Los Angeles

Meet the Fokkens Mosquita y Mari Dreams of a Life Rob Schröder and Gabrielle Provaas, Dutch film-makers, are lucky. They have found what can only be called a knockout subject for a documentary—identical twin sisters, now in their seventies, who have spent their lives as prostitutes in Amsterdam. The sisters even have a name that, for Anglophone viewers, has a special edge: the picture is called Meet the Fokkens.

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You can always count on the anti-traditionalists to come up with their own cockamamie traditions. And The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol—which I caught at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles just before it closed the other day—is about as nutty as they come.

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Fifty years ago, late on August 4 or in the early hours of August 5—so little can be said of her with certainty—Marilyn Monroe died, and began her life in legend. This was only 50 years ago, in Los Angeles, when she was a very important if vague person who may have known even more important persons. There were doctors in attendance, and then coroners; there were police investigations. The world decided it was shocked and stricken by the sudden departure of the 36-year-old, yet not surprised.

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The crackup at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles—with glitz-blitz director Jeffrey Deitch on the ropes and famous artists resigning from the board as fast as you can say John-Baldessari-Barbara-Kruger-Ed-Ruscha—is a fascination. The fascination has nothing to do with what Deitch has actually done.

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As the nation continues its anemic economic recovery, media outlets and researchers have begun looking at the employer side of the jobs equation. Widespread reports have covered the inability of many firms to fill their open vacancies, with some suggesting a skills mismatch and others citing lagging demand. Other research assesses how falling recruitment intensity may explain the unfilled openings. But one missing explanation is the role of transportation in connecting jobs and people.

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Savages is trashy, vulgar, preposterous, cruel—and maybe the most interesting and entertaining film Oliver Stone has made since Nixon. What more do you want when the country is burning, gridlocked, and practicing ballet on the brink? Don’t say the movies lack instincts about where we’re headed.

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It's not often that in-house elections for union leadership positions have nationwide political ramifications, but the one held yesterday in Los Angeles to elect a replacement for Gerald McEntee, the very-longtime president of the 1.3 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, almost certainly did. For starters, of course, AFSCME has found itself very much at the front lines of the Republican move against public-sector unions.

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During the Republican presidential primaries, the new landscape created by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and other recent loosening of campaign finance regulations took on an almost comic quality -- we could all laugh over the way that Shel Adelson, the casino magnate, and Foster Friess, the aspirin-contraception-advocate, were keeping alive the candidacies of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, respectively. Some pundits even ventured the argument the SuperPACs allowed by Citizens United were good for democracy in that they were making the primaries more competitive than they other

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Mayor Friendly

Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s star has been rising for what seems like an eternity. His fame rests largely upon a number of almost absurdly heroic acts, which have varied from harrowing to Hollywood-esque: saving a resident from a burning building, cradling a twelve-year-old dying from gunshot wounds, hunger-striking for better police protection in the projects, sleeping in a trailer for five months to halt open-air drug markets. Along with Booker’s media-friendly persona, these superhero moves have ensured a steady stream of adulation.

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I hate it when somebody tells a joke and blows the punchline. The Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles auctioned off an internship in the office of Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.)—without actual authorization from Pryor’s office, which the donor, a venture capitalist named Chad Brownstein, a Pryor pal, figured he could get later—and the winner was soft-porn entrepreneur and Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis, who pledged to give it to the next winner of his current show, The Search For The Hottest Girl In America.

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