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Not Homeless Camp on Melrose… it’s Johnny Cupcakes

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Still not exactly sure what is going on here, but reader Dannah Pittard asked what the camping people were doing at Hayworth and Melrose.

We asked our followers on Twitter, and Andy Scott revealed that it was for a Johnny Cupcakes store event. Kevin Takumi, from FOX LA said that it was for the two year anniversary of the store.

Campers at Johnny Cupcakes on Melrose (photo: Andy J. Scott)

The JohnnyCupcakes Twitter account had some explanation…. “Johnny Cupcakes Los Angeles 2-Year Anniversary THIS Sunday @ 5pm. Free food, games & more. Come days early to camp w/ all the rad customers!”

Brandy, another reader, said “we drove by at 9am this morning and saw quite a few people already there w/ lawn chairs & blankets. Must be good, whatever it is.”

Carly said, “apparently one person has been camping out since the 25th of July.”

Johnny Cupcakes Fans Camping Out for Store Event (photo: 30 Days of Cupcakes Blog)

sKREET_muZIC told us “They are getting limited edition T-shirts and stuff to flip on eBay.”

And poor Eric Shannon tells us, “I live behind Johnny Cupcakes. Campers now blowing vuvuzelas. Going to be a long night.”

Included here is a photo from Andy Scott, along with a couple from the 30 Days of Cupcakes blog.  If you know more about WHY they are camping… what they get out of it… please post in the comments section!

NOTE ABOUT COMMENTS AND TO PEOPLE COMMENTING: It is very clear that Johnny Cupcakes has very loyal fans and customers, and it looks like y’all are getting yourselves worked  up — almost amongst yourselves, with comments getting more and more angry.  As an original poster says later on in a comment, “Jesus, people… it was a joke. I saw the shirts. I get it. Go eat a cupcake.”

"Most of the afternoon was dedicated to Johnny's Ustream. We all had a blast crowding around the laptop and laughing at everyone's comments." - caption on the photo at 30 Days of Cupcakes blog

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52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Chad Darnell

    July 31, 2010 at 10:25 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong… but they don’t actually SERVE cupcakes at Johnny’s Cupcakes, right?

  2. admin

    July 31, 2010 at 10:33 PM

    I wondered the same thing, Chad… but it seems it is a super hip t-shirt shop… at least I think that’s the deal.

  3. Chad Darnell

    July 31, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    So it’s like Ed Hardy for retarded people.

  4. RRA

    July 31, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    To: Chad Darnell, Ed Hardy is already for retarded people.

    These campers are collectors and resellers of limited edition t-shirts and what not.

    I would never camp out but I did sell a limited edition pair of Vans I bought on Fairfax to someone in Japan for $500. Cost me a hundred but I had to wait in line for 2 hours.

  5. Greg

    July 31, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    Ed Hardy IS for retarded people. So it’s like Ed Hardy for SEVERELY retarded people.

  6. Lorraine

    August 1, 2010 at 3:38 AM

    Actually it is my son’s clothing brand and the kids line up for days in LA and Boston for limited edition t-shirts, to camp out with all the friends they have met in previous Johnny Cupcakes’ lines, and to share in the cupcake cult that this brand has created. Some of our Boston fans flew to LA just to camp out with everyone. 🙂 They are not retarded – just happy, fun, and friendly.

  7. Tallulah

    August 1, 2010 at 6:43 AM

    Johnny cupcakes are awesome! I wish there was a store in the UK! And to compare it to ED Hardy is shameful! Johnnys stuff is way more cool!

  8. April

    August 1, 2010 at 6:45 AM

    I’m with Lorraine.
    I love Johnny Cupcakes and if I lived in LA (or Boston) instead of south Georgia, I would so be there.
    They are Raving Fans of Johnny Cupcakes. It’s a healthier camping out than lots of people do for fastfood restaurant openings.

