Murder on the Beat

by Katharine Elizabeth Monahan Huntley

“I could run to the liquor store.  Or, we could go somewhere else,” said Mac.  He didn’t drink, and I didn’t blink.  We could only think India Tandoori was a bust.  Someone under 21 had been overserved.  ABC observed.  I opted for the masala tea, which did not arrive until after the meal.  The ritual was enough for me.  Salaam Bombay, Burbank!

Back to NoHo, we pulled up from Vineland Place, and parked on the right of Huston.  Jordan was passing by in the middle of the street.  Mac hailed, leaning into the driver’s side window.  Wallie’s newest hair client, wearing a Grinchmas sweatshirt, was tentatively crossing over from First Hydro’s side of the street.  Wallie and Raquel to greet.

“The Social,” is an apartment complex located within North Hollywood’s Arts’ District “Pizza Slice”—the triangle of Vineland, Lankershim, and Camarillo.  Fast cars drag race late nites over the hill to Hollywood—flashing by the red neon signs of Johnny’s Auto Body and the Colony Inn, rife with sin.  It bills itself to tourists as the “Hotel Near Universal Studios.”

Levi Ponce’s mural, Baby Buddha, Bob Marley, and Jimi, is painted on the backside of Big Boss Records studio.  They keep a watchful eye over Huston Street, the strip that perpendiculates Mr. Patel’s no tell motel from Ponce’s “Soliloquy,” protector of the wholesome, homeless, hoes, anything goes.

I remembered Jordan’s jacket, left over from our last party.  I went up to the apartment, Mac did the fetch.  Still sorting through mail, I heard the kvetch.

Mac heard the pops.

Then called the cops.

From my fourth floor sliding glass door, I watched Mac lean into the SUV’s passenger’s side window offering comfort to the victim’s girlfriend.  Then I went in with the photo ops.

Mac’s car was blocked in as part of the crime scene.  After waiting over an hour to be questioned, he left his contact info and bailed a few blocks over to his “Living in NoHo” apartment on Magnolia Blvd.

The detectives strolled floor to floor, door to door.  I let them know I was Mac’s mama.  The handsome detective, who looked like he stepped out of a TV cop drama said, “Oh, your son, the actor?”  Everyone is so pretty in L.A.

I called MacGuinness who, in reality, is not an actor, but a Kiwami by Katsuya Sushi Master for actors like Only Murders in the Building’s Selena Gomez and Captain America’s Chris Evans. 

He was at once annoyed and anxious.  “You take so many pictures and videos, but you don’t know who’s watching you.”

True.  A diehard true crime fan, on pause was Dig Deeper.  On the podcast, “My Favorite Murder.”  Bookmarked, Chapter 5, “A Female Killer” from Ann Wolbert Burgess’ A Killer by Design.  It’s my hometown murder story.

I texted my principal and priest and tried to rest.

Opening the bedroom blinds the next morning, I spotted an oversized plush duck, what the fuck, perched next to the fire hydrant pert on high alert.  It remained there as a shrine for months, during sun and rain, where it became sad soaked sodden downtrodden.

Research showed “Mikey” as a 49er fan, FB friends with many, including Thumps, Parody, and Jessa, Sales Manager of North Hollywood Toyota.  I entertained the idea of walking down Lankershim, to perhaps share the experience.  Jessa, however, has also inexplicably passed.  I lit a virtual candle for Mr. Michael James Roskowick on the Mount Sinai website, and contemplated the “wick” in his name.  I combed through The Homicide Report and alarmed myself with violence afoot . . . I reflected upon the North Hollywood Shootout, aka, the Battle of North Hollywood.

I watched incessantly obsessively Wallie worried me taking it too seriously.  She’s Puerto Rican and raised in Allentown, P.A.  Just another day of foul play.

November 29, 2022.  A year to the day, I was in Tuesday school mass to pray.  Listening to Father Alexander’s homily, I faded to black.  Six firefighters came to carry me out of the church.  Ashley was only too happy with the 911 to provide the 411 and flirt.  They looked like they had just stepped out of Backdraft.

My eerily prescient 4th grade student, Malala, told me I had turned to her and whispered, “Save Me” before I went from kneel to keel.

Malala’s mama peacefully passed November 2023.

