Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Fascinating Origins of LA's Original Self-Made Celebrity, Angelyne

For three decades, Los Angeles has been the home territory of the enigmatic celebrity-for-the-sake-of-celebrity, the blonde, self-proclaimed bombshell Angelyne. Known at first for her promotional billboards and for gallivanting around town in her huge teased blonde bouffant and Barbie pink Corvette, she gained a few cameos in movies and televisions. But mainly, she's been famous for being an icon and image of a Los Angeles where anything is possible and anyone can become a celebrity if they try hard enough.

Now HOLLYWOOD REPORTER has taken the time to trace the humble Valley teen years of the would-be exotic creature, who is not happy with letting the world see the girl behind the curtain. The original article is exhaustive and thorough, and you should definitely click the link to read it in its entirety.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to Article:
Angelyne's Real Identity is Finally Solved

Excerpt: "Angelyne is one of the vanishingly few contemporary public figures whose background has remained shrouded in mystery, along with the conceptual artist Banksy, Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto and aircraft hijacker D.B. Cooper. The man, who claimed to work in an undefined role for the federal government, said he was a hobbyist genealogist, occasionally taking on paid assignments in the field as an amusing side gig. A few years earlier, he'd decided it'd be fun to set himself the challenge of cracking Angelyne's case. 'And I did,' he explained.

Later, at the 101 Coffee Shop in Hollywood, the genealogist — who looks like Michael Kelly's contained political operative Doug Stamper from House of Cards — unfurled an elaborate story of Angelyne's past, based on material he contended he'd enterprisingly pulled and synthesized from a global network of public databases. He laid down a folded printout of a row of yearbook photos.
'This one,' he said, pointing at a 1967 Monroe Senior High School sophomore from the San Fernando Valley, third from right, 'is Angelyne.' A schoolgirl with hooded eyes and long center-parted locks, in a button-down white shirt and tie, stared out across half a century. 'Also known as Renee Goldberg.'

 he Hollywood Reporter has since independently confirmed this is Angelyne's real identity with public records and family members. Far from the archetypal transplant-with-a-dream, as she has tacitly long alluded, she's the locally raised daughter of Holocaust survivors, a Jew who has found refuge in shiksa drag. It's a fascinating, only-in-L.A. story of identity, history and a symbiotic yearning both to be forgotten and to be famous.

The yearbook photo was no smoking gun. By her own cosmetic surgery confessions, Angelyne has had quite a bit of work done — and if the genealogist was right, that high school junior is now 66 years old.

Copies of immigration, marriage and death records pointed to a cloaked prehistory of Renee Tami Goldberg (originally Ronia Tamar Goldberg), which seems to reveal the trauma Angelyne had both emerged and escaped from. She was born in Poland on Oct. 2, 1950, the daughter of Polish Jews who'd met in the Chmielnik ghetto during World War II — they were among 500 to survive out of a population of 13,000, the rest sent to death at Treblinka. According to the documentation — obtained from the International Tracing Service, established by the Red Cross as an archive of Nazi crimes — her parents, Hendrik (aka Heniek or Henryk) Goldberg and Bronia (aka Bronis) Zernicka, endured unimaginable horrors at a series of concentration camps, first together at Skarzysko, where prisoners' main job was to make munitions, and then apart at the 20th century's most infamous hellscapes, including Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen.

Bronia later submitted paperwork to Yad Vashem indicating she'd lost more than 40 relatives in the Holocaust, including her father, three brothers and a sister. Shortly after liberation, she and Hendrik married in the Foehrenwald displaced persons camp in Germany. They were eventually repatriated to Poland, which remained hostile to Jews after World War II. So after Goldberg's birth, the family immigrated to Israel, remaining in an ultra-orthodox community of Hasidic Jews called Bnei Brak, east of Tel Aviv, until 1959. (A younger sister, Annette, was born in 1954.)
They boarded a ship leaving Haifa for New York and settled in L.A.'s Fairfax District. Her father worked as a tool-and-die mechanic. Then, in 1965, her 44-year-old mother died of cancer. Goldberg was 14.

The next year Hendrik (now Henry) remarried another Holocaust survivor, a seamstress divorcee named Deborah, and Goldberg acquired a younger stepsister, Norma. She and her father moved from the Westside to Panorama City, deep in the San Fernando Valley, where she'd begin high school and Henry and Deborah would run a strip-mall liquor store in nearby Van Nuys. She'd have a brief marriage to the son of a Beverly Hills executive."

