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March 7, 2014 | By Jeff Vandermeer
In "Black Moon," first-time novelist Kenneth Calhoun documents a plague of sleeplessness that threatens the very fabric of the world and reality. The sleepless have hallucinations and turn into the equivalent of manic, deranged zombies, while those who can still sleep struggle to maintain order, or even certainty, amid rising chaos. It's an intriguing premise, riffing as it does on the fading divide between work and free time, the virtual and real worlds, as well as modern fears of a virus-borne apocalypse.
March 7, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Raymond Chandler is among our most stylized writers, an innovator of what we might call high noir, with its cut-glass imagery, its cynical world-weariness (although never ennui). Such a posture defines him - or, more accurately, his detective, Philip Marlowe - as a wise-cracker with repartee as sharp as a fedora's brim. And yet, the more I read (and re-read) Chandler, the more I appreciate his vision of Los Angeles, the "big angry city" he described as "no worse than others, a city rich and vigorous and full of pride, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness" in his 1953 novel "The Long Goodbye.
March 7, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
Latinos and African Americans make up a disproportionately high percentage of the population of California ZIP Codes most burdened by pollution, according to a report released Friday by state environmental officials. Latinos account for nearly two-thirds of residents in the top 10% most polluted ZIP Codes despite making up only 38% of the state's population, the analysis by the California Environmental Protection Agency shows. Nearly 10% of residents of the most polluted ZIP Codes are black, though they make up only 6% of the population statewide, according to the report.
March 6, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- The leave of absence by Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) has left the 40-person state Senate with just one African American member, a situation that is sparking concern about a lack of diversity. Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), now the chamber's only black member, said more needs to be done to encourage underrepresented groups, including women and African Americans, to run for office. "We need more diversity," said Mitchell, who is hosting a forum on promoting political leadership by black women during the California Democratic Party's state convention this weekend in Los Angeles.
March 4, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
Golden Bear winner “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” a Sam Rockwell-Marisa Tomei dramedy  and a documentary about the legacy of Christian Dior will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival when it kicks off next month, organizers announced Tuesday. “Black Coal,” Diao Yinan's Mandarin-language film, is a China-set noir about a mysterious set of murders and the defrocked cop who sets out to solve them. The movie, which has just been announced for a  China release slot, won the top prize -- the Golden Bear -- at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Silver Bear for actor Liao Fan. Meanwhile, Tribeca will see the world premiere of “Loitering With intent,” theater-world crossover Adam Rapp's film about screenwriting and family that stars Tomei and Rockwell.
March 4, 2014 | Jonah Goldberg
President Obama announced last week a new race-based initiative, My Brother's Keeper. According to the White House, the program will coordinate government agencies and private foundations to help young men and boys of color. "Of color" basically means blacks and Latinos. In fact, it's pretty obvious the program is aimed at young black men. This fact has invited some conservative criticism. The Weekly Standard's Terry Eastland notes that the program is likely unconstitutional.
March 4, 2014 | Julie Makinen
BEIJING -- The Chinese Film “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” which took home the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival last month, has cleared censorship and will arrive in mainland theaters March 21. But the question now hanging over director Diao Yinan's noirish tale is: Will anyone go see it? At a press conference last week unveiling new posters for the film, Diao was peppered with questions from Chinese reporters, asking him whether the festival win would brand the movie as “too artistic” and scare off prospective viewers.
March 4, 2014 | By Andrea Chang
Top tech executives, including BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt are in town this week for a two-day technology and media conference. Oasis: The Montgomery Summit -- for a decade known as the Montgomery Technology Conference before a name change this year -- will take place at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica on Wednesday and Thursday. PHOTOS: Five ways the Samsung Gear 2 is better than its predecessor The invitation-only confab will feature panels, networking and presentations from chief executives of about 150 companies in the social, mobile, analytics and cloud sectors.
March 1, 2014 | By Dan Loumena
LeBron James knows that what's in the best interest of the NBA is usually in his best interest, which probably is why he complied with the league's request to wear a clear mask to protect his broken nose Saturday night rather than the cooler-looking black one he wore Thursday. No need for the Miami Heat forward to thumb his nose at the NBA, which prefers that players wear clear masks and goggles when protecting their faces and eyes. "It's not a league rule, but it's the league's request that you don't wear the black one," James told reporters before a 112-98 victory over the Orlando Magic in Miami on Saturday.
February 28, 2014 | By Carla Hall
When my brother and I were growing up in the 1960s, my parents bought the book, “Great Negroes Past and Present.” Perfect for young readers, it was a survey of famous black folks in history. It sat on a shelf in my father's study, and I would take it down and sit there, poring over the pages and the pictures. It was from that book I learned who Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth were. Marcus Garvey too. ( Wait - he wants black people to go back to Africa? ) When we sold our family home eight years ago, as I was rummaging through papers and photos, I stumbled across the book and decided to keep it. Part kitsch, part classic, it is an artifact of my childhood.
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