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What you missed at L.A Auto Show Press Days

November 22, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Seasonal, Shopping, Technology

One the things you get in Press Days of the Los Angeles Auto Show that you don’t get in the public days is the grand reveals and Green Car Drives. It is physically impossible as a party of one to hit every press conference so I have to pick and choose which to attend so I can get in and see all the cars on display and photograph them.  Trust me its a lot of work and not all party and booze and great food.  There is some of that, but the thrust of the 2 day event is press conferences and not all are wowsers.

Audi was a real surprise.  Instead of the ususal hype and bluster, they started with an apology for the current diesel kerfuffle with fudged testing vs operation parameters.  They promised to earn their customers respect back.  Then they went into the discussion on the future of Audi relying on electric cars, first to come is the A3 E-tron and soon to follow an all electric SUV the E-tron Quattro in a few years.  By 2025 Audi expects 25% of all cars they sell to be electric. Read the rest of this entry →

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2015 L.A. Auto Show Highlights

November 21, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Technology, Transportation

First up…Chevy’s Volt took the green car of the year award in a ceremony held Thursday Morning.  Later I got to drive it and was impressed.  Smoother ride, smoother transition back and forth between EV and gas mode, with much more time in pure EV mode than the prior version.  Add in a much more refined, high end materials and fit in finish inside this car is nothing like its hard edged predecessor.  I can see easily why it won “Green Car of the Year” for its technilogical and creature comfort advancements.  Nice job Chevy.

Read the rest of this entry →

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38th Occasional Doo Dah Parade Sunday 11/22 in East Pasadena

November 18, 2015 in Events, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal

The parade to embiggen

The parade flyer…click to embiggen

No one’s lining up yet, but they will be early Sunday morning to catch the 38th occasional Doo Day Parade.  It officially starts at 11:00AM but you’ll see folks as early as 8 staking out a spot with their lawn chair and hot cocoa.

The parade route continues to be in East Pasadena where the gentrifiers haven’t invaded and booted the Doo Dah’ers away like what happened in Old Town.  Yet.  The route is on Colorado Bvld between Altadena Drive and San Gabriel Blvd.  It will start at the midway point at Vinedo Ave on the north side of the median on Colorado Blvd.

Queen this year is Ms Juli Crockett at the Grand Marshall, and Veronika MeowMeowz as the queen.  Look for the usual cast of crazies rounding out the parade, Snotty Scotty and the Hankies and new folks as well to march in the parade.

Coming from out of town and don’t want to hassle with driving in?  The Hilton Garden Inn is having a special for Doo Dah fans…Contact Jason Casas, Sales Manager,Hilton Garden Inn – Arcadia, CA. 199 N. Second Ave. Arcadia, CA 91006.  Phone D: 626.321.4498 | F: 626.574.9910.  or on the web

The parade route:

Parade to get a bigger view

Parade route…click to get a bigger view


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Fruitcake tasting at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch 11/20

November 17, 2015 in Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Holidays, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Theatre/Stage

acm posterFruitcake that ubiquitous bundle of fruit and nuts, sometimes soaked in booze that you either abhor or adore.  I fall into the latter and think this Friday’s Fruitcake tasting party at the  Vroman’s book store in the Hastings Ranch shopping center looks to be a ton of fun.  The tasting is a joint venture with the Sierra Madre Playhouse who is opening its holiday play “A Christmas Memory” based on a short story but Truman Capote next week.  ‘

There are planned to be over a dozen fruit cakes at this event.  They are sourced from bakers all over the country as well as the Los Angeles Area.  A sampling…

  • Sumi Chang and Europane Bakery, Pasadena
  • Karen Hansen and Copenhagen Pastry, Pasadena
  • Mike McLellan and Patticakes Desserts, Altadena,

Deets:  Friday 11/20 6PM Vroman’s  3729 E Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

If you’re interested in seeing A Christmas Memory you can order tickets HERE.  The Sierra Madre Playhouse is located at 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre.

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Elio P5 best kept secret to be revealed at L.A Auto Show

November 6, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Shopping, Technology, Transportation

We know little of this car other than an entry on the schedule of premieres during Press Days of the L.A. Auto Show coming up in 2 short weeks.  Elio is a new car company the P5 is their debut car.  Little is known.  Rumors abound.  Its a 3 wheel car, .9liter 3 cylnder, 80+mpg, 0-60 in under 10 seconds, top speed over 100. This is either going to be the greatest thing since the Tesla to make us change how we think about cars or will will be another blip on the radar that we snicker over like the Dale.  I fear the latter as with “cheap” gas again and a resurgance of guzzing SUV sales and falling hybrid sales, but we’ll see.  It may just wow us.

The L. A. Auto Show is open to the public 11/20-29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Buy your tickets now and avoid the lines at the ticket booths.  While there judge for yourself if the Elio Motors P5 is the future or a blip.

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Operation Save a Vet launches this Friday – start your Holiday Giving early

November 5, 2015 in Events, LA, News, People, Shopping, Social issues, Weather

Sergeant Major Acosta of Operation Save a Vet. Photo by D'Andra Jay

Sergeant Major Acosta of Operation Save a Vet. Photo by D’Andra Jay

I met Gayle Montgomery quite a while back and impressed with the depth of concern she has for her fellow human beings.  Through her job she met Sergeant Major Acosta.  A disabled Vet who lost his eyesight during a batle in the Middle East.  Gayle also works on a local committee trying to find solutions to our homeless problem and became aware that a large percentage of our homeless are Vets with no resources to help themselves.  Sergeant Major and Gayle got to talking about the problems the expected El Nino will bring for them.  Here are a few of the things they discussed.

  • Homelessness in Vets was reduced from 4 years ago. Now 1 in 10 who sleep on the streets is a veteran.
  • There has been a 6% spike in the last year of homeless veterans, probably attributable to the spiraling cost of housing in combination with the draw down.
  • The largest concentration of homeless Vets anywhere in our nation is in LA County where there are over 4,000 Vets who sleep on the street.
  • It is the position of the group that has who have joined hands in lockstep across a wide geographical area, that no person who honorably served our nation should have to sleep on the streets.
  • No person who served our nation should have to suffer such adverse weather conditions without supplies and without knowing that, Gayle’s employer is Glad to Be of Service to those who faithfully served us.
  • This project very closely parallels the Soldiers Angels Program which serves those on the battlefield. This project serves those who were on the battlefield, came home, and have had difficulty reintegrating into society.

From that conversation came the idea to create Thank a Vet Inc and their first mission  “Operation Save a Vet”.  It will consist of a multipronged approach to help the homeless vets trying to survive on the streets during the coming rainy season.  First is getting in kind materials donated to them for distribution.  Second is to raise funds for care and shelter for these vets, men and women trying to cope with life outside the military. Read the rest of this entry →

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Carrera de los payasos…and a fun time was had by all.

October 26, 2015 in Entertainment, Events

40+ runners and a handful of clowns chasing them wound through the alleyway and streets of Old Town Pasadena Sunday.  I had a ball videoing and photoing it all.  The official video to follow.  To join in the fun with future events visit

More pics in my flickr album.

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2nd Carrera de los Payasos* today at 3PM Today

October 25, 2015 in Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal

Their to embiggen

Their Logo…click to embiggen

*Running of the Clowns to you who don’t know how to use google translate.  Its today.  3PM in the streets and alleys of Old Town Pasadena.  Its a parody of the running of the bulls in Spain, only with Clowns so no animals are hurt.  I’m not running this year…I’ll be photo and videoing it.

What I can share is that if you want to run be at the Memorial Park Station on the Gold Line prior to 3 PM.  Dress all in white with a big red sash just like the bull runners do.  When the bull horn sounds prepare to run with the others followed by seriously silly and happy clowns.  There are breaks where you’ll walk to catch your breath and safely cross streets.  The mile or so loop will end with you buying your own pizza and beer at 800 Degrees Pizza at Colorado and Fair Oaks.

If you just want to witness the fun and silliness just be on Colorado Blvd, between Fair Oaks and Delacy St sometime around 3PM and wait for the runner and clowns to come by and cheer them on.

I can tell you its a ton of fun.  I did it as a runner last year along with my daughter.  Ending at the now defunct Jake’s basement bar.  ITs really a lot of silliness and comraderie…how bad can that be?

