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Things to Do (Inside and Outside) in L.A. This July 4 Weekend

This Fourth of July is certainly going to be a weird one. Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are getting worse, not better, and any early-pandemic hopes that we might be celebrating with friends and family by now have long ago been dashed. Add to that, the inherent unease of a “patriotic” display at a time when this country’s dark history and present-day struggles are so visible and raw. Nonetheless, for many of us it’s a (probably much-needed) long weekend, best spent in the company of household-sharing loved ones, distancing out in nature, or enjoying some great entertainment at home. Here are our picks for things to do this weekend. Have fun, but be safe.

The 94th Rose Bowl AmericaFest

Saturday, July 4

The Rose Bowl is still hosting its annual AmericaFest, albeit in a virtual form. Tune in throughout the program for live music from Andy Grammer, a cello performance by Cecilia Tsan (broadcasting from the telescope dome at Mt. Wilson Observatory), and a prism art installation designed to shoot colored light visible across Pasadena.

Grand Park July 4th Block Party

Saturday, July 4

While the fireworks aren’t happening, Grand Park is still hosting an online block party, complete with live appearances from local artists including D Smoke, winner of Netflix’s reality series Rhythm & Flow, San Cha, Danny Trejo, and many more.

Lucques Americana Fourth of July Celebration Meals

Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4

Sure, we would all rather be picnicking at the Hollywood Bowl, but since that’s not an option, maybe the next best thing is dining on some Americana fare from Lucques Group, the project of power-duo Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne that’s behind food at the Bowl as well as classic restaurants a.o.c., Tavern, and Larder. Their celebration meal kits come packed with your selections of summer favorites including fried chicken, hot dogs, lobster rolls, and cobbler.

Tribeca Drive-In

Through July 26

Tribeca Drive-In kicks off its outdoor film series at the Rose Bowl on July 2 with screenings of John Lewis: Good Trouble, Jaws, and E.T. Thanks to a nifty visible-in-daylight projector, the series runs multiple films per day, starting in the afternoon. Other showings this weekend include The Wizard of Oz, Apollo 13, Space Jam, and more.

“The Sky Beneath Our Feet” at Descanso Gardens

Through September 3

Descanso Gardens is offering a special experience for those who stop by for a stroll. Five times each day, Pete Wyer’s musical composition “The Sky Beneath Our Feet” will play from 72 speakers sited among the garden’s coast live oak tree grove which inspired the work.

“Def Jam: Through the Lens”


Ever wonder how the most iconic images in hip hop history came to be? Iconic record label Def Jam has just dropped the first two episodes in a three-part series of mini-documentaries, going behind the camera with era-defining photographers. RIYL 2019’s “Contact High” at the Annenberg Space for Photography.

Biking in Marina del Rey


Beaches are closed to avoid the type of coronavirus exposure that happened over Memorial Day, but if you really want to catch a glimpse of the water, consider a ride down Marina del Rey’s paved bike path. Because it’s not along beach sand, officials say it will be allowed to stay open this weekend–just be sure to wear your mask and recreate responsibly!

Stream away …


It feels like we’re living through one interminable Monday under this global house arrest, but it technically is the weekend. So why not take a break from the news and the glitchy Zoom meetings and watch something fun? Check out what we have in this week’s roundup of streaming recommendations because sometimes the best things to do are the most low-effort of all.

Looking for even more things to watch, eat, and do during the COVID-19 outbreak? Check out our Inside Guide.

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Alleged Epstein Recruiter Ghislaine Maxwell Arrested for ‘Almost Unspeakable’ Crimes


After years of eluding justice in connection with her alleged role as disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s madam, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in the tiny rural town of Bradford, New Hampshire, where the Assistant Director of the New York FBI William Sweeney said “she slithered away to a gorgeous property and continued to live a life of privilege.”

After she was taken into custody at that estate this morning, Maxwell, 58, was hit with a six-count indictment on federal charges related to “the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein,” prosecutors filed in Manhattan’s Southern District, the federal U.S. Attorney’s office where President Trump’s hand-picked prosecutor was pushed out.

Geoffrey Berman’s replacement, Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, announced the “almost unspeakable” crimes committed against girls as young as 14. “Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims.” Maxwell, prosecutors said, “would try to normalize the abuse for a minor victim.”

Epstein, 66, died in his jail cell in August 2019, just over a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges. The convicted sex offender’s death was ruled a suicide, though his lawyers and others disputed that ruling. Maxwell has been named in 15 civil suits filed by Epstein victims.

Over the last year, Maxwell, who holds French, U.K., and U.S. passports and is thought to have some $20 million stashed in various bank accounts, had been spotted hiding in an oceanfront mansion in the tony Massachusetts town of Manchester by the Sea and at a luxury condo Paris, France, as well as the 156-acre estate where she was arrested. Some have speculated she may have been involved with Bonston-based tech CEO Scott Borgerson; when asked if he would confirm the involvement, Borgerson told the Boston Globe only that “my private life is my private life.”

According to Sweeney, the task force was aware of Maxwell’s movements and swooped in to New Hampshire to make the arrest once the indictment was filed. “We moved when we were ready,” Sweeney said.

For nearly a year the task force has built its case using the Mann Act, which targets sex traffickers, subpoenaing former Epstein pilots and raiding his island home to prove allegations that between 1994 and 1997, Maxwell and Epstein abused young girls at his Upper East Side townhouse, his Palm Beach estate, his ranch in Santa Fe, and at Maxwell’s home in London.

