All posts filed under: LA

Riding the Pacific Surfliner

This past weekend I rode Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Diego & back. Here’s a diary entry-style post about my experience: From industrial neighborhoods to the ocean, journeying on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Diego takes you through some of California’s distinct landscapes. Leaving from Union Station in downtown LA, the first views from the train are what I’d describe as hyper-industrial: cement trucks, train cars, wires, fences, and giant warehouses that are either overwhelmingly grey, or dotted with colorful graffiti. It’s dirt, metal, and cement for miles. The illicit art on buildings and walls – ranging from indecipherable messages to exceptional works of art – interrupt the monochromatic dominance of the landscape. Oddly enough, I think there’s something particularly beautiful about Los Angeles’ industrial and warehouse districts. The area isn’t at all glamorous, but the beauty is in its history and scope. Downtown LA is home to global industries and distribution centers. It’s where clothes are made and shipped internationally, and produce is organized and distributed across North America. Downtown is a hub …

PHOTOS: Women’s March Los Angeles

The Women’s March on Washington went global y’all (see: Pictures From Women’s Marches on Every Continent). And the Los Angeles sister march drew over 750,000 protestors – more than 10 times the number expected! Taking to the streets with a diverse community of progressive feminists (from all ages and walks of life) was an experience that meant so much to me. In spite of a dreadful Friday, and past year, the Women’s March served as a beam of light. There I saw hope in the form of thousands and thousands of people who are prepared to resist our frightening and repressive administration. We are the resistance. We will fight oppression and injustice together. In the words of Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan, we’re stronger together. Oh, and love trumps hate! Here are some photos from the LA women’s march. Though they don’t capture the scope of the march or the shared sense of urgency permeating the air, I thought they were worth sharing:

4 Days Until the Inauguration

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Last year I compiled a few great MLK quotes, and I found that re-reading them today helped rile me up for the week ahead, the next four years, and beyond. The fact that this guy, of all people, is going to be our next president is still difficult for me to digest. I plan on spending the next few days thinking about what I can do in the future – what we can all do – to fight for a more just and compassionate community, country, and world. For the next week or so all of my posts will be related to the presidential inauguration and incoming administration. Tomorrow I’m sharing more about why this president and his cronies and fans scare me, followed by a resistance inspired reading list, online resources for getting involved and making a difference, and quotes from great activists and leaders that will hopefully empower you to stand in opposition to those who wish to oppress and control. This Friday I will be attending an anti-Inauguration rally, and …

Database as Artistic Form

“Database as Artistic Form” is a video project that I completed this past spring for an interactive media course at USC. The project was inspired by Lev Manovich’s essay “Database as Cultural Form” and city symphonies of the 1920s such as Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera (1929) and Manhatta (Paul Strand & Charles Sheeler, 1921). For the project I created a database of video and sound clips which I then edited together by running three Java programs to determine the order and length of each clip. In his 1999 essay, “Database as Symbolic Form,” Lev Manovich argues that Man with a Movie Camera is possibly the clearest example of database filmmaking. He points specifically to a scene where Elizaveta Svilova, Vertov’s wife and the editor of the film, is seen examining and organizing strips of celluloid. In this especially self-reflexive moment, Svilova is essentially working with a material database. For my video project I was interested in a digitally mediated take on Svilova’s database, where I would compile a catalogue of sound and video clips, which would …

A Letter to Los Angeles

Dear Los Angeles, I’ve been living in your expansive, complex, beautiful sprawl for over a year now, and it’s been quite a wild ride thus far. In some ways you’ve met my expectations, but in total, this relationship has grown and evolved in ways I could have never imagined. I came here worried I’d hate driving alongside “California drivers,” as some Arizonans derogatorily refer to maniacs who cut you off and zip by smugly. Worse than that, I was worried that I couldn’t drive your streets; I thought that maybe the freeways would be so fast and frightening that I simply wouldn’t have it in me to get behind the wheel. I fretted about this for months before moving, but within a day of driving your crowded streets, I realized that I’m rarely moving fast. And surprisingly, I’m becoming a “California driver” myself. Many Californians (though definitely not all) drive smart, aggressively, and prepared to slam on their breaks or move out of the way at any given moment. Despite the often unbearable traffic, I somehow enjoy driving here. I’ve learned that you’re nothing like the way …

