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Hold’n Hands, Help’n Hearts to be featured on KNBC Sunday Night

March 7, 2015 in Blogging (in) LA, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Social issues

Holdn' Hands, Helpn' Hearts flyer

Holdn’ Hands, Helpn’ Hearts flyer

Lisa Barrios, owner of Monrovia’s Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery has been doing this program for several years now.  Holdn’ Hands, Helpin’ Hearts is simply getting the hand print of a child or other loved one with cancer in clay and producing a legacy keepsake for the family.  It started with a special request several years ago from a little boy at the City of Hope with terminal cancer.  Lisa did it, no charge to the family so they would have one last keepsake from their little boy before he passed.

Lisa does this out of the goodness of her heart.  She has done imprints of little ones in morturaries for families who lost a child and she couldn’t get to them fast enough as she wants them to have that one last keepsake of their little hand.  She’s always done it free of charge.  She’s done it countless times.

KNBC’s Angie Crouch heard of the program and interviewed Lisa and some of the families she has helped.  The segment will air Sunday night on KNBC channel 4 on the “Life Connected” show that airs Sunday 3/8 at 11PM.  IT will repeat Monday 3/9 at Noon during the afternoon news.  The story promises to be heart wrenching and enlightening.

If you would like to donate to the program you may do so through the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts that has long been a supporter of the program.  Make your check payable to the Monrovia Assocation of Fine Arts and send it to us at 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016

As a disclaimer, I’m a board member of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts, and I can assure you the money’s donated go directly to keeping this program going.

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Adventures in blogging…care to join us?

January 22, 2015 in Blogging (in) LA, Housekeeping

Jozjozjoz and moi at NAIAS

Jozjozjoz and moi at NAIAS

I’m telling you, I’ve had the best adventures since I started blogging.  Most are because I used my “media credentials” to kick open doors and invite myself into new experiences.  Others because someone sought me out.  I’ve learned a lot about how this city ticks.  Or doesn’t.

An example of just that sort of adventure came about last week for two of us here at blogging.la.  Both Joz and I were invited by manufacturers who sought us out to bring us to Detroit for the NAIAS.  Yes…they hauled these Angeleno’s out of our warm climate into a raging snow storm for one of the planets premiere auto shows.  Joz as a member of Buick’s “Diversity Crew” was wined and dined and met with executives from all over the corporation. I as a “Digital Influencer” with Ford spent my time grazing and touring Ford’s first plant at Piquette Ave and their newest F-150 plant at the Rouge as bookends to 2 very busy days of auto show reveals and seminars.  Poor Joz and I were so busy that we were able to barely keep in touch via text.  We did manage 30 seconds for our “selfie” in Cobo before our corporate hosts shuttled us off.

I get daily invites to events around the city.  Some I take, some I pass to others, others I just ignore as they don’t interest me.  You get to chose what you write about here which is a good thing.  No editor telling you what to do,  its your choice in your voice.

The point is you make what you want out of blogging.la when you are here.  Commit to at least an article a week, more if you can manage and it becomes a ticket to adventures. If you’re up to the challenge and want to join us contact me and I’ll get you started with the vetting.

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12 Days of Giving : Sierra Madre Playhouse

December 23, 2014 in Blogging (in) LA, Entertainment, Holidays, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping, Social issues, Theatre/Stage

The playhouse at night, click to embiggen

The playhouse at night, click to embiggen

By now those who know me know I don’t just jump in half assed when I decide to support a non-profit.  They have to have a hook that gets my attention.  Sierra Madre Playhouse is just that and they need help…volunteers and donations if they are to grow to the next level.

In the last few years with the arrival of Managing Director and Estelle Campbell and Artistic Director Christian Lebano, they have brought a vision to change this once sleepy community theater into something else.  Its a very special place well on its way to being the regional destination theater they have envisioned.

