Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Broadway's Historic 'Tower Theater' Reopens This Saturday With Famed Edwardian Ball!

The Edwardian Ball
Descends on Downtown LA for the First Time
Following SF’s 9th Annual Weekend-Long Celebration (Jan. 23 - 25)
At Tower Theater
Saturday, January 31, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA – Paradox Media, Vau de Vire and Cirque Berzerk presents The Edwardian Ball - Los Angeles on Saturday, January 31, 2009. A splendid San Francisco tradition flies south for the winter, presenting an elegant, turn of the century celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus arts, DJs, ballroom dance, fashion, technology, and of course, the art and stories of Edward Gorey. Costumed attire is requested! Held in the historic Tower Theater, and hosted by LA's own big top phenomenon Cirque Berzerk in partnership with Edwardian Ball co-creators Rosin Coven and Vau de Vire Society, the night promises an unforgettable blend of audience and performance with humor, darkness, and style. Also featuring Helios Jive, DJ Xian (LADEAD), Jill Tracy, Miz Margo, Dark Garden Corsetry, and many special guests.

Tower Theater is located at 802 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014. For more information on the venue please call 213-629-2939 or visit http://www.towertheaterla.com. Doors open and show begins at 8:00pm, and all ages are welcome. General admission tickets cost $25, and a limited amount of $75 VIP tickets are available that include reserved balcony seating and hosted absinthe bar, courtesy of Obsello Absinthe (21+ only). Tickets can be purchased at Necromance (7208 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046; 323-931-2997). For more information and online tickets, please visit http://www.edwardianball.com.

Since 1999 The Edwardian Ball has steadily grown from an underground club phenomenon into a full-fledged festival of arts and culture, focusing on the esteemed works of the late, great author/illustrator Edward Gorey. Now, with the blessings of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust, this one-night-only Los Angeles event of everything under the midnight sun reaches across cultural boundaries to include audiences of all ages and backgrounds, where literary fans are as welcome as goth club goers, where the high flying trapeze and steam-powered machines create the backdrop for elegantly dressed ballgoers waltzing their way into the antique portrait studio. Event producer/founder, Justin Katz, muses, “No one city can contain this celebration where the old-world meets the world-to-be with an unforgettable tip of the top hat, curtsey, and a splash of absinthe poured over a silver spoon… So we’re thrilled to bring the Ball to LA.”

For almost a decade, The Edwardian Ball has been featuring Gorey tales brought to life on stage. A truly prodigious and original artist, Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000), gave to the world over one hundred works, including The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Doubtful Guest and The Wuggly Ump; prize-winning set and costume designs for innumerable theater productions from Cape Cod to Broadway; a remarkable number of illustrations in publications such as The New Yorker and The New York Times, and in books by a wide array of authors from Charles Dickens to Edward Lear, Samuel Beckett, John Updike, Virginia Woolf, H.G. Wells, Florence Heide and many others. His well-known animated credits for the PBS Mystery series have introduced him to millions of television viewers. Gorey's masterful pen and ink illustrations and his ironic, offbeat humor have brought him critical acclaim and an avid following throughout the world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Gorey).

Heralding dozens of various performers, Cirque Berzerk has been performing since 2005. Spearheaded by husband and wife team Kevin Bourque and Suzanne Bernel, Cirque Berzerk is a tight-knit family of performers who have banded together to put their unique spin on the face of contemporary circus theater. Complete with their own big top tent (and still buzzing from their sold-out, multi-weekend “Beneath” shows at the Los Angeles State Historic Park in summer 2008), they have performed for various types of events and clients including Carmen Elektra’s New Year’s Eve Bash at Paramount Studios, Best Buy, PlayStation3 Computer Entertainment System and a host of private shows at locations ranging from nightclubs to the Ritz Carlton. The troupe’s signature style blends hardcore circus choreography with the glamorous themes of cabaret and vaudeville. Stunts include aerial performance, contortion, various stunts involving fire and incredible stilt action. More information on Cirque Berzerk is found at www.cirqueberzerk.com.

A hidden gem in downtown LA's Broadway movie palace district, The Tower Theater was the first theater designed by renowned architect S. Charles Lee. The Tower opened in 1927 as the first movie palace in downtown LA wired for sound films, and was the sneak preview location for the Warner Brothers' classic, The Jazz Singer (1927). The theater's opulent exterior and interior feature French Renaissance motifs with lavish Spanish, Romanesque and Moorish influences. Popular with film industry location scouts but rarely used for live events, the venue owners saw how special this production was and on January 31st… so will enthralled audience members.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Los Angeles Times STILL Can't Get It's LA Neighborhoods Straight! UPDATE FROM LA TIMES! More Updates And Partial Correction!

