News: Hyatt Plans to double brand presence in the Middle East

News: Hyatt Plans to double brand presence in the Middle East

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Hyatt Hotels Corporation is planning to expand Hyatt’s brand footprint in the Middle East with the signing of management agreements by a Hyatt affiliate for 14 Hyatt-branded hotels across the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Place, and HYATT house brands.

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April 29, 2017 at 03:58AM

My Backyard

My Backyard

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Link to Derek Sivers on Tim Ferris

Yesterday I mentioned that I was hanging out with Derek and maybe you don’t know who he is! Here’s a link to a podcast interview with Tim Ferriss you may enjoy!

Daily Photo – My Backyard

This is one of the very first photos I took with the X1D. The sun was getting kind of a low, and we have a bunch of land out back where sometimes I go for a wander. I decided to take my new toy out with me! I was basically testing different F-Stops… this is where I ended up at F/22. The F/16 shot looked 95% the same, except this one kept the bits in the foreground a weeeeee bit sharper. This was taken with the 30mm lens.

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-21 23:54:05
  • CameraX1D-50c
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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April 29, 2017 at 02:27AM

Disastrous Fyre Festival in Bahamas Shows Event-Planning Isn’t for Amateurs

Disastrous Fyre Festival in Bahamas Shows Event-Planning Isn’t for Amateurs

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Fyre Festival

Fyre Festival promised to arrange ticket-buyers’ complimentary flights but the entire event turned into a fiasco. Fyre Festival

Skift Take: If you promote it, they will come. But you DO have to build it, and the Fyre Festival obviously didn’t.

— Dennis Schaal

What ticket holders thought would be a weekend in paradise turned into a nightmare when a super-exclusive music festival in the Bahamas became a disorganized disaster, stranding attendees who in some cases paid tens of thousands of dollars.

Hyped by glossy ads featuring supermodels including Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, and Gigi Hadid, the Fyre Festival promised “the culture experience of the decade” in a tropical wonderland of yachts, villas, and gourmet cuisine. Ticket prices went into five-figures for special VIP treatment, though general admission packages were available starting from $1,200.

When they arrived at the festival site in Exuma, guests said they found a dire, unfinished campsite. They described their “luxury” accommodations as disaster relief tents, many still un-built. Baggage arrived in a shipping container. For dinner, they were served bread, cold cuts, cheese slices, and a side salad in a styrofoam box.

Marquee names such as Pusha T, Major Lazer, Disclosure, and Migos were scheduled to play. Blink 182 canceled just before the event, citing concerns the band wouldn’t “have what we need” to give a quality performance. In the weeks leading up to the festival date, organizers allegedly missed payment deadlines to artists and were scrambling to pay the acts in full, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal [subscription].

The event was organized by rapper Ja Rule and entrepreneur Billy McFarland, who is also the founder and chief executive of Magnises, a social club for “elite” millennials. According to a report by Business Insider, some members of that enterprise claimed last-minute trip cancellations, scheduling failures, and unwanted charges on their cards.

The festival’s namesake is Fyre Media, a talent booking startup founded by the Ja Rule and McFarland in 2015. “We didn’t just want to be a tech company that was a pure enterprise with no consumer awareness,” McFarland said in a recent Vanity Fair interview. “So a festival was a great way to go and do that and beyond people who are attending.”

Things apparently didn’t turn out as planned, though it remains unclear exactly what went wrong. Festival organizers said Friday they are “working tirelessly” to get attendees home safely.

“Due to circumstances out of our control, the physical infrastructure was not in place on time and we are unable to fulfill on that vision safely and enjoyably for our guests,” the organizers said in a statement. “The festival is being postponed until we can further assess if and when we are able to create the high-quality experience we envisioned.”

The event’s implosion was so calamitous it prompted a Bahamian government agency to issue a statement on the matter. “We are extremely disappointed in the way the events unfolded yesterday with the Fyre Festival. We offer a heartfelt apology to all who traveled to our country for this event,” the Ministry of Tourism said Friday. The U.S. embassy in the Bahamas didn’t respond to a request for comment.

While the official policy stated on the Fyre Festival’s website said no refunds would be issued, following an outcry on social media, the company said they would provide refund information. This is probably a smart move, given what could follow: “It sounds like a clear breach of contract case,” said Randall Kessler, a Georgia-based attorney. “They didn’t deliver what they promised.”

