Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Have To Believe, We Are Magic

And so the final three bidders who pined for the great Los Angeles Dodgers were pared down to one: On Tuesday night, Magic Johnson's investment group set forth a $2.15 billion bid on MLB-bay to deliver a refrigerator-is-closed-the-lights-are-out-the-eggs-are-cooling-the-butter's-getting-hard-and-the-Jell-O-is-jigglin' end to the evil regime of Dodger Despot Frank Mc Court.

Dodger fans, let's exhale together:

Ladies and Gentlemen, McCourt will finally be deported.

Well, in spirit. Many Dodger fans will still point to the fact that he still lays a (albeit limited) claim to his sacred parking lot. To that, the Militant says: a) Don't expect the new owners, who have just signed a $2 billion check, to lower parking rates anytime soon and b) The Dodger Stadium Express is on again this year!

But with a pretty promising Spring Training, a big Golden Anniversary for The Stadium, a Cy Young Winner in the rotation and last year's stats leader who will resume Beast Mode (and was outright robbed of an MVP), it's a pretty dang good time to be a fan of the most valuable sports franchise in the world (Take that Yankees!)!

What's in store for the Dodger season? Win or lose, there's gonna be good vibes. The painful and even brutal past will be behind us. Heck, we may even hit 5 million in attendance (Only kidding, it's only statistically possible to hit some 4.6 million in the hypothetical event that all 81 home games are filled to capacity). Count on an emotional Home Opener (Just some 13 days away...) for myriad reasons, and maybe they'll let Magic throw out the first pitch, heralding the changing of the guard an ushering a new era of Dodgerism.

And to pay tribute to the Dodgers' new owner (okay, prominent co-owner, but which Angeleno sports fan cares about semantics today), The Militant offers this Red Hot Chili Peppers tune from the late '80s:

And to the outgoing Frank McCourt, who will be escorted into his helicopter before Magic's first pitch on Opening Da,y which will leave for LAX, where he will board a one-way flight back to Boston (Hey, A Militant can dream, okay?), he offers this tune:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Delayed Expo-sure

"The Metro Expo Line may or may not open this Spring."

That was not a mere trademark Militant Angelenoism™, but a statement of fact, as The Light Rail Line That Has No Actual Opening Date has endured delay after delay after delay. It was probably assumed that the Phase 2 segment from Culver City to Santa Monica would open up even before the first part.

The time to worry has ended at long last, as Metro took a bunch of politicos on the train on Friday and announced that, yes, Virginia, The First Metro Rail Line Not Named After A Color is finally opening on Saturday, April 28, 2012.


Transit fans will pop open bottles of champagne, Libertarians and Bus Riders Union-types alike will roll their eyes and curious Angelenos from East to West will take to the rails a little over a month from now.

It's a pity, nay, a DAMN SHAME though that the trains for The Other Blue Line won't even be open for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC, with the Expo Park/USC station, virtually ready-for-business, standing just yards from the nearest booth like some sort of cocktease. Visitors will no doubt grumble at not just paying the $20 parking fee, but spending a long-ass time queuing to find it. But maybe that was all intentional...

Maybe Metro should run express preview trains from the 7th St/Metro Center and La Cienega stations only during festival hours to USC. What a concept, huh?

Surely that won't happen, since such an idea is too Militant for any local body to fathom. Sigh, oh well.

Speaking of gripes, whatup with the Expo Line's promo campaign?

"Explore." With a coloring-book drawing of some of the line's nearby landmark icons as drawn by a middle school art student. Um, wow. Dude, the Metro Gold Line's "Discover Gold" campaign was waaaay slicker. This is probably the most-anticipated light rail line in the entire system and this is what Metro is using to try to get people to ride it?

But who is The Militant kidding, Metro could use a picture of a cow turd and he'll still be riding the thing.

So here we go. You know the drill: The system maps in the trains and stations get changed, and come 4/28, loooooooong-ass lines will be forming in the 7th Street/Metro Center and La Cienega stations. There will be live music, booths with Metro swag and the inevitable free shuttle bus that will carry passengers who don't want to wait in Disneyland-like lines for their train ride back. And The Militant may or may be there, just like he has for every Metro Rail line and extension opening since The Metro Blue Line opened nearly 22 years ago. It's that time again, folks. He's glad to see it all unfold before his very eyes.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

And After All...You're My Paywall...

