FROM Steve James
How one Chinatown bank was 'small enough to jail' In the wake of the mortgage crisis and great recession, the government bailed out big banks, but one small bank was not so lucky. Abacus Federal Savings Bank was the only bank to face criminal charges. Run by a family in New York’s Chinatown, it served low-income immigrant communities. A new documentary tells the story: “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” It opens in LA on June 9 at the Landmark NuArt Theater. Vera Sung, Jill Sung and Thomas Sung ran Abacus Federal Savings Bank in New York's Chinatown. They caught financial fraud being committed at their bank, reported it, and fired those involved. Then Abacus became the only bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. (Photo by Sean Lyness)
‘Life Itself’ Filmmaker Steve James and Chaz Ebert tell Kim Masters about the journey of adapting Roger Ebert’s memoir, ‘Life Itself’ to a documentary. James figured finding funding for such a film would be no problem, but as he puts it, he was “exactly wrong about that.” Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz were both on board with the idea of working with James, and filming began in late 2012. But as Roger’s health slipped into a sudden decline, everyone involved had to adapt their plans. Even in very difficult, personal moments, Roger Ebert encouraged James to keep the camera rolling. He passed away just a few months into production. The film traces Ebert’s life from his childhood in Urbana, Illinois, to his days at the Chicago Sun-Times to his often contentious relationship with Gene Siskel. ‘Life Itself’ doesn’t shy away from portraying Ebert as a flawed man who, early in his career, had an outsized ego and a drinking problem. But it also shows a person transformed by love when he met and married his wife Chaz.
Why did Jared Kushner want a back channel with Russians? News broke Friday that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, tried setting up a back channel between the Trump transition team and the Russian government. What are the consequences for Kushner, President Trump, and the investigation into Russian meddling?
Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”
Shaking up the USDA, 'The Beef Cookbook' and 'Tartine All Day' Peggy Lowe explains why Trump’s pick for USDA Secretary is rattling rural America. Dario Cecchini talks future plans for Chianti ramen, and Richard Turner shares cuts from “PRIME: The Beef Cookbook.” Writer Matthew Sedacca looks at the controversy behind liquid smoke. Jonathan Gold tries Chengdu-style dishes, and Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fills us in on the latest. Plus, chef Michael Beckman shares a recipe for cactus confit.
Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture?