All posts by faboomama

Latin Sounds @ LACMA

Kickoff for the third year of the eagerly anticipated Latin Sounds music series starts Saturday, May 24th.  The free event will be held in the amphitheatre in Hancock Park.  It runs from 5 – 7 pm and features not only a Who’s Who of Latin Jazz bands, but sounds from all over the Carribean, Central and South America.  And happy, happy, joy, joy, opening night will open with LA’s own Jose Rizo‘s Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars.  If you were lucky enough to catch the Latin Jazz Festival at the Greek back on the 10th, then you know you’re in for a treat.

Gosh, I hope it doesn’t rain.

How About Some Credit for Your Style?

Last month, Helen Jupiter shared a photo of the Fashion Bank in West Hollywood. In Koreatown (7th and Vermont, I’m guessing from the plaza’s name), I found a place where you can get Beauty Credit. I guess this is where the hot ones can take it to the bank and save it for later.

Now, I only have a photo of the sign, so I’m extra curious to know if this is actually a store that sells clothes or if is a credit union with an interesting name. Actually, all the business name are, uh… interesting. See, I wonder if Baristar is a coffee shop or attorney (Hey, there’s a place on 6th St. called Madmoaselle something, so anything’s possible). Texis is an interesting spelling and since it’s not a Spanish word, I’m going to guess it’s a last name. Finally, there’s the bossy business of CHANGE Hair. Hmmm, maybe you have to get some Beauty Credit to CHANGE Hair.

22nd Annual UCLA Jazz and Reggae Festival This Weekend

The 22nd Annual UCLA Jazz and Reggae Festival has gotten pretty big. What was once a free event until about 9 or 10 years ago, now costs $25 per day ($35 day of event). But this is probably the best lineup in years, no in forever and I’ve only missed the last 4 years since this event began. This festival is always fun and such a beautiful rainbow of Southern California, with the Belizeans and Dominicans representin’ hard.

Sunday, May 25th is Jazz Day or now Jam Day…LAs favorite DJ, Garth Trinidad, MCs the event and the line up includes Immortal Technique, The Roots, Goapele and many others.

Monday, May 26th is Contact High Day, otherwise known as Reggae Day and features big dogs of dancehall, Capelton and Mr. Vegas. Stephen Marley is also performing, though I’d prefer the Hot Marley Brother aka Damian Marley.

Beenie Man performs at the 18th Annual Reggae Day

A bonus is that the Jazz Festival Committee is trying to reduce impact, so in addition to the recycling bins we’ve seen before, they have a bio-diesel and solar powered stage and are using electric and bio-diesel fueled transportation. Speaking of transportation, the buses run right up to UCLA surround the campus. Ideal way to get there if you don’t want to pay for parking or deal with the hassle of sitting in line for 20 minutes trying to get into a parking structure. Or you can use the trip planner on the UCLA Jazz Fest site. Be sure to check the rules, the days of freewheeling days in the park are over; no chairs, umbrellas, coolers, tents, etc are allowed. That’s right, you get to bake your ass in the sun so make sure you bring lots of sunscreen and a big hat.

The Laughing Chicken

“HA! hahahaha hahaha!”

“Dude. Why does your chicken sound like that?”

“It’s a rooster.”

“HA! hahahaha hahaha!”

That’s the sound of my neighbor’s rooster. I first heard it in the middle of April and wondered what kind of animal made that sound. It took about 5 days for me to realize it was a bird, but I only learned a couple of weeks ago that it was a rooster.

Because of our proximity to Ernest Debs Regional Park, I assumed it was some kind of wild bird I had never heard before. I had considered tracking down the sound so I could take a photo of a beautiful laughing bird. Coincidentally, the day we planned to visit the Audubon Society is the day I learned it was a rooster.

“Huh? What’s it doing?”

“Cock-a-doodle-dooing.”

“HA! hahahaha hahaha!”

“It’s 1:25 in the afternoon!”

I called it the Laughing Chicken. The kids who’s conversation I recounted dubbed it Roostyena…you know, a cross between a rooster and a hyena.

“HA! hacawhaha coocooha!”

The rooster now imitates the crows and the pigeons. This morning the kids were fighting over a new name: Roostigeoncrow or Croostigeon.

ICME: Bunnicula lives!

In spirit at least…

I love big things on buildings; the odder the better.   Naturally, I was more than pleased when driving down Lakewood Blvd. I saw this docile creature:

Big thing?  Check.

