Search Results
9

Murder In Los Angeles

I have one spiritual ritual in my life: every morning I check the Los Angeles Times' Homicide Report blog to learn who was killed in Los Angeles County while I slept.1

The Homicide Report addresses two questions every newspaper covering a major metropolis should answer: who was killed last night, and why? But most newspapers don’t do this because the logic of most newsrooms is that not all murders are sexy, grisly, or surprising enough to be written about. The Homicide Report operates on the inverse principal: Every murder gets a story because murder is inherently worthy of our attention.2

The Homicide report is anchored by a [...]

---
0

'Crash' Is Still The Most Loathsome Best Picture Ever

This article originally appeared on February 22, 2013.

Mallory: Has Crash suffered enough? Sure, it won homecoming queen at the Oscars, but then no one would let Crash sit with them at lunch for the next eight years. Ta-Nehisi Coates named it the worst movie of the decade; Natasha Vargas-Cooper referred to it as a "white guilt manipulation-a-thon." Even Slate wouldn't throw it a contrarian bone. It's The Most Popular Girl That Nobody Liked.

Anne Helen: No, it has not. This movie needs to keep suffering, because it will not stop hurting us. When it came up on Twitter the other night, someone suggested it's a [...]

---
5

Jacob And His Mother Are Wanted In Court

Pam has come to dependency court on behalf of Jacob, who is four years old. Pam wants the judge to arrest Jacob’s mother.

Pam is a volunteer in the Court Appointed Special Advocate program in juvenile dependency court in California. These CASA volunteers are independent advocates for the child during any court procedure.

“Children’s lives are ripped apart here,” Pam told me, just before the day’s session.

Jacob’s mother, let's call her Tina, is 28.1 She has a decade-long crystal meth addiction. It's kept her bouncing in and out of court-mandated rehab beds and jail cells.

When Jacob was two, Tina’s probation drug test came up [...]

---
11

Meet Some Of The Children Who Died In Los Angeles Because The City's Child Protection System Is Broken

Between 2008 and 2011, more than seventy children who passed through the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services have died due to child abuse or neglect. Many of the lives and deaths of these children have been rigorously documented by Los Angeles Times reporter Garrett Therolf and by the paper's invaluable Homicide Report blog.

Spurred at last into action by the death in 2013 of a third-grade boy, Gabriel Fernandez, who was tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend in Palmdale despite at least six child abuse claims logged against the boy’s mother with DCFS, the Los Angeles County Board [...]

---
17

Bodies Given To Science

Sometimes when we walk through the mall, my boyfriend Scott will whisper: “How many people here do you think have held a human heart?” Or: “Do you think that guy ever removed a brain?” Scott has held a human heart and he says it's heavier and whiter than you would think. He will remove a brain from a female cadaver in March.

Scott is in his second year of pre-med. He, along with two other students, based on their high grades in anatomy class, are the body preppers for this semester’s anatomy lectures. The dissections are supervised by two part-time anatomy professors. One practices as a physician’s assistant, [...]

---
6

The Demon-Haunted House Of Thuy Le

The woman who stabbed her two young daughters called 9-1-1 at six a.m. to tell the dispatcher what she had done. The woman, Thuy Le, who was 38 at the time, had also stabbed herself twelve times and slashed her wrists. Le told the emergency operator that she was at her cousin’s house and everybody was alive but that they needed help. When the police arrived at the a boxy gray and white home in Westminster, in Orange County, they found Le’s five-year-old daughter Rhiana unconscious, without any color in her face and Jobeth, 3, lying awake on a blood-soaked mattress. Three household kitchen knives and a pair of [...]

---
14

Courtney Love At The Courthouse

In just three hours this afternoon, the jury returned a verdict—finding that Love was not guilty of defamation.

Rhonda J. Holmes, a San Diego-based lawyer, is suing Courtney Love for a libelous tweet and quotes she gave to two different reporters. A jury in downtown Los Angeles will begin deliberating on the case this afternoon. Holmes’ lawyers are asking for $8 million in damages.

