FROM Chris Nichols
WeHo wants to save Barney's Beanery despite its intolerant past Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood is well-known for its chili and beer, and less known for its controversial past. At some point in the 1950s or ‘60s – the exact date is unclear – a previous owner put up a sign that made it clear that gays were not welcome. The city council forced Barney’s to take the sign down shortly after West Hollywood was incorporated in 1984. Now, somewhat ironically, the city – one of the gayest in America – is fighting to save the 89-year-old landmark from a large commercial development.
Will Hop Louie become LA’s latest victim of gentrification? Lovers of LA history and old school kitsch have been bummed out by rumors that the venerable Chinatown restaurant Hop Louie may be closing . The three-tiered pagoda across the street from the galleries of Chung King Road has been there since 1941. The windowless ground-floor bar has been a hipster hotspot for years, though the restaurant upstairs hasn’t won over many foodies lately. Hop Louie is an institution in Chinatown, but might it become the latest victim of downtown gentrification?
Remembering L.A.’s Magic Ambassador The Magic Castle is one of Hollywood’s weirdest treasures. It’s a hulking old Victorian mansion that serves as a campy, magic-themed country club. There are magic shows there every night, and you have to be invited by a member, or become one yourself, to get in. The Magic Castle was created more than 50 years ago by a German-born woman named Irene Larsen, along with her husband and brother-in-law. For decades, Larsen was at the center of L.A.’s magic subculture. Besides co-founding the Magic Castle, she also turned her own house in Hancock Park into a kind of magic salon. She died there yesterday at age 79. We remember her with a friend and Magic Castle member.
Clifton's Cafeteria Reopens Clifford Clinton opened the beloved comfort-food restaurant in 1935; now developer Andrew Meieran is reopening it to serve a new generation. Long-time patrons will find the new Clifton's Cafeteria to be much the same, but also quite different. Gideon Brower toured the space with Chris Nichols and filed this report.
Dorothy Chandler Legacy The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center opened its doors 50 years ago this past Friday. We discuss how the venue was a milestone for the city, and a huge accomplishment for the woman who made it happen.
Culver City Braces for Closure of Community Ice Arena The beloved Culver Ice Arena is closing because it can’t afford a new market rent. Today’s show explores the fight to save the rink, and what its demise says about the changing character of Los Angeles as buildings, and land values, rise and rise. With Culver City councilmembers Micheál O’Leary and Andrew Weissman, Calarts Norman Klein, Shannon Takahashi of Culver Ice Arena, and supporters of the rink. Renee DeAngelis, owner of Planet Granite, responds. Also, the movie Her depicts an LA of towers and public transit. But is that the LA we want? With Chris Nichols, Norman Klein, Craig Hodgetts, Evan Kleiman and Sam Lubell.
Overdrive One of the first shows to open is the Getty's own, called Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990 . It's curated by Wim de Wit and Christopher James Alexander of the Getty Research Institute, and it's huge, with plans, models, archive footage taking us back to the era when LA was taking flight – spreading residential development far and wide, building a state-of-the-art airport, building its aerospace and oil industries, not to mention its pop culture, like Disneyland. Chris Nichols, author of the " Ask Chris " column in Los Angeles magazine and member of the LA Conservancy's Modern Committee , knows the period as well as anyone. Listen for his review of the show, as well as his unapologetic embrace of onetime ability to drive ones car door to door. Walking – not him!. The 1950s lifestyle was, in his view, "So luxurious, I just love it so much."
Is Preservation Going Too Far? Earlier this year, the new owners of the Kronish House , a 1955 Modernist home in Beverly Hills designed by legendary Austrian architect Richard Neutra, showed signs that they planned to demolish the aging structure and sell the empty lot. Unlike the city of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills has no preservation ordinance in place that offers protections for historic properties, so a campaign to save the house has been waged by fans of Modernist architecture, lead by the Los Angeles Conservancy . Longtime LA Conservancy member and associate editor at Los Angeles Magazine Chris Nichols gives some background on the house and why he thinks it should be saved. But is this desire to save aging buildings preventing cities from creating new and exciting architecture for the future? Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne gives his thoughts on the Kronish House, defining notable architecture, and our obsession with the past. The Kronish House today. Curbed LA editor Adrian Glick Kudler got an exclusive peek inside the home, you can see the entire slideshow of the tour at Curbed LA . Top image: The Kronish House in better days, photo via Neutra.org
Emil Ferris: My Favorite Thing Is Monsters My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Emil Ferris' debut graphic novel, is the diary of a ten-year-old girl obsessed with monsters who also believes she herself is a werewolf.
James Mangold on 'Logan' and fighting franchise fatigue Filmmaker James Mangold has been making character-driven dramas for more than 20 years, but lately, he's been in the X-Men superhero business. In his latest film, Logan, Hugh Jackman plays the slashing Marvel mutant one last time, so Mangold wanted to make something more nuanced than the usual comic-book movie.
Building homes near freeways, 'Rick Owens: Furniture' The White House wants to roll back fuel economy standards. Could that mean more air pollutants coming out of car tailpipes -- just as LA is seeing a surge of home construction along freeways? And a fashion world provocateur, Rick Owens, talks about designing furniture inspired by land art and brutalist architecture, and raising existential questions on the runway.
Big plans for tiny houses, homes for hope The tiny house movement is booming, even though in most places, people can't legally live in them. But that didn't stop a group of enthusiasts from learning how to build one at CAFAM. What will they do with their tiny homes? And as Angelenos have passed measures to build more housing for the homeless, a group of architecture students is trying to speed up access to shelter -- with designs for temporary housing with "curb appeal."