiday stresses!


All are welcome - come party, network, and celebrate the holidays with Feministing readers from LA!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Boot jai goh" (little bowl cake) (Hill & Alpine, Chinatown)

Oh my fucking god. My temp work is near this "boot jai goh" (little bowl cake). Totally last century old colonial Hong Kong nostalgia in Chinatown! Awesome!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Do you really see cabs in Downtown? I only see the signs

So weird. I see the said signs everywhere but I seldom see a cab except in front of the big hotels. It'd be nice if I can get one from home in Gallery Row to Bunker Hill so I don't get tiny water pots all over my feet in high heels these days when going for interviews. Interviews don't always validate parking these days. Park in Macy's, get validated and walk? Might as well walk all the way. Damn, my feet hurt!

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-taxi9-2008dec09,0,5702971.story?track=rss
From the Los Angeles Times

L.A. taxi service reinforces that this is not New York

Despite efforts to get more passengers to hail cabs in downtown and Hollywood and bring a piece of urban New York to L.A., city officials and taxi drivers are finding the service slow to catch on.
By Cara Mia DiMassa

December 9, 2008

The line at the taxi stand outside the Biltmore Hotel was six cabs deep Monday morning, even though there was space for only two cars. Sam Onumonu's car was the third one in line.

The stand, said Onumonu as he leaned forward in his seat, was packed for one simple reason: It's one of the easiest places for a driver to get a fare in downtown.

"There aren't too many people flagging us down," he said. "It happens only when there are people with young kids, or something going down. You're better off staying at the cab stand."

Five months ago, the city rescinded regulations that made it illegal for cabbies to pick up passengers in bus zones and red zones or along busy streets when no-parking regulations are in place. The change allowed cabbies in downtown and Hollywood to pick up fares without fear of getting ticketed -- even in no-stopping zones.

The idea was to bring a piece of New York urban life to Los Angeles' revitalizing urban core. But like so many things about New York, it turns out folks in L.A. didn't like it.

Officials said they are having a hard time persuading people to use the service -- and persuading drivers to leave the safe confine that is the hotel taxi stand.

Through the boosters' eyes, downtown is both a residential neighborhood and a destination for both tourists and suburbanites, who might be lured to come to the area for cultural events or the sports-entertainment zone located around Staples Center. And in an area with limited mass transit options, they think hailing a cab from one location to another should be a quick way to get around. Like they do it in Manhattan.

So on Monday, officials decided to re-launch the taxi program -- this time, with a news conference, free lunch for cabbies and even a few L.A. Kings Ice Girls.

Standing in the middle of the newly inaugurated L.A. Live plaza, Carol Schatz, president of the downtown business improvement district, looked out at a dozen taxi drivers who had been corralled for a photo op as part of the relaunch.

"You all are going to promise me -- you are going to cruise," she said, elongating the last word into three syllables. "Cruising is good!"

The civic aspirations of leaders who spoke Monday seemed to follow a traditional line: New York, Paris, London: in all of these cities, it is easy to hail a cab. So why shouldn't it be in L.A.?

L.A. Live managing director Lisa Herzlich said that being able to hail a taxi "will be even more important than ever before, as downtown becomes a major tourist destination."

After the news conference, a steady stream of cabs pulled up along the curb across the street from Staples Center, and Councilwomen Jan Perry and Wendy Greuel and others handed out free boxed lunches -- sandwiches, chips, potato salad and an apple -- to their drivers.

"Do you like turkey?" Greuel asked one driver.

"We have vegetarian!" Perry sang cheerily. "It's not all about the meat!"

In addition to plying drivers with a free lunch, officials are trying to alert potential customers to the rules with a series of signs posted along downtown thoroughfares.

More than 600 of the signs -- with a graphic of a figure hailing a cab and instructions on how to hail a cab -- were installed in the last week as a reminder to pedestrians that they can hail a taxi "anytime, anywhere downtown (except bus zones)."

Downtown resident Rebecca Morley said she had noticed that she never saw cabs cruising the area but didn't realize that there was any issue until she saw the signs posted around her neighborhood.

"I just thought cabbies were lazy," she said.

Morley, who does not own a car, said she liked the idea of being able to hail a cab.

But she said she worried that if she were using one to go, say, to a bar in the Industrial District, she wouldn't know how to get home -- because cab drivers are mostly being encouraged to cruise downtown's major streets.

But cabbies are skeptical about the hailing approach. They would always prefer a long fare rather than a short one.

And many believe the long trips -- to LAX, the Westside, the Valley -- can be found at hotels, not from the couple waving from outside that trendy eatery.

Back at the taxi stand, driver Joseph Sohn said that he had noticed the signs posted around downtown and said he felt as if the push "was going in a positive direction."

"I think a lot of people are afraid," he said. "It would be nice if people knew how to hail a taxi."

DiMassa is a Times staff writer.

cara.dimassa@latimes.com

Monday, November 17, 2008

I got laid off today

So I have all my time to check out these great arts I usually didn't
have time. Argh. The economy... sucks...

From: Bill Farroux <mahnase@googlemail.com>
Date: Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 9:49 PM
Subject: ArtB - 11.14.08
To: mahnase@gmail.com


ArtB 11.14.08


Opening.

Ed Templeton

Map Of The Inner War

Opening Reception 11.15.2008 7PM - 9:30PM

Show Runs 11.15.2008 - 12.13.2008

Roberts and Tilton

5801 Washington Blvd.

Culver City CA 90232

Matt Leines

The Great Gates Of A Zenith

Opening Reception 11.15.2008 7PM - 9:30PM

Show Runs 11.15.2008 - 12.13.2008

Roberts and Tilton

5801 Washington Blvd.

Culver City CA 90232

www.robertsandtilton.com

www.rvca.com


Book Signing Saturday November 15 2008, 6 - 7pm
Deformer
by Ed Templeton
Published 2008 by Alleged Press, Los Angeles & Damiani Editore, Bologna, Italy
Format: Hardcover, 9 x 12 inches
176 pages, color images and black and white photographs

You Are Forgiven by Matt Leines

Published 2008 by Free News Projects, Philadelphia
Format: Hardcover, 9-3/4 x 11-1/4 inches
144 pages, color images throughout
Introduction by Gary Panter, Essay by Taylor McKimens


Saelee Oh
Jill Bliss
Opening Reception 11.15.08 5-8pm
Show Runs - 11.15.2008 - 12.6.2008

Tinlark Gallery
Crossroads of the World
6671 Sunset Boulevard #1512
Hollywood CA 90028
323.463.0039

www.tinlark.com
www.saeleeoh.com
www.jillbliss.com
www.feltclub.com

Victor Wilde


Victor Wilde and his Wild Screen Print Show!


Opening Reception 11.15.2008 7PM - 9:30PM
Show Runs 11.15.2008 - 12.13.2008


M.J. Higgins
110 E. 4th Street
Los Angeles CA 90012
Between Main and Los Angeles Streets

www.mjhiggins.com
www.thebohemiansociety.com
www.myspace.com/vwilde

Continuing.

PJ Fidler
The Permutation Generator

Jason Houchen
Fallen Trees Spread No Seeds

Opening Reception November 7 2008 8PM - 11PM
Show Runs November 7 - November 30 2008

La Luz De Jesus
4633 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90027

www.laluzdejesus.com
www.pjfidler.com
www.jasonhouchen.com

Barry McGee

Barry McGee presents a new installation as part of the 55th Carnegie
International
Exhibition entitled Life on Mars.

Show Runs 5.3.2008 - 1.11.2009

55th Carnegie International
Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080
Tel: 412.622.3131

www.cmoa.org
www.blog.cmoa.org/CI08/home.php
www.blog.cmoa.org/CI08/visitor-info/visitor-info.php
www.deitch.com

Wolfgang Tillmans


55th Carnegie International
Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080
Tel: 412.622.3131
Show Runs 5.3.2008 - 1.11.2009

www.cmoa.org
www.blog.cmoa.org/CI08/home.php
www.blog.cmoa.org/CI08/visitor-info/visitor-info.php
www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Tillmans
www.artnet.com/artist/16647/wolfgang-tillmans.html
www.hammer.ucla.edu/exhibitions/104/
www.deitch.com
www.regenprojects.com


Recent.