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times initiated a paywall to their website, requiring users to pay a fee starting at 99 cents a month to read any content beyond 15 articles and the main page.

Well you could assume that didn't go over well. The entire city scoffed, and while a few thought the 99-cent fee was reasonable, The Militant doesn't think the Times deserves even a penny as long as it's controlled by its Chicago slavemasters.

A newspaper dwindling in content and soul (Okay so they signed on The J-Gold, but what else have they got now?), it was especially, and most embarrassingly shameful that even The New York Times, of all things, had much better coverage of the LACMA Rock's arrival than our hometown rag did (and it pains The Militant so much to even admit that).

Ugh...let The Militant rest for a bit. That was too heart-wrenching.

[Breathes Deeply, drinks a glass of water]

Okay. Anyways, early Wednesday evening, after innocently clicking on a Twitter link, The Militant hit the much-feared Paywall and got the "Become a member to keep on reading" pop-up. Hmmm. He didn't even think he went through 15 articles thus far...So he clicked on the "No Thanks" at the bottom.

Now, The Militant surfs with two web browsers: One for himself, and the other for his mild-mannered alter-ego, named [Ahahahaaa, you thought he'd go there, did you?].

But The Militant pulled up the other web browser, went to and even searched for the article that was blocked from him. He was able to read it in its entirety. He was even able to read another one!

He also tried deleting the "" and "" cookies from his main web browser and went back to the Times' website. But he got another Paywall warning (Update: Deleting ALL cookies, rather than selectively deleting cookies, will work! Go for it!)

So there you go...if you want to circumvent Le Paywall, just clean out your cookies regularly and have your Firefox, your Chrome, your Internet Explorer, your Opera and your Safari browsers installed and handy. Among all those, you can read up to 75 articles for free! And if you got a mobile or tablet device, let the good times roll!

Of course, you l33t h4xx0r types can use an IP faker under one browser, but The Militant didn't tell you that.

So enjoy your freeeee content, paywall jumpers!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Militant's 'Levitated Mass' Playlist!

Here in Los Angeles, we commemorate the anniversaries of earthquakes and point out our faults (pun most obviously intended, be warned, this post is full of 'em...), but never before has geology otherwise been the talk of the town for an entire week.

Tonight is the final trek of Levitated Mass' hundred-mile journey (at five miles an hour, so everybody sees you) from its birthplace in a Riverside quarry to its new home at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Miracle Mile. There are celebrations anticipated tonight for the big-ass rock's arrival. There's even a 3K footrace and a group bike ride (Critical Levitated Mass, anyone?) You can say an entire city has been...stoned. You can say that we've been bouldered-over. You can say that this event has Levitated Mass appeal. You can say...uh-oh, the Pun Police are coming.

Now, some people have scoffed at the $10 million cost of bringing a big-ass rock through city streets. But think about it for a second: With roughly 10 million people in Los Angeles County talking about this thing all week, it's a genius marketing campaign to get people to visit (and possibly become donors) to LACMA -- at a cost of $1 a person!

To honor the arrival of LM tonight, DJ Militant Angeleno has cooked up a music playlist of appropriate tunes to celebrate the journey. Feel free to play these tunes at full blast from your car stereos, boom boxes or those mobile bike trailer sound systems!

"Like A Rock" - Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
You're probably more familiar with this song hawking Chevy Trucks back in the '90s, but imagine the kinetic energy building up as Levitated Mass begins rolling on along north from Figueroa and Gage tonight. It's making its declaration after spending all day in the 81-degree sunshine:

Stood there boldly
Sweatin' in the sun 
Felt like a million 
Felt like number one 
The height of summer (-like weather)
I'd never felt that strong 
Like a rock..

"I'm Stone In Love With You" - The Stylistics
Art Laboe would approve of this slow jam classic. An entire city has fallen in love with a 340-ton boulder. Need The Militant say more?

"Rock On" - Michael Damian
Yes, so it's the cheesy '80s cover version of the 1973 David Essex hit, but come on.

Where do we go from here?
Which is the way that's clear?

North on Figueroa then west on Adams, that's where. And thank your lucky stars the Metro Expo Line was built underground through here so as not to interfere with the height of the rock and its ginormous transport machine...otherwise we'd have to wait until like 2014 for the thing to open.

