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December 23, 2012 | By Irene Lacher
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies talks about his inspiration for his new play, "Coney Island Christmas," which runs through Dec. 30 at the Geffen Playhouse. Tell me about "Coney Island Christmas. " "Coney Island Christmas" originated as a commission by the late Gil Cates, who was the artistic director of the Geffen Playhouse and a friend of mine. He called me a few years ago and asked me if I would be interested in writing a Christmas play. He was hoping to create something that he hoped would become a theatrical tradition at the Geffen.
December 10, 2012 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
After a 16-year career in the airline industry, Claudia Helena Oxee doesn't mince words about what's wrong with airline passengers today. "Let's face it, passengers dress the way they want and do what they want," said Oxee, who worked on the station crew at John F. Kennedy International Airport for TWA, Pan Am and LTU International Airways. "The level of passengers has been degrading. " Now retired and promoting a book about her experiences, she said she would "crack the whip" on unruly passengers if she were still working at an airport.
December 7, 2012 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
Oscar-winning writer-director-producer Francis Ford Coppola makes movies to understand himself. "When you make a film it is like asking yourself a question," Coppola said over the phone from his home in Northern California. "When it's finished, you know the answer. Ultimately with all of cinema, we are just trying to learn about ourselves. I have always used the opportunity to make a film to learn more about myself, which I am still doing. " Coppola, 73, is returning to the Paramount lot next year - the studio where he had enormous success with "The Godfather" trilogy and 1974's "The Conversation," and for which he just finished the first draft of an ambitious, multi-generational drama akin to his 1974 masterpiece "The Godfather, Part II. " But he was in a reflective mood last week chatting about the Blu-ray release of "Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection," arriving Tuesday.
November 27, 2012 | By Andrea Chang
Apple has fired the manager in charge of its homegrown Maps app two months after the software debuted to harsh criticism. Richard Williamson was let go by Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, according to Bloomberg , which cited unnamed sources familiar with the situation. Cue is reportedly seeking advice from outside mapping experts and working with digital map company TomTom to fix navigation information and other data it provides to  Apple. Apple has been quick to own up to the app's problems, which include poor directions, mislabeled landmarks, lack of information on public transportation and wildly inaccurate images ( melting Las Vegas strip , anyone?
October 27, 2012
Here are the basic steps to making a perfect pilaf: Rinse the rice well under running water to remove excess starch. Soak the rice in salted water for at least 1 hour to shorten the cooking time. Cook the rice like pasta, in plenty of boiling salted water, until it is almost done. Spoon the rice into a pan with whatever flavorings you want, mounding it slightly. This gives the grains room to expand. Sprinkle over more water, and fat if you wish, cover tightly and cook over the lowest possible heat for at least 35 minutes.
October 13, 2012 | By Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic
Are you a connoisseur of agony? Then drop by Starry Kitchen for a bite some evening, somewhere around 9 p.m. if you can swing it, and listen to the customers who have been denied a shot at the Singaporean chili crab. They will be muttering imprecations when they think the staff is out of listening range, grinding teeth, staring up at the glittering pastels of the high ceiling as if they expect a unicorn to flutter down from the rafters with a sackful of British Columbia's finest culinary export.
October 1, 2012
Many cake recipes call for greasing and flouring the pan before adding the batter. This step helps to keep the cake from sticking to the pan after it bakes, and often gives the batter something to "cling to" as it rises in the oven to give the cake better volume. It's simple: Rub the inside of the pan with butter (there should be enough left on the wrapper; you only need a thin coat). Spoon in a tablespoon or so of flour and, working over the sink to catch any spillage, tap the pan to distribute the flour first across the bottom and then, tilting it, along the sides.
September 24, 2012 | By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
BEIJING - In its heyday, the largest island was home to several hundred workers who caught fish and collected albatross feathers to adorn women's hats in Europe. Nowadays, the only inhabitants are a hardy band of feral, inbred goats descended from a fecund pair left behind in 1978 by Japanese ultranationalists who wanted to establish a living presence on the otherwise deserted shards of land. Rarely in geopolitics have the stakes been so large over someplace so small. PHOTOS: Anti-Japan protests in China Political scientists have compared the islands so vociferously contested between China and Japan to the Falklands, which sparked the 1982 war between Argentina and Britain.
September 21, 2012 | By Robert Abele
There's an actively dysfunctional family at the center of writer-director Bertha Bay-Sa Pan's New York-set indie "Almost Perfect," and it's done a real number on the romantic hopes of thirtysomething go-getter Vanessa (Kelly Hu). She's found her best shot yet at love with a funny, attentive old friend (Ivan Shaw), but she acts as though romantic bliss is a genetic impossibility considering her immediate kin: a boy-toy-mad fashion designer sister (Christina Chang), a commitment-phobe brother (Edison Chen)
September 10, 2012 | By Noelle Carter
When meats or vegetables are sautéed, seared or roasted, they leave behind browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. These browned bits can contain an amazing amount of flavoring and are often used to enhance the dish being cooked (say, a ragu, soup or stew) or are later turned into a gravy, glaze or sauce to serve with the finished dish. Removing that flavoring from the base of a pan and incorporating it into a sauce is called deglazing. To deglaze a pan (see video at left), first remove the cooked meat or vegetables, along with any extra fat. Add a little liquid to the pan to loosen the browned bits; acids such as wine are often used, as are broth or water, even fruit juice.
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