(NSFW, not single-page) An in-depth profile of rap legend the D.O.C., who penned many of N.W.A.'s and Eazy-E's early songs and became an on-again, off-again studio partner to Dr. Dre:
"The shine finally started to trickle down. N.W.A’s first national tour opened in Nashville in the spring of 1989, with Doc doing eight minutes a night as an opening act. The crowds dug him. No One Can Do It Better dropped that June; within three months it sold 500,000 copies. By the end of the tour he was doing 30-minute sets. Radio picked up on “It’s Funky Enough,” a Dre production with way more commercial reach than, say, 'Fuck tha Police.' Years later, when Rolling Stone asked Chris Rock to make a list of the greatest rap albums of all time, the comedian put No One Can Do It Better at number 11. 'I was going to school in Brooklyn,” he wrote, “and the only time you could see rap videos was on a weekend show with Ralph McDaniels called Video Music Box. D.O.C.’s video for ‘It’s Funky Enough’ premiered, and D.O.C. had an L.A. Kings hat on. When I came to school on Monday, half the kids in Brooklyn had L.A. Kings hats on. It was official.'"
PUBLISHED: April 1, 2013
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6064 words)
[Not single-page] Anthony Wayne Smith, a former defensive end for the L.A./Oakland Raiders, has been linked to the murders of four men:
"Soon after retiring from football, Anthony invested in at least one shady business—an online medical-billing scam that was later investigated by the FTC—and started spending more and more time with gangbangers and thugs. 'He was bringing the edge around, and I didn't like it,' Bryan says. When he asked Anthony why, Anthony told him, 'These guys care about me. They're genuine dudes.'
"'I couldn't understand it,' Bryan says. 'You're married to a lawyer. You're living in Playa del Rey. Why would you be involved with these kinds of people?' He began to back away, unhappily, because he felt like now he was abandoning Anthony, too. Dwayne Simon didn't like Anthony's new friends, either. 'That's when I stopped hanging around,' he says. 'That's when he started to change. He got that scowl, that ugly look.'"
PUBLISHED: Jan. 25, 2013
LENGTH: 31 minutes (7904 words)
A court orders the release of church files revealing a history of sex abuse by clergy members. The documents back up the allegations of victims, who are finally finding justice:
"In recent years, a key part of clergy abuse cases has involved getting confidential files released. The Catholic Church is a meticulous record-keeper. When a letter accuses a priest of molestation, it's supposed to go into his file. So are reports from therapists — no matter how graphic.
"The documents have repeatedly backed up the allegations of victims whom the church initially tarred as liars. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange made public 10,000 pages. The L.A. archdiocese is expected to release its own trove in the coming weeks."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 15, 2013
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1988 words)
How Lisette Lee, a privileged young woman with ties to the Samsung fortune, turned to drug trafficking:
"Lee would go on to tell federal authorities a lot of things about herself: that she was a famous Korean pop star as well as the heiress to the Samsung electronics fortune; she was so emphatic on this last point that on police paperwork agents listed 'heiress' as her occupation. Back at home in L.A., Lee called herself the 'Korean Paris Hilton' and played the part of the spoiled socialite, with two Bentleys, a purse-size lap dog and, especially, her commanding, petulant personality that kept her posse of sycophants in check. It was as though Lisette Lee had studied some Beverly Hills heiress's handbook: how to dress, how to behave, how to run hot and cold to keep people in her thrall – in short, how to be a modern celebrity. But all of that would begin to unravel – amid the crowd and confusion on the Columbus tarmac that June 2010 evening – once a drug-sniffing German shepherd padded over to the van and sat down, signaling a hit.
"Agents threw open the van doors. Inside the suitcases were more than 500 pounds of marijuana in shrink-wrapped bricks. In Lee's crocodile purse were three cellphones, $6,500 in cash, a baggie of cocaine and a hotel notepad scrawled with weights and purchase prices totaling $300,000: a drug ledger."