  9. Jerren Parker

    August 1, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    I flew in from Ohio on Wednesday night to get in line and I’ve had a blast so far. It’s no different from any other convention or hobby event. We love this brand in and out. A lot of us are friends from all over the country and these events bring us together. This isn’t the first time you’ll see us out here and sure won’t be the last. I’m already planning my trip back in October.

    Johnny’s story is a true inspiration and his brand actually has merit. The truly dedicated people that you see here for several nights aren’t here to make money.

  10. Marvin Pranger

    August 1, 2010 at 6:49 AM

    Actually, I would fly all the way from The Netherlands for such a camp-out and be at a Johnny Cupcakes Store Event 🙂

  11. Ian Alfonso

    August 1, 2010 at 6:50 AM

    yeah , these are fans of his brand,Johnny always comes up with fresh and unique designs not only that but unlike Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger , he TALKS AND INTERACTS with his customers,he shares his story of how to think outside the box and pursue your dreams his tees are always super limited,quality over quantity.From someone who started out from nothing to making it in america , he’s living the dream.

  12. Pamela C

    August 1, 2010 at 6:51 AM

    Johnny Cupcakes Rocks!!! I am a 41yr old mom who loves JC tees. They are always a conversation starter wherever I wear them. I usually only wear them once or twice and then pack them away as collectibles. I have to hide them from my kids because they always try to steal them!!

    Johnny, please bring back the legalize cupcakes tee — it sold out after I ordered 🙁

  13. Pete

    August 1, 2010 at 6:51 AM

    If Johnny Cupcakes had a store in Australia I would be camping out for sure! His stuff is so original and comes from an honest place, read the history!

  14. Lou

    August 1, 2010 at 6:52 AM

    Good on you Lorraine. For those who don’t know who/what Johnny Cupcakes is… I’m pretty sure google would be a better alternative than inconsiderate taunts.

    Johnny and his family are some of the most dedicated, sweet, innovative, hilarious folk you’ll ever come across. There are Johnny Cupcakes fans all over the world. I’m writing from Australia. And for the record even this island stopped using ‘retard’ as an insult 15 years ago.

    Sounds like JC isn’t for you. Hope the designers you’re into go out of their way to throw parties and give you free stuff.

  15. Bryant Melton

    August 1, 2010 at 6:57 AM

    IT’S NOTHING LIKE ED HARDY!!!!!

  16. Ronni thomsen

    August 1, 2010 at 7:06 AM

    Johnny started out as a t-shirt brand, but his company has evolved to a family, when i see a person with a cupcakes shirt i immediately Can relate to that person from there, allowing fans to have friends worldwide through his brand,

    Furthermore he is an inspiration to other entrepreneurs, giving lectures and is always up for giving advice,

    respect to ed hardy for doing his thing with passion, but the above statement and comparing ed to Johnny is just wrong.

  17. Itsallgood

    August 1, 2010 at 7:17 AM

    rI agree with Lou, I doubt Ed Hardy would ever throw amazing events like this for his fans! I doubt he drives around the country to meet his fans either! (dream come true for us non-Bostonian/Californians!) Johnny Cupcakes is a true example of the American dream and proof that you work hard and it WILL pay off at the end! Can we also note that JC’s success has been reached with ABSOLUTELY NO ADVERTISEMENT! You don’t know about him cause his stuff isn’t plastered on the side of your webpages and flashing on your tv screens and placed on shiney shelves in your pristine shopping malls, he owes his success to his fans and their word of mouth! I haven’t seen people line up at Macy’s waiting for Ed Hardy’s collection, have you?! We love you Johnny, keep doing what your doing!

  18. Chelsea

    August 1, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    I truly love how arrogant people are. Seriously, if you don’t know anything about the brand, why don’t you do your research? And for all of you calling his fans “retards,” that’s all on you. Johnny Cupcakes is a great brand, full of creative and different designs. It’s better than Abercrombie, Tommy Hilfiger where you pay the same amount of money for things that look exactly the same. Not only are the clothes great, but he’s so nice to his customers, always taking care of them and providing the best customer service out there. As for the people camping out? It’s a great experience to make friends! I would be out there if I could.