Fast forward to February 23.  Dinner at Black Market Liquor Bar with MacGuinness’ roommate Andrew “Gaga” Rafeh, and our astrologist friend, Kristina. Andrew recounts being awoken at 1:40ish A.M. overhearing two people in a heat on the street; behavior normalized in NoHo.  Atmospheric river rain lulls to doze, then Andrew sharply arose to, “Get the fuck off me.  Step back.”  Flipped out of bed worried about Aniesse, tripped over the ottoman.  Looking out onto Blakeslee and Magnolia is a man hunched over, stabbed six-eight times.  Sirens then Sleep.

Awoken by Mac at their usual workout time: 5:20 A.M. 

Andrew: I’m not going to the gym, and I’m going to buy a tiny gun.

“Lost to gun violence on November 29, 2021.  67 candles have been lit.

It is always difficult saying goodbye to someone we love and cherish. Family and friends must say goodbye to their beloved Michael James Roskowick (Los Angeles, California), who passed away at the age of 30, on November 29, 2021. 

Funeral arrangements under the care of Mount Sinai Parks and Mortuaries.”

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA — A 30-year-old man is dead today after being shot in North Hollywood Monday night, and police are searching for his killer.

Authorities have not yet identified a motive for the killing, which occurred just after 7 p.m. in the 11000 block of Huston Street. According to Los Angeles Police Department detectives, Michael Roskowick of Van Nuys was sitting in the driver’s seat of a Ford SUV parked in the middle of the street when the gunman approached.

The shooter opened fire before fleeing north on Vineland Avenue.

When police arrived, they found Roskowick suffering from gunshot wounds and being treated by paramedics, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.

The suspect was described as a bald man roughly 40 years old. He was about 5-feet- 11-inches tall and weighed about 230 pounds.

Anyone with information on the shooting was asked to contact LAPD Valley Bureau Homicide at 818-374-9550. Calls made during non-business hours or on weekends can be directed to 877-527-3247. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or submitted online at

Postscript: The Social’s Mangeress, Christine, updated the author the killer has since caught . . .

All the Girls Called Themselves Sheena: Bryan Knox Punk Rox

by Katharine Elizabeth Monahan Huntley

Bryan Knox was born under the sign of Virgo to a dichondra farmer in Riverside—when the area code was still (714). Virgoans are custodians of culture—and true to his astrological sign, Bryan’s early punk rock years are filed chronologically (1980-88), geographically (Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties), and neatly in a box marked “Punk R#ck Doc. Destroy Date: Never.” Content is divided between “Stuff I did” and “Stuff I didn’t.”

Bryan’s collection, and his clear recollection of the punk crowd: poets, artists, writers, trust fund babies with gangster daddies . . . not to mention the musicians that laid down the soundtrack to L.A.’s early punk rock party—makes it easy to go trippin’ down memory lane.


“What’s black and white and read all over?”—Children’s Riddle

Bryan: It was 1978 or 79. My friend Bill Bartell and I finagled this gig with the The New Rocker. The office was in the 9000 building across from The Roxy on Sunset Boulevard. We would hang out and pretend to be important. No one was ever really working anyway, the job was just leverage to go see bands. We heard X was playing at the Hong Kong Cafe. We arrived early to watch the sound check. At one point Bill and I were sitting around with John Doe and Exene and DJ Bonebrake. I was naïve to their personal history. John Doe’s gear had stencils of Baltimore all over it, his bass case, et cetera. I asked him about it. He said it was because he was from Baltimore, which surprised me, I don’t know why.

WBTL: Maybe, because even then he was emblematic of Los Angeles.

Bryan: Exactly. Exene was looking through the LA Weekly. She would stop on different pages to color over photographs. Every once in awhile she would open her cigar box and very carefully select a new crayon. I looked in the box. All the crayons were red.

Joan Jett

“We like dancing and we look divine”—Joan Jett [sings a David Bowie tune]

Today’s artists hire their own “people” to keep the masses away. At least, at bay. In the early L.A. punk rock scene, it was fairly easy to mix with people now elevated to icon status. Like Exene and Joan Jett.

