Patchwork Craft Show No Go

I had every intention of going to the Patchwork Show in Santa Ana today but a series of events kept me from it.  First church (hi hippie Unitarians!) which got canceled due to the kid oversleeping her morning nap, then I spent too much time researching ways to use my remaining root vegetables from the Culver City Farmers Market to make leftover turkey chili, Skyped with the in laws, and then I happened to look at a map and discovered Santa Ana is hella far down in the OC. By that time, this wet stuff had started falling from the sky.  Too bad…  lots of great vendors were at the Long Beach show and I was looking forward to shoving some cash at them.  Next up…  Unique LA!

Surviving Christmas with toddlers

Surviving Christmas with a toddler can be a challenge.  A nice looking tree with a toddler around is easy if you take a few simple steps.  I remember all the steps and criteria for a well dressed tree from my days at Bullock’s, one fatally so as a Christmas Shop Manager, so I know how to do it.  A toddler simple requires a little revision.  All that bright shiny twinkly stuff is a huge temptation.  Let them at it but with some safeguards.

Christmas tree in a play pen - click to embiggen
Christmas tree in a play pen – click to embiggen
  • Put the tree in a playpen to keep them yanking it apart when done.
  • Buy shiny unbreakable ornaments they can put on the tree.  Do the lower half of those onrmaments within their reach
  • Keep the fragile Radko and similar above their reach
  • Use LED bulbs which burn cool compared to the old minatures and c7 bulbs…just in case they get through the barricades they still cant get injured

My grand is 2 1/2 and we found this was a much easier solution than yelling “no” all day.  Also they feel quite proud of helping put it all together so its a win on many levels.

I may get brave and try him on Christmas cookie making this year.  What harm can come of giving a toddler colored sugar and sprinkles?

Selfie Stick the abomination for the self absorbed

The selfiestick, click to embiggen
The selfiestick, click to embiggen

They started showing up in recent weeks. A stick you attach your phone to for big picture selfies.

At the Auto Show this week they were all over.  They’re obnoxious. The users are screaming and yelling at folks behind them and in front of them to move. I got whacked on the shoulder with one trying to get a better picture.  Really?  Is this not the most obnoxious invention for the self absorbed yet?

Pic by me and it embiggens with a click

A Little House Christmas opens at Sierra Madre Playhouse

The Ingalls family as played by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen.  Click to embiggen
The Ingalls family as played by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen. Click to embiggen

Breaking a decades long tradition and following Creative Director Christian Lebano vision of bringing American plays by American authors,  A Little House Christmas opened to applause last night in Sierra Madre.

A little backstory about the play.  We all know Laura Ingalls Wilder and her stores of growing up in the 1800;s in the big woods or out on the Prarie, It was even a TV show for many years which is how many of us learned of the books.  The play is based on the book and was adapted to stage by James DeVita.  The Little House Heritage House allows little deviation and creative license,  That didn’t stop Directro Emily Chase from working with music curator Lindsey Stand-Polyak and music director Rebecca Lord from getting permission from the trust to incorporate period apporpriate music into the play.  It works. It works really well.  The songs, many of them “new” to this century are a marvelous addition to this simple themed play and adds real depth to the story.  I loved it.

The play takes places in the 1870s on the prairie and spans the course of 1 week with a wicked storm that wreaks havoc on the Ingalls family Christmas.  I won’t give any spoilers on how Christmas was saved, you need to watch the play to see the execution of the play and the heart warming ending.  Suffice it to say, kindness to others previously brought about the happy ending for the Ingalls family.

The Ingalls family as portrayed by Hanna Victoria Stock, Valerie Lohman, Pamela Daly and Eric Charles Jorgensen doesn’t deviate from the books or TV Show.  Added bonus to this is that “Pa Ingalls” in real life can play the fiddle and whips it out at appropriate times in the story to add some real life to  this simple story line. Continue reading A Little House Christmas opens at Sierra Madre Playhouse

Knock Three Times On The Ceiling If You Want Me

http://youtu.be/szaLnKNWC-U

Never mind that the manner in which the evil creature introduces itself brought to my mind a deliciously daaaaaaaaark reboot of Tony Orlando and Dawn’s 1970 hit, if your first reaction to hearing about the “The Babadook” is to dismiss it, I’d wholeheartedly recommend you reconsider this incredible indie flick, which proves filmmakers need not throw huge sums of money at the screen to generate genuine hair-raises.

It was a delightful horror treat; a perfect tension of psychological deterioration paired with an awesomely hell-raising and sinister spook who feeds off of the complex and increasingly strained relationship between mother Amelia (an incredible Essie Davis) and six-year-old son Samuel (a jaw-droppingly fantastic Noah Wiseman in his film debut). The twisted journey into madness is made all the more wonderful by the awesome talent of Jennifer Kent in her directorial debut.

Nautical heaven at the Chowder Barge

Some of the most memorable meals of my life have been on boats.