Maxwell is now also charged with perjury for allegedly lying about her role in Epstein’s perversions, and her own abuse of underage girls, in a deposition as part of a 2016 civil litigation. She was asked if Epstein had a “scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages.” She responded: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” according to the indictment. Maxwell also denied interacting with anyone under the age of 17 at Epstein’s properties or her own, and said she wasn’t aware that Epstein had a substantial collection of sex toys at his properties.

Today Strauss told reporters investigators have requested an interview with Prince Andrew, one of several high-profile Epstein affiliates who have appeared on his private plane logs. Others include former President Bill Clinton, President Donald Trump, actor Kevin Spacey, and lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

The investigation into other potential abusers continues, Strauss said.

RELATED: The Trailer for Netflix’s New Jeffrey Epstein Doc Doesn’t Bode Well for Ghislaine Maxwell

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Two Californians Are on Joe Biden’s VP Shortlist. What Are Their Chances?

The 2020 “Veepstakes” are underway, with presumptive Democratic party presidential nominee Joe Biden reportedly considering approximately a dozen women as running mates. In addition to big names like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Florida Congressional rep Val Demings, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the list includes a pair of Californians: Senator Kamala Harris, who exploded on the national scene during her own run for the White House, and Karen Bass, the Los Angeles congresswoman and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, who has received significant attention as the nation has wrestled with racial justice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

Both Harris and Bass are widely praised in local Democratic circles, and each has deep ties and fervent supporters in Los Angeles. But the matter of who area power players are lining up behind is a secondary concern.

“The overarching thing that I keep hearing is that active Democrats are focused on winning the White House in the fall. That’s their priority,” says attorney Darry Sragow, a Democratic political strategist and publisher of the California Target Book. “Their angst over Donald Trump transcends everything.”

Michael Trujillo, a Democratic strategist whose work includes the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, adds, “I don’t know that people are picking sides, because it’s really Biden’s choice. Picking a side doesn’t do so much.”

One potential strike against the Californians is that, well, they’re Californians. The state is destined to deliver its 55 electoral votes to Biden in November, meaning neither Harris nor Bass would provide the type of home-court bounce that a choice from a battleground state could offer. Plus, many voters in other states fall back on the tired thinking that all Californians are liberal kooks.

“We’re the state everyone loves to hate. We’re called La La Land, the Left Coast,” comments Garry South, a consultant and strategist with more than four decades of experience in Democratic party circles. “A lot of that is overblown, but I do think there is a certain amount of suspicion if not animus in a lot of other places in the country.”

The Golden State’s reputation aside, there’s the question of how either Harris or Bass would complement Biden, and what each would bring to the table when it comes to serving with someone who apparently wants a formidable VP.

Harris is better known than Bass, and seems to have more applicable experience, as well as more potential baggage. Last year she attacked Biden during a presidential debate for working with segregationist lawmakers to oppose school busing in the 1970s, and her relationship with Biden’s wife Jill has been questioned, although the two have recently made appearances together. There are also critiques that, in her eight years as San Francisco District Attorney and six as California Attorney General, she was not quite the “progressive prosecutor” she’s made herself out to be. Her criminal justice record prompts speculation that some Black voters might prefer a different candidate.

A counter is that Harris boasts significant leadership experience, gained the adoration of many Democrats by grilling U.S. Attorney General William Barr following the release of the Mueller report last year, and had a strong relationship with Biden’s late son, Beau (they were both state attorneys general).

Bass, whose resume includes a stint as speaker of the California Assembly, is only now emerging on the national radar screen, but the five-term Congresswoman has many ardent fans. Political observers think she’d work well with Biden. Trujillo calls her a “perfect” choice, and notes that in her pre-politics life she founded the Community Coalition, a South Los Angeles social justice nonprofit.

“The thing about Karen Bass is that she uniformly, and without exception, is liked and respected,” says Sragow. “All I’ve ever heard are things that are very positive—she is smart, disciplined, she cares about the right things.”

A negative may be less about Bass than her position—South points out that being one of the 435 members of Congress doesn’t historically pull in a lot of voters when it’s time to pick a president.

Harris is high on the tote board of potential nominees, but Biden may wait until August 1 to make his selection, and observers point out that a lot can change in a month.

If either Harris or Bass goes to Washington with Biden, a new line of dominos could fall, particularly if Harris’s seat opens—Rep. Adam Schiff, Mayor Eric Garcetti (who has helped vet VP candidates for Biden), and Secretary of State Alex Padilla are often discussed as having Senate dreams.

Even if neither woman makes the ticket, a Biden win could still put California in a strong position.

“With Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, we have a pretty loud voice in D.C.,” Sragow says, “and a Biden presidential team would probably have a lot of prominent people from California.”

RELATED: Will Kamala Harris Be Joe Biden’s VP Pick?

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Michael’s, the Launching Pad for California Cuisine, Faces an Uncertain Future

The thought running through my head, as my dad and I raided our restaurant’s wine cellar after Santa Monica implemented its COVID-19 stay-at-home measure, was: at least there’s toilet paper. I grabbed three rolls for myself and gave the rest to the prep cook vac sealing and pickling what little provisions were left from the weekend. There wasn’t much, as we’d cut ordering by 75 percent the week before. Loading up on a few bottles of golden balsamic vinegar courtesy of our executive chef, Brian Bornemann, I had a feeling we weren’t looking at two weeks of social distancing. “Better grab the good shit,” my dad said. “2015 Cahors?” “Fantastic!”