Deanna Templeton
Hadassah Emmerich


The Swimming Pool
Ghosts 'N Garlands

Show Runs 10.3.08 - 10.24.08

New Image Art Gallery

7908 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood CA 90046

For Visuals or further Information Please Contact:
Marsea Goldberg Director

Phone / Fax 323 654 2192 email info@newimageartgallery.com

Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday 1pm - 6pm or by appointment

www.newimageartgallery.com
www.busy-being.com


Yoko Ono
Wish Tree for Pasadena

Show Runs August 2 2008 – November 9 2008


Armory Center for the Arts
145 N. Raymond Ave. Pasadena CA 91103
626.792.5101


Wish Tree for Pasadena is an art installation that consists of 21
living crape myrtle trees installed amongst the café tables and chairs
in the Courtyard of One Colorado. Visitors are invited to write their
wishes on pieces of paper and hang them on the tree branches. Yoko
Ono's Wish Tree for Pasadena is free and open to the public. The
opening of the Pasadena Wish Tree exhibition will be celebrated by a
group of childcare providers from CULTURAL CARE AU PAIR, along with
the local children they care for and other members of their host
families, giving the event a truly international flavor. The opening
occurs Saturday, August 2 at 10:00 a.m. in the One Colorado Courtyard.


www.armoryarts.org
www.imaginepeace.com
www.yoko-ono.com
www.myspace.com/officialyokoono

Launa Bacon
Guillermo Bert
Luther Gerlach
Tiffany Trenda
Frank Venadas
Lisa Wiscombe

Not Seen and/or Less Seen

Show Runs September 20th October 4th 2008
Closing October 4 2008 6 PM - 9 PM

MOHA, across from the Getty Villa, is proud to present its second
annual exhibition, Not Seen and/or Less Seen. The show features recent
work, all surrounding the theme of hyperreal, by Launa Bacon,
Guillermo Bert, Luther Gerlach, Tiffany Trenda, Frank Venadas, and
Lisa Wiscombe.


The Museum of Hyperreal Art (MOHA)
18042 Coastline Dr. Malibu, CA 90265

info@hyperrealart.com
www.hyperrealart.com
www.tiffanytrenda.com
www.launabacon.com

David Choe

Faile
Paul Insect
Jr
Antony Micallef
Jonathan Yeo
Miranda Donovan
Invader
Mark Jenkins
Todd James
Vhils
Polly Morgan
Mode 2
Bast
Blu
Conor Harrington
Zevs

OUTSIDERS-NEW YORK
282-284 BOWERY, NEW YORK NEW YORK, 10012
private view on Thursday the 25th of September

Show Runs 2 Weeks

www.davidchoe.com
www.giantrobot.com


Paul McCarthy
Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement
Three Installations Two Films


Show Runs - October 12 2008


This exhibition brings together a group of new and rarely seen works
by Paul McCarthy (b. 1945), one of the most influential American
artists of his generation. The show focuses on a core strand of
McCarthy's work: the use of architecture to create perceptual
disorientation in the viewer through spinning mirrors, rotating walls,
projections, and altered space. In Bang Bang Room (1992), the space
almost seems to come alive as the walls of a free-standing domestic
room move slowly in and out, the doors in each wall wildly slamming
open and shut. In Spinning Room (2008), first conceived in 1971, but
being realized for the first time for this show, live images of
viewers are rotated and projected onto double-sided screens that
appear infinitely reflected on four surrounding mirrored walls,
enclosing the viewer in a wildly disorienting space. In Mad House
(2008), being created for this show, a room spins disconcertingly on
its axis. Two recently rediscovered films by McCarthy, one made in
1966 and one in 1971, reveal the artist's interest in perceptual
puzzlement from the very beginning of his career.

video of Bang Bang Room can be viewed at:

www.whitney.org/www/exhibition/mccarthy.jsp

Whitney Museum of American Art

945 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10021
212.570.3600


www.whitney.org

Paul McCarthy: Film List

Bruce Conner. EVE-RAY-FOREVER. 1965 - 2006. 3 screen DVD installation,
transferred from 8mm film. Courtesy Michael Kohn Gallery.

on view 7.11.2008 - 9.28.2008

Film has been an important inspiration for Paul McCarthy since the
beginning of his career. McCarthy began making films as a student in
the 1960s, and his current exhibition on the Whitney's third floor
includes two rare 16mm films screening for the first time in decades.
Curated by Paul McCarthy, this film program provides an intriguing
insight into the impact of cinema on his work.

Kaufman Astoria Studios Film & Video Gallery Floor

The program includes works by Bas Jan Ader, Billy Adler, Nancy Angelo,
John Armleder, Daniel Barber, Judith Barry, BDR Ensemble, Barton
Patrick Bolin, Stan Brakhage, Michael Brewster, Nancy Buchanan, Chris
Burden, Carole Caroompas, Center for Experimental Art and
Communication, Giuseppe Chiari, Co-Accident (Kirby Malone, Chris
Mason, Marshall Reese, Alec Bernstein, and Mitchell Pressman), Bruce
Conner, Beverly Conrad, Tony Conrad, Paul Cotton, Norma Jean Deak,
Philippe Deléglise, Fernando Doty, Marcel Duchamp Bruce Fier, Morgan
Fisher, Fox Jim presents the Improvisers' Orchestra, Galerie Ecart
workshop, Jack Goldstein, Bill Gordh, Mary Harding, Victor Henderson,
Douglas Huebler, Kipper Kids, Harry Kipper, Alison Knowles, Kurt Kren,
Peter Kubelka, Leslie Labowitz, Maria Lassnig, Michael
LeDonne-Bhennett, Les Levine, Gary Lloyd, Los Angeles Free Music
Society, Sidney Lumet, John Malpede, Barry Markowitz, Raul Marroquin,
Paul McCarthy, Sandra McKee, Jonas Mekas, Michael K. Meyers, Susan
Mogul, The Monitors, Musica Veneris Nocturnus, Russ Myers, Maurizio
Nannucci, Richard Newton, Hermann Nitsch, Pauline Oliveros, Pat
O'Neill, Marc Pally, Bob Parks, Al Payne, The Poetics, Stuart
Rapeport, Stan Rice, Jim Roche, Martha Rosler, Claude Rychner, Carolee
Schneeman, Sam Schoenbaum, Stephen Seemayer, Andrea Shapiro, Sally
Shapiro, T.J. Silverlake, Slash Magazine, Barbara T. Smith, Jack
Smith, Michael Snow, Nina Sobell, Sturtevant, Valie Export, Stan
VanDerBeek, Paul Vangelisti, Ben Vautier Endre Tót, Andy Warhol,
Lawrence Weiner, John White, Martha Wilson, and Robert Wise.

film schedule can be found at:

www.whitney.org/www/performance_film_and_video/film_and_video.jsp

Whitney Museum of American Art

945 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10021
212.570.3600


www.whitney.org


Buckiminster Fuller

Starting With The Universe

Show Runs 6.26.2008 - 9.21.2008

One of the great American visionaries of the twentieth century, R.
Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) endeavored to see what he, a single
individual, might do to benefit the largest segment of humanity while
consuming the minimum of the earth's resources. Doing "more with less"
was Fuller's credo. He described himself as a "comprehensive
anticipatory design scientist," setting forth to solve the escalating
challenges that faced humanity before they became insurmountable.

Fuller's innovative theories and designs addressed fields ranging from
architecture, the visual arts, and literature to mathematics,
engineering, and sustainability. He refused to treat these diverse
spheres as specialized areas of investigation because it inhibited his
ability to think intuitively, independently, and, in his words,
"comprehensively."

