LOS FELIZ - Astronomers are out, actors are in. After the $93 million renovation at the Griffith Park Observatory, astronomers and mathematicians who formerly delivered hourlong lectures on the Big Bang and other science-y stuff were asked to audition to retain their jobs. Not surprisingly, the Observatory opted for younger, cheaper, hotter actors to deliver 20-min segments. While the workers union has met with the city five times this year to gripe, there's been no agreement on the role the lecturers will play and the issue is likely to come up when contract negotiations begin in June.
· Los Angeles Observatory Sends Star Lecturers Into Black Hole [Bloomberg]
WESTWOOD - Another theater bites the dust. The Mann National in Westwood will soon meet the wrecking ball. Apparently single-screen theaters just can't compete in a mega-multiplex world, especially as rents continue to rise in Westwood Village.
· National Becomes a Statistic [Franklin Ave]
WEST LA - If, as you're driving around the West side of Los Angeles today, you suddenly begin to feel like Ray Liotta towards the end of Goodfellas, its not just the coke and paranoia. Those black helicopters actually are following you. The National Guard is launching a three-day training exercise to prepare for the inevitable natural disaster and bio-terrorism attacks LA will soon face. Today's exercise will take place around the VA campus. Tomorrow: fake chemical attack in the Hollywood Hills! And Bonus Disaster: a"siege" of a passenger-laden cruise ship (portrayed by a Coast Guard cutter) at the Port of LA. Thursday's Horrific Catastrophe: the collision of two airliners at Universal Studios. We always thought we'd just depend on Jack Bauer to save us.
· Emergency drill in L.A. raises concerns [LA Times]