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A Christmas Memory, aka Truman Capote Christmas to open 11/27 at Sierra Madre Playhouse

October 21, 2015 in Blogging (in) LA, Events, People, San Gabriel Valley, Theatre/Stage

Alison Kalmus...director of A Christmas Memory

Alison Kalmus…director of A Christmas Memory

What…Truman Capote at the center of a story for Christmas?  Yes, in short this is a loosely based story of his childhood in the foster system and the family that contemplated saving him by sending him to a military school for more structure and balance.  There’s your synopsis, the real story lies in the casting and direction of turning this short story in to a musical complete with ukelele.  Starring a former “harlette” from Better Midler’s cast of  talented crazies this play will be directed by Alison Kalmus, a real treasure and supporter of the Sierra Madre Playhouse.

This isn’t her directing debut with the Playhouse, that was 2004 with A Christmas Carol Story, no this will be her 5th play directed for the Playhouse.  She brings a creative vision that ties music and the story line together in what is hoped to be a magical evening.  Alison is a huge supporter of the Sierra Madre Playhouse and helps to bring their mission of American Plays by American authors in historical context.  I can’t wait to see this play.

And I don’t have to wait for the grand opening as I’ll be hosting another soft opening blogathon at the Playhouse for this play the evening of November 25, 2015,  Care to be one of the first to get a sneak peak, a little look see and tweet and instagram it for posterity?  Message me at [email protected] with your twitter handle and instagram and I’ll get back to you with details. I can promise you a most outstanding theatre experience, booze and of course my famous Browned Butter Brownies to keep you satiated during the intermission and before hand.

Full press release after the jump: Read the rest of this entry →

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L.A. Auto Show teasers….it opens next month

October 15, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, Seasonal, Shopping

Alfa Romeo 4c - click to embiggen

Alfa Romeo 4c – click to embiggen

Where to start…something new or something old?  Let’s start with the super new Alfa Romeo that is to be revealed at this years 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.  Will it be as sexy as the 4c they pulled the curtain from in Detroit in January?  My guess is yes.  My guess is that it will be a BMW 3 series competitor, because that’s what they all wanna have.  We shall see won’t we?  Lord knows a sexy 2 door sports car is a nice way to relaunch a brand, but they need more to sustain one.

To kick off the new Alfa the Motor Press Guild is organizing a retrospective of 35 collectible concours quality Alfas from the past to be displayed in the Gilbert Lindsay Plaza of the convention center. Those cars will be driven to the show from the Palm Springs Concorso held the weekend prior.  Additionally Alfa Romeo is bringing a few cars from their private collection to show there as well.  This will only be available to the press so I’ll take lots of pics for you.

The other news is that the Green Car of the Year finalists were named.  This goes to the car, usually a hybrid, though a traditional gasser was included one year and a now not so clean we learned the hard way diesel.  But I digress, the field this year is interesting and I’m not sure how it will go.  They’re all familiar names, two got complete makeovers.  Volt by Chevy is more mainstream looking and has doubled electic range, Prius…gets the funky face front intakes seen on their fuel cell car, not functional, funky for the sake of funky with the promise of better driving dynamics.  That’s like asking a toaster not to be a toaster.  The finalists up for judging by the Green Car Journal:

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Hyundai Sonata
  3. Chevy Volt
  4. Toyota Prius
  5. Audi A3 e-tron (my personal favorite)

Tickets are on sale now, grab yours early and avoid the crush outside waiting insufferable minutes in the ticket lines.  ORDER HERE.

Los Angeles Auto Show, Los Angeles Convention Center. November 20-29, 2015.  Check web for daily times.

Pic by me.  I’ll be at the show for press days 11/18-19 and share with you the winners and losers.

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Recap of this past weekends Celebrate the Arts and ChalkFest

September 29, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, News, People, Photography, San Gabriel Valley

This weekend was a terrifc weekend, if you forget the blazing heat and attended the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts 52nd Annual Celebrate the Arts and first ever ChalkFest.

Celebrate the Arts incorporated several first as I outlined the other day.  What makes these events fun isn’t so much the terrific art, but the ability to see artists working on their art, demonstrating their technique.  There year there were several artists doing just that.  Glass blower Joshua Smilth wowed folks with his tecnhique.  Metal sculpturist Bill Hyatt continued working on his horse head sculpture a painstaking process of welding dot by dot to build up the face and texture of the horse.

Glass artist Joshua Smith bending glass. click to embiggen

Glass artist Joshua Smith bending glass. click to embiggen

To learn more about ChalkFest and see those artists in their creative zone you need to make the jump.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Celebrate the Arts in Monrovia’s Library Park 9/26-27

September 24, 2015 in Art, Books, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, News, Photography, San Gabriel Valley

Show to embiggen.

