A look at mob boss "Whitey" Bulger's last days while living in an apartment complex in Los Angeles:
Catalina Schlank, who is 90, has lived at the Princess Eugenia since moving there in 1974, a decade after arriving from Argentina. To her the pair had a storybook quality. “They were nice neighbors and courteous with me,” says Schlank. “They were elegant. You could just picture them as a young couple.” She remembers how Greig would place tenants’ mail on their doorsteps, since the letter carrier usually dumped onto the floor whatever didn’t fit into the tiny boxes. Schlank still has some of the notes Greig gave her, written in tall, clear cursive letters, to express appreciation for the occasional pieces of fruit or a pocketbook the older woman had given her. “Many thanks for the American Hero stationery.” “Hope you have a great month. (March already!)” Bulger had written thank-yous as well. Schlank found him nothing but a courtly, caring figure of a man who insisted on carrying her luggage should he see her with a suitcase and who once, without warning or explanation, came over and enthusiastically hugged her.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 23, 2013
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5621 words)
This week's picks include the Washingtonian, Newsweek, Los Angeles Magazine, The Morning News, The Hairpin, fiction from Electric Literature and a guest pick by Elise Foley.
The writer, who has written about the notorious crack kingpin Freeway Rick for nearly two decades, profiles Ricky Ross once more as Ross attempts to legitimately hustle his way back to success:
"On the streets he once flooded with drugs, Freeway Rick is hawking weaves. A staple of the African American cosmetology industry, the weave—or 'hair integration' piece—inspires cultlike reverence: a beauty secret that transforms an age-old preoccupation into a declaration of fabulousness. Rick has no training in hair care, no affinity for it either, but he knows that weaves cost a fortune, more than the average customer can sanely afford. A 3.5-ounce bundle, depending on length, retails for $150 to $175, and most women need several bundles to achieve a full, versatile coif, which means $1,000 or more to have the whole thing anchored and styled. In Freeway Rick’s brain, that adds up to opportunity. 'It could be milk, tires, fertilizer—I don’t care,' he says. 'They’re just products.'"
PUBLISHED: May 22, 2013
LENGTH: 33 minutes (8295 words)
A profile of Father Gregory Boyle, who launched Homeboy Industries 25 years ago to help formerly gang-involved men and women by providing them with job training, therapy and a strong, positive community:
"'The beauty of Father Greg's approach is eternal, unrelenting hopefulness for those young people,' says Robert Ross, president and CEO of the California Endowment. 'The curse is that it’s terrible for the balance sheet of a nonprofit, and it really can wreak havoc. Most nonprofits function with a very clear sense that resources and dollars are a constraint. They turn people away, put them on waiting lists, and send them to other programs. The money dries up and so do the services—end of story.'"
PUBLISHED: May 21, 2013
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7426 words)
Our favorite stories of the past week, featuring The Nation, Los Angeles magazine, and more.
PUBLISHED: April 27, 2013
The nearly forgotten story of Bernard Finch and his mistress Carole Tregoff, who were found guilty of murdering Finch's wife in 1959:
"As Finch’s money dried up, he withdrew to the confines of his West Covina motel room and Tregoff’s one-bedroom Las Vegas apartment. Feeling aggrieved and persecuted, the couple decided to take action. On the Saturday night of July 18, Finch and Tregoff drove her car from Las Vegas to visit his estranged wife. The pair would later swear they had only wanted to persuade Barbara to move to Las Vegas for six weeks—just enough time to qualify for an amicable 'quickie' divorce. That didn’t quite explain why they parked a long block away at the South Hills Country Club, carrying with them an attaché case that contained, among other things, a carving knife, syringes, Seconal, and rope."
PUBLISHED: April 23, 2013
LENGTH: 23 minutes (5792 words)
A crime writer digs into the decades-long investigation of a serial killer in California, and finds a growing online community of amateur sleuths trying to solve the case:
"The Golden State Killer, though, has consumed me the most. In addition to 50 sexual assaults in Northern California, he was responsible for ten sadistic murders in Southern California. Here was a case that spanned a decade and ultimately changed DNA law in the state. Neither the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized San Francisco in the late 1960s and early ’70s, nor the Night Stalker, who had Southern Californians locking their windows in the ’80s, was as active. Yet the Golden State Killer has little recognition; he didn’t even have a catchy name until I coined one. His capture was too low to detect on any law enforcement agency’s list of priorities. If this coldest of cases is to be cracked, it may well be due to the work of citizen sleuths like me (and a handful of homicide detectives) who analyze and theorize, hoping to unearth that one clue that turns all the dead ends into a trail—the one detail that will bring us face-to-face with the psychopath who has occupied so many of our waking hours and our dreams."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 27, 2013
LENGTH: 32 minutes (8054 words)
A journalist reexamines what happened to him more than 20 years ago during his five-year investigation of the Church of Scientology for The Los Angeles Times:
"One morning my wife, a kindergarten teacher, was leaving for work when a process server sent by the church’s lawyers jumped out from behind a hedge with a subpoena for me. Another day I listened to Bob on the phone at work as he struggled to calm his wife. She was home alone and somebody had dropped Forest Lawn burial brochures on their doorstep. It would happen more than once, and one afternoon she even saw somebody scurrying away. Then there was the night when upwards of four California Highway Patrol cars, lights flashing, pulled Bob over as he drove home on the 710 freeway. He was ordered out of his car and given a sobriety test. After he passed, Bob asked why he’d been stopped; an officer said they’d been told he was weaving dangerously.
"The next day the Times’s security chief, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department official, made some inquiries and discovered that the pursuit had begun when a man called the CHP and said he was tailing a drunk and would direct units to his location. The caller said he was a Los Angeles police officer."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 18, 2012
LENGTH: 31 minutes (7816 words)
How filmmaker David Ayer's early years in South Central Los Angeles has given him a distinct understanding of the LAPD:
"'I was feral,' he recalls, 'uncontrollable, did my own thing. Brushes with the law and all that stuff.' He punctuates this with a gruff laugh. 'It was a disaster.' Most everyone who knew Ayer was predicting a future in prison for him. 'It was just the expectation that a lot of people had of me. Because I was not a good kid, and the consequences were getting more serious.' When he was 14, his mother sent him to live with cousins who were among the first urban homesteaders to move into a West Adams Craftsman, in the shadow of the 10 freeway. 'The irony is, I was just a bush-league juvenile delinquent,' Ayer says. 'And I end up in fucking South Central. Now I’m around the professionals. I was like, ‘Holy shit.’ I quickly grew accustomed, though. You can get used to anything.'"
PUBLISHED: Sept. 24, 2012
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2725 words)