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July 1, 2010 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Is John Waters a victim of his own popularity? The pencil-mustached favorite son of Baltimore started out as a purveyor of the outrageous; his greatest star, the 300-pound transvestite Divine, once ate dog feces on screen. (No, it wasn't a special effect.) But Waters' gleeful tastelessness has been softened by mainstream acceptance, beginning with his 1988 film "Hairspray," which became a modest breakthrough hit. The story of a hefty girl who integrates an early 1960s TV dance show, it was eventually turned into a Broadway show that won eight Tony Awards, including best musical — and then was remade as a big-budget film.
June 10, 2010 | By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
His arms and chest coated with gangland-style tattoos, his eyebrow pierced, Tuy "K.K." Sobil sits in a cafe in Phnom Penh beside his 5-year-old son, Unique, adopted from drug dealer parents who couldn't cope. "I'm trying to get him to eat his vegetables," he said. "He gets his bad habits from me." K.K., short for "Krazy Kat," knows all about bad habits: The onetime member of the Long Beach Crips served eight years in prison for armed robbery before being deported in 2004 to Cambodia, his parents' homeland.
February 21, 2010 | By Ching-Ching Ni
Akari Nakahara wakes up at 4:30 a.m. six days a week. While most people are asleep, she races through breakfast before rushing off with her mother to an ice skating rink. Once there, Akari will spend two hours stretching, spinning and soaring through the air like a ballerina on ice. Only 7, Akari is one of a growing number of young Asian Americans who have fallen in love with figure skating and dream of becoming the next Michelle Kwan or Kristi Yamaguchi. "She loves to skate," said Akari's mother, Kaori Nakahara, a piano teacher from Japan who recently began driving her daughter from their home in Santa Clarita to the Pasadena Ice Skating Center to train with her favorite coach.
February 18, 2010 | By Lisa Dillman
Hannah Teter didn't waste any time drawing her line in the snow. The defending Olympic gold medalist in the women's halfpipe was talking about what she was going to drink and eat at the Olympics and mentioned a certain fast-food franchise. You know, that place with the golden (not medal) arches. " NOT ," she said, grinning. She felt that way long before the movie "Super Size Me" and hasn't gobbled down a Big Mac or anything on the menu in 10 years. "I have seen parts of it," Teter said.
December 19, 2009 | By Stephanie Banchero
Shantell Thomas stood in front of her son's strawberry birthday cake, jaw clenched, knuckles white from the ferocious grip she had on the 10-inch carving knife. A dozen rowdy youngsters behind her pushed toward the cake, jostling Thomas and knocking foam cups off the table. Jabari, the 1-year-old birthday boy, sat on his aunt's lap nearby and wailed. Thomas wheeled around and raised the knife. "Back the F up!" she yelled, catching herself before a curse could slip out. "Or I'm about to cut some necks off."
December 4, 2009 | By Mike Bresnahan
It was just like the old days, when the Lakers were winning championships and reporters crowded around players to soak in the latest update on Shaq vs. Kobe. But in this season's first chapter of a Ron Artest controversy, there was no mud-slinging. No hint or allegation that the media was at fault. No finger-pointing at other players. Artest basically confirmed that he drank too much alcohol earlier in his NBA career, backing up his statements in a Sporting News story Wednesday that he sometimes consumed Hennessy cognac during halftime while playing for the Chicago Bulls.
November 19, 2009 | Nicole Santa Cruz
Sherri Williams, principal of 99th Street School in Watts, said that almost every time she would call the homes of her students, she found herself talking to mothers. If a male answered the phone, the mother usually would take over as default spokeswoman for the family, if dad was there at all. After Williams did some research, she found that 50% of students at her school did not have a father living in their homes. From that information, an event called Donuts With Dads was born.
October 28, 2009 | Cathleen Decker
Maria Shriver has long sought to protect her privacy as California's First Lady, but today she brought thousands to tears with an extraordinary evocation of her grief two months after the death of her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. During a luncheon session at the Women's Conference she is chairing in Long Beach, Shriver told attendees that she stood before them "with a broken heart." She said she has told people that she is holding up well, but "the real truth is that I'm not fine.
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