Friday, December 14, 2018

RETRO FRIDAY: In 1972, ABC7 Invaded a Valley Family's Living Room to Produce a Newscast (WATCH)

This may be one of the most unusual local TV promotions ever: In 1972, KABC-Channel 7 held a contest to come and do a newscast at someone's home. Early that summer, that's exactly what the station did: They essentially moved into the San Fernando Valley home of the Jensen family, and did a newscast.

It was... awkward. Eyewitness News anchors Joseph Benti, John Schubeck, Ralph Story, Stu Nahan, and Alan Sloane, sat with the camera-shy family in their living room and around the dining room table.. and did the news. Sports anchor Nahan at one point thanks Mrs. Jensen for the "garbanzo beans and the hot dogs wrapped in tin foil." (I also love the son who doesn't take his sunglasses off.)

It's pretty amazing, and it's been saved in all its glory on YouTube. Watch below:

Broadcasting magazine covered the story; here's what they wrote in their June 26, 1972, issue:
Billed as the first complete TV newscast ever broadcast from a home, the event was the culmination of a two-month promotion content is which viewers were asked to tell the station what hearing the news from a friend means to them. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jensen of the Sepulveda section of the San Fernando Valley won the right to KABC-TV's housecall and they were inundated by the following:

• Remote truck at the site, powered by its own generator for running equipment and audio gear.

• Inside the truck monitors, switching equipment and studio staff.

• Cables from cameras to power units, with cable running through doorways of the home.

• Plywood laid to protect carpeting and floors. Various other protection used for walls and furniture.

• Direct telephone lines from the home into Studio B at KABC-TV Hollywood for news updates.

• A news teletype wire at the site.

• A Telco (telephone company) truck at the site, which transmitted the sound and picture via microwave signal to a Telco transmitter on Mt. Wilson, the highest point in Southern California.

Personnel at the newscast in the home included: a director, a producer (a second producer was located back at the station), associate director, stage manager, technical director, lighting director, video control engineer, audio man, two cameramen, two utility men (to handle microphones, set up equipment), engineering maintenance man, three electricians, two prop men and set designer. News personnel included the on-air news team of Joe Benti, John Schubeck, Stu Nahan, Alan Sloane and Ralph Story. Also on hand were a show coordinator and several newswriters.

On the newscast, the Jensen family was introduced on-air (the Jensens' 17-year-old daughter, Linda, actually sent in the winning entry). But the delivery of the news, for the most part, was presented int he normal fashion of the regular KABC-TV newscast.

 Dr. George Fischbeck also wrote about it in his memoir, and Time magazine even did a piece on it.

The other amazing thing about this newscast: Chuck Henry, who's seen reporting a story, is, of course, still active in Los Angeles TV as KNBC-Channel 4 anchor. Now that's career longevity!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Rate-A-Restaurant #385: B Sweet Dessert Bar (Sawtelle)

Restaurant: B Sweet Dessert Bar

Location: 2005 Sawtelle Blvd. (Sawtelle)

Type of restaurant: Dessert

We stipulated: My parents were in town, and we took them to Santa Monica to visit the Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica airport. Afterward, we wanted to grab dessert, and it seemed like the perfect time to finally try B Sweet — I've been dying to try their ube bread pudding forever.

They stipulated: "B Sweet was created to bring back the homemade taste in cakes, cookies, pies and many other pastries. This young company has an unmatched level of quality in its products, and it clearly shows not only through its presentation but also in its taste. Individual handwork and attention to detail enables B Sweet to produce fresher and more authentic flavors then pastries produced in larger corporate kitchens. Using the highest quality ingredients such as fresh fruits purchased from the local farmer’s market make up its 'yummy factor.'"

What we ordered: Banana chocolate bread pudding ($5); ube/buko pandan cake ($6); root beer float ($4)

High point:  The kids were happy, the parents were happy, and much dessert was consumed. Plus it was National Coffee Day, and B Sweet was offering free samples of its Nitro Coffee.