Although Fuller believed in utilizing the latest technology, much of
his work developed from his inquiry into "how nature builds." He
believed that the tetrahedron was the most fundamental, structurally
sound form found in nature; this shape is an essential part of most of
his designs, which range in scale from domestic to global. As the many
drawings and models in this exhibition attest, Fuller was committed to
the physical exploration and visual presentation of his ideas.

The results of more than five decades of Fuller's integrated approach
toward the design and technology of housing, transportation,
cartography, and communication are displayed here, much of it for the
first time. This exhibition offers a fresh look at Fuller's life's
work for everyone who shares his sense of urgency about homelessness,
poverty, diminishing natural resources, and the future of our planet.

- Jennie Goldstein


About.
www.whitney.org/www/buckminster_fuller/about.jsp
Video.
www.whitney.org/www/buckminster_fuller/video.jsp
Timeline.
www.whitney.org/www/buckminster_fuller/timeline.jsp
News.
www.whitney.org/www/buckminster_fuller/news.jsp

Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10021
212.570.3600

www.whitney.org


Marlene Dumas
Measuring Your Own Grave


Show Runs 6.22.2008 - 9.22.2008


MOCA at the Geffen Contemporary
250 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90012


www.moca.org
www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/marlene_dumas.htm


Buff Monster
The Sweetest Thing


Show Runs August 23 2008 - August 30 2008

Corey Helford Gallery
8522 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Tel. 310 287 2340

www.coreyhelfordgallery.com
www.buffmonster.com


Buff Monster
Born of the Abyss


Show Runs April 19 2008 - May 14 2008


Giant Robot Gallery
437 N. 9th Street
between 1st Ave Avenue A in the East Village
New York NY 10009

www.grny.net
www.buffmonster.com


Melanie Pullen
Violent Times


Show Runs July 12 2008 thru August 2008

ACE GALLERY
@ The Wilshire Tower
5514 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
T: 323.935.4411
F: 323.202.1082

www.acegallery.net
www.melaniepullen.com


David Choe
MURDEROUS HEART


Show Runs February 29 2008 - March 28 2008


Lazarides Gallery
8 Greek Street
Soho London
W1D 4DG

44 20 3214 0055

www.lazinc.com
www.davidchoe.com

Clayton Brothers

As Is

Show Runs May 3 2008 - June 2 2008

Apama Mackey Gallery
628 East 11th Street
Houston, Texas 77008
713.850.8527

www.mackeygallery.com
www.claytonbrothers.com

Brendan Monroe and Evah Fan


Bed and Breakfast

June 6 2008 - June 29 2008

Little Cakes
625 East 6th Street #1B
New York NY 10009
646.342.1056

www.littlecakes.org
www.brendanmonroe.com
www.potatohavetoes.com

Phantom Sightings


Carlee Fernandez


Exhibition Runs April 6 2008 to September 1 2008


LACMA
Los Angeles County Museum Of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90036

www.lacma.org
www.carleefernandez.com


Barry McGee & Clare Rojas

The Big Sad

Show Runs March 30 2008 - May 17 2008

Riverside Art Museum
3425 Mission Inn Ave.
Riverside CA 92501
Phone 951 684-7111

www.riversideartmuseum.org

Neckface
Cannibal Carnaval

Show Runs August 16 2008 - September 20 2008

New Image Art
7908 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 654-2192
info@newimageartgallery.com
www.newimageartgallery.com
www.busy-being.com

Sonik Mercury
Kofie One

Engineering Cinematheque


STUDIO 1636
1636 Wilcox Ave
Los Angeles CA 90028

[one block south of Hollywood Blvd]


www.bizzurkearmy.com
www.theenginetheater.com
www.tranzmutations.com
www.keepdrafting.com


After The Reality 2

Yosuke Bandai
Enlightenment
Daisuke Fukunaga
Ujino Muneteru
Nobuyasu Sato
Yukiko Shibata
Akira Shimidu
Koichi Toya


After The Reality 2

Show Runs April 5 2008 - May 3 2008
Deitch Projects
76 Grand Street New York

www.deitch.com

Takashi Murakami

Davy Jones' Tear
Show Runs May 3 2008 - June 14 2008


Blum and Poe
2754 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles CA 90034


www.blumandpoe.com
www.takashimurakami.com


Camille Rose Garcia

The Grand Illusion


Show Runs May 17 2008 - June 14 2008


Merry Karnowsky Gallery
Torstrasse 175
10155 Berlin-Mitte
Germany
+49 30 28 50 30 72

www.mkgallery.com
...

[Message clipped]

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Villaraigosa is ending first term firmly at helm

No change, the same guy(s) for us, folks.

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-mayor8-2008nov08,0,1803056.story?track=rss

Villaraigosa is ending first term firmly at helm

A second term would give Villaraigosa the opportunity to make further progress on goals he set out in his 2005 mayoral campaign.

The politician has no strong challengers in his reelection bid, is flush with cash and enjoys a City Council largely in accord with his goals.
By David Zahniser and Phil Willon
November 8, 2008
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa finishes his first four-year term on a perch that any big-city politician would envy -- no strong opposition, cash in his campaign coffers and a City Hall that is closely in sync with his agenda.

His most formidable potential challenger, billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso, announced Friday that he would not run for the city's top office this year. While Caruso was explaining that decision, Villaraigosa was in Chicago appearing onstage with President-elect Barack Obama.

A second term would give Villaraigosa the opportunity to make further progress on goals he set out in his 2005 mayoral campaign, some of which have not been achieved. As he seeks reelection March 3, he will be in a position to strengthen his hold even further on L.A.'s political institutions -- ones with the power to shape policy on crime, education, transportation and the environment.

The City Council rarely challenges Villaraigosa's broader policy wishes. Two of the mayor's closest allies, council members Jack Weiss and Wendy Greuel, are seen as front runners for city attorney and city controller, respectively.

The mayor now has four allies on the Los Angeles school board and will probably push to get two more elected in March. With the passage of Measure R, the sales tax hike for transit, he has forged a new working relationship with county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, an occasional antagonist on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board.

Even though he was a national co-chairman of Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, Villaraigosa landed a coveted spot Thursday on Obama's economic transition team. Two days earlier, he helped secure passage of three local ballot measures that will pour up to $50 billion into new transit projects, public schools and community college buildings.

His work on behalf of those tax hikes -- Measures J, Q and R -- drew high praise from business leaders who had said they were critical to rebuilding the area's infrastructure.

"There is probably no one in the community in a better position to raise money than the mayor. And I think it had a positive result," said Gary Toebben, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. "All three were an investment in the future of Los Angeles."

The mayor's strong showing stands in sharp contrast to last year, when he came under fire for engaging in an extramarital affair with a Spanish-language television reporter. By then, he had also drawn criticism for getting bogged down in a fight over control of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Still, some critics are wary of Villaraigosa's resurgence. Urban historian Joel Kotkin, author of "The City: A Global History," said the mayor's expanding influence is resulting in far fewer policy arguments and an overall lack of dissent.

"There is no debate," Kotkin said. "We have no legitimate institutions with even the slightest opposition, and the same thing is true in Chicago and New York now."

Villaraigosa's ability to sway -- and help elect -- other politicians stands in sharp contrast to his two most recent predecessors: James K. Hahn and Richard Riordan.

During his four-year term, Hahn had bitter fights with the council over his plans for hiring new police officers and modernizing Los Angeles International Airport. He avoided school politics and had difficulty getting even his four appointees on the 13-member MTA board to vote his way.

Riordan, a Republican who served from 1993 to 2001, had a famously contentious relationship with the left-leaning City Council. Although he did wade into school board politics, he did not elect a new board majority until his sixth year in office. Four years later, three of those trustees were swept out.