Love hired Holmes in 2008 to assist in fraud litigation over missing funds in Kurt Cobain’s estate. The two formed a quick and intense bond. After a few months of digging around, Holmes confirmed one of Love’s long-held fears: Kurt Cobain’s estate has been systematically [...]

---
12

The Dying Man On The Windshield

Marco Salgado was plunking traffic cones down around a hit-and-run crime scene in November of 2012 when he noticed a shoe sitting by its lonesome on the crabgrass lawn of a nearby apartment complex. Salgado, a city worker for Torrance's traffic department, asked an officer who owned the shoe. The shoe, the officer responded, belonged to a man who was found at a gas station two miles away, naked from the waist down and impaled on the windshield of a Mitsubishi. Salgado thought he recognized the shoe, chunky and strapped with fat laces, and asked if the officer knew the victim’s name. The officer did know the victim’s name, because [...]

---
85

This Restraining Order Expires On Tuesday

The first time "Misty" broke into the backyard to pound and scream at the bedroom window, the police handcuffed her and said—her face pressed to the hood of the idling black and white—that she was not to return. I figured we would never see her again after that early morning in 2012. But the next night, around 1 a.m., I was in bed with my new boyfriend, "Scott," and we heard the bedroom door slowly crack open. Scott jumped up. "No! You can’t be here!" he shouted, all high-pitched.

At the end of this calendar year, our second restraining order against Misty expires. The Misty saga (this is the truncated [...]

---
0

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire": Your Eyes Are More Hungry Than Your Games

Once again, Mary HK Choi and Natasha Vargas-Cooper discuss the successes and shortcomings of the current popular cinema: now it's this weekend's box office burner The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Mary HK Choi: OK, did you watch the last movie ever again after the theater? I did not. Not even on the plane or VOD.

Natasha Vargas-Cooper: NOPE.

MHKC: RIIIIGHT? No desire, right? Like, zip?

NVC: Zero! And I know why: 1) Zero camp 2) Too much bad teenage acting 3) No hot teen sex scenes. Once you've seen Spring Breakers the world is DIFFERENT. IT IS DIFFERENT NOW.

MHKC: [...]

---
0

Nine Things To Read: This Week In History

2012

Monsters A Guide to the Spooky Scary Secret Monsters of Every State | October 31st, 2012 Hurricane Sandy Brooklyn Smug Reaches New Hideous Heights | October 31st, 2012 Listicle Without Commentary The United States, In Order Of Their Contribution To American Music [...]

---
27

Death To Zombies

Our paranormal epics, action flicks, and monster movies are stuffed with metaphor. The billion-dollar success of Christopher Nolan’s bleak Dark Knight alerted studio executives back in 2008: metaphorical thinking was in. Summer blockbusters could grapple with bigger themes and darker allegories without turning off their sebum-soaked ticketholders. This gimmick has seeped across all the blockbuster industries: graphic novels, television, young adult books. You’re surely familiar with the biggies by now: The mutant struggle for assimilation is about gay civil rights. Vampires represent our anxiety about dying alone or, worse, never dying alone. Zombies, their uprising, and our anticipated armed struggle against the undead horde is metaphor for plague—specifically, AIDS.

Zombie [...]

---
81

'Crash': The Most Loathsome Best Picture Of Them All

Mallory: Has Crash suffered enough? Sure, it won homecoming queen at the Oscars, but then no one would let Crash sit with them at lunch for the next eight years. Ta-Nehisi Coates named it the worst movie of the decade; Natasha Vargas-Cooper referred to it as a "white guilt manipulation-a-thon." Even Slate wouldn't throw it a contrarian bone. It's The Most Popular Girl That Nobody Liked.

Anne Helen: No, it has not. This movie needs to keep suffering, because it will not stop hurting us. When it came up on Twitter the other night, someone suggested it's a PowerPoint presentation posturing as insight—and that feels true. [...]

---
15

'Breaking Dawn – Part 2': A Trampera Has Ended

After a long captivity, Mary HK Choi was liberated from the Rihanna plane, and now she and Natasha Vargas-Cooper are here to render verdict on the final installment of the Twilight series. Read the previous chat for Breaking Dawn here.

