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Morning Briefing: Anti-Lockdown Protesters Demonstrate At LA’s City Hall, And Circus Of Books Is Memorialized

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Times were already changing in L.A. before the pandemic, albeit much slower and in different ways. As developers bought up land (thanks, in some cases, to alleged bribes) and gentrifiers pushed longtime residents out, icons of the city began to close down.

Among them was Circus of Books, the West Hollywood bookstore and gay porn shop that shut its doors in February of 2019. Located at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and La Jolla Avenue, the store was as famous for its welcoming atmosphere as it was for the products it carried.

Now, the shop is being memorialized in a Netflix documentary. Talking to Mike Roe about the film, former store owners Barry and Karen Mason reflected on what they’ve heard from customers about what the store has meant to them. Karen told him:

"There were a lot of people who were closer to my age who had been through the AIDS epidemic, except they were still there, because that store saved their lives.”

The shop has been brought back to life as ChiChi LaRue’s Circus, but for many people, the original shop was a place to go for safety, togetherness and feeling like a part of something bigger than themselves.
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It’s a timely reminder of how important community is during a crisis — and a nudge of encouragement to stay in touch with your chosen or chosen-for-you family, so we can rebuild together when the time comes.

Coming Up Today, April 23

There's pressure on Orange County officials to denounce recent hate incidents in the area, and the Asian community and their supporters have sent a letter asking for help. Josie Huang has the story.

Sharon McNary looks at how the glut of oil and collapse of demand is being felt in Southern California, including layoffs and oil tankers lined up offshore.

The owners of San Gabriel Valley restaurant Chengdu Taste, which brought Sichuan cuisine to a wider audience, has closed down all of their restaurants during COVID-19. Fiona Ng reports.

Join KPCC/LAist business and economy reporter David Wagner and Loree Levy of California’s Employment Development Department to talk about the best way to get your unemployment claim processed, and what the federal coronavirus aid package means for you.

It’s Take Your Kid To Work Day, and there’s a lot to unpack there on a normal day. But it’s not so normal, and Lisa Brenner has some thoughts.

Christine N. Ziemba has a list of 14 online happenings, including a screening of a 7.5-hour film, women-centric comedy from Flappers, stay-at-home First Fridays sessions from NHM and the Room Service Music festival.

Doctors say fewer heart attack and stroke patients have been coming into the ER. Elly Yu reports that they're concerned patients are avoiding care because of fear of COVID-19.

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Libby Denkmann talked to candidates Christy Smith and Mike Garcia, both running to replace Katie Hill in CA-25, about their coronavirus plans and how to (safely) get back to normal life.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are at least 16,435 coronavirus cases and 729 deaths in L.A. County. There are more than 37,000 cases and 1,400 deaths in California, and over 2.6 million cases and 183,000 deaths worldwide. CA Gov. Gavin Newsom provided updates on the six factors being used to decide when to ease stay-at-home restrictions. L.A. officials will provide more help to renters slammed by the coronavirus.

Hollywood Legends: Musso & Frank has filed a lawsuit against its insurance company, alleging its coronavirus-related claims were wrongly denied. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is limiting the number of passengers on its 30-foot DASH buses to 10, and on its 35-foot buses to 12.

The Protesters Are In The Hall: A vocal group of anti-lockdown protesters gathered near City Hall in downtown L.A. to honk their horns and hold up signs. The governor of Georgia wants to reopen the state's movie theaters as early as this week, but they’re unlikely to get their hands on any new titles.

COVID-19 And Immigration: Local immigrant advocates say they believe the Trump administration is using the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to further tighten already strict immigration rules. As the financial crisis worsens, some immigrants face the decision of paying their rent and buying food or sending money back to their home countries.

California Kids: We've compiled a list of online activities, learning sites, and fun things to keep children occupied and active. A coalition of students from University of California, Cal State and community college campuses is asking administrators for more help coping with the coronavirus crisis.

Taking America’s Pulse: The Census Bureau is rolling out a $1.2 million experiment called the "Household Pulse Survey" to measure how the pandemic is upending life for U.S. households.

In Non-COVID-19 News

As part of our “Unwind Live” series, watch our conversation with NPR science reporter and Invisiblia cofounder Lulu Miller and entrepreneur and author Erica Williams Simon.

A 3.7-magnitude earthquake jolted some L.A. County residents awake just after 12 a.m. Wednesday.

The daughter of the couple that ran Circus of Books, the iconic bookstore/gay porn shop in West Hollywood, is telling its story in a new Netflix documentary.

Low-income residents of South L.A., Watts and Boyle Heights are having a difficult time signing up for the free or low-cost internet being advertised by major providers like AT&T.

Goodbye cool weather: it’s time for some 90 degree temperatures over the next few days.

County officials may unfreeze $83 million of Sheriff's Department funds, per Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s request.

Your Moment Of Zen

Making art out of the current moment is enough to lift our spirits. This mural is located on the corner of La Brea and San Vicente.

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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