This week I’ve seen a number of stories about changes in the San Fernando Valley and environs. I’ll note the first item is tangentially only related to the valley — but is area related and so neat I had to include it:
- Here’s a neat animated map that shows how Los Angeles grew as a city. I’m not sure there are other cities that have growth like this — certainly not equivalents such as San Francisco or New York. It shows why, in many ways, LA is unique.
- In Reseda, the Reseda Theatre — near the corner of Reseda and Sherman Way, and long long long time shuttered…. may be coming back to life as a Laemmle Multiplex. This is great news — it will help change the nature of the neighborhood in a good way — in a non-Caruso way — bringing in supporting businesses and perhaps pushing out some of the pawn shops and tattoo element. The Los Angeles City Council last week approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with developer Thomas Safran & Associates for a mixed-use project on the site near the corner of Reseda Boulevard and Sherman Way. The plan calls for a new Reseda Laemmle Theater at 18443 Sherman Way with 34 senior citizen units on top of and behind the theater building. The Reseda theater will probably have six screens.
- In Panorama City, change is coming: the long-empty office tower — vacant since the 1994 Northridge Earthquate red-tagged it — is going to be revitialized. Developer Izek Shomof bought the Panorama Towers building last year for $12.5 million and plans a seismic retrofitting to make 192 live-work units and retail space on the ground floor. It’s the centerpiece of several major changes coming to the area. Another developer has purchased the struggling Panorama City mall and plans improvements. An old Montgomery Ward department store is being transformed into a mixed-used living and retail complex that will include a grocery store, movie theater or big-box retailers. No word on what is happening to the former Ohrbachs, which last I recall was an indoor swap meet. This is yet another area ripe for revitalization.
- In Santa Clarita, it is being reported that Congress wants to turn the St. Francis Dam Site into a National Monument. Specifically, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to establish a national memorial and monument in honor of the hundreds of victims of the catastrophe. Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) authored the bill, and the Daily News reports that similar legislation may soon be introduced in the Senate. The memorial would be funded by private donations and would establish a 440-acre national monument administered by the National Park Service. Of course, the dam is the inspirations behind one of my favorite Christmas shows ever. Just remember: All dams leak.
In closing, some parting words from William Mulholland: “I can deal with the shit. It’s the farts that wear me down.”
Recently, I have seen various things that remind me of how society has changed since my youth — whether it is for the better, I’ll leave to you decide. It is markedly a loss of innocence and a growth of awareness.
- When I was up at camp Friday night, I noticed in the dining hall a brit that all campers had to sign. This evidently has been part of camp for the last (mumble) years since the current director came, and I think is it a good thing. It requires all campers to acknowledge that camp is a mutually supportive safe space, that embraces individuality. Back when I went to camp in the 1970s, we had that feeling (although there were a few bullies), and I believed that everyone came away with the impression that camp was a safe space. I certainly did, and I was one of the more individualist campers out there. But today we have to say it and remind people — a sad commentary on not only the prevalence of bullying, but the acceptance of bullying in some circles.
- Back in the 1960s, the Smothers Brothers had a routine about updating old musical standards that reflected societal mores no longer in vogue — the example I remember was the all-white MacNamera’s Band requiring integration. The other day I read a review of Beauty and the Beast in the Daily Cal that captured another thing people might have missed, best embodied by this paragraph: “At this point, most audiences — and, indeed most Americans — know the plot of “Beauty and the Beast”: Belle, a brilliant woman utterly suffocated by the patriarchy and her small town, escapes marrying a misogynistic, violent, entitled alpha male (Gaston), and ends up being held captive by another man in his castle. ” The reviewer goes on to castigate the show as outdated, but you’ll find a large number of Broadway successes (and even Shakespearean successes) have such equivalent dated values, from Merchant of Venice to How to Succeed to Flower Drum Song to … you name it. My comment is more on the increased awareness we have of these issues — our increased recognition of art that accepts violence and perpetuates stereotypes, or that appropriates culture. Again, a loss of innocence from our youth, but perhaps for a good reason.
- The third item is also from the Daily Cal, this time looking at the Venmo culture. Again, here’s the key paragraph: “Short Venmo transactions — supposedly aimed at discreet, cold-cut convenience — were enough to make me feel left out. Something about the nature of their publicized transactions screamed: “We don’t want to announce to the world that we hung out, but we still want you to see and imagine what we did.” And that’s when it struck me: We, as Millennials, have entered a whole new territory of humblebragging.” Through Facebook and Venmo and Twitter, we’ve entered the era where we regularly state our status by sharing our activities, humbling our friends who cannot afford such luxuries. I’ll admit I’m guilty of that with my theatre reviews — it is hard to know the balance. But again, the issue here is awareness — we’re increasingly aware of when privilege comes into play.
