Yes, the ubiquitous tipping jar got bumped a bit with some humor injected by some bored soul at the Philly’s Best in Monrovia.
The beloved all-ages venue in the far west Valley that has given thousands of local kids their start in music, tens of thousands of poets a chance to read their work, and probably millions of young people to tag/sticker bathrooms (and hallways…and sidewalks…and rear exterior walls…and everything else), and just generally get the F outta the house without having to go to the mall–will be closing at the end of the month. I regret to pass this news on so late but I only just found out myself.
Extremely patient and awesome owner Dave Politi founded the Cobalt Cafe coffeehouse in 1991. Grunge was a rising tide, emo was in its early stages, weird ska/funk/pop-punk hybrids particular to the Valley and south LA in general were bubbling up from high schoolers’ garages, and Starbucks wasn’t here.
I was a high school goth chick, shy as hell and loathe to speak to anyone. My friends’ bands played the shows. Seeing them, their openers, and those for whom they opened, up close and personal on a stage about a foot off the ground and approximately three feet from my face so their sweat flew in my eyes, lit off a fuse within myself that altered my DNA, transformed my passions and creative dreams forever. I got up the guts to read my mediocre emo high-school-girl poetry at the weekly poetry readings.
I got to know people. I became a regular. I met my first long-term boyfriend there, played chess there, bought punk records from unknown bands there from small private presses before records were collectors’ items, met some of the folks I’d run into long, long down the line ten years later in Silver Lake at Spaceland (and in other rooms), watched the comfy overstuffed furniture go the way of the dodo (too many episodes of puking, sweating and cigarettes leads them to an early grave), giving way to a more Spartan interior. People liked my poetry enough that I got a featured reading at a coffeehouse on Sunset Blvd, and I kept writing long into my late 20s. I sometimes wonder if all that writing didn’t lay the groundwork for my public blogging and journalism career, which itself has led to experiences and interactions that could never have been imagined by the mind of a repressed, shy 17-year-old black-lipstick-wearing girl in 1996.
Every time I have returned to the Valley to see a line of self-conscious green-and-black-haired high schoolers goofing off with each other in front of the venue, or bros in short pants and Deftones t-shirts unloading a 350 Ford, I have smiled to myself, grateful that sometimes, good things don’t change, and that there’s a place for us weirdos to go–still. Yeah, sometimes the music sucked. Well, usually it does when people are that green. But it was music, and we–now, they–were and are making it. Some of them got really, really good. Some of the poets went on to long careers as luminaries in the poetry arts scene throughout the US. Records were make, books published. Creative dreams came true.
The place reeked of sweat, coffee and cigarettes; the bathrooms are an archaeological dig though layers of paint, Sharpie, and stickers; sometimes the baristas were overwhelmed or had a ‘tude (as is proper, whiners!), but that all just made it better. I have been everywhere, man, and seen a lotta shows, but the Cobalt was the most genuine, unprepossessing, free-spirited creative fermentation machine I had ever seen. You did not have to be hip to walk in. You did not have to wear the right clothes. In fact, it’s still pretty hipster-repellent.
Sadly, Dave’s got his own Life S**t going on these days, and there’s less and less money coming in the doors with promoters and bookers being less supportive than they used to be; and let’s face it, non-Starbucks-priced coffee will never keep an indie business afloat, especially when your clientele is allowed to just hang out and buy nothing the entire time they’re there.
Dave Politi should be lauded for giving so much of his life and energy to a cause–“the kids” and “the music” and “the words”. The longtime host of Tuesday Night Poetry–he’s been doing it almost as long as the Cobalt was open–Rick Lupert–should be thanked, and I encourage you to see him read his funny and thoughtful work at other venues around town. All the hosts of Monday night open mics, all the baristas who endured patiently for many years, every doorman who had to bust kids doing the things that kids do–thank you, one and all. Here’s to the Cobalt Cafe. From such a humble little corner of the West San Fernando Valley, her influence has already spread around the world. Dave and the Cobalt are studies in how simply making space for others to be themselves, can ripple outwards in a quietly irresistible wave of transformation.
Hover over photos for Creative Commons/other photo credits.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you love Los Angeles native, See’s Candies! They are putting up pop-up holiday shops around town so you don’t have to brave the mall when you get invited somewhere last minute and don’t want to arrive with your hands hanging. They are selling only boxed chocolates, no candy counter full of individual yummies to mix and match. But when Aunt Gertrude is stopping by and you’ve accidentally left her off your list, you can race in for that two pound box of dark chocolate nuts and chews she loves so much.
Check locations here.
And there are two more days to enter into the See’s Candies For Life contest!
My personal favorite – Scotchmallows.
I had every intention of going to the Patchwork Show in Santa Ana today but a series of events kept me from it. First church (hi hippie Unitarians!) which got canceled due to the kid oversleeping her morning nap, then I spent too much time researching ways to use my remaining root vegetables from the Culver City Farmers Market to make leftover turkey chili, Skyped with the in laws, and then I happened to look at a map and discovered Santa Ana is hella far down in the OC. By that time, this wet stuff had started falling from the sky. Too bad… lots of great vendors were at the Long Beach show and I was looking forward to shoving some cash at them. Next up… Unique LA!
November 28, 2014 in Food & Drink
Some of the most memorable meals of my life have been on boats.
One memorable boat meal was a few summers ago. I was in the Netherlands on vacation, and after a long day of trudging around Rotterdam in the rain, we ended up on De Pannenkoekenboot: the pancake boat. The pancake boat sails around the Rotterdam harbor for an hour, during which time you fill your face with as much as you can from an all-you-can-eat pancake buffet that includes toppings that range from the kind of thing you’d expect (ie: syrup) to the kind of thing that makes you question the definition of “topping” (ie: large wedges of brie). Also, there is beer. The pancakes were delicious, but that’s completely incidental. Stick me on a boat, feed me any food, and I will happily regale people with tales of my nautical adventure culinary for years to come, as though I am an actual pirate and not just a fairly boring person who occasionally eats on a boat.
