Without A Net | Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Vans co-founder branded generation of SoCal youth with iconic shoes

My Vans special edition Descendents shoes. They're well-worn and well- loved.
Hayley Fox/KPCC

James Van Doren, co-founder of Vans skate shoes, has died at the age of 72, leaving behind a legacy of iconic shoes and devoted followers. What began as a simple skateboarding shoe in 1966 turned into a symbol of the burgeoning Southern California skate culture.

Vans were the shoes of a beachside counter-culture; the thick, rubber-souled lace-ups and slip-ons were not mean to be kept clean. They screamed to be scuffed, ripped and worn until a telltale hole appeared on the toe. Vans were used to do ollies and kickflips, protect your feet in mosh pits and carry California's youth wherever they wanted to go.

The holy moment of the company came with the creation of the checkered slip-on. Originally created only in black-and-white, these flexible, sturdy shoes remained suitable for skating but with an aesthetic that appealed to a much larger crowd. People became obsessed with the shoe, which was later rereleased in an assortment of updated colors, including neon pink and black or electric blue and black.


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New Childish Gambino music video 'Bonfire' from actor/rapper Donald Glover

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Halloween's over, but there's still time for another scare. Rapper/actor/writer/comedian/every-other-job Donald Glover, or Childish Gambino as he goes by when rapping, just released a new music video promoting his new album. The song is "Bonfire," and the new album is "Camp."

You probably know Glover best for his work on NBC sitcom "Community" as Troy, but he also does standup comedy, wrote for "30 Rock," performs in sketch and improv comedy groups and does more than anyone else who isn't a robot should have time to do.

Glover's previous albums have been released for free online, to growing notoriety and acclaim. He began touring with his music, often selling out venues. Now he's hopping off new media and releasing a traditional record album.

The intense video for "Bonfire" begins with Glover wearing a noose around his neck, raising racial imagery from the top. It goes on to use the title of the song to depict scenes of campfire stories around the bonfire.


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Kim Kardashian files for divorce after rocking supervillain Halloween costume this weekend - solo

Kim Kardashian arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Kim Kardashian, 72 days into her marriage and less than a month after her $10 million wedding aired on cable TV, has filed for divorce from her basketball-playing New Jersey Nets husband Kris Humphries.

I'm not someone who's followed the minutiae of the Kardashian lifestyle spread out over a dozen (or at least that's what it feels like) TV series, but as a comic book fan, I did see a story this weekend that caught my eye. She dressed up as a Batman supervillain for a Halloween party!

And not even a major villain. It was B- or potentially C-list Batman villain Poison Ivy. She's been depicted in a Batman movie, yes, but it was the Joel Schumacher-directed debacle "Batman & Robin," a movie which Schumacher has even apologized for and has thankfully been largely forgotten.

For those of you who don't know Poison Ivy, she's a plant-based comic book character who, in the last couple decades, has been revised to become an ecoterrorist, putting plants above human life with dangerous results Batman (and his faithful sidekicks) are forced to deal with. She's become an antihero in recent years, sometimes fighting greater evils and being depicted as not always being the one in the wrong.


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California nonprofit cited in fake Onion story saying everyone's miserable

"The way to school"
Nicola Jones/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

A California organization has been forced to respond to a fake news story. Satirical news organization the Onion credited the California Parenting Institute with a fake study in the article "Study Finds Every Style Of Parenting Produces Disturbed, Miserable Adults." It led to a deluge of calls to the institute from those wanting to know more, including those concerned that how you parent doesn't make a difference.

CPI marketing director Wendy Hilberman said that it even fooled people who worked for the institute. “We even had parent educators who work here say, ‘When did we do a study?'”

Comedy site Splitsider didn't have much sympathy for parents duped by the article, writing, "It's the Onion, it's not real, stop being dumb, learn to use the Internet."

This isn't the first time people have been duped by the Onion; you can see example after example of misinterpretation on Facebook at LiterallyUnbelievable.com.


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VIDEO: Cartoonist Susie Cagle tear-gassed at Occupy Oakland

Occupy Oakland rough sketch by cartoonist Susie Cagle
Susie Cagle

In Tuesday's night's confrontation between police and Occupy Oakland protesters, a cartoonist documenting the protest says she was among those tear-gassed.

In an interview with alternative comics site the Daily Cross Hatch, Cagle told her story. Cagle's spent the past week camped out at Occupy Oakland for an illustrated history she's trying to produce about the Oakland occupation. She's raising money for it through community journalism site Spot.us.

She was shooting video when hit by tear gas; you can watch the video below. (Warning: Contains strong language.)

She says that medics from the group Anonymous helped her after she was tear-gassed. "This guy in a gas mask pulled me out of there and washed my face," Cagle says. "It was amazing."

She says that, while she supports the protesters, she's serving as a member of the press. However, she says that you end up looking like one of the protesters due to the nature of the events. "You have to cover your mouth with a scarf for the tear gas."


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