March 4, 2012 |
Drop a quarter in a Las Vegas machine: lights blink, bells ring and odds are your money is headed to a casino bank account. But experiencing those same effects while your funds are funneled to charity? That's definitely outside the Sin City norm. This is what happens at a little known Vegas pleasure palace, the Pinball Hall of Fame, a five-minute drive east of the Strip. The 10,000-foot cinder-block building is thought to house the largest collection of historic pinball machines operating in America.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 2012 |
During the Depression, a Chicago man named Steve Kordek got a job as a solderer at Genco Pinball Co. and worked his way up from the production line to the engineering department. When the company's head designer fell ill, Kordek was told to fill in and design a new pinball game — one to beat all others. Then 26, he had never designed a game himself. So he borrowed a concept — the flipper — from a competitor. But instead of having six flippers in the upper playing field, he reduced it to two electrified flippers near the drain at the bottom, which resulted in more power to rocket the ball back to the top. At a 1948 pinball trade show, Kordek's groundbreaking "Triple Action" game stole the show and rendered every other arcade game obsolete.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 10, 2011 |
The queen bed where pop star Michael Jackson took his last breath? It could be all yours. So too a chalkboard from the late singer's kitchen, on which, in children's scrawl, is written "I (heart) Daddy. SMILE, it's for free. " Then there's a bedroom armoire where Jackson, preparing for his comeback tour, wrote a message to himself: "TRAIN, perfection, March April. FULL OUT May," it reads. The entire contents from the 54,000-square foot Holmby Hills home where Jackson spent the last months of his life — from silverware and candles, desks and sofas, to a painting by French artist Maurice Utrillo — will be auctioned in December in Beverly Hills.
September 23, 2011 |
Tuesday night is league play night at Pins and Needles, a pinball club that Molly Atkinson runs out of her big costuming studio in Echo Park. A clamorous din of bells clanging, explosions booming, quarters dropping and hands slapping at buttons fills the room as rock music blares from speakers and about 30 people shout and talk over the machines. But this is no commercial arcade. "People come here expecting an arcade sometimes, and it's more like going to someone's aunt's house for their Scrabble club," said Atkinson, 32, with brown hair tied back, an L.A. Dodgers insignia tattooed behind her right ear and big eyes that pop with excitement.
April 4, 2010 |
Bay Area artist William T. Wiley's career could easily be viewed as a historical timeline of political and social issues of the last half century, touching on hot topics, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989, the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, 9/11 and issues of government-supported torture. "What's It All Mean: William T. Wiley in Retrospect" at the Berkeley Art Museum offers a vibrant glimpse of the artist's California-centric work. The exhibition, which originated at the Smithsonian Art Museum last fall, includes 80 pieces that include watercolors, drawings, sculptures, books, film and even a pinball machine.
July 1, 2008 |
Tim Quintana hunches over a pinball machine and stares down Spider-Man's archenemies: Kingpin, Lizard and Scorpion. He pulls the plunger and a silver ball shoots onto the playfield, a maze of brightly lit bumpers and targets. The ball darts over a comic-book-style drawing of Spider-Man reaching for his lady love, Mary Jane. The machine beeps: Blip-blip-blip-blip. The ball clangs off two mushroom-shaped bumpers. It plows into three square targets. Blip-blip-blip-blip.