Show poster…click to embiggen.

This is a biggy for me.  Something that I, as a board member, have been all but consumed with the last several weeks.  Celebrate the Arts is in its 52nd year and its going to have quite a few firsts on top of the already terrific fine artists populating the park with their art.

Celebrate the Arts is held in Monrovia’s Library Park from 10AM – 6PM both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  There will be a lot of firsts at this show that we are really excited about on top of our usual host of Food Trucks, live music, extremely talented artists.  Among our firsts this event:

  • ChalkFest – a competitive street art event with Lori Escalera as our celebrity judge.
  • Children’s Chalk Experience -designed for the 12 and under set to experiment with chalk
  • Featured Artist Elizabeth Butterfield…her collage work is simply stunning
  • The first appearance by students from Mt. Sierra College (11 fine artists and 2 chalk artists)
  • The first appearance by 18 artists new to MAFA
  • Glass Blowing demonstrations
  • TIKI Bobbleheads from artist Rick Kess
  • Authors exhibition with live book signing
  • Photographer Author Stephen McCarthy will be selling his images, autographing his books including his newest “The Extra Virgin Spy Club”

To read more about this years Celebrate the Arts you need to make the jump.   Read the rest of this entry →

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10th Annual Cruz’n for Roses classic car show in So Pas Sunday 9/27

September 24, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley

1965 Thunderbird...and example of what you may find to embiggen

1965 Thunderbird…and example of what you may find there…click to embiggen

There are a few hundred classic cars expected to line South Pasadena’s historic Mission Street for their 10th Annual Cruz’n for Roses classic car show. Car owners pay a fee to enter their cars and the proceeds go towards the cities Rose Parade float.

Also for the day the South Pas Fire and Police department will be hosting an open house if you want to check out their latest gear, cars and of course fire trucks.  The open house will take place at their station located at 1422 S Mission from 10AM-3PM


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Rancho Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance 2015 the overview

September 23, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, History, South Bay, Transportation

By far my most favorite auto show in the Los Angeles area has got to be the Rancho Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance.  This is a tightly curated show, few if any basic rides, it focuses on the premiere rides of days gone by.  Two categories, restored and survivors that they call “Preservation” that are all original and just detailed out to show quality.

Make the jump for a few of my favorite cars of the day. Read the rest of this entry →

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A Walk on Water gets a gift from Dodge

September 18, 2015 in Celebrity, Education, Entertainment, Events, News, People, Social issues

Sometimes it is more than the car, its the  perfect mix of ambition and heart.

Last night started out like any other manufacturer party.  This time hosted by Dodge.  It was different as instead of rolling out a red carpet for a shiny new car, it was to give a gift to suburban Los Angeles based “A Walk on Water“. AWOW for short.

Until last night I hadn’t heard of them or their mission.  AWOW is there to support families with autistic members.  They provide the entire family, not just the person with autism, with the chance to spend a fun day together learning to surf.  They believe in the theraputic powers of the ocean and surfing as a way to bridge the communication gap and give a family with special needs a fun learning experience they can share.

Actor Danny Trejo gave a moving introduction to the group and shared how is own family is affected by autism.  Its just not the person with special needs that needs help, but the entire family that is affected and need help with coping and learning.  The board members of AWOW also shared with us their personal stories on why what they do is important to them and the families they help.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after one board member talked about how his non-verbal son spoke his first words after his first surf ride.  He’s skilled now on the board that he’s ready to be a teacher in the group.  The power in belief in abilities and that you can make always find a way to make a positive out of a challenge.

The big news dropped at the end of the presentations is that Dodge, a division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was donating $20,000 to AWOW to kick start their growth and expand beyond the Los Angeles area.  Dodge/FCA together are also pledging an additional $50 for every test drive at authorized dealerships in the coming days up to $5,000 additional for AWOW. (list of authorized dealers after the jump).  It was hinted that Danny Trejo himself will be at some of the dealerships during their day of sponsored test drives to meet and greet those helping out AWOW by taking drive in a shiny new Dodge.

To further sweeten the pot, Nacional Records, our host for the evening festivities, is going to give away 2 tickets per test drive to the October 3 Supersonico Festival at the Palladium.

For the list of  dealerships dates and times you need to make the jump. Read the rest of this entry →