Villaraigosa spent his first 18 months fighting with the school board over his effort to take some control of the district. But last year, he spent $3.5 million on a campaign to elect a new board majority. With two vacant seats now up for grabs, the mayor could soon have six allies on the seven-member board.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a pundit who had urged Caruso to run, said he would like to see the council challenge Villaraigosa on his budget and hiring decisions. And he warned that the addition of two more mayor-friendly school board members could actually undermine Villaraigosa -- by keeping him from hearing opposing views.

"They're going to tell him what he wants to hear, not what he needs to hear to carry out his school reform project, and that's what bothers me," said Hutchinson, who also heads the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.

Villaraigosa allies have a sharply different view, saying his increased political clout will allow him to accomplish more of his policy goals.

"I also think he has really raised the profile of L.A. A perfect example of that was today," said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), referring to the mayor's appearance with Obama on national television.

Despite his higher profile, Villaraigosa has said he has no interest in serving in an Obama Cabinet. If he changed his mind and took a position after today's deadline, no additional people would be allowed to run for mayor unless they were write-in candidates.

Still, the mayor has another potential distraction ahead of him: deciding whether to a run for governor in 2010. He remains coy about a possible campaign, saying repeatedly that he is happy being mayor.

For now, Villaraigosa has at least $1.5 million available to use against his 16 likely challengers in the mayoral race, all of whom are running with little or no money. His best-known opponent so far is Walter Moore, a lawyer from the Carthay Circle neighborhood who finished sixth in the 2005 mayoral race. Moore, a regular on local talk radio, has $11,000 available for his bid, according to contribution reports.

Until Friday, the race had the potential to turn lively, with Caruso, the shopping mall magnate who developed the Grove, seen as a serious and well-funded challenger. Caruso had confided to people close to him that he considered Villaraigosa politically vulnerable, in part because of the city's dire finances and what he considers an inhospitable business climate that has driven companies and jobs out of town.

Instead, the GOP businessman said he believed that a mayoral bid -- and life in public office -- would place too heavy a burden on his family, particularly his two younger children.

"I was very confident that we could mount a winning campaign, and I mean that with all sincerity. He has a lot of weaknesses," Caruso said. "The good news for Antonio today is that he doesn't have to worry about a campaign. He gets a free ride."

Villaraigosa campaign manager Ace Smith had long dismissed the notion that Caruso would run this year. Even if the developer had jumped into the race, Smith contended, the millions Caruso could have poured into it would not have been enough to overcome the mayor's record on crime, the environment and transportation.

Zahniser and Willon are Times staff writers.

david.zahniser@latimes.com

phil.willon@latimes.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Welcome to the Chinese monkey house

Okay, I told you. I'm not Tibetan. I'm a hot Chinese chick okay? I speak, write perfect Chinese and know all about the community here. These months have stressed the hell out of me. It just brings out all the bigots around me. Yeah, the presidential election and Proposition 8.

Wanna know about how the ethnic minority's media in Southern California are like? Well, yeah, fuck it, you know who I'm talking about, the FOBs, Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, all the way to Diamond Bar or whatever the China in the Far East on the 10 Fwy. Even if you don't have cable, you can still watch LA18.6 just from digital signal starting this year. Yes, that station with some mid-aged yellow trash woman under 1-inch-thick heavy makeup, 90s fashion and lots of dated accessories all over, interviewing some jackasses from whatever Protect Marriage or unknown graduate school, talking about gay marriage. It's a daily show called "LA Living". Yes, that's the channel, KSCI. You got it. It's like a fucking Chinese version of Fox TV, only even stupider. Write a message to complain here.








Or, look at that church woman who also hosts a daily show on the Chinese radio, one time, about "counseling gay people". Um, excuse me? How dare you bitch?! Every evening, you can mistake AM 1430 for FM 99.5. It's the same heterosexist Christian preaching shit on air. What time is it now? 7PM? Yeah, here we go.

I think Chinese people in L.A. are facing a big crisis: the mainstream Chinese media serving 5-6 million Chinese Californians here are monopolized by bigots. I sometimes read / listen to the news done by the local Chinese media. Oh my holy moly, that's just awful journalism. I don't know what we can do with it when each year, thousands of immigrants from Asia, who don't speak English well enough to understand other media, settle down in Southern California and thought what these bigots preached about was true. I'm from Asia but none of the people I knew from school would say offensive stuff like "counseling the gays." My home was more westernized, not as tainted. So I was stunned, surprised, bothered and I'm now very confused. I hate stereotypes and all but I still feel I have actually lost touch with "my people". But really, who are "my people"? You tell me if you know who "your people" are. Do you really know? Who are Chinese and who are whatever names you call yourself? I have to admit I feel very embarrassed to just think of the idea that I might be associated to a big ethnic group like these FOBs. Is anybody just as ashamed as I? I need a hug.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No lawyers for the disabled on Skid Row

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-mayor16-2008oct16,0,6066295.story?track=rss
From the Los Angeles Times

Villaraigosa vetoes contract for legal help in skid row lawsuit
In only the fourth veto of his career, mayor says he would prefer to spend the money addressing issues instead of paying attorneys.
By Phil Willon
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 16, 2008

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has vetoed a $96,000 contract for outside legal help to defend the city against allegations that it discriminates against the disabled on skid row. It marks only the fourth veto the mayor has issued since taking office in 2005.

Villaraigosa, in an announcement released Wednesday, said that paying an outside law firm was unnecessary because the city has ample expertise, both legal and otherwise, on issues related to the Americans With Disabilities Act, which is at the heart of the class-action federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that the city violated the rights of the disabled by not providing adequate safety measures for them on sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic signals on skid row.

In his veto message to the City Council, the mayor said the outside legal expense was "contrary to our shared principles of fiscal prudence." Villaraigosa warned Saturday that the city could face a budget shortfall of up to $400 million.

The mayor recommended reviewing the allegations in the lawsuit to see if any have merit and suggested that, if they do, he would rather see the city spend its money addressing those concerns than paying outside attorneys.

The veto led to a sharp response from City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo, who had requested the contract for outside legal counsel. The council had unanimously approved Delgadillo's request earlier this month.

In a letter to the council Wednesday, Delgadillo said he had been unaware that the mayor had planned to devote a "significant investment of resources" to bring the city into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"In taking this action, the mayor suggested that we should spend taxpayer dollars to fix the underlying problem instead of legal costs to defend it. I couldn't agree more," Delgadillo said.

In response, Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo said: "We're glad the city attorney agrees with the mayor's veto of his own proposal, because the City Council should have had the chance to consider a smart settlement long before being asked to approve yet another expensive contract for outside counsel."

Because of the mayor's veto, the city attorney added that his office has requested a settlement proposal from the plaintiffs' attorneys, which he will take before the council for consideration. If the council agrees to the settlement, there will be no need to hire outside attorneys, he said.

Of the mayor's four vetoes, three have related to recommendations from the city attorney. The most controversial dealt with a $2.7-million settlement agreement with an African American firefighter, Tennie Pierce, who contended that he was the victim of racial harassment. The city ultimately agreed to settle the case for nearly $1.5 million.

None of Villaraigosa's vetoes have been overridden by the council.

phil.willon@latimes.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Downtown built by Arabs and Koreans

We the residents are all corporeal witnesses of globalization's influence on Downtown in this century...

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-grand15-2008oct15,0,3982916.story?track=rss

From the Los Angeles Times

Korean firm to invest $100 million in Grand Avenue project

The Honua Group is the second foreign investor to inject funds into the $2-billion planned downtown development. The project has been stalled by financial troubles.

By Cara Mia DiMassa
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 15, 2008

The developer of the massive Grand Avenue project in downtown Los Angeles said Tuesday that it had secured an additional financial partner for the long-delayed project.

The Korean investment firm Honua Group will invest $100 million in capital funds in the first phase of the project, which has been subjected to a series of delays as the credit market has tightened.

If the project does not secure a construction loan and break ground in February, the developer, Related Cos., must pay a penalty to the city and county, which own the land where the project would be built.

The investment firm is the second foreign group to invest in the public-private development. A fund controlled by Dubai's royal family put $100 million into the project earlier.

