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This Local Campaign Ad Might Be the Only Wholesome Thing in 2020 Politics

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There are so many words for how this election cycle has made us feel–but “nice” is really not among them. Still, there have been moments and bright spots along the way (remember the fly?). On that short list: This campaign video posted by Superior Court judge candidate Klint James McKay which, even if you’ve already sent in your ballot, you’re probably going to want to watch.

In the clip, which appears to have been shot using a cell phone camera’s version of a green screen effect, and features various clips of stock footage moving behind McKay’s floating head and torso, the candidate briefly goes through his personal story, and experience as an administrative law judge.

Aside from the homespun production values, it’s a pretty classic campaign ad. Until you get to about 40 seconds in.

That’s when the audio switches, and the candidate’s stepson Orion takes over. Dressed in a tropical shirt, with beach images behind his own selfie footage, Orion proceeds to tell us a few reasons to vote for his stepdad that were left out of the more conventional intro portion of the video.

Some of the things we learn: Klint James McKay is the “coolest lawyer judge guy” that Orion knows. He “collects guitars,” he “rides motorcycles,” he “loves ribs.” And he clearly has the affection of his stepchild and, we are told, his stepchild’s high school friends, a notoriously difficult demographic for any candidate to win over.

For those who do not base their voting decision on how cool of a lawyer judge guy a candidate’s family thinks him to be, more information about Klint James McKay can be found on his campaign website. He has the endorsement of Courage California’s Progressive Voter guide; the Los Angeles Times opted to endorse his opponent for Superior Court Office Number 80, David Berger.


RELATED: A Guide to All Those Propositions on Your California Ballot


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Hallo-Stream: The Ultimate Spooky Season Watch List

Spooky season is upon us, which means we’ll be watching horror movies even more than usual. Think you can handle a scare a day? We have a suggestion for each and every day in October, based on a weekly theme (and what’s currently streaming, of course).

Each week, we’ll release a new, themed watch-list, so check back every Thursday for more blood-curdling suggestions. Stream (and scream) away. Want to share your thoughts on the films? Join our #hallostream team on the @lamag Instagram.


Week One: Home Sweet Home?

Seven movies that will make you think differently about your cozy home.

horror movies streaming hallo-stream

October 1: House of 1,000 Corpses – Netflix

The first installment in Rob Zombie’s Firefly Trilogy is every bit as gross, disturbing, and hilarious as it was when it came out in 2003. Captain Spaulding delights (RIP Sid Haig). Dr. Satan terrifies.

October 2: The Amityville Horror (1979) – Amazon Prime

This “true” story of the Lutz family’s brief tenancy at a Long Island house with a dark past will make you rethink the charms of Dutch colonial homes by the bay. James Brolin is truly menacing as a patriarch possessed.

October 3: Castle Freak – Shudder

Ten years after 1985’s Re-Animator, horror master Stuart Gordon sends horror icons Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton to an Italian castle with an unsavory something in the basement.

October 4: We Are Still Here – Amazon Prime

A couple (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) mourning the loss of their son find their not alone in the New England farmhouse where they were hoping to find peace.

October 5: Paranormal Activity 3 – Amazon Prime

This threequel sends viewers back to the 1980s with sisters Katie and Kristi, the former of whom we met as an adult when she and boyfriend Micah were tormented by a malignant entity in the first installment. Controversial opinion alert: Paranormal 3 is by far the best of the franchise.

October 6: Poltergeist (1982) – Netflix

Tobe Hooper directed this chiller about a family victimized by evil entities inside their unassuming new home (of course, also by careless capitalists and their relentless suburban sprawl). If you saw it as a kid, you’re still scarred by a certain doll in Robbie’s room.

October 7: House (1977) – HBO Max

An evil house starts gobbling up school girls in this Japanese horror-comedy classic that’s as weird and wonderful as it is visually stunning.


Week Two: Teenage Scream

Seven movies that make adolescence seem dangerous as hell.