  19. Alison Sandbergh

    August 1, 2010 at 7:29 AM

    Johnny’s designs once were cool. They get lamer every year and the shit is all made in China. Yea he’s living the dream! Who wouldn’t be selling hats for $60 and t-shirts for $35 +. Of course he’s going to kiss his fans asses because in the back of his head he’s thinking holy shit there’s a lot of suckers out there. Anybody whose been to Magic knows there’s hundreds of companies with better designs then JC. Have fun camping!!!!

  20. Johnny Cupcakes

    August 1, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    Alison, come by the shop. All of my t-shirts are made in the USA! Also, visit every other shop on Melrose. I guarantee my t-shirts and hats are some of the least expensive and have far better quality.

    If I wanted to make money, I would of sold out a long time ago to Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, Nordstroms, and hundreds of other shops & investors who’ve approached me. My brand has grown slowly but surely. I’m not kissing anyones asses. I talk to my customers every single day. I know I could still make a living if I stayed home and didn’t talk to anyone — however, I wasn’t raised that way. In fact, I’m still awake. Been hanging out playing board games with my customers until the sun came up. Come play with us! Ignorant or not, we’ll accept you. I’ll even treat you to french toast!

  21. Lital

    August 1, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    Johnny Cupcakes fans are one big happy family, this brand is about a lot more than just the shirts!
    Visit his site and watch the videos from the recent tour: http://www.johnnycupcakes.com/tour/
    We are a group of intelligent people with great taste, and a lot of respect for one another.

  22. Karen B.

    August 1, 2010 at 7:43 AM

    As a well-educated and intelligent adult, I challenge Chad and Greg to a duel in defense of Johny Cupcakes and his fans. Johnny is a visionary.

  23. Johnny Cupcakes

    August 1, 2010 at 7:44 AM

    …and I’m living the dream because I’ve been a hard working, respectful, positive person since day one when I was scraping for couch cushion change — and I haven’t changed one bit.

  24. itsallgood

    August 1, 2010 at 7:46 AM

    Hey Alison, if JC is doing this for the money, than why didn’t he just go through with his orders in the trade shows he participated in back in 2005? What trade shows you ask?

    http://shop.johnnycupcakes.com/story/

    read up my dear! Plus people pay 60 bucks for ANY New Era fitted, I’d rather a cupcake on mine any day!

  25. Francis Simmons

    August 1, 2010 at 7:48 AM

    “If I wanted to make money, I would of sold out a long time ago to Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, Nordstroms, and hundreds of other shops & investors who’ve approached me”

    Johnny is the Mark Zuckerberg of Clothing…

  26. Johnny Cupcakes

    August 1, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    Judging by some of negative, ignorant, uneducated comments on here, it seems like some of these people aren’t very happy with their lives. No need to take it out on my brand and my customers. Didn’t your parents teach you any better?

  27. Emily

    August 1, 2010 at 7:58 AM

    Don’t cry John. It will only make you stronger 🙂

  28. Joe

    August 1, 2010 at 8:00 AM

    Johnny is a great guy…me and my fam watched his lecture at Sacramento State and it was a truly inspirational lecture. He gave you a journey into his humble beginnings and to what it is now a successful business. However, it’s not any regular business where he’s trying to make money off of his customers. He actually cares about his employees,especially his fans. He has random meet and greets,goes on tour and sold shirts out of suitcases like he used to when he was on tour in the hardcore group On Broken Wings. His speech was truly inspiring to me that’s why I moved to LA shortly after to pursue my dream job at MTV. I met Johnny through his super cool employees Lennard and Kellen at their dodgeball game and he was super cool in person. He has top quality clothing that’s made in the USA and the last time I was at the store I spent $450…lol..

