CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 14, 2013 |
Nothing lasts forever, Omar Chatty knows that much. Even so, when he heard that the hundreds of religious steppingstones at the former Crystal Cathedral were being removed, the 62-year-old San Jose man was caught off guard. He bought his in 2006 for $2,500, an endowment he believed would "keep the gardens blooming, the water flowing and the Crystal Cathedral sparkling. " But his donation, and the hundreds of others from congregants who bought the marble blocks, wasn't enough to save the church from bankruptcy.
September 12, 2013 |
Any one-man crusade is likely to fail, but a rom-com character's war against sincerity is doomed from the start. Recently unemployed David (pastor-turned-actor Joe Boyd) has good reasons for being a Negative Nancy, and his aloofness earns him early triumphs over the omnipresent forces of perkiness and optimism. But writer-director Brad Wise's "A Strange Brand of Happy" is determined to make David experience the film's titular emotion: delight in the knowledge that fulfilling one's potential pleases God too. So along comes a lady ex machina in life coach Joyce (Christian singer Rebecca St. James, mugging her heart out)
September 9, 2013 |
The most important part of the new NFL season was unveiled Sunday night: Carrie Underwood's version of the "Sunday Night Football" opening song. For a song that is less than two minutes long, it seems to be generating a lot of notice, with some fans saying Faith Hill's version, which was replaced by Underwood's this season, was much better, some saying Underwood's is the one to watch, and others wondering why anyone cares. So which version is better? Underwood's is above, Hill's is below.
September 6, 2013 |
The story in Genesis of Abraham's willingness to kill his son Isaac at God's command still gets a lot of attention. But it doesn't get a lot of love. In every broadside against religion, God's horrifying demand for a sacrifice and Abraham's acquiescence is introduced as evidence that God is a tyrant, Abraham a sycophant and both of them abusers of poor Isaac, whom God decides to spare only at the last moment. Trust me when I say that this is not simply the view of professional polemicists.
September 5, 2013 |
Marcus Rios ran into UCLA's Spaulding Field practice facility for the first time in months on Tuesday. As he did, the sophomore cornerback glanced up at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center across the way. "Any time I'm walking down Westwood Boulevard, I look up there," Rios said. "I have been through a life-changing event. You have to remember. " Rios' workouts were far different early this year, and the view he had was looking down from the medical center to the practice field.
August 22, 2013 |
The second film in Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl's "Paradise" trilogy, "Paradise: Faith," continues the director's fascination with pitifully deluded women undergoing humiliating blows to their dignity. After the deflating sex-tourism diorama that was "Paradise: Love," Seidl trains his unsparing, formalist eye on that protagonist's sister, Anna Maria (Maria Hofstätter), a devout Catholic who regularly self-flagellates, talks to Jesus like a cowed lover and spends her vacation time bringing door-to-door conversion (by way of a toted-around Virgin Mary statue)
August 16, 2013 |
Build it and they will come. Not the ballpark, the team. Dodger fans suffered through some -- what might politely be termed -- lean times under Frank McCourt. Dragging a proud franchise through the embarrassment of bankruptcy can do that. Attendance officially plummeted approximately 18% in 2011 under McCourt, though anyone with a functioning eyeball could tell it was actually more than twice that in actual attendance. But the Dodgers' fan base is huge and deep, and however angry and frustrated they were, many remained followers in waiting.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 16, 2013 |
When Joseph Harounian came out of the closet to his Persian Jewish family, relatives told him to march right back in. Some worried he'd turn his cousins gay. Others feared for the family's reputation. They began excluding him from family events. It was only after his grandmother intervened that he was gradually welcomed back into the fold. Now, years later, Harounian says his family has come to terms with who he is. But he knows that the fear of ostracism still keeps other gay Persian Jews from coming out. Support for gay rights and same-sex unions has never been higher, according to numerous polls.
August 14, 2013 |
If it takes a village to raise a child, it took a principality to bring "Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' " to the screen. A five-year odyssey of false starts, studio abandonment and piecemeal financing, "The Butler" arrives in theaters Friday with 37 different people credited as producers - among them retired NBA player Michael Finley and "Spider-Man" maker Laura Ziskin, who died more than two years ago. Ziskin left money in her will to help bankroll...
August 10, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - When television ads aired in South Carolina this spring attacking Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham for supporting immigration reform, a GOP group came to his aid. So did the other team. "We came up with the money," said Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America's Voice, a Washington-based group with close ties to the Obama White House. "We were just frustrated that nobody was doing anything, and Graham was under attack. We said, 'Fine, we will put money in.'" Sharry's group, knowing an ad sponsored by a left-leaning advocacy group could hurt Graham, donated $60,000 to Republicans for Immigration Reform, a super PAC started by President George W. Bush's former Commerce secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, and GOP fundraiser Charlie Spies.