Wednesday, March 20, 2019

College Admissions Scammer Rick Singer Sure Didn't Try Hard With This Cheesy Recruitment Video

You've all heard by now about the college admissions scandal led by Rick Singer, who is behind the college admissions cheating plot that led to the indictment of nearly 50 people. Singer orchestrated the plot that has now implicated Lori Laughlin, Felicity Huffman, CEOs and coaches in a bribery scheme to get the children of wealthy individuals into colleges of their choice. Among other things, Singer is accused of having helped some kids cheat on their SAT and ACT exams, while falsifying records of others in order to get them admitted to schools as part of sports recruitment.

But I like to also point out that sometimes, it's easier to point out scams than you think. Watch the video above, from Singer's "The Key Worldwide." It's pure amateur cheese from start to finish, and a true red flag that this guy was a fraud. Anyone involved has to be embarrassed. My favorite part has to be "Key Coach" Brian Hewitt and the moment he starts addressing the camera. This could be a "Saturday Night Live" sketch -- but sadly, it's reality. Watch above.

Monday, March 11, 2019

KCRW Is Outta The Basement: A Farewell To Its Old Digs (PHOTOS)

It was a long time coming, but KCRW is finally in its new studios off of the main Santa Monica College campus. Well, almost. "Press Play" is still originating from the old basement studios this week, and I recorded this week's "Screengrab" segment (my weekly TV chat with Joe Adalian that airs Tuesdays at 8:45 a.m.) in the old studios on Monday — but it was a ghost town. After years of planning, KCRW finally has a new home.

A new home that will finally give the station and its employees room to breathe. Even as it grew, the KCRW staff managed to operate in tight quarters, in the basement below Santa Monica College's cafeteria. Above and below, some views of its music library. Look at all that sweet, sweet vinyl! (CD's in the file cabinets and on the walls as well.)

(And when I say it was a long time coming, it's no joke. I remember bringing the family to KCRW's new building open house in December 2017 -- read about it here. It took longer for the move than anyone expected, but I think everyone finally now sees the light at the end of the tunnel!)

A view of one of the KCRW offices. Not a lot of natural light, and phone reception was always spotty down there. 

One of the studios where I got to record "The Spin-Off" and "Screengrab" over the years.

Not sure what's going to happen to this stuff, but new equipment awaits the station at its new facility.

The hallway as of last week, before the moving boxes came.

A view into KCRW's live studio in the basement.

Some amazing photos of artists who visited KCRW over the years could be found all over the basement -- and have now been transported to the new station.

One of the first things you saw when entering the station: An ever-growing collection of Polaroids taken by notable guests.

Oh, and the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne. His face would be beaming back at you, welcoming you to the basement.

KCRW is leaving just before this fading sign completely peeled off.

My view.

Coincidentally, this is the second time I've been affiliated with a radio station that moved out of a basement. As general manager of Northwestern's WNUR in 1995, I was part of the team that moved our student-run station out of the basement of Annie May Swift Hall and into brand new facilities on its first floor.

Here's an updated look from Monday, with the walls now bare and the staff mostly gone.

Someone had to painstakingly remove all of those Polaroids! Curious to see how they're displayed in the new building.

And that's it! Congrats to everyone at KCRW on making the big move, especially my producer, Kaitlin Parker, and general manager Jennifer Ferro! Can't wait to begin recording "Screengrab" there!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Britain in Los Angeles: A Visit to the Official British Residency in Hancock Park

As Oscar weekend got underway, I had a chance to visit the British Residency in Los Angeles for the first time ever, to enjoy tea and toast this year's British nominees. It's a beautiful home, the site of regular events, the home to the British Consul-General in Los Angeles, and was famously where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate, stayed when they visited in 2011.

The Wallace Neff-designed house was built in 1928 and has belonged to Britain since 1957. The British consulate itself is in Century City.

Per the official British government website, "Michael Howells is a British diplomat and Consul General in Los Angeles. He is the senior representative of the UK government in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii. In this role, he promotes trade and investment, scientific cooperation, creative and media collaborations and educational partnerships between the UK and the southwestern United States. He also oversees delivery of essential consular services to a 600,000-strong British resident community and British visitors numbering over a million per year."

It was a beautiful afternoon, so many of the attendees headed to the backyard. Among those spotted in attendance: Richard E. Grant ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?"), nominated for outstanding supporting actor. It was a great weekend for Grant, who won the Independent Spirit Award on Saturday, and tweeted a video on Sunday of himself on the trampoline at Melissa McCarthy's house.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Free L.A.: National Geographic Women of Vision Exhibit at Forest Lawn Glendale

I've written before about how the Forest Lawn Glendale museum is one of the city's great secrets: A free museum exhibit that rotates a few times of year, always offering something unique. The best part: It's free. And even beyond the exhibit inside the museum, the views from the top of Forest Lawn Glendale are great as well.

The latest exhibit, "National Geographic Women of Vision," features stunning photography from around the world, as shot by some of the magazine's most celebrated female photographers.

Here are some details from the site: "Featuring nearly 100 photographs, Women of Vision includes moving depictions of far-flung cultures; compelling illustrations of conceptual topics, such as memory and teenage brain chemistry; and arresting images of social issues, such as child marriage and twenty-first-century slavery. In addition, the exhibition demonstrates how National Geographic magazine picture editors work closely with the photographers to select images and tell stories. Video vignettes present first-person accounts that reveal the photographers’ individual styles, passions, and approaches to their craft."

"Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment" will be open to the public from December 11, 2018 through April 7, 2019 at the Forest Lawn Museum, Forest Lawn-Glendale, 1712 S. Glendale Avenue, Glendale.

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