October 8: Sleepaway Camp — Shudder/Peacock

If it feels like summer camp-set slashers are a dime a dozen, Sleepaway Camp will prove you wrong. Grotesque and delightful through and through, it also has one of the most outrageous endings in horror history.

October 9: Chopping Mall — Shudder

Long before shopping malls really did have robot security guards, Chopping Mall imagined the tech running amuck when a group of teens get locked in their local galleria overnight. (Fun fact: While the Beverly Center was used for exterior shots, the movie was actually filmed at the Sherman Oaks Galleria.)

October 10: Scream — Hulu

Bad hair, worse wardrobe, good ’90s fun. Keep an eye out for a fun cameo by director Wes Craven.

October 11: Slumber Party Massacre — Shudder/Criterion Channel

Teenage girls being terrorized by a killer with a power drill might sound a little on the nose, but this is one of the genre’s few woman-directed offerings.

October 12: One Dark Night — Shudder

Feel like you’ve forgotten how mean teenage girls can be? This is a scary reminder. But the bullies get more than they bargain for when they make a friend stay the night in a mausoleum.

October 13 : Ginger Snaps — Shudder

Teen girl gets her period and literally turns into a dangerous creature. Adolescence metaphors at their bloody finest.

October 14: The VVitch — Showtime/Kanopy

Teenage Thomasin’s superstitious, puritanical family turns on her after a series of misfortunes befall them. Luckily, a goat named Black Phillip has options for her.


Week Three: We Are the Monsters

Horror movies are great at cutting social commentary, and these do a great job at mining our anxieties about the human race and American society.

October 15: Us — HBO Max

Jordan Peele’s fantastic follow-up to Get Out can be (and has been) interpreted a lot of ways, but there’s something very telling about doppelganger Red telling her other, “We’re Americans.”

October 16: Society — Amazon Prime

Ready your barf bag. This delightfully gross commentary on classism in America takes body horror to another level.

October 17: An American Werewolf in London — HBO Max

An American tourist quite literally terrorizes London and the English countryside. Gee, it’s almost like England quite literally created a monster.

October 18: 28 Days Later — Sling

In the grand tradition of zombie movies, Danny Boyle’s 2002 foray proves the living can be just as scary as the dead.

October 19: Dawn of the Dead (2004) — Peacock

This remake of George Romero’s commentary on mindless consumerism sends the undead to the mall. The 1978 original isn’t currently streaming, but it’s worth seeking out too.

October 20: Train to Busan — Prime Video

Yeon Sang-ho’s 2016 zombie thriller about an outbreak on a train might hit all little too close to home in the middle of a pandemic, but it’s a must.

October 21: The Descent — Hoopla

Sightless freaks terrorize a group of spelunkers, but the deeper underground they go, the more human drama is dredged up.


Week 4: Masking for It

These movies about masked maniacs will almost make you forget that unmasked people are the scary ones these days.

Alice, Sweet Alice — Prime Video and Kanopy

A murderer in a translucent mask and yellow raincoat runs amuck in this supremely weird and timely (unfortunately) commentary on religious fanaticism.

Eyes Without a Face — HBO Max

An obsessed doctor, father of a disfigured daughter, is the baddy in this French classic. Still, Christiane’s mask is creepy as hell.

You’re Next — Peacock

Psychopaths in animal masks learn the hard way that you should never underestimate a woman raised by survivalists in Adam Wingard’s gory-fun 2011 thriller. (And be ready to have this song stuck in your head.)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) — Shudder and The Criterion Channel 

Meet the Sawyers. Leatherface is excited to have you for dinner.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives — Prime Video

No one hates staying dead more than Jason Voorhees. The hockey mask-clad murderer rises from the dead to terrorize Forest Green (formerly Crystal Lake) in this sequel.

Creep — Netflix 

Mark Duplass is incredible in this horror about a Craigslist deal gone wrong. And wait till you meet Peachfuzz!