The new investor must be approved by the Community Redevelopment Agency, the county Board of Supervisors and the joint city-county board overseeing the project.

cara.dimassa@latimes.com

Background story:

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-oldgrand,0,5137640.story

From the Los Angeles Times
Grand Avenue project passes go
City and county OK the $2.05-billion plan to reshape downtown L.A.
By Cara Mia DiMassa and Jack Leonard
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

February 14, 2007

Despite criticism about tax breaks and land giveaways, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council gave final approvals Tuesday to a sprawling mini-city atop Bunker Hill that will alter L.A.'s skyline and set a course for future development in downtown.

Elected officials and other backers of the Grand Avenue project described the vote as a turning point for Los Angeles, whose civic leaders have tried for decades without success to establish a central cultural hub downtown that would draw people from throughout the region.

"This is a historic day for Los Angeles. It changes the entire complexion of the center of our city," said civic booster Eli Broad, who is spearheading the development.

The $2.05-billion Grand Avenue project would be the largest single development in downtown history, and would be built almost entirely on public land that would be leased for 99 years to mega-developer the Related Cos. It has few if any equals in the region, in part because of the complexity and scope of the private-public partnership.

The project also has emerged as Los Angeles' most ambitious effort to create dense, high-rise residential developments next to rail lines, offices, cultural attractions and shopping.

Though some consider the project a model for "smart growth" aimed at encouraging people to walk and use mass transit rather than drive, others see it as a tax giveaway that is not in the interests of local government. Critics complain that Related is essentially getting a double subsidy: The city and county are leasing the developer public land for a profit-making business at the same time that the city is granting breaks on future hotel and parking taxes.

They also question whether the project would be the regional magnet its backers hope.

Both the council and board voted Tuesday, in part to demonstrate their lock-step support for the project. The City Council approved the deal 13 to 0, with Councilman Ed Reyes absent. The supervisors approved the project 4 to 1, with Mike Antonovich voting against it.

By approving the deal, the governmental bodies agreed to transfer the land for the first phase of the project -- a county-owned parcel -- to the Grand Avenue Authority, a joint city-county agency that will in turn lease it to Related. (Later phases include land owned by the city's redevelopment agency.)

The votes green-light all three phases of Grand Avenue, which calls for at least five new high-rise buildings and 3.6 million square feet of development.

The first phase would include two translucent glass residential towers to be designed by Frank Gehry, one 49 stories and the other 24.

One tower would include a five-star Mandarin Oriental hotel. Two hundred of the 1,000 housing units included in the first phase would be reserved for low-income residents.

The municipal bodies also approved the development of a 16-acre park between the Music Center and City Hall as part of the project's first phase -- one of the civic benefits that backers said was vital to the project's success.

The development marks the furthest-reaching effort by local leaders to turn downtown into a 24-hour district on par with areas of New York, Chicago, London and Paris. Downtown has long retained a reputation as a sleepy district that virtually shuts down at sunset, though a recent boom in lofts and other high-end residential development is slowly changing that.

The project will rise in an area that since the early 1960s has been at the center of plans for downtown's revival. Through the 1950s, Bunker Hill was a funky -- even seedy -- collection of Victorian apartment buildings and boardinghouses that inspired some Los Angeles writers. The city leveled the neighborhood to make way for an extension of the high-rise district.

Backers believe that Grand Avenue can succeed where other downtown revitalizations have failed. They said that it would rise amid such cultural landmarks as Walt Disney Concert Hall, the other venues of the Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art at a time when downtown is suddenly a hot destination for the first time in decades.

But even some supporters said it remained to be seen whether such a massive undertaking could change the way people think about the city center.

"Done right, redevelopment is a tool for good. Done wrong, it's horrible," county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. "I really believe, let me tell you, there have been more pairs of eyes looking over this project than any I can ever remember."

Though the project has attracted mostly praise at recent public meetings, the tax breaks and other public support have their detractors.

"The desire for an iconic skyline, that's just for aesthetics," said Antonovich, a longtime opponent of the project. "That should be borne by a developer and not the taxpayers who reside in the entire county."

Christopher Sutton, an attorney for the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, which has opposed the tax breaks for the Mandarin Oriental, told the City Council and the Board of Supervisors that his client was prepared to take legal action to block the project if necessary. He called the project a "direct threat" to the Bonaventure.

The hotel issued a similar ultimatum when the convention center at L.A. Live, another mega-project being built at the south end of downtown, received a larger tax rebate in 2005. But that project has moved forward and will open its first phase this year.

Related Cos. said the Grand Avenue project was not feasible without the subsidies. The developer has spent months negotiating behind the scenes for the tax breaks, an increasingly common incentive used by cities to attract catalytic projects.

Early estimates put the tax rebates for Grand Avenue at $40 million over 20 years. But a recent report from the city's legislative analyst estimated that the rebates could cost $66 million. The largest tax break would be in the 14% city hotel tax, a maximum of $60.5 million over 20 years, the report said.

From the beginning, the Grand Avenue project has been marked by a nontraditional public-private marriage. Besides the proposed tax breaks, government agencies are providing the land, investing in street improvements and subsidizing affordable housing in the project.

Related and its fiscal partners, meanwhile, are taking much of the financial risk -- particularly tenuous in a downtown real estate market that has shown signs of softening. They also are subject to a number of requirements, including the condition that all construction and permanent jobs in the development meet the city's "prevailing" or "living" wage requirements.

In addition, the agreement calls for developers to give at least 30% of jobs to workers living within five miles of the site. That clause was criticized by Antonovich, who described the city deal as unfair to workers who live elsewhere in the county.

"It's Jim Crow of the 21st century," Antonovich said. "We're denying them their constitutional rights to work in their own county?"

Despite those criticisms, several civic leaders said it was rare for the city and county to cooperate so fully as they have to move the Grand Avenue project forward.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who serves on the joint powers authority board, called the level of cooperation unprecedented.

Though the city, county and developer each would bear a portion of the project's financial risk, each also would profit if the development was a success.

The city and county could reap substantial tax revenue from the project, far more than they receive now from the properties, which are either vacant or parking lots.

Related has written a $50-million check to the civic agencies, which represents the prepaid ground lease on the first phase and a portion of the second phase of the project.

Related has said that construction of the first phase is expected to start in October and be completed in June 2011.

cara.dimassa@latimes.com
jack.leonard@latimes.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Coming closer and closer...

First it was the USC student, then the Mid-Wilshire homeless Buddha. Now, finally, near the Convention Center...

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-twodead14-2008oct14,0,6664161.story?track=rss

12-year-old boy is one of two shot dead near L.A. Convention Center
By Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 14, 2008
The other victim is an 18-year-old man. Police say the Sunday night shooting is believed to be gang-related.

A 12-year-old boy was one of two people killed when gunmen opened fire on a group gathered west of the Los Angeles Convention Center, police said Monday.

The fatal shootings Sunday night of Steven Munoz of Los Angeles and Luis Rodriguez, 18, of Long Beach were believed to have been gang-related, said Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Norma Eisenman.

The shootings occurred in the 1400 block of Connecticut Street near Olympic Boulevard and west of the 110 Freeway about 8:30 p.m., when unidentified men got out of a car and fired at the group several times, police said.

Steven, who was hit multiple times in the upper torso, ran from the area before collapsing on 11th Street. He was taken to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, where he was pronounced dead.

Rodriguez, who officials initially said was 25, was discovered bleeding in an alley in the 1400 block of 11th Street. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Witnesses told police that a third person may have been wounded in the foot, although that person hadn't contacted police.

Investigators were looking for assailants who fled in a four-door car, believed to be a Honda, that was gray with white spots. They were described as Latino males, 17 to 18 years old, with shaved heads, gray shirts and black pants.

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

Monday, October 13, 2008

Downtown mid-residential-life crisis

Today is October 06, 2008. If I die at this moment, which day will I have completely disappeared in this world? Does anybody here know how long it takes to decompose a medium built Asian woman's body?