Low point: Turns out the ube bread pudding — my entire reason for wanting to visit B Sweet — isn't always on the menu. And it wasn't when we visited! To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I got the ube/buko pandan cake, which was mighty tasty. But it wasn't the ube bread pudding I craved.

Overall impression: Love the selection of desserts — something for everyone.

Will we return:  Well yes, I need to get back to B Sweet to try the ube bread pudding — but I will call ahead and make sure that it's on the menu before I visit. And we also need to sample B Sweet's halo halo. Before I start another diet, we need to return.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Person of The Year: Time Magazine Gets It Right

Spot-on picks for Time Person of the Year. When CNN's Brian Stelter asked for picks the other day, here was my suggestion, which was a bit similar to what the magazine chose:

It has to be Jamal Khashoggi. A free and vibrant press is under attack across the globe, as tyrants in power feeling increasingly comfortable with silencing journalists and others who would otherwise speak truth to power. The shocking and gruesome murder of Khashoggi has at least shined a light on the importance of a free press and how the Fourth Estate is often the only thing standing in the way of tyranny. Even if Time doesn't pick Khashoggi, he could be part of a larger package on journalism, truth tellers... or just The Truth.

Here's how Time explained its choices: The 2018 Person of the Year issue features four covers depicting Philippines-based editor Maria Ressa, jailed Burmese journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, the staff of the Capital Gazette, and the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. “By featuring four distinct covers, we were able to amplify different voices from around the world,” says TIME creative director D.W. Pine. “In the process of just doing their jobs, our cover subjects faced dangerous threats in what continues to be a global war on the truth.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

29Rooms Returns to Los Angeles With a Message of Empowerment — And Instagram-Friendly Displays Too

Refinery29's "29Rooms" showcase was back in Los Angeles this weekend for another run, with 29 new rooms that are a mix of art, play, message, and marketing. It's truly made for the Instagram age. Thanks to an invite from Refinery29, Maria and I dropped by the Reef in downtown Los Angeles to check it out. Phones in hand, naturally. 

The first installation we saw (and waited in line to experience) was an underwater world designed by Kesha.

Here's how the current tour is described: "The new #ExpandYourReality tour is the break you need from our fast-paced, digital world and dissonant political climate. Travel blindfolded through a multi-sensory ASMR tunnel, dance it out with performers in a reimagined nightclub, write an intimate letter to your inner child and work side by side with Artists in a dedicated studio space. Come ready to explore as you “choose-your-own-adventure” in this ever-changing dreamscape of modern art and experiential design." (We didn't do all of those things, given the lines.)

Some of the messages of female empowerment, voter rights, and more, were well received.

The ACLU reminded us that we should "know your rights."

"Love Letter to the World"

"Artist in Residence"

"Pay women." Yes.

"Money Mantras"

Our favorite display of the night was probably this one: "A Long Line of Queendom," by Unbothered. 

In this room, people were invited to write a note to their "inner self."

Pop-up performances included one by inclusive dance company Infinite Flow.

Other collaborators included Lena Waithe.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Florence and the Machine, Chvrches, Death Cab for Cutie and More: Highlights From KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas

Thanks to KROQ — specifically Dave "The King of Mexico" Sanchez — for allowing me to partake in another fun Almost Acoustic Christmas concert. Night two of the annual event took place on Sunday night at the Forum, highlighted by headliners Florence and the Machine (above) and others. Besides her powerful voice and a set list with plenty of KROQ favorites, Florence also brought down the house by asking the crowd to put down their phones. And the Forum crowd obliged!

The real highlight for me was earlier in the evening, however, when Chvrches performed. From its synthpop sounds to Lauren Mayberry's voice, they're phenomenal live. And yes, I followed up their performance by embarrasing myself in front of them later in the Forum club. Turns out blurting "Hey Chvrches!" and then waiting for them to respond wasn't the best way to get them to talk, but it was a great way to get them to look at me weird.

Mike Posner, who ended his set... with beat poetry.

Young the Giant.

Bastille played the hits, ending with "Pompeii."

Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard.

More from Florence and the Machine.

The Kevin & Bean crew, minus Bean.

KROQ's Beer Mug, in character as "Mugos."
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