By Bob Vickrey
It’s official. As of last week, In-N-Out Burger and I have called it quits. After more than 35 years, we have decided to go our separate ways.
The split did not just happen overnight. We have been seeing less and less of one another in recent years and connected only a couple of times in recent months. I cannot fully explain how we ultimately lost the magic in our long meaningful relationship.
But how do you go about breaking up with a veritable Southern California institution? Adults spend endless hours talking about their last meal at In-N-Out. It’s such a popular place that kids want its burgers to be served at their birthday parties. I can already tell that this is going to be a difficult separation. How do I explain to my friends that we’re through?
I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on the beauty that was—and is—an In-N-Out “Double-Double”—double meat, double cheese, accompanied by a fresh slice of garden tomato and crispy lettuce—all neatly wrapped in carefully folded wax-paper, alongside those crispy, dry, and salty French fries. How could I not have fallen in love? Throw in a perfectly blended strawberry shake and suddenly you found yourself a virtual slave to its magnetic appeal. Read more
TWO PAINTINGS BY BOB LAYPORT: THE HILL AND THE OAK
BOTH PAINTINGS; Copyright 2015 Bob Layport
BY PHYL VAN AMMERS
OUR SPECIAL NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CORRESPONDENT
A multi-use trail that runs behind schools, houses and shopping malls from a road near the Delta at Bay Point down to Walnut Creek is a lesson in history. That history is camouflaged by the transformation of the East Bay by freeways, water and sewage systems, and intense real estate development.
To many Californians, the geography of that area is unknown. I have to start off with, “Go east from Oakland.” Most people know where Oakland is. Even those who know where Oakland is don’t know anything about the California Delta. Read more
There are 25,000 homeless people in the city of Los Angeles; 44,000 in the county. Those are the raw numbers found by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority from its late January three-day point-in-time nighttime count, in which 5,500 volunteers, this writer included, went out and covered every block of 89% of the census tracts in Los Angeles County. The bad news is that this is 12% more than were found two years ago.
The findings were presented by LAHSA’s Executive Director Peter Lynn at a well-attended May 11 meeting of its Commission at its Wilshire Blvd. headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. I was one of those in the audience.
As Lynn expanded his report, the subpopulations showed worse damage. Those found to be unsheltered in the city in this year’s count, that is, living in the streets, were 17,687, up 18.6% from two years ago. The rest on the nights of the count were in various public and charity homeless shelters. And of those on the streets, there was an incredible 85% increase in people living in tents, under plastic tarps, in RVs, and automobiles. Read more
(Umberto Tosi, author of Ophelia Rising, was an editor and staff writer for the Los Angeles Times from 1959-1971.)
Detective Sergeant Jacob Imhoff was just another burned out cop, tough-but-fair, maybe a decent guy, hard to read. Roy could see all that – and knew what else.
They sit opposite each other in a booth at the back of Clifton’s Cafeteria on Broadway near Sixth Street, a place with a history, catering to mixed downtown clientele of drifters, downtown workers and tourists. It’s unfrequented by cops or newsmen, which makes it a good spot to meet. Roy examines Imhoff’s fleshy face for clues. With his graying crew cut and massive shoulders, Imhoff resembles an ICBM emerging from its silo. Imhoff plays off of his bulk and a striking homeliness that he’s made into an asset, alternating between King Kong and the Jolly Green Giant, menacing or jovial, always imposing. Read more
PIMPS STRUT THEIR STUFF
About an hour before the meeting with Ted Katz , I got a call from Jason Slade at my new sublet near the Chelsea Hotel, saying he was having problems with my magazine piece on runaway girls in the East Village.
“It has some holes in it, Ryder,” he grumbled. “You should try to interview more pimps who take those little girls in from the cold and then turn them out as street prostitutes. You just have one quote. I want to nail those guys. ”
“I’ve only seen a few small time pimps in the Village,” I told him. “They look pretty down and out themselves.”
“I’m thinking of someone known as Midtown Slim, a flashy pimp,” Slade said. “I hear he generally dresses to the dimes in a three- piece suit and carries around JP Donleavy’s cult novel, ‘The Gingerman,’ He might tell you about his fellow gents of leisure.” Read more
Many people who visit Los Angeles believe that the city began around the “Old Plaza,” the plaza near Olvera Street. The newer plaza was “La plaza abaja,” which is now called Pershing Square, and that plaza began in 1849.
A plaque across from the Old Plaza commemorates the founding of the city. It states: “On September 4, 1781, eleven families of pobladores (44 persons including children) arrived at this place from the Gulf of California to establish a pueblo which was to become the City of Los Angeles. This colonization ordered by King Carlos III was carried out under the direction of Governor Felipe de Neve.”
Wikipedia states that the area around the plaza was the city’s center under Spanish rule (1791 to 1821), and Mexican rule (1821-1847). The Spanish founded Los Angeles in 1781.
Wikipedia almost immediately in the same essay contradicts its early statement. “The original pueblo was built to the southeast of the current plaza along the Los Angeles River. In 1815, a flood washed away the original pueblo, and it was rebuilt farther from the river at the location of the current plaza.” This portion of the Wikipedia essay cites the Department of Public Works for Los Angeles County. http://dpw.lacounty.gov/wmd/watershed/LA/History.cfm. Read more