The answer is it depends. It differs from under the earth to let's say, on the death bed in one of the units in my building. The amount of oxygen, temperature, extent to attract bugs, everything else affect the speed of my corpse's and my dog's body decay.

Wait a minute, did I lose my job? No. I'm still fine even though the sky is falling outside. Did I break up with Joe? Neither. We're still together last time I checked. I even managed to be able to speak some French now, keep my dog alive and buy a new car and get some shows / writing done which were quite fun to do. It seems like I have gradually fit in as one of those Downtown's working hybrid car drivers walking around with a damn pure breed dog. I did not lose any of my 401K in the stock market at all either. Theoretically I should be quite happy at this point.

But for some reason, it feels like it's a bit rotten inside of me these days.

As you all know, I came to Downtown to find Grass-eater in the first place. Yeah, the jerk that bamboozled me. What I had not told you about him is, one day, I saw him in front of the Banquet while I was with my new boyfriend.

That was a surprise. After more than half a year, I saw him pass by with a super old woman when I was having breakfast there. The mysterious fiancee that I had never seen, the woman that I wondered how she was 1,000 times, was right in front of me!

You know who she was like? She was wearing a multi-colored windbreaker with the hoodie on, heavy fleece scaves tied around her neck, track pants, tennis shoes, sun glasses, i.e., I could not see too much of her skin. The only thing I saw very clearly was her face. She was wrinkled, not just at the end of the eyes as most women start having in their 30s, but all over her cheeks, and cannot be associated with the word attractive by any means, at least at that point. Thank you! That ending of the story kind of sucks, doesn't it?! What? Just an old woman? At least give me some really surprising ending, like that was an Indian princess, or a movie star, or whatever, right? Just an old woman and that's it?! WTF?!

And what was Grass-eater like? Well, if he had not done anything for me, he had done one thing: always got his hair cut when he saw me. In half a year, he had turned to a mini King Kong! I don't think he gained much weight but since the curly longer uncut, unstyled hair together with his beard were all over, he looked very large and wild. I could hardly recognize him. Of course, I still recognized him but the thrill and love feeling that used to come along with every vision of him were totally gone. He was just a big and untrimmed stranger. Isn't it weird? Finally, I could not care less about whom I had only cared about before.

He saw me and gave me a hateful look. I had no idea why he would look at me like that but that didn't really matter. My purpose to come to this area was fullfilled. I had forgotten about that man finally. I don't pass by his building anymore or when I do, I don't look at his window anymore. He is over.

So why am I here again? I can't remember. Oh yeah, to drive my damn hybrid car, walk my damn pure breed dog. Just like what they say, "all the things Downtown can offer you". "All the things, " right?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What do you do when your bitch pees a lot?

Well, why would she pee a lot? Cuz she’s sick! Yes, I do make mid-day break to come home and let her out, but since my little crazy dog is on steroid, she drinks and pees a lot. I leave home at seven every morning and then come home at about five before I go to my second job and class. Crazy bitch can’t hold that long. She has to go a few times a day. I’ve bought the “Second Nature” from PetCo before that looks like an oversized cat litter box but for dogs. Crazy bitch did not like it and never used it. About $60 wasted. So I’ve been doing some research on indoor dog toilets. Here are my options.

Regular doggy potty $150
The drawback is you have to replace the turf. It’s about $40 each. I think you do it every month or you can cut your own from Home Depot. That’s not so economic and eco friendly. I don’t know how often I want to make a trip to Home Depot for sod. Just not a Home Depot person.

Pup Head $150
I think it’s the same as the regular doggy potty except that you don’t have to replace the turf. Just wash it in bleach and water. I’m leaning towards this option because it sounds more reasonable money-wise. What do you think?

The Right Spot $150
This looks like a knock-off of Pup Head but a bit bigger. I’m not entirely a fan of knock-off if I can afford the original but The Right Spot is definitely still an option.

PuppyPark Potty $100
This one doesn’t look bad either. Also cheaper. The only thing is it looks like about 4”-or-so high for the dog to step on. I’m not sure if she can learn how to get that high to pee. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Pet-a-Potty $250
Again, this kind is high. Looks like half a feet or something. I think all these “penthouses” are the same. I don’t know if crazy bitch likes the idea. It uses either real grass or synthetic and you empty the base by pulling it out. Not particularly fond of the idea of real grass.

There’s a chance that I might have to find a roommate and move elsewhere to cut cost later so I think making an investment on a dog toilet now might be wise. Looks like somebody is getting a new toilet. I feel depressed just to think about moving.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Haus (6th & Serrano, Koreatown)

Once upon a time, there's a city called Los Angeles. At the center of it, we have its Downtown.

Ah, sorry, forgot to tell ya, despite I wrote "once upon a time", there's actually been quite a long time since the beginning of LA's history right now already, like, 2050. So, that "once upon a time" I was saying was actually some time in approximately the first decade of the 21st C. Not recent, no no.

So what did we have there in Downtown? Unlike many historic stories, but also just like any stories, we had pretty well-paid people working in Bunker Hill, sipping their Starbucks coffee and looking at the water pond on a nice early autumn day. There used to be a chick called Downtown Chick that worked in the corporate Downtown too who later quit her boring day job but moved to Downtown. She came to the United States from Asia a few years prior to her imprisonment in that little cubicle somewhere in California Plaza and found her first job in Los Angeles in the jewelry district selling diamonds. Yeah, you know that kind of expensive natural stones poor people in other countries lost their lives for. The security guys of the building where Downtown Chick worked liked flirting with her. They sometimes called her up at the middle of the day and asked, "hey, there's a dead body right across the street (they meant in the Pershing Square), you wanna see it before the police comes?" She'd be like, "what the fuck?!" Without a driver's license, she always took the metro had to pass some crazy guys on Broadway and Hill on the way to work in the morning. She had not seen any men wearing decent suits which she was familiar with in her hometown a long time. She also never had a bank account or a credit card because she got her petty salary paid under the table and would buy money orders for $0.65 a piece at the Mexican supermarkets in El Monte to pay her bills.

Just like anybody who gave up her everything for whatever reason you name it to flee to a foreign country, one day, she saw prosperity on the day she needed a bank account and hiked up to Bunker Hill from Hill Street during lunch hour. She saw tall buildings, men in suits and clean streets. She then said to herself, "This's nice. I'm gonna leave the crazy dirty diamond place and work here!" Now this story is getting very boring and you probably can figure what happened later so I'm gonna cut to the chase: now, she's having dessert in this fancy fobby Haus "Dessert Boutique" in Koreatown. They had those little "airplane" buttons at the corner of the table so you could press "call", "bill", "check" waiting for the staff to walk by. $8 for a cup of coffee. What kind of coffee costs $8 a cup before tax?! Well, apparently, luxury coffee. So hip modern interior design with Asian accents like powdery colors and stranglers, beautiful tea tools on the shelves, fantastic tiramisu with the bottom part of the cake soaked with so-damn-strong good coffee and very tasty cream over the quattroberry cake (overall not so good; the cake is made too hard; she'd had better elsewhere) made by Korean baker made a check definitely enough to feed an entire family and Downtown Chick wondered: "let's say in 50 years, will it get easier for the crazy guys at the station and the guys stabbed to death on the alleys in K-town eventually?"

The answer to her question? Of course I know but I'm not gonna tell you. Readers, you need to witness the rise and fall of this one-of-the-biggest-cities-in-the-US to know the ending. Sit tight.

