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California Releases Reopening Guidelines for Disneyland and Other Theme Parks

California theme parks have been begging the state to issue a roadmap for them to reopen for months. And, some seven months after they closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, California Health and Human Services has released those guidelines, along with new guidelines for professional sports stadiums and other sectors.

The new rules create a tier system that establishes different regulations for theme parks of different sizes. The reopening rules treat the largest operations, including Disneyland and Universal Studios, with the greatest degree of caution, while allowing smaller parks, and facilities with some theme park-like activities to move forward faster.

“I am very mindful, for example, if you have a park, in a city, with a Ferris wheel, that that’s not a ‘theme park’ in the sense so many of us consider, so one has to distinguish between the two,” Governor Gavin Newsom said at a press conference prior to the release of today’s guidelines.

Small theme parks, in the vein of Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, will be able to begin opening as soon as the counties where they are located enter the Orange/3 Tier. They can have no more than 500 guests at a time, and can only sell tickets to buyers located within the county where they are located. Larger theme parks will have to wait to begin opening until their county reaches the Yellow/4 Tier.

Orange County, home to Disneyland and several other large theme parks, is currently at the Orange/2 Tier, indicating “substantial” threat from COVID-19. Los Angeles is at the Purple/1 Tier, the state’s most restrictive level.

All theme parks will be required to operate based only on advanced ticket sales, regardless of size, and maintain records of who attended. Only outdoor attractions and facilities are eligible to open at this time.

Stadiums are allowed to reopen with fewer restrictions because, Secretary Ghaly said, they are deemed to be a comparatively lower-risk environment. Fans attending games will be required to buy a ticket for a specific, assigned seat and remain in that seat, wearing a mask except when actively eating or drinking, for the duration of the experience. This enables spacing between household units and eases contact tracing because, in the event of a positive case, officials can quickly contact anyone who may have been seated in the same section of the stadium.

The experience of going to a game will differ from before the pandemic. Most notably, attendees must stay in their seats throughout, so all concession stands and shops will be required to switch to a remote ordering and delivery model.

theme park reopening slide presentation

Today’s announcement also included an update on personal care services. Tattoo parlors, massage services, and other providers have now been moved into “tier one” for indoor operations, matching the guidelines for hair and nail salons.

While many in the industry–and some die-hard theme park fans–had been loudly clamoring for what they felt were overdue guidelines, Newsom’s administration wanted to be extremely careful about how the reopenings were handled. The Orange County Register reports that a special task force was convened to study the issue, including making personal site visits to California parks both large and small, as well as traveling to Orlando, Florida, where theme parks have already reopened, to asses the risk factors.

“We’re being very sober, and forgive me, stubborn about some industries in the state that I know are eager to get guidelines,” Newsom said. “I hope one recognizes our stubbornness on a health-first, data-driven, decision-making process is done with our eyes wide open.”

RELATED: Disneyland Employees Want Daily COVID Testing, but the Company Shot Down the Idea

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How a Local Woman Survived Being Lost for Almost Two Weeks in Zion National Park


After nearly two weeks lost in Utah’s Zion National Park, a Los Angeles woman was found alive and was reunited with her family Sunday, just as they were starting to fear the worst.

Holly Suzanne Courtier, a 38-year-old mom from Woodland Hills, was found by search-and-rescue crews in a wooded area near the Virgin River, park officials announced Monday. The officials didn’t offer any information about Courtier’s condition, but her daughter told CNN the ordeal started early in the hike when her mother hurt her head and lost her way.

“She injured her head on a tree,” Kailey Chambers said in a text. “She was very disoriented as a result and thankfully ended up near a water source—a river bed. She thought her best chance of survival was to stay next to a water source.”

Rescue teams began searching for Courtier on October 6 when she didn’t show up for a scheduled pickup. Courtier went without food for her 12 days in the wilderness and Chambers said she eventually became too weak to take more than a step or two without collapsing: “This prevented her from being able to seek out help. She told me she was so dehydrated she couldn’t open her mouth.”

Courtier’s sister, Jillian Courtier-Oliver, told Good Morning America that she suffered bruises all over her body and weight loss but is now recovering.

As the days passed, Courtier-Oliver’s hopes that her sister would be found alive began to fade. “It wasn’t until two days ago I actually said, ‘I’m starting to lose hope,’” she said. “They had a lot of cadaver dogs out, and I knew what they were looking for was a body, not a person. It was the first time I actually started losing hope. And I went with so much help knowing that we needed to find her.”

Courtier’s family said in a statement, “We would like to thank the rangers and search teams who relentlessly looked for her day and night and never gave up hope. We are also so grateful to the countless volunteers who were generous with their time, resources and support.”

