The Icycle From Locali

image003Locali Conscious Convenience announced this month that the Icycle, a frozen dessert delivery tricycle, will begin spreading its regionally and sustainably sourced, organic, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, and other eco-friendly goodness across Los Angeles beginning May 25th.  The service will continue through Labor Day.

Dressed in an old fashioned soda jerk outfit, a Locali employee will tour the streets of Los Angeles on the Icycle visiting different neighboring communities each day. Locali’s Twitter page, @Locali, will unveil the day’s selected destinations with specific cross streets where people can meet for a cool summer treat. The Icycle will visit neighborhoods including Hollywood, East Hollywood, Sunset Junction, Los Feliz, Griffith Park, Silver Lake, and Larchmont Village. Locali will also offer delivery for specific locations upon request for large orders.

The Icycle’s variety of frozen treats range from the indulgent to the guilt-free. Sno-Cones made with ultra pure Reverse Osmosis Water and Organic Syrup sweetened with all natural Brown Rice Syrup or diabetic-friendly Xylitol, are available in flavors including Banana, Mango, Cherry Cola, Grape, Pumpkin, Coconut, Cinnamon, and Key Lime Pie (2 flavors for $2.75 each). Customers can also visit Locali for a full selection from up to 30 different Sno-Cone flavors. Other options from the Icycle include offerings from a variety of local artisans such as Carmela’s Ice Cream and Popshop Popsicles as well as Cookies, Handmade Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches, Raw Vegan Cheesecake, Gluten-Free Ice Cream, and Frozen Organic Wheatgrass Shots.

I’m dying to know what a cinnamon pumpkin snow cone tastes like so I hope the Icycle hits North Hollywood.

Sakura Matsuri 2009

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Images courtesy of Da Bun & LADead
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Images courtesy of Da Bun & LADead

The cherry blossom is an enchantingly beautiful flower with a very short lifespan, particularly in wind and heat.  And for that distinction, it’s brief existence is celebrated as well as considered metaphor for the human condition.  

The Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura Matsuri) is a Japanese ritual that dates back to 794 and is something they stole from China during a period of trying to emulate Chinese culture.  In modern times, many countries hold festivals in honor of the delicate blossom. 

This past year Ruin at the Monte Cristo held a darker take on Sakura Matsuri on April 3rd – a day before the peak of blooming. Denizens of Los Angeles came decked out in their Asian-inspired finest to dance, preen and partake of libations.  It was a lovely evening with plenty of imaginative eye candy.

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LA Channel 36

L.A. Channel 36 is a locally funded station servicing Downtown and Citywide residence.  It is in jeopardy of being shut down.  Today I received an email plea to pass this information along and encourage others to contact council members, requesting that they do not cut this vital service from the budget. 

April 30, 2009

Dear LA36 Supporter,

On April 29, 2009, we spoke at the L.A City Council Budget Hearing meeting and asked Council Members to save our channel by not taking away our city operating grant. Please take a moment and watch this video on our website at,  http://la36.org/savela36.html

Sincerely,

Carla Calini

President and General Manager

LA36

 

About LA36::

LA36 is a citywide educational and community access television channel. It serves nearly 650,000 cable subscribers within the City of Los Angeles. LA36 strives to support community building and promote learning through the development and  distribution of  innovative, high-quality programming dedicated to lifelong learning.  It can be seen on Cable Channel 36 in Los Angeles and 24×7 on www.la36.org

The Haunted Hotel Figueroa

media1-4I spent two weeks at the Hotel Figueroa recently for work purposes.  It’s located in Downtown Los Angeles just across the street from L.A. Live.  I’d been walking by it quite a bit and was fascinated by the structure. Getting to spend a week inside the historic building was a fantastic adventure.  

The building was originally erected in 1924 as a YWCA.  It seems to have been part of a small block cultivated by women.  Across the street is a venerable piece of architecture known as the Variety Arts Center built the same year by a social and political club for women.  After the Depression, the YWCA was turned into a hotel, which is what it has remained to this day.  Five or six years ago, the Hotel Figueroa was given the Casablanca meets Arabia theme it now languishes in.  It’s absolutely beautiful and haunting at the same time.  It is as if the building has managed to capture every year that has gone by and kept a piece of it like a soul gathered.  Every time I stepped into the lobby, I felt as if I was walking through a mist or veil into a unique convergence of moments – some rooted in the present and some decades old.