There has been a lot of dialogue lately about the state of theater in Los Angeles. It is so often overlooked and under-appreciated, and there are constant wails over how theater is dying. But the magic of that combustion, the ephemeral now, is what I think will keep theater alive. If you haven’t experienced that, I invite you to see a show at the Playhouse. Once you feel that magic you will be seduced.” – Christian Lebano, Artistic Director

Like so many non-profits they are starved of man hours and money to carry out their mission to bring quality plays written by Americans about Americans.  This last year has seen them shake the joint up and brought in uniquely American plays like 6RMS RIV VU, 4,000 Miles and A Little House Christmas.  On tap next is “A Walk in the Woods” which continues the trend of stellar productions.  But they need helpif they are to carry out their plans.  If you got a few hours to donate, they’ll take it.  If you have some spare change to donate to the cause (Its tax deductible as they are a 503.c non-profit organization) they gladly accept that too.

You can easily pay via credit card through PayPal.  An even more painless way is bring the attached PDF Coupon to Ralphs when you go grocery shopping and they donate a percentage of your sale to Sierra Madre Playhouse.

Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre CA 91024

12 Days of Giving: Red Star Riders

December 22, 2014 in Biking in LA, Blogging (in) LA, LA, Seasonal

This is the one of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart.

Do you remember your first tricycle or bicycle? I remember several from my childhood and have fond memories of receiving one of them for Christmas one year. I was in my early teens and there was an elaborate scavenger hunt of clues that ultimately led to the new wheels in the garage. While I rarely ride now, as a child I loved having a bike. It was a means of some freedom and independence long before being able to drive a car.

I know I’m not alone in my nostalgia, which is why I wanted to bring some awareness to an awesome organization called Red Star Riders. Red Star Riders is a non-profit group started by Los Angeles area pediatric physical therapists. Their mission is to raise funds for families of children with special needs to purchase AmTryke®  therapeutic tricycles. Not only do these dedicated professionals hold fundraising events, but they also donate their time to assist the children in being properly fit for each customized bike*.

Photo used by permission from Red Star Riders

Photo used by permission from Red Star Riders

 

Through some targeted fundraising, Red Star Riders has been able to assist several families in getting bikes for their kids this holiday season. However, letters like the one below keep coming in. Jocelyn is a 6-year-old girl with Rett Syndrome. She cannot walk, cannot talk and has little function of her hands. Jocelyn’s mother sent the flollowing:

My typical daughter, Rylee, is 4 years old and Santa is bringing her a big girl bike for Christmas. I know I have to give her a typical childhood, but my heart is breaking with sympathetic envy for my 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, who has Rett Syndrome and cannot ride a typical bike. I have been searching for a modified bike for her to have under the tree Christmas morning right next to her sister’s. What a Christmas morning that would be for her! However, special bikes are over $1000 and, embarrassingly and regrettably, that is not something we can afford for Jocelyn. Christmas is always bitter sweet for us. She is a happy girl, regardless of her daily struggles and limitations. She loves being outside and a family bike ride seems like a fantasy, but I have hope that one day, we will be able to have one.

Jocelyn’s bike will cost $815. Jocelyn’s story is similar to many of the families waiting for bikes for their kids. Your donation can help joy, self confidence, independence, improved quality of life, physical activity, and so much to the children on the waiting list. Please click HERE to make your tax deductible donation.

Used by permission from Red Star Riders

Used by permission from Red Star Riders

 

*Yes, the term “bike” is used loosely here. Kids “ride bikes.” So what if they have three wheels, a seat belt, trunk supports, or other adaptations. It’s a bike.

All photos and the contents of the letter used with permission by Red Star Riders. 

12 Days Of Giving: spcaLA

December 17, 2014 in Blogging (in) LA, Holidays, LA, Pets, Seasonal

spcaLA logoPreamble/Disclosure: There’s a subset of the fine folks who know I’ve been a scrivener for Blogging.la going way back to March 2004, who also know that back in 2011, despite all appearances of sanity, sensibility and advanced middle age, I committed to making a rather drastic career change in leaving behind a 20-odd year (emphasis on the word “odd’) career in journalism to become a humane law enforcement officer, more commonly known as an “animal cop.” Soon after that decision, I undertook what would become a lengthy, arduous and challenging process of training and preparation and hiring — I call it a “journey of a thousand hurdles” — that culminated this past summer when I was sworn in as a Level 1 Humane Officer working for, you guessed it: the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA).

