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Showing posts from March, 2011

Legacy of a Drought: Water Wise Gardens in L.A.

Finally. California's new governor, Jerry Brown, was expected to proclaim today that the drought which has officially plagued the Golden State since 2009 is over. This winter brought precipitation by the tub full: record breaking rain fall in December, plenty more rain in March, 50 feet of snow in parts of the High Sierra. Bottom line we got about 50 percent more precipitation than in an average year. Looking out a restaurant window in Mammoth on March 18 This is great news of course - though we in L.A. should never see ourselves as off the hook. Southern California is a desert. The water that we use here always comes from somewhere else, be it the Colorado River or the High Sierra, and if the drought had an up-side it was that many of us became aware of this. Angelenos aren't - and probably never will be - saints when it comes to environmentalism but as I have said before, we try and there is one L.A. characteristic that works in our favor whenever change is needed: we

Save the Date: Panel Discussion on Angeleno Identity

What is an Angeleno today? I just found the announcement for a panel discussion that is right up my alley: Angelino, Angeleno, Angeleño: Who are we? The event will be hosted by KPCC's "Multi-American" blogger Leslie Berenstein Rojas. Her guests on the panel are D.J. Waldie (author and KCET “Departures” blogger) and Dr. Eric Avila (Professor, Urban and Cultural History at UCLA). If you live in the area come and join me! Tuesday, March 29, 2011 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. at The Crawford Family Forum 474 South Raymond Avenue Pasadena, CA 91105

Preparing for the Big Shaker: How Stoic Are Californians?

Does anything bring out the truth about people more than a crisis? Images and reports from the earth quake, tsunami, and radioactivity stricken Japan show a stoicism in those affected that is rare. When I first came to live in L.A. in 1999 the comparatively light Northridge earthquake of 1994 which registered as a 6.7 was still fresh in people's minds. It was then that I learned how Californians deal with the constant threat of a major shaker: they accept that the big one is getting ready to rock us and prepare for it. Schools drill children on earth quake safety, residents keep earth quake kits in their garages and cars. Such preparation is sensible and it calms the nerves. It makes us feel we have control over what will happen. It takes some fear out of life. Does preparation ensure that we Californians will respond as stoically as the Japanese when our time comes? No. The culture on this side of the Pacific is different. We see it every year when the wildfires burn out of co

Dregs for Plants and Plans for a New Food Co-op

When it comes to environmentalism we Angelenos are not exactly known to be heavily invested. Quite the opposite. L.A. is synonymous with cars and freeways and too many miles driven - and that's just one aspect. The other day I was leafing through this month's issue of Whole Living magazine  when a reader's suggestion caught my eye: Etienne L. is telling us that he has started to collect "all the dregs" in his family of four's water glasses "to take care of the house plants". Etienne simply empties "the last drips into a pitcher instead of pouring them down the drain". He thereby saves "enough water for (his) indoor plants and potted herb garden". Now that's what I call commitment. Dregs for plants. Etienne is from San Francisco of course (Oakland, to be precise). We in L.A. could never pull that one off - but it's not like we don't try to be green. At least some of us. Take an enterprise called Arroyo Food Co-op i

A Drop of Spring (No Seasons in L.A.? 2)

They say there are no seasons in L.A... (See my earlier post Fall in December  for more on this.) Well, it's spring. The orange tree in our back yard is showing off blossoms and fruit at the same time, and nights are filled with the heavy, sweet fragrance of citrus trees. The other day I found some snowdrops in our front yard. Bright green and robust they have popped up out of nowhere, made their way through a thick layer of mulch. One of the previous house owners must have planted them years ago.

Shift in Balance: 51 Percent of Young Californians Are Latino

51 percent of Californians under 18 are now Latino, and for L.A. county the number is even higher (62 percent). These details of the 2010 census results were published this week. What does the shift in balance mean for the future of the golden state? NPR's Morning Edition ran an interesting interview on the topic this morning. UC Irvine anthropologist Leo Chavez talks about white Californian people's fears, about how Latino immigrants add to the existing culture, about the economic challenges they face, and about possible changes in voting habits. To listen to the piece go to the NPR website and click on the link that reads: Hispanic Population Grows Dramatically in California. More on the topic also in my previous post Diversity in Numbers: Defining the Angeleno Family  and in the comments to it.

San Diego: Where California Feels Preppiest

San Diego stuns me. The light is clear, everything looks clean, and people are so laid back and friendly that a stay there often has me wondering whether I might be dreaming. If California's three major cities, San Diego, San Francisco, and L.A., were siblings San Diego would be the one to enjoy golf and to succeed in prep school. That's not a bad thing. It's just that, on a day to day basis, I prefer L.A.'s more pluralistic feel. That said, I do love to go to San Diego for a weekend or so. We have wonderful friends there and we also like to visit the La Jolla Playhouse which ranks as one of the top live theatres in the west and functions as a feeder for Broadway. Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jersey Boys, Memphis... These shows started out at the Playhouse, went on to New York, and won Tony awards. Last Sunday we had tickets to Little Miss Sunshine, a musical based on the 2006 road movie. Will this one make it east too? I'd be surprised. The production was cut