Tuesday, November 30, 2010

VIDEO: L.A. Youth Orchestra Opens Season at Saban Theatre, Beverly Hills


The Los Angeles Youth Orchestra (LAYO) opened their first season at the Saban Theatre Sunday with Beethoven, Mozart, Berlioz and international star Theodore Bikel.

The Oscar-nominated actor and musician joined Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist Mitchell Newman in a new orchestral piece commissioned by the Daniel Pearl Foundation. "Stories From My Favorite Planet," written by LAYO maestro Russell Steinberg, highlights the words of the Encino journalist (and youthful violinist) who was killed by terrorists.

The Concert Orchestra played works by Beethoven, Berlioz, Chopin and Tschaikovsky, the LAYO Chamber Orchestra offered up Mozart and Mendelsohn. Members of the LAYO Brass Quintet entertained during intermission.

Video by Dennis Wilen for BeverlyHills.Patch.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Not Hogwarts, But Short Avenue Elementary is Full of Enchantment

The French Club meets in the new Wonder of Reading Library, funded by the Annenberg Foundation.



  • Parents, teachers and community join forces and neighborhood school magically rises to head of the class

A magic triangle of committed teachers, involved parents and knowledge-hungry students has moved Del Rey's Short Avenue Elementary School close to the top in California's Academic Performance Index (API) ratings.

Story continued @ MarinaDelRey.Patch.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I made an emotional video with Jennifer Aniston




Short life-affirming film starring a laughing Jennifer Aniston, Ricki Lake, Corbin Bernsen, Amanda Pays, Rocki Gardener, Larry Law, Beach Dickerson, Daniel McDonald, Dukie Flyswatter, moi, and see how many more celebrities you can find.

Video by my pals Michael Sanville and Mark Torgl

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Theodore Bikel and Dr. Judea Pearl in Beverly Hills

Theodore Bikel (l) and  Judea Pearl
‎Judea Pearl (right) and Oscar-nominated Theodore Bikel posed together at the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra Concert (LAYO) Sunday at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

LAYO played conductor Russell Steinberg's "Stories From My Favorite Planet," based on articles written by Daniel Pearl, Judea's son.

Bikel narrated and the LAPhil's Mitchell Newman guest-soloed on violin.

My video of the event will be online soon @ beverlyhills.patch.com.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another one bites the Patch

I'm pleased to announce I'll be joining the local Patch.com operation next month.

If it all works out as planned, I'll be building, running and growing brentwood.patch.com, here on Los Angeles' West Side.

The Brentwood neighborhood stretches from the Bel Air on the east, the San Fernando Valley on the north, Pacific Palisades to the west and Santa Monica and West Los Angeles to the south and is home to families and horses, small homes and huge estates, small business and big corporations, struggling college students and megamillionaires.

My aim -- as I detailed a year ago in this blog -- is to use the Web to give all my neighbors a voice online and that's exactly the Patch.com business plan.  It's a perfect fit as far as I'm concerned!

I'm especially enthusiastic because Patch.com is what's known as a "pure Internet play." The online presence is all there is; unlike my previous gigs as the Web guy for  LACMA.org,  JewishJournal.com, SpinalTap.com, EndWorldTerror.com,  there is no associated museum, newspaper, band/movie or art project underlying the site. We're electric, in the air, in the cloud 24/7.  No atoms, just electrons.

I don't know how much time I'll have for this blog, or hanging out on Facebook, but you know where to reach me. Until then, I hope your Thanksgiving will be as joyous as mine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Drunken status update embarrassment? There's an app for that!

