'12 Years a Slave,' 'American Hustle' lead Golden Globe nominees
With seven nominations each, ‘12 Years a Slave’ and ‘American Hustle’ have jumped to the forefront of the Academy Awards conversation, and will likely be the ongoing favorites as Hollywood’s awards season kicks into gear.
But the Globes’ honors just aren’t limited to those two films - plenty of others, along with television shows like “Breaking Bad” and “House of Cards” earned nominees. Check out the full list here.
Photos: Sony-Columbia Pictures, Fox Searchlight, IFC, Kevin Winter / Getty Images, Disney
Cougar takes the Hollywood limelight
Hats off to National Geographic photographer Steve Winter, for this fantastic photo of a cougar perfectly placed in front of the Hollywood sign.
NatGeo has the full story, including 14 months of waiting for a perfect shot, here.
Photo: Steve Winter / National Geographic
Under construction: A drive through Hollywoodland, 1930’s.
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Halloween in West Hollywood
Here’s to hoping your Halloween, whether you haunted the neighborhood looking for candy or stayed at home curling up with a horrifying film, was a good one! It certainly was for the tens of thousands who swarmed Santa Monica Boulevard for last night’s Halloween Carnival.
Photos: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Wallace Neff was considered a “starchitect” in the 1930s, designing homes for the Hollywood elite. But he viewed his “Bubble House” his greatest architectural achievement. At the end of World War Two, the United States was facing a housing shortage. He designed these 1000 square foot “Bubble Houses” to be built entirely in 48 hours using an airform and gunite pressurized cement application process. (See more about how they were made here)
Bubble Houses were ultimately unsuccessful in the United States, because the circular and domed shape made it difficult to find furniture to fit, and wall space wasn’t easy to utilize. However, these low-cost housing units proved quite popular in other countries, especially in Senegal, where a 1,200 unit colony was built and many still stand today.
Top photo: Wallace Neff in front of a bubble house at a construction site.
Bottom photo: A “Double Bubble House”
(This post was inspired by the most recent podcast from 99% Invisible. Many more photos, and a great podcast can be found at their website here)
Today’s challenge: Use “starchitect” in regular conversation.
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MARTIANS DESTROY CITY HALL! Well, a model of it, at least. The replica was built (and destroyed) for the 1952 production of “War of the Worlds.” Scott Harrison at Framework, the L.A. Times photo blog, has the story.
Photo: May 8, 1952: Los Angeles Times staff photographer, using a high-speed 35-millimeter camera, was present during special effects filming for the movie “War of the Worlds.” Credit: Phil Bath / Los Angeles Times / UCLA Archive
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Gravity Talking Points. In summary: Don’t forget to breathe.
And probably go see it, if you trust resident film critic Kenneth Turan, who said of the new film (without GIFs, sadly):
"Gravity" is out of this world. Words can do little to convey the visual astonishment this space opera creates. It is a film whose impact must be experienced in 3-D on a theatrical screen to be fully understood.
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Welcome to SlapCon
Athletes train their bodies, artists practice their craft and the performers who attend SlapCon hone their abilities to fake being walloped in the face:
The brainchild of Hollywood entertainer and pancake juggler Scot Nery, SlapCon is in its second year and has more than doubled in size since its inception. Held this year in Echo Park, the convention draws together actors, comedians, circus performers and slapstick enthusiasts of all backgrounds and levels of experience for a marathon of loving hurt.
Photos: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times
The rise and fall of the Grauman dragons: For 43 years, a pair of neon dragons flanked the forecourt of one of the most famous theaters in Los Angeles: Grauman’s Chinese on Hollywood Boulevard. They were taken down in 2001, and, The Times’ Nita Lelyveld writes, one of them was promised to the Museum of Neon Art. But the museum didn’t get the dragon that year, and for a while it appeared lost. It’s now been found – but in need of about $35,000 for restoration.
Grauman’s Chinese, also formerly known as Mann’s Chinese and now TCL Chinese, first opened in 1927, sans dragons (first photo above). The dragons were added in 1958 “to give an old movie palace new pizazz,” Lelyveld writes. You can see the dragons in all their glory in the second photo above, taken in 1981. And finally, in the third photo is MONA director Kim Koga with the recovered dragon, which a former museum board member found in a prop yard on the 5 Freeway.
"We consider the dragon sign an icon of Los Angeles," Eric Lynxwiler told Lelyveld. "And yet we basically had to snatch it out of the hands of a Dumpster."