According to Dylan Caccamesi, who paid about $1,200 to attend, organizers asked those seeking refunds to write their names, email addresses, and phone numbers on pieces of computer paper. He signed the paper in the hope that it would help guarantee a refund. “I’m not sure what the intent was,” the 22-year-old from New Jersey said in a phone interview from the Bahamas. “We still have to get a hold of them.”

Caccamesi said an email was also sent by the festival promising a refund, citing unforeseen circumstances, but detailed information has yet to be provided.

“I haven’t been on a vacation in a while. I was like, ‘I’ll be living luxurious!’ It was supposed to be good for like, high class youth. A higher expectations festival,” he said.

If he doesn’t receive a refund, Caccamesi doesn’t anticipate he’ll go the legal route. Instead, he plans to lobby his banking provider to issue a chargeback. However, he added that among the well-heeled festival attendees, “there has been talk of a class action.”

In the meantime Caccamesi is trying to make the best of a bad situation. “We have no idea what’s going on,” he said. “We’re just sitting on the beach getting wasted.”

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Kim Bhasin and Polly Mosendz from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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April 28, 2017 at 06:36PM

Postscript: Vito Acconci, 1940–2017

Postscript: Vito Acconci, 1940–2017

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The coruscating Vito Acconci died on Thursday, at the age of seventy-seven. He was an American original, who began his career as a poet—a jittery Beckett—leaving his native New York (he was born in the Bronx) for the wilds of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the mid-sixties. Back home, he drifted from the downtown poetry scene into the art world, where his work in performance and video was foundational to the histories of both art forms. Acconci defies labels—later in his career he transformed his interest in public space into an unorthodox architectural practice, which never attained the transformative power of his art. But, of his great early work, one could say that he made a medium out of menace. It’s impossible to imagine, for example, Jordan Wolfson’s violent provocation at this year’s Whitney biennial without the precedent of Acconci’s piece “Claim Excerpts,” from 1971, for which he videotaped himself wielding a metal pipe at the foot of the stairs of a gallery basement and televised his threats on a closed-circuit TV. On Twitter, the late artist’s tag line was, “Vito Acconci is now following you,” a reference to “Following PIece,” from 1969, for which he tailed a random stranger every day for one autumn month in New York City, until the stranger entered a private domain. He said of the piece, “I am almost not an ‘I’ anymore; I put myself in the service of this scheme,” just as he offered up his most primal emotions—shame, lust, fear—in the service of art. In his most infamous work, “Seedbed,” from 1971, he built a wooden ramp in the Sonnabend gallery and masturbated below it, as unsuspecting visitors walked up above. Unsuspecting, that is, until Acconci began to speak, in response to visitors’ movements.  A fragments of those improvised words, read today, rings elegiac about his impact on past, present, and future generations of artists: “Reasons to move away from a space: there’s no need to stay—I’ve left something there, outside, that used to be here, inside—I’ve left something there that can grow, develop, on its own.”

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April 28, 2017 at 04:30PM

Royal Caribbean Sees a China Slowdown But Other Markets Are Thriving

Royal Caribbean Sees a China Slowdown But Other Markets Are Thriving

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Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean Cruises said business in Asia has been struggling due to tensions between China and Korea. In this photo, Ovation of the Seas — one of the Royal Caribbean International ships that sails from China — is shown in Singapore. Royal Caribbean International

Skift Take: As cruise executives often say, having ships all over the world means some areas boom while others struggle. At the moment, China-Korea tensions are hurting Royal Caribbean’s business in Asia, but other regions are strong.

— Hannah Sampson

Royal Caribbean’s China strategy ran into some rough waters as the operator dropped South Korean ports amid tensions between the two nations — but the cruise company has seeing business in other parts the world perk up.

In a first-quarter earnings call Friday, executives with Royal Caribbean Cruises said demand for China sailings declined when the operator made itinerary changes swapping in Japanese ports for stops in Korea.

The changes, which prompted “a bit of turmoil and uncertainty,” came in mid-March as the relationship between the countries grew strained over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea. Demand has been returning to normal levels, executives said.

“There was a slowdown and there was a little bit of confusion in the market because everything had to be adjusted and itineraries had to be changed,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “The fortunate thing is that Japan is very popular with Chinese consumers; we actually started to see some demand coming in because of changes that had been made.”