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sepulveda Canyon Paves the Way to LA's Longest street and the Mighty 405 Freeway

Sepulveda Pass in 1962, courtesy of the Dick Whittington Collection at  USC
At 42.8 miles from end to end (and another frontage road section that unofficially adds a few more miles) Sepulveda Boulevard is a major thoroughfare in the Valley and the Westside and LA's longest street.  It and the 405 San Diego Freeway both owe their construction and history to the visionaries (including familiar figures named Lankershim and Van Nuys) who paved a road through the Sepulveda Canyon in the 1930s.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to Article:
How Sepulveda Canyon Became the 405

Excerpt: "Eventually, booming development in the San Fernando Valley during the 1920s persuaded the city and county to rebuild the road for automobiles. Traffic was overwhelming the two established routes between the Valley and the Basin, Cahuenga Pass and San Fernando Road, both of which were out of the way for residents of faraway Van Nuys and Owensmouth. New Sepulveda Boulevard – a 50-mile highway stretching between San Fernando and Long Beach – would provide the Valley with a more direct link to the Basin and harbor beyond at San Pedro Bay.

Construction lasted several years and culminated with the opening of a 650-foot tunnel beneath the summit at Mulholland Drive, an event the city celebrated with a grand Spanish-style fiesta. Despite the festivities, by the time traffic started flowing in September 1930, the new Sepulveda Canyon Road was already inadequate. Five years later the state spent $275,000 to pave it, and by the late 1950s traffic engineers had envisioned an audacious construction project that just might keep traffic flowing freely over Sepulveda Pass forever.

The engineers’ plan? Tear Sepulveda Canyon apart and then rebuild it to allow a superhighway to pass through. Beginning in August 1960, earthmovers carved a gorge 1,800 feet wide and 260 feet deep through the mountains, accomplishing in two years what might take natural erosional forces two million. The bulldozers' total haul: 13 million cubic yards of slate, shale, and dirt. Workers then built massive retaining walls to keep the unnaturally steep slopes from slipping and reconfigured the area's natural drainage through a series of culverts. By 1962, an eight-lane concrete freeway with a maximum grade of 5½% sliced through the mountains.

Though traffic did flow freely at first, the San Diego Freeway (originally signed as California 7 and later redesignated Intestate 405) eventually became one of the Southland’s most hated stretches of pavement. And so the work Lankershim and Van Nuys began in 1875 to improve an ancient trail continues to this day. Regional planners are now considering a menu of options – including an underground toll road, a subway, even a monorail – to relieve congestion, and in 2015 Metro completed a five-year, $1.1 billion project to widen the canyon’s concrete river and its artificial gorge."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Jacaranda Blossoms Are LA's Surest Sign of Spring

People who live in cooler climates imagine that warm, sunny LA has no definable seasons, and if you are going strictly by the lack of any extremes in temperature, that may be understandable.  But smaller signs are unmistakable to us natives, and none so heart-swelling and glorious as the weeks in April and May when many streets turn into tunnels of lavender-blue blossoms. Our 150,000 jacarandas are heralds of springtime that we all look forward to.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to Article:
The Story Behind LA's Beautiful, Ephemeral Jacaranda

Excerpt: "So, how exactly did the jacarandas get here? Accounts of their original point of entry differ. As McDonough told me, 'when exactly they came, nobody really knows.'

He posits that it’s possible they first arrived in California during the Gold Rush. Most of the schooner ships making their way west stopped in Buenos Aires, where they would have witnessed the glory of a jacaranda tree in bloom. McDonough explains that those early arrivals may have 'brought seeds or clippings' with them to California. It’s also possible that freight tycoon Phineas Banning had the trees shipped in to his Wilmington estate from the Amazon in the late 1860s.

Still, in 1868, Reverend James C. Fletcher, a scholar of Brazil, would write that their lilac blossoms were rarely seen north of the equator except in 'small specimen-pieces.'

All that would change in the new century. 'The flowering jacaranda, which in June showers its purple blossoms on the passerby, has come as an ambassador from the Amazon to proclaim the magnificence of that court,' Lannie Haynes Martin wrote of Southern California in 1912.

