Hollywood Sign Traffic Jam

I’ve lived in the Hollywood Hills for a while now. Used to be that navigating around the hills was a breeze, slow and easy, like a drive on a country road. Seriously, it was cool.
Not anymore. It’s turned into a crazy, frenetic, traffic-filled, tourist-stopping-in-the-middle-of-the-road-to-take-pictures mess.
In Beachwood Canyon especially. On the overlook up on Mulholland between the obnoxious tour buses, rental cars and hordes of people taking pictures, you take your life in your hands going around the bend. Forget parking laws, people stop suddenly in the street and jump out of their cars blocking traffic, which is a nightmare anyway on the narrow twists and turns. If you ask them kindly to move their car (it is, after all, stopped on a highway on a curve and a true scary traffic hazard) you usually get the finger and some shouting!
Relief may be in sight though.
After many meetings with Councilman Tom LaBonge, and assorted other corporate entities, Google has agreed not to include directions to the area for Hollywood sign seekers anymore. More importantly, most of the major GPS makers (Garmin most specifically) have agreed not to put it in the GPS units that go into rental cars out of LAX and Burbank airport.
It will be interesting to see in this age of people not looking on maps if this helps.
Now, if we could just find a way to eliminate the tour buses. Which are illegal and not supposed to drive (weight limits) on these streets!
Hello traffic control: Want to write some easy tickets? Just hang up there on any sunny day and wait! Tour bus after illegal tour bus will be stop as will lots of illegally parked cars!

Trader Joe’s Hollywood Annex


Yeah, Trader Joe’s has an annex and it’s in my kitchen. In a burst of New Year organizational energy, I tackled the depths of my main kitchen cupboard. After an hour of stacking organizing and grouping I was amazed. From the depths of my shelves, my cupboard is built really deep into the wall…came can after can of the same stuff! I’m nothing if not consistent.
Looking at the bounty, I realized, I may never have to shop again for any foodstuffs other than fresh vegies and the occasional piece of animal protein.

I was mortified at the number of unused Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce jars I had (6), jars of Hearts of Palms (5), cans of organic black beans (6) and containers of olives I had (can’t even count em).
Forget about tallying up the gross amounts and varieties of pasta, rice, and quinoa stacked in my cupboard. It’s as if I expected that the world was gonna end and I had to have a stockpile of food to hold me over until spring vegetables could grow.
So now, part of my New Year’s agenda is to make every meal use some of the canned, jarred, dried or packaged food I have lurking in my cupboards. I should be able to cook til April.
I googled Trader Joes Recipes and found some on their site, chow hound and several more. Any ideas welcomed!

I’m also planning a trip to a shelter to share some of this discovered bounty!
I guess getting out the old broom is good every once in a while cuz we all win!

Win Tickets to Beats Antique at Club Nokia

Try describing Beats Antique to someone that hasn’t experienced them and you end up talking about a kaleidoscope of styles.
It’s Electronica, No! it’s Middle Eastern, wait, it’s Down-tempo, maybe Afro-Beat? There’s an amazing bellydancer and her team, there’s sometimes a crazy Marching Band, occasionally a wild explosion of live puppet dancers, jazz. What the hell is it?

Divine. Going to a Beats Antique concert is always an experience, kind of psychedelic, kinda dreamy…always fun.
If you want to get in on the action for FREE just give us your description of what describes their vibe onstage. Best four descriptions get free tickets for this Friday nights show on the 30th at the Club Nokia.
Do it now, cuz we have to make a decision and give these tickets away! Make sure when you sign in you leave us your email so we can contact you if you win (it’s not published!)

If you don’t win, you can buy tickets here.
Along with Beats Antique, Emancipator, Random Rab and Lynx are hitting the stage.
Beats Antique was formed by two rad musicians Tommy “Sidecar” Cappeland, David Satori and a hip-hop belly dancer named Zoe Jakes. Their performances defy description! But give it your best shot!

Ecotopia Festival: Music, Yoga and Cool Vibes Rule in Ojai

I love Ojai, super peaceful and beatuiful place, so when I saw this, I was stoked to get on board. If you’re looking for some fun and a hit of transformation, check out the Ecotopia Festival happening next weekend, Oct 22 & 23 in Ojai. It’s a two day event featuring some great Electronic music, Kirtan Artists, Yoga workshops and lectures designed around building conscious communities.

It’s a pretty smokin’ deal at $45 per day or $80 for the weekend. There is something about the golden hills of Ojai that always gets me going… it really is a magical place so just getting out of town and hanging there is sure to be a cool experience.
The idea for Ecotopia revolves around community building & holistic workshops… kind of a Burning Man meets Bhaktifest meets something new. You can go for the weekend or the day. There will be lots of local organic food vendors (Cafe Gratitude is one of the sponsors) and beautiful tent or RV camping. Good way to welcome the change of seasons at this very special conscious gathering.