My father, Michael McCarty, started Michael’s, his restaurant in Santa Monica, 41 years ago, when he was 25, with my mother, the painter Kim McCarty. His restaurant in New York City, also called Michael’s, is comparatively youthful at a mere 30 years old. Michael’s served as the springboard for an uncanny number of celebrity L.A. chefs: Jonathan Waxman, Mark Peel, Nancy Silverton, Roy Yamaguchi, Sang Yoon, Ken Frank, and Brooke Williamson all got their start here. Trained as a chef in Paris, Mike was hyper and enthusiastic, Armani-suited, talking to every guest about the inspiration behind his food—clean, cutting-edge, a California twist on French nouvelle cuisine—the walls of the restaurant resplendent with California modernist art curated by my mother. Decades before farm-to-table, Mike worked with local farmers to plant French heirloom seeds and even had his own duck farm with Jean Bertranou, his mentor from L’Ermitage. Michael’s promoted the first digitized wine list—produced on a supercomputer the size of a room by a mad scientist named Phil Reich—and was the first to offer seating in a lush outdoor garden and waiters dressed in Burberry ties and pink Ralph Lauren outfits instead of tuxedos. Depending on your point of view, Michael’s is an overrated piece of history or nothing short of the birthplace of modern American cuisine. However you lean, the restaurant has been difficult to kill off no matter who the executive chef was at the time.

Michael’s served as the springboard for an uncanny number of celebrity L.A. chefs, from jonathan waxman to nancy silverton and mark peel.

Before the shutdown in March, Michael’s had survived fires, recessions, riots, the ’80s, earthquakes, 9/11, both Bushes, and almost the entire first term of Donald Trump. Mike is a master at reinventing his restaurants. During the 1994 recession, on the brink of closing Michael’s, he did a sweep of his head management and brought in 22-year-old Sang Yoon as chef (now of Father’s Office and Lukshon) and David Rossoff (formerly of Mozza, now at Hippo) as general manager.

Chas McCarty at Michael’s during the shutdown

Dan Busta

Michael’s survived for the next 14 years, but the 2008 recession leveled its business. Five years ago I came in and cleaned up a heavily coke-snorting staff in a dead-empty restaurant. I beat the shit out of my already severely compromised body by running the floor every night (I was born with a spinal cord injury and deal with severe chronic pain). I figured out how to run a restaurant with very little experience. I had uneasy conversations with cooks and managers and waiters who couldn’t pull their weight, and got chewed out by my fair share of old-guard diners. Night after night, getting yelled at for not being a tapas restaurant or not having brussels sprouts. Learning when to back down and take the heat and when to tell someone they can’t sit in the garden on a Saturday because they made their reservation that afternoon and every school in the city just graduated. Saying, “Yes, I know, we’re all friends of Michael.” I came to understand that if a staff member had a weak point, it was my fault as their leader. I experienced epiphanies out of sheer exhaustion while driving back to Echo Park in the middle of the night, hallucinating faster platings and easier service techniques and smiling wide when I finally cracked the expediting problem that was destroying the nights service. I spoke to everyone—friends, partners, coworkers, parents—about quitting to take care of my body, then talked myself into saying the answer lay in finding the right team. If we had the right chef and right manager, I wouldn’t have to beat myself to a pulp. The problem was, chefs and managers were increasingly hard to find and at most lasted two years before they burned out or opened their own place. Even with my dad as my partner, I never could find stability, and I never could quit.

I stayed because I had worked very hard to create a place I enjoyed being at, with people I enjoyed being around and cared about—I had known many since I was a kid. The cooks taught me kitchen Spanish, how to peel beets, and how to hold three plates. In my twenties, our staff taught me how to run a restaurant, and it troubled me knowing my employees could make more money somewhere else. Often if felt like our neighborhood didn’t catch our message, favoring factory chain takeout instead. Whenever I confessed this to a staff member, they said, “Why? I like working here. Most people are assholes.” There was at least some form of acceptance in the shared sentiment.

The vibe of the place kept me: sitting outside, in the insanely overgrown garden, the Cy Twomblys on the walls and actual good music playing in the background and not in your face, watching people sit for hours talking and enjoying their food; the team I had worked so hard to put together never quite nailing every move but every second performing better than the previous; every talking head at the restaurant personable, but never too many words. The majority of the nights something went wrong: the internet blew out, or some hothead wanted to bring in nine bottles of $14 gas station wine and didn’t want to pay corkage. But we sprinted forward to high publicity, near profit, and praise from our previous chef, the very inventive and talented Miles Thompson, before finding a balance of Cal-Mediterranean with Brian. The only thing I had failed to do was to regularly get the guest count up to at least 100 every weeknight—we were in a sleepy neighborhood. Finally, the week before the COVID-19 closure, we had gotten it there.

We had found stability. My team had made Michael’s a destination restaurant one would want to eat at every night. This coronavirus was a different beast, though. It was going to bleed us out and forever change dining in every city across the globe.

Two weeks before the shutdown, we saw our numbers plummet from 240 guests to 40 the following Saturday.

