Eat My Blog Bake Sale on Saturday!

Delicious petits fours from the spring edition of Eat My Blog.

I’m posting this today as opposed to yesterday because I know y’all were still stuffed from all that Thanksgiving madness.  Now that that’s out of the way, are you ready for, say, bacon caramel brownies; chocolate peppermint bark cookies; lavendar honey shortbread cookies; chocolate nutmeg yule logs; persimmon bread pudding with candied jujube compote and cumin butterscotch (I know, what?!)?  Yes.  You’re ready.

This Saturday marks the third Eat My Blog bake sale, and it’s shaping up to be the best one yet.  Organized by Cathy Chaplin, food bloggers and their more professional brethren will be selling a variety of home-baked goods in the mother of all bake sales, including, but definitely not limited to, all of the above.  Me, I’m contributing Idgie’s Dog Biscuits, my dog’s favorite treats, for all the doggies who, like their masters/BFFs, deserve a little Saturday treat as well (read more about the biscuits here!).  Everything will be priced between $1 and $4, and there will be raffles for wine gift certificates and – !! – a KitchenAid stand mixer.  Best part: all proceeds from the bake sale will benefit the LA Regional Food Bank.

Eat My Blog will be held between 10am and 4pm outside the Tender Greens in WeHo.  This should hold you and your pup over until Christmas, yah?

Eat My Blog bake sale, from 10am to 4pm outside of Tender Greens, 8759 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood.  Check out the entire menu here.  Start salivating now.

The 2010 Nice List: Joan Whitenack

First on my “nice list” has to be Joan Whitenack of the Foothill Unity Center. The center serves the poorest of the poor with many services here in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. It is no small feat, but director Joan Whitenack gets it done with the help of volunteers, grants, schools and other non-profits in the area. To quote Bill Beebe, president of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts that awarded her their Renaissance Award, “She’s got a nice smile, but there’s no saying no to Joan.”

Not saying “no” to Joan has worked wonders. What started out as a small effort by a local Church in 1980 has grown to a large incorporated non-profit with two service centers through the efforts of Ms Whitenack. The service centers are located in Pasadena and Monrovia. There they serve families and individuals in crisis to give them immediate aid then help them get on a path to recovery.   They even run a “pet food bank” to help them out with taking care of the pets as noted on a recent episode of the Ellen DeGeneres Show!

Aside from helping hundreds of families with their basic needs they have several special events through out the year. Among them are the
Back to School event where more than a thousand children receive hair cuts, dental exams, back-to-school supplies, clothing and even a keepsake art project.

Their mission statement says it all.

Foothill Unity Center, Inc. envisions a community where. . .

  • All have their basic needs met, including the need to give
  • All get the necessary support to become self-sufficient
  • All are treated with love and dignity … all the time

We provide critical support, in the form of food, clothing, motel vouchers, and referrals/advocacy to our neighbors in crisis. As the need for food brings people to us, we listen to their problems and help them find solutions. We work with other agencies to provide long-term shelter, counseling, medical, educational, employment and spiritual assistance depending on the person’s needs.In this way, Foothill Unity Center helps people return self-sufficiency. All services are provided with love and dignity, regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, physical or emotional disabilities or veteran’s status.

All this happened through the energy and vision of Ms Whitenack to be able to help those in need in the foothill communities in the San Gabriel Valley.

Monrovia Center: 415 W. Chestnut Ave., Monrovia 91016 Phone: (626) 358-3486 / Fax: (626) 358-8224 Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday
Pasadena Center: 191 N. Oak Ave., Pasadena 91107 Phone: (626) 584-7420 / Fax: (626) 584-7422 Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday
More information on how to Volunteer, donate or help however you can at the Foothill Unity Center Web site.

Comedy Zen: Jokes of Fury features funny, multicultural comedians

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9Sj-LAigp8[/youtube]

A one night only comedy showcase– Comedy Zen— features some of the funniest and finest multicultural comedians working today. While some of the headliners are from out of town, I’m especially excited about Steven Ho, a Hollywood stuntman you may recognize from Conan O’Brien’s show(s) when he was on NBC.

