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March 25, 2012 | By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
The False Prince A Novel Jennifer A. Nielsen Scholastic: 344 pp., $17.99, ages 10 and older Most children want to be recognized as someone special. In "The False Prince," Jennifer A. Nielsen takes that desire to an extreme with a romp of a medieval-themed, middle-grade novel. This kickoff to her new "Ascendance Trilogy" is a swashbuckling origin story about orphans forced to compete with one another for a chance to take the crown. The book opens with a boy running through the streets being chased by a cleaver-wielding butcher hoping to retrieve a stolen roast.
February 26, 2012 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
A funny thing happened whenever I set out to see Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady.” I'd invite one of my moviegoing pals to join me and then find myself later that evening at “Shame,” “My Week With Marilyn” or the glorious “Pina.” The reviews for “The Iron Lady” weren't all that glowing, but Streep came in for her usual chorus of hosannas. For some reason, this wasn't proving to be much of a lure. Even after the Oscar nominations came out, with two-time winner Streep making history with her 17th nomination, “The Iron Lady” was still a no-go with them.
November 14, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Social Security — Thieves have been impersonating Social Security Administration employees in an attempt to steal seniors' personal information, the AARP said in a recent bulletin. The con artists contact seniors by telephone, claiming to be updating their records. They ask for seniors' Social Security numbers, birth dates and bank account numbers, the AARP said. Consumers should never disclose such information over the telephone to strangers, the AARP said.
October 2, 2011 | By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
Blank stares and double takes follow him from the moment he enters the downtown Ramallah square, where thousands have gathered to celebrate the Palestinians' statehood bid at the U.N. That distinctively large nose. The green fatigues. A scruffy, gray beard. And of course the signature black-and-white kaffiyeh. Wait … is that? Waving a giant Palestinian flag, the Yasser Arafat impersonator bellows to the crowd: "National unity!" He is instantly mobbed by laughing spectators, all wanting to pose for the spray of cellphones cameras.
May 17, 2011 | By Scott Timberg, Special to the Los Angeles Times
At a youthful 55, Roger Guenveur Smith is at least a few decades too old to carry baseball cards in his wallet, but the one he takes out to show has a special meaning. The memories he discusses on the outdoor patio of an Echo Park coffee shop are not serene: The card — which he found at a swap meet a few years ago — is a replacement for one he burned more than 40 years ago. On the card is Juan Marichal — then a San Francisco Giants pitcher — who, one summer day in 1965, at bat in the third inning of a close game, hauled off and hit Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, who he thought had provoked him. He hit Roseboro hard, with his bat, in the head, three times — enough to draw blood from a 2-inch gash.
April 28, 2011 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
Three former American Apparel Inc. employees who last month sued the Los Angeles company and its chief executive over alleged sexual harassment have filed a new lawsuit alleging defamation. Filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the latest lawsuit seeks damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and impersonation online. The suit names the company, Chief Executive Dov Charney and a company photographer. In the lawsuit, Irene Morales, Alyssa Ferguson and Tesa Lubans-Dehaven said that after they filed sexual harassment lawsuits in March, fake blogs purporting to belong to them began showing up on the Internet.
January 16, 2011 | By Steve Harvey, Los Angeles Times
When outgoing New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson turned down a petition to pardon Billy the Kid (1859?-1881) last month, he obviously didn't have to deliver the bad news to the Kid's face. But when the subject of forgiving another 19th century outlaw arose in Los Angeles in 1933, the suspect claimed to be present. "I'm the original Jesse James," a white-haired gent confessed to officers at the old Central Police Station. The notion that he had been killed in 1882 by fellow gang member Bob Ford (known thereafter in Missouri as the Dirty Little Coward)
January 1, 2011 | By Kelsey Ramos, Los Angeles Times
Silver Lake resident Charles Scott bypassed the malls and the jewelry district in downtown Los Angeles in shopping for an engagement ring. Searching for something out of the ordinary, he surfed onto Etsy and started clicking through photos of handcrafted diamond rings. Using the online marketplace's "shop local" function, Scott found a Pasadena jewelry maker whose handmade Moroccan-inspired wares caught his eye. "I wanted to not have to go to a store and haggle with someone who sells diamonds all day," Scott said.
November 18, 2010 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
John Hawkes would prefer that you, dear reader, not get to know him too well. Nothing personal, you understand. It's just that Hawkes, known for playing Sol Star in HBO's "Deadwood" and Bugsy in "The Perfect Storm" opposite George Clooney, believes that it's best for a working actor not to let his personal life upstage his screen personas. "I feel like my real strength as an actor is that no one quite knows me," Hawkes said, hanging out one recent afternoon at the Hollywood club where he sometimes plays in a band when he's not on camera.
October 24, 2010 | By Richard Abowitz, Reporting from Las Vegas
Before going on stage, six nights a week, dressed in drag as Joan Rivers, Frank Marino painstakingly applies his own makeup for an hour in his star dressing room. As producer of his own show, Marino keeps a chart on the dressing room wall he checks nightly giving the audience counts. "It is color coded red or green to show if I went up on that day from last week. " Translating the chart, he says, "We currently average about 400 tickets a night. To be honest I would like to get that up to 600. " Marino arrived in Las Vegas as an unknown in 1984 to star as the Joan Rivers impersonator in the drag show "La Cage" at the Riviera.
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