But enough about me. More importantly, I need to clear up an important misconception. You know those heart-wrenching ads that inundate your TV screens around this time of year, soundtracked by Sarah McG’s “Angel” and featuring some celeb (last year it was the guy from “Will & Grace”) guilting the hell out of you to donate NOWRIGHTNOW while a slideshow of horribly mistreated animals scrolls by? Yeah: that’s soooooo not spcaLA. That’s a whole different animal: That’s ASPCA, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

But Will, you ask, isn’t ASPCA the “parent” of spcaLA? Great question! Answer: Not in any way, shape or form. They are entirely individual and separate entities. It’s a common mistake people make believing that ASPCA is some sort of national umbrella under which all SPCAs in the country operate. But they don’t. Each and every SPCA is its own independent organization. The same goes with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). They have absolutely nothing to do with, say, the Pasadena Humane Society.

But Will, you ask, why should that matter to me? Another valid query! As an Angeleno it should matter to you because at the end of one of those above-mentioned ASPCA ads that will be dominating the local year-end airwaves, when you rush to your computer or telephone, whip out your credit card and ship some money to their headquarters across the country in New York City, not a penny of it will benefit any of the animals in your own neighborhoods. Think of it like donating blood to your local hospital versus the American Red Cross. In both worthy cases, the precious resource will almost certainly go to someone who needs it, but the chances are exponentially greater that the blood you gave at, say, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will go to a child at that hospital. Donate locally, I say… which rhymes with spcaLA!

After the jump, a bit of history before we get to the fun part.

Read the rest of this entry →

12 Days of Giving: The Peace Project

December 17, 2014 in Blogging (in) LA, culver city, Holidays, LA, Seasonal, Shopping

2014 has been a great year for my family.  It wasn’t always like this.  We’ve had some pretty lean years in the past but hard work, faith, and determination put us on a blessed path.  There are plenty of places in the world where, no matter how hard citizens try, those qualities still don’t offer up a dream life.  This year, I felt it was important to give back to the universe that has created joy and plenty in my life but still finds so many people suffering around the world.  My husband and I both come from from traditions of charitable giving and volunteership.  No matter how impoverished we’ve been, we could always put food on the table and our parents taught us that meant we were still fortunate and it was our duty to offer assistance to those without.

So our regular checks to charitable organizations weren’t good enough this year.  A stellar year means we’d have to reach a little deeper.  But I’m lazy and volunteering with an infant while my husband is working overseas is more difficult than I can manage.  Instead, I found a great way to give while doing my regular weekly shopping at the Culver City Farmers Market.  The Whole 9 Gallery had a booth I could not avoid.  So many cute and cool things to buy!  And what’s this??  The money spent helps to support their charity The Peace Project??  Perfect!  Holiday shopping AND charitable giving, combined!  I bought more gifts than I had people to give to just so I could throw more money at a worthy cause.  And all of it was reasonably priced and very well made and unique.

The Peace Project is an effort by The Whole 9 online creative community to transform lives globally.  Started in 2010 by the community’s founder, the project has distributed crutches to amputees and victims of civil war in Sierra Leone, sponsored educational grants for African school-age children, built houses for Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines, and been the benefactor for several artists on six continents.  Through their works, they’ve used art to bridge the gap between necessary resources and the community members who desperately require them.  The Whole 9 Gallery in Culver City sells the wares for several artists whose proceeds fund these works abroad.

To learn more about The Peace Project or to donate directly, visit http://thepeaceproject.com/donate.php.  Just want some last minute gifts that will fund the future happiness of others in our world?  Check out The Whole 9 Gallery at 3830 Main Street, Culver City, CA 90232.

Have Infant, Will Travel

November 21, 2014 in Blogging (in) LA, Events, Seasonal, Uncategorized

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.

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We’re a fun bunch of guys….

November 1, 2014 in Blogging (in) LA, Fictional LA, History, LA, LA bloggers, Vintage, Which Side?

Do you wanna jump in the sand box and play with us?