P.S., the author is getting very sad to see hunger and violence along with the increase of energy, food prices these days.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

An open letter to the cool successful independent first-time moms

You know, my old female friends from the college Feminism class or some sort, it’s actually legal for you to be pregnant in L.A. last time I checked. We can even hold a Ph.D. in Gender Studies and still buy an open crotch French maid set in the Valley here. That’s what’s lovely about L.A. You just can’t do the same in San Francisco, you know what I mean? So lady, you don’t have to always emphasize your pregnancy is “an accident” to everybody except your mom. After the 30th “victim” told me her pregnancy was also “an accident”, I started realizing the pattern of all those usual stories of “a serial accident” happened to so many self-claimed independent professional women is really not just an accident… No, it’s not X-file…

Let’s face it. You’re not that hot in L.A.’s standard. We don’t really talk about it aloud but we all know where we stand. You do okay in school and find a guy who’ll drink your pee to marry you before your biological last call. It’s about 2 weeks after your last period now. You know what’s gonna happen. You let the guy put his thing in you and stay there long enough to reach your reproductive goal. Then 2 weeks later, you don’t have another period.

You call this carefully designed and executed plan “an accident” just because you had done that before and the first 2 times he didn’t knock you up?! Aw, wait a minute, did I really know you from college?

Then 7 months later, you’ve already done with your Babies “R” Us shopping, baby shower and all that crap. Your home looks like a kindergarten.

Then that little thing grows and your life becomes a million-dollar marathon marketing campaign that advertises for years, more successful than the AT&T’s. Non-stopped online baby photos with professional touch ups. Custom designed greeting cards for ALL holidays, ALL occasions. Baby voice recording machine greetings that last a damn hour, make us want to just hang up. Endless virtual live reporting about his first word; his first walk on both feet; his monthly anniversaries; his first tooth; Halloween baby costume; Christmas baby costume; sudden ethnic baby costume for the Kazakhs New Year. Goose bump inducing repetition of the melodramatically tear breaking “a mother’s love is the biggest love of all”; “he’s an amazing baby; he just makes me cry”; “baby bearing is the most amazing thing in life”; “Chick, you’ll never understand it until you become a parent”; “oh…I’m so proud of my baby…”; “say ‘hi’ to Auntie Chick”; “say ‘bye’ to Auntie Chick”; “come on, give Auntie Chick a kiss”…

You ask me what I’m doing; who I’m seeing. I tell you I’m doing what I choose; I’m not getting married soon. Then you look at me with that infamous “married asshole’s stare” telling me you thought I’m crazy.

Sheesh! Will you just shoot me?! No, I don’t fucking want a baby and I certainly have no interest whatsoever in reproducing a life like yours. You get it? God, even my mom in Little Rock gets it.

Since when have you been so on the case of keeping contacts with everybody anyway? Where were you when you’re busy chasing the nerdy guys that couldn’t find a girlfriend in our college years? We used to call you all these years but didn’t hear back from you. Are female friends just your human accessories like a breast cancer rubber bracelet or a pink ribbon charity tee? So finally one of the nerds agreed to marry you. We were wondering if we should buy you an 8 foot leather whip with stainless steel reinforced handle for your wedding. You want black or brown? The floggers are complimentary. All top quality good stuff wrapped in foil pouches from Pleasure Chest, the best local sex shop. Won’t break or discolor the underwear. Careful, don’t kill the nerd though.

Don’t pretend you are one of those women who are great artists, intellectuals, creative chicks, have a quality pool of male lovers, never get married, never have kids and still look good in bikinis in their 40s then fall in love with another woman who’s like themselves in their 50s if you are not, alright? You don’t have to be one. It’s okay if you’re not but just don’t fake it, please? Trying to be cool is very uncool.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t discriminate against babies. It’s the obsessed pretentious moms I can’t stand.

Your single friend,
The crazy chick who got your “you’ll find somebody” stare

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where do nut cases date?

Have you thought of how the mentally ill date? I mean, do they go to special education classes together? Or maybe support groups? Playing with guns? Wrestling? Heroin? Stay at home making crazy babies? Wandering in the street? Killing people and eating their organs? Scientology? Ever thought of that?

Well, the truth is, for Joe and I, two patients with a pretty diplomatic medical records of mental disfunctioning, we actually do something really nerdy, like, watching an opera. You'd say, "what the fuck?! Are you guys divorced overweight grade school teachers?" Right? But hold on a sec, William Friedkin and Woody Allen directing an opera? Crazy! Yeah! You got it! Exactly! We gotta watch it.

Hurry up, the $20 tickets are still there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Honda Ya Izakaya (3rd and Alameda, Little Tokyo)

American Joe's condo had a major plumbing disaster. Shit was coming out from his neighbor's toilet the moment we woke up in the morning. We had to drive to the Bristol Farms just to use a free and clean toilet and I dared not even drink water. As his home association's president, my kind, people-serving and decisive boyfriend took up the role of captain overseeing things that day and told me to go home myself first. So my buddy took me to this izakaya restaurant in the Mitsuwa plaza like we were bachelors. Grilled vegetables and raw fish salad with chuhai (shochu based cold alcoholic beverage). I had lemon, so very good. But I missed my honey. Seriously, all we need were just 2 tiny shit buckets, weren't they?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Skid row musician works late

Does anybody know who this guy that's having a free concert tonight at 11PM in front of Bert Green is? At first I thought of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers from reading Steve Lopez on L.A. Times but then hey, he's bringing 2 white plastic bags and a trumpet case (I think, not 100% sure), but not a violin. Any idea? He actually CAN play. Nice!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fisherman's Outlet (5th and Central)

L.A. Brain Terrain took me there for Downtown's own fruits de la mer for the ordinary people, civil servants, hawkers, janitors, writers, unemployed, etc. Okay, no, the seafood is not as good as let's say, right on the beach in Ko Samui in Thailand or Cape Cod in Boston but for $9 a plate of fresh fish and shrimp, this's definitely a returnable joint, especially for somebody with a non-existent travel budget. I'd even go by myself hidding with a book and a cup of Starbucks there when it's not as windy on a summer afternoon, ah, is it a weird loner plan again?

Tasty Garden (Garfield and Valley, Alhambra)

From top to bottom: taro tapioca pudding, red bean coconut cakes, daikon and curry fish balls, red ginger and preserved eggs, Portuguese seafood rice.

Not sugary but still nicely sweet, the tapioca pudding should very well be their trademark: taro, coffee, mango, durian, green tea... Oh geez, why do we even need Pinkberry?

Fish balls were crispy and rightly flavored. Slightly sweet red ginger was perfect on a hot summer day after some shopping spree in the Asian grocery stores in San Gabriel Valley.

Finally, here we go with the end-of-last-century colonial highlight: authentic Macau Portuguese yellow sauce is always a nice alternative for people that can't eat curry. Forget Japanese curry. That's for kids.

Every time I'm here I'm like a kid in a candy store. In fact, Joe came here and bought walnut shrimp takeout to surprise me after a super long day. Every girl has a weakness and Downtownchick's was totally cracked.



Mandarin Noodle Deli (Last Tunas and Primrose, Temple City)

This place has gotten a shitty English name. Doesn't anybody know any Chinese places calling themselves Mandarin whatever or Thai places calling themselves Thai whatever are usually bad? That theory is widely used among foodies but with which Mandarin Noodle Deli does not conform.
Their hong you chao shou (紅油抄手) the famous Sichuan Chengdu dish was the best I had ever had even among other restaurants in Asia. Strangely, I can't find its picture. It's a special kind of dumplings in red oil with vegetables and meat that just tastes so very differently and seriously good. We also ordered the fish dumplings. The fish still tasted fresh. The beef briskets were tender and not greasy.
Only about 10 miles away from DT, the Chinese food out there is just so on another level, so much better. Makes me eat mostly yogurt and granola over here everyday. Sad.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Le Pain Quotidien (Manhattan Beach and Valley, Manhattan Beach)

Um, yeah, there's no good bread in Downtown. As a carb addict, Downtown Chick had candidly advocated this neighborhood issue many times before. The closest I could get was Beverly Hills Le Pain Quotidien. But then we might as well just snap a quarter of the sourdough to make homemade partines after a breakfast in Manhattan Beach.