On a building?  Check.

Odd?  Hell yeah.

That’s a huge-ass rabbit.  I thought it was the oddest pet store I’ve ever seen, but it’s sitting atop a feed store.  I don’t know if that makes it stranger.

ICME: Generic Boutique Hotel

It’s almost like people don’t even try any more or like Hollywood, figured all the good ideas have been taken so let’s get on with the rehash.

Custom Hotel.

I’d love to go upside the head speak to the genius who came up with this name. I snapped the photo on Lincoln Blvd. because it amused me. I did a quick internet search to find that this is real. Yeah…I admit to being such an Angeleno that I am sure a good chunk of the stuff that makes me laugh are props for movies. And I’m still not 100% convinced that it’s not a prop. Why? I have several reasons:
Continue reading ICME: Generic Boutique Hotel

Mother’s Day in Los Angeles

My Mother’s Days suck. This is because we have to drive down to OC to see my mother-in-law. Believe me when I say that’s the last thing I want to do on a day that supposed to be honoring me. Last year, I stayed home and sat in my pool all day long and drank beer. Now that was a Mother’s Day…one I hope to duplicate tomorrow. But the main reason Mother’s Day, in general, tend to suck is the mind-numbing boringness of it all: You get mom some jewelry or some putrid smelling body wash gift basket, grab a card and some flowers then go for a visit. Then everyone goes out to dinner and has a wonderfully tense time. After your escape, you go out to drinks with your friends and everyone bitches about their Mother’s Day adventures like it was different from everyone else’s.

Why not make it different? Here’s a few different things you can do:

The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is opening the Queen Anne Cottage to the public for Mother’s Day.
301 North Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA, 91007.
9:00 am – 5:00 pm; admission closes at 4:30 pm.
Arboretum members are admitted free. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (62 and over), $5 for students with ID,and $2.50 for children 5- 12. Children under 5 are admitted free.
Parking is free.

Hornblower Yacht Cruises offer Mother’s Day Brunch and Dinner cruises out Marina del Rey. You can book online or over the phone.

Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán is playing at the Million Dollar Theatre.  If you haven’t seen them, I highly suggest you get over there to check it out.  They are simply awesome.

MARIACHI VARGAS DE TECALITLÁN is a Mariachi group that was founded in Tecalitlán, Jalisco (Mexico) by Gaspar Vargas in 1898. In 1928, his son Silvestre Vargas took over control of the group. Over time, the group has recorded albums, starred in over 200 movies, and performed all over the world.

Isamu Nakashio is playing a special concert at the Nixon Library.  I know that that could be Orange County, but Nakashio is a brilliant classical guitarist and well worth the drive.  2 p.m. Sunday, doors open at 1:30 p.m., 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, free, 714-993-5075.

Opportunity at the Park

Yesterday, I opened the LA Times and saw an Op-Ed that opened:

Surrounded by freeways and bombarded with billboards, we green-seeking Angelenos take pride in our nature-ish things. East L.A. has Evergreen Cemetery; West L.A. has Venice Beach; Silver Lake has its reservoir. Or had, anyway.

I didn’t read further–I freely admit to not caring about the Drama of the Reservoir–because “Evergreen Cemetery” stopped me cold. Evergreen Cemetery? I’m one of the rare Angelenos who is aware of what is east of Downtown, but I had never heard of Evergreen Cemetery. Turns out it is the cemetery I have often photographed when I’m stuck in traffic. But come on, surely there are a lot of green spaces over here in east Los Angeles that are a lot more interesting than a cemetery.

In the year that I’ve lived in El Sereno, I’ve been supremely impressed by my local parks and what they offer. With the exception of one park, the 6 LA city parks within a 5 minute drive of my house all boast basketball courts, tennis courts, running trails and sometimes two playgrounds. 2 of these parks have public swimming pools (your LA Public Library card gets you in for free), one is open year round. All of them are immensely more fun that staring at a watery pit surrounded by chain link fencing.

When I’m feeling “nature-ish” I usually take the kids to Ernest Debs. You can climb the hilltop and enjoy the view of the skyline and Dodger stadium. Then, you can take the trails and go up to the lake at the very top of the hill. From up there you can see Highland Park, Mt. Washington, parts of Eagle Rock and Pasadena. If you drop down the trails on the north, you wind up at the Audubon Society where you can check out their completely green and environmentally sound property.