Seriously, the “we” is a bit limited at the moment.  Add in the return of a few old voices and that we have a new owner  that wants to breath some life back into this blog so its gonna be a fun sandbox again..

Requirements are simple. Love Los Angeles. Love to write about what you see/hear/do here in Los Angeles. You don’t have to be spectacular, just be you and have a story to tell here.  Be prepared to commit to semi-frequently posting to blogging.la.

I started here May 2007 for kicks and giggles. I’m among the few that turned it into one adventure after another here in L.A. How? I use my writing here to get press credentials and then apply for press passes on things that interest me. I’m not bashful so I’ve asked to go on ride alongs with local PD, visit concerts and even the L.A Auto Show. You get out of it what you put into it.

The group is always in flux. The common thread is we love L.A and have each others backs. We do fun things too. Series posts on themes like “Songs of L.A” and the Donut Summit. Of course we blog it and share it with everyone else that has a love of Los Angeles.  Remember live blogging at Canter’s Deli?  Thats the sort of events that build a community and readership.

With the return of our former “city captain” Lucinda Michele back at the helm we’ll have direction and start all sorts of new ideas.  If you want to join blogging.la and grow your writing skills and share your love of Los Angeles send me a link to your writing or a sample to me at [email protected] and I’ll make sure it gets seen.  I wish I could tell you how fast decistions will be made, but I can’t but I can promise your efforts won’t fall on deaf ears.

Ho-leeee crap. Hello, Los Angeles, my love.

October 13, 2014 in Art, Blogging (in) LA, Fires, History, LA, LA bloggers, Metroblogging Network, People, The Valley, Vintage

Who’s got two thumbs (and her index fingers, with which she primarily types, like a spazzy T-Rex on a typewriter) and is back in LA?!

This girl.

Along these rhapsodic, elegiac and thrilled welcome-home lines I’m walking, here’s some songs to make you love your city again. Fall outta love? Don’t do what I do and leave.  Or do…it might be what you need to appreciate it.
Rilo Kiley, Let Me Back In: link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXZR0rwhXvs

“From the Eastern seaboard, the landlocked Midwest
The Keys, the Alps, the Black Hills and Budapest
With my heart in a sling, tail between my legs a-swinging
I’m sorry for leaving

But when the palm trees bow their heads
No matter how wrong I’ve been
L.A., you always let me back in

And you can bury me when my body breaks
In the earth that created me, in the Golden State
By my mama and her brother and their mama too…”

And then there’s this one, by the Delta Spirit, for the folks I left behind in the South.     ;)

I mean, this sorta already happened, and that fellow is now happily married, so….everybody come on out! Apparently I’m a great vector for changing your life.    :P

(Yes, this post is enormously personal. Kevin Roderick may have a field day with this one. Or he may not, which will make me feel like a loser. Whateves.)

“I want you to move to California for yourself,
I want you to find whatever your heart needs,
I want you to move to California for yourself, but not for me.

I want you to go out there and find somebody else,
I want him to treat you like I know he should,
I want you to find somebody new for yourself, if not for me.

all of the feelings that I know you never felt,
and all of the simple words you never said,
I want you to keep them like a secret to yourself, they’re not for me.

I want you to wander silent past my outstretched arms,
I want you to hide yourself from all I see,
and though my heart will fight until its dying breath, you’re not for me.”

 

Also…I love the video for this one.

So, yeah. I’m back. We did hot dogs, we did donuts. What do you think should be next?

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Final 626 Night Market for the year this weekend 9/12-14

September 11, 2014 in Blogging (in) LA, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Music, San Gabriel Valley

logo for 626 Night Market

logo for 626 Night Market

It’s here the final 626 Night Market, the thing to do in the SGV, is this weekend. Friday night it starts at 4PM and runs Saturday into Sunday too. Food, stuff, music and special guest appearances market this weekend.

Theres still no transit way to make it there.  From the 210 Exit Santa Anita and drive south to Huntington.  Make a right and follow Huntington to the Santa Anita Park.

Parking is free and admission is a measly $3 per person.

Deets.  Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia.  MAP HERE  Hours Friday/Saturday 4PM-1AM, Sunday 4PM-10PM

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Things only Angelenos will understand

April 8, 2014 in Blogging (in) LA, Fictional LA, LA, Which Side?