RELATED: Dozens of Sites Claiming to Offer Local News Are Actually Linked to Conservative Operatives

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Updated! All of L.A.’s Pop-Up Drive-In and Outdoor Movie Nights

There may be a pandemic, but you don’t have to give up outdoor movies–or at least not entirely. Clever pop-up series have shifted from crowding parks with viewers on picnic blankets to setting up massive parking-lot screens inspired by classic American drive-in movie theaters. Sure, the logistics will be a little more challenging, but these pop-up drive-in movie series might just be the biggest entertainment events of the season.

Level 8 Drive-In

Enjoy the views from atop the garage of the Grove at these screenings. Tickets include a gourmet dinner package from Picnic Society by Gwen, including classic dishes and Halloween-themed treats.

October 21, 7:30 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 28, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice

Malibu Film Society

Gather near the Malibu Country Mart at the site of Malibu’s annual Chili Cook Off for these community events on a three-story-tall screen. Online reservations are required; tickets are offered on a “donations requested” basis.

October 30, 7 p.m. The Nightmare Before Christmas
October 31, 7 p.m. Ghostbusters

Carson Drive-In Flix

Held at Dignity Sports Arena in Carson, home of the L.A. Galaxy, this new series benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs. When you buy a ticket for your own car ($50) you can also opt to donate one to a family in need. The set-up already accommodates 200 cars, but organizers say they may be able to expand capacity soon.

October 22, 6 p.m. Transformers
October 22, 9:30 p.m. War of the Worlds
October 23, 6 p.m. Thor
October 23, 9:30 p.m. Gladiator
October 24, 3 p.m. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
October 24, 5:30 p.m. Shrek
October 24, 6 p.m. Transformers
October 24, 8 p.m. Iron Man
October 25, 3 p.m. Madagascar
October 25, 5:30 p.m. How to Train Your Dragon
October 25, 8 p.m. Captain America: The First Avenger

Hollywood Legion Post 43 Drive-In

American Legion Post 43 in Hollywood is establishing this 30-car drive-in with plans to show films seven days a week. The theater is set up with a state of the art 4K projection system–under the loving care of the Hollywood Legion Theater’s chief projectionist–and there are plans to screen 35mm analog film, beloved by cinephiles, in the future.

October 20, 7 p.m. Rosemary’s Baby
October 21, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 22, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 23, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 24, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 25, 8 p.m. Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold: The Concert
October 27, 7 p.m. The Omen
October 28, 7 p.m. Marathon Man
October 29, 7 p.m. Get Out
October 30, 7 p.m. Universal Monster Night
October 31, 6:30 p.m. Psycho
October 31, 9:30 p.m. Psycho

Drive-In Theatre at the Hollywood Roosevelt

Enjoy Halloween-themed film screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, a possibly-haunted, definitely-glam Old Hollywood hotspot. The “Spooky Sundays” series offers both general and VIP tickets; refreshments will be available from a converted Airstream trailer bar.

October 11, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 18, 6:30 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 18, 9:15 p.m. The Exorcist
October 25, 6:30 p.m. The Addams Family
October 25, 9:30 p.m. Halloween II

L.A. Zoo Drive-In Movie Nights

The L.A. Zoo is using its ample parking lot for a family-friendly drive-in series. They’ve grouped their sections into three themes: “Hair-Raising Halloween,” “The Brilliant Betty White,” and, naturally, “Animal Adventures.” Films are accompanied by pre-show entertainment featuring videos of zoo animals and other fun add-ons. For Halloween screenings, participants are encouraged to come in costume or decorate their car for the occasion.

October 16, 8 p.m. Doolittle
October 17, 8 p.m. Zootopia
October 18, 8 p.m. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
October 23, 8 p.m. The Proposal
October 24, 8 p.m. The Lorax
October 25, 8 p.m. Lake Placid
October 29, 8 p.m. Clue
October 30, 8 p.m. Goosebumps
October 31, 8 p.m. The Addams Family
November 1, 8 p.m. Poltergeist


Designed as an “immersive” movie-going experience, this drive-in series in Chinatown incorporates film, food, local designers and retailers, music, and charity, all in one. Each feature will be shows along with curated shorts, music videos, and additional programming; NTS Radio will provide DJ sets.

November 13, 6 p.m. The Love Witch
November 14, 6 p.m. The Beach Bum
December 11, 8 p.m. TBA
December 12, 8 p.m. TBA

Electric Dusk Drive-In

One of L.A.’s favorite pop-up drive-ins—one that predates the pandemic—is back with a new Glendale location atop the old Sears parking garage at 236 N. Central Avenue.