Bryan: I was living in Moreno Valley. Darby Crash was still alive. A bunch of punk bands were playing at Great Gatsby’s in Redondo Beach. The Angry Samoans, Eddie and the Sub-Titles, the Circle Jerks, maybe. I drove a 68 Volkswagen Squareback. Bill Bartell, Jon Morris, Donnie Rose, and I had a TEAC open reel four-track recorder that we took to all the shows. We’d arrive at the door and say we’re recording the band—then we’d go to the soundman and say we need two lines out of the board and he would plug us in. We would use two mics . . . which reminds me of another story that you can’t publish because it’s too criminal . . .

That night we got into the club but the soundman was onto our scam and wouldn’t let us record, so we just watched the show. I noticed Joan Jett standing dead center in front of the stage, teetering. Everyone slamming around her. She was barely conscious, having a good time. Jon was a big fan of Joan’s and thought we should try to talk to her, but Bill said: “No,” we should try to kidnap her. We discussed the pros and cons—wouldn’t it be funny and cool and punk rock? But then she would find herself in Riverside.

WBTLBUST Magazine sells the t-shirt W.W.J.J.D? What Would Joan Jett Do?

Bryan: What would Joan Jett do? She’d be mad and we’d get our asses kicked and she would dislike us. And we’d have to drive her two hours back to L.A.

The Ramones

“Rock, rock, rock’n’roll high school”—The Ramones

WBTL: How did you get into punk rock?

Bryan: I can’t really remember what I listened to as a kid besides the usual—like The Beatles. Then in TV Production class at Moreno Valley High, 1978, I met Jon Morris. Jon was into audio recording—he had recording equipment and a serious stereo system. The only thing I had was an eight-track player in my Ford pickup. It was stolen when we went to see the Ramones open for Black Sabbath at Santa Monica Civic. He also had a Punk Magazine. Jon, Bill Bartell, and I would sit around and listen to records, reading Punk and other zines. We were aware the Sex Pistols were touring. We tried to figure out a way to get to San Francisco to see the ultimate punk rock concert. We never made it, but we spent a lot of time obsessing over it.

Bill Bartell knew this girl named Nikki who was Donnie Rose’s girlfriend at Poly High. Nikki called herself Sheena because all girls called themselves Sheena—because of the Ramones. Sheena and Donnie were a punk rock couple.

WBTL: Isn’t there a Donnie Rose—Germs connection?

Bryan: He was definitely a Germs insider. Donnie was really young when he got into the punk rock crowd. Before high school. Anyway, he and Sheena had a friend named Rene Gade. I met her at The Squeeze, a little nightclub in Riverside, run by Nicki Syxx. Rene was the first real punk rock girl I ever saw. Beautiful and cool with exaggerated make-up and spiky short hair. Beautiful and cool.

Death Patrol

“Looking out the window and who do I see? Someone outside is glaring at me.”—Rene Gade

WBTL: Were you ever part of a band?

Bryan: Yes. The early 80s was the first time Death Patrol performed. Bill Bartell instigated the band for his own amusement. He was always there, but he wasn’t in it. I was the bass player. Well, it was really an old Japanese guitar that I put bass strings on, which was fine since I didn’t know how to use it anyway. Jon Morris “operated” the synthesizers and was the guitarist. We didn’t have a drummer. Shawn Cowart was the singer. We called him Warcot—Cowart inside out. He was an illustrator—gory comic book art with pop culture commentary.

The original lineup played twice. Shawn lost interest. Jon lost interest. Rene joined the band. Then her friend Stacy joined—she played guitar. Like most bands, Death Patrol went through quite a few mutations. We really wanted to be the Screamers. We made up a story about how we opened for the Screamers. Other bands corroborated our story—it eventually became an urban myth.

WBTL: There’s a flier in one of your files: “The Alternative Alliance for the Inland Empire” advertising for drummers for three different bands, including Death Patrol. Requirements include: “Punk as in early Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, and other British Punk Bands. This isn’t H.B. [Huntington Beach]. Dark romance, avant-garde. Prefer creative person not influenced by Black Flag. Determination over skill.”

Bryan: The Alternative Alliance was the tagline for different projects—to make it sound more organized than it really was. We did have rehearsal space, though. I had rented a one-bedroom house; the previous tenants had modified the garage into an acoustic, insulated sound studio. Serendipitous.

WBTL: Was Death Patrol any good?

Bryan: No, we were terrible. But if you’re creating your own fun, everyone has a reason to have a good time. It didn’t matter if you were good—it only mattered if you were entertaining.

