Secret places, secret people, and secrets better left unrevealed. Secrets of Southern California: Charlie LeDuff at Teddy's; Lucha Libre; rapper Prach Ly; Fallen Fruit; Robbie Conal on Pacifc Drift this week.
Charlie LeDuff at Teddy's
What does it take to be a V-V-V-VIP? New York Times reporter Charlie LeDuff went to Teddy's, L.A.'s most exclusive nightclub, to find out. He checks in with Ben Adair from a place where everybody is somebody - but nobody's allowed in.
Many streets in Los Angeles are named after saints whose legends have become an inadvertent commentary on the streets themselves. Artist J. Michael Walker met Ayala Ben-Yehuda on San Julian Street in downtown L.A. to explain the mystical connections between religious lore and present-day reality.
Walker's ongoing project, All the Saints of the City of the Angels, documents the origins of 100 saint-named streets in Los Angeles.
Lucha Libre in South L.A.
Every week, good and evil fight epic battles in a nondescript rec room on Florence and Main. It's lucha libre - Mexican wrestling - and it's a family event, albeit one where chairs and curse words go flying. Queena Kim and Ayala Ben-Yehuda trace the thrill of the fight.
Lucha Libre happens Sundays at 6 p.m. at Arena Mexico, 132 E. Florence Avenue.
Hwa Rang Do
The ancient Korean martial art of hwa rang do ("way of the flowering manhood") is practiced all over the world. But it would never have made it out of Korea were it not for Dr. Joo-Bang Lee, who brought the practice to Downey in the 1970s. Lee and his son, Chief Master Taejoon Lee, tell Ayala Ben-Yehuda why they've stayed on the warrior's path.
Hwa Rang Do World Headquarters is at 8200 Firestone Boulevard in Downey.
PraCh Ly is the number one rapper in Cambodia - and he lives in Long Beach, where he writes rhymes about the Khmer Rouge and coming to America. He tells Ben Adair what it was like to become a star in his native country, and be the last one to find out about it.
...from PraCh Ly's new album, Memories of the Invisible War
Frank Warren knows a lot of secrets: people mail him their deepest confessions on postcards from around the country, and he puts them on a web site, PostSecret. He tells Ben Adair that telling secrets anonymously can help people deal with what torments them.
PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives is a collection of some of the secrets Frank Warren has received.
Chuck Rosenthal knows all about the power of secrets. In his book, Never Let Me Go, he writes about how he kept the biggest secret of his life from none other than himself.
Cal Tech Steam Tunnels
There's something going on underneath Cal Tech. It's a network of steam tunnels where students have drawn pictures and song lyrics on the walls, written about the pressure they feel, and even taken up residence. Laura Belous takes us on a tour.
...by The Notwist from the album Neon Golden
There are treasures hidden all over Los Angeles - and now a map can help you hunt for them. The Fallen Fruit Project has figured out where you can find citrus, bananas and even persimmons for the taking. Queena Kim joins the Fallen Fruit guys on a scouting trip and finds it's not just about free food - it's a way to explore Los Angeles.
Even if you don't know Robbie Conal's name, you've probably seen his political posters glued to traffic switching boxes and construction sites all over the country. He's also the artist behind those craggy satirical portraits of politicians in the L.A. Weekly's ArtBurn. Ayala Ben-Yehuda joins Conal on a midnight postering mission and asks him where posters fit in the age of instantly-available opinions.