October 1, 7:30 p.m. Tommy
October 1, 10:10 p.m. Pink Floyd: The Wall
October 2, 7:30 p.m. Poltergeist
October 2, 10:10 p.m. The Lost Boys
October 3, 7:30 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
October 3, 10:10 p.m. Phantasm
October 4, 7:30 p.m. E.T.
October 8, 7:30 p.m. Death Proof
October 8, 10 p.m. Maximum Overdrive
October 9, 7:15 p.m. Trick R Treat
October 9, 9:30 p.m. Creepshow
October 10, 7:15 p.m. IT: Chapter One
October 10, 10:15 p.m. Carrie
October 16, 7:15 p.m. Get Out
October 16, 9:45 p.m. The Cabin in the Woods
October 17, 7:15 p.m. The Exorcist
October 17, 10:05 p.m. The Conjuring
October 18, 7 p.m. The Addams Family
October 23, 7:15 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street
October 23, 9:30 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors
October 24, 7 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 24, 9:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 25, 7 p.m. The Nightmare Before Christmas
October 30, 7:15 p.m. Friday the 13th: Part One
October 30, 9:30 p.m. Friday the 13th, Part IV: The Final Chapter
November 1, 7 p.m. Coco

The Sunset Strip Presents Late Night Drive-In at the Andaz West Hollywood

The Andaz hotel on the Sunset Strip has partnered for this series with YEA! Impact, a group that organizes entertainment industry professionals to work for social justice causes. In addition to film screenings, some events feature live performances; food and beverage is available to order.

October 2, 8 p.m. Burn!
October 3, 8 p.m. Breathless
October 9, 8 p.m. The Long Goodbye
October 10, 8 p.m. The Man Who Fell to Earth
October 16, 8 p.m. Idiocracy (Drive-In 4 Biden Fundraiser & Auction)
October 23, 8 p.m. The Hills Have Eyes
October 29, 8 p.m. Suspiria
October 30, 8 p.m. American Warewolf in London
October 31, 8 p.m. Young Frankenstein / Braindead AKA Dead Alive (Halloween Double Feature)

L.A. Arts Society Drive-In Cinema

The L.A. Arts Society has always staged screenings for fellow cinephiles–they just look a little different this year. Showings are staged at the “backlot” of the indie Gardena Cinema theater; some include in-person appearances by talent.

October 1, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 1, 10:30 p.m. The Craft
October 2, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 2, 10:30 p.m. The Craft
October 3, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 3, 10:30 p.m. From Dusk Till Dawn
October 4, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 4, 10:30 p.m. From Dusk Till Dawn
October 5, 7:30 p.m. Beetlejuice
October 22, 7 p.m. 8th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival
October 23, 10 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street
October 24, 10 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street
October 25, 12:30 a.m. Friday the 13th (Midnight Screening)
October 25, 10 p.m. Friday the 13th
October 29, 7 p.m. Halloween
October 29, 10 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
October 30, 7 p.m. Halloween
October 30, 10 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
October 31, 7 p.m. Halloween
October 31, 10 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
November 1, 7 p.m. Halloween
November 1, 10 p.m. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

San Fernando Valley Summer Drive-In Nights

For the last few summers, this pop-up series was already offering the drive-in experience, so we’re happy to see they returned this year. The films are typically Valley-centric in content or filming locations. Screenings take place at the Westfield Fashion Square mall in Sherman Oaks.

October 16, 7 p.m. Edward Scissorhands / Pet Sematary
October 17, 7 p.m. Labyrinth / Child’s Play
October 23, 7 p.m. Casper / Poltergeist
October 24, 7 p.m. Hotel Transylvania / Scream

Weekend Drive-In at the Roadium

The 15-acre Roadium in Torrance opened in 1948 as a drive-in cinema, but by the ’80s the space was mostly used as a swap meet (specifically, the swap meet where, legend has it, a record seller introduced Eazy-E to Dr. Dre). Now the space is going back to its roots for occasional pop-up movie nights.

October 2, 6 p.m. Shrek 2
October 10, 7 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 29, 6 p.m. A Nightmare on Elm Street
October 30, 6:30 p.m. Nightmare Before Christmas
November 14, 7 p.m. Ratatouille
November 21, 6:30 p.m. Toy Story
December 11, 6:30 p.m The Polar Express

Laemmle Theaters at the Roadium

Local art house cinema chain Laemmle has adapted to the current moment by taking screenings to the Roadium drive-in theater in Torrance. Expect quirky new indie films, some accompanied by filmmaker talk-backs.

October 1, 6:30 p.m. 12 Hour Shift
October 8, 6:30 p.m. She Is the Ocean
October 14, 6:30 p.m. Bad Hair

Ventura Movies In Your Car

Located at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, this series is run by the same organizers who are also using the venue for drive-in concerts from Third Eye Blind, Fitz and the Tantrums, and other acts. More showings to be announced.

September 30, 7 p.m. Pretty Woman
October 3, 7 p.m. The Big Lebowski
October 13, 7 p.m. Ghostbusters
October 14, 7 p.m. The Blair Witch Project
October 26, 7 p.m. Scream
October 27, 7 p.m. Hotel Transylvania
October 28, 7 p.m. The Silence of the Lambs
October 29, 7 p.m. Halloween
November 1, 7 p.m. The Biggest Little Farm

The Frida Cinema Drive-Ins

Orange County’s non-profit art house cinema is hosting drive-in nights at Anaheim’s Zion Lutheran Church & School. The two July dates scheduled so far have both sold out, but the org recommends subscribing to their newsletter to get announcements about more dates to come. Check out Frida’s “virtual cinema” streaming fundraiser, too.

