Real Noir ~ LAPD Photo Archives



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…


Remember Your Roots w/ Rootcheck Vol. 4 – GTA Style Anaheim Chase W/ Arbe Kog / SUMEN / Betue

@Rootcheck – Remember Your Roots @LAtaco / Vol.4


At first the plan was to cram the story of that night in, but some history of Anaheim came up in the archives, small detour.

If you want to skip all that and jump straight into what happened that night, look for the BOLD SENTENCE as a jump off.

Isek LTS and Arby KOG some time around 98.

Isek LTS and Arby KOG some time around 98.

Back in the day (96-99) in Anaheim there was a big ass construction zone.

Disney was building underground tunnels, Cal-Trans was all over the place and they were mean as hell in general. During this construction big ass chunks of the 5(lots), the 405(lsds dtd ek), the 22(aubs) etc. freeways would shut down and black out completely. A lot of bombing took place, kings/crews came and went throughout the tag banging days. Just195 and Earn (some straight OGs in graffiti) were holding down the Anaheim Swap Meet with a little hip hop / airbrush shop. Just195 had a wall behind the swap meet, with Lucha libre wrestlers doing their thing in the background. A lot of writers met up there so speaking on Anaheim, Masterpiece was sort of a middle ground for OC to meet LA. Earn and Just called the shop Masterpiece and in 1999 the MP2k crew was formed there, a lot of them are still around to this day.

The Lucha Libre truck at the Anaheim Indoor around 99 - Just195 / B2.

The Lucha Libre truck at the Anaheim Indoor around 99 – Just195 / B2.

In a way, Just and Earn took writers in at Masterpiece, and gave them a gateway to something bigger. OC writers looked up to the LA writers, and in some cases OC produced the same originality. Getting way off the point, but the BALL yard, behind the indoor, is where the dudes in this story all met.

Czer UCA / WGS / MP - behind the Anaheim indoor (Masterpiece shop wall).

Czer UCA / WGS / MP – behind the Anaheim indoor (Masterpiece shop wall).


Los Angeles From the Air in 1961

What did L.A. look like in 1961? Dodger stadium wasn’t built, most of the Freeways didn’t exist, but there are a lot of fun similarities to that time and today. Explore them with this informative film from 1961, provided by the people at

Drive the Sunset Strip in 1964

The above video dates from 1964 and has nice and clear footage of driving the Sunset Strip at that time. The vintage cars, the billboards, it’s all there for your viewing enjoyment.

Sadly, the video lacks a soundtrack which could also be a plus. What song to listen to while you cruise? Here are the top 20 songs from 1964, unsurprisingly dominated by the Beatles:


Remember Your Roots w/ @Rootcheck Vol. 2 ~ Koos Cafe – The 90′s Gateway to LA for OC Writers


Rootcheck Vol. 2 @ LA TACO
Vintage Koo’s Cafe – OCxLA

If you were painting in the LA/OC area in the mid 90′s, you probably remember Koo’s Cafe. For OC writers, Koo’s was the place to be considering there wasn’t as much culture in Orange County as there was in LA. Hence the exodus of writers that CAME from OC, that have now infiltrated LA. At Koo’s OC heads could end up meeting and even painting with their favorite LA writers randomly. Koo’s stood out as a middle ground, where Los Angeles and Orange County merged in a beefless fashion. In those days people still had ciphers, you could stroll through Koos on any given day and find someone like DJ Babu cutting for a circle of 10 kids.

In those days, passion was high, money was low – and “street art” was not a term all were familiar with.  There weren’t many legal walls in Orange County back then. When LA heads came down to paint legally their first stop was usually Koo’s. This way, Los Angeles styles migrated into Orange County. Hell, there was once talk of a super city, combining the two counties. The same way LA style migrated on to Orange County walls, OC writers migrated into LA. At first there wasn’t much love for people who ranked on their city, in time it became so redundant it was almost unnoticable.

It took a lot for the dudes from OC to work their way into the system of LA graffiti, depending who they were. To get any sort of fame in LA, OC cats had to do twice the work of most residents. Many lost sight of their roots once dedicating their lives to trying to make it in Hollywood.To those left behind, Remember Your Roots dedicates these vintage views of Koo’s in the Mid 90′s.