Flick Your Bic: We Sold Our Souls for Rock and Roll Film Review

by Katharine Elizabeth Monahan Huntley

Inside the historic Vista Theater, I watch a black clad Penelope Spheeris stride down the aisle to accept Silver Lake Film Festival’s 2nd annual Spirit of Silver Lake award—an honor that “celebrates living legends who have challenged the mainstream cinema with their independent vision.” At the screening gala, held in Rudy’s Barbershop, she takes my hand, strong and sincere, as I offer my congratulations. An L.A. legend indeed.

“Do you think of yourself as a living legend?

Director Penelope Spheeris poses this question to the venerable Mr. Osbourne well into her exzzellent Ozzfest documentary, We Sold Our Souls for Rock ‘n’ Roll. It hardly needs to be asked. The religious fervor of fanatics in the stands, and the bands on the bill (Rob Zombie, Slipknot, System of a Down, et al), testify to the legacy of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. Ozzy’s diffident answer—that he is just an ordinary bloke giving the audience a good night out is disingenuous. But it’s all part of the affable charm he uses to disarm.

The stylistic opening shot of Ozzy through the looking sunglasses is a visual metaphor for the hallucinogenic imaginings of larger than life rock and rollers taking to the stage to hype and hypnotize waves of the faithful. Amidst the carnival of sideshows and mosh pits, Ozzfest is raucous rock that does not stop.

We Sold Our Souls is not, however, a high gloss music video. It’s an endearing take on a rock and roll leader who has outlived his demons to go on to mentor young musicians, and to continue to rouse radical loyalty in any and all kinds of fans.

The real wizard of Ozzfest is Ozzy’s wife, Sharon Osbourne (producer of We Sold Our Souls). A true power chick portrayed as a pleasant British mum, Sharon Osbourne is the mettle behind the metal. Her serene veneer calms the chaos as she orchestrates the tour unseen by spectators.

For Ozzy is not invincible—along with the acclaim, Spheeris subtly depicts his occasional bouts of bewilderment. At one point he sings lyrics read off a teleprompter, another time a roadie sighs, “Ozzy’s not payin’ attention, but that’s cool.”

It is cool. The music idol simply needs to appear and bow to the cheers. And with camera and crew, Penelope Spheeris, in true “Spirit of Silver Lake” style, fiercely documents not the decline, but the dynamism of this miracle man.

Postscript 2023: I texted friend, Visual Artist Alisha Plummer, who worked on The Talk:

“Thoughts on Sharon Osbourne?”

“Love her! She was so sweet—fashionably late, but she and Ozzy would sit and eat with us at lunch. And, I vividly remember them always ordering an “L.A. Hot Dog,” and Mrs. O paying for their hot dogs from her wallet embellished with “Fuck you. Pay Me.”

It Came From Outer Space: The Iron Giant: Dramatica Story Analysis

by Katharine Elizabeth Monahan Huntley

Fascination with aliens—paranoia (overall story thematic counterpoint-threat) in progressive (overall story concern) times. Reaction to the unknown is the topic explored in the politically subversive, amazingly stellar, animated feature, The Iron Giant. Inspired by Ted Hughes, written for the screen by Tim McCanlies and directed by Brad Bird, The Iron Giant is a “top notch” children’s story for adults and a Dramatica grand argument story relevant far beyond its retro time period—the 1950’s Cold War (overall story domain-universe).

“Hogarth Hughes. Ready for action” (main character approach-doer) is an imaginative boy with a sense of adventure (main character domain-physics) that, more often than not, lands him in hot water. Collecting strays (main character signpost 1-obtaining) he finds on outings is a source of affectionate exasperation for his single working mother. When Hogarth saves the metal man (impact character) who fell to earth (story driver-action)—the nine-year-old is wise (main character thematic counterpoint) enough to know this is one innocent creature that should not follow him home. The “strange invader,” however, is determined to attach himself to Hogarth (main vs. impact character story domain-mind).

Hogarth: Stay. . . . I mean it!

One train wreck later (overall story problem-effect) convinces Hogarth the robot with regenerative powers needs a hideout, before he is found out. And the town “wigs out.” The local scrap yard, run by resident beatnik Dean, is just the place. Dean introduces Hogarth to espresso and philosophy. Hogarth introduces the “Frankenbot with out-of-state plates” to the stunned sculptor: “Dean stares at Hogarth in expressionless shock.”