(Photo credits: Top: LA Times File Photo, Los Angeles Times /November 17, 1997; middle: LA Times File Photo, Los Angeles Times /June 4, 2002; bottom: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times /August 27, 2013)
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Above: Los Angeles Times aviation writer Dewey Linze examines a flying saucer found in the Hollywood Hills on Jan. 24, 1957.
What strange calamity brought this unearthly craft to the Hollywood Hills? What interstellar machinations could be behind such a otherworldly craft? And where are the presumably tiny alien pilots, did they go down with their ship?
All of those answers were unveiled by Times reporter Cecilia Rasmussen:
In January 1957, actress Gloria Swanson and a group of friends heard that a spaceship had landed in the Hollywood Hills. So, off they trekked through mud and dark of night to an area off Lakeridge Road. (History does not record what they had been consuming before they set out.) In a shallow hole at the end of their hike, they found a 12-foot-diameter disk, which purportedly had knocked down a lamppost upon landing. The cockpit seats were upholstered in coral Leatherette, and two electrical cords dangled to the wooden flooring.
Amazed by their find, they called The Times.
After a careful inspection, Times aviation writer Dewey Linze not only found that the “spacecraft” was lacking an engine and controls, but — after interviewing neighbors — learned that it was a prop that had been discarded after a documentary was filmed on the site.
Photo: Gordon Wallace / Los Angeles Times
I love you, I hate you: you might call it a mixed message, if the message weren’t so unmixed. You’re allowed to love Paris, up to a point, New York, more or less, Dublin and Glasgow, definitely, but loving Los Angeles is just plain wrong. Oxymoronic, in fact – if you promise to go easy on the oxy.
Los Angeles, and especially the abbreviated LA, has become a byword for the shallow, the ephemeral, the vain – and it is the duty of any right-thinking Englishman, properly cask-aged in rainwater, body dysmorphia and sarcasm, to scorn it. And it’s not just the British press who feel this way.
The rest of the world, and much of America, treats Los Angeles with the same weird mixture of envy and snobbery – qualities that ought to contradict each other, but somehow never do.
Well, I warn you now, I’m heading in the other direction. I’m sticking up for the beautiful city of Los Angeles. That’s right. Beautiful…
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Evidence the 1970s were a strange time: ‘Miss Beautiful Ape’
Run as a promotional vehicle for the wildly popular “Planet of the Apes” series, the contest determined who would win a role in the fifth film in the series, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.”
The winner, by the way, was contestant no. 2, Dominique Green.
Photo: Larry Bessel / Los Angeles Times
Orson Welles: Obituary writer
The last written work from the man known for revolutionizing film with features such as “Citizen Kane” and “The Third Man,” wasn’t a script, but an obituary published by the Los Angeles Times back in 1979 for his friend, and legendary director in his own right, Jean Renoir.
The story behind Welles’ foray into posthumous reporting was recently recounted by former deputy editor of the Sunday Opinions section, Steve Wasserman, in a piece for the L.A. Review of Books, which we 100% recommend reading.
A snippet of Welles’ obituary, as it ran in the Sunday paper, is seen below:
As for his conclusion to the piece:
I have not spoken here of the man who I was proud to count as a friend. His friends were without number and we all loved him as Shakespeare was loved, “this side idolatry.” Let’s give him the last word: “To the question ‘Is the cinema an art?’ my answer is ‘What does it matter?’ … You can make films or you can cultivate a garden.
Both have as much claim to being called an art as a poem by Verlaine or a painting by Delacroix… . Art is ‘making.’ The art of love is the art of making love… . My father never talked to me about art. He could not bear the word.”
Photo: Steve Wasserman / L.A. Review of Books
Made-to-order poetry in Los Angeles
Jacqueline Suskin, a writer and former vegetable gardener, has taken to the Hollywood Farmers Market for her latest venture: The Poem Store.
Sitting with her typewriter, Suskin takes requests from curious passersby and regulars, taking requests for poems on back pain to making verse fit the title “Since Wednesday.”
As for the most popular request?
"Everyone is always asking for love poems," she says. "We are all obsessed with love."But love, as a topic, is deeply unspecific. When someone asks her to write a poem about love, she responds by asking what kind of love. That usually leads to a story about a girlfriend living far away, or a person new to Los Angeles desperately missing her family, or the love a mother has for her new baby.
She thinks people ask for poems that help them understand their path or direction in life.
"They want hope, or confidence, or they just need someone to see who they are," she says. "Half the time I feel like I am a therapist or a psychic."
Photos: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times
On August 5, 1962, the 36-year-old actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead at home in Los Angeles. Her death was ruled a “probably suicide” by L.A. police. Widely publicized reports indicated she was found in the nude, face down on her bed with a telephone in hand with empty pill bottles nearby.
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