The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by Madeleine Brand

LA mysteries: who wrote the song about Downtown streets? And what's Asthma Vapineze?

Asthma Vapineze sign lit up.
Asthma Vapineze sign lit up.
via Asthma Vapineze on Facebook

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At least one Southern California man dedicates his days to uncovering the truth behind strange LA landmarks. Last time we caught up Chris Nichols, he had been shimmying along barbed wire next to the Pasadena Freeway. This time the writer behind the Ask Chris column in Los Angeles Magazine tells us why the coyotes are looking emaciated and poses two stumpers. First, who wrote the poem that helps school kids remember the streets in Downtown Los Angeles? And what's the deal with that neon sign, "Asthma Vapineze" hanging over a vacant midcity storefront?

From Main we
to Broadway,
and over the Hill
to Olive.
O, wouldn't it be Grand
if we could Hope
to pick a Flower
on Figueroa?

-- unknown

If you know the answer to either mystery, or want to ask a question, leave Chris a note here. Or write to