September 29, 8:30 p.m. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
September 30, 8:30 p.m. RBG (Free Screening)
October 2, 8:30 p.m. Night of the Living Dead / The Evil Dead
October 3, 8:30 p.m. Night of the Living Dead / The Evil Dead
October 6, 8:30 p.m. Hausu
October 9, 8:30 p.m. Possessor Uncut
October 10, 8:30 p.m. Flash Gordon / Xanadu
October 13, 8:30 p.m. The Fog
October 16, 8:30 p.m. Puppetmaster / Chopping Mall
October 20, 8:30 p.m. Deep Red
October 27, 8:30 p.m. Evil Dead 2

Drive-In at the Park 

Country music festival Tailgate Fest may not have happened in August as originally planned, but the organizers put their car-partying expertise into a new venture: a series of drive-in movie nights.

October 2, 8:30 p.m. Remember the Titans
October 3, 8:30 p.m. Moana

Fairmont Poolside Cinema

Get out of the car and sit in a distanced deck chair by the pool at this swanky Santa Monica hotel. Sunset films offer a romantic date night option or fun family outing. Tickets are free with a $25 food and drink minimum; full service from FIG Restaurant is available.

October 3, 7 p.m. Hook
October 9, 7 p.m. How to Train Your Dragon
October 16, 7 p.m. Cheaper by the Dozen
October 24, 7 p.m. Little Rascals

Regency Theaters: The Plant Drive-In

The Regency Theaters chain has opened this Van Nuys drive-in movie theater offering screenings under the stars. A full concession stand is available, orders can be placed in advance online to minimize wait time.

October 1, 7:30 p.m. Demolition Man
October 7, 7 p.m. Halloween
October 7, 9:45 p.m. Halloween 2
October 8, 9 p.m. Screamfest: Initiation and Horror Shorts
October 9, 9 p.m. Screamfest: An Ideal Host and Horror Shorts
October 10, 9 p.m. Screamfest: Anonymous Animals and Horror Shorts
October 11, 7:30 p.m. Screamfest Short Scares: Volume 1
October 12, 9:15 p.m. Screamfest Sweet River and Horror Shorts
October 13, 9 p.m. Screamfest: A Ghost Waits and Horror Shorts
October 14, 7 p.m. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
October 14, 9:45 p.m. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
November 1, 7:30 p.m. Stand By Me

Starlite Drive-In Movies

This O.C. screening series brings drive-in movie nights to the parking lots of Brea Mall and the Outlets at San Clemente. Check event website to confirm screening location and other details.

October 1, 7:30 p.m. The Notebook
October 1, 8 p.m. Casper
October 2, 7:30 p.m. Secret Life of Pets 2
October 2, 8 p.m. The Goonies
October 3, 7:30 p.m. The Goonies
October 4, 7:30 p.m. La La Land
October 4, 8 p.m. Beetlejuice

Previous Pop-Ups…

Rooftop Movies at the Montalbán

This popular rooftop (non drive-in) screening series is returning for a shortened, socially-distanced season. You’ll sit in designated chairs, spaced out from other groups, and must consent to temperature reading and mask requirements–but otherwise, it’s largely the classic summer tradition you remember.

Street Food Cinema

The biggest annual summer outdoor movie series didn’t let us down, pivoting to a program of in-car entertainment. The schedule is reduced this year, but still includes multiple venues, and there will still be food trucks on site. Street Food Cinema is also a cohost of the Level 8 Drive-In series at the Americana, listed below. (SFC will also rent you the gear for your own drive-in screening or larger-than-life projected wedding ceremony.)

PCH Movies & Moonlight

A bummer about all these pop-ups? They sell out fast. This Long Beach pop-up drive-in, which is parking itself atop the Whole Foods parking deck at the 2nd and PCH shopping center, offers stand-by tickets on a first-come, first serve basis. Note that times vary based on sunset.

Sony Pictures Drive-In Experience

Presented by Porsche, this series will take place at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, with space to accommodate around 75 cars per showing. Attendees will need to agree to COVID-19 safety rules and sign a waiver to participate.

ArcLight at the Drive-In

Your favorite walk-in(?) theater chain is heading outside, hosting films at the Vineland Drive-In. Sponsored by FIJI Water, the series focuses mostly on new-release indie flicks. Some showings include appearances by cast and crew.

Outfest L.A. 2020 Drive-In Movie Screenings

The annual film festival celebrating LGBTQ+ cinema is back in a hybrid online and in-person form. Binge dozens of movies on their online Outfest Now streaming platform, and turn out for a selection of drive-in screenings at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu.