Sailings in China are more fully booked than they were last year at this time, but Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty would not say how prices were holding up compared to 2016. He also didn’t venture a guess about how long the cruise company would stay away from Korean ports with ships that sail from China.

“Talking about how long do we think the disruption is going to last, that requires a crystal ball that we don’t own,” Liberty said. Bayley said some observers are hopeful that the situation will be resolved following the presidential election in South Korea in May.

Royal Caribbean’s decade-long stretch in the China market has included several hiccups, including disruptions due to a dispute with Japan, natural disasters, and illness outbreaks.

“I think we just have to adapt and I believe that we’re kind of getting used to these curveballs when they come at us,” Bayley said.

Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of the parent company, said he still believes in the long-term potential of China.

“It’s such a large and growing market, and when you see the thing I like to quote — which is that there will be more middle-class Chinese than the population of either the United States or of all of Europe — you simply say, ‘Yes, we wil have bumps in the road and sometimes those bumps will be big bumps,’” he said. “But it’s still part of an onward, upward trajectory, so that’s the way I think  we’re looking at this.”

The company announced earlier this week that it is sending another giant new ship to the Asia-Pacific region — it will sail in Australia, Singapore, and China — in 2019.

“Obviously making the decision to put…a brand new ship in the market talks about our confidence in China,” Liberty said.

Morningstar analyst Jaime Katz wrote in a note to investors that the company can always pivot if declines in demand warrant a change.

“At this time, we believe the company has positioned its deployments to maximize its revenue opportunities given the current economic environment,” she wrote. “But we would expect it to act nimbly, reallocating hardware if waning demand began to surface in any of its key deployment markets ahead, as we don’t expect economic expansion to be perpetual.”

Other Markets

The Caribbean and Europe more than offset any slump in China for the quarter, executives said.

Liberty said bookings for both regions were ahead of the same time last year in both occupancy and pricing. North American demand for European cruises has been particularly robust, he said — a contrast to early 2016, when Americans were more hesitant about crossing the Atlantic following terror attacks. The company likes to get more Americans on Mediterranean sailings because they book earlier and spend more than European passengers.

Overall, Royal Caribbean had a standout first quarter. Profits rose from $99 million last year to $214.7 million this year as revenues increased from $1.9 billion to $2 billion and costs fell more than 4 percent.

Yields, or the revenue generated per berth per day, were up 6 percent. The company increased its forecast for the rest of the year.

Shares rose 6 percent to $106.60.

The results prompted Fain to invoke the image “of a duck gliding calmly through the water” and the unseen efforts that power that action.

“As we look at the scene from the shore, all we see is an elegant duck gliding serenely across the pond,” he said. “But under the surface, there is a lot of fierce activity with a lot of energetic paddling.”

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April 28, 2017 at 04:01PM

Heath Hen Sculpture in Edgartown, Massachussetts

Heath Hen Sculpture in Edgartown, Massachussetts

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Booming Ben, the last heath hen ever seen before the birds’ extinction, was last spotted near the airport on Martha’s Vineyard. Today, a sculpture of a heath hen memorializes the lost species at that very spot.

Heath hens were once very plentiful between New Hampshire and Virginia in the United States. They were also considered very good to eat, and were nearly extinct from being hunted by 1870. (It has been suggested that a heath hen, not a turkey, was consumed at the first Thanksgiving.)

The only heath hens left by 1870 were found on Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. In 1908, a Heath Hen Reserve, now Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, was established for the last 70 hens. The species rallied briefly, its numbers eventually reaching 2,000, but a devastating forest fire, along with environmental challenges like severe winters and predators, reduced the population to just 12 or 13 birds by 1927. One of these stragglers, a male named Booming Ben, was last seen on March 11, 1932.

The heath hen is one of five birds sculpted as part of Todd McGrain’s Lost Birds Project. McGrain, a Guggenheim Fellow and artist in residence at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, was already working on bird sculptures when he read Hope is the Thing with Feathers, Christopher Cokinos’s account of how several species of birds in North America went extinct. The Lost Bird Project also includes ceramic statues of a great auk, a Labrador duck, a passenger pigeon, and a Carolina parakeet.

Each statue was placed where its species was last seen. In the case of the heath hen, that was just off what is currently a bike path in Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. Traveling collections displaying all five bird sculptures can also be seen around the country.

