Taking It To The (East) Bank

The Real East Side: 1967 Chevy Chevelle SS. Artist: "Adam."

In my 475 years  of existence in this city, I have been visiting the Los Angeles River for 323 of them. But ALWAYS the west bank south of Fletcher Avenue. Never the much more rugged and less-accessible east bank. Until yesterday, when stuck inside my head I prescribed a self-medicating  bike ride instead.

Boy did it coat, soothe and relieve.

Pedaling from Silver Lake to Atwater Village, I accessed the far side via Sunnynook Drive and then headed south, finding the river partially sandbagged and diverted at Fletcher for what looks to be stabilization/reinforcement work that’s being done to the underside of its bridge.

Scooting under the span I then had the three-mile length to Elysian Valley enfuckingtirely to myself, and I felt Lewis & Clarksian in discovering some seriously amazing scenery that strengthened the bond I have with our misbegotten waterway.

Anywhat, it was just what I needed to clear my cranium. And you know if it’s me on a bike there will be handlebarcam timelapsification of the entire trip for your stop-motion viewing pleasure:

Get to the Hollywood Fringe this week!

I’ve spent the past few evenings at the Hollywood Fringe festival, which is happening at theatres and stages all over Hollywood.  Fringe Theatre Festivals have a special place in my heart – I used to be involved in running one when I was in college, and I think the format of Fringe Festivals allows for a lot of innovative and creative work to get staged that might not otherwise be seen.  The other night, I saw Headscarf and the Angry Bitch, which was a cute, funny, if somewhat earnest, musical take on being a Muslim woman in the U.S.  I also saw Of People and Not Things (and in the interests of full disclosure – the writer of this play is a friend, so I am somewhat predisposed to liking it) which takes the idea of a bad breakup being the end of the world to its literal extreme, through two moving, extended monologues from the two involved parties.   And later tonight I’m checking out a late staging of Freakshow Deluxe.  I’ve got tickets for a few shows later this week, as well – Girl Band in the Boys Room and Our Lady of 121st Street, both of which I’m looking forward to!  And I’ll probably try to squeeze in a few more shows, too – one of the great things about Fringe is that it makes it easy to see lots of shows and performers relatively cheaply.

Some Fringe Freaks, the mascots of the Hollywood Fringe!

Fringe Festivals are, by definition, open and unjudicated, which means anyone with a show can potentially get in and stage their show.  On hand, this is part of the reason why the Fringe can be so exciting and cool; on the other hand, it means that sometimes the shows are a bit hit and miss, and it can be hard to tell from the program what’s worth checking out or not.  So, if you’ve been out to the festival, please let us know in the comments if you’ve seen shows that you recommend!  The performers, who have to absorb a lot of the costs of staging their shows, always appreciate a shout-out.

For info about tickets, shows, venues, and schedules, visit hollywoodfringe.org!

Once again Law Enforcement and Logic do not mix

white_civicIf I told you that someone driving a car ran into a stationary object, would you think the fault rested with the driver or with the stationary object? What if that object was a person? Now whose fault is it? What if that person was actually several people. A large group in fact? And what if I told you the driver had been drinking? Still with me? And what if I told you the driver made no attempt to stop, left no skid marks, and by some eyewitness accounts may have even sped up? Any idea who might be at blame here? And what if this collision sent many of those people to the hospital, some in critical condition, many with broken bones?

So just to clarify. If a driver, who had been drinking ran into a large group of people who were standing still (that is, they didn’t jump in front of the car or anything stupid like that) without making any efforts to avoid them – who do you think is at fault?

If you said the driver, congrats, you have some shred of common sense. If you said it must have been the fault of the people the driver hit, you must work for the LAPD.

This is disgusting.

You’ll Be Craving This…

Love ’em or hate ’em, popular LA-based Umami Burger has certainly generated some buzz for themselves in the last couple years in their mission to raise awareness of the oft-overlooked “Fifth Taste.” While I humbly admit that I have certainly not done anything remotely resembling a comprehensive search for the best burger in LA—no I have not tried Five Guys or the Hamburger Habit yet—when I’m craving a burger, Umami and the Counter stand about equal chances of getting my business.