But one need not travel abroad for a boat-bound dining experience! We live near an ocean, or so I’ve heard, so there restaurant options close to home that will move you to regale your dining companions with a theme-appropriate fake pirate accent. You could go to the fanciest boat restaurant of them all, the Queen Mary. OR, for something more down to earth, you could head down the road to the Leeward Bay Marina at the LA Harbor. That’s where you’ll find the Chowder Barge: a floating restaurant with a 40-year history of chowder-slinging.
I visited The Chowder Barge for the first time last weekend, and was glad to discover that it is basically a perfect place. It’s nestled among sailboats, and the doorway is at the the end of a swaying dock. Inside, the walls and ceiling are covered in nautical tchokes, a giant fireplace hangs from the ceiling, and it looks like the kind of place frequented by the Big Kahuna from Gidget.
You can order beer in normal-sized glasses at the Chowder Barge, but why even bother when you can just get the CAPTAIN’S MUG, which is larger than a human head. It also weighs about as much as a two-year-old. Why mess around? You get your beer and your upper arm workout, too. Here, look how pleased I am about this Captain’s Mug:
You, too, could know this joy!
The food was good. The clam chowder was so bacony might as well have just been cream of bacon soup with clams, which is not exactly a problem. If you order the Double Clam Chowder, you get a bowl of chowder filled with deep fried clams! And if you order the Chowder Burger, you get a bowl of chowder with a cheeseburger in it! Because god bless America. None of my party were bold enough to brave the Chowder Burger, but I’ve already decided that I will be returning for my birthday, where I will have a Chowder Burger with birthday candle in it.
What are you favorite floating or nautical-themed restaurants? Comment away, me hearties!
When you enter the Apple Pan, you have to understand you are entering a totalitarian state. This joint has been around, almost untouched, since 1947 and nothing you say or do will change how they do business. This is true on any day. This is doubly true on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eves when they make tons of extra pies and all of us die-hards line up to get them. (My husband loves the chocolate cream.) You’ll wait and if you are like me, you’ll enjoy the wait because the wait is great theater.
With all the extra people coming to buy pies on the same days every year, you would think they might put on a special person simply to sell pies and keep the crowds moving. No, no they won’t. Why? Because we are the Apple Pan and because f**k you. You don’t like it? Go buy pies at that tramp Marie Callendar’s place. The guy who takes your pie order is the same guy servicing his side of the counter (which of course is full of lunch eating peeps) and he’ll get to you when he gets to you.
During my 35 minute wait, I was lucky to stand next to a nice woman who had the same attitude as I did, in fact she was going to be late for a doctors appointment, but damned if she was going to miss picking up the apple pie for her boyfriend’s family! We chatted a bit between shows.
Because if so, there are a few very groovy things on the horizon!
Crafters and Chili Cooks Sought for Holiday Event
at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum
The Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park is currently planning the fourth annual “Holidays on the Homestead,” a holiday-themed fundraiser for the museum to be held on Saturday December 6th from 5 pm – 8 pm. Participants are now sought for the “cowboy” chili cook-off and the handmade craft boutique.
Rose Edwards, the wife of the museum’s builder, was known for her chili and cornbread holiday feasts at their 1930’s homestead holiday celebrations. This delicious tradition is being revived in her honor! All chili styles will be considered; there is no registration fee for the cook-off.
Representing the talents of artist and museum founder Howard Arden Edwards, crafters are being sought for a craft boutique of handmade country and holiday-themed items. Booths are $30, supporting the non-profit Friends of the Antelope Valley Indian Museum.
For chili cook-off or craft booth information and applications, contact Jean Rhyne at (661) 946-6900 or [email protected] See below for more information about this fun event!
Went to our fave 24-hour taco shop, Casa de Tacos, hidden in a small strip mall at the corner of Topanga Canyon and Wyandotte in Canoga Park. It is SO GOOD to enjoy real Latino-style tacos after three years of Georgia tacos. Got me some lengua and some tripas, for the ultimate in all I had missed.
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
Sierra Madre Playhouse and California Pizza Kitchen in Pasadena have teamed up for a fund raiser to benefit the Playhouse and its coming production of “4,000 Miles” The fund raiser is only at the Pasadena CPK on Los Robles, all day on Thursday September 4, 2014. When you give your wait person THIS FLYER, 20% of your purchase will go to Sierra Madre Playhouse to fund this production.
Sierra Madre Playhouse was chosen over many other theaters in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles premiere of “4,000 Miles” That play from what I’ve heard is an interesting look at transgenerational values and the exchange between a young man and his estranged grandmother. The play opens September 26 and runs through November 8. More details here.
I’ve been waiting for what seems an eternity for this to get here, but the 626 Night Market at Santa Anita Park is this weekend. Great food, great people, fun chotskies and awesome food. Yes, I was redundant, but the food is really the star at this event.
As a local I’d suggest skipping the Baldwin exist off the 210 as its been sketchy due to Gold Line rail connstruction the last several days. Exit Santa Anita Ave and head south, make a right at Huntingon Drive and follow it to the main entrance for Santa Anita Park. Next year, the Gold Line will be a fait accomplait and will give you instructions on how to get there from the Arcadia Gold Line Station, until then its freeway baby.
Parking is free, Admission is $3 per person. Such a deal.
Deets: 626 Night Market 4PM-1AM Friday July 18 and July 19. 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia CA91007 MAP HERE