Amazon Presents A Night at the Drive-In

Curated by actor Michael B. Jordan (and featuring several of his starring roles) this Amazon-sponsored series of double-features takes place at City of Industry’s full-time drive-in movie theater, the Vineland Drive-In. Refreshments are on Amazon, all purchased from diverse-owned local businesses.

Cinema Pop-Ups

This national series has announced two SoCal locations, San Juan Capistrano and Woodland Hills, which schedule a limited run of films. Check the website for announcements of additional dates.

‘A Marvelous Night at the Drive-In’ Presented by Amazon Prime

Love Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? Then you’ll want to head to the Grove’s rooftop parking deck for this series, produced by Street Food Cinema and presented by Amazon Prime. Each screening night will feature episodes of the show, snacks, cupcakes, gift bags and more–and it’s all free with online registration (limit: two guests per car).

Sagebrush Cantina Movie Night

Sagebrush Cantina is offering micro-drive-in nights outside its Calabasas restaurant. In addition to a $25 pass for the car, you’ll need to spend at least $15 on food and drink from the restaurant during the show.

Melrose Rooftop Theater

Not actually a drive-in series (more of a walk-up?) but we’re including here as it’s one of the very few outdoor movie options this summer that aren’t vehicle-based. In an attempt to comply with COVID protocols, a small number of guests will be able to purchase seats for these screenings, and the seats will be placed several feet apart. Additional protocols and guidelines can be found on the website. As in previous years, the series takes place on the roof at WeHo’s E.P. & L.P. and includes food and drink upgrades available for purchase.


RELATED: Movie Theaters Are Still Closed, but These Drive-Ins Are Open for Business

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As the Pandemic Continues, Angelenos Are Finding a Reprieve at the End of a Fishing Pole


Nick Jackson ties a lure on his line, then casts it into the Marina del Rey channel. Dressed for comfort, in a Dodgers cap, gym shorts, and sandals with socks, the 30-year-old has been fishing in L.A. since he was a toddler and likes to get out twice a week. “This is my time to chill and relax,” he says.

Jackson’s dad taught him to fish and it used to be their weekly activity together. But seven months ago, his dad passed away from COVID-19. Gripping the wood handle of an old fishing rod, Jackson says he thinks about him a lot out here.

It’s a crowded Sunday afternoon on Marina del Rey’s boulder-strewn South Jetty, with at least two dozen people casting off into the Ballona Creek on one side of the jetty and the Marina’s channel on the other. Jackson, who fishes all over the county, from Venice down to Long Beach, says he’s noticed a lot more Angelenos out fishing these days.

Ginny Wylie, who runs Wylie’s Bait & Tackle on Pacific Coast Highway, agrees, noting that her equipment has been selling out amid an increase in customers. The creaky wood tackle shop—one of the last remnants of Old Malibu—sits at the mouth of Topanga Canyon and was established in 1946 by Wylie’s grandparents. According to Wylie, some people have been inspired to fish after binge-watching YouTube fishing channels, while others are simply sick of being cooped up inside.

Near the end of the jetty, listening to Reggaeton on a portable radio, a dad named Al is untangling the line from a neon pink plastic fishing pole that he bought at Big 5 as his wife scrolls her phone. “We do it for him,” Al says, pointing to his son, who’s busy staring through miniature toy binoculars at a colorful sailboat drifting into the marina. The family drove across town from landlocked Pasadena to escape the crowds and get some fresh air.

Another dad named Ryan—a muscular guy with tattoos covering his arms—is watching his two shaggy-haired sons when one of them, Damon, yells “We got one!” It’s a carp, Ryan guesses, small and scaly. Ryan, who learned to fish from his own dad, says at least one good thing has come of this quarantine: “It’s brought me closer to my sons.”

Across the jetty, a tow-headed high school student named Drew is giving pointers to his classmate Mario. “Just try to follow the line down,” urges Drew, who grew up fishing on freshwater lakes. Suddenly, Mario’s fishing rod bends sharply—a bite!—but when he reels it in, it’s just a clump of seaweed. One fisherman said this jetty is a good spot for kelp bass, sand bass, and mackerel, but Drew and Mario haven’t caught a thing today.

Neither has Nick Jackson, although mornings and evenings are better, he says. Recently, he caught a 20-pound yellowtail near here. He sometimes gives his catches to friends, but usually throws them back in the sea—a tradition he learned from his dad.

Nick’s dad, Chuck Jackson, served 32 years in the Los Angeles School Police Department, earning commendations for protecting a school from gang members, and assisting a mentally ill woman from harming herself on the freeway. Retiring in 2013, he was resolved to spend his golden years traveling, camping, and enjoying fishing with his son.

But after a ski trip in March, Chuck tested positive for COVID-19. Breathing with the help of a ventilator, he battled the virus for three weeks before it claimed his life. Nick, who chronicled his dad’s final weeks on social media to raise awareness about the virus, vowed to “carry on the legacy my dad started”—including by continuing fishing.