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April 28, 2017 at 03:09PM

Etihad Lends Its Support to Air Berlin Despite Mounting Losses

Etihad Lends Its Support to Air Berlin Despite Mounting Losses

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Andreas Wiese  / Air Berlin

An Air Berlin aircraft. The carrier has reported increased losses. Andreas Wiese / Air Berlin

Skift Take: For the moment shareholder Etihad is sticking by the struggling carrier. It will be hoping that Air Berlin can turn things around and not go the same way as Alitalia.

— Patrick Whyte

Etihad Airways PJSC plans to stand by Air Berlin Plc even after its German partner reported soaring operating losses as a strategic overhaul struggled to gain traction.

Germany’s second-largest carrier is shedding tourism and point-to-point operations, shrinking its fleet by half to transform itself into a network airline. The process contributed to pushing the operating loss to 667 million euros ($739 million) last year, more than twice the 2015 level. This year hasn’t got off to a strong start, with the first-quarter loss widening 58 percent to 272 million euros, Air Berlin said in a statement.

Air Berlin’s mounting losses highlights the urgency for Etihad, which has backed several bailouts. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier also faces the collapse of Italian partner Alitalia SpA, leaving its strategy of building bridgeheads in Europe in tatters. Alitalia has informed Italian authorities that it plans to start the process of naming an administrator. A shareholders meeting is planned for May 2.

Etihad, which owns 49 percent of Alitalia and just under 30 percent of Air Berlin, insisted that German airline was on the right track.

“We are seeing the first structural changes that are necessary to create a sustainable future for Air Berlin,” Etihad Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said in a statement, adding that the current strategy is “the right one.”

Air Berlin has supplied 35 aircraft and crew flying point-to-point routes to German rival Deutsche Lufthansa AG as part of a lease agreement that covers a total of 38 planes. An additional 35 airliners serving leisure routes were transferred to its Austrian Niki arm, which it is selling to Etihad to combine with TUI AG’s German aviation unit.

Still, questions remain whether the strategy will ultimately stabilize Air Berlin. Focus magazine reported Friday that Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr will travel to the Persian Gulf next week to discuss with Etihad how to finance a possible takeover of Air Berlin. The magazine didn’t say how it got the information. Lufthansa confirmed Spohr will be on a trip accompanying Chancellor Angela Merkel in the region, declining to comment further.

Air Berlin will publish its 2016 annual report on May 2 and release full first-quarter details by May 19.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

 

This article was written by Richard Weiss from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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April 28, 2017 at 03:04PM

Heath Hen Sculpture in Edgartown, Massachussetts

Heath Hen Sculpture in Edgartown, Massachussetts

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Booming Ben, the last heath hen ever seen before the birds’ extinction, was last spotted near the airport on Martha’s Vineyard. Today, a sculpture of a heath hen memorializes the lost species at that very spot.

Heath hens were once very plentiful between New Hampshire and Virginia in the United States. They were also considered very good to eat, and were nearly extinct from being hunted by 1870. (It has been suggested that a heath hen, not a turkey, was consumed at the first Thanksgiving.)

The only heath hens left by 1870 were found on Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. In 1908, a Heath Hen Reserve, now Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, was established for the last 70 hens. The species rallied briefly, its numbers eventually reaching 2,000, but a devastating forest fire, along with environmental challenges like severe winters and predators, reduced the population to just 12 or 13 birds by 1927. One of these stragglers, a male named Booming Ben, was last seen on March 11, 1932.

The heath hen is one of five birds sculpted as part of Todd McGrain’s Lost Birds Project. McGrain, a Guggenheim Fellow and artist in residence at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, was already working on bird sculptures when he read Hope is the Thing with Feathers, Christopher Cokinos’s account of how several species of birds in North America went extinct. The Lost Bird Project also includes ceramic statues of a great auk, a Labrador duck, a passenger pigeon, and a Carolina parakeet.

Each statue was placed where its species was last seen. In the case of the heath hen, that was just off what is currently a bike path in Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. Traveling collections displaying all five bird sculptures can also be seen around the country.

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April 28, 2017 at 03:03PM

British Airways Is Giving Its JFK Terminal a Royal Makeover

British Airways Is Giving Its JFK Terminal a Royal Makeover

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British Airways has shared renderings in a press release of planned upgrades to its flagship airport space in the USA — Terminal 7 at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. The airline will spend an estimated $65 Million on the updates.