Halloween (1978) — Shudder 

A painted William Shatner mask becomes an icon of horror in this John Carpenter classic.


RELATED: The Best Safe and Spooky Halloween Events in L.A.


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Fire at a Historically Black Church in Venice Renews Community Cries for Preservation

A fire was reported overnight at 685 Westminster Avenue in Venice, the former site of the First Baptist Church of Venice, a historically Black and Latino congregation, located in the Oakwood neighborhood for a century.

According to Patch Venice, the fire appears to have been intentionally set–though no suspect or cause has been confirmed–and it comes just days after a feature on the church’s historic status as a place of worship for Black and Latino Angelenos and recent function as a gathering place for anti-racism activists was published by National Geographic. 

The building has become a symbol of the neighborhood’s gentrification. In 2017, the building the church then occupied, constructed in 1968, was bought by media billionaire Jay Penske and his wife, model Elaine Irwin, in an off-market transaction done without community input. The couple intend to convert the property into a lavish private residence; that plan has been met with resistance and legal challenges.

During the summer, the Los Angeles Times observed a banner hung outside the building reading, “Black Lives Matter? Give us back our Black church, Penskes!”

While the congregation has since transitioned to another facility, some church-goers and neighbors took action to prevent the conversion, in what they characterized as an attempt to retain some connection to Oakwood’s historic character, staging weekly sit-ins and, more recently Black Lives Matter memorials and rallies.

“It just sparked something in me,” Laddie Williams, a lifelong Oakwood resident, told National Geographic of the first time she seeing the saw the church post-sale, doors locked, windows busted out. “I felt my duty was to go and save that history that has been so prevalent in the community for over 100 years. So I started sitting.”

Williams told Los Angeles in 2018 that her grandfather, Henry Williams Sr., helped pour the foundation for the church’s original building, constructed on the site in the 1920s. The Williams family had come from Georgia and Tennessee at the turn of the century, moving west in hopes of finding a life free from racial persecution and segregation.

After the fire, which Patch reports reached through to the second floor of the church building, neighbors have gathered outside yet again, forming a circle and calling on the Los Angeles City Council to preserve the building.

Attempts to have the structure designated as a historic-cultural landmark have not succeeded in the past. The Cultural Heritage Commission declined to designate the building as a landmark, though in January city council did ratify a plan requiring the new owners of the church to preserve the “facade and aesthetic,” something which Venice Councilmember Mike Bonin described at the time as “achieving many of the goals of landmark designation.”

More recently, however, he’s asked for the matter to be reviewed again.

“I think the city owes this a second look,” he told the Times in July. “I think the city—and I—owe it to the Black community in Venice to take another look and to try to help preserve what’s an important legacy.”


RELATED: Downtown’s Bendix Building Has Become a Haven for Artists Priced Out of the Arts District


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A Tiny Part of California Adventure Is Reopening to the Disneyland-Starved Masses

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Although Disneyland and other supersized California attractions were shown the back of the line when Health and Human Services finally released its guidelines for theme parks to reopen this week, the Mouse House is doing all it can to open the floodgates ASAP. For starters, the company announced Friday that the park’s Downtown Disney District will expand next month to include Buena Vista Street, which is part of California Adventure.

In July, the outdoor dining and shopping area within view of Disneyland’s locked gates became the only part of the park allowed to welcome guests since the site was forced to shutter in March. It could still be months before Disneyland proper is allowed to throw open its gates, so in the meantime the company is touting its expanded new street level attraction.

For holiday shopping, there’s Elias & Co., and Julius Katz & Sons for “Disney-themed home décor,” plus Kingswell Camera Shop. Guests on the run can grab candy and homemade confections at Trolley Treats, while other vending carts offer up churros, popcorn, ice cream, and other state fair-style treats.

Hungrier customers can hit the Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe for coffee and sandwiches. More serious eaters can enjoy a sit-down meal at Carthay Circle Lounge, or Smokejumpers Grill, which specializes in classic Americana like burgers, fries, onion rings, craft beer, and cocktails.

