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A celebration of the bizarre, live from Los Angeles.
Just in time for my out-of-town visitors, there was a shooting across the street from my house Friday evening around 7 p.m. I didn't realize that the two loud cracks we heard were gunshots until half a minute later, when a woman started wailing. She let out the loudest, most abandoned, pained bawling I have ever heard outside of movies. I went outside and hid behind my hedge, watching the people gather across the street, gawking. Clearly, no one knew what to do. The man's body and the woman he apparently survived were behind a car, from my vantage point. (Later, when we drove away, I saw the body covered in a sheet.)
It took Culver City police about a minute to show up. Fortunately, they usually don't have much to do.
When we returned at about 2 a.m. from the night's festivities, a few of his friends (or family?) were gathered around candles covering the spot where his body lay. As I fell to sleep, I could still hear a woman sobbing through my open windows.
They've held the vigil every night since. I wonder how long they'll keep it going.
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Living in L.A. where everyone's a frothing Lakers fan, I finally have some dim awareness of the existence of basketball. But it's very dim, so I only learned about Chick Hearn when he died yesterday.
Local newscasts took a break from their usual stories about children falling out of first-floor windows to devote their entire broadcast time to Hearn. My roommate sat in silence, expression glum, hanging on every word.
Most of the people who knew him weren't interviewed, because they were too upset. That's saying something these days, when everybody's looking for those 15 minutes.
He must have been amazing because this city, this huge sprawling thing, seems to be in mourning.
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Did I mention before that Jesse Walker knows everything? Well, I wasn't kidding.
He writes that Carey McWilliams, author of the below quote, "used to edit The Nation. Bit of a Stalinoid. Has written several books
that have their admirers, but I haven't read a one."
So there you have it, folks. Inspiring words from a Stalinoid. Maybe I'll make this into a daily feature.
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People have asked how the one-acts went. Wonderfully. I got lucky and got the biggest (6) and best cast, and the best (by far) script. Our play got laughs on just about every line, and wrapped with a tap dance finale that had people cheering. We won best director (me!), best ensemble cast, and best writer, but it was really Mark Harvey Levine's script that made the other two awards inevitable.
Now, a quick quote on Los Angeles. It's engraved on a brick in Pershing Square, but I was just reminded of it by this book I'm leafing through, *Unmasking LA: Third Worlds and the City.* I'm not sure yet whether I'd recommended it; there's an essay in it by Deepak Chopra so I'm instantly suspicious.
Anyway, the quote:
"...It suddenly occured to me that, in all the world, there neither was nor would ever be another place like this City of the Angels. Here the American people were erupting, like lava from a volcano; here, indeed, was the place for me--a ringside seat at the circus."
--Carey McWilliams, 1946 (don't know yet who that is)
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