Archive for January, 2012

Apocalypse Hoosegow 4: Of Heroin Burritos and “Dings” at L.A.’s Men’s Central Jail

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

I’ve seen the mentally ill scurry from beatings under bunks, behind trashcans, and between walls and toilets. I’ve also witnessed Sheriff’s Deputies chasing these “Dings” down to hogtie ‘em and leave ‘em that way until their wrists and feet turned so purple I wanted to scream in anger. It’s all coming back now – but this time, finally, it’s coming back publically.

First of all, “Ding” is a jail term for prisoners suffering from obvious mental health issues. Jabbering crazy dudes are everywhere in jail, and most of ‘em like to hide – in corridors, showers, laundry areas, etc. They also jump out at you, yell at you, grab your food while you’re eating, and keep you up at all hours. So naturally, Dings get the shit beaten out of ‘em night and friggen’ day. (more…)

Overheard at the Art Gallery:

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

“Los Angeles beckons teenagers to come to her on buses,” sings the band Soul Coughing in a song called “Screenwriter’s Blues.” Besides being literally true, the same lack of imagination applies to anyone who looks for the reactions of others before rendering an opinion: the copycats and the skittish; the birdbrains and the sheep; the neophytes and the misfits, all of whom seem to be drawn to my otherwise great city. (more…)

Enter the Vivian Maier “Crowd”

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

There was once a woman who worked as a nanny, who wandered the streets in her off hours photographing pedestrians, policemen, and passersby. Thousands upon thousands of pictures she took, tossing countless rolls of undeveloped film into drawers and boxes without an apparent need for approval or accolade. Tonight in Los Angeles, Vivian Maier’s legacy of fascinating self-direction and independence will be given the art gallery treatment with a reception at Merry Karnowsky Gallery on La Brea Avenue.

From what we know of Maier, courtesy of John Maloof, discoverer of all of those lonely rolls of film and the imagined stories behind them, she did not seek fame or fortune. She wasn’t competitive nor driven by a need for attention or even very much company. For such a rare and precious discovery, I’m both excited and afraid for my expectations of whom her work will attract. Will the “look-at-me” L.A. crowd be up for her self-contained legacy? Stay tuned.

No Happy New Year for Hollywood Arsonist

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Harry “The Hollywood Arsonist” Burkhart was apprehended, but not before giving me a personal view of the lives affected by his über-tantrum.

Monday, January 2, 2012

At 2:30 a.m. on Monday, having been jolted from sleep by sirens aplenty, I saw for myself the fear, loss, and abrupt gratitude on the faces of an apartment building full of people watching their cars and property burn.

Living in Los Angeles, you get to know the difference between a burning hillside and 3000 lbs. of plastic car, so when I looked out our kitchen window and saw a huge column of thick tire smoke mushroom-clouding over the house, I knew two things: that the response by police and fire had been nearly instantaneous (bravo!) and that this unhinged piece of shit had made his way into our neighborhood.  (more…)