- That brings me back to camp. While at camp — with this increased sensitivity — I was realizing that most of our Jewish summer camps are camps of privilege — just due to the nature of the makeup of Judaism as predominately white. There are black Jews and hispanic Jews and Jews in lower socioecomic spectra, but what do we do to reach out to them to provide that camp experience — that safe shared space. If they came, would it be humble-bragging of our position? I don’t know, but it would be good to find a way to reach out.
Finally, to finish off clearing the links, here’s the potpourri of what remains:
- From the Umm, No Department: Forbes has an article on Dinner in the Sky, a dining experience that features a 200-foot-high crane that hoists a 22-person table 150 feet into the air, where “sky chefs” and flighty mixologists serve a four- or five-course meal as you dangle over LA Center Studios in Downtown LA. Just looking at the pictures gives me the willies.
- From the Color Me Home Department: It turns out the color you paint a room can have a significant effect on your home’s resale value. Lifehacker recently shared a study conducted by Zillow that analyzed photos from over 50,000 sold homes. Paying close attention to the colors of main rooms like the kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and living room, Zillow found that homes with yellow kitchens sold for around $1360 above their expected values, while homes with white kitchens fell an average of $82 short of their estimated values. The data also showed that homes with oatmeal or beige-colored bathroom walls came in $283 over value, while light green to khaki-colored bedrooms yielded an average of $1331 above expected value, and terracotta living rooms translated to around $793 less when all was said and done. One of the biggest discrepancies was with dining room paint colors, where shades of purple could put sellers $1122 above expected values, but certain shades of grey could place them $1122 below estimates.
- From the Free Concerts Department: If you have used Ticketmaster, free tickets (or at least some discounts) may be in your future. Log into your Ticketmaster account, and look for active vouchers. I did, and I had quite a number. However, all of the current free concerts were sold out; even if they weren’t, nothing was of interest. I might use their ticket discounts, however, for a future Hollywood Bowl event.
- From the Card Check Department: The DOD may be getting rid of the Common Access Card. It turns out that the barcode on the front contains PII, unencrypted.
- From the I Gotta Go Department: Do you think we should have this at our next Golf Tournament? A golf club that you can pee into for those times on the course when you just gotta go.
- From the Paying Your Dues Department: Our Men’s Club has eliminated dues, going instead to voluntary contributions — and it has been successful. We’ve tried to persuade our congregation, but no luck so far. Here’s an article on Ner Simcha, a Westlake congregation that has bit the bullet and eliminated dues. They are going on faith that it will work. At Temple Ner Simcha, everything will be free, including classes, services, events and High Holidays.
- From the Speed Monitoring Department: Have you been driving down the freeway, and seen a “Speed Observed by Aircraft” sign, and wondered if it was just a decoy. Wonder no more: It isn’t, but your odds are low of being caught unless you’re stupid.
- From the God Bless You Department: It appears the Ashman/Menken musical based on the Vonnegut novel “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater” may be revived. With James Earl Jones. Wow.
Continuing with my post-Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB) clearing of the links, here are some articles with some interesting historical notes:
Now that the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB) is over, save for the encores, and now that the writeups are done, it’s time to start clearing the links. Here are some accumulated links from the last two weeks related to food:
Before I start writing up this week’s Fringe shows, let me clear out a bit of news chum. Here are a bunch of articles, all related to Los Angeles (the city I love) and its environs:
- Interchange Transformance: “A Simple Change Transformed One of LA’s Busiest Intersections Into One of its Safest“. At one intersection in Hollywood, LADOT made a simple change and dramatically transformed the intersection’s safety profile. What did they do? They changed Hollywood and Highland into a scramble-crosswalk interchange.
- Finding Food in the City: “Urban Foraging: Unearthing The Wildcrafted Flavors Of Los Angeles“. One wouldn’t think you could find food growing wild in Los Angeles. You can… if you just know where to look.
- Bar-be-que Yum Yum: “12 Smoky Barbecue Destinations in the San Fernando Valley“. What’s most interesting is that I don’t know most of these, and they omitted a number of my favorites. I still think their first item is overrated. In general, their choices for the west, central, and east valley are just bad or non-existent. What places do I think of? I wrote a bunch up in a February post, although it looks like Roger’s may have succumbed to the Pho-King Curse of Kenny Rogers. Related to the main BBQ article is this list of “Four New School Barbecue Options to Try Right Now in LA“
- Lovin’ the Valley: “70 Things to Love About the Valley“. Ah, the valley. Where it is going to reach over 115 this week! But the valley is still a great place to live, and the article demonstrates why.
