Daily Brief: L.A. City Council Divided On Heather Hutt; California May Ban Employee Weed Tests

Also, the Indie Spirit Awards will start using genderless acting categories. Could it be a sign of big changes to Hollywood’s trophy season?


» Route Fire Reaches 5,208 Acres; 5 Freeway Open Again Firefighters have made significant progress in containing the massive Route Fire that exploded south of Castaic Lake along the 5 Freeway on Wednesday. The fire had grown to 5,208 acres with 12 percent containment as of Thursday afternoon. The blaze erupted around noon on Wednesday near Lake Hughes Road, prompting several evacuations. [KTLA

» California Lawmakers Vote To Extend Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Operations California’s state legislature voted in the early hours of the morning on the last day of the legislative session to give the state the option to keep Diablo Canyon, its last remaining operating nuclear power plant, open for another five years. The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant provides 8.6 percent of the state’s total electricity and 17 percent of the state’s zero-carbon electricity. [CNBC

» California Fails To Replace Concealed Weapon Ruling At the final legislative session before the November elections, California lawmakers failed to restore the restrictions on carrying concealed weapons recently struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The measure failed by only one vote. “California was made less safe tonight by not passing the bill to make us consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Democratic Sen. Anthony Portantino. [AP]

» Inside The Most Expensive TV Show Ever Since the advent of the cultural phenomenon that was Game of Thrones, Amazon has been frothing for a multi-million dollar fantasy franchise all its own. That dream finally became a reality as Lord of the Rings: Power of the Ring, a TV adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein’s iconic fantasy novels, premiered on Amazon on Thursday. The first season cost $700 million, making it the most expensive show ever produced. [LA Times]

» Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Up In Oakland Lake To Create A Putrid Mess If you were planning on taking a jog along the San Francisco Bay this afternoon, you may want to pack a nose plug. Thousands of fish carcasses are rotting on the beaches of the San Francisco Bay and Lake Merritt in Oakland after algal blooms resulted in a massive die-off of marine life. Algal blooms suck up the oxygen in the water, causing fish and other aquatic creatures to asphyxiate. [Gaurdian

» Alejandro G. Iñárritu Gets Teary-Eyed as Three-Hour Bardo Nabs Four-Minute Standing Ovation in Venice Mexican director Alejandro G. Iñárritu could be gunning for his third Best Director Oscar on the trot after wins for Birdman in 2014 and The Revenant in 2015. Despite its epic runtime, his latest Netflix-backed feature, Bardo, received high praise at its world premiere in Venice— at least from those who made it to the end. [Variety]



» At Long Last, Twitter is Testing That Edit Button—For Those Who Pay Feelings vary across the social platform, though not for Keith Olbermann, who once again finds himself appalled

» The L.A. City Council Is a House Divided After Voting on Heather Hutt Cityside Column: A rift appears as panel President Nury Martinez tries to fill Mark Ridley-Thomas’ seat





Indie Spirit Awards Go Genderless as Trophy Season Sees Big Changes

Until the pandemic, there had been few changes to Hollywood’s major awards shows in years, outside of some going host-less. Then, with COVID, came social distancing, awards acceptances via zoom, cancelled parties, etc. But with cancel culture reaching a crescendo, it was only a matter of time till award shows went woke in one way or another.

First, it was the implosion of the Hollywood Foreign Press and its Golden Globe Awards—kicked off by stories in the Los Angeles Times in 2021 accusing the group that launched the Globes of racist behaviormisappropriating funds, sexual harassment, even harassment of stars during interviews. As a result, the show was cancelled last year by NBC, with the HFPA forced to reorganize, add diversity to its membership, new leadership—and it’s still unclear if NBC and Hollywood’s Publicist Guild will relent on their complaints, allowing the Globes to be broadcast in 2023. Many in town believe there’s too much money at stake—in tourism, hotels, catering, stylist, hair and makeup fees —for some compromise between the parties not to be reached.


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.