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  • Originally published 08/21/2013

    Second act for the Temple of the Stars

    LOS ANGELES — It was known as the Temple of the Stars: a soaring sanctuary capped by a 100-foot-wide Byzantine dome, built by Hollywood moguls on the eve of the Depression and splashed with the kind of pizazz one might expect at a movie palace rather than a synagogue.But over the last 80 years, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple has become a monument to neglect, its handsome murals cracked, the gold-painted dome blackened by soot, the sanctuary dark and grim. A foot-long chunk of plaster crashed to the ground one night.The congregation, too, has faded; while still vibrant and active, it has grown older, showing no signs of growth. This once proud symbol of religious life in Los Angeles seemed on the brink of becoming a victim of the steady ethnic churn of the city, as its neighborhood grew increasingly Korean and Hispanic and Jews moved to the west side.

  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    LA Times interviews Brenda E. Stevenson

    Historian Brenda E. Stevenson (pictured in her UCLA office, with an African sculpture) mostly writes about the long-gone — 18th and 19th century African Americans, and the lives of enslaved women. Then came the case that made history while L.A. watched: Korean-born shopkeeper Soon Ja Du killed black teenager Latasha Harlins over a bottle of orange juice. A jury convicted Du of voluntary manslaughter, but she was sentenced only to probation and community service.Stevenson's new book, "The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins," analyzes the other "no justice, no peace" case that echoes through the 1992 riots and into the present day.Thirteen days after the Rodney King beating, Harlins was shot and killed. Where were you when all of this happened?

  • Originally published 06/18/2013

    Bruce Lee statue unveiled in L.A.'s Chinatown

    Bruce Lee has been memorialized with a seven-foot bronze statue in L.A.'s Chinatown.The statue of the late actor and martial arts expert was unveiled Saturday to a crowd of several hundred people in historic Central Plaza, according to the Los Angeles Times....

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    Break in Black Dahlia case?

    A former LAPD detective who believes his father killed the "Black Dahlia" 66 years ago claims a cadaver dog's recent search of his old Hollywood home uncovered the scent of human decomposition.The severed body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short -- nicknamed the Black Dhalia in media reports at the time -- was found on Jan. 15, 1947, in a vacant lot near the intersection of 39th Street and Norton Avenue in South Los Angeles. Nearly seven decades later, the infamous case remains unsolved.Author Steve Hodel made the claim in his 2003 book, "Black Dahlia Avenger," that his father, Los Angeles doctor George Hill Hodel, committed the murder. Hodel has said he believes his father killed Short at the historic "Sowden House" in Hollywood where the family lived at the time....

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