The Man Who Brought Flying Purple People Eaters to Life

Bob Baker Earned L.A.’s Love with Magical Marionettes and Ice Cream after Every Puppet Show

In the last decade, I’ve led dozens of tour groups on my Disneyland tour of downtown Los Angeles. We explore the heart and soul of the city as if it’s everybody’s favorite theme park. “Fantasyland” is the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. It’s a palace of puppetry, a museum of marionettes, and a castle of creativity.

Up until about six months ago, Bob Baker—who’s 90—performed his signature act for my tour groups. It featured a special marionette he made in 1939 of tap dancer Bill Robinson.

Since 1961, people have been coming to …

An Aria for L.A.’s Oldest Freeway

An Urban Opera About the Concrete River That Is the 110

“People are afraid to merge on the freeways in Los Angeles.”

That’s the first line from Less Than Zero, Brett Easton Ellis’ infamous 1985 novel of alienation that paints a grim …

Shakespeare Would Have Loved L.A.

The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival Puts on His Plays as the Bard Intended: Wild, Weird, and Outdoors

I spent the entire July Fourth holiday last year making a roast. Not one you’d ever want to eat—it was made of old tights wrapped around a bag of tiny …

The Rogue Festival’s Renee Newlove

To Eat With Ranch Dressing or Without Ranch Dressing: That Is the Question

For five years, Renee Newlove was co-producer of the Rogue Performance and Arts Festival in Fresno; she is currently a Rogue board member. For the past decade, she’s been involved …

Did Picasso Have a Higher Purpose?

Art Can Inspire, Challenge, and Entertain. But Does It Make Us Better People?

Do the arts make us better people? If you’ve devoted your life and career to art in one way or another, you may believe the answer is yes. But a …