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How To LA

Author: LAist Studios

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How to L.A. aims to drop a little knowledge about ALL the things that affect the people of Los Angeles, whether that’s something that makes our city great (tacos!) or something that we need to work on, like the alarming number of traffic collisions. We serve the curious Angeleno who wants to better connect with our city, discover the new, navigate the confusing and even drive some change along the way. 

Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
193 Episodes
#158: Destination Crenshaw. It's the multimillion L.A. City project spearheaded by the non-profit of the same name. It aims to revitalize the historic Black community with new parks, more trees and millions of dollars infused into the area's arts and culture. But like with change in any neighborhood, there's the inevitable question of what else it will bring. Will it become overcrowded? Will it become to expensive to rent an apartment? Will its be residents ultimately be displaced? To understand all that, we're zooming in on one of the first steps in the revitalization project: The Crenshaw Wall. Spray paint muralist Eric "King Cre8" Walker and his Rocking the Nation crew will soon put up a new mural along the 780-ft structure. Today, How to LA's Aaricka Washington is taking Brian De Los Santos to see the current mural before they start the new one... painted in 2001 by the same group. Guest: Eric "King Cre8" Walker, graffiti artistFor more, read Aaricka's story in LAist:  
#157: It’s been almost one year since a secret recording of four powerful Latino leaders in Los Angeles leaked to the public, setting off one of the biggest political scandals in L.A. history. Then-City Council President Nury Martinez, Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin De León, and labor leader Ron Herrera were caught on tape making racist, demeaning comments about Indigenous people, Black Angelenos (including a city councilmember's child), and Black political power. And it was all in the context of a strategy session about advancing Latino power in the city. The tapes became national news, with many people — including President Joe Biden —calling for all the leaders to resign. Herrera and Martinez did. And now, for the first time since her resignation, we hear from Nury Martinez in an exclusive interview with LAist Studios. Our colleagues on the 'Imperfect Paradise' podcast team, including host Antonia Cereijido, challenged Martinez to account for the racist, hurtful things she said in that conversation. The team spoke with former and current councilmembers about their reaction to the tapes — including Mike Bonin who, along with his young Black son, was singled out in the conversation — and to scholars and indigenous rights activists about what the tapes revealed about long-simmering tensions within the city. In today's episode 'How To LA,' Antonia talks with Brian about the making of the podcast.
#156: The Los Angeles Public Library is 150! LAPL has 72 branches throughout LA, and is one of the largest library systems in the country.  In honor or this special anniversary, How To LA producer Megan Botel is exploring Central Library in downtown LA. It's an architectural GEM of 538 thousand square feet and 89 miles of shelving. Learn about the history of Los Angeles Public Library, going back to its beginnings in 1872, as well as some of the most brilliant features of the Central Library building.  Guest: James Sherman, librarian of literature and fiction at Los Angeles Public Library.  Click here more information on use of equipment in the Octavia Lab. 
#155: Student loan payments resume next month. Host Brian De Los Santos talks to NPR's Cory Turner about what people need to know right now. Then, LAist reporter Julia Barajas tells us how we got to this point, where we have so much student loan debt in the US, and the role California plays in that.You can find Cory's 12 key things borrowers need to know here: And here's Julia's deep dive explainer into loan history: And if you need to figure out your loans, go ahead and head to:    
#128: Want to finish your week strong with some delicious conchas? Well, we've got you covered. Today we're revisiting one of our favorite food segments: the search for LA's best concha. And keep your eye out for a special holiday concha episode in the coming weeks! Everyone loves a fresh concha – that warm, doughy center with the crunchy cookie shell on the top could send any Angeleno's heart a'flutter. Today, Brian's taking LAist food editor Gab Chabran on a concha crawl. We're exploring the history of this famous Mexican treat, and checking out Brian & Gab's favorite spots across LA. For more sweet-breaded goodness, check out Gab's article over on Panaderias visited: Panaderia Coatzingo in South LA, Vallarta, y Gusto Bread in Long Beach. Got a favorite we didn't mention? Send us a DM! Music in this episode composed by: Aaron Copland, Austin Cross, Haruomi Hosono, Radio Jarocho, Quetzal, Masayoshi Takanaka, The ModArchive, Dexter Thomas, Woo, Yeahman
#154: We're returning to the LA River today, this time on foot, not by kayak. Host Brian De Los Santos and HTLA producer Victoria Alejandro headed on over to Frogtown to hang out by the river and hear from two members of the Fifty-One Miles team. That's a project led by landscape architecture graduate students at USC who set out to walk all fifty one miles of the river over 6 days in early August. We'll hear how that was both a fun way to discover all the surprises the river holds, and how hanging out by the river can provide crucial research points for its future.    Guests: Hannah Michael Flynn, urban planning and landscape architecture graduate student; Nina Weithorn, ecologist, cartographer, and landscape architecture graduate student   Be sure to check out Fifty-One Miles online at And if you missed our kayaking adventure, you can listen to that here:
