Thursday, October 30, 2014

FREE L.A.: Trick or Treat on the Boo-levard in Atwater Village TONIGHT

Trick or Treat

One of our favorite Halloween events happens TONIGHT: Grab the kids, shove 'em in their costumes and do some early trick-or-treats tonight on Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village! The street will be packed with kids hitting up various businesses for candy. It's a great way to get some practice in for the main event tomorrow! Oh, and candy.

When: Thursday October 30th from 4:30-6:00pm
Where: Glendale Blvd in Atwater Village
What: Trick or Treating for the whole family brought to you by the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council

Porn Billboard on Sunset: Scandal, or Yawn?


The porn site Porn Hub is making a big deal about its first-ever billboard on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. But this billboard is mighty tame compared to plenty of billboards we've seen on the Strip over the years. Big yawn?

"Serial": Your New Podcast Addiction


Did Adnan Syed really kill his ex-girlfriend in 1999? How did a jury convict based on the sketchy testimony of his former friend, Jay-- who seems like a pretty obvious suspect himself?

If you've been listening to Serial, the new weekly podcast from This American Life, you've been obsessing over this case in recent weeks. And waiting, impatiently, for Thursday morning, when a new episode arrives.

My pal Maria Elena Fernandez, over at NBC News, just posted an excellent story about why "Serial" has quickly become the No. 1 podcast on iTunes. An excerpt:

"Serial" -- the podcast co-founded by “This American Life” producers Sarah Koenig and Julia Snyder -- is a daring living piece of serious, journalistic work.

In her friendly, conversational tone, Koenig, the host, takes listeners along on her investigative ride—a journey that began a year ago when she became interested in the death of Hae Min Lee and thought it might be worthy of an episode of "This American Life." In each episode — released each Thursday morning — Koenig and her team continue to probe Lee's death and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, who was tried as an adult and sentenced to life plus 30 years even though he was 17 when Lee was strangled. It is a case built on circumstantial evidence and teeming with unanswered questions, including, as “Serial” is revealing, whether Syed was wrongfully convicted.

Koenig, who came up with the idea for the spinoff, wanted the podcast to sound different than “This American Life” and have a live vibe, which is why she opted not to produce the episodes in advance. She writes episodes the week before they are released as she continues to dig for the truth.

“We have a sense of where we might be going but because we’re still reporting it, we’re open to the idea that it could be entirely wrong and we could take a hard left turn at some point in another direction,” said producer Dana Chivvis. “We would love to know what happened—whatever that truth is. By the end, Sarah has said she wants the listener to feel they’ve finished a really good book or they were engrossed by the world of the book or the story itself. We’d love to know this is exactly what happened. But if that doesn’t end up happening, I don’t think we’re going to feel dissatisfied.”
"Serial" has already spawned podcasts about the podcast. And a growing number of amateur sleuths are doing their own investigations online. It's been heartening for Washington, D.C. immigration attorney Rabia Chaudry, a friend of Syed’s who has been trying to spread the word for years about Syed's innocence.

Is Adnan Syed guilty? So far, at least, there seems to be enough reasonable doubt to bring into question why cops and prosecutors were so convinced that they had their guy. It looks like "Serial" will ultimately end with an unsatisfying conclusion -- Syed is still in jail as we speak, after all, and I haven't read about any attempts to re-open the case. But I'll be listening.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MIKE ON KCRW: World Series on "Press Play" and InternGate on "The Business"

On this Monday's edition of Press Play with Madeleine Brand, Sarah Mesle of the Los Angeles Review of Books and I discuss the World Series, TV's first cancellation and new late night host James Corden. A brief logline:
The Giants took the lead over Kansas City in the World Series yesterday. But if you’re like most Americans, you probably didn’t see it. According to ratings, people are far more interested in football and The Walking Dead than baseball these days. We hear about that and other small screen news in our weekly television roundup.

Listen below!

KCRW Press Play

Then, on Monday's edition of The Business, Kim Masters and I banter about:
- NBCUniversal settles with former ‘SNL’ interns, while other cases involving claims from unpaid interns at places like Sony and Fox still remain up in the air.
- There’s been no breakout success in this fall TV season, but in an unusual move, nothing’s been cancelled either. (Shortly after recording this week's conversation, there was one cancellation: ABC pulled the plug on Manhattan Love Story.)
- For new ideas, TV is turning to adaptations of old movies.

Listen below!

L.A. Conservancy's Latest Event Hearts Garden Apartments

LA Conservancy

The L.A. Conservancy's occasional day-long driving tour events always offer new and interesting insights into lesser-known parts of the city. (Read our recap of the organization's event around downtown's 7th Street here, and "It's a Mod, Mod, Mod City" event here.)

In the case of this Saturday's "We Heart Garden Apartments!" – a one-day tour of three "villages in the city" -- it's a chance to get up close to some of the mid-century garden apartments that you may have seen from the outside, but not much more than that.


Imagine living in a garden oasis in the middle of America’s second-largest city. Thousands of people do, and it’s a unique and endangered way of life in development-prone L.A. Here’s a chance to see what life is like in historic garden apartments, “villages in the city” that could never be built today.

Los Angeles has one of the largest collections of garden apartments in the nation, with nearly forty built between the late 1930s and the mid-1950s. Why are these communities so special?
· They put people first, connecting people to each other and to nature
· They are forward-thinking, blending housing needs with innovative architecture, landscape design, and city planning
· They’re still great places to live today

Ironically, part of what makes garden apartments so special – their low density and vast open space – makes them increasingly vulnerable to demolition and redevelopment.

The tour will provide rare public access to Village Green in Baldwin Hills (1941), Chase Knolls in Sherman Oaks (1948), and Lincoln Place in Venice (1951). Guests will also learn about the L.A. Conservancy’s efforts to preserve Wyvernwood in Boyle Heights (1939), L.A.’s first large-scale garden apartment community.

Saturday, November 1
10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$35 general public, $25 L.A. Conservancy members and tour site residents, $15 students, $10 kids 12 and under
Go to for tickets.
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