A New Book Finds Beauty in L.A.’s Gleaming Landmarks and Urban Ruins

Jason Horton is a writer and comedian who loves to explore Los Angeles looking for landmarks. He is especially taken with places that have fallen into disrepair or been completely forgotten by their owners. In his new book Abandoned and Historic Los Angeles: Neon and Beyond, he shares his favorite architecture, signage, and urban patina. The photos, most of which started out on Instagram, capture unexpected views of beloved places. The neon reflecting on the still pool water of Burbank’s Safari Inn, or a lonely muffler man stranded on what had been a character-riddled boulevard teeming with roadside funk. The photos are accompanied by essays and observations by actors and comedians, including Tommy Wieseu sidekick Greg Sestero, Paranormal Activity actress Katie Featherston, and Two Broke Girls writer Molly McAcleer.

reseda theater

The “Abandoned” chapter is filled with places we’re about to lose, the gone-too-soon tower of Amoeba Music in Hollywood, the burned-out shell of House of Spirits in Echo Park, where rust dripped down neon clouds before they were rescued this summer by the Museum of Neon Art. The book captures Morgan Camera in Hollywood before a tagger obliterated its midcentury mascot that had long watched over the locked-down shop.

Some of the landmarks on the book’s abandoned list have been closed for decades, like the old Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park, some emptied out more recently, like the Promenade Mall in Woodland Hills, a dead mall with sparkling marble and potted palms enduring a long, slow state of disappearing. Some of the businesses in this chapter are struggling, but it’s not quite “bring out your dead” time for Sears in Boyle Heights. The faded department store has been chugging along for 94 years (and they’re open until 6 p.m. tonight, go buy yourself something nice.)

Horton, who also hosts the popular podcast Ghost Town, will talk about the book with Rebecca Leib for a live-streamed Book Soup event on Wednesday, October 28 at 6 p.m. Visit booksoup.com for more details.

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

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Morning Brief: China Is Now the World’s Biggest Movie Ticket Market

» China is officially the world’s biggest movie ticket market. Analysts have been predicting China’s overtaking of the North American box office for years, but the pandemic shutdown of U.S. theaters sped the shift. [Hollywood Reporter]

» Companies that provide homeowners insurance are leaving California rapidly. Carriers sent non-renewal notices to more than 40,000 policy holders who live in wildfire-scarred regions. [Sacramento Bee]

» California will be double-checking any COVID-19 vaccines that speed through federal approval before they’re distributed to the public. “We will do our own independently reviewed process with our world-class experts that just happen to live here in the state of California,” Gavin Newsom stated.  [Los Angeles Times]

» Scooter company Bird wants out of its fancy Santa Monica offices. Before the pandemic, the company had plans to triple its L.A. footprint; now they’re looking for someone to sublet their space. [dot.LA]

» Jeff Bridges announced on Monday that he has been diagnosed with lymphoma. The actor, often associated with his iconic role as the Dude in The Big Lebowski, says he is starting treatment and doctors tell him “the prognosis is good.”  [Rolling Stone]


» Dozens of Sites Claiming to Offer Local News Are Actually Linked to Conservative Operatives Metric Media, owner of numerous L.A.-area sites, is the focus of a New York Times exposé

» Who’ll Be Next to Land a Coveted Spot on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors: Herb Wesson or Holly Mitchell? The L.A. city councilman and state senator Holly Mitchell are in a fight to the finish to rep the 2 million residents in the Second District

» A History of the Dodgers in the World Series from 1916 to Today Take a quick look back at the team’s history


tab soda
Jayne Kennedy in a Tab ad in 1984


Tab Wasn’t Just a Mildly Gross Diet Soda. It Was a Cultural Touchstone

Throughout the ’70s and early ’80s—until that interloper Diet Coke came along—Tab was the number one diet cola on planet earth. Yes, it tasted like battery acid and shag carpet, but back then it was as much a part of the cultural landscape as princess phones, mood rings, and toe socks. And now, like so much else from that epoch, it’s officially a relic: Coca-Cola announced on October 16 that it would be discontinuing Tab as part of its plan to “retire select underperforming products” by the end of the year.


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Dozens of Sites Claiming to Offer Local News Are Actually Linked to Conservative Operatives

They have titles like Antelope Valley Today, Pomona Valley News, and North O.C. Times, and appear on the surface to be start-up local sites covering extremely local news, particularly in communities that have been underserved by the small number of legitimate local news outlets that remain in regular publication. However, the New York Times reports, these sites aren’t independent neighborhood operations. Instead, the Southern California “news sites” are among some 1,300 pages put up by a single company, Metric Media, linked to conservative political operatives who use the veneer of local news to advance a political agenda.

The Times spoke with more than 30 sources, including current and former employees of Metric Media publications, as well as “clients” of Metric Media–the corporate P.R. departments and Republican campaigns that pay site owners for stories that puff up their products or cast their rivals in a poor light.