How hard can it be for the Los Angeles Times to take a Thomas Guide, talk to some people who know something about this city - and then mark up that book with the correct names of our city's neighborhoods.

And, I am told by a veteran reporter, one such book once existed. So I would like to offer the LA Times the help of the neighborhood councils in drawing up a map of where our city's neighborhoods are.

Lately, the problem near Downtown has been that anything west of Downtown is automatically called - the Westlake District - no matter how far into Koreatown or Mid-Wilshire it is - or how close to Downtown it is - even when it's actually Pico-Union neighborhood - which is east of the Westlake District.

But now they've managed to screw this area up even worse.

The exact same street they used to say was in Westlake - Westmoreland Ave just east of Vermont - they are now saying is in the... Pico-Union neighborhood....even though the Westlake District is located between Pico-Union and Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown neighborhood that Westmoreland is actually located in. (Correction - Westmoreland this far south could be Koreatown - but NOT Mid-Wilshire. But all articles about Pico-Union clearly state Hoover is the furthest west the area goes so it is NOT Pico-Union).

So the Los Angeles Times has now decided there are not one, but two Pico-Union neighborhoods - one on each side of the Westlake District.

Apartment building partially collapses, injuring 4
Fire officials estimate 20 to 30 people were inside the Pico-Union building when the front portion collapsed. The injuries were not believed to be life-threatening
By Scott Gold

January 19, 2009

The front of a small apartment building in the Pico-Union neighborhood collapsed Sunday night, injuring at least four people.

A portion of the building in the 1600 block of South Westmoreland Avenue collapsed shortly before 9 p.m. Fire officials said between 20 and 30 people were inside at the time.

None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening. One woman was hospitalized with multiple lacerations. She was in stable condition, paramedics said.


Just got an email from California editor David Lauter - and the Times is now working on putting together an on-line map of Los Angeles neighborhoods; they will then invite the public to comment upon it.

And since the LAT isn't the only one who has trouble telling one neighborhood from the other, and since there are so many different potential boundary lines - this is a chance to get at least a semi-official guide to what is what and where the hell it is.


First, I forgot to mention the LA Times new project will use census blocks as the matirx for their neighborhood maps. Second, as one person below mentions - some maps DO list this as being in the Pico-Union neighborhood while others list it as being in Koreatown. And there is a legitimate question as to how far south Westlake goes and what the area below that is called if it is not Westlake.

But it is clearly NOT mid-Wilshire as it might be if it were a little further north (an area which the LAT has been increasingly calling... Westlake) and while it might be Westlake adjacent - possibly Harvard Heights might be a better description as the below poster suggests - or it might be the Harvard Heights neighborhood in the Westlake, Pico-Union or Koreatown... District.

Which brings us to the question - are neighborhoods parts of larger districts - and, if so - what would you then call the various East and West Los Angeles's?

My head hurts and I need to lie down now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Park Comes To Historic Downtown Los Angeles!

At the CD 9 Quimby Fees Committee meeting today, it was announced that the parking lots on the east side of Spring Street between the El Dorado condos under construction and the just finished Rowan condos will no longer be the site of a hotel - but will instead become.. a park.

The city has just negotiated a price of $5,600,000 for the 36,518 foot site - which comes out to about $157 a foot - with a proposed closing date by the end of March. This still has to go to council for approval, but with Jan Perry's support, a willing seller and unanimous community approval at the meeting, this should be a no brainer.

This first ever acquisition of parkland downtown by the controversial Quimby fee program is a result of actions taken many years ago by the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. After I introduced a motion at our Transportation and Public Works Committee asking.... What the hell was happening to your Quimby fees? - first that committee and now our Parks Committee has been asking that question non-stop. Jan Perry also quickly picked up the issue and for the past few years, she has been a strong advocate for us on this.

And for those not following the story, Quimby fees are in lieu fees paid by developers of single family home subdivisions or condo projects upon the recordation of their track maps. That money is then to be used to either buy new parkland - or improve existing park spaces. Their other option is the dedication of park space from the project which is commonly done in large subdivisions, but which is not feasible with most condo projects.

Our problem, though, was no one knew how much of that money had been spent - and no one seemed to know how much of that money was left. The skyrocketing prices of land Downtown also made it hard to either find a willing seller - or a seller willing to sell at a price the city could justify. And since the city can only what a property is actually worth - with no recent comps in the current down market, it was hard to justify any of the current asking prices for unimproved land. This new comp, though, will make it easier to negotiate other purchases.