"Rock With You" - Michael Jackson

"Rock Me Tonite" - Billy Squier

"Rock Around The Clock" - Bill Haley and the Comets

Moving a big-ass boulder around town takes a long time, and is an operation performed in the wee hours of the night.   And besides, if MJ were still with us, he'd probably buy a Levitated Mass of his own.

"Planet Rock" - Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force

"Rockit" - Herbie Hancock

Break off a piece of the surface of the planet and fault it a hundred miles to be displayed at a museum? Well, whip out the cardboard, 'cause here's some breakdance classics to celebrate L.M. Rock, yo!

"Solid" - Ashford and Simpson

Levitated Mass is the hot-hot-hot-hot-hot-hot-hot-hottest thing in town!

"Rock Of Ages" - Def Leppard

Rise up, gather 'round...this Rock of Ages is still rollin'...towards LACMA.

"I Wanna Rock" - Quiet Riot

You're sure getting one.

"Can't Stop The Rock" - Apollo 440

Props to fellow local blogger (and Tweeter) Will Campbell who chose this '90s breakbeat anthem as LevMass' theme song. And look for him doing a time-lapse video of the move.

"We Will Rock You" - Queen

Can you feel the excitement in the air? Levitated Mass its just about to arrive at LACMA, with a large crowd gathering there for its much-heraleded arrival. And can you imagine those throngs of Angelenos (or at the very least, LACMA staffers), in unison, doing a "Stomp-Stom-CLAP" and chanting, "We Will, We Will ROCK YOU!"?

"Party Rock Anthem" - LMFAO

The big moment has arrived! It's a party atmosphere here at LACMA! This Party Rock is definitely in the house tonight! What better song to celebrate than this dance track fro, Los Angeles' own LMFAO? The Militant expects you all to be shuffling. SHAKE THAT!

Adaptive Reuse, East Los Style

The Militant took the (M) Gold Line all the way to East Los Angeles on Thursday, bike in tow, and after disembarking, he rode straight down Atlantic Boulevard. He was on a mini-adventure to go clothes shopping (The Militant doesn't mind revealing that he buys his threads in The Eastside).

Riding down Atlantic, he passed by some scenes that were quintessentially East Los: A middle-aged veterano riding down the street in a lowrider bike, a dude driving a car with a large Lakers "L" logo emblazoned on the driver's side door. And why hasn't this place been incorporated into its own city yet?

The Real East Los Angeles isn't really the rough-and-tumble vato kingdom the mainstream media wants you to see. It's actually part-urban, part-suburban, part-small-town, part industrial, with some historic buildings, such as a seemingly random art-deco structure that's a mini-market in its current life.

Speaking of history, The Militant passed by a rather imposing building on Whittier and Atlantic that caught his eye (pictured above).

It was the Spanish Baroque-Reviaval Golden Gate Theater, once a 1500-seat grand playhouse and silent film palace built in 1927.  It was part of a complex called Golden Gate Square, surrounded by a mixed-use apartment and retail structure called the Vega Building (pictured right), which ran throughout the southwest corner of the intersection (The top facade of the Golden Gate Theater can barely be seen above the Vega Building's roof, just left of the central tower structure).

Though the theater's marquees were located on the street, the actual venue was situated in the middle of the block, separated from the Vega Building by an outdoor courtyard.

The Golden Gate Theater once looked like this inside.
In the 1970s, the theater started screening peliculas en espaƱol, up until 1986. The next year, something called the Whittier Narrows Earthquake happened, and the Vega Building was heavily damaged and later condemned. It was razed in 1992. The property owner at the time even attempted to remove the theatre from the National Register of Historic Places, but the County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles Conservancy successfully saved it from the wrecking ball.

The building sat vacant for nearly 20 years when the current property owner made a deal with CVS Pharmacy to put a store there, where current construction is occurring to make that happen. Okay, kinda weird, but if you look at the 50s-era photo of the Vega Building above, you'll see that there was a drugstore there back in the day. Sooooo...

Fortunately, there is strong interest to return the building to its theater origins, and its future life as a 24-hour drugstore will only be a temporary chapter of the building's storied history.  The Los Angeles Conservancy reportedly successfully lobbied to have the drugstore maintain visual elements of the theater, such as the high ceiling and balcony, and other elements, such as the original concession stand, were removed and stored for future use.