This morning a post over at 8asians caught my attention, featuring the following video in which LA-based girl group Umamiya shills for the popular burger joint:

Donuts, and donuts, and coffee, oh my!

We are very, very excited to let you know that the fine folks at Intelligentsia Coffee are sponsoring the 2011 Donut Summit, and are providing us with delicious coffee!  If more tasty donuts than you could ever hope to eat wasn’t enough of an incentive for you, then, surely, the best coffee in the city should be enough to convince you to come!

We’re also changing locations this year – so come join us on July 31, at 2pm in Elysian Park.  We’ll be in picnic area 6, which you can find on this park map.

More details to follow!  Mark your calendars for the Donutocalypse on the 31st!

LAFD: Right On!

I just want to take a moment to exploit this public forum to send out some very personal gratitude to the LAFD’s emergency responders.

Thankfully, it was only water spurting out under high pressure this morning and not blood, but the intrepid (and so handsome!) dudes appeared in a jiffy and had the situation under control in short order.

Did I mention they were gorgeous? And that after battling the water I looked like a drowned rat?

Oh and before you downgrade my IQ by 50 points you should know that They couldn’t find the water shutoff to the house either.

In fact, now that daylight is upon us and calm is restored, I’d really like to know where that shutoff is….

(and PS, kids: if you’re gonna sleep naked, maybe have some clothes in your handy emergency kit. Just sayin.)

More Tickets to Win! Rooney w/ Voxhaul Broadcast at the El Rey on Friday June 24th

And yet another concert in the pipes from the AWESOME folk at Goldenvoice, here’s your chance to win a pair of tickets to Rooney’s concert at the El Rey. It’s sure to be a great concert from these local Los Angelino’s & I’d love to give a pair of tickets to a lucky Blogging.LA reader!

Got to keep this post short as I’m trying to get this out while packing for my trip to Japan (and STILL SUPER SAD about missing the Matt & Kim concert) so if you’d like to go, please leave a comment below & I’ll pick a winner at random on Tuesday June 21st at noon PST. Good luck everyone!

And in case you don’t win a pair, you can also buy tickets HERE at Goldenvoice.

Happy Birthday Cassie!  Enjoy the show :-)

ICME: LA’s Got Smartphone Culture

Angry Bird Picture on a 170 Fwy Overpass
Pic by me. Embiggenates with a click.


Not long after I first moved out to LA, a friend who came to visit observed that smartphones are ubiquitous in LA. “As soon as the plane touched down, 90% of the people pulled out blackberries…”

That was, of course, before the first iPhone dropped, and LA’s phone culture has become even more entrenched since, and it’s also become far less rare for folks to have smartphones in small Midwest cities such as the one I hail from. The proliferation of the iPhone and Android, smartphones for the non-business user, eventually brought with it the popularity of new types of games (for non-gamers).

Some of those games – as is evident in the picture above – have been quite popular.

THREAD Show Highlights

On Sunday my friend Roberta and I ventured out to THREAD show. It was my first time at THREAD and I’d go back. Inevitably I find myself comparing it to Unique LA if only because I found out about THREAD from one of the Unique LA vendors, Lindsay at Felt Up.

Relative to Unique LA, THREAD is significantly smaller and less crowded. What crowd there is, though, is quite diverse, particularly racially diverse–both vendors and shoppers. There are a lot of jewelry vendors and very few food vendors. We didn’t even try for a free manicure or massage or visit with a stylist though the lines were not unreasonable. We were just entertained enough by the people watching and the shopping. Trends that I could live without: feathers and ginormous necklaces. Trends I love: knee socks and recycled fashion. More pictures of the event after the break.