  • Come see why Steven Ho was the most booked guest on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He is a professional stuntman at the A-List level working with stars like Tobey Maguire, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo Dicaprio.
  • Joe Wong hails from Boston and was a scientist researching answers for the mysteries of the field. Then he discovered stand up and has never looked back. Joe is the “All American Immigrant.” Even though some Asians might find him to be a novelty act for the white man, we give him full support as an artist mastering a difficult craft, which is the art of laugh inducing. Joe has taken command of this and his appearance on Letterman or the Presidential dinner invitation is proof of this.
  • Jay Phillips was one of VARIETY Magazine’s 10 COMICS TO WATCH and his recent film credits include the #1 weekend opener SEMI-PRO opposite Will Ferrell, PROM NIGHT with Brittnay Snow, and BABY MAMMA opposite Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. His stand-up credits include Def Comedy Jam, The Late Show, and Lafapalooza. You can see him at http://jayphillipslive.net/.

Hosted by Hasan Minhaj, comedian, actor, and writer based in Los Angeles, portions of all shows will be going to the American Lung Association. There will be one show on Friday, December 3, 2010 (at 8:30pm) and will be held at the Downtown Independent Theater (251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA, United States, 90012). Tickets are $20, but 8Asians (another site I contribute to) is doing a ticket giveaway.

The 2010 Naughty List: Julie Rico and Sid Carter

It’s that time of the year: to count our blessings, reflect on the year past, and categorize events into Awesome Things That Happened and Terrible Things That Happened, WTF.  For us at Blogging LA, that latter organizational activity is what we’re calling our Naughty and Nice List series.  From today to the end of the week, we’ll be highlighting people, organizations, and events that made us facepalm and others that made us smile.  First up on our Naughty List:  Julie Rico and Sid Carter.

The Must Bar was one of the most dearly loved bars downtown.  An extensive beer and wine selection and board games – what else could you want from a neighborhood bar?  Well, if you’re Julie Rico and Sid Carter – who were the leaseholders of The Must’s space – you do want more: you want The Must’s actual space back.

And so they took it back.  Literally.  I recounted the events as they unfolded here; to summarize: security cameras captured a moving van rolling up in front of The Must Bar at 2:45am on July 3rd.  A few bad men emptied the entire bar of its contents, from its wine (they used bolt cutters to get the wine locked behind the wine cages) to its board games.  An employee of The Must showed up for work later that morning, found that his key was no longer able to unlock the door, and, in the confusion, thought they had been robbed.  Bar owners Coly Haan and Rachel Thomas reported it first as a robbery.  After a very confusing few hours, the veil was torn down, and Rico and Carter were fingered as the culprits.  It was, then, not so much a robbery as it was a very forced eviction.

Sign from The Must's owners soon after the eviction.

The situation turned from one mess to another.  Rico claimed that notice was mailed to Haan and Thomas by letter dated July 1, and thus The Must should have been aware of her plans.  Note, however, that she didn’t say the notice actually was received.  Indeed, no one from The Must received the notice.  In fact, The Must submitted their July rent check, and Rico cashed it.

That things ended this way perhaps shouldn’t have been a total surprise: the two were locked in arbitration over other issues relating to what appears to have been a messy contract between the two.  But why the post-midnight U-Haul?  Oh right – Rico and Carter sold their leasehold to someone they said was named David Holtzman and presumably needed to get the keys to the new owner ASAP.  Haan and Thomas’s bar was sold from right under their noses, and the first they heard of the change in ownership was on July 3rd.

As mentioned, David Holtzman was the name given as the new owner, but the name on the currently pending alcohol permit for The Must’s location is David McGrath.  David Holtzman/McGrath plans to open “JP Lounge” in The Must’s space, but, given that the lounge’s ABC permit is on hold, it’s unclear exactly when it will open.  Not that too many people are waiting eagerly for its grand opening: between the people who hate Rico and the people who just hate what happened to The Must, the new business already must contend with neighbors who resent its very existence.  This leads one to wonder how goodwill figured into the sale of the lease, because the sellers and the buyer could not have expected a whole lot of it to be left once everything went down.

Post-eviction, The Must was forced to close.  The owners have added the eviction to the list of issues they’re battling with Rico and Carter in arbitration.  They formally sued McGrath in the LA Superior Court for, among other things, conversion (which is akin to borrowing something without asking first), outright theft, trespass, and conspiracy.  They’re asking the court to block McGrath from opening a competing wine bar in their former space, which probably explains the hold on McGrath’s alcohol permit application.  In happier news, they will re-open soon-ish in a space at the Hellman building.  Hopefully, they’ll have an airtight lease with a landlord who is somewhat reasonable and will avoid this type of mess in the future.

As for Rico and Carter – well, let’s just I have represented tenants against slumlords who have been better able to execute an eviction.  Future reference, landlords: as a preliminary matter, if you’re going to evict someone in, say, July, don’t cash their rent check for July.  Even assuming they were within their legal rights to do what they did, Rico and Carter’s forced eviction of The Must still reek of mean spirit and just plain nastiness.  They deserve the lumps of coal in their stocking, and their spots on our Naughty List.  Let’s play nice next year, hmm?

“Stocking Stuffers” photo taken by Seamusiv and used under a Creative Commons license.

Happy holidays, insert pun here.

I was driving through West Hollywood along Santa Monica Boulevard the other day, and noticed a festive sign in the window of the Pleasure Chest (everyone’s favorite, fabulous adult emporium).  I decided that the sign in question couldn’t possibly have said what I thought it said, because what I thought it said was too impossibly silly.

But I went back today and discovered that, actually, yes, it did say what I thought it said.  And that is why I love my neighborhood:

Happy Holidays, folks.  Tits the season indeed.

Hollywood Christmas Parade Road Closures

It’s that time of the year again: no, not shopping, or acceptance of Christmas creep, or holiday countdowns.  No, it’s the Hollywood Christmas Parade, an annual event whose existence inexplicably strikes me as odd every year.  Larry King leads the parade down Hollywood Boulevard at 6pm, but the road closures start early and they’ll last all day.  The LAFD has a handy map of the road closures (click on the image to biggify); if you’re more textual than visual, the Hollywood Christmas Parade’s website bullet-points it out for you:

  • Hollywood Blvd. from LaBrea to Orange at 6:00 AM. Re-open at 10:00 PM.
  • Hawthorne Ave., DeLongpre Ave., Fountain Ave. from LaBrea to Highland Ave. at 1:00 PM. Re-opening at 9:00 PM.
  • El Cerrito Place from Hollywood Blvd. to Franklin Ave. at 1:00 PM. Re-open at 8:00 PM.
  • Sycamore, Orange from Franklin Ave. to Fountain at 1:00 PM. Re-open at 9:00 PM.
  • Sunset Blvd. from LaBrea Ave. to Highland Ave. at 1:00 PM. Re-open at 10:00 PM.
  • East side of LaBrea from Hollywood Blvd. to Sunset Blvd. at 4:00 PM. Re-open at 7:00 PM.
  • Highland Ave. from Franklin Ave. to Santa Monica at 4:00 PM. Re-open at 9:00 PM.
  • Hollywood Blvd. from Highland Ave. to Gower at 4:00 PM. Re-open at 9:00 PM.
  • Vine Street from Franklin Ave. to Santa Monica at 4:00 PM. Re-open at 9:00 PM.
  • Sunset Blvd. from Highland Ave. to Gower at 4:00 PM. Re-open at 9:00PM.
  • Sunset Blvd. From Highland to La Brea at 3:00 PM. Reopen at 10:00 PM

Gewinnen Sie Tickets für Einstürzende Neubauten!