Riding father south on Atlantic, The Militant finally reached his shopping destination: The Citadel Outlets. Not letting the minuscule and tucked-out-of-the-way bicycle parking bother him (at least it was there, though), he went on to a few unspecified stores to get some of the latest camouflage fashions for Spring.
On Sale!!!!!!!1
Incidentally, the very place The Militant shopped in, is itself an example of adaptive reuse. Originally built (You natives/long-timers who already know the story can skip this part...) as the Samson Tire and Rubber Company in 1929, it was the largest single manufacturing building (1,750 feet long) west of the Mississippi, and along with the Firestone (so important, they named a street after it) and Goodyear plants in the area, helped make Los Angeles the largest tire manufacturing city in America (tied neck-and-neck with Akron, Ohio). Themed like its namesake historical figure, it was designed like an Assyrian palace, with motif images of griffin and Assyrian/Babylonian figures. In 1962 the company became Uniroyal Tire Company, which operated the plant until it closed in 1978. Like the Golden Gate Theater, it was also a late-1920s structure, listed in the National Registry of Historic Places and then languished for years as a vacant structure before it was repurposed as retail space (Citadel opened in 1992). Unlike the theater, though, only the freeway-facing wall and central structure were preserved. But hey, that's what matters, right?

Now it's got big-ass video screens to distract drivers on the 5.

After The Militant finished his shopping trip, he rode back towards the Gold Line station. Just a few blocks north of The Citadel, he happened upon this building, alongside the nearby railroad tracks...

It's the old Union Pacific Railroad East Los Angeles station, also built in the late 1920s (1928) and in operation until 1971, when Amtrak took over the Union Pacific's passenger operations. In the '70s and '80s, the station housed the railroad's credit union offices.

Since then, the building has been dormant, and falling apart. Metrolink originally considered re-using the station for commuter rail use (and it has the right-size of a parking lot for it), but it cost a lot less to build a new station a few miles east than to restore the old one. There have been no plans to restore the building, and likewise no plans to demolish it either.

If any building here in East Los Angeles is a candidate for adaptive reuse, this one is it. So what's it gonna be? Museum? Restaurant? Community Center? A Wallgreen's?

Only time will tell.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Silver Lakers' Triangle Defense

As you may or may not know, CicLAvia is a totally awesome event that occurs on a handful of Sundays each year, closing streets to automobiles and opening them to bikes, pedestrians and any other human-powered transport.

After experiencing the awesomeness of CicLAvia for all three of its iterations so far, The Militant is inclined to say, "Shouldn't we have CicLAvia every Sunday?"

Do cyclists really lock their bikes up to a rack
that looks like a bike?
Well for a small section of Silver Lake (always remember -- Silver Lake is two words, not one) starting this past Sunday, you needn't wait six more weeks for the next dose of Los Angeles Street Awesomeness. In fact, you can has CicLAvia every day.

The Silver Lake Triangle (a.k.a. Sunset Triangle) is the junction of Sunset Boulevard, Griffith Park Boulevard and Edgecliffe Drive. Home to a tiny park with a fountain and the twice-weekly Silver Lake Farmers Market, this little area of public space is a popular one in the community.

Now the space got a little bigger with the Sunset Triangle Plaza, boasted as "Los Angeles' First Pedestrian Plaza" (Um, The Militiant disagrees with that little superlative...sounds like transplantspeak...didn't they ever hear of oh...Olvera Street or the Venice Boardwalk?) Anyway, Sunset Triangle Plaza takes about 300 feet of Griffith Park Boulevard and turns it into a big-ass lime green Twister board.

The space got its formal opening on this day,  and even afterward, adults, children, pets and even hipsters got to hang out on the space, sitting in umbrella cafe tables (pictured left) on this 85-degree Winter day. Large planters with non-native, but drought-tolerant flora serve as physical barricades to keep cars, trucks, buses and elderly drivers safely away.

The organization Streets For People (People on Streets! De-Da-De-Da-Day!) in cooperation with the Silver Lake Improvement Association were responsible for making it happen, a concept that had been in the planning for some six years.

This is apparently a pilot project, which means if successful, "Los Angeles' Second Pedestrian Plaza" may or may not be coming to a street near you.

