Los Angeles Times


Quintessentially L.A.; Big, boxy and bland: It took a Brit to find the beauty in the ‘dingbat’ architectural style.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

October 23, 2003

By James Verini

“I drove around for 20 years taking pictures of these things. Finally, someone told me, ‘You’ve got to make a book.’ ” So says graphic designer Clive Piercy, who has lived in Los Angeles for two decades, which is precisely how long it has taken him to publish his first book of photographs.
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L.A. wide web

LOS ANGELES TIMES

October 16, 2003

By James Verini

The protagonist of “Pattern Recognition,” the latest novel from William Gibson, the D.W. Griffith of cyberspace (he invented the word, actually), is Cayce Pollard, a “coolhunter” and consultant who gets paid large sums to opine on trends. CayceP, as she’s known online — she’s an inadvertent celebrity, even an oracle, to a devoted clan of in-the-know readers — also cuts the tags out of the backs of her shirts and is made physically ill by department stores.
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Matters of the art

LOS ANGELES TIMES

September 11, 2003

By James Verini

On a recent afternoon, The Times sat down with Frank O. Gehry at the offices of Frank O. Gehry Associates, tucked into a quiet industrial neighborhood off Jefferson Boulevard, to discuss the architect’s career and the city of Los Angeles. Gehry is known for occasionally being reticent in interviews, and indeed on certain subjects, such as his favorite buildings in L.A., he had little to say. On other matters, such as the progression of his own style, he was more expansive.
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L.A.: Gehry’s laboratory

LOS ANGELES TIMES

September 11, 2003

By James Verini

When the Walt Disney Concert Hall opens for business next month, the world’s eyes will be upon it, partly because the concert hall is expected to rejuvenate the fortunes of downtown Los Angeles, partly because the building looks like a giant space tulip (incongruous truths worthy of its quiet yet provocative architect) but mostly because that architect is Frank O. Gehry.
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I am a sandwich; Eater’s inspiration might just make turkey ‘fun again.’

LOS ANGELES TIMES

September 4, 2003

By James Verini

Patrons of Canter’s Delicatessen on Fairfax Avenue might have noticed a change there recently. On the specials board, hanging on a pillar near the bakery, is listed a sandwich called “the Matt Miller.” It consists of sliced roasted turkey, cole slaw and melted muenster cheese on grilled challah bread, with Russian dressing.
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Get him to the Bowl on time

LOS ANGELES TIMES

August 2, 2003

By James Verini

Stomping and strutting like a peacock around a rehearsal space on a shabby corner in Burbank, Roger Daltrey looks like nothing less than the eternal youth of rock ‘n’ roll embodied. The once and future frontman for the Who and a bona fide rock demigod, Daltrey seems only slightly dulled from that summer 34 years ago when he belted out “I Can See for Miles” at a little concert called Woodstock and permanently redefined the way rock singers were supposed to work.
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Seeking nirvana in a dusty bookshelf

LOS ANGELES TIMES

July 17, 2003

By James Verini

“How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I have undertaken in the pursuit of books!”

— Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library”

It should be said from the start that going to used-book stores is, at best, a useless pursuit. It is reversionary, unhealthy even. Used-book stores are filled with books, dusty, old, sinus-polluting books and, as if that weren’t enough, with the kind of people you make a conscious effort to avoid during the day — ne’er do-wells, layabouts, semi-employed dissertation candidates and self-proclaimed bibliophiles who consider writers such as Walter Benjamin, dead since 1940, their real friends.
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The first party animals; How ‘Animal House’ liberated bad taste, launching an art form oft copied, rarely matched.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

June 19, 2003

By James Verini

For anybody under 50, these names are the names of modern-day mythology: Otter, Bluto, Flounder, Neidermeyer, Dean Wormer. The lines, mostly yelled, echo in our heads like commands from uncouth ancestors: “Food fight!” “Road trip!” “Double Secret Probation!” The parties have become the stuff of educational tradition: Try to find a fraternity house anywhere in America that hasn’t had a toga party sometime in the last year.
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Without reservations

LOS ANGELES TIMES

June 15, 2003

By James Verini

Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, the New York slash L.A. restaurateurs slash club owners and now slash hoteliers collectively responsible for L.A. perennials such as Bar Marmont and Jones and New York’s Bowery Bar and the Park, are not terribly concerned that a visitor is poking around their not-yet-open hotel when the place is still, to put it mildly, a shambles.
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Need a lift? Go see stars

LOS ANGELES TIMES

May 22, 2003

By James Verini

Who loves his job more than anyone else in Hollywood? Nicholson? Hefner? Sajak? As I sat in the back of a small, egregiously air-conditioned tour bus one recent Friday afternoon, climbing Foothill Road in Beverly Hills, soaking in a stream of celebrity trivia and the delighted giggles of Midwestern tourist couples, I grew convinced that none of those people enjoys his job half as much as Brian Donnelly.
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Taking his best shot; Mike Slack elevates the everyday to art with a Polaroid camera.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

May 8, 2003

By James Verini

I saw Mike Slack’s book of Polaroid photographs in Book Soup. I liked the name: Mike Slack. I thought, “A book of Polaroids?” I liked the idea that someone named Mike Slack would publish a book of Polaroids. So I bought it. I found myself looking at it a lot.
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A life in two new acts

LOS ANGELES TIMES

May 1, 2003

By James Verini

Julia SWEENEY’S unassuming bungalow on the southern fringe of Hollywood is lined with books. Walking into her living room, one wonders if Sweeney, the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, is planning on becoming an adjunct professor or opening a stall at the Fairfax flea market. She’s not, it turns out — she just likes to read.
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