British Airways new premium check-in area at JFK
British Airways’ new premium check-in area at JFK. Rendering courtesy of the airline.

“We are currently working behind-the-scenes with top architects and designers to create a beautiful new space for our customers to relax, dine and work in before they take off.  The new environment at Terminal 7 is designed for our customers to enjoy a smoother, faster and more relaxed airport experience. This will involve significantly increasing the number of people we can seat for in-flight dining, re-styling the space and adding new lighting, bars and furniture,” said Abigail Comber, British Airways Head of Customer.

The airline trumpeted the opening of its new lounge in Boston, and said that it’ll be making upgrades to its lounges in Aberdeen, Rome, Geneva, San Francisco, Chicago, Johannesburg and Manchester.

New check-in area for all BA passengers at JFK
New check-in area for all BA passengers at JFK. Rendering courtesy of the airline.

According to the airline, these are all the changes it’s making at JFK T7:

  • An enhanced, spacious check-in area for a fast, efficient customer journey.
  • An exclusive new premium check-in zone with fast-track security lane.
  • Redesigned and updated lounges with more space to relax, dine, and work.
  • The introduction of an authentic New York culinary experience with local food and beverage concepts to satisfy a variety of tastes.
  • An immersive retail environment for duty free shopping and concessions.
  • New gate seating areas with additional power outlets, designed for customer comfort and convenience.

BA has been making an effort to invest in its top customers — including a new first-class check-in area at London Heathrow (LHR) and a re-designed Club World (business class) product to roll out in 2019. In June, new catering will be introduced at the Heathrow business lounges, and breakfast service will be extended until 11am. Starting in July, fresh new linen, bigger pillows, a soft mattress topper and duvet will be introduced on board to increase passenger comfort.

However, BA has also been downgrading the economy product in some cases. Last year, it replaced the customary second meal in World Traveler (economy) on long-haul flights under 8.5 hours with a meal replacement bar. Some snacks, such as Pringles, are now available for purchase. Earlier this month, CEO Alex Cruz said BA may consider charging World Traveler passengers for meals on long-haul flights, following a “rough start” in introducing buy onboard meals on shorter flights.

Would these updates make you more likely to fly British Airways to London?

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April 28, 2017 at 02:52PM

The Unrest That Led to the L.A. Riots, Twenty-Five Years On

The Unrest That Led to the L.A. Riots, Twenty-Five Years On

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The video of Rodney King—the motorist whose beating by the Los Angeles Police Department, in 1991, would ultimately spark six days of violent unrest—asking “Can we all get along?” is still, twenty-five years later, astonishing to watch. He made the remarks at an impromptu press conference at his lawyer’s office on the third day of the violence, which began on April 29, 1992, after the cops who were caught on camera beating him were acquitted of any wrongdoing. King’s voice is unsteady; he fumbles for the words and appears on the verge of tears. He is overcome. As he speaks, buildings are burning in his name. Cars have been set aflame. More than eleven thousand arrests will be made in less than a week. Two thousand injuries will be reported, and fifty-five people, most of them African-American, will die. King’s question became a meme almost instantly, before most of us knew that word. It was ridiculed as infantile. How would it be possible to get along in a city where the police operate above the law, where African-Americans suffer daily under the lash of a crooked justice system that echoes the brutality of slave catchers and overseers? How can we get along when Korean shop owners are targeted and attacked, their businesses burned, and they stand on rooftops armed with high-calibre weapons in broad daylight as firefights erupt on city streets? How can we get along when Reginald Denny, a white truck driver who was hauling gravel past the corner of Florence and Normandie, was pulled from his cab and beat nearly to death by fists, boots, and a brick hurled with full force, from point-blank range, at his temple? These were the circumstances in Los Angeles in the spring of 1992. Obviously, we could not get along. And yet King’s question is striking today for its endurance as much as for its innocence. It still hangs in the air, still taunts us.

To explore the question with any kind of earnestness demands a careful and human consideration of all that led to the riots. This is the approach taken by the ABC documentary “Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992,” which screened in a few theatres last weekend and has its television première on Friday night. The feature-length film, directed by the “12 Years A Slave” screenwriter and “American Crime” showrunner John Ridley, is one of a slew of documentaries marking the event’s twenty-fifth anniversary. What sets Ridley’s apart is not the power of the archival footage but the interviews that he has done and the time that he takes with them. As the title indicates, Ridley begins a decade before the world heard about Rodney King, chronicling the death of James Mincey, a black motorist who was maced and choked to death in his mother’s driveway after failing to comply with a routine traffic stop for a cracked windshield. Mincey’s death is recalled by his girlfriend. Like all the interviewees in the film, she is shot warmly, close enough for us to see her thinking and feeling, but not so close as to feel invasive.

