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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh, L.A.

I've been gone a long while.

I've left you as you always were:

alone and overcrowded.

I may return to you soon.

If fate will have us in reunion; 

Will you save me from regret and from ruin?

(Don't read too much into this. It's just a poem.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jolie at 16: average, extraordinary L.A. teen

Presenting a Special New Republic Of L.A. Feature:

- RoLAClassicHuman  

A designation recognizing those who make the most of their affluence, influence, wealth; or of their deficiencies, disenfranchisement, or poverty, to improve the human condition - doing so with style, elegance and/or panache
In terms of that fabled "it" factor, even as a kid, she may have been on par with Monroe. But that's just her star quality. In the "sheer-beauty" department, Angelina Jolie is, in RoLA's opinion, one of the most beautiful women in history.

Witness her effortless command of the room (granted, the two unseen participants in the conversation couldn't be falling over themselves any harder to please Jolie, nevertheless, her alpha presence is unmistakable) ...

And, she's a better-than-competent, better-than-average actor.  Add to that her endless, tangible expressions of concern for others (and, we're convinced it's genuinely motivated)All of this combines to make Angelina Jolie a

- RoLAClassicHuman  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Avril Levigne, boyfriend assaulted by five assailants

Attacked at the Roosevelt 

Canadian crooner, Avril Levigne and her boyfriend, The Hills star, Brody Jenner, told LAPD they were attacked outside the historic Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood last weekend.  Both are recovering from what appear to be relatively minor injuries. Levigne has a black eye.  It's unclear what the motive for the attack was, and no mention of robbery was initially made as far as RoLA has been able to ascertain.Having lived five blocks from the Roosevelt until four months ago, this reporter knows the area as being highly energized on weekends, with partiers, club-goers, movie and late-night television production audiences and youthful tourists packing Hollywood Blvd.'s traffic lanes and broad sidewalks in the tens of thousands, anything can happen.
     However, landmark properties such as the El Capitan Theatre, where Jimmy Kimmel Live is shot, the Hollywood & Highland mega-plex shopping, dining and entertainment center (which contains the Kodak Theater, home of the Oscar Awards ceremony and TV show) are all within feet of the well-lit, highly patrolled (by Los Angeles Police Dept. officers, Hollywood Safety officers, California Highway Patrol officers (rarely, but they have jurisdictions at some of the boulevard's major cross streets, such as Cahuenga Blvd.), and private security. Add to that the small army of service personnel, such as valets, doormen, etc... and something seems odd about the circumstances of this crime against celebrities.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Architecture in L.A.

Wrong Regarding 'Wrights'
This multifamily residential building may 
not appear to the average passerby to 
be a particularly special example of mid- 
century modern architecture; but, it did  
appear so to Republic of L.A.  
Perhaps it's likely most other lay-persons 
sharing RoLA's passion for L.A.'s hodge-podge 
of adventurous, often highly stylized residential 
design and frequently offputting urban-planning 
paradigm, would - as we erroneously did - 
recognize this collection of apartments at 
2036-2046 Griffith Park Blvd. as a fine, 
however modest, example of architecture 
by Eric Lloyd Wright, founder of Eric Lloyd Wright 
Architecture and Planning grandson and former 
apprentice of master 20th Century architect, 
Frank Lloyd Wright. However, It turns out, the 
main cue that led RoLA to think we were looking 
at an Eric Lloyd Wright design - the sculpted 
flourishes atop the painted (cinderblock?) walls separating garages at the site, were etched out by sculptor gordon Newell.  The buildings (there are two) were designed by legendary Los Angeles architect, R.M. Schindler as a home with rental-intcome units for Anastasia Bubeshko and her daughter Luby, whom - according to the Los Angeles Conservancy - lived in the Schindler-designed home that her mother left her, was first completed in the late 1930s.

The Bubeshko Apartments won a preservation award from the L.A. Conservancy in 2010 (Preservation Architect: DSH / Eric Haas & Chava Danielson)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

JOBS PLAN: Obama's Golden Opportunity Could Spark a New Era of FDR-style American Greatness

A giant freighter passes through the Maeslantkering sea gate in the Netherlands.
The Dutch can literally turn off the sea when their homeland is threatened by oceanic flooding.

...But only with a bold vision of greatness, beginning in New Orleans.

President Barack Obama will make what could be the most important speech of his presidency next Thursday.  Next Thursday falls within the sixth anniversary of the castration of American greatness that was the response to Hurricane Katrina.  Pictured Above is what the Dutch do when the Netherlands is threatened by flooding from the sea:  Since they built the Maeslantkering sea gate, Holland can protect itself by simply TURNING OFF THE SEA!  

The American solution for New Orleans:  And it's already leaking.  
During the Bush administration, the American solution to "preventing" another Katrina was to rebuild and increase the height of a stack of rocks, dirt and mortar; and, in some cases with a cement wall.  

In RoLA's opinion, the the president's opportunity to reset the U.S. standing as a nation of greatness and  innovation couldn't be more obvious:  begin work on what could be called the "Great Gulf Coast Sea Gate," or "Great Gulf Gate."  Or, because we love abbreviations in this country, the shorthand for the multi-thousand job project could be (drum roll) "G3."  