#153: The City Hall leaked tape incident last year, combined with several corruption scandals involving councilmembers in the past few years, have led to this moment: There’s now more momentum than ever behind some major reforms.  There are three main proposals that would significantly impact how the city is governed. They have to deal with redistricting, revamping the ethics commission and expanding the city council. BTW, did you know that the number of city council seats (15) hasn't changed in over 100 years, even though in the population of L.A. has grown sevenfold in that time? Voters have to approve those changes, but there are some steps that have to happen before Angelenos will see them on their ballots. Frank Stolze, LAist Civics and Democracy Correspondent, who recently co-wrote a guide to all this, joined us to explain.
#152: This month, How To LA is putting the spotlight on LA landmarks that are turning 100 this year – all to celebrate our FIRST birthday. Next up: The Hollywood Sign. Host Brian De Los Santos and producer Megan Botel take a hike up to the top of Mount Lee to the sign to speak with Jeff Zarrinnam of the Hollywood Sign Trust. Learn about the evolution of the iconic landmark since the original "Hollywoodland" sign was put up in 1923, and what it means as a cultural and industry icon for greater Los Angeles.  Guest: Jeff Zarrinnam, chairman of the Hollywood Sign Trust  The best Hollywood Sign Hike from Griffith Park up Mount Lee. A shorter hike option to the Hollywood Sign.  
#151: Okay - the past couple days of clouds were a nice break from the hot weather. But love it or hate it... that L.A. heat is always just right around the corner. Controlling urban heat is a major issue: it touches everything from health, to the environment, to your wallet. And running the AC all day can cost a pretty penny, assuming you're not one of the 20% of Angelenos who live without AC. This is where cool roofs come in. It's L.A.'s new-fangled solution that got its start a couple thousand years ago in the Mediterranean, and is now required by law for all new roofs in the city. Join LAist climate reporter Erin Stone as she takes HTLA host Brian De Los Santos down to Watts. The neighborhood received a grant to install free cool roofs, AND solar, for local residents.   
#150: Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Friday, which means friends and friends will gather together for Shabbat. It turns out that all around LA, every Friday, you can find a Shabbat dinner to attend – and you do not have to be Jewish. The non-profit One Table that organizes these events says it's all about building community and practicing the long lost "art of gathering."  HTLA producer Megan Botel chats with folks from One Table and attended a recent One Table Shabbat dinner.  Guests: Dani Kohanzadeh, field director at One Table; Elizabeth Grossman, Shabbat host through One Table  
#149: As a Los Angeles-based film location scout/manager who’s been in the business for nearly 30 years, Rick Schuler has found lots of streets and buildings in downtown L.A. that can look like lots of other places.Places like Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Italy and Colombia. And different time periods too — like 1960s-era L.A. (for the 2019 film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood") and L.A. in the “near future” (for the 2013 film "Her").Schuler’s other film credits include "Seven" (1995), "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" (2005), "A Star Is Born" (2018), and "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" (2019). All of them were filmed, at least partially, in and around Los Angeles.Maybe more than other cities, Schuler says, “L.A.’s very adaptable to pass as a lot of different places."
#148: The Writers' and Actors' strikes continue to drag on with no deal in sight. It's starting to take its toll on these artists as its been months since many of them have made any income. Reports of evictions and other hardships are starting to hit the headlines. But some help could be available for those who need a little extra financial help. Guest: Keith McNutt. Executive Director, Western Region, Entertainment Community Fund (formerly known as the Actors Fund), which is helping creatives get through these tough times by giving out anywhere between $400, 000 to 700,000 in grants per week, plus other support.   
#147: The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is one of several L.A. landmarks hitting the century mark this year, and we thought it’d be fun to take a look back on them as we celebrate our one-year anniversary of How To LA this September. We explored The Biltmore Hotel downtown (if you haven’t listened to that episode already) and we’ll be featuring the story behind the Hollywood sign pretty soon. When it comes to the L.A. Coliseum (the "memorial" in the full name refers to the fact that the stadium is a memorial to the Americans who served in WWI) there’s no denying that it has a rich history. For example, it played a role in the desegregation of the NFL, and it will soon be the first location to ever host three Olympic Games. But the stadium's history goes way beyond sports. Guests: Frank Guridy, Professor of History and African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University, and author of the forthcoming book, "The Stadium: An American History of Politics, Protest, and Play" William Deverell, Historian at USC and Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West Marina Fote, Assistant to the General Manager, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum The performances from Wattstax in this episode are Carla Thomas singing "Pick Up the Pieces" and The Bar-Kays performing "Son of Shaft/Feel It"; Correction: A previous version of this episode stated that the Rams first came to L.A. in 1945. It was in 1946.
