LABJ's LA Stories
Not coming soon to a theater near you: "Extreme Chickfights."
The video documenting unsanctioned boxing events in the backyards and warehouses of L.A. is making the rounds, produced by a woman named Marie, who refused to give her last name and claimed to be a former producer of reality shows.
"I grew up fighting a lot." said Marie. "And reality TV is so fake it's a misnomer. I like producing quirky and voyeuristic stuff."
The combatants, who range from housewives to serious boxers, can choose between fighting bare-fisted, with boxing gloves and headgear, or kickboxing. Winners typically receive $150.
"I love boxing and train at a pro boxing gym, but the opportunities for women to fight in the pro boxing world are pretty slim, so you really have to be serious about it," said Chickfights headliner Elle Nucci, a.k.a. Moroccan Princess, a 29-year-old Hollywood bartender who boxes with headgear. "I'd do it for free even if there was no prize money."
Marie said that at every event she has a licensed referee, and a physician to give participants a pre-fight exam.
With non-professionals and no door fee, the fights fall outside the purview of the State Athletic Commission, which regulates full-contact sports. Rob Lynch, executive officer at the commission said the matches are frowned on, but not illegal.
"There's a big concern about events like this for health and safety issues," he said. "At fights we regulate, if you get knocked out or cut, you get a certain suspension time for recovery. But for fights like this, if you get knocked out on Friday you fight again Saturday."
It was only a matter of time. Playboy and online marketing firm Barefootland Inc. have teamed up to start sending virtual strippers.
"One of the largest online markets is greeting cards," said Stephen Bugbee, director of sales and marketing at Encino-based Barefootland. "But no one had taken the step to video."
With Playboy Enterprises already a client, it was easy for Bugbee to arrange for Playmate Devin Devasquez to participate in one of the three-minute streaming videos.
What seems like a no-brainer hadn't been done before, he said, because of technological difficulties in delivering content across different platforms. "We've solved that problem," Bugbee said, by using Flash-enabled videos viewable on both Macs and PCs and over dial-up connections.
With nudity out of the way, Barefootland is ready for comedy.
"On April First we are launching Fun-E-Gram, which will show comedy clips," said Bugbee. "And by the summer we hope to come out with sports clips."
Tired of watching Atkins-addicted friends eat only the cheese off the pizza?
Brad Saltzman, co-founder of Pure Foods LLC, has hired chefs Stephanie Goldfarb and Marissa Mitchell to come up with a low-carbohydrate menu for his Pure Foods Low Carb Caf & #233; in Beverly Hills.
Goldfarb and Mitchell, whose celebrity clientele has included Halle Berry and Quentin Tarantino, have cooked up a menu catering to the demands of the Atkins diet, which eschews carbohydrates and embraces protein and fat. The caf & #233; will feature not just salads and sandwiches, but low-carb pastas and even a low-carb Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.
Saltzman said he plans to open similar restaurants across Southern California and distribute the low-carb products nationally, taking a bite of a market he said was projected to hit $15 billion last year.
The Roving Eye
The C. G. Jung Institute takes on a new patient: Los Angeles.
The psychoanalytic institute is sponsoring a weekend conference (Jan. 31-Feb. 1) at Mount St. Mary's College called "Myths of L.A."
"This conference is really an analysis of a city," said Dr. John Beebe, a San Francisco Jungian analyst who will be speaking at the gathering. "We will be looking at its myths and archetypes, at people's projections about the city and the myths that have come to life on its soil."
Other speakers include rock musicians (John Densmore of The Doors), writers, historians and psychoanalysts.
Beebe explains that Jungian psychology increasingly is used to understand cultural complexes, and in a city that tends to be self-absorbed, this might seem fitting. "There are various pollutants in our culture," he said, "lots of unexamined unconscious ideas that can influence us and damage us. L.A. has a rich, rich atmosphere to study the psychology of culture."
The conference will be attended by what he described as an audience interested in "depth psychology," which examines cultural archetypes and their influences on the psyche. The question is how archetypes become part of Jung's "collective unconscious" and how that unconscious filters out.
Jungian analysis is a tool to dissect the tension between self and city. And perhaps there is no better place to study the issue than Los Angeles, where myths take form and movie makers become mythic.
"In Los Angeles," said Dr. Brad TePaske, a Jungian analyst and the conference chairman, "our media industry influences the collective consciousness of the entire planet."
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