Not only would this be good for the economy, our image abroad (not to mention our own self-image), such a bold move would reassert Obama's "Yes We Can" mantra--you know; the one that got him elected as the nation's first African American president.  The Great Gulf Gate, however, should not, in our opinion be the only project in Obama's plan.  Projects of similar significance, with equally bold vision, should populate the his new jobs program.  But, please Mr. President; make New Orleans the center point--the foundation--of your plan

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One million sq. ft. Renovation of Kaiser-Permanente's 50-year-old Los Angeles Med. Center Continues

Demolition at Kaiser on Sunset, seen through a 
display of mobile sculpture inside an already 
completed portion of the hospital.  
(Photo by Republic Of L.A.)
(Facility Billed as Innovative Enough to Serve Patients for Next Half Century)

According to builder Rudolph and Sletten, which is headquartered in Redwood City, once it's finished the hospital will be the first to have a built-in, electronic medical records system.  

In addition, the new Kaiser will feature nurses' stations and procedure rooms with so-called "picture archiving system," which will "effortlessly" route images to flat-panel screens, thus eliminating the need for more expensive, bulky and less envinronmentally friendly X-ray screens.  Another benefit of the "X-ray screen-free system is that mages will be instantly available to surgeons in operating rooms.  

When necessary, patients will be eased into bed by special portable chairs that will hang from the ceiling and move the length of the room on tracks, the company said in a statement to reporters.   Furthermore, the specialty construction company said, beds will be adjustable to a nearly vertical position for easy access from a standing or sitting position. 
Among other benefits of such beds, will be the fact that patients needing dialysis will not have to be moved from testing areas elswhere for treatment.  All services can be provided from one place.  
The new emergency department will be equipped with the many of the patient comfort amenities found in other parts of the hospital. Because the potential for many of the same dangers that vex us now will probably continue to exist, disaster readiness measures will include decontamination showers and a dedicated air conditioning and ventilation system. The new medical center will have 456 patient rooms, 11 labor and delivery rooms, and six cardiac surgery suites.
The hospital will feature numerous green spaces including a garden with a play area for pediatric patients, a garden courtyard on the 4th floor serving the labor and delivery unit, an outside dining patio facing the park, and a tree-lined green-belt at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Edgemont Street. Palm trees will line the north side of the boulevard for a three-block stretch.

Monday, August 29, 2011

RFK Learning Center's Early Battle for Hearts and Minds

Angelenos' Journey from Resistance to Celebration of Campus not Universal

Los Angeles' New Ambassadors   
Six Schools on a Campus Like  no  Other

   a RoLA                          S                   e               r          i       e   s   

Viewed in-person, this sculpture appears to be a watery ripple over Robert F. Kennedy's  sculptured-bust mural (in bronze), affixed to a marble wall.  The wall displays well known and some lesser known quotes from legendary authors, leaders and artists.

For some, the RFK Learning Center is not a great enough triumph to have justified the demolition of the old Ambassador Hotel, former home of the famed and legendary Cocoanut Grove restaurant and night club, and the place where Robert Kennedy was Assasinated.  

When the word got out that the long-dormant Ambassador Hotel would be mostly razed and replaced by a public school, many local residents and others around the nation and the world were aghast.  

"A Los Angeles Unified School District school campus?  --On the practically hallowed ground of the Ambassador?  No museum?  Not a restoration of the mythical sprawl where not only sat the grand old hotel where the second Kennedy brother was murdered in the middle of an historic presidential campaign, but which was also home to the mother of all nightclubs--the Cocoanut Grove, inside which lay the stage and dance floor where the likes of Harlow and Flynne; Gable and Mae West once waltzed?  Nor even a new Ambassador hotel and night-spot, with some multi-use aspect, themed around the original?   A plain ol' LAUSD school, huh?  Of course we need new schools, but here?  How uninspired.  How disrespectful."

Those may not have been the verbatim words and thoughts of yours truly at the time; but they're close.    

Here's some of what a few other prominent and ordinary people said at the time:  
I am very sad to report that we have fought the good fight, but have lost. Demolition of the Ambassador Hotel will likely begin within the coming months.   
-Roland Wiley, Los Angeles Conservancy
This is a crime.  Schools are great, but this treasure will never be replaced.  The LAUSD is robbing the people of Los Angeles.  
--Mary Hastel, 69, Wilshire District resident
However, there were similar cries from the other side of the issue, including this from Paul Schrade, who the New York Times described as having been both a "close aide" to and standing close to the late attorney general and Democratic presidential candidate when he was assassinated:

“We are under attack,” he said. “There are 400 hits on Google from people who have carried on this nonsense that it’s the Taj Mahal, the most expensive school in history.”  