Vendor info:

Circles and Squares
Art Kills Artists
Dominique Ansari
Mother Plucker
Micha Design
Naughty Blonde
Felt Up
PeaceImages Jewelry
Bela Koi
Retro Outlaw
Bipolar Gear

My favorite thing I bought? Well, I love the little gray porcelain rose earrings from Bela Koi and the tee shirt with Julie Andrews giving the finger from Retro Outlaw and the mirrored spiral earrings from PeaceImages, but my very favorite would have to be the yellow tutu from Bipolar Gear. LaRae Wilson, the creative spirit behind the operation is a force to be reckoned with. Have I ever bought an article of yellow clothing in my life? No. Am I glad I did? Yes. Thank you, LaRae for being persuasive. You can catch Bipolar Gear at LA Fashion Week’s Fashion Minga in October. I’ll be there if I’m in town.

Win Tickets to the Kid Cudi show on June 22nd @ Nokia Live

Kid CudiIn case Matt & Kim aren’t quite your thing, Goldenvoice has also donated a pair of tickets to the Kid Cudi show on June 22nd at Nokia Live!

In 2004 with only $500 and a demo tape in his pocket, Cleveland rapper Scott Mescudi moved to NYC with stars in his eyes and hope in his heart. 7 years later and Kid Cudi is one of the hottest acts playing sold out shows all over the country, and here’s your chance to go for free…

Please leave a comment below & one lucky Blogging.LA reader will get a pair of tickets to Kid Cudi’s show.

I’ll pick a reader at random for the show, contest ends Wednesday June 15th at noon PST, so start the commenting!

You can also buy tickets HERE at Goldenvoice.

Winners picked!!  Have fun at the show Gregg & Angela :-).

Wine Tasting @ M Street Kitchen’s Toast of the Coast!

$25 for unlimited tastings of 25 wines?  Sold.  M StrM Street Kitchen's Toast to the Coasteet Kitchen is hosting a little “Toast of the Coast” (meaning of course, the RIGHT coast, as in the WEST coast.  Duh) on Tuesday June 21st.  This is your chance to try out a ton of wines from some of California’s best vineyards all while munching on delicious hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Erik Palmer.  From Green Chili Burger Sliders to Bacon Wrapped Dates & Pimento to Lobster Rolls, there’s no culinary decadence that’s been overlooked!

And for those of you who like to indulge in a little sweet with your wine, they’re whipping up a Strawberry Caramel Bar with Pistachio & Coconut.  There will be wine connoisseurs on hand to give you tips and tools to impress your schnazzy friends at your next “wine & cheese” party, leaving them to wonder at your new found expertise.

So stop by M Street Kitchen and start sipping! Reservations are encouraged; guests may call 310-396-9145 for registration and payment.

Tuesday, June 21st || 6:30 PM- 8:30 PM
M Street Kitchen
2000 Main St. || Santa Monica, CA 90401
$25 for unlimited tastings of 25 different wines!


Countdown to Carmageddon

Road Closed
This sign will soon be on the 405

Get ready, L.A. LADOT and other area transportation agencies are putting out the word in advance that a busy stretch of the 405 Freeway will be shut down for the entire weekend of July 16-17. The 405 closure includes the Northbound 10-mile segment between the 10 and the 101, and a 4-mile Southbound 405 segment between the 101 and Getty Center Drive. According to LADOT’s announcement (click on “I-405 Closure” link in yellow box on upper left of above linked page), if motorists “do not have a critical need to be in or near the vicinity of the closure, they are being asked to avoid the area.” The announcement does, however, contain alternate route information.

Continue reading Countdown to Carmageddon

We (the Collective “We”) Won LA Weekly’s “Best Comment Thread” Award

Everyone, pat your great selves on the backs: I just found out over the weekend that our “5 Worst Trader Joe’s Parking Lots” post won LA Weekly‘s “Best Comment Thread” Web Award last week.  Over one hundred comments registered on the post, with most of you sharing your war stories, parking tips, and suggestions for alternate stores with better parking.  For all of you pissed off Angelenos who had enough of these damned parking lots and chimed in, thanks.  And great job.