It’s located at the Mystic Ranch: 10338 Ojai Santa Paula Rd Ojai, CA 93023.

Carmageddon Really IS Non-Carmageddon

Hmmm.  Earlier this week I posted a ‘rumor’ that the 405 wasn’t closing.  Well, it IS closed, but the traffic all around it is moving just fine!

I just drove to Ojai for the day and I zipped up the 101 right past the 405.  Not even a slowdown!

And last night and this morning, the city of LA is quiet, quiet, quiet.  Seems everyone really IS out of town or hibernating.  It’s kind of nice.  Seems like a normal city.

Perhaps we are the most normal city in the world! Everyone emulates us.  And personally, I think we have the best life-style on the planet! Viva Los Angeles!
And hell, Viva Carmegeddon! It’s tamed this puppy!

Non Carmageddon?

405 sign
Fact or fiction?
Is the closure of the 405 going to be postponed?
If this is correct, you heard the breaking news here first!!!
If not, hey rumors are sometimes wishes to the Gods.
Here’s the story:
I got rear ended on the 405 recently. So yesterday, after going through the endless drama of paperwork and details of the accident, my car was ready to be picked up. While at my amazingly fabulous car shop, Saab & Raffi (they fix anything and are really, really excellent… and very reasonable), anyway, while there, I met a guy who worked for the MTA. And he didn’t just say he worked for the MTA…. he was wearing one of their badges. He told me and another woman waiting that the closure had been called off. That they got an email that morning saying it wasn’t ready and that it was delayed indefinitely.

Hmmm. I questioned him intensely. He checked out. And he seemed straight up.
But then again, I’ve read nothing in the news that backs this up. They would have announced it by now. Right?

Or maybe they are just messin’ with us and waiting til the last minute so traffic is a breeze. Who knows?

Rumors like this could just be wishes to the Gods. Just thought I’d pass this little nugget on.

Win Tickets to Krishna Das!


Kirtan Music is sweeping the nation, if you are into Yoga, you’ve probably already been to a Kirtan. If not, get on board!
Kirtan, or chanting, is a way of being involved in music, rather than just listening/watching to a performance. By participating in the calls and sacred sanskrit words, you fall into a beautiful meditation.
Krishna Das took chanting up to a new level years ago, using instrumentation, other singers and led the way to it’s popularity, turning audiences on to Kirtan since the 70’s. He’s on a tour of with his “Samsara by Bus” tour, which is coming to LA on Monday, June 13th, at the Wilshire Ebell. You can buy tickets here… or you can win a pair from us.
To get your chant on for free, tell us what Samsara means to you! Our esteemed panel of judges (um, me) will pick a lucky winner and you will be chanting away on Monday night!

Blogging (in) LA: Root Simple

I love Rootsimple, an LA blog about living an urban life and staying in touch with nature. It has terrific posts and ideas that range from beekeeping in the city, to making Nasturtium pesto!
I got turned on to it from my son, who has taken up beekeeping in my backyard, which at first alarmed me, but now I’m thrilled to have fresh honey!

Rootsimple is run by ‘the homegrowns’ Erik and Kelly, a couple in Silverlake who have also written several books about urban homesteading, “The Urban Homestead: and “Making It: Radical Home Ec in a Post-Consumer World”.
I particularly love that they talk a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in growing things to eat in Los Angeles.
There are all sorts of tips for eating, growing, raising, making and baking just about everything you can think of.

I also like that through their projects, I can fantasize about what it would be like to live on a farm (albeit in LA). I’m a city girl with a garden, so almost all of their projects call out to me!
Reading about their chickens, I yearn for a chicken coop so I can have fresh eggs. But alas, no one in my household (including queen me) wants to clean up their poop or battle the coyotes!
Ahh to dream!

LA Females: How to Meet Them

I’ve been single, married, in a relationship and experienced just about every combination in between. So I’m aware that meeting someone who turns you into a ‘hunka-hunka burning love’ can sometimes be an exercise in futility! But lately, lots of my male friends here in LA have been moaning and groaning that it’s impossible to meet a nice, smart, cool and okay, yes, we’re talking men, so she has to be a sexy-hot woman, here in LA.
Not true! This place is teeming with available women! So in my humble ode to public service this week, I’m gonna share some tips on getting to know the single ladies of our luscious Los Angeles. And just so you know, I polled a bunch of single women for their suggestions, so it’s not just my clues.