  29. Lital

    August 1, 2010 at 8:05 AM

    Johnny Cupcakes fans are one big happy family, this brand is about a lot more than just the shirts!
    Visit his site and watch the videos from the recent tour.
    We are a group of intelligent people with great taste, and a lot of respect for one another.
    Johnny spends a lot of time giving his customers very personal attention. He motivates so many people every day! I would be out there right now camping out with my fellow cupcakers if I could :o)

  30. Chad Darnell

    August 1, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    Jesus, people… it was a joke. I saw the shirts. I get it.

    Go eat a cupcake.

  31. Cortney Ramos

    August 1, 2010 at 8:19 AM

    Wait….you buy shirts with cupcakes on them and some of you aren’t gay? Cupcakers? Spending hundred of dollars on cupcake shirts? You will never reach Hardy status. That man is a legend!

  32. Jerren Parker

    August 1, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    Except Don Ed Hardy is actually a traditional tattoo artist and the clothing brand you’re referring to just uses his name and popular tattoo designs for their shirts. It’s actually Christian Audigier.

  33. SteveOramA

    August 1, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    I’m not trying to be comment police but some of them are actually referring to Ed Hardy shirts? Really? These two brands aren’t even on the same page or in the same book. It’s like comparing a cupcake to dog poo which shows you which one I prefer. And the retard comment is just uncalled for.

    That’s the problem with articles that allow anyone to add their 2 cents (much like I’m doing now). Even the author of this post isn’t fully aware of the brand or what is going on. You are on the internet to post a comment so why don’t you use the internet to do a few seconds of research before passing judgment and provoking responses in order for someone to defend the brand? Supporters shouldn’t have to defend the brand they like and that’s why I’ll stop before I write a full page.

    Don’t be a hater of something you know nothing about. And that goes for anything in life. Go to the store or to the website and then you’ll see that the brand defends itself and is easily a reason for people to camp out for something they feel passionate about.

    END RANT.

  34. Roberto Quinones

    August 1, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    The difference in the Johnny Cupcakes brand is they do not “hide” in some castle or throw elitist parties. They like to be involved with their customers first hand. Johnny really inspires us to keep pushing, telling us stories, giving advice and treating us like family. We are dreamers, artists, designers and entrepreneurs.
    Johnny Cupcakes is just like us.
    MAKE CUPCAKES NOT WAR

  35. kristi

    August 1, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    I still can’t believe you people are using “retarded” and “gay” as an insult. Try coming up with better, less shameful insults while you’re busy pulling your heads out of your asses. You also could’ve picked a better clothing line to compare JC to. Being so attached to Ed Hardy should be a crime against humanity, that brand is disgusting.

  36. Ashton Vaughn

    August 1, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    Nicely put, Steve.

    I don’t even see where ANYONE could draw the conclusion that Ed Hardy and JC are anywhere near similar. Ed Hardy was more of a fad than a business. All it does is recycle someone else’s designs. JC, however, puts his all into his business and his consumer base which makes me willing to buy something from him. I hope his business steadily grows in the future.

  37. Ryan M.

    August 1, 2010 at 10:16 AM

    these comments bashing johnny are so funny. saying he will never reach ed hardy status…who cares? johnny sure doesnt. and i hope he doesnt ever make a shirt that looks like someone ate a bunch of glitter and then crapped it on a shirt. i thank ed hardy for making it easy to spot a Tool. dead giveaway…
    the money Johnny makes goes back into the brand, into the next batch of shirts, the next event, the next pimped out cupcake mix boxes that special edition numbered shirts come in…he said it himself, he could be long past sold out by now, selling out to UO and others (who then tried to steal his designs…).
    johnny is a big kid at heart who loves his fans…who he refers to as his family. you wont say any of those “big time” designers hanging out on the street in front of a shop playing board games till sun-up, or hanging out on a Ustream video chat for hours playing a movie quote game, talking about doodoo, doing magic tricks, giving shirts away, or asking if we’ve “got a brutha?”
    i waited in a line for hours to get a shirt, hang out with others and to get a chance to meet johnny, and talk for just a few minutes. he has inspired so many of us. keep on keepin on johnny.
    i lol’d at “ignorant or not, we’ll accept you”