Rikyu (Second and San Pedro, Little Tokyo)

Life is just tiring. I'm sick. So, this place on the top floor of Weller Court gets the job done. Much better than the grossly heavy vulgar-spicy adolescent Orochon. Quiet. Non-trendy. Not hyped. Super cute Asian waiter. This is a real Japanese restaurant for real adults. Mild curry soup vegetables udon is even not good for only winter if with a beer. Makes the end of a long day so much better... This is home...


Friday, May 23, 2008

Paris love story IV: The biggest porn star in the world

Have you ever dated a super famous international porn star? Hm? No, not just like Colin Farrell, chump, who knows about Colin Farrell? I mean, as famous as somebody like Pamela Anderson or Paris Hilton, or ahem, my boyfriend, Joe.

Well, yeah, hot? That’s what *you* thought. Try checking your Yahoo! Mail and seeing the adultfriendfinder.com banner ad with another naked young hot women holding his beautiful perfect dick on every single webpage you load, watching the TV commercials on E! Channel with him making out with different women that barely wear anything on national TV, or reading his impressive portfolio of sex pictures with like 2,000 chicks in Hollywood, Van Nuys, Santa Ana, Vegas, Milan, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Manila, Bangkok, Saigon, Taipei, Shenzhen first, then we can talk! The same hand on the pictures, with the same big knuckles that touch my body the same way he used on all those women. That OC chick has bigger boobs. That Van Nuys chick has longer legs. That Palos Verde chick has more money than all people I know added up together do. That Burbank chick can do nothing but take his entire thing all the way in to her throat. God, is she a human being or a giraffe?! I feel certain amount of pressure to represent our hood, Downtown, among all these women. I walk around Joe’s home. There’re all dongs, vibrating eggs, 12” rabbits and skanky lady’s lingerie. What should I do with them?

So I did what most dysfunctional women did in this situation: I started to contemplate how to fuck things up. You know how it is? When things’re going too well, we start freaking out and throwing up everything we eat. My mom told me I was fat and stupid so I’d better marry that skinny nerd in my highschool who fixed my first PC, wore a pair of 2-lb eyeglasses and could never find a girlfriend cuz the nerd was my best shot already. Dating the biggest porn star in the world? Are you kidding me? Who would anyone wanna date me except a man who couldn’t get an erection? Any men that could actually get it up must be like Grass-eater. They just wanted my ass then marry other wonderful beautiful rich women. I knew. I just knew. Don’t even try arguing with me.

In order for me to be a complete jerk to Joe, I had spent almost two months on strategizing the best way to frighten him. I wasn’t gonna just pick on him or get with other men. Those things were too obvious. He’d figure it out right away and just hold me in his arms. Then it’d be all over. I must think of a perfect plan to completely convince him we’re not made for each other.

My God, thank you for my ancestors’ intelligence. I found my fate in my “root”: Chinese fortune telling!

So we drove all the way to the Far East on the 10 Fwy to visit this famous prophet my girlfriend recommended on one of those days when it’s 100 degrees outside. Almost melted me! You’d think it’s some little old blind Chinese guy in black ancient Chinese men’s clothes and a little hat with a little stub on the top with an abacus, a turtle shell and some copper coins in his hand in a room full of beautiful antiques and bird cages just like in Hollywood movies right? No! Instead, it’s that man in a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, slacks with a Vaio laptop in an office in a strip mall.

“Are we made for each other?” So we asked the prophet.

“Hm, let me see…” He took down our birthday dates and times and crunch some numbers on his program with his Vaio.

“Prophet, do you see anything?”

“Yes, a hat, a man’s tall hat.”

A hat?!” We looked at each other. Joe didn’t wear hat that often unless he went to watch the Lakers with other guys. I think caps and beer’re some kind of a guy’s thing. It’s like handbags.

The prophet continued, “And porridge.”

Porridge? What kind? Like rice porridge with pork or desert green bean porridge? How’bout iced taro tiny tapioca porridge? A man’s hat and porridge? This prophet was really helpful, wasn’t he? I was just pondering if we should just leave put down five bucks and go get some boba next door, heh.

But Joe seemed quite curious. He asked the prophet, “So, she was a hat and I was some porridge? Is that something like that?” Sounded like some destined love between us, didn’t it?

The prophet turned his head and frowned, “No…”

“Uh huh. And what was it then? Are we made for each other?”

“She sold porridge 100 years ago. She grew oranges and made congee for railway workers in the street. Actually it should be ‘he’. She was a man before.” The prophet pointed at me.

“And what does the hat do anything with it?”

“You were the biggest journalist in a tall hat and a suit. You wrote gossips about local rich people and celebrities here. You saw her in the street, no, him, when he was selling congee. Suddenly you thought, ‘Oh, look at that China man! So cute!’ You went to pick him up but he was scared of you. You then introduced yourself as the biggest local entertainment journalist…”

Okay, I was feeling really strange. We’re sharing a gay story with this Vaio guy in Diamond Bar now. I couldn’t handle it. Interracial same-sex relationship 100 years ago? Are you kidding me? Wow! My face started burning.

But the prophet seemed very satisfied with his liberal revelation of our forbidden love in the past. He continued, “So, he followed you back to your Victorian house in Silverlake. Once he stepped into your house, he freaked out.”

“Why’d I freak out?” I asked the prophet.

Cuz you saw his pictures with other beautiful women.”

“Yeah but I thought I was the porridge guy. Apples and oranges.”

“Ma'am, you still freaked out.”

“So what happened to us eventually?”

“Well, since nobody knew what happened between this white man and this Chinese guy, you became happily in the closet. You never wanted to get married like people do nowadays.”

I think I forgot to take my drugs. Hah! Happy Memorial Day everybody!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Paris love story III: the biggest porn star in Los Angeles does not eat Hong Kong food

I came back to Downtown with the American guy I met in Paris. But see, the thing is, when you're with someone from a different background, like, an extremely successful porn star in Los Angeles, namely, my new boyfriend, Joe, it's really hard to eat with him. I have no idea what those weird low this low that 0 trans fat things in his fridge are. He said, in order to keep his smoking hot ass and perfect cock in shape, he needed to work out 5 hours a day and only eat organic everything like everybody in California. So when he opened my fridge and found those frogs, chicken feet and pig kidneys, his calls kind of slowed down. Yeah, I know. I'm disgusting. But come on, I only eat snake gulls every other year. The rest of the year, I want these Hong Kong food better than a meal in Ortolan.

Breakfast:

Fried eggs, wheat toast, cold real butter, sausages, fresh vegetables. Can make at home.

1000 years old egg and pork congee. Can make at home. Takes about 45 minutes in a clean morning after a dirty night.

Shu mei. Must go yum cha. Cannot make at home.

Har gau. Must go yum cha. Cannot make at home.



Yogurt + granola. Eat everyday.

Lunch:

Shrimp wonton. A piece of cake. Can make at home.

Salty fish chicken fried rice. Must go cha chan tang. Cannot make at home.

Tom yum seafood noodle soup. Must go cha chan tang. Cannot make at home.

Roast goose rice. Must go cha chan tang. Cannot make at home.

Curry chicken rice. Must go cha chan tang. Cannot make at home unless Mom's here.

Afternoon snacks:

Fake shark fin soup. (Don't throw eggs on me, they're just bean noodles and mushrooms, not real sharks.) Must go cha chan tang. Cannot make at home.

Curry fish balls. Must go cha chan tang. Cannot make at home unless you have hours to sink the fishballs in the rice cooker.

Dinner:

A simple salad, preferably spring mix with Italian or blue cheese dressing, no ranch or 1000 island please. My no-brainer.

Steamed vegetables and oyster sauce. Preferably pak choi or choi sum. My no brainer.

Steamed garrupa with ginger and green onion. My no brainer.

(For cold weather only) Reserved pork / duck hot pot rice with vegetables. Must go to mandarin dish restaurant. Cannot make at home.

Movie snacks:

Cheese. Usually get it from Downtown's Ralph's.

Fried chestnuts. Can buy at the entrance of Chinese or Japanese supermarkets.