Natasha: I feel like this movie was essentially about outerwear?

Mary: I have so many opinions about the clothes.

Natasha: It was like a Nordstrom winter sale. NOT NEIMAN MARCUS.

Mary: Agreed. It was Burlington Coat Factory. BCF Holiday Sale for frenz and famz.

Natasha: This was definitely more of a coda to the series than an actual ending.

Mary: True, though I would approve of [...]

---
34

What Was Your Weirdest Celebrity Sex Dream?

You can't really control what you dream about. And of course, you can't control who you have dream sex with, either. If I could, then my dreams would feature nothing but Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling, together. Yes. But the subconscious has its own ways, and sometimes the most random person will pop into our dreams for an intimate encounter. We asked these people to share the sordid details of their weirdest celebrity sex dream with us.

Alex Balk

I don't know how "embarrassing" this registers as, but I did recently have a sex dream about Angelina Jolie. And it was one of those dreams where you're actually somehow [...]

---
13

What Did You Want To Accomplish When You Grew Up?

The first in a series about youth.

When you're a kid, there are no limits on the world—everything seems possible. When he was seven, my brother truly believed that one day he'd wake up to see a T-Rex peering at him through his bedroom. (Yes, he had just watched Jurassic Park.) He also talked about inventing a plane that could withstand the strength of a tornado enough to fly within its wind currents, for a real bird's-eye view of the storm. To find out other would-be inventions and asked an assorted group of tech- and science-minded folks, "When you were young, what did you want to invent, discover or [...]

---
0

How Natasha Vargas-Cooper Does Money

You're totally freelance now, is that right? I've never been offered or gone out for a staff job. There’s a lot of outdated dues paying I won’t abide by. I also don’t dig on having to deal with other personalities in an office setting or as a day to day thing. It wears me down and out. I worked as a union organizing and policy analyst for six years, and there was a lot of focus on having harmonious relationships with co-workers and members to make the organization function better. A lot of personality tweaking and processing that felt worth it for the sake of a much greater and loftier [...]

---
15

What Kind Of Summer Jam Are You?

In honor of today, the first day of summer—the summer solstice—the day the northern hemisphere gets more daylight than any other day of the year, the astronomical first day of summer (as opposed to the American first day of summer, which is Memorial Day), we celebrate that seasonal genre of music known colloquially as the "Summer Jam." I asked some Awl contributors to name their favorites, and it turns out that the scope of the Summer Jam is much broader than I anticipated. There are four distinct types of Summer Jam: the Bouncy Summer Jam, for dancing at barbeques; the Languid Summer Jam, for falling asleep in the grass; [...]

---
6

Nine Writers And Publicists Tell All About Readings And Book Tours

Author readings and book tours are not an essential component of the writing or publishing processes, and so these events have long been associated with a kind of miasmic purposelessness. Go to your basic reading and sit in the back row, where if you squint, you will see above the head of almost everyone involved—the writer(s)/reader(s), the audience, the publicist, the bookseller, the sales clerk(s) who set up the chairs and must wait around to take them down before heading out to an indie-rock show, the local reporter doing a trend piece on the decline of readings—a clump of thought bubbles bumping up against each other like trapped balloons, all [...]

---
79

'The Hunger Games': Bloodless, Sexless and Not Very Hungry

Mary HK Choi: Let us make discussion! First Q: did you read the books?

Natasha Vargas-Cooper: I did not! On principle! I was like, “Make it work for me, Lionsgate."

Mary: RIGHT. Interesting. I did read the books! Second Q: did you read any reviews?

Natasha: NO. Mary, I wanted to love this, love it with my whole big heart I wanted to join a team, a district, pick a teen-lit boyfriend. I DID NONE OF THOSE THINGS. Q for you! Have you seen Battle Royale?

Mary: Of course! Racist.

Mary: Have you read The Lottery?

Natasha: Of course! Racist.

Mary: See, I liked it but that logline [...]

---