The news alone of the pandemic had a massive impact on guest count and profit. Two weeks before the shutdown, we saw our numbers plummet by 80 percent, from our highest dinner count of the past nine months—240 guests—to 40 by the following Saturday. I had the staff wearing gloves and went heavy on the sanitation for their protection as much as the guests’, but it felt like we were fooling ourselves. I was waiting for the city to call the shots just so we could stop hemorrhaging money and putting our staff at risk. When the mayor called it, I was relieved. We furloughed all of our employees, including myself. We advised the team to get on unemployment as soon as possible. The last two weeks had already cut their tips in half. Jorge Romero, a food runner I have known since I was six years old, asked me what he should do: “I don’t want to panic, Chas, but should I stock up on groceries?” I wondered how it came to be that in the absence of appropriate presidential leadership, I was now the go-to for advice in a pandemic. Julian Adame, our general manager, canceled the internet and phones before he locked the door behind him. He was a godsend of a manager—I almost cried when we’d hired him the month before. I’d worked for five years to find the proper team for the restaurant. Now they no longer worked for me. All my dad and I had was a big empty room with a rent check due.

At our managers’ meeting the day before, we had groused about restaurants being expected to reopen at 25 percent capacity. We all laughed, as I’m sure every other restaurant team did, both out of sheer nervousness and at the presumption of those who think restaurants print money, when in reality most restaurants can’t break even while operating at 100 percent capacity. Factor in a $15 minimum wage for front-of-house employees, high city and state taxes, increasingly expensive sustainable and guilt-free product, Trump’s wine tariffs, workman’s comp, repairs and maintenance, and best of all, incredibly expensive metropolitan rent. Asking restaurants to open at 25 percent capacity, like it’s a favor, just doesn’t make sense. As Mike put it, “Talk about beating a dead horse.” We sighed. About a million dollars a year in sales—just enough to pay our rent—comes from private events. With all of our weddings and large gatherings canceled for the year and customers demanding their deposits back, we just sat in silence.

McCarty and his young staff  in the restaurant’s early years—the minimalist decor, cordial service, and fresh, innovative California cuisine would be emulated by restaurateurs around the world
The original Michael’s team poses in the restaurant’s garden—Jonathan Waxman, who later opened Jams in New York

We struck down the possibility of staying open for takeout even though Brian had whipped up a three-page “to-go” menu in about six hours. Julian signed up the restaurant for delivery services, all of them mandating a 30 percent chunk of the sales for themselves. Calculating how many roast chickens we’d have to sell just to cover the hourly grill cook while risking his health and, by proxy, that of his family, we said, “Fuck that.” The grill cook is already the sacrifice of the restaurant. Laws that prohibit sharing tips with back-of-house employees allow a cook’s pay to be capped at 20 bucks an hour; most cooks work doubles to support their families and never take vacation time. There’s a common saying that your restaurant is only as good as your grill cook, but, of course, you can’t run a restaurant with just one cook, even in a pandemic. Mike wisely added, “It goes against the point of keeping people safe at home if we’re calling them in to work.” The majority of our front-of-house employees are tipped, so they’d make more on unemployment with the $600 weekly stimulus than from any measly job we’d be able to provide one or two of them fishing out bags of cappelletti with house-smoked salmon roe to some guy excited to eat cold pasta when he got home.

My head raced to the most panic-inducing part of all this. Documented workers would be fine if they were capable of receiving unemployment insurance. (After about six weeks of furlough, 80 percent of my employees, including myself, still hadn’t received checks, but would eventually.) Undocumented workers, and it doesn’t help to fool ourselves into thinking they don’t exist, make up a significant portion of food service employees. In 2017, it was estimated that 37 percent of America’s small-restaurant owners were immigrants, while 22 percent of food service workers were foreign-born—more, I imagine, in California. These were the people who would be forgotten by the country and treated with disdain. I spoke with a DACA recipient, unsure if he could go on unemployment, as he expressed fear of dipping into the savings he’s accumulated since he was 16. DACA recipients can technically apply for unemployment insurance, but the majority of foreign-born workers do not hold any status at all. We set up a GoFundMe campaign and called our attorneys to see what could be done. California finally passed a motion to acknowledge that undocumented workers exist in the midst of a pandemic.

COVID-19 is just another testament to the truth of the restaurant industry. Unless you’re a Bestia or a République or one of the other successful restaurants you can count on one hand, it’s not the ’80s and you can’t make a killing anymore. If your place hits a grand slam with a scallop dish that everyone steals after you publish the recipe in a cookbook, no one will ever pay you royalties. With business as usual, a restaurant owner is just surfing on blind luck for a couple of breaths until the chef or manager quits. A few nights of low guest count because of a Dodger game or a debate are enough to push you into debt. All these years we’d been curling our toes against the edge of the cliff. Coronavirus pushed us off. Maybe it’s good to see that after years of working so hard and confusing stress with security, we’ve been kidding ourselves all along. Ask any dishwasher or busboy—they’ll say that’s a lesson they’ve always known.

