It (Finally) Caught My Eye: NineEleven

It was spray painted onto the sidewalk a few doors down from where I live a week or so ago, and I’ve given it glances passing by it coming and going on easily a half-dozen dog walks, but it wasn’t until this morning on a stroll to the nearest mailbox around the corner that I finally stopped and gave it a scan (click to biggify):

Deep Fried Kool-Aid

Deep Fried KoolAid
Deep Fried Kool-Aid

If something deep fried that shouldn’t be isn’t a big enough hint its time for the LA County Fair I don’t know what is. This years outrageous deep fried thingy is Kool-aid, and it isn’t as bad as you think it might be. Maybe it was coming off of this years Donut Summit that made it all the more palatable but those Kool-aid flavored donut holes are something to behold. Imagine if you will a cherry flavored donut hole that is dusted with a blend of powdered sugar and cherry Kool-aid and you get the flavor profile of this deep fried treat invented by Chicken Charlie.

Last night was the LA County fair hosted local media types to come and get a tasting of the fare offerings this year. We got to graze through a sampling grazing of the biggies at the fair starting with Bubba’s and Chicken Charlies and into food trucks such as Piaggio’s and Crepes Bonapartes. You have to make the jump to get the deets on what I grazed upon as well as on the fair itself.  Continue reading Deep Fried Kool-Aid

Papoo’s Hot Dog Show Closing After 62 Years

How can you not trust a hot dog with a halo??
How can you not trust a hot dog with a halo??

Since 1949, Papoo’s Hot Dog Show has been filling the tummies of Toluca Lake residents and visitors with tasty hamburgers, sandwiches, fries and of course….hot dogs. Countless movie and TV stars have been regulars over the years. Though the owners and recipes have changed, it has always remained a great hole-in-the-wall place for some really good grub. Well today, Sunday August 28, 2011 marks the end of 62 years of Papoo’s Hot Dog Show.

Hot Dog Show holds a special place in my heart as I’ve been going there since….well before I was born! My mom worked there when she was 16, her initials STILL carved into the counter. In fact, I only just found out that my parents met there. If it weren’t for the Hot Dog Show, I wouldn’t exist! Having lived only 1 block away for most of my life, I can remember riding my scooter or bicycle up there on a regular basis. I always ordered 2 plain dogs with ketchup, fries and a Dr. Pepper. While I would wait for my food I would play either Galaga or Ms. Pac Man with the “WOOZ” (upside down “ZOOM”) button. With that “WOOZ” button I could fly through to the banana stage in about 4 minutes flat.

I’ll miss you Hot Dog Show and I’m not looking forward to the rumored Italian restaurant taking your place. At least we still have Dale’s Jr. Money Tree Hampton’s IHOP Copper Penny Bob’s!

Is Venice Beach losing its soul?

Tent City
Tent City at Venice Beach

Yesterday was my annual pilgrimage to Venice Beach with the kids for their end o’ summer/back to school field trip.  (I celebrate the latter).

It is so sad to see the changes going on in Venice right now.  Where the sidewalk was once lined with artists and musicians it is now packed with EZ-up tents selling mostly swap meet type crap.  To even get to the tent city one has to wade through a gauntlet of a dozen or so “independent musicians” hawking their latest CD in a very aggressive in your face manner.

I can count on my hand the number artists left on the sidewalk of Venice Beach.  It was sad to see so few of them left.  It was even sadder to see the number musicians has dwindled to less than a handful.  I miss them all, they were the heart and soul of the Venice Beach that I have come to love over my years here. Continue reading Is Venice Beach losing its soul?

No Budget Film Festival Tonight


Heads up: Tonight is the No Budget Film Festival, a nifty experiment in which filmmakers are challenged to make a movie without a budget.  Literally – these aren’t movies made on a shoestring budget; these are made without the shoestrings, period.  Filmmakers only could rely on things they already had, things they could borrow, or things that were donated.

Out of the 50 or so films that were entered in the festival, 15 were chosen for tonight’s screening at the Downtown Independent. And, of course, there will be prizes: the Critic’s Choice Award, as well as the Audience Choice Award, chosen by you, truly.

Tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door.

I’ve Seen “Blade Runner” Remakes You People Wouldn’t Believe

The number of versions of “Blade Runner“, which had already jumped the shark, has now jumped the Loch Ness Monster: director Ridley Scott plans to make yet another “Blade Runner” movie. It is not yet known whether the new “Blade Runner” will be a sequel, prequel, reboot, or otherwise. Either way, what can Angelenos expect if the new “Blade Runner” is again set in Los Angeles?
Continue reading I’ve Seen “Blade Runner” Remakes You People Wouldn’t Believe

Sunset Junction Cancelled, Some Shows Will Go On

Arthur Adams at Sunset Junction '08. Courtesy our own Burns!

In the end, even Live Nation couldn’t use its deep pockets to bail a lil’ ol’ community-oriented street festival out: an apparent $100,000 loan from the conglomerate notwithstanding and a ridiculous attempt to raise more money from the community – on top of the $25 it already charges for entry – it looks like Sunset Junction is cancelled.  The organizers apparently failed to solidify their permitting situation before selling tickets to the public, renting space out to the vendors, and booking the bands:  according to the city, some $141,000 in fees were past due, and have been for the past year.  Like that time your parents forgot one too many times to pay the electricity bill, the Board of Public Works finally just turned off the festival’s lights this morning.