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David Gough At The Hive

 

Nature Of A Fragile Mind by David Gough
Nature Of A Fragile Mind by David Gough

I ran into David Gough years ago on Live Journal.  That’s right – Live Journal.  It used to be a great place for creatives to network and glimpse into one another’s lives.  I was addicted.  At the time, LJ was burgeoning with artists like David Gough from all over the world.  It kept me coming back every day to read and write.  It was inspirational and fed into my own endeavors.  

In the case of David, I was taken right away with his dark imagination elegantly rendered.  To me, his work was pretty death on the prowl or life’s inevitable darkness romanticized.  It was also sexy and sometimes whimsical in a way that spoke to my inner child.  I connected with it. But, eventually, he was among the many casualties of Live Journal and moved on.  

David is originally from Liverpool in the UK.  In a modern day echo of a fairy tale, he fell in love with a California native and moved to San Diego.  Though he’s been just a few hours away from Los Angeles since 2005, I never had occasion to run into him or his ever evolving art. So, it was with great pleasure that I discovered David’s work will be part of a group show at The Hive this month.  It’s the third time, in fact.  It’s very much deserved.  He’ll be one of many talented artists on display from May 2nd through May 29th.  

The Hive May 2009 Group Show artist reception will take place next Saturday evening from 8 pm to Midnight at 729 S. Spring St. in Downtown Los Angeles.  Those entering The Hive show will be given $5 entry to Infusion Gallery’s “Peep Show” for the night as well. ($10 for both gallery shows and performances!)

Happy Hour At Kabuki

kabukilogoKabuki Japanese Restaurant has announced a new Happy Hour at all ten of its California locations. (I frequent the one on Vine Street in Hollywood just around the corner from the ArcLight.)

Kabuki Japanese Restaurant announces the addition of a new Happy Hour menu available at all 10 Southern California locations. Starting April 16, guests can head to Kabuki to find a lower priced menu of sushi, salads, appetizers, and cocktails from Executive Chef Masa Kurihara and Master Sake Sommelier Yuji Matusmoto, available every afternoon, Sunday through Thursday. The menu offers sushi and specialty rolls starting at $2.50, as well as appetizers—including Gyoza Dumplings, Mozzarella Tempura and the Fire Cracker (Spicy Tuna with Chopped Tomato served with Egg Roll Chips)—starting at $3.95. Salads include Spicy Tuna, Seaweed, and a Wafu Salad (Napa Cabbage, Green Leaf Lettuce, Corn, and Wakame with Sesame Dressing) starting at $3.95. Cocktails on the Happy Hour menu include the Ki Bomb (Kirin draft and a small hot sake) for $3.75, and Sake Sangria for $3.75 a glass or $12.50 for a carafe. An assortment of sake is available starting at $1.95; wine is also offered by the glass for $2.95; and draft beer starts at $1.95 a mug.

Of all the Happy Hour menus I have perused lately, this one is by far the most affordable.  The Kabuki Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm.

Hugh Jackman Gets His Immortality

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Photo by Michael Muller/20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox has announced that Hugh Jackman, the Australian triple threat performer, will be honored with the hand and foot print ceremony in front of the Grauman ‘s Chinese Theater on April 21st at 11 am.   Unlike the stars on the Walk of Fame, the hand and footprint nod is reserved for legends.  It seems to have created a bit of a stir among movie lovers as they debate whether or not Mr. Jackman has demonstrated enough talent to deserve the place in history.  Many seem to think it’s a studio backed stunt timed for the release of the upcoming Wolverine movie.  I’m a little less cynical.  But then, I tend to know that actors don’t come out of nowhere to become blockbuster superstars.

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Countdown To Trader Vic’s LA Live

l_4765027dc0b14a618069b547c578a602In one of the most anticipated openings of LA Live’s offerings, Trader Vic’s comes back to Los Angeles on April 26th to once more thrill Angelenos and tourists alike.  Even with a little more than a week to go, reservations are already filling and private parties are being booked. Unless you’ve experienced Trader Vic’s at some point in your life, it most likely makes no sense, particularly in the present economic climate. However, in a time when escape is a big money maker (ie. video games), one that hasn’t seen much of a hit while recession proof businesses are floundering, we all need a place like Trader Vic’s where we can enter into another world, be treated like the kings and queens of the island and just relax if even for an hour or two.