Park officials advise potential visitors to check out its site for info on coronavirus protocols at Downtown Disney. All guests two years or older will be subject to temperature screenings prior to entry, face masks are mandatory, and the number of visitors allowed into the site will be limited in order promote physical distancing.


RELATED: California Releases Reopening Guidelines for Disneyland and Other Theme Parks


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The ‘Target Husk’ in Hollywood Opens at Last, 12 Years After Work Began

More than a decade after the project began, the new Hollywood Target will finally open this Sunday. Today’s sixth graders have never lived in a world without what has been known to many as the Target Husk, but following a flurry of activity that took place while much of the rest of the world hibernated for the pandemic, the husk is at last set to blossom as a full-grown store.

The Hollywood store’s extra-long journey to completion first started back in 2008; the City Council approved plans for a run-down strip mall to be demolished and rebuilt as a gleaming, nearly-80-foot-tall big-box retailer in June of 2010. Problems began almost immediately.

While the project was supported by then-Councilman Eric Garcetti and a number of community members who turned out at planning meetings, some residents weren’t impressed with the plans. Just weeks after the council’s approval, two lawsuits were filed. While independent, both complaints made similar accusations: that the city had violated rules in granting Target several variances, that the structure was too tall, and that the proposal failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

hollywood target husk sunset boulevard target

And so, in August of that year, Target relented. The company, which had been given permission by City Hall to bypass environmental review, surrendered that privilege, opting to commission an environmental impact report and make any needed adjustments to move forward. That process added 18 months to the development; the city council approved the updated plans again in 2012.

Construction finally started, but the complications–and lawsuits–were just beginning.

By the time ground was broken, the blueprints called for a 74-foot-tall structure–shorter than before, but still a bit higher than the 35-foot limit set for commercial developments in the surrounding area. By the summer of 2014, a foundation was poured, walls and a roof were beginning to take shape–and then everything screeched to a halt.

Superior Court Judge Richard L. Fruin Jr. sided with the La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Association and Citizens Coalition Los Angeles in their lawsuit, agreeing that the City Council should not have approved the plan. In another order, the court demanded Target “halt all construction activities” and ordered the council to invalidate the permits that had been issued. The anti-Target groups wanted what had been built so far demolished, but it was allowed to stay in place pending appeals. It would remain untouched until 2016.

Rather than demand Target radically change the store to fit the zoning rules, the city council and now-Mayor Garcetti came up with a different plan. With a unanimous vote in the council, they changed the zoning rules to fit the store.

Despite the misgivings of the two activists groups, the Los Angeles Times reported that the city council’s enthusiasm to get the Target going again seemed at the time to be shared by many local residents and business owners.

“Everyone who lives in the community needs this Target and wants it,” Brian Folb, a local businessman, said at a city council meeting on the matter. “And it’s just a shame that these technicalities had to keep this important amenity for the community from the residents.”

on Monday, Oct 19 in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/AP Images for Target)

Nonetheless, a year later, Judge Fruin issued another ruling setting the project back once again. Described by the Times as “a humiliating new legal defeat to Los Angeles elected officials,” the court found that the council “failed to properly examine the environmental impact on the larger neighborhood” which might be created by having an extra-large Target. That ruling paused construction again for nearly two more years.

After additional reviews, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety granted permits to resume work on the site in March of 2019; by that June, construction was underway.

“It’s reassuring that this project is moving forward,” Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the area, told Curbed. He reiterated what he and his council colleagues had contended throughout the process that the new store will “provide a great deal of economic activity to the Hollywood area, employ local residents, and make the neighborhood more walkable and livable.”

Slated to finally open during the summer of 2020, the pandemic presented one final challenge to the project–until the city found a way to make a little bit of lemonade out of the COVID-19 lemons. Essential construction projects were cleared to continue, but safer-at-home orders meant few cars were on the roads. The city took the opportunity to institute temporary lane closures on usually busy Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue that allowed work at the Target to be expedited.