But, as this is the Festival That Just Won’t Die Gracefully, the organizer’s attorney told LA Weekly soon after the Board’s decision: “Were gonna go back and review our options.”  That said, the organizers have indicated that there will be refunds (a recent tweet: “Lets not lose our faith, web site is down & Tickets $ will be re inverse to all of fans who supported, please do not panic (vendors,fans etc)”), but still are decrying the injustice of it all on their Facebook page and in a press release.

In spite of the cancellation, there may be a few performances this weekend yet.  LA Weekly also reports that El Cid’s stage will remain open “because they never received – and thus never signed – official contracts from the festival.  They’re also opening another free stage for displaced bands at nearby sister club Los Globos.”

ICME: Another Humorous Local Business Name

Deez Cutz

Unlike the candy store I posted about recently, which appropriated a popular phrase wholesale for its business name, this local business exercises a bit of creativity and added a minor twist to a different popular (and also PG-rated) phrase. The result is a barber shop that makes me chuckle every time I drive past. Deez Cutz is located near the intersection of Roscoe and Sepulveda in Panorama City.

I’ll try to be on the lookout for clever names on small local businesses and post more here as I spot them. What are some of your favorites?

Albano’s Pizzeria is Back on Melrose!

Albano's Sign by Jodi 8/19/2011

For years, my absolute favorite pizza place in L.A. was Albano’s on Melrose, just west of La Brea. Having done my fair share of time in the Northeast, I am a bit partial to New York style, thin crust pizza. Albano’s was not close to where I live and the parking was often less than convenient , but the pies made it worth any hassle. For a short time, they opened a second location in The Valley (twice), which was easier to get to, but I still preferred visiting the Melrose location. However, by the end of 2007, Albano’s was no more. While the owner was briefly involved with Robano’s when it initially opened in Toluca Lake in 2008, he ended up leaving and their pizza hasn’t been the same since.

I was driving to an appointment last Friday and as I drove by the former Albano’s location, I looked over as I usually do. I was shocked to see the old sign instead of that of one of the pizza joints that took over the spot after Albano’s closed. I didn’t quite believe what I saw and was running early, so I drove around the block for confirmation. OMG! Later that night, we went for slices and were hugged and kissed by Anthony Albano, who knew us as regular customers before and appreciated us coming back over the hill for Albano’s, the Best Pizza in L.A. It’s delicious. Try it for yourself.

Boldly Going: Oh Man River!

As two of the lucky few to score tickets to participate in the historic and quickly sold-out Paddle The LA River pilot program which is testing boating feasibility along a San Fernando Valley section of the waterway, my wife Susan and I showed up at Balboa Park in the Sepulveda Basin this past Sunday morning ready, willing and able to fulfill what for me has been a long-time dream — and to document the roughly two-mile journey from our launch point from beneath Balboa Boulevard to its end along the river’s banks between Burbank Boulevard and the Sepulveda Dam (GPS’d route is viewable here).

I won’t waste space waxing all word-heavy about what a wonderful time we had other than to say it was an absolutely unique and phenomenal opportunity and a program professionally presented and staffed that I hope will graduate from pilot status to one that becomes an annual and permanent recreation option.

If you’ve seen some of my past posts sharing my biking adventures along/in the river (or certain communal donut consumption events), you know I’m a bit of a timelapsing nut, and of course my plans were to chest mount my cam and similarly capture the length of Sunday’s paddle. Unfortunately, my principal camera’s battery all-too-quietly went kaput literally two-minutes after I started recording, so the only condensed clip I have to show for it is the following as Susan and me and the rest of our group are getting acclimated to our various flotation devices and the amazement of being in so serene and compelling a place so few have been before.

The good news is I didn’t come kayaking without also bearing my point-and-shoot, which I used to grab some stills and real-time video along the way, a few of which are available after the jump (or all together in this Flickr photoset) to give you a more well-rounded sense of what an awesome experience it was.

Continue reading Boldly Going: Oh Man River!

Proposal in Senate to increase driving & cell fines, including bicyclists too.

Image by WatchCaddy via a creative commons licence on flickr.
Image by WatchCaddy via a creative commons licence on flickr.

I was catching up on my blog reading and spotted this bit on Truth About Cars.  The maximum fine for driving and using a cell phone is increasing to a maximum of $528.  Bicyclists are being included for the first time as well though their fines are only a maximum of $50.  I think they should be on parity with each other but what the heck at least the disparity is being addressed now.

Link to the senate proposal HERE in pdf format.  Pages 2 and 3 are where the good stuff concerning the changes to the cell phone and driving proposals can be found.

I for one am glad to see some stiffer penalites coming for using the phone while driving.  What say you?

Feast Yer Eyes: Fast Food 1979

My friend Stephen Roullier just posted this Super 8 clip he and his fellow-filmmaker John Watson made (and co-starred in) showcasing a nice variety of the quick eateries found in and around the East Hollywood, Los Feliz Village, Silver Lake and Atwater Village area from back in a day when McDonald’s boast wasn’t the boringly general “Billions and billions served,” but rather the relatively paltry and more specific “Over 30 billion served.” Those were the days my friend.

My favorite moment comes when the legendary and still sorely missed Jay’s Jayburgers at Virgil and Santa Monica Boulevard makes an appearance at the 1:34 mark. Dig in: