It’s Saturday, and that means it is time to clean out the accumulated saved URL links (with a bit of commentary) from the week. Get your fill now — next week’s stew will be chametz-free!
- Graffiti Busting. Two articles related to graffiti-busting caught my eye. The first looks at the battle that LA’s army of graffiti cleaners face. Many years ago, my mother-in-law was one of those busters. How bad is the problem? Here’s the second article, which notes that LA cleaned up over one square mile of graffiti last year. It is a problem, and I’ve never understood the reason why people enjoy trashing something that belongs to someone else. Hmmm. I wonder if taggers and graffiti artists are the trolls of the real world?
- Going on a Diet. Were you annoyed when they put Wilbur St. on a road diet? Get ready to be annoyed again. This time, it’s not Wilbur that is changing but Reseda Blvd, between Parthenia and Plummer. They aren’t getting rid of driving lanes (although it looks like the center dual-left is going away); they are converting the conventional bike lanes to protected bike lanes. Be forewarned if you are driving or parking in the area — it will take time for people to get used to them.
- Food News. A few food-related news items. Fresh and Easy is closing 50 stores — and the one near us in Northridge is one of them. That’s too bad — I like the selection at that store and it was very convenient. Graeters Ice Cream, which we enjoyed when we visited Louisville KY, is opening shop in Caesars in Las Vegas. I think I know where we’re stopping in Vegas, and perhaps it might entice our friend Linda to come west for a visit. Lastly, ever wonder what happens to ugly fruit and vegetables? In a society that demands perfection, do we mock the misformed carrot or potato? The answer is that they are actually becoming more popular.
- Deaths of Note. Two deaths of note this week. The first, Dr. George Fischbeck, was a long-time weathercaster here in Los Angeles. He had a delivery style and presentation (and longevity) that made him memorable, and was one of those genuinely good people. The second was musician John Renbourne. I learned of Renbourne through my uncle, Tom Faigin, when I recorded his collection of folk albums for him. Renbourne made a number of classic folk albums: solo, with Bert Jansch, and with his group Pentangle.
- Revitalizing Congregational Life. Here’s something to chew on: What is the business of a synagogue? Rabbi Larry Hoffman explores the question. He starts by noting the business is not religion. In the past, it was continuity: providing activities that ensured Judaism would continue to the next generation. Today, he argues, it is providing an authentic identity. Do you agree? If so, how do congregations achieve it through the services provided. Great question.
- The 100 ¥ Store. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve never been in Daiso. Here’s the history of the store, and why it became what it is. The short answer is that it is Japan’s dollar store, but unlike the 99c store, they don’t remainder items — they make their own unique items.
- Not So Hidden Anymore. Here are two articles on “secret” hiding places: 15 from DIY crafts, and 20 from Family Handyman. My big concern with all of these is that I’d forget about them. Hiding something does no good if you can’t remember where you hid it, and you leave the valuables in the house when you sell it.
- Theatre Items of Interest. Thought I wouldn’t have anything on the battle to save 99 seat theatre in LA? Wrong. Here is a collection of editorial cartoons on the subject. They truly prove that a picture is worth 1000 words. But if you want words, here’s an interesting article on the lies we tell about audience engagement. The article makes the great point about the important of indie (read small and intimate) theatre — and how it often provides the only engagement for young people and for artists and audiences of color. Here’s the great paragraph about that: “In most American urban centers, there’s a vibrant, thriving indie scene—small theatres operating on a shoestring budget, paying people a stipend and operating out of 99-and-under rentals or non-traditional spaces. Think of it as DIY theatre. Indie theatres are now connected via the internet in ways they’ve never been before. The people working within them now have a picture, at least anecdotally, of the national scene, and can see that indie work all over the country is filled with young people, women, and people of color, both as creators and consumers.” It goes on to note: “We don’t, however, care to look at the indie scene.Because we ignore and undervalue indie theatre, we imagine we’re discussing issues in “theatre” when what we’re actually discussing is a particular segment of theatre—one from which women, young people, and people of color are largely shut out.”. What AEA wants to do is destroy indie theatre — and in the process, they are reducing the opportunities for women, young people, and people of color to grow in theatre (and this from a union that protested photoshopping a civil rights protest photo (inadvertently) because they are pro-civil rights. Are you a Los Angeles AEA member? You know what you need to do. Vote “no”, so we can work together to create the change the LA theatre community needs.