Visiting Farm Sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary is a non-profit that is devoted to protecting farm animals from cruelty, while also working to inspire people to make choices that are more compassionate and sustainable by promoting a vegan lifestyle. Farm Sanctuary is the country’s largest animal rescue and protection organization, with sanctuaries in Watkins Glen, NY, Northern California, and the Los Angeles area. And thanks to Tracey and Jon Stewart, Farm Sanctuary will soon be opening a fourth location in New Jersey. This past weekend I visited the Los Angeles sanctuary (located in Acton, CA) for the second time, and captured photos of some of the gentle creatures that are lucky enough to act as ambassadors for the 9 billion farm animals that die each year in the U.S. alone. If you are in the upstate New York area, or Northern or Southern California, be sure to visit a sanctuary and get to know these unique, kind, and beautiful animals.  

Video of the Day: Exploring Sunset Boulevard

Though I’ve only lived in Los Angeles for a little less than a year, I feel as though I have discovered so much. Living in LA and learning more about the city each and every day has fueled my desire to explore and make new things; there’s a creative energy here that’s electric. For those who have never been to Los Angeles, you may envision the Kardashians driving through Beverly Hills, trendy tech guys sipping on lattes, and fashion bloggers doing photo shoots in front of some cool building – or maybe you imagine traffic, smog, and an income disparity that is excruciatingly palpable. But beyond the glitz, glam, and grit, there’s so much more to Los Angeles. So much, in fact, that I’ve just barely begun to peel back the layers. There’s something for nearly everyone in LA: culture, music, food, art, movies, academia, activism, ocean, mountains, architecture…the list goes on and on. And of course, there’s the spectacular weather! But despite everything I love about Los Angeles, I know that this city has a rich, complicated, and sometimes troubling history, and I’m eager to learn more. There is no …

Ride With Me – My Essentials For Driving in Los Angeles

As you know, or could easily imagine, commuting in Los Angeles can be a frustrating task at times. As a recent transplant from a city where nearly everyone is overly cautious and drives too slow, I’ve found that the general aggression Angelenos have behind the wheel suits me well. That being said, bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go traffic isn’t a blast for anyone involved, but it can be fun if you have on good music and are willing to unabashedly dance in your car. I was inspired by Turo and their Los Angeles car rental team, a non-traditional car rental community, similar to Lyft and Airbnb, to share some of my driving essentials. I hopped on the opportunity because I enjoy supporting businesses that are based on community values and sustainability. Here are some of my driving necessities, for when running a few errands turns into a day long adventure: 1. Sunscreen: Sun protection is a serious matter, particularly when you live in a city where the sun shines often and the weather calls for rolled down windows. I recommend Alba Botanica sunscreen, which is cruelty free and never disappoints. 2. Protein …

Yes, I Want to Share Another LA Video

This may be the fourth or fifth time I’ve shared a similar video – one that features swooping images of Los Angeles’ beautiful skyline and an impressive array of street art – but I must share this one, because it’s just that good. Simply titled Los Angeles, Ian Wood’s newest video comes as a city-wide follow-up to his previous downtown exploration. As someone who fell in love with Los Angeles and decided to make the move here recently, I’m struck by how much of this city I have left to explore. As evidenced by the range of stunning shots that are stitched together perfectly, this sprawling metropolis is wildly diverse in so many ways. From culture, to architecture and nature, Los Angeles seems to have something for everyone. The experience of watching Los Angeles is so much fun that I find myself enthusiastically bouncing around to the music with every new viewing. Each shot is a sight to behold, and the soundtrack exquisitely compliments the varied imagery. So watch the video and let me know what you think! And if you’re interested, check out this map that highlights all of the shooting locations.