While Trader Vic’s has a lush and tawdry history in Los Angeles, as it was a favorite spot for the rich and famous like Hugh Hefner, it all began a few decades before landing in Beverly Hills.  In 1934, a man named Victor Bergeron started a little saloon in Oakland with nothing more than $500.  He called it Hinky Dinks, after a WWII song.  It was a big hit and soon became very popular.  A few years later, the name changed to the now internationally known Trader Vic’s due to Victor’s infamous habit of bartering.

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Monastic

m_536be579b2ab4514be10146d655646a8l_0044444f6592429d9fdcfa300e309eddI first encountered the spiritual and artistic phenomenon known as Monastic while working on the production staff of  an event.  It was a crazy night.  But I remember making my way through the crowded venue as Monastic took the stage.  Even in the maelstrom of my production obligations, I stopped and soaked up a uniquely exquisite performance that defied explanation.  I was an instant fan.

Monastic is the brain child of the gifted and charismatic Anthony Jones.  He has taken the various spiritual beliefs of the world and melded them with a kind of tribal meets opera aesthetic that can only be described as the sound of heaven showering down love upon the earth.  Adding to his self produced and performed music are various dancers and stilt walkers melting on and off the stage with a dream-like quality.  Being in the audience at a Monastic show is one part transportation into a strange, beautiful new world and one part entering into a deeply spiritual ceremony.  It has to be seen to be truly understood.

For the first time in recent memory, Monastic will take their show out of the night club setting and offer it in a theater.  On May 3rd they will be performing at the Baldwin Performing Arts Center.  Tickets are $10.  The show begins at 7 pm. Because Monastic is a non-profit creative collective, all proceeds from their performances are donated to various charities.

Leaf Blower – The Soundtrack To Hell

The leaf blower and I have long been at odds.  Ever since my very first hangover, it’s an inevitable aural torture clawing at my ears just under my window early in the morning at all the wrong times.  These days I don’t party like an inept teenager.  I’m a professional lush with a careful grasp of how to minimize damage. So, for me, the new issue is the frequent 24 hour days I pull and the lack of sleep I get trying to shove entire lifetimes into every week.  Just like being hungover, extreme exhaustion is painful and the bone jarring sound of a leaf blower is enough to induce murderous intent.

In recent weeks I have begun working very late into Saturday morning, which is essentially still my Friday.  I get to bed between 6 am and 8 am.  At 9 am, for some reason I have yet to fathom, the groundskeeper for my complex cranks up his leaf blower and does his thing for an hour – thirty minutes of which tends to be right beneath my window as if he has some special radar for degenerates who don’t keep normal schedules.  

I am starting to give a great deal of thought to Mister Reed’s suggestion that the contraptions should be banned.  At very least, there should be some rules about when they are used.  What genius thought that Saturday morning would be a great time to use such an invasive piece of equipment?!  It’s L.A.  We work hard.  We play hard.  Many of us are crashed out on Saturday morning or otherwise reduced to a twitching pile of flesh.  We’d like some peace, or what passes for it living in a city.

I guess if you see a news story about  a woman out in North Hollywood involving a leaf blower, you’ll know I finally couldn’t take it any longer.

Peep! An Erotic Spring Fling

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Art by Gigi Deluxe

Trying to explain a gallery night thrown by the fabulous Miss Heidi ‘Bluegirl’ Calvert is difficult.  Sure, there is art in a gallery and a parade of imaginative performances through out the night.  But the patrons and revelers get into the spirit of things in a big way, almost becoming more of a draw than the canvases on the walls. Her themes are always erotic with a silly twist, inviting people to dig deep into their imagination to pluck forth the most outrageous kernel of creativity they can find.  After all, if there is anything the human animal is creative with – it’s sex.  

In a follow up to her previous show “Booty!” where apple bottoms and pirates came together to spank the high seas, “Peep!” promises to be a perversion of all things Spring.  Taking place on May 2nd at the Infusion Gallery in Downtown L.A., expect wild fashion, shameless displays of flesh and enough shapely bunnies to fool Hef into thinking he’s at home.

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All Ages Chiropractic Center

I began having back issues in December of last year.   Believe it or not it was from sitting in front of a computer for hours and writing.  I think I wrote more last year than any other time in my life.  As 2009 unfolded, the situation grew into a pinched nerve that radiated through my shoulder and all the way down my arm.  Eventually I was in so much pain I had begun popping Vicodin like candy.  That is when I began my search for a chiropractor and found All Ages Chirporactic Center in North Hollywood.