One memorable boat meal was a few summers ago. I was in the Netherlands on vacation, and after a long day of trudging around Rotterdam in the rain, we ended up on De Pannenkoekenboot: the pancake boat. The pancake boat sails around the Rotterdam harbor for an hour, during which time you fill your face with as much as you can from an all-you-can-eat pancake buffet that includes toppings that range from the kind of thing you’d expect (ie: syrup) to the kind of thing that makes you question the definition of “topping” (ie: large wedges of brie). Also, there is beer. The pancakes were delicious, but that’s completely incidental. Stick me on a boat, feed me any food, and I will happily regale people with tales of my nautical adventure culinary for years to come, as though I am an actual pirate and not just a fairly boring person who occasionally eats on a boat.

But one need not travel abroad for a boat-bound dining experience! We live near an ocean, or so I’ve heard, so there restaurant options close to home that will move you to regale your dining companions with a theme-appropriate fake pirate accent. You could go to the fanciest boat restaurant of them all, the Queen Mary. OR, for something more down to earth, you could head down the road to the Leeward Bay Marina at the LA Harbor. That’s where you’ll find the Chowder Barge: a floating restaurant with a 40-year history of chowder-slinging.

I visited The Chowder Barge for the first time last weekend, and was glad to discover that it is basically a perfect place. It’s nestled among sailboats, and the doorway is at the the end of a swaying dock. Inside, the walls and ceiling are covered in nautical tchokes, a giant fireplace hangs from the ceiling, and it looks like the kind of place frequented by the Big Kahuna from Gidget.

You can order beer in normal-sized glasses at the Chowder Barge, but why even bother when you can just get the CAPTAIN’S MUG, which is larger than a human head. It also weighs about as much as a two-year-old. Why mess around? You get your beer and your upper arm workout, too. Here, look how pleased I am about this Captain’s Mug:

You, too, could know the joy of the Captain's Mug.
You, too, could know the joy of the Captain’s Mug.

 

You, too, could know this joy!

The food was good. The clam chowder was so bacony might as well have just been cream of bacon soup with clams, which is not exactly a problem. If you order the Double Clam Chowder, you get a bowl of chowder filled with deep fried clams! And if you order the Chowder Burger, you get a bowl of chowder with a cheeseburger in it! Because god bless America. None of my party were bold enough to brave the Chowder Burger, but I’ve already decided that I will be returning for my birthday, where I will have a Chowder Burger with birthday candle in it.

What are you favorite floating or nautical-themed restaurants? Comment away, me hearties!

Abstract Los Angeles: Road

Hi. My name is Ben, and I’m new to blogging.la.
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Photography began, for me, at the age of 19, when my girlfriend handed me a Pentax Spotmatic, and it traveled with me for more years than I like to count.

In between then and now, I spent my time wandering, spending years restoring 1950’s and 1960’s Jaguar’s to perfection, working as a bartender in New Orleans, Alaska, and England and taking classes in everything from astronomy to coding.

Now I have taken all that I love, and wrapped it around photography.

My enjoyment of wandering has taken me all around the city where I live, Los Angeles, with the little details that it displays, and to (never enough) far flung places, where momentary meetings create lasting impressions.

Hodomania means, simply, the mania for travel. I am a writer and photographer based in the Los Angeles area, but my mind takes my feet wandering on a regular basis.

The wandering seems like a good idea at the time.

Sometimes it is.

Sometimes it isn’t.

Click each image to embiggen.

 

 

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Small Business Saturday support the home grown retailer

Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday

Saturday November 29 is Small Business Saturday, the day the small retailer hopes will make their Holiday Season instead of the chain stores at the Mall. Its been going on a few years now, tomorrow is the day. Make it happen for the Home Grown Retailers that support the community they live in. Here is a run down of some of the things I know are going on in and around my corner of L.A.

First up my friend Lisa Barrios owner of the Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Old Town Monrovia is offering up 20% Saturday only for customers who come in and tell her you saw the post here.  The 20% off is on any Holiday Gift item, pottery or ceramics that you chose to do.  The Legacy Hand Prints she does are really special momentos you will treasure for a lifetime.  418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016.  They are on Facebook too…remember to tell them fraz sent you!

Hoopla! in Altadena is closed for the day getting ready for Small Business Saturday.  This is a wonderful store full of really unique, often locally sourced artists and writers, gifts.  Hoopla will be donating 15% of their proceeds Saturday to both Light Bringer Project and Room 13 associated with Pasadena’s John Muir High School.

Sierra Madre is rolling out the Red Carpet as a community and will be hosting a “SmART Walk” of local artists within established businesses in town.  Do stop by Sierra Madre Playhouse and get your tickets for the family to attend their production of  A Little House Christmas.  Added bonus is photographer Geoffrey Wade will be exhibiting a few of his backstage images. Continue reading Small Business Saturday support the home grown retailer

Just another reason I love L.A

Staple Center at sunset

Today was Public Days of the L.A. Auto Show. I brought my son and a neighborhood kid I’ve known since he could barely walk.  Its our annual tradition.