UPDATE: Einstürzende Neubauten’s 30th Anniversary U.S. tour has been canceled. From our friends at Goldenvoice:

It is with great regret that Einstürzende Neubauten announce the cancellation of their planned thirtieth anniversary appearances in Los Angeles , San Francisco , Chicago , Toronto and New York .  While the US Department of Homeland Security did issue approvals for the band’s visas, it was not done in time to secure the appointments at the overseas embassies and consulates that represent the necessary final step in the process.

The band members are tremendously disappointed by this turn of events and wish to thank all those fans who purchased tickets for these performances for their support.  The band would have loved to do the tour and meet their overseas fans. Because this tour was a time-sensitive production, it will not be rescheduled.  Ticketholders can obtain refunds from their point of purchase.

I expect you’re probably as disappointed as I am. Please direct your notes of appreciation for the Department of Homeland Security Theater keeping us safe from terrorists and German musicians to:

Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department Of Homeland Security
U.S. Department Of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

Someone with better Google-fu than mine can find Sec. Napolitano’s email address, but you can call her at: (202) 282-8000.

————————————————

For those that don’t read German, the title reads, “Win tickets for Einsturzende Neubauten!”

German experimental band Einstürzende Neubauten are celebrating their 30th anniversary. They’ll be bringing their show to Los Angeles next week, and Blogging.LA has your tickets.

In addition to regular concert performances, the band is playing a second date in each city along the tour. The first date will be a standard concert performance, while the second date will open with films and art installations, followed by a short concert presentation featuring material that has never been performed live before. Those second shows will finish with performances by the individual Einstürzende Neubauten members.

Thanks to our friends at Goldenvoice, Blogging.LA has your tickets to see  Einstürzende Neubauten on December 1st at the Music Box. This will be their full concert performance. Want to join me at the Music Box? Just leave a note in the comments section below telling me why you want to see this show. The winner gets a pair of tickets for the December 1st concert at the Music Box in Hollywood.

Want to take chance out of the equation? You can buy tickets for the show here. The second date (films, rarities, solo shows) is happening the following night (December 2) at the EchoPlex.

Unique Christmas Gifts from the Heart…or is it H”art”

Lisa Barrios helps customer with making baby's first foot print in clay.

Lisa Barrio’s owner of Paint “n” Play Studio and Gallery in Monrovia is just the kind of small business typified by the article done this morning by Julia. “PnP” as it is affectionately referred to here in Monrovia, is a small business centered on art you create yourself. It is much more than a small business, it is also a gathering point for many in the community for a variety of reasons, chief which is the personal touch you get from Lisa when you do business with her.

Small Business Saturday is a big deal here in Old Town Monrovia and for Lisa as well. She has a special deal in place for Saturday only, $5 of any Holiday item you purchase, or make including the treasured by many “legacy prints”. (Get a coupon HERE).

According to Barrios she is happy to see Small Business Saturday getting attention for many reasons.

“It is the small business that gives most back to the community it serves. They are the first ones asked to help by non-profits and charities for donations as they know a small business has a heart and doesn’t have the red tape and ‘rig-a-ma-role hoops’ to jump through that a large corporation does”.

A legacy print is a hand print in clay done of a loved ones hand (or foot in the case of infants) into unfired clay then it is fired,  painted and decorated with the help of the PnP staff. These treasures are permanent and can be passed down for generations to come.

Completed "Legacy Prints"

Details: Paint “n”Play 2 Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 626/256-4848  Web Site HERE

Black Saturday Gallery Receptions in Monrovia 11/27

Want an alternative to the traditional big box gift? Like art and love to meet the artist who created it? Look no further than my corner of LA for 5 Gallery or Shop Receptions on Saturday 11/28. All of these gallery’s are holding their event in conjunction with the Small Business Saturday that Julia blogged about earlier today.

Friends of Dorothy is having its Grand opening weekend with associated ribbon cuttings and reception. See the work of artist Susan Dobay and City Art Photography. Opening at 10AM and goes until 10PM. Get yourself some fresh Christmas Cookies and Hot Cider.519 South Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016, (626) 932-0110.