  38. Alexis

    August 1, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    I slept in the alley behind Johnny Cupcakes for the grand opening and it was a blast! He really loves his customers, and appreciates them. His family as well – I had conversations with both his mom & dad, his mother was passing out bottles of water to people waiting in line and after going into the store she told us to go behind the store into the air conditioned tent to grab some food!
    And really, Ed Hardy? Bedazzled tattoo shirts… Think of a better brand to compare Johnny to, he puts a whole lot more effort and thought into his brand. Take a look at his store on Melrose, it looks like a vintage bakery that belongs in Disney – fun, and makes you feel like a kid again. His shirts never disappoint, and neither does Johnny. So do some research before you bash someone who’s made a killer living having fun, employing their family, and respects his customers.

  39. Ponyboy

    August 1, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    That’s the point, NOT to be Ed Hardy status lol..As Johnny alluded to earlier, he could have sold out and made out like a bandit but evaded that for the integrity of his brand..Money talks, and he just skipped on millions while Christian oversaturated his brand to the point of it now being a fad that people are ashamed of ever joining..

    The cupcake design is to poke fun of pop-culture, particularly through out a time when everything was skulls and demonizied, If you had seen the logo it wouldnt (or shouldn’t) have escaped you..

    I don’t know why people get so upset that Johnny Cupcakes doesn’t sell cupcakes, I didn’t get upset when I seen Sid Vicious on the street and he wasn’t, well, vicious. Its just a clever play of words, that happens a quite often, so I don’t really get the outrage there either..

    FYI-This is coming from a guy who was a former customer (stopped for entirely different reasons), so this shouldn’t be written off as a disciple talking.

  40. Patrick

    August 1, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    They will serve cupcakes 2day with a purchase, johnny cupcakes is way more than a brand, it isnt ed hardy, johnny cupcakes isnt a sell out like every other designer out there, he is strictly committed to providing the best products and service to his customers, he cares about every one of them which is why he always does special events just for fans, such as a free movie night for fans wearing his brand. Dont open your mouth until you know what johnny cupcakes is and what he represents.

  41. Michael

    August 1, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    I think this is a stupid article, why don’t you actually just go to the store and ask you ignorant asshat instead of just guessing “Whuts goin on out thar?!” it’s a store not a planet out in space where you could only assume what’s going on out there.

    And Ed Hardy IS for retarded people, douche bags if you will, Tap Out shirts is climbing the ranks faster than a squirrel escaping a forest fire.

  42. Mike D

    August 1, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Wow. I love how some of these people have no idea what they are talking about. First of all, Johnny cupcakes is nowhere near like Ed Hardy, nor is he trying to be like Ed hardy. Ed hardy is lame shirts for tools. Johnny started his t-shirt co. on his own and worked his ass off to get to where he is today. He never sold out or compromised his company to gain profit, plus he actually talks to his fans/customers…something you never see in the clothing industry. Next time you wanna post something negative..do a little research about what your posting so you don’t look like an idiot.

  43. brosnan_fresh

    August 1, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    ppl tend to camp out for anything ltd edition! Ever see the beverly center when a limited shoe is coming out?

  44. Z

    August 1, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    @Chad Darnell you are wrong, Ed Hardy is for retarded people. Johnny Cupcakes is for true clothing aficionados

  45. Max

    August 1, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    From this post I learned that Johnny Cupcakes is not only a t shirt company, but also a crazy cult/self help program.

  46. kristen prescod

    August 1, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    -Okay Johnny i got your back-…listen people johnny cupcakes is a brand better yet a movement…as all streetwear brands should be. If you go to his site and read his about page you’ll see that he’s an strong willed individual that had no college degree that against all odds still found a way to make it…BEFORE THE INTERNET…exploded.Sure fans resell their shirt…but that means people are willing to pay extra top dollar on it because of what he stands for…. 🙂

  47. Ryan

    August 1, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    Get your facts straight…. before posting about a brand that you obviously don’t know anything about. Do some research…. talk to the people that loves the brand, the image, the story, and the legacy. It’s a true brand not like those fakes that mainstreamers jumping on the band wagon wear, i.e. affliction, tapout, ed hardy, toki doki, paul frank, and brands that has been a sellout to its own demise. Long live Johnny Cupcakes!