First, the thing I heard a lot from my girlfriends is that part of the problem is that men who seem attracted to you don’t initiate. If you see her, go talk to her. Believe me, you will eventually hit the jackpot. Women like attention. So if there is a flicker, go make contact! It’s how my honey Dan lassoed me in. (That and his dazzling smile).
Yes, you will be rejected a lot…. not necessarily because she doesn’t like you; she might be married, in a relationship, recovering from losing a parent, who knows! But if she’s free and has that tingle too… It could be magic! Continue reading “LA Females: How to Meet Them”

Life as Art: The Brothers Behind Lightning in A Bottle and The DoLaB

The Flemming Bros.One of the crazy joys of living in LA is the amazing characters you run into on a regular basis.  Case in point:  The Flemming Brothers: Jesse, Jason and DeDe.  They are the creative genius behind The Do LaB, which hosts a myriad of events around our fair city and Southern California.  They’re probably most famous for Lightning in a Bottle, which will be rocking for three days next weekend in Santiago at Oak Canyon Ranch.  You can groove to some really great and truly eclectic music, see some amazing art and installations and in general have a crazy fun time.
I recently got the chance to talk to the three brothers together at their place in Venice. To say I was inspired, is an understatement. They give new meaning to living their dream: Creating rad art, finding amazing music and sharing it with the world. They’ve even created an art foundation called, The Do Art Foundation to help foster new artists and to turn kids on to art.

It all started 10 years ago when Jesse moved out West from small town Pennslyvania. His brothers Josh and Dede soon followed.
Lightning in a Bottle has it’s roots in a small birthday party they used to throw for themselves (Jesse and Josh are twins). Every year the party got bigger and bigger until in 2004 it was a one night event that 700 people showed up for.
After 2004, they made it into a bona fide music festival and in 2006, held it in Live Oak Park near Santa Ynez, where it became a 3 day event with 4500 or so participants.
Last year they moved it to Oak Canyon Ranch and by then, their numbers grew to around 7000 art seekers.
I’ve been to at least five of their events and all I can say is…it’s a really fabulous time. They all have a great eye for art and create really cool structures (if you’ve been to Coachella, you know some of their tents and areas).
Every year I camp with my friends and end up meeting lots of new ones. Every year I dance to some old faves in the music department and discover someone new who blows my mind. Every year I hear a lecture that really enlightens me.
And it all came about because these three groovy guys living in Venice combined their familial talent to create The Do LaB. They brainstormed to make cool art installations with their friends (and now legions of crafty volunteers) and to discover great beats and in general make their life as an on going art piece.
It works. And the LA is a cooler place because of them!

Recycling Your Junk

Sign at GelsonsI like an uncluttered room. Spare space=creative energy. So why is it that no matter how much stuff I throw away, there is an endless supply of miscellaneous junk lying around?
Take my house for example. It’s only occupants are me, my love-man Dan and our trusted canine. Okay, throw in a host of relatives who visit (camp out) regularly and a bevy of out of town, quite loved friends who stay for long weekends, so there is a lot of traffic. Somehow we end up with a lot of stuff.
Lately, the garage has been filling up with old cell phones, TV’s, endless cords, out of date CD players, not to mention a huge bag of batteries. My first inclination is to toss this stuff… but I know I shouldn’t, hazardous waste and all. So I was very excited to see the banner outside my local Gelson’s on Franklin in Hollywood advertising their monthly e-waste recycling on the 2nd
Saturday of each month. Next one is May 14th.
I inquired inside as to what they took and it was everything electronic, especially computers. They even take batteries inside the store at the managers station. Yippee. On further research, I found that your local Best Buy also recycles everything electronic. And the county of LA does it too. So the cleaning rampage begins once again. Much to my boyfriends chagrin.

LA Celebrates 420 Day!

Yes kids, it’s that day again. April 20th. The day cannabis imbibers all over the world celebrate the new ‘Cannabis Culture’ that is sweeping through our nation.

From it’s humble beginnings back in the 70’s, the date of April 20th has grown into a world wide holiday to celebrate all that’s good about Cannabis. It’s reputed that 420 was the time and secret code that a group of high school stoners in Pt. Reyes, CA used to plan meet-ups to search of a secret cache of marijuana growing on the coast. They never found it, but now, all over the world cannabis lovers use the day and number to celebrate their love for the miraculous qualities of their beloved Marijuana.

Here in Los Angeles, a number of dispensaries are celebrating with heavy discounts on products, free food and lots of samples.
In Hollywood, one of the biggest and best collectives in town, ‘Kushmart’ on Selma, just past Cahuenga, is having a huge raffle all day and the prize is a 5 oz of several of their top shelf meds. Wow! Can’t beat that for gratitude and support of their patients! They are also giving lots of meds out at 50% off. If you check them out, don’t miss the Ganja Goddess Brownies and Gingerbread. They are seriously the bomb. Not to be missed and famous for their healing strength and amazing yummy taste!
Starbudz on Lankershim in Noho, is another collective that has great meds and is offering specials for 420. Go in and ask about their 420 specials and Angela will hook you up.

