Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Palin, Halloween and Weho

The big news of the moment in West Hollywood is a Halloween display. This house is about 2 blocks from us, between our place & the grocery store we walk to sometimes. They decorate for all the holidays and other events. The house is an a main street (Fountain) and so there is visibility.

Effigy of Sarah Palin hanging by a noose creates uproar in West Hollywood
Los Angeles sheriff's officials say the Halloween display isn't a hate crime. Authorities are keeping an eye on the house to make sure the situation doesn't get out of hand.

  • By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
    October 28, 2008

    A West Hollywood Halloween display showing a likeness of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin hanging by a noose has caused a furor among some residents who reported it as a hate crime, authorities said Monday.

    But Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said the mannequin sporting a beehive hairdo, glasses and a red coat does not rise to the level of a hate crime because it was part of a Halloween display.

    "I'm not defending this; I'm not criticizing it. It doesn't rise to the level of hate crime," said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who said he went out to the house himself to look at the display this morning.

    "Now, if there was a crime against bad taste . . . "

    Sgt. Kristin Aloma of the Sheriff's Department's West Hollywood station said that since Sunday she had received five to 10 calls from residents offended by the display. Officials are monitoring the house to make sure the situation doesn't get out of hand, she said.

    West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang said although he recognizes residents' right to free speech, he found the display problematic and felt it should be removed.

    "While these residents have the legal right to display Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin in effigy, I strongly oppose political speech that references violence -- real or perceived," Prang said in a statement. "I urge these residents to take down their display and find more constructive ways to express their opinion."

    Whitmore said that potential hate crimes are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If the same display had been made of a Barack Obama-like doll, for example, authorities would have to evaluate it independently, Whitmore said.

    "That adds a whole other social, historical hate aspect to the display, and that is embedded in the consciousness of the country," he said, adding he's not sure whether it would be a hate crime. "It would be ill-advised of anybody to speculate on that."

    ChadMichael Morrisette, who lives in the house, told a local TV news crew that cars and buses have been stopping near his home and that people have been snapping photos of the Halloween display.

    The home's decorations also feature a doll of John McCain surrounded by decorative flames in the chimney, and other more typical Halloween items, such as skeletons and spider webs.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    Magic Castle birthday

    Sarah brought me to the Magic Castle for my birthday a couple weeks ago. The Magic Castle is in Hollywood and is basically a private club started by magicians and features magic acts. We ate dinner there also. It's a private club, so you either need to be a member or get an invitation from a member. We got an invitation.

    It was lots of fun, i really like the 'close up' style of magic, i find it so much fun to be amazed by something which seems like a simple trick. One of the magicians was doing a trick where he brought up 2 volunteers and counted out 10 dollar bills to one. Who then counted the money to the other, and counted 11 bills. The second volunteer counted them back, and there were 10. It when on like this for a while, great stuff.

    Last year we saw Ricky Jay at the Geffen Playhouse perform his 1 man act "Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants". He does amazing card tricks, lots of fun also.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    lea & gary in front of Hollywood sign

    Gary's somewhat distant relative Lea visited from Germany a few weeks back. She is off to university after her visit to the USA and wanted to see all that Los Angeles had to offer. We went all over the place, including a short hike up into the hills to get a nice Hollywood Sign background for a photo.