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2013 L.A. Auto Show – winners and losers

November 22, 2013 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, History, LA, News, Seasonal, Shopping

Entire Honda Accord Line named “Green Car of the Year”

The rain may have slowed down the award show start yesterday, but the end result was a lot of folks at Honda’s Torrance headquarters must have been elated.  Celebratory even.  In a crowded field of worthy competitors Honda’s Accord line, not just a single model, but the entire line of 4cyl, V6, hybrid and plug-in hybrid Accords with their “Earth Dreams” technology won Green Car of the Year. Quite an accomplishment and hats off to the folks in the South Bay for bringing the award home.

The 2013 LA Auto Show is without a doubt the best I’ve seen since I started covering it in 2007 for blogging.la  There were some 50 World Premiere’s at this years show of some really stunning cars.  BMW chose us as the auto show to introduce us to their new “i” program, that will in time be as recognized and as important as the “M” series is to them.  For a pic of my winners and losers for this years show you need to make the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

Sixty-Five More Los Angeles Placenames In Search Of Their Origins

November 14, 2013 in East Side, History, Hollywood, LA, Long Beach, San Gabriel Valley, SoCal, South Bay, The Valley, West Side

Inspired by Militant Angeleno’s awesome “88 Suburbs In Search Of Their Names” post from last week and equipped with the indispensable “1500 California Place Names” by William Bright, I decided to crack the latter open and see if I couldn’t add to the former’s impressive list of suburbs ‘n stuff. Turns out I could. Some are almost too obvious or well known to mention (Century City? Duh) and some are about as obscure as it gets (Lamanda Park?), but I mention them anyway — and there are a few that are pretty cool (check out the the 220-year-old typo that is Point Dume and the darkness that lurks behind the meaning of “Verdugo”).

So without further to-do, here’s my 65 supplemental places (64 in Los Angeles County and a 471-year-old one just up PCH in Ventura County). Enjoy!

Angeles National Forest: So named in 1908 because the larger part of the forest is within Los Angeles County.

Antelope Valley: Named not for a true antelope, but for the pronghorn (pictured) — the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere — which was once abundant in the state.

Ballona Creek: From the Ballona land grant of 1839; probably a misspelling of Bayona, the name of a town in Spain.

Bel-Air: Named for its developer, Alphonso Bell, in 1923, on the model of French bel air, meaning “fresh air.”

Bouquet Canyon: A misinterpretation of Spanish El Buque, “the ship,” the nickname of a French sailor who settled there.

Brentwood: Named after Brentwood in Essex, England, the ancestral home landowner John Marsh.

Cahuenga Pass: From the Gabrielino village name kawé’nga, probably meaning “at the mountain.”

Canoga Park: Named in the 1890s after Canoga, New York, which was originally a Cayuga (Iroquoian) village.

Castaic: From Ventureño Chumas kashtiq, “the eye, the face”.

Centinela Creek: From the Spanish word for “sentry, sentinel.”

Century City: Named for 20th Century Fox film studios, on the site of which it was built, starting in 1961.

Chatsworth: Named in 1887 after the estate of the Duke of Devonshire in England.

Chilao: Formerly Chileo or Chilleo, a nickname of the herder Jose Gonzales, famous for killing a grizzly bear near here with only a hunting knife. Chil- what? Yeah, me too. It’s primarily a campground area waaay up in the Angeles National Forest.
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American Sabor: Latin flavor in American Music and an LA focus

November 14, 2013 in Art, East Side, Education, Entertainment, History, LA, Movies, Music, People, Social issues, Which Side?

American Sabor opens on Saturday Nov 16th at Cal State  University LA with a huge open house.  Its an exhibit on loan to CSULA until February 6 2014.  The Exhibit is here are part of a grant from Ford Motor Company.  The exhibit left me speechless.  Yes, I knew some of the famous names, but I never knew until touring this exhibit the depth that Latin Music, its flavor or sabor has influenced all of American Music.

More importantly this exhibit has a  portion dedicated solely to the contributions of Angelenos, specifically East LA in the 1990s.  That will be part of the permanent collection at CSULA when the Smithsonian moves on loan to its next city.  Famous Angelenos starting with Desi Arnaz and flash forward to  Black Eyed Peas I was amazed, outright blown away with the influence Latin music has had on pop music, hip hop, jazz and other genres.  Other artists of note that are showcased in the exhibit are Alice Bag, Los Lobos, Los Illegals, and Quetzal. Read the rest of this entry →

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I want that shirt and our old ‘stang back too.

October 16, 2013 in Driving, Entertainment, Fashion, Food & Drink, History, Hollywood, People, Shopping, Vintage

50 Years Mustang and Fashion

Blogging leads to adventures and fun soirees. Last night I was invited to a pretty swanky affair celebrating 50 years of Mustang and Fashion. It was held at The Standard Hotel on Sunset in WeHo.  This shirt was worn by the wait staff from the hotel’s Event Department and we couldn’t get them to give one up for us.

