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June 22, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times
The stunning Côtes du Rhône "Petit Ours Brun" (little brown bear) tastes like a youthful Cornas. The grapes come from a parcel that winemaker Matthieu Barret calls "no man's land"; it lies just between the official boundaries of Cornas and St. Joseph. The wine is 100% Syrah from 40-year-old, low-yielding vines. Oh, and it's also certified biodynamic. The taste is cool fruit, earth, bruised blackberries and that indefinable wild quality that makes Syrah from this part of the Rhone pure magic.
June 19, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times
Feeling backed against a wall by petitioners from an AIDS activist group, Los Angeles City Council members agreed Wednesday to place a measure on next year's ballot asking if voters want the city to create an independent health agency. But then they agreed to also file a lawsuit challenging the validity of such a measure. Council members said they were forced to place the initiative before voters because petition gatherers had successfully qualified it for the ballot. Their only other option was to adopt it immediately, ending five decades of contracted health services provided by county-run clinics, a step the majority said they were reluctant to take.
June 17, 2013 | By David Ng
Organizers of the Pritzker Architecture Prize - the highest award in the field of architecture - have turned down a request to retroactively honor Denise Scott Brown, whose design partner and husband Robert Venturi received the award in 1991. Peter Palumbo, the current chair of the Pritzker jury, said in a letter that "Pritzker juries, over time, are made up of different individuals.... A later jury cannot reopen or second-guess the work of an earlier jury, and none has ever done so. " The letter, dated June 14, was addressed to the leaders of a group known as Women in Design, at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
June 16, 2013 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County bus drivers say they are regularly becoming ill - sometimes while behind the wheel - from pesticides sprayed inside their vehicles by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. At least 14 Metro drivers are pursuing workers' compensation claims, and more than 110 have signed a petition that demands a halt to the spraying, according to their attorney. Some operators are on medical leave, and a few say they have left Metro because of repeated exposure. "You can be driving your bus and get hit with the symptoms," said Frank Portillo, a 23-year coach operator who retired in March, sooner than planned, because of medical issues he believes are pesticide related.
June 2, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
From the start, the most serious problem with California's promising but sloppily written "parent trigger" law has been its failure to require an open, public process. That's especially troubling when the law's power is considered closely. If half or more of parents at an underperforming public school sign a petition, they can force dramatic change in how the school is run - they can turn it into a charter school, for example, or require that the principal or the entire faculty be fired.
May 6, 2013 | By Chuck Schilken
Tim Tebow fans are making a plea for their favorite quarterback to be signed by and start for the Jacksonville Jaguars ... and they're taking it straight to the top. Forget about General Manager David Caldwell, who has said time and again he has no intention of bringing in Tebow despite the former Florida quarterback's popularity in the area. And team owner Shad Khan apparently is useless to these people. He knew of Caldwell's plan to stay away from Tebow ... and hired the guy anyway!
April 24, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
There is a chilling resonance in watching “Le Petit Soldat,” Jean-Luc Godard's classic story of love and allegiance that begins a special one-week run at the Nuart Theatre in West Los Angeles on Friday with a newly remastered print and enhanced subtitles. Its political intrigues entangled with a love story, Godard used the movie as a way to discuss his own take on the rumors of government torture of those who supported the Algerian insurrection against French occupation. Due to be released in 1960, the politically sensitive film was banned in France until 1963, roughly a year after the Algerian war of independence had ended and the reports of torture of insurgents and innocents alike lingered like a dark shadow over the country.
April 24, 2013 | By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
Jean-Luc Godard made his second feature film, "Le Petit Soldat," in 1960, but it was banned until 1963 because of its tough look at the then-current French-Algerian conflict and unblinking portrayal of torture. Opening Friday at the Nuart in a new 35-millimeter print with fresh translation and subtitles, the often-overlooked film provides a lens through which to view the French director's unparalleled streak of provocation and productivity in the 1960s, as well as a startlingly contemporary-feeling counterpoint to recent politically tinged war films such as "Zero Dark Thirty.
April 21, 2013 | By Tracy Brown
“Man on Wire” star Philippe Petit was welcomed by a packed auditorium for his discussion about his new book “Why Knot?” on Sunday at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. Each member of the standing-room-only crowd was handed a piece of red rope as they entered the auditorium. The man who walked a tightrope between New York City's Twin Towers in 1974 called various people to the stage to help him with his demonstrations. As a self-taught high-wire artist, knots have been a part of Petit's life from a young age. He explained how he first started tying knots when he was about 5 or 6 years old, which soon led to him tying rope between trees, which eventually led to him experimenting with walking along these tightropes.
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