Within two visits I was immediately feeling better and it was more than just being out of pain.  After months of depression brought on by the economy, I felt centered and cheerful.  I’ve been a believer in chiropractic for years.  My parents published a very successful magazine on the topic that I spent some time here and there working on too.  But I never realized how interconnected our bodies were until this experience.  It has been life changing.

The people working at All Age Chiropractic along side Dr. Michael Blum are unique, warm and concerned about the well being of their patients.  I was stressed about the money I’d have to dish out with no insurance and they worked with me, putting my health before finances.  It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced health care that was about making people better rather than a bottom line.  Dr. Michael Blum is a charming, extremely experienced chiropractor who doesn’t add a bunch of crazy treatments to a patient’s visit.  No one tried to get me to buy BioFreeze or do anything that wasn’t directly about untangling the mess in my neck and back causing pain.

If you decide to give All Ages Chiropractic a try, don’t be put off by the location or the building.  What’s inside the modest little structure is real and is concerned with your health.  In a country where healthcare is a billion dollar industry most of us can’t afford without insurance (and sometimes even that isn’t enough), there is still a little oasis to be found where human beings come first.

Poolside Concerts At The Sportsmen’s Lodge

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Esza Kaye

Last night I was invited to check out an acoustic set performed by my girlfriend Esza Kaye at a venue around the corner from where I live.  Her music is ethereal goth in nature so I was curious how she’d interpret it stripped down to her voice and a twelve string guitarist.  And that is how I found myself outside on a very chilly Los Angeles night in Studio City at the Sportsmen’s Lodge lurking under a heat lamp next to the bar.  

Apparently Esza was taking part in the first of a series of concerts put together by infamous music promoter Sean Healy.  His events usually take place on the Sunset Strip or at places like the El Rey so I was surprised a little and also impressed by a contribution to live music that wasn’t high production.  It was just about sheer raw talent in an admittedly gorgeous setting.

The Sportsmen’s Lodge has a long history in the Valley.  For the most part it is the backdrop to reunions, weddings and other large gatherings.  On a Friday night, the lobby is full of people drinking, playing pool and conversing.  But I think Sean Healy has hit upon something with the poolside concerts.  With his knowledge of talent in Los Angeles (not to mention his great taste in music) and a setting that will become far more desirable with warmer weather, it could be a hot bed of incredible performances and the people who love good music.

I will certainly be back again and I will bring friends.

Lucky Strike At LA Live

l_cb5556cdfe124554a4d9d01e71e034c4I have been making my way through everything that LA Live has to offer over the last few months.  It’s a fun place to hang out, though I haven’t been particularly impressed by any of the restaurants until now. Who knew I’d get my mind and tastebuds blown at a bowling alley?

Lucky Strike at LA Live is one part chic lounge and one part futuristic bowling alley all with an emphasis on upscale.  From the moment my date and I hit the door we were treated like royalty.  Even impacted with a massive post concert crowd, the entire staff had it together.  We were ushered to a fantastic table without a reservation.  Our cocktail server was grace under pressure.  Even though she was slightly behind our needs for the evening, she was so charming we didn’t care.

We weren’t expecting haute cuisine by any means when we ordered some finger foods.  We were just starving and anything would do in the way of food.  We ordered Ahi tuna lollipops, chicken skewers, coconut shrimp and two specialty sliders. All if it was on par with an upscale restaurant.  The only exception was the Ahi tuna.  When I think of an Ahi tuna lollipop, I am thinking of sushi grade fish served raw or seared.  What we were given was cooked all the way through and the sauce was not enough to make them as extraordinary as everything else we ate.

Another highlight of a Saturday night at Lucky Strike LA Live is the DJ.  I didn’t get his name but the guy could mix music and pick songs that got me where I live.  I wasn’t alone in that.  I heard music I haven’t listened to in years.  It was an eclectic mix of various decades in something I called, “Music that does not suck.”  The man was a genius.

If you are wondering about the type of crowd prevalent at LA Live, there isn’t one.  I’ve been discovering that most places Downtown defy labels.  You see a little bit of everything in one room, including all ages.  It makes for a very down to earth night.

So, if you find yourself out at LA Live and you are wondering where you can go to have a some good food and excellent service even during the busiest of rushes, check out Lucky Strike on the second floor next to The Conga Room.