  48. Alexis

    August 1, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    I Heart the JC! And all the wonderful peeps that work there (no one else I’d rather dodgeball with)!

  49. Briana Anderson

    August 1, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    Here’s the thing, please get your facts straight before posting it to the world.
    1. Andy Scott is not a part of the 30 days of Johnny Cupcakes. The guy who writes that blog is Jerren Parker. He’s the one who took that picture and posted it to his twitter.
    2. To everyone that is saying that Johnny Cupcakes is like Ed Hardy for retarded people, at least go to his website and read his story before you go running your mouth about things you know nothing about.
    Johnny Cupcakes is one of the most honest companies/brands in this day and age. He is more focused on how happy his customers and his fans are than making lots of money. It makes me legitimately angry to hear people talk crap and hate on his brand when they honestly don’t know what they’re talking about. Johnny is a role model and you kids need to show him some respect.

  50. Finnian

    August 1, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Ed hardy is over it’s thrashed, there’s junkies on the street that wear it- jc shirts Rock and not a million all pumped out at once. already world known and there one of a kind. Just because Johnny is doing so well doesn’t mean you have to get jelous now haha

  51. admin

    August 1, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    EVERYONE…. please join me in taking a big, deep breath. Wheeww… now didn’t that feel good? It looks like the people commenting to defend Johnny Cupcakes may be getting each other worked up here. Read the first comments again… yes, they take a jab but they don’t seem to me like they are very serious about it. As one of the posters says in a later comment… “Jesus, people… it was a joke. I saw the shirts. I get it. Go eat a cupcake.” If you don’t see the original comments, look for the “older comments” link to see them.

  52. Kara

    August 1, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    i wish i was there. johnny cupcakes is an amazing brand as well as a person and community. i camped out for about six hours in philly for an event. why are people saying negative things about this? i don’t get it.

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Art & Galleries

Women in Photography: Visual Disruptors 2020 – Mar 22

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Photo by Gizelle Hernandez

WEST HOLLYWOOD — March is Women’s History Month and what better way to celebrate than to inspire a community. Photographers, creatives, consultants of all genders are invited to Quixote Studios’ Women in Photography: Visual Disrupters event on Sunday, March 22.

Photo by Lauren Crew

American Planning Association (APA) Los Angeles would like to invite you to join, support and celebrate women in the photography industry at their third annual Women In Photography event.

The panels will cover topics such as diversity within the industries, women’s advancement, work/life balance, the creative process, social media, mentorship, activism, challenges working women continue to face on set and beyond.

“This is a teaching moment! We are so honored to have two unique panels of successful women share their stories with us,” their announcement boasts.

The day will begin with a panel discussion, then a networking lunch break followed by a second panel discussion. Lunch will be provided.

Parking will be limited; the event suggests using a ride share service.

PHOTOGRAPHER PANEL:

Lauren CrewAsh Danielsen, Gizelle Hernandez , Danielle Levitt, Diana Zalucky 

MODERATOR: Cecily Chambers 

CREATIVE PANEL:

Clarissa Garrett (72 and Sunny), Kim Getty (Deutch), Ada Guerin (Los Angeles Magazine), Katie Hawkins (Quibi), Audrey Landreth (Apple), Rachael Lieberman Producer, Heidi Volpe (Patagonia)

MODERATOR:  Monica Zaffarano 

Sun 22nd Mar, 2020
11:00am–3:30pm


Quixote Studios 1011 North Fuller Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90046

Click here forTickets:

$25 APA Members
$40 General Admission
$10 Students with Valid ID

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California

Fires, Floods & More: Images of CA From Space in 2019

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Fires, floods and more: A view of California from space in 2019

by Rachel Becker for CalMatters

CALIFORNIA — California’s year of extreme events includes fires, floods, blobs, and blooms — here’s a look back at 2019 from space.