When the city ordered us to shut down Michael’s, I collapsed and so did my dad. It was the vacation we had both dreamed of and dreaded, and it was creepy. No alarms tripping in the middle of the night and no pipes blowing out. No lost soul fresh from a bender to babysit. Just the bureaucracy of trying to get an SBA loan, which was a job and a half in itself. I had spent five years trying to make the restaurant work and to support my employees who looked to me for a living because they believed me when I said I was bringing in a chef or a manager who would move the place forward. I had bled myself to do whatever I could for the restaurant. Now I couldn’t do anything for anyone anymore if it wasn’t safe outside. All my farmers were down 80 percent, slaughtering their pigs because it was cheaper than feeding them. I checked in every week with the vulnerable members of my staff. Everyone was fine, bored, and eager to get back to work. The relinquishing of responsibility, by global collapse and by force, is a weird thing. The news never got better, but the upside was that the average person started to understand how hard it is to run a restaurant because so many restaurant owners have finally come out and confirmed it.

Amid the thrill Mike and I felt in looting the remains of our restaurant’s stock—an oddly cathartic experience I can only imagine is the same as smashing a guitar after playing a great set with it—we both silently assumed that the restaurant would probably be there when we popped out of this. We had no reason to take the thought seriously, as we didn’t own our real estate, had no corporate or financial backing or even money left of our own, and I definitely didn’t trust the Trump administration to properly bail us out or handle the pandemic responsibly. But we are crazy people—restaurant people through and through—and even though Michael’s had not made any money in ten years, we just assumed we’d be back because it’s the only thing we know how to do. As I piled my notebooks and work clothes, along with a pack of nylon gloves, sherry vinegar, and a few bottles of mezcal into the trunk, a strange rush overtook me from the past two weeks of chaos, and really my past five years trying to make this place work. Whatever sweeping sentimental thought I had was interrupted when Mike walked by, chuckled out loud at the trunk, and said, “It’s lookin’ like LaGuardia on a bad day!

RELATED: The Amazing, True Story of How Nancy Silverton Became a Living Food Legend

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Morning Brief: Sheriff’s Officers Will Fine People Who Flout Mask Order in WeHo

» Not wearing a mask in West Hollywood could cost you. The sheriff’s station issued a notice saying it will start issuing “Administrative Citations for people who are not conforming to the Order to wear a face cover/mask in public.” The fine plus a fee totals $300. [ABC7]

» A Lake Elsinore man reportedly died of COVID-19 one day after posting regrets on social media about attending a party two weeks earlier. Thomas Macias, 51, wrote, “I went out a couple of weeks ago … because of my stupidity I put my mom and sisters and my family’s health in jeopardy. This has been a very painful experience. This is no joke. If you have to go out, wear a mask, and practice social distancing. … Hopefully with God’s help, I’ll be able to survive this.” [CNN]

» L.A. will extend relaxed parking enforcement through at least August 1. Street sweeping tickets were previously set to resume on July 6. [KTLA]

» Pressure is on the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department after the recent deaths of Andres Guardado and Robert Fuller. The department’s dark history of misconduct and scandal is being scrutinized.  [The Guardian]

» At least 176 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at a single farming complex in Ventura County. Agricultural workers have raised alarms since the early days of the pandemic over the lack of protections they’re provided. [Los Angeles Times]

» The family of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen is calling for an investigation to what happened to the missing soldier. One suspect has been taken into custody, and another suspect is reported to have committed suicide on Tuesday. [New York Times]

» Lancaster has stated its intention to defy a county ban on public fireworks displays. “Unless the National Guard is knocking on my door, we’re going forward,” Mayor Rex Parris stated. [Daily News] 


» Peter Meehan to Resign as Los Angeles Times Food Editor Critics say Meehan mistreated staff, created a toxic workplace, and failed to truly understand L.A.’s diverse food culture

» Defamation Suit Against the ‘Shitty Media Men’ List Creator Can Move Forward, Judge Rules 
What happens next might expose every person who used the list to out an alleged abuser

» Bars and Restaurant Dining Rooms Must Close as COVID Cases Surge Governor Newsom ordered immediate closures in 19 counties, including L.A.



july things to do los angeles

The Best Things to Watch, Read, and Do in July

It’s another month in the bunker, L.A. Despite our collective eagerness to rejoin society, we’re still very much in the midst of a pandemic, and staying in (or going outdoors but avoiding crowds) whenever possible is still the best policy. The good news? There are plenty of ways to stay entertained.


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Echo Park’s Iconic House of Spirits Sign Has Been Rescued by the Museum of Neon Art

Folks wandering by Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue this morning may have noticed that the puffy clouds drifting overhead were made of steel and hanging from a crane. The iconic collection of vintage 1950s signage was removed from the House of Spirits today by Glendale’s Museum of Neon Art and will be restored by the museum, which hopes to eventually put them on display near their current location.

The Telis family, who has owned the building for 50 years and ran the neighborhood store for much of that time, donated the storybook house with the crooked chimney, white picket fence, and neon tree after many months of negotiations with the museum.

“They took great pains to protect the sign and put it in good hands,” says museum director Corrie Siegel. “They know that we have the best interest of the community at heart.”

The store closed after a major fire last year and the ruins have been ransacked. A neon liquor bottle that was once part of the composition was stolen and is still missing, so the museum knew it was time to act. “We’re putting up a banner in English and Spanish,” says Siegel. “We wanted to explain where the sign is going and that we hope to return it.”

