Los Angeles can be a daunting place to explore, which is why I love what I get to do here at KCRW–root out interesting people who are doing interesting things that might otherwise not get much media attention.
To that end, here’s a short-list, in no particular order, of some of my favorites stories I had the privilege of telling in 2014, in case you missed them.
A new twist on soup kitchens launched in East Hollywood. Rather than feeding the hungry, it’s there to help those who need help doing their laundry. Volunteers take over a laundromat once a month and offer donated quarters and laundry supplies, as well as a boxed meal, to anyone who shows up.
John Kilduff is no car salesman. But for this inventive art exhibition, the Blackstone Gallery, which consistently has some of the most inventive projects around southern California, was transformed into a dealership. Visitors got the hard-sell from Kilduff, smarm and all, for the world’s first zero-emission cardboard car. Think it’s real? There’s this bridge I could sell you…
The artist Dominic Quagliozzi is an accomplished painter and performance artist who weaves his struggle with cystic fibrosis throughout his work. Since this profile, he’s been approved for a double-lung transplant and has been bulking up his weight and strength at the gym (cranking up the oxygen tank he relies on) so he’s prepared for the surgery, when the time comes.
Long-time horror impresario Charles Band cranks out the horror from a warehouse on Skid Row. While the rest of Los Angeles, and the world, went mad for the Oscars, I paid a visit to the set of the web series Trophy Heads. Lots of screaming.
Visiting the set of a weekly, student-produced closed-circuit television news show at Grover Cleveland High School in Reseda was an inspirational antidote to “kids-these-days” bad news stories–especially given the wide diversity of ethnic backgrounds among the cast and crew.
And finally, to come full-circle as we approach Ethiopian Christmas on January 7th, earlier this year I visited Azla Vegan at Mercado La Paloma near downtown, where Nesanet Abegaze cooks up vegan Ethiopian cuisine with her mother, for whom the restaurant is named.
Got a great story to share in the realm of arts, culture, or just something interesting going on around southern California? Please send it along to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And happy new year!