Irish Gardener will have my favorite paper artist, Beth Butterfield there with several samples of her work. Also there will be Frances Pampeyan a plein-air oil artist who shows in several galleries in the area.  They will be serving light appetizers and wine during their reception that will start at 6:30 and end when patron stop coming in, call that “open ended extended hours”.  504 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016, 626-357-5000.

Segil Fine Arts will be open until 9PM. They will be running their “2nd Saturday” event (never mind its not the second Saturday). This event involves you eating at a locally owned fine dining restaurant in Old Town Monrovia (my faves Cafe Opera and Cafe Massilia) and bring in your receipt for 10% off you purchase in the gallery. 110 West Lime Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016, (626) 358-5563.

Sycamore Gallery will be open with the works of Robert Rodriguez as the featured artist. 116 East Lemon Avenue,Monrovia, CA 91016, (626) 357-6200.

Paint n’ Play 2 Art Studio and Gallery will host its reception from 6:30-10:30 and will include free wine and munchies while you peruse the art and talk with the 10 artists,among them one of my favorite photographers doing LA Land marks, Stephen Coleman. (As a bit of shameless self promotion and disclosure be advised that one of the 10 includes me). Concurrently the Monrovia Association of fine arts will be hosting its annual Holiday Party and will have numerous artists there for you to chat with as well.

Win Tix to The Books with Black Heart Procession on Monday

I can’t believe what an amazing pairing this is. I first saw The Books a long time ago when they opened for Califone at the Getty Museum. Their moody, glitchy, echo-filled compositions are part intensely detailed instrumentation and, the other half, comprised of a vast library of samples. The result is a meditative, slowly unfurling blossom of sound and fascinating vocals.

Combine that with the moody noir-rock of the Black Heart Procession (think Tom Waits on quaaludes in an echo chamber)  and you have a show that, conceptually as well as in execution, should be absolutely amazing.

Wanna go? We’ve got tickets.  This show’ll wipe the typtophan haze from your eyes.

To win, tell me the most mindblowing pairing of indie-rock acts you can think of. We’ll pick a few lucky winners to go experience the show.

Info on the show is here.

Small Business Saturday

You may have heard that today is something called [checks notes] “Black Friday.” I quote Wikipedia here:

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season…On this day, many retailers open very early, often at 4 a.m., or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the shopping season.

To me, it sounds like a nightmare, but hey — to each his own.

Why not support your local small businesses by shopping with them tomorrow on the brand new tradition of Small Business Saturday? You know there are many business in your neighborhood that you love and want to keep around.

One of my personal favorites is The Traveler’s Bookcase. They are tiny but carry  so many amazing books — cookbooks, art books, travel guidebooks, travel writing and many awesome accessories for all your travel wants and needs. They may not be able to offer steep discounts, but they will offer personal service and a lovely inviting atmosphere. (Their couch is a comfy place to fantasize about your next adventure.)

Why should you support small businesses? Here are some interesting facts* that I just learned:

• For every $100 spent at local small business, $68 returns to the community.
• Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees.
• Small businesses represent 99.7% of all employer firms.

In these wacky economic times, keeping small businesses in business is more important than ever. If you can, please consider supporting your favorite small businesses this holiday season!

*I learned this on the Small Business Saturday website and you can learn more about the effort there too.

The View From There: Griffith Park Helipad-orama

Made good on manning-up against the chill and went out for a pre-nom bike ride yesterday, and shortly after meeting up with Midnight Ridazz’ Roadblock who was riding to the valley we bumped into friends Mr Rollers and his wife Alice who by total happy accident were doing the same exact route I was planning. So off we went.