#77: Brian's out today, so we're revisiting that time Evan took Meg on his bike route to work... and explored what it looks like to live Car-Free in Los Angeles. Please note, the Gold Line, as reference in this podcast, has been renamed the A Line.  Lots of Angelinos live without a car – and hundreds of thousands of people here don't use a car in their daily commute. But... it is definitely NOT the norm. HTLA Producer Evan Jacoby recently joined the car-less when he switched to a bike last fall.  Today, he's showing fellow producer Megan Botel his work commute. And they're talking with people across LA about how limiting their car use, or even going car-free, changed their lives for the better. Guests: Journalist Ryan Fonseca and carless citizens Fabian Santiago, Sahian Huesca, & Andrew McLeod 
#146: Nothing screams L.A. Summer like a summer cookout. For our ongoing event series, Culinary Connections, we invited some of our favorite chefs from Cheap Fast Eats to talk about how cookout culture shapes L.A.'s food scene... and of course, their favorite things to cook. If all this talk of free food, music, and awesome chefs makes you sorry you missed the event... Well, we missed you too! Make sure you catch the next one by heading over to Interviewers: Gab Chabran, LAist Food Editor; Brian De Los Santos, host of HTLA Guests:  SueEllen Mancini, owner, Sad Girl Creamery Janet Kang (she/her), co-owner, Pizza Baby Gustavo Chavez, owner, Carnitas El Artista
#145: Now that you've recovered from Taylormania and the Beyhive hitting LA and SoFi Stadium, football season is HERE. The Rams AND the Chargers now share a stadium in Inglewood and the regular season games kick off September 10. We get the lowdown on everything you need to know to get ready for the season of pro football in LA even if you don't count yourself as a big fan. Guest: Sports Illustrated writer Gilberto Manzano.
#144: Just a heads up there is some explicit language used towards the end of this episode. Please be advised. There have been MANY government scandals that have been exposed in our city.  Just in the last year: Former LA Councilmember Mark Ridley Thomas was just sentenced to 42 months in prison plus 30-thousand in fines for corruption. Councilmember Curren Price was charged with multiple counts of embezzlement, perjury and conflict of interest earlier this summer. And last fall leaked racist tapes exposed councilwoman Nury Martinez, forcing her to resign. When corruption like this pops up - it sparks outrage. There are usually protests and officials are fired and sometimes arrested. It can all be super disheartening. So, what can we do? How do we ACTUALLY hold our local officials accountable?  Today, we speak with LAist’s Civics and Democracy reporter Brianna Lee, who recently wrote a guide on how to do just that.  Guest: Brianna Lee, Engagement Producer, Civics and Democracy for LAist Read Brianna's guide on LAist here.  
#143: Today we’re exploring one of L.A.’s most historic landmarks: the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.  It celebrates its 100th birthday in October, and since How to LA just turned one (!) we thought it'd be fitting to feature some of the most iconic spots in Los Angeles that are hitting the century mark (Others to come: the LA Memorial Coliseum and the Hollywood sign). The Biltmore opened to the public in 1923 and it has such an interesting history, including becoming the place to be in prohibition-era Los Angeles, its role in the origins of the Academy Awards and its significance to the notorious Black Dahlia murder case. And that’s just the beginning. Guest: journalist Hadley Meares, who's written about The Biltmore's history for LAist  
#82: Happy Labor Day, Los Angeles. We hope you are able to enjoy the day off, but we realize many of you may have to work today. This holiday was created for the workers by the labor movement back in the late 19th century. So on this day we are resurfacing a conversation we had earlier this year about the role of organized labor today. Because, if you haven’t noticed, there’s been a LOT of picketing in L.A. this summer.  Guests: Jonathan Harris, professor, Loyola Law School; Diana Reddy, assistant professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law (she was a doctoral fellow when we spoke to her in March) 
#142: We've talked a lot about Inglewood lately... and for good reason. The city is a booming scene for entertainment right now with SoFi, the Forum, the new Youtube Theater... not to mention, all the sports teams that call Inglewood home. Beyoncé is just the latest megastar to dominate the town with multiple concerts. But with those changes come the good, the bad, and the ugly. And some people worry whether the new Inglewood will still have room for them. So today, we hit the streets of Inglewood to talk to long-time resident AND mayor, James Butts, to get a better understanding of the city's trajectory. Guest: Inglewood Mayor James T Butts, Jr.  Music in this episode composed by: D Smoke, Dexter Thomas, Evan, Mamman Sani,  Modarchive, SiR
Comments (1)


I support bike lanes, and cyclists should use them! Often I see 2 bikes side by side, going outside their lane. If there’s no 2nd lane, that’s dangerous too.

Nov 27th
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