Sunday June 16, 2013
The pinnacle of oughties era excess, decadence and celebrity sycophants may well have occurred around 2008 or 2009 when a gang of fresh-faced robbers terrorized Young Hollywood by burgling the homes of stars like Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Rachel Bilson.
The criminally rebellious crew is the subject of the latest Sofia Coppola film The Bling Ring, which opens in theaters on Friday.
The celeb-centric teens tracked their targets online and then robbed their houses stealing over $3 million in luxury goods.
The film stars Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Georgia Rock, and Gavin Rossdale. Hilton herself even makes a cameo. The hotel heiress told the Hollywood Reporter of the robberies:
'They came to my house five times, stole millions of dollars of my things: Birkin bags, family heirlooms, jewellery that was in my family for years, and then they sold it on Venice Beach like a yard sale.'
In true Coppola iconoclastic fashion, the director is apparently taking a contrary approach to the narrative, telling the story through the eyes of the kid criminals--who were apparently so brainwashed by celeb culture that they sought its spoils at all costs.
From the trailer it looks like it's going to be another stellar Ms. Coppola production. In one scene, one of the burglars considers snatching Hilton's famous lap dog.
Celebrity Culture in LA
Celebrity Hot Spotting in LA
Photo Courtesy of 42 West and A24
Thursday June 13, 2013
If you're in the science tech world, the term 'synthetic biology' will ring a bell. In layman's terms it's the rock n' roll of the science world--a field of the moment that's very much on the cutting edge.
Evolutionary biologist/author Richard Dawkins called humans 'gene machines' and if you can imagine the human machine in a similar light to computers, the coding inherent in us is what programs us. Gene sequences create obesity, autoimmune disease and so many other physiological manifestations.
Imagine, if someone had a warehouse containing loads of those gene sequences and could use this resource to develop ways to tweak, clone and alter those sequences for the benefit of humanity.
That storehouse science fantasy is in fact a reality, explains Cal Tech grad student Jeffrey Marlow in an article in Wired this week.
The Registry for Standard Biology Parts has compiled 7,000 gene sequences (all validated in peer-reviewed scientific publications). Marlow likens the creativity and possibility of this archive and the role of synthetic biology to playing with a bucket of Legos.
It's all very exciting (especially if you're a sci-fi geek like me), but one wonders what role the regulators play in all this. Surely, scientists--as well-meaning as they are--can't be allowed to run amok like kids in candy stores with no oversight.
As the author even says, early on in the though-provoking article: 'every action we take - and some have been more intentional than others - contributes to a changing world.' Imagine the ramifications of that!
Expand Your Mind in LA
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena
Photo: Mario Tama/Staff/Getty Images
Monday June 10, 2013
Ugly is beautiful at the upcoming Uglycon exhibition at Giant Robot.
The show of art, plush, comics and more by Uglydoll, friends and fans will be up between June 15th and June 26th. An all-day reception will take place at the store (2062 Sawtelle Blvd.) on Saturday June 15th from 2 to 9 p.m.
The exhibit and related launch event promise costumes, bingo, readings, comic art, new Uglydoll caps and beanies, and other campy and kooky surprises.
Related: Japanese Culture in LA
Flyer Image Courtesy of Eric Nakamura/Giant Robot
Saturday June 8, 2013
This has been a busy and active 24 hours for Los Angeles in the news. Below please find bullet point updates on what's been going on in our fair city:
- Richard Ramirez (also known as the Night Stalker), the man who terrorized Southern California in the '80s, has died of natural causes at the age of 53. TMZ has quoted one of Ramirez's attack victims Bill Carns (who was shot in the head several times by the Night Stalkerá in 1985 during home invasion) as saying "Saying that I'm happy he's dead is too simple ... I'm at peace with myself."
- President Obama was in LA yesterday on his way to visit Chinese President Xi Jinping in Palm Springs. He faces serious scrutiny from the local and international press over the revelations of the 'Prism' program, which has seen the NSA culling data from the phone and internet accounts of millions. President Obama skirted questions that linked China to cyberespionage attacks against the US; he told reporters that protocols for cybersecurity are "uncharted waters" that the US and China must explore.
- Five people in Santa Monica were killed as the result of (what is now being called) a premeditated shooting rampage on Friday. The alleged Santa Monica shooter would have just turned 24 and he, and another family member, apparently had a connection to Santa Monica College.
Related: Education & Government in LA
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Staff/Getty Images