Los Angeles

49 articles
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The Watts "Manifesto" & the McCone Report

On the anger that led to the Watts Riots of 1965, the mistakes made during those six days in August, and how little changed afterward.

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Piety and Perversity

On the palm trees of Los Angeles.

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Taking Down Armenian Power, California's Modern Mafia

How the feds went after Thick Neck, Guilty, Stomper, Gunner, Lucky, Menace, and the rest of the Amernian mob in Los Angeles.

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Taking Down Armenian Power, California's Modern Mafia

How the feds went after Thick Neck, Guilty, Stomper, Gunner, Lucky, Menace, and the rest of the Amernian mob in Los Angeles.

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The Actor's Den

A tale of identity in LA's television scene.

"Because he’s written television for as long as Shelly has known him, Jack drags her along on these nights, to watch staged readings of other writers’ scripts in the attic above the bar—a cramped, airless room they call the “Actor’s Den.” The television Jack makes rarely finds its way into peoples’ homes, but he makes it, one way or the other—even if he only guides it along its path to destruction like a doomsday chauffeur. The bar is wood paneled and velvety like the inside of a jewelry box. The owner drinks ancient scotch out of a miniature crystal glass and pulls constantly at his handlebar mustache, a collector of old timey things. When they arrive, he tells Jack about the two screenplays he’s writing: one comedy, one horror."

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Check Out the Parking Lot: Hell in LA

Parking garages, prisons, freeways and the world of stuff we’re not supposed to look at.

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Uncontested: The Life of Donald Sterling

A profile of the Los Angeles Clippers owner, an oft-sued real estate baron with a documented racist streak and a penchant for heckling his own players, on the occasion of him winning an NAACP lifetime achievement award.

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The Secret World of Fast Fashion

How Korean immigrants in L.A. revolutionized fashion’s production cycle.

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Downfall

The undoing of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who resigned in January amidst multiple swirling scandals.

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All About Eve—and Then Some

A profile of Eve Babitz – muse, writer, LA party girl.

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The Rise of a Bourgeois Paradise

A move to Los Angeles and a foray into the bourgeoisie.

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Ghost Cat

On the mountain lions of Los Angeles.

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The Case of the Bank-Robbing Prostitutes

How a struggling comedian became a pimp who eventually started sending teenage hookers on bank robbery missions that earned them notoriety as the “Starlet Bandits.”

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Grim Sleeper Returns

California’s most prolific serial killer returns with little fanfare after a 13-year break.

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Michael Light in Conversation with Lawrence Weschler

How to photograph Los Angeles from a helicopter.

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From the Bowels of Hell

On “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez,who terrorized Los Angeles and San Francisco through a string of over 30 home invasion murders starting in 1984 and ending when he was recognized and apprehended by an angry mob.

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The Suspects Wore Louboutins

The motley gang of L.A. teens that cat-burgled celebrities, sometimes repeatedly, in search of designer clothes, jewelry, and something to do. The story that became The Bling Ring.

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Freeway Rick Is Dreaming

A profile of legendary L.A. crack dealer Freeway Rick Ross, now out of jail and trying to sell everything from weaves to his own biopic, written by a journalist who has known him for decades.

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In the Footsteps of a Killer

From 1976 to 1986, one of the most violent serial criminals in American history terrorized communities throughout California. He was little known, never caught, and might still be out there. The author, along with several others, can’t stop working on the case.

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Toques from Underground

Los Angeles’ Wolvesmouth and the unlicensed dining industry.

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The White Album

“I am talking here about a time when I began to doubt the premises of all the stories I had ever told myself, a common condition but one I found troubling.”

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The Inside Man

The triple life of G-Rock: upscale house painter, lifelong Crip, FBI informant.

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I Used to Love Her, But I Had to Flee Her

The psychic benefits of leaving New York.

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Riot Baby

On a child born during the L.A. riots, and South Central a decade later.

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L.A. Weirdos

On singer-songwriters Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and Van Dyke Parks.

I get the sense that the labels' attitude toward these guys wasn't altogether different from a parent's attitude toward gifted children: Get them through the system, but make sure to give them a clean little corner to doodle in and pat them on the head when they show you what they've done, whether you understand it or not.

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Josh Macciello Convinced L.A. He Was in Line to Buy the Dodgers. But He Was Really a Fraud

How a con-man convinced Los Angeles that he was prepared to purchase the Dodgers from the now-bankrupt Frank McCourt.

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Where's Earl?

As the hip-hop group Odd Future rose to fame, their sixteen-year-old breakout star Earl Sweatshirt mysteriously disappeared.

(After a stretch at a school in Samoa, he seems to have reappeared yesterday.)

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LACMA Goes Hollywood with Elvis Mitchell

How the popular and controversial film critic has helped revive the film program at the L.A. County Museum of Art.