The year began amid the ashes of the deadliest wildfire in California history. Then came torrential rains, the superbloom, a marine heat wave, and fires again.

They are events that foreshadow a future pattern of more extreme wildfires and rainstorms as climate change drives the Earth’s temperatures higher. The 2019 events prompted now familiar responses from politicians confronted with catastrophe across the state: disaster relief money, funding for scientific studies, and recriminations against bankrupt utility Pacific Gas and Electric.

Satellites captured the events that marked the changes of California’s seasons — and we rounded up some of the year’s significant events. So take a look back through the year in California, from space.

An atmospheric river soaks California

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin

Floodwaters surrounded Sonoma County towns as a winter storm called an atmospheric river pummeled the state with record-breaking rains in February.

California relies on atmospheric rivers for water  but they also are at fault for most of the flood damage in the West. Sonoma County officials calculated $56 million in damage to public infrastructure alone, with The Press Democrat reporting another $91.6 million in damage to homes across the county. 

In response, state officials directed $1.5 million in recovery aid to Sonoma County and another $1.5 million to the City of Sebastopol. 

The budget also included $9.25 million for research into atmospheric rivers — a phenomenon that experts warn could become less frequent but more extreme as climate change continues.

A sediment plume from the Russian River washes out to sea in this Feb. 28, 2019 image snapped by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin.

Flammable foliage 

Wildflowers and green hillsides near New Cuyuma, Calif. Photo taken by the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat-8 satellite on March 18, 2019.

California’s torrential rains fueled a profusion of plant growth, captured in the satellite photo (above) of Southern California’s superbloom and in the aerial photo (below) of wildflowers.

Some of the plants that thrived were native, like the orange California poppy. But the rains also helped invasive weeds and grasses take hold on hills that wildfires had scoured just months before. 

These invaders worry environmental scientists like Suzanne Goode with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Julie Cart reported for CalMatters. 

The concern is that fast-growing invasive plants can crowd out the native plants that California’s wildlife rely on, and can fuel fires when they dry out in the summer heat. 

Goode’s team tries to clear away invasives to make room for the natives they replant — but the team is small, and wildfire can wipe away years of work in an instant. “What I look at is to hold the progress I’ve already made, and then look at what can we reasonably get to,” she told Cart. “It’s a battle.”

A photo (not from space) of wildflowers and poppies in the Antelope Valley; the Poppy Reserve is in the background. Photo snapped by Jim Ross from a NASA aircraft, TG-14, on April 2, 2019.

The “Blob” returns, then retreats


Scientist Andrew Leising has been tracking the recent heat wave, which peaked at the end of August, using sea surface temperatures measured by a collection of satellites and verified with data collected by ships and buoys. Credit: Andrew Leising, NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center

This year saw the arrival of a marine heat wave that is cooking the ocean off the West Coast. The heat wave peaked at the end of August, when it warmed waters from the Gulf of Alaska to the bottom of California by some 4℃  above normal. 

Since then, the heat wave has cooled slightly and retreated from the shore — shrinking to about the size of Alaska from about five times that big. “If you didn’t know anything about what had already happened this year, and you just looked at now, you’d be like, ‘Wow this is really big,’” said Andrew Leising, a research oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center.  

At its peak, this year’s heat wave was the second biggest the northern Pacific has seen over the past 40 years. The biggest was the heat wave known as “the Blob” that lingered from 2013 through mid-2016 and wreaked havoc on sea life. 

The blob stranded thousands of sea lion pups and kicked off a toxic algal bloom that cost California’s dungeness crab fishery about $48.3 million dollars and its rock crab fishery $376,000, according to a federal disaster assistance relief letter from former California Gov. Jerry Brown. The feds agreed to chip in about $26 million. 