In one example, a freelance writer was offered $22 to write a story for Maine Business Daily, for which the assignment was to “call out” Democratic Senate candidate Sara Gideon as “a hypocrite,” relying almost exclusively on comments provided by a spokesperson for sitting Republican Susan Collins. The Times was able to confirm that the client who requested the story is political professional Ian Prior. Prior, who previously worked for the Republican PAC Senate Leadership Fund, also paid Metric Media for articles about Lindsey Graham and Roy Blunt.

Metric Media appears to have been able to flourish by exploiting both the glut of professional journalists and writers who are struggling for work and willing to churn out dozens of short, small-dollar assignments, and the decimation of local news publications that was already in progress long before the pandemic but has only accelerated amid recent events. The network now includes more than twice as many titles as Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper group.

Brian Timpone, the former television news reporter and conservative activist who founded Metric Media, told Utah’s Deseret News in September that he sees his project as a way to “democratize community news across the country.”

“The status quo in journalism—the story formats, the business models, the editors-as-gatekeepers approach—no longer works. Outdated models are tainting once-trusted news brands and have strangled community news production when we need it most,” Timpone argued, telling the paper that he hopes to launch 15,000 websites in the coming months.

His answer involves not only the accepting of commissions from paying clients but also filling out the sites with content thatColumbia Journalism Review study described as “pink slime” content: low-cost, often automated articles, some of which scrape bylines, quotes, or even entire stories from other publications without permission.

“While Mr. Timpone’s sites generally do not post information that is outright false, the operation is rooted in deception, eschewing hallmarks of news reporting like fairness and transparency,” the Times states. “Only a few dozen of the sites disclose funding from advocacy groups. Traditional news organizations do not accept payment for articles; the Federal Trade Commission requires that advertising that looks like articles be clearly labeled as ads.”

The home pages of Los Angeles-area sites, such as the SFV Today, are currently dominated by multiple stories about a Kansas City-based online learning system that offers paid services for schools and individual home-schooled students. Several schools canceled their contracts with the provider in September due to outcry that “lessons included racist and sexually suggestive content,” USA Today reported.

Acellus content for elementary learners included the multiple-choice question, “Osama Bin Laden was the leader of what terrorist group?” and provided “Towelban” as a possible response. Other issues included an inappropriate illustration of Harriet Tubman, and even an uncomfortable dialog involving a lipstick-wearing pig known as “Sweetie Lips.” Headlines on SFV Today include “Hutchinson teacher says Acellus is ‘very student-teacher-parent friendly'” and “Acellus online program ‘is a plus’ for Val Verde schools” among five stories about Acellus that appear at the top of the page.

SFV Today places only one story not about the Acellus corporation above the fold of its homepage, “California Gov. Newsom gets ‘C’ grade for fiscal management,” a story which is based on a report produced by the Libertarian think tank Cato Institute. On LAX Leader, another local Metric Media site, there are even more Acellus-related articles, as well as a top story with the headline “Analysis: Mask mandates didn’t stop Covid spread in Los Angeles County” (the analysis relied upon for the story was conducted by a group known as Rational Ground which refers on its website to “COVID hysteria” and includes a point on its outbreak timeline labeled “Garcetti Attempts to Cancel Halloween”).

For readers familiar with the standards and practices of legitimate journalism, it would be hard to overlook the red flags on Metric Media sites–but there are some readers who may be more credulous of information coming from what they believe to be a source in their own community. Surveys find that many Americans trust local news above national outlets, a fact which Russian disinformation campaigns have been known to use to their advantage in the past.

A full list of Metric Media sites can be found here. For more resources about media literacy, including programs targeted at seniors and other vulnerable groups, visit MediaWise by the Poynter Institute.

RELATED: Why Are Wellness Influencers Pushing the ‘Plandemic’ Conspiracy Video?

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Tab Wasn’t Just a Mildly Gross Diet Soda. It Was a Cultural Touchstone


Dustin Hoffman drank it in Kramer vs. Kramer. Matthew Broderick sipped one in War Games. A can of the stuff even popped up in Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Throughout the ’70s and early ’80s—until that interloper Diet Coke came along—Tab was the number one diet cola on planet earth. Yes, it tasted like battery acid and shag carpet, but back then it was as much a part of the cultural landscape as princess phones, mood rings, and toe socks. And now, like so much else from that epoch, it’s officially a relic: Coca-Cola announced on October 16 that it would be discontinuing Tab as part of its plan to “retire select underperforming products” by the end of the year.

In truth, Tab—or, more correctly, “TaB,” with a swirly lower-case “a” in the middle—had already all but disappeared. In recent years, it has only been available in a few select markets, Los Angeles being one of them. A slew of more modern, better-tasting low-cal beverages pushed it from most supermarket shelves long ago, with only a handful of die-hard fans (call them “Tabbies”) keeping the brand alive. Still, its place in the pantheon of modern-day soft drinks is unassailable. It was Coca-Cola’s first diet soda and its eye-catching pinkish-red can—not to mention its slender, knobby-textured bottle—filled tens of millions of American pantries.