“We are taking every opportunity for what would normally cause very negative traffic impacts to move full force ahead in this time of light traffic,” O’Farrell told the Beverly Press.

At last, on October 25, what might be the longest-awaited Target in the world will finally open to the public. And it won’t be alone. It’s one of six Target stores across Southern California all set to open on the same day–but none of those stores ever inspired a parody Twitter account.


RELATED: As Big Construction Projects Continue Across Town, Workers Juggle Safety and Job Security


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Candidate Swag Is Banned at the Polls—but MAGA Hats Apparently Don’t Count

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When you see a red ball cap with the words “Make America Great Again” embroidered on it in that generic font, who do you think of? Wait. Let me guess. It’s Donald Trump.

You could pretty easily argue that even though a MAGA hat doesn’t bear Trump’s name, it’s inextricably linked to the incumbent president and his campaign for another four years. That argument wasn’t compelling enough for the State of California, which has decided that in spite of a ban on electioneering at the polls, MAGA hats are still permissible.

“State law is clear that you can’t have a candidate’s likeness or name,” a spokesman for Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office said. “It does not prohibit slogans that could be created for a campaign or a political movement.”

So while a shirt or button endorsing either candidate by name won’t fly, you could show up in swag featuring Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s slogan “Build Back Better.” But as the Times points out, “No candidate has been more uniquely identified in modern times with a slogan than Trump.”

Not everyone’s sold on the MAGA decision. Assemblyman Marc Berman of Palo Alto said of California’s electioneering law, “I think an argument could be made that it should be tightened up a little bit. Like so many things with this president, we’re encountering a lot of firsts.”


RELATED: A Guide to All Those Propositions on Your California Ballot


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‘Bad Hair’ Actress Elle Lorraine Is Tressed to Kill

Photographed by Corina Howell ✷ Fashion Styling by Kristina E. Taylor ✷ Photographed at Second Home Hollywood ✷ Custom Floral Design by Lucie Doughty

You might not have heard of actress Elle Lorraine, but you will. The Houston native is about to make waves with her breakout role in Bad Hair (premiering on Hulu, October 23). The campy dark comedy, set in 1989 L.A., follows an ambitious young Black woman and her possessed, murderous hair extensions. But Lorraine, who has appeared on Insecure and Dear White People, says
the film is really a metaphor for how Black women cope with white society’s beauty standards. The petite starlet, who rocks Rapunzel-length braided locks on her Instagram feed, says she has struggled with her hair and her identity, and experimented with weaves, straightening, and even going blond (causing her hair to fall out). “Now my hair defines me in a totally different way,” she says. Here, she shines in some of the season’s most head-turning looks.


KRISTIAN LORÉN blazer $495, and pants $230 ✷ SWAROVSKI earrings $299 and ring $199 ✷ LUCIE DOUGHTY floral neckpiece, price on request

FENDI dress $6,900 ✷ ATELIER SWAROVSKI earrings $279, and ring $199

MAX MARA coatdress, $1,650 ✷ DIOR blouse $2,000 and tie $430 ✷ LUCIE DOUGHTY floral headpiece, price on request ✷ SARAH HENDLER ring (index finger) $3,500 ✷ NOUVEL HERITAGE ring (ring finger) $4,550

KRISTIAN LORÉN blouse, $250


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Morning Brief: California Seems to Be Dodging a COVID Surge

» California appears to be dodging the current COVID-19 surge that is spreading elsewhere in the U.S. Experts warn that could change quickly, particularly if many residents risk holiday gatherings. [Los Angeles Times]

» Cannabis trade groups have sued Los Angeles over restrictions on marijuana delivery service licenses. The business groups are fighting regulations that delayed the issuing of delivery-only licenses until 2025, and added ear-marks for disadvantaged entrepreneurs. [Chicago Tribune]

» Four private primary schools in Los Angeles County will be allowed to bring students back to campus. The schools received a special waiver to have in-person lessons for students up to second grade.  [Daily News]