It’s difficult to predict whether climate change will bring more stretches of extreme ocean heat as it continues to cook the planet and its oceans as a whole, according to Leising.  But as ocean temperatures climb, scientists are detecting them more than they used to. 

Leising is watching the current heat wave closely. “It could go either way, it could completely dissipate, or we could get hammered — it’s really early to tell,” he said.

A recent look at the Blob-like marine heat wave shows that it’s dissipating — but Leising says it’s too early to say whether it will disappear for good. Credit: Andrew Leising, NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Fall fires

Smoke from the Kincade fire on Oct. 27, 2019. Image captured by NOAA’s GOES-17 satellite.

Fires burned more than 253,000 acres of California in 2019. That includes the Kincade fire (above), which destroyed 374 buildings and injured four people as it spread across nearly 78,000 acres of Sonoma County. 

This year’s fires, which killed three people, were less destructive than the fires of 2018 that burned nearly 2 million acres and killed 100 people in what CalFire calls “the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season on record in California.” 

Embattled and bankrupt utility  Pacific Gas & Electric accepted responsibility  for the deadliest of those fires, the 2018 Camp Fire. And as part of its plan to prevent their equipment from igniting fires, it cut power to millions of Californians this fall during peak fire weather. 

Californians and their lawmakers were furious over the company’s execution of the power shutoffs, which included communications failures that kept people in the dark about where the lights were likely to go out. 

In a statement, PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said the company would give bill credits to the customers affected by the Oct. 9 power shutoff. “We are constantly working to execute these safety shutoffs more effectively while prioritizing public safety. It’s important to remember that the sole purpose of these power shutoffs is to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the communities that we serve,” Johnson said in a statement at the time. 

Still, lawmakers weren’t appeased. CalMatters reported that Sen. Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat, said at a hearing in November: “I looked at what happened on Oct. 9 as a big ‘screw you’ to your customers, to the Legislature, to the governor.” 

California is weighing how to weather future fire seasons — including by studying microgrids, CalMatters’ reported this fall. As climate change primes the West to burn, wildfires will certainly be in the cards for 2020.


Rachel Becker is a reporter with a background in scientific research. Her byline has also appeared in NOVA Next, National Geographic News, Smithsonian, and Slate. She is now an environment reporter for CALmatters, where she covers climate change and California’s environmental policies.

This article is produced as part of WeHo Daily’s partnership with CalMatters, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

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Art & Galleries

Last Minute Deals: Gift an Experience at the Museum of Dream Space

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by Genevieve Marie

BEVERLY HILLS — If you’re doing some last minute shopping at the Beverly Center this week, you may want to bring a friend or family member who really loves selfies.

The Museum of Dream Space is offering a holiday discount of 20% off GA when guests use code MODSMAS to order tickets online, valid thru December 25th. General admission is usually $32, and military, senior, student, kids and groups have discounted options.

Soul singer Honey Larochelle

In addition to the immense, portrait-perfect art installations throughout the Beverly Center mall, the 6th floor offers an interactive digital art gallery, The Museum of Dream Space, with some holiday-themed bonuses, such as a snow themed projection, and a red carpet-style backdrop, complete with a white Christmas tree.

Everyone who enters is welcome to take selfies and photos, but MODS also offers “VIP” packages that include a professional photo shoot in the art space.

Pierre, Technical Manager at MODS

“The 6-room space was so popular when we opened [in May] that we had to remove some of the design in the ‘infinity hall’ to accommodate the crowds” says Pierre, a technical manager at the museum. “Tickets for the grand opening had a wait list, a time scheduled, and time limits, just so everyone could get in. Fortunately, we don’t have to do that at this time.”

Designed by Chinese artists, the “first digital art museum in the U.S.” opened this year, and expects not only to stick around, but to open more locations with more rooms – in Hollywood and Las Vegas – in 2020.

Actress Naomi Grossman admires from below


Photos by Genevieve Marie
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