Destination: Los Angeles

What Would Los Angeles Look Like Without Traffic?

This series of eerie, terrific photos is an ongoing project from Tom Baker. (via Coudal)

Photo You Must See: Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

Photo You Must See: Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A view of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Interview with Bonnie Tsui: ‘American Chinatown’

Bonnie Tsui, American Chinatowns Photo by Matthew Elliott

Jenna Schnuer talks to the author of a new book about American Chinatowns and why "broken Chinese is the mark of being Chinese American"

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Travel Song of the Day: ‘Los Angeles’ by X

The Hard Life of Los Angeles’ Street Tamaleros*

street tamales Photo by JOE M500 via Flickr, (Creative Commons)
Photo by JOE M500 via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

We’ve written before about the sometimes tough plight of L.A.’s taco trucks. Fortunately, taco trucks these days are ascendant—thanks in part to the mobility patterns of young urbanites.

So let us now turn our attention to L.A.’s Mexican street-food vendors. They’ve never had it easy, what with gang battles sometimes raging around them and the watchful eye of health inspectors threatening their livelihoods.

Public radio’s Marketplace recently put together a fine little profile on the struggles of one tamale vendor who works the tough neighborhood of MacArthur Park.

Tamalero Antonio, who sells tamales out of a box mounted on a tricycle, told the show: “It’s dangerous. It’s very, very dangerous. You have to be careful with the gangs, you have to be careful with the police, you have to be careful with the cars. There are a lot of dangers in the street.”

(Via Boing Boing)

* Update 4:16 p.m. P.T. Speaking of dangers, today’s L.A. Times reports that at least 22 taco truck operators have been robbed at gunpoint in East L.A. in the last three months. (Thanks for the tip, Eli.)

Photo We Love: Surfing Huntington Beach

Photo We Love: Surfing Huntington Beach REUTERS/Gene Blevins
REUTERS/Gene Blevins

Australian Taj Burrow at the recent X-Games finals in Huntington Beach, California.

One of surfing’s biggest events culminates at the Huntington Beach Pier this weekend: The Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing concludes Sunday. Forecasters are predicting some big, tasty waves thanks to a swell from the Southern Hemisphere.

Pink’s Hot Dogs Headed for LAX

Pink’s Hot Dogs Headed for LAX Photo by sciman111 via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by sciman111 via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The iconic Los Angeles hot dog shop, which draws famously long lines and celebs to its historic La Brea location, plans to open an outlet in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX later this year. “Various accounts have it opening anywhere from late fall to late December,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

It’s always good to see less generic, more local fare in airports. The trend continues.

Taco Trucks and the ‘Mobility Patterns’ of Young Urbanites

By now most people have heard of the L.A. Twitter taco truck phenomenon that is Kogi. Well it seems that Kogi’s success has spawned a slew of other food trucks in Southern California, from the Coolhaus ice cream sandwich truck to the Franken Stand hawking vegan sausages.

And the trend is going national, so if you’re in the U.S., look out for a gourmet food truck coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

Today’s Los Angeles Times story on the phenomenon includes an interesting bit of sociology.

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The Colony of LAX Parking Lot B

Great story in the Los Angeles Times about a community of pilots and other airline workers that lives in trailers and motor homes in a parking lot at Los Angeles International Airport. Dan Weikel writes:

For several years, clusters of RVs were scattered around the airport’s parking lots until LAX officials decided to consolidate them in Lot B. Now operating as an organized camp overseen by the airport, it has an unofficial mayor, a code of conduct and residency requirements, including background checks, regular vehicle inspections and proof of employment at an air carrier.

The constant noise of the airplanes flying overhead would drive me nuts, but the residents of the colony don’t seem to mind. Or maybe they just have good white noise machines, like one of the three residents profiled in the terrific accompanying audio slideshow.

R.I.P. Julius Shulman

R.I.P. Julius Shulman REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files
REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files

The famed Los Angeles architectural photographer died yesterday at his home in Laurel Canyon at the age of 98. Among his most iconic photographs: a shot of Pierre Koenig’ Case Study House #22—the photo within the photo here.

Dwell magazine put it well: “His photography helped define mid-century modernism and no one can claim more credit for documenting, and in some ways inventing, what post-war California cool looked and felt like.”

Pet Airways Begins Flights for Pampered Animals; Humans Still Out of Luck

Beginning today, Florida-based Pet Airways will fly your critters to and from New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles. The new airline promises that pets will be constantly attended to and treated as first-class “pawsengers,” with rates for one-way flights—for Fido only; you’ll have to book on a regular carrier—starting at $149. Representatives are confident that the high prices are well worth it, offering peace of mind against the “severe emotional and physical harm, even death” that can befall your pet traveling in the cargo hold on human-centric flights.

The airline has even started a blog featuring everything from the latest in-flight pet news to expert tips on keeping fit with your dog on the road.

Osama bin Laden in Indiana: ‘And Just Like That, a Don DeLillo Novel is Born’

Steve Coll breaks the news that Osama bin Laden and his family vacationed in the U.S. for two weeks in 1979, visiting California and Indiana. The details of Coll’s post in the New Yorker come from a forthcoming book by Osama’s first wife.

The DeLillo reference in our headline comes from a related snarky Gawker post. Gawker also asks: “Doesn’t Growing Up bin Laden sound like a great name for a reality show?”

Why not? It certainly would be more interesting than this.
Or this.
Or this.
Or this.
Or this.
Or this.
Or this.
Or this.
Or this.
Or this.
Or this.
Or this.

Man, that’s tiring.

Michael Jackson: A Global Force in Life and Death

Michael Jackson: A Global Force in Life and Death REUTERS/Patrick De Noirmont

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Travels in Tehrangeles

Travels in Tehrangeles Photo by Jim Benning

Los Angeles is home to an estimated half a million Iranian expatriates. On Monday, Jim Benning grabbed a camera and hit their streets.

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Interview With a Celebrity Chef: Govind Armstrong

Interview With a Celebrity Chef: Govind Armstrong Photo courtesy of Table 8 at the Cooper Square Hotel
Photo courtesy of Table 8 at the Cooper Square Hotel

Govind Armstrong may not yet be 40 years old, but the dreadlocked chef is already a veteran in the kitchen, having logged time in some of the world’s most famous restaurants.

It all started at the improbable age of 13 when Armstrong found himself working at Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s celebrated Los Angeles restaurant. Now, after working in some of the most acclaimed kitchens in Los Angeles and Spain, he’s on the verge of his own restaurant empire. The Los Angeles and South Beach outposts of Table 8 won rave reviews, and now he’s about to take his biggest leap yet: New York.

On his way up the celebrity-chef ladder, he’s found himself on Iron Chef America, as a judge on Top Chef and on People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” list.

I met up with Chef Armstrong at the Cooper Square Hotel in New York’s East Village where he’s putting the finishing touches on the Big Apple outpost of Table 8.