» Fox News host Melissa Francis has disappeared from the airwaves following the filing of a gender-based pay discrimination suit against the network. Francis has not appeared on the channel since October 7; at least one source claims she has been fired. [Los Angeles Times]

» West Hollywood could be the first city to establish an official “drag laureate.” Like a poet laureate, the drag laureate role would serve as a cultural ambassador of the city, particularly emphasizing the LGBTQ+ community.  [Bay Area Reporter]


TOP STORIES FROM L.A. MAG

» How a Local Woman Survived Being Lost for Almost Two Weeks in Zion National Park Holly Suzanne Courtier of Woodland Hills was missing for 12 days before crews found her alive in the massive Utah park

» How a Mild-Mannered USC Professor Accidentally Ignited Academia’s Latest Culture War Dr. Greg Patton’s use of a Chinese word that sounds like a slur to American ears led to calls for his dismissal

» A Judge Says the California GOP Doesn’t Have to Release Info About Its Sketchy Ballot Boxes California’s Attorney General had argued that the falsely labeled ”official” drop boxes planted across the region were causing confusion among voters


ONE MORE THING

dodger home plates dodger dog postmates

How to Get a Taste of the Dodger Stadium Experience from Home

Missing out on nachos, Dodger Dogs, and other stadium staples? Here’s how to make your at-home World Series watch feel a little more like a day at the ballpark.

 [FULL STORY]


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

Fall is here, if you can believe it, and we’re still hunkering down and staying safe to stop the spread of COVID-19. Nonetheless, it’s the weekend, and it’s 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.


L.A. Times Festival of Books 

Through November 13

Like every other beloved annual event, this year’s L.A. Times Festival of Books has gone virtual this year. Upcoming programs include a discussion on crime fiction with three L.A.-based crime-fiction writers (Oct. 23), Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction winner Marlon James in conversation with writer Tananarive Due (Oct. 25), and Natalie Portman discussing her new book of fables (Nov. 1). [More info]

Steep After Dark

Friday & Saturday, October 23 & 24

On Friday and Saturday, Chinatown tea room Steep L.A. is launching a new weekly outdoor dining experience Steep After Dark (aka SAD) in the courtyard at Mandarin Plaza. Offerings include dishes by guest Chef Shawn Pham of Tsubaki and Ototo in Echo Park, along with Chef Tim Wah, and tea-based libations by Philip Ly. Hours are 4-9 p.m. [More info]

Tom Petty’s 70th Birthday Bash

Friday, October 23

This annual celebration of late rocker Tom Petty’s birthday usually takes place a long way from L.A. (in his hometown of Gainesville, Florida), but this year’s virtual fest is for fans from coast to coast. Look for appearances and performances from a bananas lineup that includes Beck, Eddie Vedder, Lucinda Williams, Lenny Kravitz, and many more. [More info]

Wet Hot American Summer Live Read 

Saturday, October 24

Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Michael Ian Black, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Showalter, A.D. Miles, Chris Meloni, and the rest of the cast of the 2000 cult classic comedy Wet Hot American Summer are reuniting for a live read and Q&A to raise money for the Biden Victory Fund. Special guests from subsequent iterations (i.e. the Netflix series) are also on board. [Tickets here]

Billie Eilish’s Where Do We Go? the Livestream

Saturday, October 24

Highland Park’s own Billie Eilish had to halt her arena tour because of the pandemic, so she’s created an immersive livestream experience for fans. According to Rolling Stone, “Using multiple cameras and state-of-the-art XR technology, the event will be a virtual concert in a 3D rendered environment. Performing live with her brother Finneas and touring drummer Andrew Marshall, Eilish is expected to retool elements from her halted 2020 arena tour and reconfigure them for the virtual event alongside new elements.” [More info]