Mincey’s death by chokehold was a public-relations nightmare for the L.A.P.D., which claimed that he was on PCP before a toxicology report refuted that pretense. Tensions were further exacerbated when Daryl Gates, the police chief at the time, suggested that black people might be more likely to die from a chokehold than “normal people.” Soon after Mincey’s death, chokeholds were banned, and officers used metal batons instead. Gates would remain the chief of police through the beating of Rodney King and the riots.

Ridley also zeroes in on the death of Karen Toshima, a twenty-seven-year-old graphic artist, in Westwood, in February, 1988. Toshima was caught in crossfire during a shootout between rival gangs in the posh neighborhood. The L.A.P.D. responded to the ensuing panic, driven largely by the fear that the gang problem was beginning to affect non-black neighborhoods, by undertaking mass arrests and “enhanced” enforcement. Thousands of new officers were quickly hired, shoddily trained, and sent forth with a singular mission to “bring the hammer down.” In one April weekend that year, one thousand four hundred and fifty-three people were arrested.

That was also the year that N.W.A. recorded “Straight Outta Compton,” addressing police brutality on a record that would go triple platinum, and capturing the feeling of turbulence and trouble in the neighborhoods south of the 10 freeway. While the acquittal of the officers who beat King is remembered as the event that incited the riots, fewer accounts today mention the shooting of Latasha Harlins, which took place less than two weeks after the beating of King came to light. Harlins was a fifteen-year-old in South Central who got into a dispute with a Korean shopkeeper named Soon Ja Du. Du accused Harlins of attempting to steal a carton of orange juice. Security footage showed that the altercation becoming heated, with Du grabbing Harlins, Harlins throwing blows at the fifty-one-year-old Du, and Du then throwing a stool at the child. When Harlins tried to leave, without the orange juice, Du shot her in the back of the head, killing her instantly. Eyewitnesses reported, and the L.A.P.D. later concluded, that Harlins was not trying to steal the orange juice but, rather, had it in her open backpack, with money in her hand to pay for it. Eight months later, Du was found guilty of manslaughter, and the jury recommended the maximum sentence of sixteen years. But the trial judge, Joyce Karlin, instead sentenced her to five years probation, four hundred hours of community service, and a five-hundred-dollar fine. “This is not a time for revenge,” Karlin said in her sentencing remarks. Less than six months later, most of the stores burned during the riots were Korean-owned. Korean business owners formed ad hoc militias; footage presented in “Let It Fall” shows these groups exchanging gunfire in the middle of the streets.

Ridley gives most of the film over to people who were there, letting them tell their stories. Each person who lost someone in the riots maintains a quiet, loving reserve, as though the grief is so permanent that it does not need acknowledgement. Ridley’s camera gives these emotional nuances time to present themselves. He extends this courtesy to the L.A.P.D. as well. We hear the officer who choked James Mincey to death justify his decision as normal police work gone wrong. We hear the commanding lieutenant of the department’s seventy-seventh division, who made the ill-fated decision to retreat from the corner of Seventy-first and Normandie, which allowed the rioting to spread. (Denny was attacked a block south of there shortly afterward.) He says that he felt he did all that he could. We are ready to recognize the humanity of those who were victims of an unequal system; the film’s poise forces us to recognize, as well, the humanity of those who served as executioners. “Let It Fall” maintains a remarkable balance, laying bare how deeply the system was designed to oppress some and privilege others, and still portraying all the players in that system simply as flawed human beings. Ridley tells a story in which there are no winners, just losers of varying degrees, mostly determined by race and class.

Almost no one who is interviewed—from the men who attacked Reginald Denny to the parents of slain children to the officers who killed unarmed citizens—looks back with certainty that they would have done anything differently. And so the story that the film tells feels, rightfully, unresolved. The causes and conditions of the riots in Los Angeles in 1992—appalling racial injustice and a largely white state force rarely held accountable—persist. As does King’s question. But twenty-five years later, it has become less of a question and more of a prayer.

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April 28, 2017 at 02:33PM

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