The next steps are for the Recreation and Parks Department to get the necessary sign-offs on the purchase from the City while also looking for possible matching funds for the purchase (which will be unlikely to to the shortness of the escrow) and matching funds for the actual development of the park, a more likely possibility.

There will then be a series of public meetings so the community can have input on the uses and design of the park - and there will also need to be a business plan developed to maintain the park since Rec and Parks does not have the budget to maintain existing parks, much less new parks.

Among the possibilities discussed at this morning's meeting was a Mellos-Roos benefit assessment district where adjacent property owners will pay for part of the maintenance, a underground parking garage (and the new ones are a lot better looking than the Pershing Square disaster), and a restaurant whose rent would help cover maintaining the park as well as providing security for the park.

Among the uses very briefly discussed were recreation facilities for the growing number of toddlers in the community, a dog park, movie screenings on the blank wall of the Rowan Building and arts events to be held in conjunction with the Art Walk and Gallery Row.

This park will also complement the neighboring Gilmore developed properties by protecting the views from both the Rowan and the El Dorado - plus it should considerably help the sales on the February 8th action of just under half of the Rowan's units. Not only will many of the units have better protected views - but the entire complex will have direct access to a new park.

Lastly, among the other things that still need to be worked out is how this park will relate to both the easement driveway next to the El Dorado which provides access from Spring Street to the Gilmore garage on Main Street and how the park will interact with Harlem Alley on the eastern rear side of the property. There is a possibly that Harlem alley could be largely or partly converted to a pedestrian walkway with shops and cafes added to the already existing Lost Souls Cafe.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Neighborhood Council Activists Defeat Political Machine In Court Today!

It's only fitting that the first person to report today that activists gathered together by the neighborhood councils, under the leadership of city attorney candidate Noel Weiss, turned back a well financed attempt by powerful special interest groups to censor the "No on B" argument on the March ballot - was none other than David Zahniser of the Los Angeles Times.

Because if Zahniser had not uncovered the secret report that Eric Garcetti and other supporters of Measure B had kept hidden from the public and most of the city council prior the to city council putting this measure on the ballot - we would known know just how staggeringly dishonest the supporters of this measure were and continue to be.

Judge upholds wording of Measure B's ballot argument
He refuses to remove key passages warning that Los Angeles' solar energy initiative in the March 3 election would create a monopoly.
By David Zahniser

5:02 PM PST, January 8, 2009

A judge on Thursday refused to remove key passages used by neighborhood activists in their ballot argument against Measure B, the solar energy proposal heading to Los Angeles voters in the March 3 election.

Mitchell Schwartz, a political strategist who staged Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's 2005 inaugural gala, had asked the judge to take out wording in the voter pamphlet warning that the solar plan would give a monopoly to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the union that represents employees at the city's Department of Water and Power.

But Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe said the measure -- which has been embraced by Villaraigosa and the City Council -- is open to a range of interpretations. "The proposition is so vague and so encompassing that speculation about just about anything is fair game," he said.

Yaffe issued a tentative ruling that is expected to become final today. But his statements did little to end a heated debate over the solar proposal, which seeks to add 400 megawatts of solar energy to rooftops and parking lots by 2014.

Those who signed the argument against Measure B accused allies of the mayor of using expensive lawyers to squelch the opposition's political views. After Schwartz went to court, signers of the ballot argument against Measure B hired a lawyer -- city attorney candidate Noel Weiss -- and dubbed themselves "the Solar 8."

The group's members includes former DWP president Nick Patsaouras, now a candidate for city controller, and former Los Angeles Daily News editor Ron Kaye.

In his tentative ruling, Yaffe also refused to remove language that warned that "no competitive bidding" would be used by the solar program. And he declined to take out wording that warned that the DWP would use "outdated technology" for the initiative. "The judge did the right thing," Weiss said.

Schwartz, who served last year as state campaign director for President-elect Barack Obama, did not attend the hearing. But attorney Stephen Kaufman, who represented Schwartz, said opponents of Measure B had made false or misleading statements that would be corrected during the campaign.

In the opponents' ballot argument, "the implication is that this is a self-serving deal being foisted on the voters here, and that is simply not the case," Kaufman told the judge.

He said his client scored one important victory, by forcing opponents of Measure B to remove a passage stating that no public hearings had been held on the solar proposal. Instead, the argument will say that the DWP did not provide "engineering or operational input" before Measure B went on the ballot.

The measure was proposed by Working Californians, an advocacy group headed by two high-level officials from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The Measure B campaign paid for Schwartz's legal fees.