Friendly House Virtual Gala

Saturday, October 24

Friendly House, an L.A. addiction treatment center for women, is hosting its 31st annual gala virtually. The event, emceed by Lena Dunham, features celebs including Russell Brand, Katey Sagal, and Boy George, and a silent auction offers goodies like a painting by David Lynch or a 20-minute Zoom chat with Margaret Cho. The event is totally free to attend, but donations are very welcome. [More info]

Para Los Niños 40th Anniversary Virtual Benefit

Sunday, October 25

Education nonprofit Para Los Niños honors United in Harmony – Camp Harmony at its 40th anniversary virtual benefit, hosted by Mario Lopez. Some of L.A.’s best restaurants—Kali, Rossoblu, Redbird, and more—are donating a portion of the proceeds from takeout orders placed on Sunday to the nonprofit, too.

Haunt’oween L.A.

Through October 31

A drive-thru Halloween experience suitable for all ages, Haunt’oween comes from Experiential Supply, a firm that typically creates sets and effects for Hollywood productions. The experience will have photo ops, a jack-o’-lantern tunnel, and a pumpkin patch for picking your own pumpkin to take home (after it’s sanitized, put into a single-use bag, deposited in your trunk though contact-free delivery). Of special note is the trick-or-treat experience, featuring a spooky “neighborhood” populated by (masked) actors who will hand out candy to kids via poles and buckets that offer distancing. [More info]

Make Your Own Calaca Workshop

Online now

In honor of Dia del Los Muertos next month, UCLA’s Fowler Museum teamed up with Self Help Graphics to present a free virtual workshop on how to make your own calaca cartonería, or papier mache skeleton. Artist William Acedo walks viewers through the five-part process, which takes four or five days to complete (so give yourself plenty of time!) [More info]

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

Through November 1

To adapt to 2020, the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride had to drop the “hayride” part–but they’re still haunting. The event is now billed as a “first of its kind immersive experience” where you stay in your car through a multimedia show, that includes video and real-life performers. Fittingly, the theme is a haunted drive-in movie theater. Tickets for this weekend are sold out, but there are a handful of dates still available. [More info]

Mr. Jack O’Lanterns Pumpkin Patch

Through October 31

Enjoy a traditional gourd-gathering mission–with COVID protocols, of course–at Mr. Jack O’Lanterns Pumpkin Patch, which opens this weekend for in-person shopping or online preorders. You can explore the sanitized patches and pick up everything you need to decorate your seasonal squash. [More info]

Montana Avenue Al Fresco Shop & Dine

Saturdays through October 31

The air is (a little bit) clearer, and the shops and restaurants along Montana Avenue in Santa Monica are hosting a series of special outdoor events. Look for sidewalk sales and special outdoor seating arrangements for diners, and don’t forget your face mask. [More info]

Pop-Up Drive-Ins and Outdoor Movies

Ongoing

We just updated our guide to summertime movies with a fresh batch of drive-in and rooftop screenings. This weekend’s offerings include Get Out, Cabin in the Woods, Doolittle, and more. [More info]

Vineland, Paramount, and Mission Tiki Drive-Ins

Ongoing

Movie theaters are still closed and all of those pop-up screenings sell out fast, but the L.A. area’s stationary drive-ins don’t require advance tickets and have plenty of great movies to check out—and double features galore. It’s a throwback that’s become very welcome during the era of social distancing.

Stream away …

Ongoing

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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The Short, Unhappy Life of Quibi

“Fail fast” is one of those mantras tech founders love to recite, the idea being that getting mistakes out of the way quickly can lead to success. If that’s the case, whatever Jeffrey Katzenberg does next is going to be extraordinary.

On Wednesday, Katzenberg, whose five-decade resume reads like the intro speech for an Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, announced that Quibi, his folly of a premium mobile-only streaming video service, is “winding down.”

Quibi died as it lived: little watched yet widely mocked.