Journalists, filmmakers, random people on the street — it seems everyone has an Elvis Mitchell story. Both those who consider themselves Friends of Elvis and those whose relationships with him are sour or worse are happy to dish about him — albeit almost always off the record. Some are afraid of losing current or future jobs in the ever-more-tenuous world of film journalism. Others simply enjoy his admittedly fine company too much to risk losing it.

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My Hard-Core Obsession

Years of guilt and shame over an obsession with hardcore porn drives the Orthodox Jewish-raised author to meet the the personalities behind the darkest and most distrurbing X-rated subgenres and ask, “Do you ever feel guilty?”

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Modern Family

Neither Jon nor Ian is legally married to Jaiya. Both are allowed to see other women. But the three of them live a lifestyle that—much of the time—isn't that different from a conventional marriage.

On the rise of polyandry, in which one woman settles down with two or more men.

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Not Forgotten

On the LAPD’s decade-old cold case division: its detectives, its tactics, and its successes.

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The Last Ride of Jesse James Hollywood

A tony bedroom community in Los Angeles, a kidnapping gone horribly wrong, and the birth of a teenage fugitive.

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The Amazing Story of California's Greatest Cat Burglar

In 16 months, he has broken into more than a thousand homes up and down the San Fernando Valley. According to the police, his haul is worth anywhere from $16 million to $40 million. And yet because he has cultivated so many aliases, law-enforcement officials have been hard-pressed to learn his real name—Ignacio Peña Del Río—much less comprehend his unlikely background.
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L.A. Confidential

Rogue cops in the LAPD Rampart division’s anti-gang CRASH unit (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) were involved in everything from drug smuggling and bank robberies to, allegedly, the murder of Christopher “Notorious BIG” Wallace.

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California or Bust

On the culture of plastic surgery in Los Angeles, and how the reporter’s life changed when she got a pair of fake boobs.

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The Ghost of Wrath

Part one of a planned nine-part serialized biography of Harrison Gray Otis, the “inventor of modern Los Angeles.”

Future installments will include Otis’s interlude as “emperor of the Pribilofs,” his military atrocities in the Philippines, his bitter legal battles with the Theosophists, the Otis-Chandler empire in the Mexicali Valley, the Times bombing in 1910, the notorious discovery of fellatio in Long Beach, and Otis’s quixotic plan for world government.
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A Major-League Divorce

How Frank and Jamie McCourt bought the Dodgers for “for less than the price of an oceanfront home in Southampton” and eventually became entangled in one of the most expensive divorces in California history, which laid bare their finances and confirmed what many already knew: they had bankrupted one of the most storied franchises in baseball.

In all, the McCourts reportedly took $108 million out of the team in personal distributions over five years—a sum that Molly Knight, a reporter with ESPN who has extensively covered the story, notes is eerily similar to the cash payment that she says Frank McCourt has claimed he made for the team.

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The Lazarus File

A murder case in Los Angeles, cold since the late ’80s, heats up thanks to breakthroughs in forensic science and leads detectives to “one of the unlikeliest murder suspects in the city’s history.”

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Manson: An Oral History

The story of the 1969 murder spree by Charles Manson and “Family” as told by those close to the case.

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They Shoot Porn Stars, Don't They?

Breslin’s unflinching and devastating investigation of the porn industry in Los Angeles would be at home in many an excellent magazine. But Breslin didn’t go that route. Instead, she built a custom site that presents the story with her photographs and design.

-A. Madrigal

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Schemes of My Father

Memories of the author’s teenage years, when his father pulled up stakes on a comfortable life in Baltimore to reinvent himself as the head of a S&L bank in Los Angeles.

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Porn Machete Murder

At the very bottom of the porn totem pole is the “mope”, a barely paid assistant who hangs around and occasionally performs. Stephen Hill was mope-ing for Ultima Studios in exchange for pocket money and a place to crash. Learning he was going to be evicted, he sharpened a prop machete.

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The Dirtiest Cop Alive

A profile of Rafael Pérez, an infamously corrupt LAPD officer and the inspiration behind the Vic Mackey character on The Shield.

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Sledgehammer and Whore

A Hollywood screenwriter finds out his identity’s been stolen when a hooker calls–from his private office–demanding to be paid for the sex they didn’t just have.

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The Invisibles

For the members of UCLA’s undocumented immigrant club, going to school means fighting for an education most students take for granted.

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Justice

Dominick Dunne’s account of the trial of his daughter’s murderer.

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Whatever Happened to N.W.A’s Posse?

The where-are-they-now stories of MC Ren, DJ Scatch, Sir Jinx, Kid Disaster, Candyman, and everyone else on the cover of 1987’s N.W.A. and the Posse.