By 1916, naturalist Charles Francis Sanders would write that driving Foothill Boulevard (the precursor of the 210 freeway) was 'nothing short of entrancing' when 'the jacaranda trees are a cloud of blue,' and by 1920, the L.A. Times would call the trees, now 'not uncommon,' the 'finest foliage of any used for street planting.'

And for their profusion, we have but one person to thank, a pioneering woman who was arguably the Johnny Appleseed of not just jacarandas, but a host of other iconic Southern California flora. Her name was Kate Sessions and she spent more than 50 years importing seeds and plants into Southern California. She is credited with introducing and popularizing more than 143 species in Southern California, including our beloved bougainvillea, birds of paradise, yellow oleander, star jasmine, and, of course, jacaranda trees..."

Commuters See Beautiful Heart Over Hollywood Freeway

Random acts of beauty are not so common, especially along the crowded corridors of Los Angeles' packed freeways.  But someone noticed a cascade of blood red bougainvillea hanging over a retaining wall of the 101 Hollywood freeway, and a few snips to shape the upper branches turned a triangular shape into the heart of Hollywood that has greeted commuters for the last three years.

Hunter Communications Original News Source

Link to Article:
The 'Hollywood Heart' of the 101 Freeway Is Super Red

Excerpt: "As Hacmon mentioned, this floral aberration has been there for some years. According to The Los Angeles Daily News, the plant—dubbed the 'Hollywood Heart' by some—is actually comprised of two magenta bougainvillea bushes (they're not really flowers, by the way), whose vines have taken the shape of a emoji heart.

What's truly curious is that, while those bushes have been there for some time, it wasn't until 2014 that it started to resemble the symbol of love (and lust?). As you can see in the following pictures, the bushes were of a fairly amorphous shape in 2011. By 2014, however, it had taken on the unmistakable body of a heart.

Frank McDonough, a botanist with the L.A. County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, told the Daily News that the patch 'definitely looks trimmed.' Then, in a later Daily News article in 2016, artist Corinne Carrey stepped out to claim the heart as hers."

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Millennial Pink is the Hot Color that Won't Cool Down

In the worlds of fashion, beauty, home furnishing and industrial design, the popular colors are shifting constantly, with the most trendy quickly losing favor in a matter of a season or two. But a warm, soft pink color that appeared in 2012 and slowly mutated into a subtle beige-y pink has caught a foothold and just won't let go of its popularity and ubiquity.

Hunter Communications Trusted News Source:
The Cut

Link to Article:
Why Millennial Pink Refuses to Go Away

Excerpt: "At first, in 2012, when this color really started showing up everywhere, it appeared as a toned-down version of its foil, Barbie Pink, a softer shade that looks as if all the blue notes have been taken out. By the time everyone started calling it Millennial Pink in the summer of 2016, the color had mutated and expanded to include a range of shades from beige with just a touch of blush to a peach-salmon hybrid. Colors always come in and out of fashion, and as our fashion editor-at-large, Amy Larocca, points out, often when Pantone declares Marsala Red or Radiant Orchid to be the next color to watch, we shrug knowingly, fully expecting to see that shade on shelves but not expecting it to invade our consciousness. This pink is different. Even now, just when it seemed like we had hit a peak and it was finally on the wane, there it appeared again in Fenty’s spring look book and on army jackets at Madewell. That’s because the color keeps on selling product: 'We’ve upholstered things in this emerald green that we’re excited about, but it sits there for months,' says Fabiana Faria of the boutique Coming Soon. 'The second I show a pink thing — anything — it leaves so quickly.'

But why? For one thing, with Millennial Pink, gone is the girly-girl baggage; now it’s androgynous. (Interestingly, back in 1918, the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department published an article saying, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls.”) In these Instagram-filtered times, it doesn’t hurt that the color happens to be both flattering and generally pleasing to the eye, but it also speaks to an era in which trans models walk the runway, gender-neutral clothing lines are the thing, and man-buns abound. It’s been reported that at least 50 percent of millennials believe that gender runs on a spectrum — this pink is their genderless mascot. At the same time, turn-of-the-century pinks (Paris Hilton Juicy sweat suits, fuzzy Clueless pens) and tacky design tropes of the ’80s (Pepto couches) have made an ironic comeback."