In the end, however, most have come to change their minds.  Here's what Hastel, now 71, told RoLA recently:  

“The high school and the entire campus are new treasures.  The LAUSD did a good job memoralizing Kennedy and the hotel, including the [Cocoanut] Grove."  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Glitz, Glamour Find Unlikely New Home in the Wilshire District

Los Angeles' New Ambassadors   
Six Schools on a Campus Like  no  Other

   a RoLA                          S                   e               r          i       e   s   

The Architecturally Acclaimed Auditorium at
Ambassador/RFK Campus' Los Angeles High School for the Arts (LAHSA): 

Witness:  A reinterpretation of the aesthetic of  the iconic nightlife venue that helped define what was probably Hollywood's most glamorous period--from the 1920s to the early 1950s, when Harlow, Hughes and Hepburn graced the Ambassador Hotel's own Cocoanut Grove night club.  

One neighbor of RFK Community Schools said the auditorium by itself is the best thing that's happened to youth in this inner-city part of Southern California in decades, and that it shows.  The woman, who lives within visual distance of the RFK campus, says she raised two of her own now grown and "very successful" children in L.A.'s pulbic school system.  She also said, after years of apathy and neglect regarding public schools in Los Angeles, she can now sees students who seem proud of where they go to school.  When walking her dog some mornings, the longtime Wilshire District resident has recently noted a new excitement in the eyes of the students she sees walking to toward the six RFK schools located at the former Ambassador Hotel site.    (Watch for video of RoLA's interview with the neighbor and others with school officials and students--all in coming installmentsot of our special series on the Ambassador/RFK site.  Meantime, here are some interior shots of the schools' auditorium inspired by, and built at the former site of the old Cocoanut Grove.)
Though not all who lamented, and still mourn, the demolition of the Ambassador in 2005 are completely satisfied with the outcome of their failed battle to completely  preserve the property, some concede that the new schools' auditorium (which actually retains much Cocoanut Grove building's construction in its last incarnation before the closure of the Ambassador for good in 1989); succeeds in some measure invoking the spirit of the original Grove.

The faculty-staff-and their-guests-only lounge at RFK Community Schools is a faithfully restored original 1950s diner designed by Paul R. Williams, a pioneering African-American architect whose work (Beverly Wilshire Hotel [major redesign]; Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills; Chasens Restaurant; Theme building at LAX (the sweeping, swoopy structure at the center of the airport's terminals area);  helped define the classical Los Angeles architecture asthetic. 


Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Predict a Riot!

Did Kaiser Chiefs' 2004 Indie Track Foresee week of Hollywood's Hyper-tweeting DJ Debacle, Washington's Budget Battle?
Probably not.  But sometimes the corny headline gene won't rest until it's satisfied...

So much can happen in a week:  Since our last post, the Hollywood district of Los Angeles has had a "riot," while the nation's credit rating, which has stayed unblemished with "AAA" as our score ever since credit ratings have existed, even throughout the Great Depression, has come perilously close to being sacrificed voluntarily by congressional Republicans who, it appears, would be willing to see it downgraded--thereby causing what economists almost unanimously agree will be catastrophic consequences, if not a sparking a Great Depression II--in order to appease the always-angry Tea Party cult.   

I mention the Hollywood & Highland "riot" in quotes, because, in the final analysis, MUCH was overhyped in news reports.  Yes:  somewhere between five and 8 youths jumped onto a police car.  But whereas when the "melee" (if you can call hundreds of people talking loudly and yelling, but mostly texting and tweeting, a melee) first began, radio reports said police patrol cars had been lit ablaze.  Even though it appears that didn't happen (RoLA is seeking clarification regarding the reports from some Internet and braodcast reports that, patrol cars were set on fire), the impression that Crown Victorias up and down Hollywood Blvd. were burning set the stage for a lot of innacurate portrayals of the event.  Certainly, something was terribly wrong with the way things went in terms of one DJs apparently wreckless social-networking misuse, plus poor crowd control planning by event organizers, and, to some degree, the police response.  However, I do give LAPD some props for their overall handling of the un-riot.  

You can read some of the details here and/or  here.  But it's hard to argue that this was a riot when you realize that a) no one was injured; and b) three arrests were made out of a total of five people who were momentarily detained, according to the L.A. Times; c) there are countless images and many videos of people standing; people walking; people running away from police anti-riot personnel--as well as ample footage of people jumping onto police cars; yet you won't find any of police cars burning from that afternoon, as has been widely reported.   At least we haven't been able to find any such video.  

What's most interesting to me is the police-car-set-on-fire aspect of this story.  It appears that nearly all headlines and copy written about the alleged arson since the day the near-riot (as the occurence was dubbed by the L.A. Times and other well established media outlets) is cited as "according to multiple news reports."  That's what RoLA found on websites ranging from pop-politics destination, Firedoglake ( to  In fact, our Web search found no attribution of the burning squad car report that could be immediately confirmed as an original, credible source; nor could we locate any imagery.  

That doesn't mean vandal-arsonists didn't burn LAPD vehicles on Hollywood Blvd. last Thursday (28 July, 2011) didn't happen. It does mean that there is confusion about important details of the "riot."   Check back next week, after RoLA has an answer (or non-answer) from the LAPD, and/or the District Attorney's office.  Meantime, not the L.A. Times piece does not mention a police car set ablaze by "near-rioters."