The event is documented in my flickr set, and was actually a lot of fun. Great food, nice cocktails and cars with pretty models next to them.  The Standard itself is quite the place. I remember it as the Golden Crest Hotel, then a retirement home when I first moved here, then it was abandoned for a while.  Quite the come back as you will note from the pictures.

The show itself was a fun bit of high zoot fashion history intermingled with a particular generation of the Mustang.  The speakers were L.A.’s own Christos Garkinos an expert in all things vintage along with Ford Design Director Joel Piaskowski who talked about the cars. Read the rest of this entry →

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Cole’s or Philippe for your French Dip?

October 8, 2013 in Downtown, Food & Drink, History, LA, Vintage

I have to admit, I’m a fan of the French Dip and its quite the conundrum for me to chose between Cole’s and Philippe’s sandwiches. Both are very good, terrific au jus, tender meat that tastes the way it should.  They aren’t that far apart in price and neither is going to break the bank.

Atmosphere, both got a ton.  Philippe’s is more of a fast food vibe with lines and find your own table at your own risk during peak times.  Cole’s is more of a sit down dark old timey bar that has charm all onto itself starting with the tinned ceilings and going down to the antique booths.

Both claim to be the original French Dip.  Neither will relinquish the title to the other, suffice it to say I think L.A. can lay claim to the sandwich as its own and we can move on.  You won’t go wrong with either French Dip Sammy.

Philippe has the edge on convenience for me. Getting there is a quick hop on the Gold Line to Union Station and a 5 minute walk.  Cole’s is more involved and finding parking in the area can be a challenge, except for weekends.

Which is your favorite?  Why?  Sound off in the comments for kicks and giggles.

Cole’s   118 East 6th Street, Los Angeles 90014 213-622-4090 MAP HERE

Philippe  1001 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, 90012 213-628-2731  MAP HERE

 

 

 

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Home Movie Day set for Saturday October 12, 2013

October 6, 2013 in Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, History, LA, Movies

homemovieday

I love old home movies, even those that aren’t my family.  They are wonderful documentary’s of our past giving little snippets into how we lived.  Nostalgic at times, foretelling at others.  Its all just one simple capture of a moment in time with live action and often no sound other than the hum, whir and clicks of the projector.  Marvelous stuff.

This year marks the 11th Anniversary of Home Movie Day, sponsored by the Center for Home Movies a local non-profit.  Angelenos are invited to bring their home movies in a variety of formats, from the “super 8″ to VHS to share at the event.  Yes, that precious film of you playing in the sand box and finding kitty was there first can be share with all of Los Angeles at this festival.  Admission to this portion of the days events is FREE.

Following Home Movie Day will be Hollywood Home Movies IV.  This is a curated showing of fims from the golden age of film that is sponsored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  This portion of the day does have the nominal admission of $5, $3 for students and seniors.

DEETS:  Sunday October 12th.  11AM film drop off starts.  Screenings for Home Movie Day are noon to 4 PM.  Screenings for Hollywood Home Movies IV begin at 7PM.  Both are being held at the  Linwood Dunn Theater, 1313 Vine, Hollywood CA MAP HERE

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

Awesome Automobilia: The Nethercutt Collection & Museum

September 26, 2013 in Art, Entertainment, History, The Valley

I’ve still not been to the reported Miracle Mile motor mecca that is the Petersen Museum — but at least I’ve known about it!

The same cannot be said for the vehicular valhalla otherwise known as The Nethercutt out in Sylmar. Up until a couple weeks ago that institution had somehow avoided me knowing about it my entire life — and it still would be unknown to me had Huell Howser himself not reached out from beyond the grave and told me about it (in the form of an old “Visiting” episode on KCET, but still). Bless you and thank you, Huell!

Wasting no time at all while marveling at all the shiny automobilia Huell was amongst, I wasted no time in googling up the Nethercutt’s website and making a reservation for a guided tour — and get this: it’s free.

Now I know… I know. You’re wondering what kind of catalytic converter have I been living under all my life!? You’ve been there six times, and are going back next week to check out the recently added 1956 Porsche! Well I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to to that apparently small minority of angelenos  who, like me, have absolutely  no clue. And to them I’m saying that for the love of all engines internally combusted, if you have even get the slightest wide-eyed when any kind of  classic car rolls past you on the street, then you’ve got to get yourself out to Sylmar and prepare for your jaw to drop at all the mechanized majesty. Many, many times.

Seriously, if you have any type of appreciation for the history and design and evolution of Ye Olde Horseless Carriage, you’ve got to go and check out this unparalleled and extensive array of meticulously restored vehicles. As I said, the collection is free, but tour reservations are required). So click here to check out my Flickr set of images (thumbnailed above) from my visit last Saturday, and then make plans to go get yer car on and get upclose and personal with these magnificent mobile works of fine art.