Anyway, if you’re a medical marijuana patient, you can find deals galore just about anywhere in Los Angeles today. Luckily, we live in one of the most patient friendly cities in the world!

How Many Rads is LA REALLY Getting?

Radiation Alert! Want to get a heads up on the radiation fall-out hitting LA right this minute? Check this out!  It’s a live streaming radiation monitor set up in West LA so you can see what’s going on at any time of the day or night.

There’s even a chat set up, so you can get answers to all your burning questions.

These guys also get bonus points cuz the device glows in the dark!

Create:Fixate Bash This Saturday Night

If you love Art and Music… game on for this Saturday night as Create:Fixate throws down “RISE” and celebrates nine years of putting on events for LA. The theme of ‘RISE’ was chosen to celebrate our entry into Spring (yay!) and creative renewal.

The night starts at 7pm with an eclectic array of Art in the Optical Lounge and goes on til 2am with music lighting up the night. Painting, Photography and all types of visual Artists are represented in this show.
In the ‘Audio Lab’, DJ Garth Trinidad will be spinning his magic along with Pumpkin and Felix Bloxsom aka Plastic Plates.

Garth is one of the acclaimed DJ’s and and culture monsters on KCRW. He weaves awesome tapestries of sound and whether it’s electronic music or jazz… he always rocks the house. He is joined by Felix Bloxsom who comes all the way from Australia and has played Coachella as well as many other events. Pumpkin is the force behind the Wandering Marionettes and is sure to get your groove on! He’s known to inspire love, lust and laughter… always a good mix for Saturday nights!

There’s lots of other music/performance acts on hand.. including a special “Leisure Listening Lounge” hosted by SuperTall Paul Newman. He’s 6’6” (hence the name) and is known for his improvisational music/magician/street performance soul and will bring it to an intimate, interactive, headphone lounge.

The event is at the Premiere Events Center located at 613 Imperial St., Los Angeles, CA 90021. Tickets are $15 if you buy them before 9pm and $20 after.

Oven Fixin’s: Not So Simple

How easy is it to get your oven (or any appliance) fixed these days for a reasonable price?
Yeah: Difficult.

Or should I say, how easy is it to get a simple estimate over the phone before so you can assess how much cash you’ll need?

Almost impossible.

Unless you know about Antique Stove Heaven.

The fun and games started when my oven died. I did a search for LA Oven Repair. I called at least 6 repair places: AAA Appliance Repair, West Coast Chief Repair, AAA Service Repair, Ameripro… the list goes on.

Every single one refused to give me an estimate before coming out. Even a broad, ‘I promise I won’t hold you to it estimate’ was met with a horrified, “absolutely unheard of! No one in Los Angeles will do that!”

Seems talking money is a big no-no when you want to get something fixed these days. Ameripro even hung up on me! I guess I was asking too many questions. When I called back immediately, the same guy who hung up on me affected a ridiculous fake British accent (this really happened) and then put me on hold for 8 minutes til I gave up!!!!

Mind you, I was very cordial and said I just wanted a super general idea of the price for the specific problem. Every single place I called, except Antique Stove Heaven, refused to quote prices over the phone, would not give hourly rates, wouldn’t give the price of the part (I knew what I needed…and had actually looked up the part price online just for info, and was willing to pay retail). The standard answer is, “We charge a flat rate, say a minimum of $165, but could be up to $500 but we can’t give an estimate til we see problem.” Even though I knew what the fix was.

They offer to come and check out the issue for $25-45 which is credited to the repair should you hire them, but you can’t figure out the approximate cost before they come out.

Is it only me, or does this seem crazy? Clearly it works for the repair company but not for the consumer. Once they are there, you are pretty much locked in.
Then I remembered that years ago, I needed a repair on my old O’Keefe and Merritt stove (a dream stove if there ever was one) and Antique Stove Heaven fixed it fantastically! They are a local company, family owned and have restored old stoves for the past 30 years. My current stove was an entirely different animal, newer, but still… broken.
So I called expecting the standard, “we don’t quote prices over the phone” routine. And voila! Completely different experience. Not only did Antique Stove Heaven quote me the exact price it would cost to fix it, but they came right out and got it up and running immediately!
Yay!!!! for a business in LA who will actually give you a straight answer and do what they advertise. And a big relief to have an idea of what something will cost before you dive in!