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November 4, 2013 | By Samantha Schaefer
Five women involved in a single-car crash early Sunday that killed two of them were out celebrating the upcoming birthday of one of the passengers. The crash occurred around 1:35 a.m. Sunday when the 2011 Nissan Sentra, which was traveling north on the 110 Freeway, hit a tree and a chain-link fence near Avenue 52, said California Highway Patrol officer Monica Posada. Firefighters responding to the crash used hydraulic prying tools to rescue one or more of the victims from the car, which was badly damaged, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.
November 4, 2013 | From a Times staff writer
A Southern California man who said he always wanted to skydive finally did it Monday on this 100th birthday. Vernon Maynard, a retired car dealer, and his two great-nephews made their first skydive from 13,000 feet in Perris, said Jean Walcher of the U.S. Parachute Assn., the Associated Press reported. They were accompanied by trained instructors. Skydive Perris manager Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld said Maynard, of Palm Desert, obtained a doctor's note before making the jump, according to the AP. Maynard's daughter Linda Hironimus said her father's friends made arrangements for him to skydive after he said he always wanted to try it. ALSO: LAX shooting: Condition of wounded teacher is upgraded to 'good' Driver shot and killed in Paramount after 4-hour chase is identified Tomahawk-throwing champion chases burglar from her home with ax  
October 31, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Happy birthday, John Keats. The Romantic poet best known for his odes -- "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Ode on Indolence," "Ode on Melancholy," "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode to Psyche" -- was born 218 years ago today. The great English poet died in 1821 at the age of 25. He was born on Halloween in 1795, more than a century before English children took up the custom of wearing costumes on All Hallows' Eve, though he surely would have enjoyed listening to goblins recite a certain rhyme at their neighbor's doors.
October 30, 2013 | By Christopher Reynolds
If you attend only one event this year marking controversial real estate practices and epic events in California infrastructure, well, Nov. 5 might be a good day for it. Why? Because it was Nov. 5, 1913, that the Los Angeles Aqueduct opened, diverting water to parched Los Angeles County from the Owens Valley in the Eastern Sierra. Without that water (and the quiet land acquisitions that preceded the opening), Los Angeles as we know it wouldn't exist. At the Cascades area (in Sylmar)
October 28, 2013 | By Samantha Schaefer
Dozens of people with handfuls of confetti quietly crowded into the front room of Elinor Otto's family home, waiting to surprise the birthday girl. The Boeing "Rosie the Riveter," who turned 94 on Monday, stepped through the door, open-mouthed, to choruses of “Surprise!” and “Happy birthday!” as loved ones feted her at a weekend party in Long Beach. Lt. Col. Bob Friend , a 93-year-old Tuskegee Airman, presented Otto with a rose corsage as she pointed to familiar faces shouting, “Oh!
October 25, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
Giuseppe Verdi's 200th birthday celebration resumes in Southern California this weekend with the three-day Italian Opera Festival at the Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo. The composer's birthday was Oct. 10. On Saturday, the festival at Soka University, an offshoot of the annual Tuscia Operafestival in Viterbo, Italy, will feature a “Viva Verdi!” program that includes overtures and arias from 10 of his works, including “La Traviata,” “Il Trovatore,” “Aida,” “Otello” and Verdi's “Requiem.” Stefano Vignati, the Tuscia festival's music director, conducts the Tuscia Operafestival Symphony with reinforcements from the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego.
October 21, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
Move over birthday candles, and step aside telomeres; there may be a new kind of biological clock in town. And this one may prove useful in predicting where age-related diseases such as cancer are most likely to strike. The proposed new body clock measures DNA methylation -- the process by which genes are altered as the body's cells differentiate and their genetic programs change to meet new demands. Researchers pored over the DNA of some 8,000 samples from 51 different tissues and cells -- including blood, brain, muscle, heart, lungs, liver and pancreas --  to devise a formula by which DNA methylation could be used to determine the age of the tissue from which the tested cells are drawn.
October 19, 2013 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
At Wednesday's 10th birthday party for Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will perform the world premiere of Frank Zappa's "200 Motels. " It's made up of 13 orchestral suites by the late L.A. rock star and composer, only parts of which surfaced in his 1971 "200 Motels" feature film and double-LP soundtrack album. Zappa, who died 20 years ago of cancer just short of 53, devoted much of his creative energy to humorous scoffing at most aspects of the human condition.
October 18, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Into every generation a sketch comedy (sometimes two or three or more) is born. Indeed, we can write the cultural history of our times in their names, from Sid Caesar's "Show of Shows" to the variety shows of Carol Burnett and Flip Wilson, to "Saturday Night Live" and "SCTV," to "Kids in the Hall" and "In Living Color" and "Mad TV," to "Key & Peele" and "Incredible Crew," with many more in between and yet to come. The latest link in this chain of laffs is "The Birthday Boys," premiering Friday on IFC. Its eponymous stars work out of the L.A. Branch of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (see also: "Upright Citizens Brigade," the late-'90s Comedy Central series that featured UCB co-founder Amy Poehler)
October 17, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"Dancing on the Edge" (Starz, Saturdays). Stephen Poliakoff ("The Lost Prince") wrote and directed this early-1930s period piece set at the intersection of jazz and aristocracy. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Louis Lester, a black British jazz genius whose career starts to get traction when he crosses paths with hustling music journalist Stanley Mitchell (Matthew Goode) and gets himself a pair of singers (Angel Coulby and Wunmi Mosaku). A kind of "Upstairs/Backstage" drama, with a mystery attached, the five-part miniseries (plus a long epilogue -- appendix might be the better word -- in the form of interviews)
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