The palm tree...iconic L.A., click to embiggen

OK…I’m at a bit of of loss on this one. This link was sent to me by a PR firm for a realty company in the Bay Area, a part of the state that for reasons I’ve never understood, hold us with great disdain.  The LIST isn’t entirely accurate and certainly missed out on a few biggies about us that are more truthful and enlightening on our own idiosyncrasies.  Race you to the 405?

What’s missing from their list?  What needs to be added?  Deleted?

Pic by me taken with the trusty old che-ez snap, a .2 megapixel toy camera.  Arty ain’t it?

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Sierra Madre Tattler uncovers, literally, City Council Candidate selfies

February 19, 2014 in Blogging (in) LA, LA bloggers, Politics, San Gabriel Valley

click to embiggen...sophomoric goofing around

I’m not quite sure where to start with this. Background maybe? Noah Green is/was a candidate for City Attorney council for Sierra Madre. So far so good. Sierra Madre is a quiet, staid little bedroom community.   Here he went astray.  He referred to the locals as “townies” which ruffled a few feathers. Then they saw his facebook page. Sierra Madre Tattler was on the story.

Before long this story exploded and likely cost Noah his shot at winning the election.  3 images surfaced and appeared on the Sierra Madre Tattler, before long his selfies, as childish and sophomoric as they were, became big news. Big enough that the Tattler opines it cost him the election. (Complete story and pictures here, mildly NSFW)

My question to you, with the exception of the nudie in the hammock, should this poor exercise in judegement be enough to cost him the election?  Or would it have been funnier if he got his dangly bits caught in the open loops of the hammock?

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Militant Angeleno explains how the ‘burbs got their names

November 8, 2013 in Blogging (in) LA, LA bloggers, People, Which Side?

Militant Angeleno logo - click to embiggen

I believe it was Raymond Chandler who described Los Angeles as “40 suburbs in search of a city” back in the 40’s.  He was wrong there were 88 in Los Angeles County alone and Militant Angeleno took the  time to catalog them and explain how they got their names.  His post “88 suburbs in search of their names” went live today.  Its an easy read that is both informative and entertaining.

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LA vlogger Austin Null is a Agent for the Fiesta Movement

July 31, 2013 in Blogging (in) LA, Driving, Entertainment, LA bloggers, Transportation, Twitter

It bears repeating, you meet the coolest people blogging.  This time around it was LA vlogger Austin Null an Agent with the Fiesta Movement.  The Fiesta Movement is a social media program with Ford that gives folks who blog and vlog 2014 Ford Fiestas to take on missions, adventures if you will, and do posts about the cars they are given. It involves monthly missions from when they get the car in April until the program ends in December or January of next year.

I met up with Austin recently here in Culver City at Fullscreen where he is a “Social Engagement Strategist”.  He also blogs and vlogs with his own YouTube channel.  Austin is a recent transplant to the Los Angeles area living in the West LA area.  The Fiesta Movement has given him missions that have allowed him to explore more of L.A and sunny SoCal. Read the rest of this entry →

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SGV Bloggers picnic Saturday…all are welcome to attend

March 28, 2013 in Blogging (in) LA, Events, Food & Drink, LA bloggers, San Gabriel Valley

5th annual sgv bloggers picnic

click to embiggen

Do you write a blog?  Like to read blogs? Like to meet the folks behind a blog?  Well then this annual event is made for you.  There are usually a few dozen local bloggers there and their groupies (not including each other).

This is the 5th annual held at this park, but if you have followed me on blogging.la for a while you will know that we, a large diverse group of us bloggers in the SGV, have been getting together since ’07.  This picnic got going when it was determined we needed to do it annually in one location and blogger Timothy Rutt of the Altadenablog got it all rolling for us.

This is a pot luck affair so bring a tasty bit to share with the group.  Don’t be surprised if it gets blogged too.

Deets: March 30, 2013, 11AM – ???, Farnsworth Park,568 Mt Curve Ave, Altadena, CA 91001  MAP HERE