Schwartz, president of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, was part of a select group that attended a Feb. 29, 2008, presentation on the solar plan by the union's Local 18 business manager Brian D'Arcy. His public relations firm, Bomaye Company, provided services to the DWP between 1999 and 2003. During that period, the firm helped promote the DWP's green initiatives, including one of its existing solar programs.

Schwartz's latest firm, skImpact, has a contract with CH2M Hill, a company that has been accused by the DWP of overbilling. But Schwartz said he is not doing any work related to the city or its electrical utility -- and only joined the lawsuit at Kaufman's request.

"I'm not part of the insider crew at all," he said. "I know them, but I'm not part of them. I just think the solar thing is really good."


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

COAGULA - The Leading LA Based Art Journal - Goes 100% Digital!

COAGULA Art Journal has just become the first - that I know of - art magazine to completely abandon dead tree distribution - for the 100% digital world. Details in press release below.

And for those who are not currently readers of Coagula - now is the perfect time to start your addiction to the publication called everything from the National Enquirer of the Art World - to the only art world publication that is eagerly read cover to cover.

And I can still recall the day I found the very first issue on the staircase of an old loft building in the Arts District and the day soon after when I first met Mat Gleason, the founder and publisher of Coagula. Shortly later - on occasion - I wrote for it during its early days and Mat Gleason was the only person in 1998 then willing to print my expose of Mike Davis that started that multi-year literary war. (I was also - very briefly - a temporary trustee of the legacy - but that's a whole different story....)

I can also still recall when having a copy of it in Europe during the early 1990's could be traded for access to any party or event in the European art world, and it wasn't too bad in making friends with female of the species, either.

So click on the link above and read yourself a little Coagula. You may love it - or you may hate it - but you will never be bored by it.

January 7, 2009

Greetings, hope the new year is going well.

Coagula Art Journal enters its 17th year of publishing by going PRINT ON DEMAND this February! After 16 years of trudging thru galleries hoping that the stack of free Coagula magazines has not been exhausted, readers will now be able to freely download and peruse the latest issue of Coagula in its entirety, right at home.

A printable version will be delivered to individuals by the simple click of a mouse key. Rather than target 12,000 Gallery-goers across the U.S. art scene, the Print On Demand Coagula will be aimed at 100,000 art professionals and art fans, worldwide, who are a part of the contemporary art world that reads COAGULA from cover to cover. Our archives and art world news can be enjoyed any time at Coagula.com and, come February 1, all will be able to get their hands on the LowDown on High Art in the comfort of their own home or office. Acquiring the full-color glossy issue of our magazine will be just a couple of clicks away.

Beautiful full color, hugely expanded new audience, international in scope, with major growth in Los Angeles, New York and nationwide. No wonder we're excited about our new format. For years, avid readers complained that they can't find the magazine, since they get snapped up quickly, often within a few days of being delivered to galleries and museum.

We're up and running, working on the February/March issue right now.

Editorial Deadline: January 14th
Coagula is always open to your editorial suggestions - it is a large art world and our editorial staff appreciates being notified of interesting developments that you know about.

Advertising Deadline: January 20th
Does the gallery wish to reach a larger audience? Does your company offer goods and services to an upscale clientele? Have you got something going on? Would you like to let the art world know about the things you are doing or have available, or how to find you? Coagula Art Journal, Issue #96, deadlines on Tuesday, January 20th. Distribution throughout the art world begins on February 1st. Please contact us to advertise to our readership all activities taking place during February and March, or for general contact purposes and web traffic, etc. Or to publish an advance schedule.

Again: Monster Distribution in Beautiful Color
The art world's largest distribution.
The art world's ONLY 100% verifiable circulation/readership.
The art world's most cost effective and competitive pricing schedule.

Ad Space closes: Tuesday, January 20th.
We recommend earlier contact to reserve space.
Editorial information must be submitted by January 14th.

Reach the Art World.
Advertise in Coagula.
Contact Michael Salerno at 323.223.6089, MS@MichaelSalerno.com

Coagula Art Journal
The LowDown on High Art
The world’s largest free art publication is still free!

Feel free to forward this message to anyone you believe would appreciate its receipt.
As always, your comments and feedback on this service are welcome. If for any reason you no longer wish to be included, please let us know.
Thanks and best regards,

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Support Your Local Literary Blog!