Find shadows of Koo’s @KCETartbound on Twitter.
Follow @rootcheck for more glimpses of the past.


Remember Your Roots w/ @Rootcheck ~ A New Column Dedicated to Los Angeles, OG’s, and 90′s graffiti.

Remember Your Roots Vol.1 – Throwback Views of Downtown L.A. + Cre8 Vs. Skill (@ Soto)

“Remember Your Roots” sounds like a corny graffiti history book to most.
Thanks to L.A. Taco for hosting some LA unseen.

Since this is Vol.1 of a weekly here’s a FLICK explanation:
(Scroll Down for Vol.1 flicks if you don’t give a shit – Vol. 2+ will not include foreplay.)

Chicken Ole Pollo! - Who Can you Spot?

Chicken Ole Pollo! – Who Can YOU Spot?

For those that don’t like to read much:  Remember Your Roots focuses on some of LA’s favorite writers old shit. All flicks are original – from the scanner to L.A. Taco, unless credited otherwise. If you want copies – send request via Contact. If you came to see the newest L.A.  “Street Art”, you clicked the wrong article.

The term Remember Your Roots isn’t copyrighted or anything, it’s a rule of thumb.


Nelson Mandela at the Los Angeles Coliseum ~ June 29th 1990

Four months after being released from prison in South Africa, Nelson Mandela appeared in Los Angeles at a sold-out rally for freedom at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. 70,000+ people watched the Babylon Warriors, Ice T, Tone Loc, Kris Kristofferson, and other musical acts perform songs of protest and freedom. Nelson Mandela thanks and waves to the crowd at the 3:25 mark (click here).

According to news reports at the time, Mandela’s full words to the crowd were:

“We could not have left the United States without visiting the city which daily nourished the dreams of millions of people the world over,” Mandela told an estimated 70,000 people who filled the Coliseum, many waving fists and chanting his name. “Many would know Los Angeles as the unchallenged capital of motion pictures, many would regard your city as the city of glamour and splendor.

“We who have suffered and continue to suffer the pain of oppression know that underneath that face of Los Angeles lies the great and noble spirit of the citizenry. We who fight for human rights know the depths of the human spirit running through the hills and valleys of the state of California.”


Sixth Street Viaduct Bridge at Night ~ Los Angeles


Photo by Alexander the Great (FLICKR / INSTAGRAM ). Click for a larger version.

The Sixth Street Viaduct Bridge, one of the most photographed and filmed in Los Angeles and thus the word, is likely to collapse in the next 50 years, and will be replaced. Construction is set to begin in 2015 and will take three years to complete. The new bridge looks to have the potential be even more iconic than the existing structure, and possibly includes “public art” and a viaduct park.

Fore more on the history of Los Angeles bridges, check out this excellent post from Nathan Masters for KCET.

El Niño del taco ~ Diego Rivera


This lithograph by Diego Rivera called El Niño del taco (The Boy with the Taco) is part of LACMA’s permanent collection although it is not currently on display. The print is from 1932, and was a gift of studio executive  J. J. Cohn.

© 2007 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust. Reproduction of Diego Rivera governed by Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura.

1990′s Rave Documentary in Los Angeles “Underground Aboveground”

This college film project by Ken Lawrence is a time capsule of the LA rave scene in 1992 and even includes a very young Jason Bentley, whose voice was just as golden back then.

1909 Hand Drawn Map of Los Angeles Includes 5 Restaurant Listings and 5 Parks


Our friends at the Big Map Blog, who seem to have a special affection for LA maps, have unearthed another gem. This 1909 map has an amazing hand-drawn style. The bottom of the map contains listings of businesses, and includes only five restaurants (by comparison, 14 stables are listed) which are as follows:

Levy’s Cafe

The map also lists the major parks of Los Angeles at that time which were:

Central Park (5th and Hill)
Echo Park
Elysian Park
West Lake Park (now MacArthur Park)
Plaza Park (at Main and Plaza)

Click on the image to a larger version. You can explore the map with zooming at whatnot, or download the large (14mb) version of the file over at the Big Map Blog post.