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Drunk.jpg

Friends don't let friends drive drunk, and this new browser add-on will give you a Social Media Sobriety Test before you  post something online you might later  regret:

The Social Media Sobriety Test is a simple extension for Google Chrome and Firefox that administers a set of sobriety tests to keep you from drunkenly leaving a post on your boss's wall or sharing your margarita-fuelled musings via Twitter.
Similar to the "Mail Google" feature in Google Labs — which require you to solve math problems to deter late night drunken emails — Social Media Sobriety Test locks down your social networks, including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Tumblr.
When you visit those sites between the hours specified in your settings, you'll have to take a "field" sobriety test, such as following a finger drifting around the screen with your mouse or indicating which side of the screen is blinking in a "Simon Says"-like puzzle.
Fail to pass the test and you can't log in to the social network. The Social Media Sobriety Test extension is half ingenious and half extremely clever marketing on behalf of its parent company Webroot which specializes in computer security suites.
This could have saved me a lot of trouble back in the day!

'Tis the season to be sadly

Are people more likely to get depressed in the cold, dark depths of Winter?

Conventional wisdom says yes, especially when it comes to residents of darker northern climes.

A group of Taiwan researchers data-mined several years of search queries to see if there was a link between season, location and depression.

Here's a description of their research from an abstract of their paper:
Seasonal depression has generated considerable clinical interest in recent years. Despite a common belief that people in higher latitudes are more vulnerable to low mood during the winter, it has never been demonstrated that human's moods are subject to seasonal change on a global scale. The aim of this study was to investigate large-scale seasonal patterns of depression using Internet search query data as a signature and proxy of human affect. 
And what did they find?  It's true!
Our study was based on a publicly available search engine database, Google Insights for Search, which provides time series data of weekly search trends from January 1, 2004 to June 30, 2009. We applied an empirical mode decomposition method to isolate seasonal components of health-related search trends of depression in 54 geographic areas worldwide. We identified a seasonal trend of depression that was opposite between the northern and southern hemispheres; this trend was significantly correlated with seasonal oscillations of temperature (USA: r = −0.872, p<0.001; Australia: r = −0.656, p<0.001). Based on analyses of search trends over 54 geological locations worldwide, we found that the degree of correlation between searching for depression and temperature was latitude-dependent (northern hemisphere: r = −0.686; p<0.001; southern hemisphere: r = 0.871; p<0.0001).
Conclusions/Significance
Our findings indicate that Internet searches for depression from people in higher latitudes are more vulnerable to seasonal change, whereas this phenomenon is obscured in tropical areas. This phenomenon exists universally across countries, regardless of language. This study provides novel, Internet-based evidence for the epidemiology of seasonal depression.
Good use of data mining to find news.

And there's more here: Journalism in the age of data 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Beverly Hills School Board Fights Plans for Subway Under BHHS

[Originally published 10/27/2010] -- With the Metropolitan Transportation Authority set to move closer to choosing a route for the Westside Subway Extension on Thursday, the Beverly Hills Unified School District Board voted Tuesday night to request $100,000 from the City Council to fight any MTA decision that calls for tunneling underneath Beverly Hills High School.

"We need to hire lobbyists, attorneys and PR people," said Board of Education President Steven Fenton. He suggested a joint task force with two City Council members, the city manager, two BHUSD board members and Superintendent Richard Douglas.

"This keeps me up at night," Board Vice President Lisa Korbatov said. A subway under BHHS "is a juicy target for terror and a seismic event waiting to happen."

Click here to read more of my story at beverlyhills.patch.com

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nevadan Sharron Angle's media blackout campaign hits LATimes.com

LATimes.com screenshot @ 5:29 p.m. today

Click on the photo for a bigger version

Speaking of lorem ipsum:
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Thank you Gangsta Lorem Ipsum page! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Horror Swarm at Beverly Hills Park


Eerily-clad denizens of the Beverly Hills Active Adult Club swarmed Roxbury Park Saturday afternoon -- and were video'd talking, laughing and cavorting to "big band music" from the last century.
A good time was had by all.
"Great outfits, great dancers," Senior Recreation Supervisor Jane Winston-Doman said. "We look forward to doing this every year."

Read the whole story @ PatchBeverlyHills!