Before Quibi even had a single subscriber, Katzenberg and his CEO, Meg Whitman, raised $1.75 billion from studios like the Walt Disney Company, Sony, Viacom, NBC Universal, and Time Warner and financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. With a team of execs drawn from studios, cable, and the trades, they locked in every A-lister you could imagine from Steven Spielberg to LeBron James to produce five- to ten-minute shows (or “quick bites”) that would be delivered exclusively to subscribers’ phones.

Nearly a year before he launched or even named his platform, Katzenberg told Variety that he hoped it would be bigger than DreamWorks SKG. When Quibi finally debuted in early April, after a splashy but awkward keynote at the CES in Las Vegas and some very pricey Super Bowl commercials, it was met with universal viewer indifference. (That the industry and the press—the latter of which Whitman compared to sexual predators before launch—met it with outright disdain is another story.)

Nobody, it seemed, wanted to watch shows like Dishmantled, in which meals were shot into the faces of blindfolded chefs who recreated them from taste. Even a celebrity as beloved as Chrissy Teigen couldn’t elicit more than shrugs for her Judge Judy riff. After its initial free trial, Quibi lost 90 percent of its subscribers, pushing its expensive content (some reportedly costing as much as $100,000 a minute) to just 72,000 paid viewers.

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Visiting Quibi’s 49,000-square-foot offices in Hollywood before its launch felt a little like visiting a “tech startup” set built for a TV show. There was a wall of jars filled with penny candies that guests could enjoy—as if anyone working in the film and TV business would be caught dead eating, especially around development people. There was the requisite ping pong table in the courtyard where a long in the tooth ex-Comedy Central exec held forth for a group of young employees who looked like they were taking a break from being Instagram influencers. In the men’s restroom, a bluetooth radio blared “Don’t Stop Believin’,” as if needle-dropped by a hacky music coordinator.

And in a corner office was the wizard himself. At the time, Katzenberg was 69 and had gone from being disdainfully called “Sparky” as a young comer at Paramount and Disney to a grey eminence who’d co-launched the first new Hollywood studio in a generation.

Why on earth would someone who helped create The Lion King and American Beauty and was worth a reported $900 million want to run a startup, I wondered.

Turns out, Katzenberg didn’t know either. “My ambition has always been to exceed the expectations of my customer or my audience,” he told me blandly that day. “That’s all. That’s the win.”

And yet, in every way other than the glittering constellation of stars he’d assembled, he’d failed to do that with Quibi.

The app itself was not ready for primetime, launching without any sharing function, something unthinkable in the social media era. (No bother: users filmed their screens and mocked Rachel Brosnahan’s hammy turn as a woman whose golden arm is killing her in the Sam Raimi-produced 50 States of Fright, creating the exact wrong kind of viral content for the company.) Furthermore, TurnStyle, Quibi’s much-touted screen-rotating technology, was immediately subject to a lawsuit by a company claiming its patent had been infringed upon.

The shows, what little people saw of them, were half-baked. Many felt like toss-off jokes about high-concept Hollywood dreck. One producer I spoke with called many of the shows on Quibi MOPs, or “most often pitched,” vanity projects that other platforms and networks normally pass on.

Then there was Quibi’s entire value proposition: charging viewers $4.99 a month to watch expensively produced mini-TV shows when they could be watching TikTok, YouTube, or Snap videos for free and continue to pay for Netflix, Disney+, HBOMax, and Hulu. It was a classic case of a tech company trying to fill a need that literally no one has. Add to that the fact that it was run by execs in their 60s but largely aimed at the under-25 set. For all his mega success, Katzenberg revealed that he’s a man out of time trying to push a product into a world that doesn’t want it.

“It’s just sort of my old-school bias, but I love water cooler conversation,” he told me then. Burning through nearly $2 billion in less than two years (less than one in front of viewers), Katzenberg is definitely the subject of conversation now. The fact that no one under 40 has probably ever seen, used, or talked around a water cooler tells you all you need to know about how out of sync Quibi was with the times.

For its founder, Quibi’s failure has gotta hurt, but at least it was fast.


RELATED: Insiders Say Quibi May Have Been Doomed from the Start


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