Hogarth: He needs food. And shelter. . . . He can stay?!

Dean: Tonight. Tomorrow, I don’t know . . .

Complications arise with the arrival of an officious government agent, on the scene in the interest of national security (overall story thematic issue).

Kent: Kent Mansly. United States Government. Unexplained Phenomena Department.

It is not too long before Mansly takes a room at the Hughes’ and zeroes in on Hogarth (main character critical flaw-security):

Kent: Hey, mind if I ask you a few questions . . . Buckaroo? Now why would you tell your mom about a giant robot, Slugger? . . . How big is this thing, Ranger? . . . . You know, Hogarth, we live in a strange and wondrous time. The atomic age. But, there’s dark side to progress (overall story concern).

Hogarth gives Mansly the slip and bikes over to Dean’s. Momentarily casting worries (main vs. impact character story thematic counterpoint) aside, Hogarth plays (main character concern; overall story dividend-doing) with the Iron Giant—the “greatest thing since television.” He teaches the “robotron” the difference between heroic Superman and villainous Atomo and solemnly explains issues of life and death:

Hogarth: Things die. It’s part of life. It’s bad to kill, but it’s not bad to die.

Giant: You die?

Hogarth: Well, yes. Someday.

Giant: I die?

Hogarth: I don’t know. You’re made of metal. But you have feelings. And you think (impact character thematic issue-thought) about things, and that means you have a soul. And souls don’t die. . . . Mom says it’s something inside—all good things. And that it goes on forever and ever (main character solution-unending).

Hogarth returns home. His mother is working the late shift and Mansly is in full G-man mode. Mansly confronts Hogarth with factual (overall story catalyst) evidence of the Giant and announces the Army will arrive in the A.M.

Hogarth and Dean manage to circumvent the military operation—but an incident far more disturbing occurs. They discover the Iron Giant’s capacity (main vs. impact character story inhibitor-ability) to effect (impact character problem) annihilation:

Hogarth: It was an accident. He’s our friend!

Dean: He’s a piece of hardware, Hogarth. Why do you think the Army was here? He’s a weapon. A big gun that walks!

The Iron Giant is ashamed and clanks off—only to be spotted by the retreating Army. Meanwhile, Dean determines the cause (impact character solution) of the Giant’s transformation (impact character benchmark-becoming) is direct threat (overall story thematic counterpoint) and that he is only reacting defensively. Dean attempts to intervene before the Army can destroy the Iron Giant—but Mansly exacerbates the situation. An all out attack turns the Iron Giant into a killing machine—until Hogarth stops (main character growth) him:

Hogarth: You don’t have to be a gun. You are what you choose to be. You choose.

At this time, Mansly, insane with power, orders the missile launch that will destroy the Iron Giant—and take out the United States. Once the Iron Giant comprehends an atomic holocaust is at stake (limit-optionlock)—he heroically jets to the sky with his afterburners supercharged—Superman (impact character resolve-change) saving the world at the cost (being) of his own life: “The ROAR of his engines fades into silence as a look of peace falls over his iron face. . . . The blackness of the night sky goes brilliant WHITE.”

What is recovered is delivered to Hogarth. An iron part that will surely find its way back to the Iron Giant:

Hogarth is awakened by a RATTLING SOUND. He looks to see the scorched PIECE OF IRON on his dresser as it drops to the floor and starts moving toward his window. Hogarth BEAMS . . . and opens the window to release it (main character resolve-steadfast). MUSIC SOARS as the boy watches the piece of metal GO, his mind swimming with new possibilities (main character judgment-good).

“Question authority.” “Trust No One.” From The Iron Giant producer Pete Townshend’s time to the new millennium, a child who understands television is good and the government is suspect is a wise (main character unique ability) one indeed. Hogarth represents a new era of enlightenment (main character thematic issue), and the Iron Giant statue erected in the (Norman) Rockwell town square serves as an indicator of progress (overall story goal; outcome-success) towards intelligent life on earth.

Quotations are transcribed directly from the film and/or The Iron Giant screenplay by Tim McCanlies and Brad Bird; July 11, 1997 Draft by Brent Forrester and Brad Bird; Screen Story by Brad Bird