Los Angeles Times


At the core of culture

LOS ANGELES TIMES

By James Verini

April 3, 2003

Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get different answers about where L.A.’s current underground art-party scene, as far as you can put your finger on it, originated.

The Coffee House Anthropologists, as usual, will trace it back to the 1950s and ’60s, to Beat happenings and the Radical Chic parties where society matrons entertained the Hell’s Angels and the whole free-jazz-with-magic-markers thing that Ornette Coleman’s circle used to do.
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Shuffle up to the bar, sport

LOS ANGELES TIMES

March 13, 2003

By James Verini

“Back in jolly old 15th Century England they played a game of sliding a ‘groat’ down a table: a ‘groat’ being a rather large British coin of the day, worth about four pence. The game was called shove-groat and/or slide groat. Later, a silver penny was used, and the name of the game became shove penny or shovel penny. The game never died. It was played by the young and old, rich and poor. It was a favorite game in the great country houses of Staffordshire.”
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A mind full of eccentrics; Dave Chappelle pushes his stand-up act and TV show to the edge, combining a social point with outrageousness.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

February 13, 2003

By James Verini

The comedian Dave Chappelle’s incendiary mind moves at a clip, its paradoxes and paranoias forming into characters and spilling out of his Gumby-thin frame almost faster than he can give them words.
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Love in La La Land

LOS ANGELES TIMES

February 13, 2003

By James Verini

Love in Los Angeles? You want to know about love in Los Angeles? It’s still like the mansaid, some 70 jaded years ago: “It’s a Barnum and Bailey world/ Just as phony as it can be/ But it wouldn’t be make believe/ If you believed in me.”
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A new spin on L.A. art

LOS ANGELES TIMES

January 30, 2003

By James Verini

What is it about the sight of a lovely woman in a sweaty tank top, her hands moving with studied precision, oversized earphones cocked half off her head, her body slave to — but at the same time master of — the beat? (This has nothing to do with the Super Bowl beer commercials, mind you.)
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Hidden art and politics; During a party for the L.A. Fine Print Fair, artist’s ‘invisible mural,’ seen only in black light, makes an antiwar statement.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

January 30, 2003

By James Verini

THE president’s face seems to be everywhere these days, and while the red states may be pleased as punch, his image is not a source of mirth to some in the Los Angeles arts community. Around here, George W. Bush’s smile seems to hang in the air like one of Warhol’s Brillo Pad boxes circa 1978 — abrasive to some but ubiquitous as well. So it seemed fitting on any number of levels to find, Friday night, no fewer than eight disembodied Dubya-heads, silk-screened in eerie electric green and defaced with slashes of paint, floating around on the fifth floor of the L.A. County Museum of Art.
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L.A.’s train of thought; Hop aboard Metro Rail for a tour of the unexplored city

LOS ANGELES TIMES

January 16, 2003

By James Verini

Los ANGELES is a car city, the car city, so let’s begin with the honest truth, shall we? The honest truth: For many of us, the idea of riding the Metro Rail subway in Los Angeles ranks up there with an afternoon at the Natural History Museum or a night of Kabuki theater. An experience we know would be conscientiously edifying — enjoyable, even — if we could only overcome that innate reluctance. It just seems so puny and doesn’t seem to go anywhere. But that’s because we’re looking at it all wrong.
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That smell is so you

LOS ANGELES TIMES

January 9, 2003

By James Verini

For those unwilling to settle for bottled scents that just anyone can buy, personal perfumers concoct custom mixes of fragrances and oils.
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The night painter; Robert Olsen prowls a darkened L.A. to find what the daylight world has missed.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

December 12, 2002

By James Verini

“I once worked as a garbage-sifter for McDonald’s,” says Robert Olsen, who now makes enough as a painter of careful urban still lifes not to have to take such jobs. “Me and this other guy went around and counted discarded straws and sugar packets and then reported the numbers.”
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Love, fidelity and cats; A songwriter puts her money where her passion is for a film on her pets.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

November 28, 2002

By James Verini

PERHAPS you’ve heard of Carol Connors. A singer-songwriter and scorer of movies, she was once a member of Phil Specter’s first hit concoction, the Teddy Bears, who scored in 1958 with “To Know Him Is to Love Him.” She dated Elvis Presley for nearly a year. Later in life, she was responsible for such classics as “Gonna Fly Now,” the Oscar-winning title theme from “Rocky,” and of course that soundtrack to televised insomnia, “Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams” from “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Then again, perhaps you haven’t heard of Carol Connors.
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Married…with books

LOS ANGELES TIMES

November 22, 2002

By James Verini

Al and Tipper Gore take their bickering-but-happy-together-couple routine on the road in support of two new books about American families.
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Their world of hurt; Almost anything goes in new extreme fighting league.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

November 14, 2002

By James Verini

Whatever happened to that high school wrestling star, the one who practiced chokeholds in the cafeteria? Or that kid down the block who was always starting fights? And what about that linebacker in college who got all the girls but never quite graduated?
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