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June 17, 2013 | By David Zahniser and Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times
When it comes to glitz and showmanship, L.A.'s next mayor is taking things down a notch. Since his victory last month, Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti has made few major announcements. He abandoned the idea of a transition team studded with big civic names. And he has ruled out plans for a black-tie inaugural ball, opting instead for a public party in Grand Park with music and food. The biggest attention-grabber so far has been Garcetti's "back-to-basics" listening tour, with residents in Boyle Heights, Northridge and elsewhere dutifully gathering in groups and putting their ideas for the city's future on Post-It notes.
June 15, 2013 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
In traditional Native American belief, spirits can inhabit seemingly inanimate things. Can paintings, sculptures, decorative objects and handicrafts also be infused with the spirits of their subjects, and of the people who made them? If so, the new Irene Helen Jones Parks Gallery of Art, which opens Saturday at the Autry National Center of the American West in Griffith Park with the exhibition "Art of the West," is 4,000 square feet of haunted space where the gathered ghosts may be in tumult.
May 28, 2013 | By Susan King
Santa Monica's Edgemar Center for the Arts is the host of the first Cinema at the Edge Independent Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday and continues through Sunday. “We're delighted to give independent filmmakers an opportunity to screen their films in a community setting on the Westside,” artistic director and festival founder Michelle Danner said in a statement. The festival will present screenings, parties and artists' programs that celebrate indie film. Movies competing in the narrative feature, documentary and short film categories will be eligible for the Jury and Audience Awards.
May 6, 2013 | By Adam Tschorn and Booth Moore
Otis College of Art and Design added a new element to the mix for its 31st annual scholarship benefit and fashion show Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton -- an honor called the Style Icon Award, which was presented to Sally Perrin, L.A.-based creative director of luxury leather goods brand  Perrin Paris . The inaugural award was presented by costume designer Bob Mackie (one of this year's senior design mentors) who noted: "Personal style has no age or social status, and can exist anywhere in life.
April 22, 2013 | By Matea Gold, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - President Obama's second inaugural committee raised a little more than $43 million to put on the official festivities surrounding his January swearing-in, backed by major donations from some of the country's biggest corporations, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission. The total brought in by the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee was $10 million less than the amount raised in 2009 for Obama's first inauguration, a reflection of the scaled-down nature of this year's event.
April 12, 2013 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
The Producers Guild of America honored nine people for their contributions to the advancement of digital entertainment and storytelling in an event held in the Bel Air mansion of entrepreneur Elon Musk. The Digital VIP awards celebration attracted some Hollywood notables, including Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman and Bill Westenhofer, the visual effects supervisor whose team at Rhythm & Hues won an Academy Award this year for work on "Life of Pi. " But it was an acrobat dubbed "Champagne Girl" who arguably received the most of the attention at Thursday's night celebration, dangling upside-down from a chandelier and pouring bubbly as the 100 or so guests snapped photos.  Indeed, the whole event had the atmospherics of a Baz Luhrmann film.
March 19, 2013 | By Henry Chu
VATICAN CITY - Huge crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square and spilled into side streets Tuesday morning as Pope Francis prepared for his official inauguration as leader of the Roman Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion followers. Up to a million people are expected to jam into and around this tiny city-state to witness the highly ceremonial event, which will also be attended by royalty, government leaders and religious figures from around the world. Pilgrims began camping out overnight to claim a spot from which to watch the installation of the 266th pope in the church's history and the first from the Americas.
March 19, 2013 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
VATICAN CITY - Amid elaborate ritual and ancient symbols of Christendom, Pope Francis began the first official day of his pontificate Tuesday by setting out a vision for the Roman Catholic Church of mutual caring and of concern for the environment, urging followers to pay special attention to society's poor and neglected. Before tens of thousands of pilgrims and dignitaries gathered for his inauguration in St. Peter's Square, the pontiff made clear that his papacy would reflect the themes of service and love of nature so closely identified with the saint after whom he named himself, Francis of Assisi.
February 25, 2013 | By Janet Stobart
LONDON -- John Kerry used the first stop on his first foreign tour as secretary of state to urge Syrian opposition parties to join a proposed meeting this week in Rome that will seek solutions to that country's protracted civil war. Joined by his British counterpart, Foreign Secretary William Hague, Kerry stressed the urgency of working with Britain and the U.N. toward peace in Syria and the broader Middle East. Referring to the meeting later this week of the Friends of Syria, a group of countries seeking a resolution to the Syrian crisis, Kerry said: “I want our friends in the Syrian opposition council to know we are not coming to Rome simply to talk.
January 30, 2013 | By Marisa Gerber
Hadiya Pendleton knew she lived in a big world. And the more of it she saw, the better. After returning from Washington, D.C., where the Chicago teenager performed as a majorette during last week's inauguration festivities, she had her eye on her next destination: Paris. For family and friends of the 15-year-old sophomore, who was fatally shot Tuesday in a park near her school on Chicago's South Side, their Hadiya is gone, but her dreams and their memories are not. The victim's mother shook her head and wiped away heavy tears during an interview Tuesday with  WFLD-TV in Chicago: “I'm not worried about where she's going.
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