Continue reading Opportunity at the Park

Short Documentary: Meet Me at 3rd and Fairfax

Meet Lae. She lives in South Los Angeles and just like my Northeast LA neighborhood, she has a serious lack of healthy food options and quality produce. She embarks on a journey via bus to get to 3rd and Fairfax (link goes to a video) to do some grocery shopping.

South L.A. is a “food desert,” with few supermarkets and a lot of land in between them. This video is the true-to-life tale of an epic journey, two hours–by bus, chronicling the extraordinary efforts of Healthy Eating Active Communities (HEAC) student Lae Schmidt to obtain the quality and variety of fruits and vegetables she desires. Not content with conditions as they are, Lae sits down with her local Councilwoman to discuss what can be done to improve healthy food access in their community.

Today, I had to go to my dentist off Fairfax and Wilshire and while in the neighborhood, we dropped by Farmers Market. Since moving to El Sereno from the Fairfax district last year, we’ve probably gone to Farmers Market 7 or 8 times. That’s the only thing I miss about our place; being able to walk to Farmers Market for our near daily grocery shopping. I miss being able to get high quality meats and produce at affordable prices. El Sereno has a lot of things going for it, but quality and healthy food is definitely not one of them.

The local grocery stores leave a lot to be desired. When you’re used to getting imported cheeses from Monsieur Marcel, going into the Food 4 Less to choose between Land O’ Lakes or Von’s brand blocks of cheddar really knocks you for a loop. So, we’ve adapted a bit; I grow a lot of the produce my family consumes. We go to South Pasadena where there is Trader Joe’s, Nicole’s Gourmet Cheese Shop and a pretty good farmer’s market on Thursday evenings–all of this right at the Mission Station on the Gold Line. As much as I grumble about having to drive all the way over there, I wonder if we’d still go that distance if we had to take the bus.

Thanks to Lae, I know what my monthly letter to my Councilman will be about…maybe this one won’t be ignored.

Porn for New Moms

Yesterday, my family chose to celebrate my daughter’s 5th birthday by melting away some pounds on the UCLA campus. After a 5 year hiatus, we attended the Festival of Books which continues today. (Oh…to anyone who got hit by the Hello Kitty, I’m almost kind of sorry…but it was really funny hearing it bounce off your head.) The last time we went it was definitely not that crowded and the Stroller Warriors hadn’t taken over.

The throng of people made it a little impossible to get into some of the booths, what with us doing our last tour as Stroller Warriors, but we did get to almost see some books.

I only noticed then because of the large number of older moms and Latinas who walked away from the table saying the same thing, “I don’t even want to know.” I had heard of Porn for Women by the same publisher and knew it was just a collection of photos of men doing things the women studied found sexy. I have to say, those ladies lack some serious imagination. I picked up the book and sure enough it contained images of guys doing things my husband already does. How boring is that? All this goes to show is that you can sex up anything and Bugaboo/designer diaper bag crowd will buy it…just as soon as they get those stripper poles removed from their bedrooms.

E-waste be gone

my gadgets If you’re a gadget freak like me, you probably have a few monitors, old cell phones, printers and obsolete machines (can you say zip drive?) laying around taking up space in your house or garage. This weekend is your chance to recycle them.Tammara noted that there’s a hazardous waste collection day in Universal City this Saturday. Also on Saturday is an e-waste collection day in Torrance.
You can recycle your computers, old phones, printers, TVs and other electronics. The location is Toyota Way, Lot J between Western Ave. and Van Ness Ave. You can call (877) PC Recycle for more info.

Earth Day on Wilshire Blvd.

As Burns noted earlier, Wilshire was closed today for Wilshire Center Earth Day, which my family attended (see photos). Our original plans included me and two toddlers taking the train downtown where I had to do some work, then hopping the train over to Wilshire. Those plans fell through due to my husband’s insistence on coming with us and his crazy resistance to public transportation in Los Angeles. So, it was with great irony and much annoyance, that after finishing our work downtown we sat in traffic on 6th street forever and day just to attend the Car Free Earth Day celebration on Wilshire Blvd.

When I heard about this event last week I was a little more than excited about it. Think about it: A street fair with music and a stage on a Tuesday. Brilliant, I say! Worker bees and residents could walk over on a break and we’d be bereft of scenesters.

The entire festival was a lot bigger and a lot more crowded than I expected. There were two stages set up for performances, though we never made it over to the main stage. The booths were 90% educational. The other 10% were split between the typical organic tees with exceedingly lame sayings and the spiritual side; i.e., tarot readers, psychics and vibration/magnetic/crystal specialists.

