Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Something else being pirated: Comic books

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Canon 9950F scanner

Showing that, if there's a thing that it's possible to pirate, people will do so, a piracy community has even sprung up around pirating comic books. Every Wednesday, when new comics are released, pirates will hurriedly scan all the new books and put them out on the Internet.

It's an interesting group as comic companies begin putting out their comic books for sale online officially; DC Comics made news recently by going "day-and-date digital" for the first time in September, releasing all their new comic for sale online the same day they're available in stores. They're still charging the same price as those paper copies, so there are still going to be plenty who refuse to pay those prices for their comic book fix. (Of course, there are some who, no matter how cheap the official source is, will never pay.)


Comedian Jeff Ross roasts Wall Street at Occupy LA

Comedy Central Roast Of Donald Trump - Show

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FILE: Jeff Ross at the Comedy Central Roast Of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 9, 2011 in New York City.

Comedian Jeff Ross, best known for being the king of cable TV roasts, went down to Occupy L.A. to lend his support. He took some friendly shots at the occupiers, as well as telling jokes about the "1 percent" the protesters are rallying against. Video was posted by liberal blog Firedoglake.

He defended the protests, often criticized as lacking "Doesn't matter why you're mad. It really doesn't. Desperation isn't always articulate, but we're out here for all different reasons."

Ross closed, saying, "I thank you all for your time, I appreciate your efforts, and I would stay here and camp out with you people, but I've got a big meeting at Comedy Central and I don't want to keep the executives waiting." He added a more serious note: "I'm just kidding. I love you all, I love what you're standing for, I love that you're taking patriotism by the balls and coming out here every day, so stay free everybody." He stuck around and interviewed a series of the protesters.


Los Angeles versus Portland - Which side are you on?

I just returned from a visit to the Portland area to visit family, and came back to see this Zócalo conversation on the merits of Portland versus Los Angeles. Director Gus Van Sant and architect Brad Clopefil, both based in Portland, spoke at UCLA's Hammer Museum about these West Coast cities and why they live in Portland instead of L.A.

Van Sant said that he lived in Portland because he wanted to avoid some of the ways his work could be influenced by living in L.A., while Clopefil said that the connection between L.A. and film is similar to the connection between New York and architecture, so living in Portland allows him to be outside that insular community. In Portland, "You're just hunkered down, able to do your work. It rains a lot," Van Sant said. "Down here, you feel like you need to go out and play in the sun."


'Tower Heist' not coming to a home theater near you; star Eddie Murphy coming to SNL?

HELP HAITI Benefiting The Ben Stiller Foundation And The J/P Haitian Relief Organization - Inside

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Ben Stiller

FILE: Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller attend the HELP HAITI benefiting The Ben Stiller Foundation and The J/P Haitian Relief Organization at the Urban Zen Center At Stephan Weiss Studio on February 11, 2011 in New York City.

Universal Pictures dropped plans Wednesday to offer the new Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller movie "Tower Heist" for home viewing just three weeks after opening in theaters on Nov. 4. Several theater chains had threatened to not carry the film if Universal went ahead with their plans, expressing concern about the early release leading viewers to decide they should just wait and not go see the film in theaters.

Universal was looking to try out the idea of charging more ($60 in this case) for a chance to view a movie at home far earlier than normal. Get a few friends together and it could start looking like an attractive possibility, much like pay-per-view fight nights. The plan had only called for the film to get an early home release in two cities, but apparently even that was too much for theater owners. There have already been some similar experiments to this with smaller films, but "Tower Heist" would have been the biggest example to date.


3 sports without strikes or lockouts

UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira

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UFC fighter Antonio Nogueira (L) battles UFC fighter Randy Couture (R) during their Heavyweight bout at UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira at the Rose Garden Arena on August 29, 2009 in Portland, Oregon.

The first two weeks of the NBA's season have been canceled after failed negotiations between owners and players. What's a fan of the Lakers — or any of the NBA's other teams — to do? Here's a look at a few other sports that haven't faced lockouts or strikes.


While there have been soccer strikes in other nations, soccer is such an international sport that it's less dependent on any nation's labor laws, so you're likely to be able to watch world class soccer at almost any point. Here in the United States, there is a Major League Soccer players union, but they have yet to strike. Major League Soccer was founded in 1993, with the union founded in 2003, so they haven't been around long. In 2010, contentious negotiations did raise the possibility of a strike, but eventually a 5-year agreement was reached.