Anyone who lives in Los Angeles - or anywhere, for that matter - and who cares about literature is, of course, a regular reader of Mark Sarvas' blog - The Elegant Variation aka TEV. But if for some unfathomable reason TEV is not a regularly visited bookmark of yours - it should be. And you are not familiar with the site - here is a link:


The reason for this post is that Mark Sarvas is up for a weblog award for the best literature blog. However, unlike some of the other blogs, he has been characteristically remiss in promoting himself. So if you are not familiar with 'The Elegant Variation' - sample it now and then click on the hot link at the top of this page and vote. And you can vote once a day until the 13th.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Beijing Brings Back Broadway - Big Time!

While people in Los Angles debate whether or not even the handful of theaters on Los Angeles' Broadway can be reborn as legitimate Broadway theaters - China is about to build 32 - yes - thirty-two - legitimate theaters in one place to create their own Broadway theater district.

Huge theater complex set for Beijing
32 theaters hope to tempt audiences, musicals
Move over Broadway -- China is looking to become the global destination of choice for musicals.
Theatergoers in the Chinese capital are hoping a giant entertainment project that will contain 32 theaters when construction is complete will rival the West End and Broadway, with some of the world's top musicals such as "Fame" and "The Lion King" running year-round.

Backers are spending $686 million on the project, and the main theater will seat 2,000 people, with the others accommodating auds of between 300 and 500.

Creative Beijing will be home to a complex of theaters for musicals in the Haidian district in the capital's northwestern suburbs. Local media have already dubbed it "China's Broadway," and it will be Asia's biggest base for the production of musicals.

"The capital is a traditional cultural center, with the biggest audiences and the best performing talents," Xu Feng, spokesman for developer Beijing Nederlander New Century Intl. Theater Management, told the China Daily.

Chinese auds have really taken to Western-style musicals such as "Hairspray," "Mamma Mia!" and "The Lion King," even though tickets can be expensive. Many musicals are being customized for local auds to run in the Mandarin language, often with big impresarios such as the Broadway's Nederlanders or Cameron Mackintosh involved.

Foreign producers are keen to make an impact in China to offset flagging fortunes in home markets that are feeling the pinch of the economic crisis.

Nederlander recently produced a Chinese version of "Fame" at the Central Academy of Drama, having brought "42nd Street" to China last year. Beijing Shibo Real Estate is putting up the coin, and marketing director Li Yanping expects the theaters to stage more than 100 musicals a year.

In 2007 British producer Mackintosh announced plans to stage shows such as "Les Miserables," "Phantom of the Opera" and "Miss Saigon" in China.

The organizers hope the new cluster of theaters will rival Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts in terms of ticket sales but also generates profits through the marketing of musical-related products and souvenirs and the operation of talent agencies.

Read the full article at:

Rowan Building Auction Media Preview!

I just received a press release for the demonstration of how the auction will work at next months sale of close to half of the units at the Rowan Building at 5th and Spring. And those sales combined with whatever units have already been sold (though that part is still not clear) will equal over 50% of the units which will allow the new owners to close their escrows. T

Downtown Properties is inviting the media to attend a demonstration of a groundbreaking auction technology that will help homebuyers in the current real estate market. Media are invited to “test drive” the technology in advance of a residential Internet auction taking place at the Rowan Building downtown in February. The demonstration will take place on Friday, January 9 at 11 a.m. at The Rowan.
Please see the media advisory below for more information about the event.



Ashley Greer

Casey & Sayre






Media invited to “test drive” groundbreaking auction technology January 9

LOS ANGELES – On Friday, January 9, 2009, at 11:00 a.m. Downtown Properties will unveil a groundbreaking technology to help homebuyers outsmart the current real estate market. Homebuyers will be able to set their own prices on 79 distinctive lofts in the historic Rowan Building downtown in the largest-ever simultaneous residential Internet auction on February 8.

Created by Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Charles Plott and auction pioneer William R. Stevenson, the auction technology allows buyers to bid on more than one unit throughout the auction and see what others are bidding on large bidding screens at the auction site or at home on their own computers. This technology gives buyers enormous versatility to switch their bids between multiple units and there is no pressure from an auctioneer calling a sale. The auction ends only when no bids have been submitted for a specified period of time. Built in 1911, The Rowan is located in the heart of the Old Bank District and has been meticulously converted into 206 designer live/work lofts which retain the elegance of the building’s original Beaux Arts style with modern luxuries.

WHAT: Demonstration of groundbreaking auction technology by Plott and Stevenson and tour of The Rowan’s distinctive loft residences

WHEN: Friday, January 9 at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: The Rowan, Ground Floor

460 S. Spring Street (corner of 5th and Spring Streets)

Downtown Los Angeles

CONTACT: Carolyn McEwen

310-473-8090 (o), 310-699-9800 (cell)