Friday, November 21, 2014
The following is one man’s personal history that starts with a move to Los Angeles, where he became interested and then obsessed with documenting gang graffiti and the world in which it flourished. The photos that accompany the piece represent a small fraction of the photos in eF Be‘s archives. You can view more here.
Graffiti is illegal. That’s really the main reason why I was initially attracted to it. We can discuss the significance of self-expression or dig deeper into the social ramifications of this ever-growing medium of aerosol exchange, but the bottom line is that it is against the law. It’s a blunt “fuck you” to authority, and that alone was enough for me to buy the ticket, and as we all know, once you buy the ticket, you have to take the ride.
My dream had always been to live in this world I had created inside my head that was composed of CHiPs episodes, Freestylin’ Magazine, Thrasher, Colors and Boyz In The Hood. That was all I knew about this mystical land of danger between the desert and the ocean. In 2002 I stepped out of a cab in Kentucky and rode a horse by the name of Seabiscuit all the way to Los Angeles. Upon arrival I immediately connected with some people in the skateboarding scene. I shot photos at backyard pools, parties and shows, and while graffiti was never too far from the frame, it was never clearly in focus. It was only after returning to Los Angeles from a brief hiatus in New York that I began to read the writing on the wall.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Shanks Rajendran is an Australian filmmaker who has made waves in the United States for his searing look at forgotten and ignored areas within big cities. His first documentary here, Liberty City: Miami explored South Florida’s toughest neighborhood from the inside, and was hailed as raw and searing by online reviewers. Now he’s come to Los Angeles to bring the same outsider-yet-insider point of view to our most deprived part of town- Skid Row.
What brought you to skid row?
When I first came to Los Angeles for a holiday two years ago I was sight seeing. I went to Rodeo Drive, the Hollywood Hills, Staples Center and then my friend said: “Look I know you love doing documentaries so I want you to see something.”
Two blocks down he drove and there it was. Something I’ve never heard of or seen. SKID ROW. It was night time so there were just tents and tents and more tents. I saw people hanging around…saw a fight, saw a fire truck pulling someone out of a public bathroom, all that stuff. It was all happening right before my eyes within the period of a good 15-20 minutes.
Coming fresh from a place like Melbourne, Australia – I’ve never seen anything like this. It was one of the most confusing moments in my life… I remember asking myself “What is this?”
As a documentarian, I live and breathe issues concerning poverty, deprivation and failures. At that point, I knew Skid Row was something I wanted to look into.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
This map from the LAPD shows all the city’s gang injunctions, from Venice to Harbor City to Highland Park. Useful for knowing what the police are focusing on in your neighborhood, and which gangs are on the city’s radar. Click the map to see the large version.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Gallerist Robin Blackman and her husband, LAPD Reserve officer have spent the last thirteen years combing through the LAPD photo archives looking for gems in a collection of crime scenes, mug shots, and other on-the-job photographs and negatives that were due to be destroyed. The result is a collection of about 50 images that will be made into prints and sold at this weekend’s Paris Photo LA. You can view some additional images at the official site, and also at this Daily Mail article. Keep reading for some of our favorites…
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Looks like someone in the 818 got into some mischief at Van Nuys Airport last weekend. RIP FLAME LMK was was spraypainted on the $2.3m LearJet’s side, leading to an investigation by the FBI and LAPD. Channel 4 did the story last night, full video here.
Monday, March 18, 2013
The Los Angeles Times reports today that members of one LA’s most notorious gangs were indicted today in protection-racket scheme targeting taco truck vendors in Los Angeles:
A grand jury indictment was scheduled to be unsealed Monday for about two dozen reputed members of the notorious MS-13 gang in connection with a violent extortion racket that targeted food-truck operators.
The victims of the alleged organized shakedown were not four-wheeled foodie cuisine servers, such as the Kogi BBQ truck, but those who serve blue collar workers at construction sites, according to several law enforcement sources familiar with the case.
Those arrested were reputed Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang members but the sources, who did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the case before details were revealed in court, said the arrests were the culmination of a year-long investigation centered in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division.
Just another example of how hard it is out there slangin street food– our local taqueros work long hours and are squeezed on all sides by fuel prices, local regulators, drunk customers, and criminal elements. Salute your local lonchera the best way you can- stop in for a taco tonight.
Friday, March 9, 2012
“When I die, fuck it I wanna go to hell
Cause I’m a piece of shit, it ain’t hard to fuckin’ tell
It don’t make sense, goin’ to heaven wit the goody-goodies
Dressed in white, I like black Tims and black hoodies.” ~ Biggie
Today marks fifteen years since Christopher Wallace (AKA The Notorious B.I.G. AKA Frank White AKA Big Poppa AKA Biggie Smalls) was tragically shot and killed in front of the Petersen Museum at Wilshire and Fairfax. Go lay down your E&J, White Owls, and flowers today for Brooklyn’s dearly departed legend.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Los Angeles, 1999. Officer Dave Brown (two-time Academy Award(R) nominee Woody Harrelson) is a Vietnam vet and a Rampart Precinct cop, dedicated to doing “the people’s dirty work” and asserting his own code of justice, often blurring the lines between right and wrong to maintain his action-hero state of mind. When he gets caught on tape beating a suspect, he finds himself in a personal and emotional downward spiral as the consequences of his past sins and his refusal to change his ways in light of a department-wide corruption scandal seal his fate. Brown internalizes his fear, anguish and paranoia as his world, complete with two ex-wives who are sisters, two daughters, an aging mentor dispensing bad advice, investigators galore, and a series of seemingly random women, starts making less and less sense. In the end, what is left is a human being stripped of all his pretense, machismo, chauvinism, arrogance, sexism, homophobia, racism, aggression, misanthropy; but is it enough to redeem him as a man?
RAMPART will open for a one week run in New York and Los Angeles on November 23rd.
Friday, December 23, 2011
The “Geezer Bandit”, reported to be an elderly bank robber who is surprisingly light on his feet, may actually be a younger man in a mask. Take a look at the latest security footage of the geezer above, and a mask called “The Elder” by SPFX Masks below. See a resemblance? The Feds do- they’re looking into a costume shop in the San Luis Obispo area that sells the mask. This outlaw hero to geriatric criminals everywhere may just be an act, and his 3,000 facebook fans are sure to be disappointed.
Friday, October 14, 2011
“Guess where I’m at??? It never ends”
That’s what @Lamudercop tweeted in the early morning on October 11th. Sal La Barbera, according to his google and twitter profiles, is a supervisor for the Criminal Gang/Homicide Division. Hes been with LAPD for 30 years, 24 of those with CGHD and is the current Squad Leader of FBI/LAPD SOS ll Homicide Task Force. A New York transplant, he’s also provided consulting to writers and film makers throughout Hollywood and appears on television regularly.
Everyone knows the life of a murder cop is tough, and no one expects them to be cuddly, but I’m baffled as to why he would tweet a picture of a recently deceased person lying on the street and not show even a shred of compassion for the person or their family. On the job, cynicism is to be expected, but the world of social media changes things as it becomes public.