We left to grab a bite to eat at L.A. Live, Yard House to be precise, and exited to find this vista.  The sun bouncing off the Marriot/Ritz Carlton illuminating the ultimate L.A. icon, the Palm Tree.  It was otherworldly.

Add in it was 80+ degrees outside in November and it couldn’t be a better reminder of why I love Los Angeles. Click the pic to see it full-size.

The Apple Pan on Thanksgiving Eve – Free Theater While You Wait!

ApplePan2When you enter the Apple Pan, you have to understand you are entering a totalitarian state. This joint has been around, almost untouched, since 1947 and nothing you say or do will change how they do business. This is true on any day. This is doubly true on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eves when they make tons of extra pies and all of us die-hards line up to get them. (My husband loves the chocolate cream.) You’ll wait and if you are like me, you’ll enjoy the wait because the wait is great theater.

ApplePan1With all the extra people coming to buy pies on the same days every year, you would think they might put on a special person simply to sell pies and keep the crowds moving. No, no they won’t. Why? Because we are the Apple Pan and because f**k you. You don’t like it? Go buy pies at that tramp Marie Callendar’s place. The guy who takes your pie order is the same guy servicing his side of the counter (which of course is full of lunch eating peeps) and he’ll get to you when he gets to you.

During my 35 minute wait, I was lucky to stand next to a nice woman who had the same attitude as I did, in fact she was going to be late for a doctors appointment, but damned if she was going to miss picking up the apple pie for her boyfriend’s family!  We chatted a bit between shows.

Continue reading The Apple Pan on Thanksgiving Eve – Free Theater While You Wait!

Mercedes Benz does an Art Car

MBartcarfront I missed the Benz press conference and reveal…busy shooting elsewhere so I missed the point behind the Art Car. I have no idea why or who did it but its different.  Quality work event.

I’ve got a few detail pics after the jump.  Pretty nifty stuff.

Sound off in the comments on why you think they did it and the meaning of it all.

Continue reading Mercedes Benz does an Art Car

Graffiti Grammar Bingo and Spelling Bee: Exhibit 1

B-I-N-G-OBecause, this image:

I hereby announce the bLA Graffiti Grammar Bingo & Bee. Once I post five of these, the first commenter gets a prize if they type BINGO!!!! and then identify the error. (Exclamation points not required.)

Obviously, this one should be “you’re,” and I also deduct points because the elephant appears to be both balancing on a ball and levitating to paint the sign. You can’t do both, Jumbo. I know these things.

I welcome submissions. Ping me at the address on my profile to send me one.

L.A. Auto Show…press days round up

http://youtu.be/YIuQo-Ym-OI
I have to tell you the cacophony of the Auto Show during press days is very different than that of public days. Its not thousands of people meandering about, but a herd mentality of media types running from one press conference and reveal to the next. Its usually a couple in a row in one hall where you shuffle a few feet at time vying for the best seat to hear/see and be the first on stage for photos when its over. Its 15 minutes of manufacture hype with 5 minutes of photo op, then 5 minutes to get to the next show. Insanity.

Also different is that the manufacturers have stuff that is available for press days only. The reps I talked with didn’t think the live demo of the iRoad in this video would take place for public days…so thats my lede. Continue reading L.A. Auto Show…press days round up

Have Infant, Will Travel

People often ask me how I get around so much with an infant. It’s pretty easy: my daughter is 5 months old and can’t say “please stop dragging me to everything, Mom.” Since her birth in June, we’ve been in perpetual motion, stopping only long enough to nurse and fight naps. There’s been a diaper change or two in there somewhere.

WeHo Pumpkin PatchWe’ve been to 3 weddings, 2 baby showers, a wedding shower, and a family reunion, visited folks in 4 states and the District of Columbia, saw the world’s largest rubber ducky in Long Beach, watched Shakespeare in Griffith Park, perused art at the world’s oldest and largest artist colony at the LA Brewery Art Walk, toured one of California’s most over-embellished homes at Hearst Castle, stared at the biggest trees in Big Sur, and gaped at the most expansive collection of Greek artifacts on the West Coast at the Getty Villa. There was a dust-free party for the Burning Man left-behinds in Reseda, a backyard Octoberfest in Eagle Rock, a quick spin through the Patchwork Craft Fair in Long Beach, a free ferry ride to Catalina for my birthday, a single visit to the “Birth Stories” lecture series in Venice, and more baby storytime at the local library than you can shake a stick at. We also spotted a well-known but poorly aging celebrity at a pumpkin patch in West Hollywood. Would it be LA without a star sighting?

I thought life with a baby would slow me down but I’ve been to more places with my tiny partner in crime than I ever went as a single entity. My desire to show my kid the best our world has to offer gets me out of my shell and reintroduces me to all the reasons I moved to California. We don’t plan on stopping. Well, maybe after this nap.