- Burmese Food: “New Silver Lake Restaurant Finally Brings Burmese Food To Los Angeles“. While we were in Berkeley, our daughter took us to a Burmese restaurant. Interesting food. One just opened in LA; we’ll have to give it a try.
- Development the First: North Hollywood / “Here Are the Two Possibilities for Huge Transit Hub Development“. They are talking about doing some massive development in and around the North Hollywood Red Line station. It is just going to be miserable while they do it, and I’m not sure I’ll like the results.
- Development the Second: Westchester / “340 Acres Near LAX Getting Total Overhaul“. Over near the airport, the community of Westchester may also see new development: this time, it is the space that is between the residential neighborhood and the runways.
- Development the Third: Burbank / “Revealed: Big Plans to Redevelop the Burbank Ikea Site“. There is a massive overhaul coming up to the Burbank Mall and the soon to be former Ikea facility. There’s going to be the new-style residential/business mix (first major residential push in Burbank in a while). There will also be an attempt to re-think and re-work the mall.
- LA Theatre News: Two theatre related items. In the first, LA Stage Alliance has announced an Allies program for those that aren’t member theatres. I’ve signed up for it; hopefully you will as well. Second, it has been announced that Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo will be the lead in the upcoming Broadway version of Amalie. Why is this LA news? Amalie will be getting a pre-Broadway tryout in Los Angeles with Soo.
- For CSUN Lovers: Lastly, seen on Facebook: A Sweatshirt that says “Never underestimate an old woman that went to CSUN“. I’d get one for my wife, but she’s not old.
This is another busy weekend, so I should probably put this pot of news chum on the stove to simmer. What’s in it? A collection of articles and other items I’ve seen on the web this week that have stuck in my head. Let’s lift the lid and find out what is in this pot:
- “The Ever-Tightening Job Market for Ph.D.s“. It is graduation season. This means that metric tonnes of newly minted graduates with Bachelors, Masters, and PhDs are going to be flooding the job market, and in many professions, it will be bad for the PhDs. The linked article talks about a recent report finds that many newly minted Ph.D.s complete school after nearly 10 years of studies with significant debt and without the promise of a job. Yet few people seem to be paying attention to these findings; graduate programs are producing more Ph.D.s than ever before.
- “How Unions and Regulators Made Clothing Tags an Annoying Fact of Life“. Clothing tags. Those things at the back of your shirt that annoy you. Did you ever wonder where they came from? Wonder no more.
- “Bookstore down: Mystery and Imagination & Bookfellows in Glendale“. Another independent bookstore bites the dust: Mystery and Imagination, which was across the street from another recent closure, Brand Books. Although some independent bookstores are thriving, others are closing… and it is a sad thing. Amazon may be great for music, but it is a pain for discovering new books. It is not just bookstores that are closing: Orphaned CDs, which was around the corner in Northridge, has been put on the market, sold, and moved to Sunland.
- “Offbeat L.A.: A Cherry on Top- Fosters Freeze, the History of California’s Original Soft Serve“. I had never realized that Fosters Freeze had originated in Los Angeles, the product of an attempt to bring Dairy Queen to LA. I’ve enjoyed them over the years (particularly, the fudge dip that crunches afterwards). Interesting read.
- “Want to Make America More Inclusive? Start With Stamps“. I used to be a stamp collector. I guess I still am, although I haven’t updated the collection in years. Stamp collecting has gone out of favor as a hobby, with the advent of self-adhesive stamps (that don’t soak off), pre-printed postage, and the decline in physical mail. Stamps are interesting, and have always been a reflection of a country in its values. The linked article looks as how America and other countries demonstrate their inclusivity through the images they put on their stamps (and the people that end up collecting them).
- “Pacific Bus Museum in Fremont: showcasing a piece of Bay Area history“. I’m into transit history: be it trains, planes, automobiles or buses. I’m a member of a train museum, but I haven’t seen a similar attempt to save buses. Well, until I read this article.
- “Going to Universal Studios Hollywood with food allergies“. As a reference for those attending this year’s ACSAC — an article on dining at Universal with allergies. Alas, the picture isn’t the greatest at the present time. Disney still wins hands down in this competition.