PUBLISHED: Aug. 31, 2012
LENGTH: 32 minutes (8007 words)
On June 10, 1912, a family was brutally murdered in a small Iowa town. The murders remain unsolved:
"The Moores were not discovered until several hours later, when a neighbor, worried by the absence of any sign of life in the normally boisterous household, telephoned Joe’s brother, Ross, and asked him to investigate. Ross found a key on his chain that opened the front door, but barely entered the house before he came rushing out again, calling for Villisca’s marshal, Hank Horton. That set in train a sequence of events that destroyed what little hope there may have been of gathering useful evidence from the crime scene. Horton brought along Drs. J. Clark Cooper and Edgar Hough and Wesley Ewing, the minister of the Moore’s Presbyterian congregation. They were followed by the county coroner, L.A. Linquist, a third doctor, F.S. Williams (who became the first to examine the bodies and estimate a time of death). When a shaken Dr Williams emerged, he cautioned members of the growing crowd outside: 'Don’t go in there, boys; you’ll regret it until the last day of your life.' Many ignored the advice; as many as 100 curious neighbors and townspeople tramped as they pleased through the house, scattering fingerprints, and in one case even removing fragments of Joe Moore’s skull as a macabre keepsake."
PUBLISHED: June 8, 2012
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3458 words)
On riots and race. What has changed, and what's still bubbling under the surface, 20 years after the riots in South Central Los Angeles:
"The L.A. Riots (or uprising, civil unrest, or rebellion, depending) are often considered the first 'multiethnic' riots. As a pivot point of race and urban relations, they constitute a resonant moment for immigrant America. Korean Americans living on the West Coast at the time remember the first day, 4-29, or sa-i-gu, with time-freezing clarity.
"For many of us, the riots were a schooling in color and class. Our household, run by two working-class parents, was consumed by frantic arguments and phone calls about race, cities, and the distribution of wealth. There was talk of structural, large-scale discrimination, not merely individual prejudice or circumstance, which shaped the course of my life. Last summer, approaching the riots’ twentieth anniversary, I sought out the lessons of 1992. I was drawn in particular to the riots’ crucible in South Central, since refashioned as ‘South L.A.,’ though its infamy and boundaries–set by highways and thoroughfares–remain unchanged."
PUBLISHED: April 15, 2012
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4322 words)
How did the 1970s and Los Angeles end up creating such idiosyncratic singer-songwriters as Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and Van Dyke Parks?
"The first thing you should know about Harry Nilsson is that he won a Grammy for covering a schmaltzy Badfinger ballad called 'Without You' in 1971. The second thing you should know is that I once read an interview with Nilsson where he claimed to have recorded 'Without You' after having taken what he described as 'a little mescaline.' The third thing is that 'Without You' is on an album called Nilsson Schmilsson, a title basically designed to make fun of Nilsson's name, and that the cover of Nilsson Schmilsson is a picture of Harry Nilsson, unshaven, wearing a bathrobe."
PUBLISHED: April 13, 2012
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3917 words)
How the former baseball star went from unlikely business success to financial ruin—and now sentenced to three years in prison:
"Even after his financial and legal troubles came to public light, Dykstra refused to give up the trappings of the gilded life. He continued to fly on private planes, and the charges that landed him in prison—many details of which have not been previously reported—stemmed from his apparently insatiable appetite for flashy cars, some of which he obtained using falsified financial documents. 'He had to have all of these trappings to prove to himself he was as good as he thought he was,' L.A. County Deputy DA Alex Karkanen told SI after Monday's sentencing.
"In the unreleased documentary, filmed after his bankruptcy filing, the former Met and Phillie explains the importance of a private plane to his contentedness. 'I said, O.K., I know I'll be happy when I buy my own Gulfstream,' says Dykstra, reflecting on the plane he purchased in 2007. 'But I got down to the end of the nose, I looked back and I said, O.K., happy, come on, come on. So it's not about the Gulfstream. But it is about the Gulfstream. Meaning it just wasn't as good a Gulfstream as I wanted.'"
PUBLISHED: March 7, 2012
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3534 words)
What it's like to be a bisexual man in a world that wants you to choose between being either gay or straight:
"Recently, on OKCupid, a woman messaged me: 'Are you truly into ladies, and if so, what type? Finding a truly bi man is like finding a unicorn.'
"If I’m a unicorn where I live now, in L.A., then I was a unicorn rocky mountain oyster when I moved to the old rustbelt city of Syracuse, New York to go to grad school and live for the first time as a fully out bi man. There was one other mythical bi man in the entire city, but try as I might, I never found him. At the gay bar, I sometimes got called a 'half-breeder.' Straight people treated me just as shittily as they treat gay people. Three times, gay men hit me in the back of the head when they saw my head turn for a women. For the most part, straight women wouldn’t date me because, as one said, 'You’re just gonna leave me to go suck a dick.' For the first time in my life, frat boys called me fag. My professor said, 'The world just isn’t ready for gay marriage.' I emailed him 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail
PUBLISHED: Feb. 24, 2012
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3945 words)