The bucolic tiny house and streamline “House of Spirits” lettering measures about 50 feet long and fills the entire face of the building. “It’s beaten and weathered,” says museum president Eric Lynxwiler. “But the tubes are intact, and we will clean it up until we find a new home for it in Echo Park.” The museum owns several of the classic signs on display at Universal Citywalk and leases them to the shopping center.

Potential buyers had approached the family, including a developer who wanted the house to promote their business and one with an idea to change the lettering. “We want to put it back in its entirety,” Lynxwiler said. “We don’t want to see it changed to ‘House of Burgers.’”

RELATED: The Happy Foot/Sad Foot Sign Is Safe and Sound Inside a Los Feliz Boutique

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Afternoon Update: The LAPD’s Budget Takes a $150 Million Hit

» Los Angeles City Council voted today to reduce the LAPD’s budget by $150 million, to cut hiring, and reduce the number of sworn officers on the force. According to Councilman Curren Price, two-thirds of the money saved will go toward services for communities of color. [Los Angeles Times]

» D.L. Hughley called himself a “regular Typhoid Mary” for unwittingly exposing his radio show staff to COVID-19. The comedian hadn’t exhibited symptoms until he collapsed during a performance in Nashville last month. [TMZ]

» Apple is temporarily closing a slew of its Southern California stores amid the COVID-19 spike. The locations that are shuttering include popular outposts at Glendale Galleria, the Americana, and the Grove. [Deadline]

» Two years after Norman Pearlstine was tasked with reinventing the Los Angeles Times as executive editor, Vice asks, “What went wrong?” [Vice]

» Not content to not vacation during the pandemic, the superwealthy have apparently adapted by taking road trips in luxury RVs. [Town & Country

RELATED: Orange County Is Still at War with Itself Over the Mask Mandate

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DAILY TRACKER: Updates on L.A. County’s COVID-19 Cases


Coronavirus Cases Los Angeles, Update 7/1/2020:

Below is the current breakdown of coronavirus cases as of 8 p.m. on June 30. There are now 105,507 total confirmed cases (+2,002 from prior day). Of the cases, 8,378 have been hospitalized and there have been 3,402 deaths (+35 from prior day). The regions with the highest rate of infections per capita are Vernon, Castaic, and Sagus. The most deaths have been recorded in Glendale (108), Westlake (99), Pico-Union (66), and Inglewood (63).

