Cover story for Calendar section in which I go head-to-head with a die-hard Westsider over the comparative merits of our ‘hoods. It gets nasty. Generated a ton of response from readers, many of whom didn’t quite get our intended cheekiness.
Sunday feature about the casual, common and public use of profanity. Fuck yeah!
I was asked to give a reality check to claims that terrorists are poised to strike with computer attacks. It was a tough story to report—who am I, saying these expert techies are simply wrong?—but in the end I came away convinced that the whole threat is less about terrorists in Jalalabad than policy wonks in Virginia, scarring themselves silly reading Tom Clancy paperbacks.
Feature about entrepreneurs who capitalized on the hip reputation of Los Angeles’ Eastside. As the headline said: “Getting rich in an area that prides itself on being the anti-Westside can get complicated. How do you hang on to your street cred when the natives blame you for selling their little piece of boho rhapsody down the river?”
Another story of an endangered pop landmark, this one a crumbling roadside attraction in Simi Valley called Bottle Village. I first wrote about the place as a beat news reporter for the Daily news in the Valley but returned with friends a few times — truly is a a magical, spooky and affecting place. So far, neither the taxman nor the neighbors have managed to bulldoze it, thanks entirely to a group of artsy out-of-towners, God bless ‘em.
News feature for Inside.com on the emergence of Harry Potter porn, a variety of slash fiction that took off just before the release of Warner Brother’s blockbuster. Copyright attorneys were summoned from summer vacations in Provence and Aspen to comment on hot boy-on-broomstick action… priceless. Story subsequently ran in the San Francisco Chronicle and the South China Post.
Cover story on new media mogul Henry Yuen, who was at the time a business world demi-god. My story told of a darker side, outlining predatory legal maneuvers and a loopy obsession with electronic books. Then there was the sticky matter of the case of Yuen vs. Yuen, a divorce that ranks as one of the nastiest I’ve witnessed… Said Boston Globe media columnist Michael Prager: “My first reaction was ‘Henry who?’ I’d heard of his first invention, VCR Plus, but of himself I knew nothing, which writer Christopher Noxon says would have been Yuen’s preference…”
Front-of-the-book feature in premiere issue about famed trendspotters DeeDee Gordon and Sharon Lee, and a system they developed to help corporations calculate and generate the ineffable quality of cool.
Feature from the last, unpublished issue of Inside Magazine about amateur films based on existing Hollywood properties. I watched a ton of terrible home movies with light sabers, but also some surprisingly good knockoffs that suggested the arrival of a whole new genre.
Sunday feature on chicken fanciers and their fight against regulations aimed at breeders of fighting cocks.
A quick dip into the weird world of celebrity impersonation, where accountants with passing resemblances to superior court judges and Universal tour guides with Elvis obsessions scramble to soak up the glow of stardom.
A chin-strokey, unconvincingly hard-bitten feature from my days as city edtior of a community weekly; at the time I was reading a lot of Mike Davis and trying to find my way in my native Los Angeles, which had been rocked by riots and earthquakes in the seven years I’d been away. Story won a first place award for feature writing from the LA Press Club.
Follow-up to my New York Times Magazine feature on Mel Gibson, in which I attempt to describe the deeply surreal experience of having Mad Max trash talk me live on Fox TV. Was it brilliant marketing, or pathological paranoia? Published in Salon.com.
Feature for Playboy (tagged on the cover just below the Sizzling Porn Pictorial—my mother was so proud.) about drug rehab programs and why they so often don’t work. After spending three days in a Valley rehab undergoing the boot-camp-support-group regimen, I wanted nothing more than a stiff drink.