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The Strike From The Writer’s POV. And Other Headlines

A person wearing a brown top and pants walks past a big building that has signs saying Sunset Bronson studios, Netflix and KTLA5. He is holding a sign that says Writers Guild Strike
A screenwriter on strike walks by the Netflix sign on Sunset Blvd
(Valeria Macon
/AFP via Getty Images)
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Before the conversations about the Writers Guild of America strike started, I knew next to nothing about the life of a writer. As an avid TV and film consumer, all I knew is that I enjoyed the relatable moments brought to the screen — mental health challenges faced on Ted Lasso that would make me cry ... lines from Yellowjackets that would make me shiver in fear … and Saturday Night Live skits that would make me laugh uncontrollably.

The View From The Picket Lines

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The writers' strike continues today. And there is no deal in sight. On social media, I’ve seen several picket signs from writers — some were about spoiling cult tv shows. Some signs highlighted the trend of artificial intelligence in the creative field. And some are just trying to make a point any way possible. One writer pointed out why she’s striking for writers of color. These past few weeks, I’ve learned a lot more about the industry from the writers’ perspectives.

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My colleague John Horn has reported on what writers want from a new contract but the latest episode of How to LA gives more insight into writers’ frustrations with an industry that has changed rapidly in recent years with the rise of streaming services, not to mention chatbots. Two writers, Rafael Agustin, a TV writer and CEO of the Latino Film Institute, and Caroline Renard, a WGA captain and a writer for Disney’s Secrets of Sulphur Springs, shared what it’s like to be a writer today — and how different it is from just a few, pre-pandemic years ago.

"The writers' room is completely being decimated and it's no longer like a big room with professional writers," Agustin explained. "Now it's like mini rooms. It's like, you know, four to six people expected to do all the work that 10 to 12, 13 people used to do in the past."

Renard said it is just harder to make a living these days, and she worries what that could mean for representation of marginalized voices.

“This is when we say we want more Black writers and we want more Queer writers, and we want more brown writers and all that stuff like that,” Renard said. But, she added, “We’re not going to get the next Ryan Coogler, we're not going to get the next Issa Rae because those people cannot afford to be writers.”

Read more about what writers are saying here and listen to the latest HTLA podcast episode here.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • Los Angeles City Council members unanimously approved plans to add more homes in Hollywood and Downtown L.A. over the next 20 years. My colleague David Wagner has more on the ground rules and why some groups, like Skid Row homeless service providers and garment workers, are concerned about the plans. 
  • The L.A. Memorial Coliseum is a landmark that practically every Angeleno is familiar with. It has hosted our world’s greatest athletes a couple of times (and will again in 2028), as well as 4,000 other events. And guess what? It’s celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. 
  • South Orange County’s Casa Romantica has had historical significance as a home and cultural center for nearly 100 years. But its future is now in jeopardy after a landslide last month caused some destruction to the back terrace.
  • Recent national test results show alarming declines in proficiency in U.S. history and civics with students. This comes with a rise of contentious, politicized debates about what educators should teach regarding history.
  • It looks like we humans won’t be the only ones not around in 5 billion years. Planet Earth might not make it either. Astronomers found a sun-like star that likes to feast on planets
  • A new report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that Americans are currently in a loneliness epidemic. Researchers concluded that our lack of social connection increases the risk of premature death in devastating ways. 
  • Interested in learning more about how nature played a part in science fiction and Asian pop culture? Check out First Fridays: Giant Monsters/Giant Robot at The National History Museum. Are you a fan of aromas? Check out The Institute of Art and Olfaction’s first city-wide celebration. Where are my self-proclaimed emos at? Listen to some tunes that will get you in a moody mood at Emo Nite at Hollywood’s Avalon/Bardot. Check out these events and so much more here.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

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Wait! One More Thing...

Restaurant Owners Getting Closer To Staying Outside

A young woman with a ponytail, wearing a white shirt and black pants, with a blue face mask and a large plastic face shield, waits on diners in the outdoor patio area of a restaurant where several wood tables with wicker-backed chairs are positioned around tall space heaters behind a chain-linked posts.
A wait staff employee takes customers' orders in the outdoor seating area of a restaurant in Los Angeles on Jan. 28, 2021.
(Valerie Macon
AFP via Getty Images)

For today’s food story, we’re going to step away from culinary dishes in L.A. and bask in the ambience in which we enjoy our special meals … just in time for spring and summer.

This week the city of Los Angeles planning commission voted in favor of an Al Fresco dining ordinance, unveiled by Mayor Karen Bass in April, that would make it easier to serve customers outdoors.

Eateries have been at risk of losing some of the outdoor spaces they set up to serve customers during the pandemic because the COVID-era ordinance that allowed them to create more outdoor dining is set to expire next week. Now, it appears that dining al fresco is getting closer to becoming a permanent thing.

Read what a few restaurant owners have to say about the city officials’ decision and what’s next for the mayor’s proposal here.

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