In the meantime, come by to Silver Lake and enjoy this thing. The Sunset Boulevard bike lanes take you there, and Metro Local lines 2 and 4 stop nearby at Maltman. For the kids, it's a prime surface to go planking on, and the lime green paint scheme make it a perfect candidate for a St. Patrick's Day Flash Mob Street Party next weekend. Tell 'em The Militant sent ya!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Public Militancy 101: The Militant Steps Out Of The Shadows

The Social Media: Power & Culture blogger panel. From back: Class instructor Will Coley, Jorge Rivas from, Celeste Freemon from and Yes It's Really Him In Person.
Photo courtesy of Tafarai Bayne.

Since The Militant Angeleno began his blogging endeavor nearly five years ago, from the get-go he sought out to be a mysterious, anonymous figure.

Always dressed in his camouflage garb, he is able to disguise himself as an everyday Angeleno (whatever that may or may not look like) and easily blend into society. You may or may not have met him before!

On The Militant’s first anniversary of his blog, he revealed what he looked like – at least from behind his bandana mask.

He may or may not have revealed himself to a select few native Angelenos who have earned his trust. Last summer, he even treated three loyal readers of this here blog to a free Dodger game, and they got to meet The Militant himself (he still maintained a semblance of his anonymity though).

But The Militant had always wanted to know what it would be like if he presented himself to a group of people in public. 

This past Thursday, he finally got that chance, thanks to one of his loyal readers Tafarai Bayne, who gave him the opportunity to sit on a panel of bloggers for Los Angeles Trade Tech College’s CP10 Social Media: Power and Culture class, taught by Bayne and Will Coley.

The Militant joined fellow bloggers Jorge Rivas of and Celeste Freemon from Witness

The instructors and the class of about 20 students asked the panelists questions about how the bloggers started out, why they decided to blog what they do, what sort of editorial decisions go into making their blog posts, and the topic of content ethics (e.g. crediting photos, the legality thereof and related issues like fair use and meme parody versions).

One of the students even asked The Militant straight-up why he is anonymous, and why he refers to himself in the third person. If you’ve been reading this for a while, you probably already know the answer to that one, right? Militancy 101!

Class is in session. Professor Militant in da house. Aw yeah.
Photo courtesy of Tafarai Bayne
The Militant also shared the background stories behind some of his recent posts, like the South Los Angeles Wetlands Park post, where, after doing errands in the area, decided to just roll through and experience the park for himself; and the Wilshire/Vermont Metro station cell phone post, which was originally intended to be written about several months ago, but The Militant decided to just write about it this week.

As for anyone concerned about whether The Militant finally revealed himself or gave up his anonymity, none of them happened. The Militant didn’t have to give up a thing. Also, he didn’t reveal anything about himself that he didn’t already reveal on his blog if you pay close attention. Though one student asked him a question about whether he had any previous professional writing experience, and he may or may not have had an answer to that.

The Militant had a great time, and the fellow bloggers there were very cool folks who dropped some serious knowledge themselves. Jorge Rivas from Color Lines mentioned that it’s his blog’s policy to spend half an hour writing the headline for a story that took an hour to write, which one of the instructors found fascinating (In The Militant’s case, he won’t even start on a blog post unless he’s thought of some sort of witty/pun-filled/pop-culture-referential headline).

After the panel, some of the students stayed to set up their Tumblr accounts (pictured right). The class, which had been going on for about a month already, explores other facets of teh social media realm in other weeks, and a few of the students are considering embarking on their own blogs.

The Militant sincerely hopes he’s inspired the bloggers of tomorrow (or at least next month), and that they employ their own elements of Militancy in their work!
Now that's an education! Photo courtesy of Bobby Buck
Professor Militant...hmmm…

On another level, it was totally awesome to interact in person with actual people, many of whom stared at The Militant, most likely wondering, “WTF does this guy think he is?”

This may or may not open up other opportunities in the near or far future to do more public appearances! The Militant has always wanted to put on a group bike ride and visit some of the actual places he’s written about! Would any of you dig something like that?

The Militant thanks fellow bloggers Rivas and Freemon for the privilege of sharing our knowledge and experiences, and to instructors Bayne and Coley and the students of the CP10 class, thanks for an unforgettable first-time experience!

The Militant would also like to thank Los Angeles Trade Tech’s security officers for not giving The Militant a hard time as he sauntered through campus in full Militant gear! He really appreciated that!