I was pleased to see Plyboo was there showing off their awesome wares. Naturally, there was plenty of information about solar panels, building green, public transportation and water conservation was at the max. MillionTreesLA had their booth, of course, and was giving away 5 gallon jacarandas, “And this time, we’re really gonna water this tree!” was overheard several times as people walked waddled away with their new trees. As long as they’re aren’t wasting water…

The biggest shock of the entire event was the severe lack of food available. What is a street fair in Los Angeles without the lemonade, jerk chicken or Filipino food booths? There was Green Truck, which killed me considering the whole taco truck brouhaha going on right now. But I’m a practicing carnivore and tofu wraps were not in my future…at least according to the psychic.

The event was billed as Wilshre Center’s “first annual” street fair. My only suggestions for next year would be more food, get a farmer’s market going at the same time and try to get the vendors to use less paper.

The California Cactus Center

Driving up Rosemead Blvd. yesterday, a little something caught my eye. Succulents. Lots and lots of them. I gasped and pointed and we immediately turned around to check out the little shop. What we had “discovered” was the California Cactus Center. And it was heaven.

My interest in succulents and cactus goes back to when we first moved to California in ’81 and lived in the boonies. This was back when West Covina was still 213 and grass was something you saw in pictures. And kids them days respected their elders, sonny! I learned that our climate was ideal for growing these plants and we did have fun watching these plants grow slowly. FF a couple of decades and now I have sunlight and a backyard, two things the Fairfax District apartment I called home for 8 years serverely lacked. One of the first things I did as a homeowner was get some succulents. Not just because of my obsession, but also because of the water shortage thing. Oh and I’m lazy…I don’t like watering and can’t figure out the automatic timer. That works well with the succulents since they only need water about once a week, if that.

We parked in the small lot a the California Cactus Center and was immediately struck by the large offering of their stock. These are the the large cactus, euphorbia, crassula and aloes that you see gracing the front yards of some of the older homes in Los Angeles.There were plants for sale here that I’ve only seen at the Arboretum or Huntington Library.

From Rosemead Blvd., it looks like a rather small shop, but as you wend through the aisles, you’ll find more nooks and crannies of more plants. The store is huge, with every available surface covered in succulent goodness. What you see in the photo above is about a fourth of what is offered.

The California Cactus Center sells everything for the beginner to the avid collector. There is soil, fertilizer and mulching (rocks, tumbled grass, etc) for sale. There are several containers for almost any taste and size. The shop owners are also extremely helpful and knowledgeable leading you to the right plant for your local and tending needs. Just be ready to bring your “checkbook, credit card, mo’ money” because these things ain’t cheap. A few of the plants we wanted ran $80 – $300. Some of the smaller versions of the same plants were hovering around the $25 – $50 for 5″ pots. We did wind up buying some plants, but they were small and in 3″ pots.

The shop is located at 216 S. Rosemead Blvd. in Pasadena. They’re 7 days a week 10am – 4:30pm.

Because You Love Voting

I should probably share a little bit about me…I’m a political junkie. I’ve been online since ’88 (shout out to Prodigy!) and I’ve been active in political BBS, Usenet, forums and blogs this entire time. For me it’s not all talk, but action too. I volunteer time and money (when I have them) for campaigns and I try to get people engaged, which brings me to Sunday.

Sunday, April 13, the California State Democratic Party holds elections to vote for the delegates who get to go to the DNC convention and vote for the candidate that will get the nomination for the November elections. Yeah, we have a seriously messed up way of voting and I’m still for dropping candidates on a deserted island with a GPS, dental floss and clay putty or Dance Dance Revolution. Whatever…winner gets to be president and we don’t have to watch 3,498 debates.

If you’re unaware of which district you reside, check on the LA Country Registrar‘s site. There’s even a cool tool to find out who the delegates are for your district. For example, if I look up my old district and Barack Obama, I find 12 people on the list of 138 that I know. Looking up my current district only gives me 7 people total and I don’t know any of them.

The caucus doors open at 2pm and you must be in line by 3pm to vote. You have to be a registered Democrat to vote, but you can register on-site. The elections for delegates are being held in different locations for each candidate. Please click the links below for your preferred candidate:

Statewide Clinton Caucus Locations
Statewide Obama Caucus Locations

So, if you have nothing better to do on a hot Sunday afternoon, why not participate in our special version of democracy?