The Short Stack: The Los Angeles Week in Review, 11/17/14 – 11/21/14

A news and culture roundup made to order


Uber Bad News
Car-sharing service Uber has changed how Los Angeles gets around, invigorating nightlife and allowing some families to ditch one (or all) of their cars. But the San Francisco-based company has an ugly side. Reports of female passengers being harassed have surfaced, while Uber angered many with a French marketing scheme that offered attractive female drivers to lascivious male riders. On top of that, an Uber executive recently considered digging up dirt on journalists who cover their misdeeds. All of this makes Lyft, and walking, look really good.

Social Studies
Most Angelenos out of their teens never heard of Yik Yak until this week, when threatening posts on the anonymous social media site led to a Monday lockdown at Manhattan Beach’s Mira Costa High. Classes were canceled for two days before students warily returned on Thursday, with school officials urging backpacks be left at home. Manhattan Beach Unified School District superintendent Michael D. Matthews blocked the app, which allows the sharing of posts among users in a ten-mile radius, calling it “dangerous.”

Killer Wedding
If Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez haven’t already trampled on the sanctity of marriage, you can add another infamous celebrity to the mix: Charles Manson. The 80-year-old former cult leader, who masterminded numerous murders in the 1960s, including that of pregnant Sharon Tate, is engaged to a 26-year-old Manson superfan. The best/worst part? They have a prison-appointed wedding planner.

Growing Pains
The northeast neighborhood of Highland Park was the site of an anti-gentrification protest recently, with members of the North East Los Angeles Alliance posting fake eviction notices on new businesses and carrying signs like “Evicting Displacement.” Many merchants expressed anger this week at NELAA’s actions, saying their businesses have brought safety and jobs to Highland Park. “If you’re going to rage against the machine,” said one resident, “make sure you’re raging against the right machine.”


Death of a Legend
The EGOT-winning talent Mike Nichols died on Wednesday at age 83. Nichols began his career as a comedian in Chicago, then moved on to directing and producing for stage and screen; his body of work includes Barefoot in the Park, The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Working Girl, and other lesser-known gems. He leaves behind his wife, broadcast journalist Diane Sawyer, and an unrivaled legacy.

If You’re Nasty
If anyone could bring Melrose Avenue back to its ’90s glory days, it’s Nasty Gal. The local, much-loved e-tailer opens its first brick-and-mortar today at Melrose and Crescent Heights. A day of festivities is planned, with lots of partying and giveaways under that distinctive stainless steel sign.

Fun with Words
“Selfie” was the official word of 2013, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, but “vape” is what’s on our lips this year. It’s hard to argue that the vapor wafting from electronic cigarettes and pipes hasn’t become ubiquitous. Even if many Southland cities have limited their use, you can’t swing a Marlboro Light around a Mid Wilshire office building or Sunset Boulevard dive bar without encountering a “vaper.” Runner-up words of the year: bae, normcore, slacktivism.

Style Star
Judging from the umbrellas, coats, and purses seen around town, L.A. loves Burberry. And the British brand loves us back, designing scarves, T-shirts, bags, and wallets sporting our city’s architectural icons. The amour went full circle when the company was inducted into the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style on Wednesday. Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey was on hand at the ceremony.


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