Novel Coronavirus Cases in Los Angeles County, by Neighborhood
Acton 25
Adams-Normandie 103
Agoura Hills 61
Agua Dulce 13
Alhambra 457
Alsace 151
Altadena 240
Anaverde 4
Angeles National Forest 4
Angelino Heights 24
Arcadia 197
Arleta 498
Artesia 106
Athens Village 72
Athens-Westmont 512
Atwater Village 84
Avalon 6
Avocado Heights 77
Azusa 615
Baldwin Hills 281
Baldwin Park 929
Bassett 245
Bel Air 48
Bell 672
Bell Gardens 715
Bellflower 881
Beverly Crest 56
Beverly Hills 243
Beverlywood 60
Bouquet Canyon 1
Boyle Heights 1768
Bradbury 9
Brentwood 119
Brookside 1
Burbank 586
Cadillac-Corning 49
Calabasas 130
Canoga Park 814
Canyon Country 47
Carson 673
Carthay 128
Castaic 1791
Central 994
Century City 54
Century Palms/Cove 606
Cerritos 230
Chatsworth 289
Cheviot Hills 31
Chinatown 40
Claremont 108
Cloverdale/Cochran 132
Commerce 203
Compton 1490
Country Club Park 147
Covina 575
Covina (Charter Oak) 97
Crenshaw District 126
Crestview 123
Cudahy 463
Culver City 214
Del Aire 29
Del Rey 137
Del Sur 3
Desert View Highlands 8
Diamond Bar 179
Downey 1637
Downtown 314
Duarte 199
Duarte 37
Eagle Rock 323
East Hollywood 337
East La Mirada 35
East Los Angeles 2542
East Pasadena 5
East Rancho Dominguez 195
East Whittier 33
Echo Park 86
El Camino Village 74
El Monte 1556
El Segundo 57
El Sereno 440
Elizabeth Lake 4
Elysian Park 26
Elysian Valley 119
Encino 216
Exposition 34
Exposition Park 504
Faircrest Heights 10
Figueroa Park Square 104
Florence-Firestone 2346
Gardena 520
Glassell Park 306
Glendale 1455
Glendora 344
Gramercy Place 104
Granada Hills 540
Green Meadows 354
Hacienda Heights 363
Hancock Park 130
Harbor City 201
Harbor Gateway 311
Harbor Pines 9
Harvard Heights 235
Harvard Park 604
Hawaiian Gardens 183
Hawthorne 757
Hermosa Beach 77
Hi Vista 1
Hidden Hills 4
Highland Park 474
Historic Filipinotown 220
Hollywood 477
Hollywood Hills 124
Huntington Park 1196
Hyde Park 282
Industry 13
Inglewood 1060
Irwindale 14
Jefferson Park 99
Kagel/Lopez Canyons 9
Koreatown 500
La Canada Flintridge 79
La Crescenta-Montrose 57
La Habra Heights 15
La Mirada 329
La Puente 458
La Rambla 61
La Verne 134
Ladera Heights 32
Lafayette Square 35
Lake Balboa 352
Lake Hughes 1
Lake Los Angeles 60
Lake Manor 5
Lakeview Terrace 248
Lakewood 457
Lancaster 1128
Lawndale 202
Leimert Park 111
Lennox 218
Leona Valley 10
Lincoln Heights 500
Little Armenia 256
Little Bangladesh 242
Little Tokyo 37
Littlerock 24
Littlerock/Juniper Hills 2
Littlerock/Pearblossom 35
Llano 1
Lomita 84
Long Beach 4120
Longwood 51
Los Feliz 83
Lynwood 1347
Malibu 52
Manchester Square 51
Mandeville Canyon 3
Manhattan Beach 137
Mar Vista 130
Marina del Rey 20
Marina Peninsula 20
Maywood 629
Melrose 915
Mid-city 164
Miracle Mile 69
Mission Hills 285
Monrovia 338
Montebello 939
Monterey Park 335
Mt. Washington 189
Newhall 3
North Hills 780
North Hollywood 1275
North Lancaster 7
North Whittier 54
Northeast San Gabriel 102
Northridge 587
Norwalk 1192
Pacific Palisades 73
Pacoima 1316
Palisades Highlands 9
Palmdale 1308
Palms 290
Palos Verdes Estates 52
Panorama City 1256
Paramount 869
Park La Brea 39
Pasadena 1328
Pearblossom/Llano 9
Pellissier Village 5
Pico Rivera 975
Pico-Union 948
Playa Del Rey 6
Playa Vista 47
Pomona 1555
Porter Ranch 146
Quartz Hill 62
Rancho Dominguez 30
Rancho Palos Verdes 140
Rancho Park 28
Redondo Beach 217
Regent Square 16
Reseda 969
Reseda Ranch 40
Reynier Village 22
Rolling Hills 2
Rolling Hills Estates 24
Roosevelt 3
Rosemead 262
Rosewood 9
Rosewood/East Gardena 5
Rosewood/West Rancho Dominguez 39
Rowland Heights 273
San Dimas 155
San Fernando 303
San Gabriel 245
San Jose Hills 206
San Marino 30
San Pasqual 4
San Pedro 1186
Santa Catalina Island 3
Santa Clarita 1207
Santa Fe Springs 168
Santa Monica 414
Santa Monica Mountains 49
Saugus 6
Shadow Hills 20
Sherman Oaks 400
Sierra Madre 30
Signal Hill 101
Silver Lake 302
South Antelope Valley 1
South Carthay 51
South El Monte 301
South Gate 1756
South Park 878
South Pasadena 162
South San Gabriel 87
South Whittier 498
Southeast Antelope Valley 7
St Elmo Village 65
Stevenson Ranch 66
Studio City 112
Sun Valley 546
Sun Village 53
Sunland 226
Sunrise Village 16
Sycamore Square 1
Sylmar 1321
Tarzana 350
Temple City 247
Temple-Beaudry 575
Thai Town 63
Toluca Lake 34
Toluca Terrace 8
Toluca Woods 4
Torrance 594
Tujunga 187
Twin Lakes/Oat Mountain 8
University Hills 20
University Park 362
Val Verde 29
Valencia 13
Valinda 250
Valley Glen 225
Valley Village 303
Van Nuys 1230
Venice 94
Vermont Knolls 352
Vermont Square 164
Vermont Vista 807
Vernon 14
Vernon Central 1347
Victoria Park 89
View Heights 14
View Park/Windsor Hills 66
Walnut 101
Walnut Park 288
Watts 724
Wellington Square 49
West Adams 419
West Antelope Valley 3
West Carson 168
West Covina 1000
West Hills 227
West Hollywood 271
West LA 25
West Los Angeles 200
West Puente Valley 133
West Rancho Dominguez 12
West Vernon 981
West Whittier/Los Nietos 366
Westchester 170
Westfield/Academy Hills 2
Westhills 3
Westlake 1390
Westlake Village 8
Westwood 136
White Fence Farms 20
Whittier 737
Whittier 22
Wholesale District 1196
Willowbrook 585
Wilmington 604
Wilshire Center 477
Winnetka 496
Wiseburn 43
Woodland Hills 308
Under Investigation: 2524

RELATED: Gavin Newsom Explains What It Will Take to End Stay-at-Home

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Bars and Restaurant Dining Rooms Must Close as COVID Cases Surge

UPDATE: JULY 1, 2020 – As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge locally and statewide, Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a pause on activities at certain types of businesses.

In 19 counties, including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange, bar and indoor restaurant service must cease for at least three weeks. Takeout and delivery service will continue to be allowed, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Newsom has referred often in briefings to the idea of a sliding adjustment to reopening activity that may get more or less intense over time, as needed. “It’s not on or off,” he explains. “It’s a dimmer switch.” In this case, things are being lowered just a bit, in hopes of returning to the stabilization trends the state saw as recently as May.

At a Wednesday briefing, Newsom also said there will be a boost in enforcement of existing health orders, with multi-agency “strike teams” investigating factories, food service operations, and other workplaces that are not complying with mandates.

UPDATE: JUNE 18, 2020 – More business categories may be allowed to reopen in L.A. as soon as Friday, county officials announced today.

Among the new wave of businesses will be bars, wine and beer tasting rooms, personal care services, an a group of entertainment venues including card rooms, satellite wagering facilities, and racetracks without spectators.