"Oxford Comma" Makes the Difference in $10M Lawsuit

The so-called "Oxford Comma" is the comma after the next-to-last item and the word "and" or "or" in a series. In a simple series like "apples, peaches and pears" we've been taught to leave it out for simplicity and flow. But when the items are more complex, the comma may be absolutely necessary to preserve the proper meaning.  A current lawsuit may end up awarding $10M to a plaintiff because of linguistic sloppiness in not applying the Oxford comma when it would clarify the sentence's proper meaning.

Hunter Communications Trusted News Source:

Link to Article:
The $10 Million Lawsuit That Hinges on the Oxford Comma

"O'CONNOR: The guy asked me, how many hours are you working this week, Chris? You know, and I said, oh, probably 60 hours this week. And he's like, oh, look at that - overtime pay. And I was like, no, I don't get overtime. I'm salary.
KING: And the guy said, well, you better not let the state of Maine find out. That's illegal. Chris looked it up. Maine state law says if you work more than 40 hours a week, you earn overtime. So he called a lawyer. Maine state law has some exceptions to the rule. There are certain people who don't make overtime, including people who ship or handle perishable goods like milk. And here is where that all-important comma comes in.
The statute says workers who do not get overtime are those involved in, quote, 'the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment - no Oxford comma here - or distribution of perishable foods.' Chris' lawyer looked at that and thought, well, it's unclear. Is it packing for shipment or distribution, or is it packing for shipment, or distribution?
His argument - distributors like Chris aren't on that list of people who don't get overtime because there's no comma. He filed a class action suit on behalf of about 75 drivers asking for around $10 million in unpaid overtime. Last week, a judge said the punctuation of the statute is ambiguous. The suit can proceed. The dairy company didn't respond to a request for comment, but Chris' lawyer, Jeffery Young, is thrilled. And yes, he sees the humor in it.
JEFFERY YOUNG: My first boss always used to say to us, common sense ain't so common. So my summary of this case is, comma sense ain't so common.

KING: That's pretty good (laughter)."

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Vantablack vs. Black 2.0 is the Latest in Hilarious Artist Feud Over the "Blackest Black"

Message from banned artist Anish Kapoor, using PINK
Vantablack is a newly announced black hue created by attaching black nanotubes via copolymers in an industrial process that produces an ultra-black, ultra-matte color akin to staring into a black hole. It was immediately licensed for exclusive use by artist Anish Kapoor.  In reaction, artist Stewart Semple first created a superpigmented color called "pinkest pink" with a barbed message for Kapoor, and then a "blackest black available to artists" that specifically is licensed to everyone in the world except for Kapoor.  The blackest black battle is turning snippy and hilarious, and the innocent bystanders of the world can merely tune in and laugh.

Here's a glimpse of the Vantablack hue that started the kerfuffle:

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to Article:
Vantablack vs. Black 2.0: Which Is the Superblack for You?

Excerpt: " Another shot has been fired in the war over Vantablack, the world’s blackest material. Artist Stuart Semple is taking aim yet again at Anish Kapoor, who infamously secured the exclusive rights for the artistic use of Vantablack. Semple has just released Black 2.0, billed as 'the world’s mattest, flattest, black art material.'

'With just one coat almost any object (even really shiny ones) become super-black and reflect next to no light, giving a Vantastic black hole type effect,' notes the product description, which does include one important disclaimer (and pot shot at Kapoor): 'this is not the blackest black in the world. It is however a better black than the blackest black in the world, as it is actually usable by artists.'

Previously, Semple has released Diamond Dust, the world’s most-glittery glitter, and a powdered acrylic pigment dubbed the Pinkest Pink. Despite being banned from using it, Kapoor managed to get his hands on the latter, and sent Semple an Instagram message as proof, provocatively extending a middle finger that he had dipped in the vibrant pigment.

You can also buy the Pinkest Pink in a four-pack set with Yellowest Yellow, Greenest Green, and Loveliest Blue. Semple has included, in the purchase agreement for all of these items, a clause prohibiting their purchase or use by Kapoor, as he did with Diamond Dust and Black 2.0:

'By adding this product to your cart you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this paint will not make it’s [sic] way into the hands of Anish Kapoor. '
Sample's Black 2.0 in action

Black 2.0 is currently on back order due to 'huge unexpected demand,' and is already making a splash on Reddit’s MildlyInteresting forum, where one astonished user described another’s photo of a Black 2.0–painted ping-pong ball as 'a portable hole.'"