That cameo in a First Blood movie notwithstanding, Tab was originally marketed as a women’s drink when it was launched in 1963 — ironically, the same year Congress passed the Equal Pay Act. In fact, the early history of the soda and the history of the women’s movement were tandem opposites through much of the 1970s. While Betty Freidan and Gloria Steinem were pioneering feminism’s second wave, Tab was being peddled with a now-jaw-droppingly sexist magazine ad campaign (“Stay in his mind”) that promised the drink would give women “a shape he can’t forget.” By the end of the decade, the tag lines grew less offensive, if no less dorky—“Tab’s got sass”—as both genders started guzzling the stuff. By the 1980s, even Rambo characters were popping open cans.

To be sure, it was never what anybody would call a healthy drink; at one point, Coca-Cola was forced to put a warning label on it after studies found a link between its main sweeteners—cyclamate and saccharin—and bladder cancer (later the recipe switched to NutraSweet). But back then people were still smoking on airplanes and driving exploding Pintos—a little cyclamate didn’t scare anyone. What really ended up killing Tab? In 1982, Coca-Cola launched a new upstart low-calorie soda, Diet Coke, and Tab’s reign as king of the diet drinks quickly came to an end. To this day, Diet Coke remains the number one diet soda in the world (the number three soda of them all, after classic Coke and Pepsi).

Still, if you’re like me—and I know I am—the end of Tab represents an end an era. That foul-tasting beverage filled with toxic ingredients conjures up images of a golden age in American life—the swish of sprinklers on suburban lawns, mothers in head scarfs baking Jello Spritz cookies, annoyed dads fiddling with rabbit ear TV antennas— that has, sadly, been lost forever. Tab did indeed have sass.

RELATED: A Famed SoCal Soda Family Just Scored Big Bucks in a Case Against Coca-Cola

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Democracy is Sexy, as the Celeb Thirst Traps-for-Votes Trend Reminds Us

Posting provocative photos on social media–often referred to as thirst traps–is a reliable way to boost your “likes.” Recently, celebs have been playing with their fans’ eagerness to encourage some offline engagement, and encouraging them to get out the vote.

The posts range from the simple (Michael B. Jordan’s chest with the caption “Vote Early”) to more elaborate (a costumed and choreographed Lizzo, twerking for democracy), but they all share the same energy.

If you have time to scroll celebrity social media, they seem to be telling fans, you have time to return your ballot. Here are a few of our favorite examples of the trend.

Kylie Jenner

Michael B. Jordan

Hailey Baldwin Bieber


Sterling K. Brown


Kendrick Sampson

RELATED: Designer Merch Is Becoming an Election Season Trend

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Brian Wilson and Al Jardine Had Nothing to Do with Donald Trump’s ‘Beach Boys’ Fundraiser

A band called “the Beach Boys” performed at an ultra-exclusive fundraiser for Donald Trump at the Newport Beach estate of virtual reality mogul Palmer Luckey on Sunday, but Brian Wilson, the founder and creative force behind the original group, made it clear that he and fellow Beach Boy Al Jardine were not involved.

“We have absolutely nothing to do with the Trump benefit today in Newport Beach. Zero,” a rep for the pair told Variety. “We didn’t even know about it and were very surprised to read about it in the Los Angeles Times.”

The performers at the Trump soiree, which donors paid $2,800 per individual to $150,000 a couple to attend, were vocalist Mike Love’s Beach Boys. Love got a license to tour with this version of the band in a settlement with Brother Records in 1998, and it’s more closely associated with “Kokomo” and part time drummer John Stamos than with Pet Sounds or any of band’s other groundbreaking records.

This isn’t the first time Love has been happy to associate with the Trumps—nor is it the first time Wilson has disassociated himself from his former band mate, who he hasn’t performed with since 2012’s 50th reunion tour. In February, both Wilson and Jardine threw their weight behind an online petition to boycott Love’s lineup when they agreed to serve as the entertainment for the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, where Donald Trump Jr. was the keynote speaker.

“This organization supports trophy hunting, which both Al and I are emphatically opposed to,” Wilson said in a statement. “There’s nothing we can do personally to stop the show, so please join us in signing the petition.”

Meanwhile, it sounds like yesterday’s performance could have been minimally rocking at best, since Trump only stopped by for an hour and a half. His motorcade arrived at the Oculus Rift founder’s Lido Beach mansion at 12:11 p.m. and ditched at 1:46 p.m.

Hundreds of people lined Via Lido ahead of Air Force One’s arrival, with most of them telling the Orange Country Register that they were there to urge Trump’s help in ending the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory in the Caucasus Mountains.

RELATED: Meet the Megadonors: These Are the SoCal People Giving the Most to Trump

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