The star of the show on such a gorgeous day was the view from the Griffith Park Helipad that I attempted to document in the following two-frame panorama bracketed by the Griffith Observatory on the right and downtown on the left (immediate magnification available upon image click):

And of course, for your seizure-inducing pleasure my handlebar cam timelapsed all of the roughly three-hour tour whose 20-miles included the LA River Bikeway to Griffith Park, Mt Hollywood Drive to the top and then Vista del Valle back down to the helipad and on to Silver Lake where we all started:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uoukm_-FCv0[/youtube]

Or if you just want a shorter version of the tour, I loaded up this Flickr photoset with stills from the stop-motion vid.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as happy and yummy as mine was. On the college football tip on this the day after I’m off to the TV with fingers crossed hoping my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide can somehow un-jugger the naut that is its most-hated rival Auburn. Roll Tide!

Happy Thanksgiving From The Left Coast

Taken today, Thanksgiving 2010. Walkers in white are part of the annual Turkey Trot.

While much of the country enjoys the snow or endures snow-less freezing weather, here in Los Angeles we enjoy a beautiful clear day.  The water here in Long beach is so calm, it could easily be mistaken for a lake.  While I admit that I could do with it being a bit warmer, I am NOT complaining.

Today, I am thankful to live in Los Angeles.

It Caught My Ear: A Different Kind Of Thanksgiving Day Bird

From inside while trying to man-up against the brisk temps and go for my ritual Thanksgiving Day morning bike ride, from somewhere outside and above me came the telltale shrill call that told me all I needed to know: a northern flicker was here.

Being the type that gets excited by stuff like this, I rushed out the front door with cam in one hand and binoculars in the other to find this beauty of a female in the neighbor’s camphor laurel, feasting on the tree’s berries. Pushing the cam’s lens against one of the ‘nocular’s eyepieces while sighting through the other I caught the bird in a moment of repose (click to enlargify):

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

CNN Honors Susan Burton, F’Yeah!

CNN airs its annual “Heroes” special on Thanksgiving night, spotlighting 10 “everyday” people they think changed the world that much for the better. This is not something I generally would write about, but the cable network is honoring Susan Burton.  Susan Burton!  Burton started A New Way of Life Reentry Project in South Central LA, a really great – and much needed – re-entry organization focused on transitioning newly paroled women from their period of incarceration to their new life outside the prison complex.

In my past and sometimes present life, I represented a number of women before the Board of Parole Hearings.  Most of them were serving sentences of 15+ years-to-life with the possibility of parole, most of them for some degree of murder.  I never expect anyone to be sympathetic, but it does help to understand a few things about most of their crimes before making assumptions about how they deserve to be there forever (despite their sentences to the contrary).  The majority of them were convicted of killing their abusers during a time when courts excluded evidence of battering; up until recently, courts did not grasp how that evidence was relevant to contextualizing the crimes.  By the time my representation came around 15 or so years into their sentence, all of them understood why they did what they did and the circumstances leading up to their crime.  They also participated in weekly (if not daily) group therapy sessions (many of which were self-formed – despite the enormous budget for the prison industry in California, there’s not a whole lot of money there for giving inmates the counseling they need).  My clients also earned their high school and college degrees, as well as various vocational certificates.  If the purpose of prison is to rehabilitate and release (and not, say, making a profit), then they were rehabilitated and should have been released long before I was engaged to represent them.

Now, if you’re coming up for parole before the Board of Parole Hearings, you have to prove to the board commissioners that you understand your crime.  You have to demonstrate remorse.  And you have to have plans for your life outside.  This is where Susan Burton’s A New Way of Life comes in.  Her organization provides a supportive sober living environment to support newly paroled women re-enter society; she helps them find jobs and provides critical mentoring.  I know of A New Way of Life because the clinic where I worked placed a number of women here, and the organization has been critical to their successful re-entries into our society.  To date, A New Way of Life has helped over 400 women get back on their feet.  That CNN is honoring her and her work is really, really fantastic.

Preview the special here.  The show airs at 5pm our time, so you’ll have something to watch while that turkey roasts and the side dishes are being made.  A little inspiration in the background never hurt anyone.