The personal care category includes nail salons, tattoo and piercing parlors, microblading, electrology, skin care and cosmetology, and massage therapy services. Providers and clients will have to wear masks and follow new health protocols.

Timing of the move to reopen these high-contact businesses has raised some eyebrows. It comes just as both the state of California and the county of Los Angeles log all-time highs in confirmations of new COVID-19 infections.

UPDATE: JUNE 10, 2020 – Los Angeles County will move forward with allowing several categories of businesses to reopen on Friday, June 12. If certain guidelines can be met, the county will allow for the reopening of gyms, museums, zoos, day camps, entertainment industry productions, professional sporting events without audiences, and tourism.

While that moves largely in concert with the state guidelines, it holds back on allowing bars or movie theaters, which will open elsewhere in California. Still not opening anywhere in the state are nail salons, tattoo shops, live performance venues, or theme parks.

UPDATE: JUNE 9, 2020 – Los Angeles County has yet to clarify it if will follow state guidelines on gyms, bars, and other categories, which may begin opening in other counties on Friday. On Monday, the county did allow libraries to reopen, offering contact-free curbside pick-up and drop-off service. A 22-page document detailing protocols for restarting entertainment industry productions has been adopted, and could allow for that work to begin as early as the 12th, but that too will require L.A. County approval.

At a Monday press conference, the Los Angeles Times reports that County Supervisor Kathryn Barger described her general reopening strategy as to follow about a week behind Orange County, San Diego, and other neighboring counties.

“Make no mistake,” she said. “We are doing this in a very deliberate and cautious way, and actually had been one step behind the surrounding counties.”

Some have worried that the county has been pushing to reopen too much, too fast. Last week, hospitalizations for COVID-19 held nearly stable. That number had been dropping each week since the pandemic’s initial peak in April. The weekly number of new deaths, which had been dropping until mid-May, increased in early June as well.

Due to the virus’ incubation period, individuals entering the hospital with cases of the illness may have contracted it around 14 days ago, perhaps around the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Any illnesses resulting from exposure during recent protest marches are unlikely to be reflected in the data yet.

Stay-at-home orders were credited with dropping the “effective transmission rate” of COVID-19 considerably. At peak, one infected person was, on average, responsible for spreading the virus to three other people. On May 21, the Los Angeles Times reported that rate had dropped to less than one, in what was described as a “promising new milestone.” Now, it appears, the trend may be edging back up.

Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of health services for Los Angeles County, told the Times that now, the rate is now back over one and could be growing.

“If transmission has indeed increased,” she said, “then the model predicts that we will have a continued increase in hospital patient volume over the next two to four weeks, and we would anticipate beginning to see that change happening over the coming one to two weeks.”

JUNE 5, 2020 – Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services Secretary, announced a big step forward in the state’s reopening process on Friday.

Starting on June 12, schools, bars, gyms, professional sports events, campgrounds, and day camp programs will be allowed to begin to reopen. Guidelines expected later today will also include recommendations for the state’s hotels, casinos, museums, and zoos. The guidelines are also expected to include guidance on the resumption of filming for movies and television.

Schools and day camps can resume in-person sessions on the 12th statewide, CBS Los Angeles reports. But the other sectors will vary based on county-level restrictions. Los Angeles County has been taking a somewhat more conservative approach to reopening than many counties in the state, due to the density of COVID-19 cases confirmed here.

Residents eager for a manicure will still have to wait a bit longer. One category of business that remains specifically excluded from the ability to reopen in this phase is nail salons.

RELATED: Video Appears to Show an LAPD Vehicle Come into Contact with a Protester in DTLA

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Peter Meehan to Resign as Los Angeles Times Food Editor

Peter Meehan, food editor of the Los Angeles Times, issued an apology and announced he’ll step down from that role after a litany of allegations against him hit Twitter on Monday. The grievances include claims that he engaged in conduct that was seen as insensitive toward women and people of color, verbally abused employees, and allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct while at Lucky Peach, a magazine he co-founded with David Chang before joining the Times. One tweet also claimed that he failed to highlight stories that centered or thoughtfully treated diverse chefs or cuisines.

It was also brought up that, despite helming the paper’s food section, Meehan was not living in Los Angeles and would use newspaper resources to make frequent trips here from his home in New York City. His salary, according to estimates in the thread, may have been as high as $300,000, while other Times journalists have been subject to furloughs, work-sharing, and other cutbacks to make financial ends meet.

While the paper has been addressing a widespread problem with race in staffing and content, Meehan’s announcement was directly linked to the series of tweets issued by journalist Tammie Teclemariam on Monday, which she credited to a number of sources who’d reportedly come forward. Teclemariam has become a high-profile figure in the food media world in recent weeks as the individual who came forward with the photo of Adam Rapoport which contributed to his downfall at Bon Appétit and triggered a reckoning across the Condé Nast empire.

Meehan mentions her thread in his apology statement. While he claims to dispute the accuracy of at least some of the claims that appeared in the posts, he also credits the thread for inspiring his own staff to become more open in airing their concerns to him.

“I’m sorry to everybody that I’ve let down directly or indirectly and the last thing I’ve ever wanted to be is some sort of institutionalized problem,” he writes. The apology concludes by saying, “I wish I had seen myself how others did and changed my ways, but this moment is about that: changing, challenging, and making things better.”


RELATED:  Black L.A. Times Journalists Are Calling on Management to Address Newsroom Inequities

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