WHAT: The Nethercutt Collection
WHERE: 15200 Bledsoe Street, Sylmar, CA 91342
WHEN: Guided tours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10a.m. or 1:30p.m. (Reservations are required)
WEB: www.nethercuttcollection.org
NOTE: Directly across the street from the Nethercutt Collection is the Nethercutt Museum, housing a separate and more extensive group of vehicles. That’s open Tuesday – Saturday, 9a.m. – 4:30 p.m. It’s also free, but no reservation is required.

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1975 LA County Sheriff training film – call it retro Sunday

September 8, 2013 in Driving, Entertainment, History, LA, LA bloggers, Vintage

Or how to drive a tank fast on bias ply tires!

This film is a hoot.  The tips apply if you drive a rear wheel drive tank on bias ply tires.  The commentary is still sorta relevant when it comes to fast driving a car with rear wheel drive.  I love the brown haze they called sky back in the day, my how things have improved!

Tip o the hat to Sergeant Tom LeVeque at Arcadia Pd who found this old video.

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Christmas from back in the day where everyone dressed for the holiday

December 24, 2012 in History, Hollywood, LA, Seasonal, Vintage

Love this video, just wish it had a sound track.  Love the old stock footage from 1940’s Los Angeles where they really went out of their way to decorate for Christmas in Hollywood.

Merry Christmas all…

Urban Exploration: Inside The 7th Street Bridge

August 16, 2012 in Biking in LA, History, LA

One of the oldest spans across the Los Angeles River, the 7th Street Bridge dates back to 1910 when the at-grade version included two-sets of trolley tracks. It quickly became one of the most congested ways across the river and by the late 1920s it was decided that rather than demolish the entire structure, a second level would be built on top giving it a double-decker appearance and allowing traffic to move freely without being impeded by any freight trains traveling  through.

Ever since I first noticed that open but inaccessible lower level of the 7th Street Bridge about eight years ago, I’ve wondered what it’s like inside, and my curiosity only increased a couple years ago when LA River advocate Joe Linton found a way in and wrote about it on his blog LA Creek Freak. It again was piqued a few months ago when the news hit that there are plans in the very early stages to convert the space to an open-air market.

During a visit paid to the bridge last summer while on one of my riverbed rides, I couldn’t figure out how Linton got up there, and I had pretty much reconciled that the space was to remain off limits to me — until a couple weeks ago, when an acquaintance of Linton’s contacted me out of the blue and said she knew how he got in and would I be game to try. Of course I would, I said.

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Los Angeles Plaza Historic District In 1869

July 4, 2012 in Downtown, History, LA, Vintage

Happy 4th of July! Being a sucker for historic images of our city, I just had to share the following two exquisite views of Main Street, La Placita Church and the historic Los Angeles Plaza that I found on the History, Los Angeles County blog and the Watt Way blog. Both photographs were reportedly made in 1869, and may very well have been done by the same photographer on the same day — the first one facing east from Fort Moore Hill and the second facing north from the Pico House Hotel that was completed that same year (click to slightly enlargify):

Bonus image after the jump is one from Fort Moore Hill looking a bit more southeast of the location seven years later with Pico House at the right and the plaza having adopted its round configuration that remains today.

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Time Is On Our Side

May 16, 2012 in Entertainment, History, LA, News, Science, Theatre/Stage

I got an invite last week to come to a media preview of Time’s Up, the Griffith Observatory’s new planetarium show, so in between Good Samaritan Hospital’s never-miss Blessing of the Bikes yesterday morning and a long-overdue physical exam that afternoon, I biked up the hill to one of my favorite places in Los Angeles to take advantage of the Observatory’s hospitality and see how and why they decided to counter the anxiety being produced by those doomsdayers dead-set in their belief that the Mayans predicted the world to end this coming December 21 and that it’s so going to happen.

The answers are with a provocative and eye-popping new program in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium that opens on the beach next to the Santa Monica Pier, serene for a few moments until meteors start raining explosively down upon the westside, a huge tsunami closes in and a rogue planet grows larger as it bears down on its collision course with earth — accompanied by flying monkeys, of course.

Inside joke: Pictured during this doomsday scene is Lifeguard Station No. 5150. Since most of the station IDs are no more than two digits, I’m betting this was done in snarktastic reference to the police code that’s basically short for bugged-out basketcase kRaAzEe.

But just when all seems lost, Planetarium Lecturer Kelley Hazen steps in bearing a beautifully illuminated and illuminating hourglass to put a freezeframe to all the apocalyptic nonsense and go on with a visually stunning and intellectually compelling show that counters folly with fact and explores what time is all about.

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It Caught My Eye: Streetfiti Case No. 120507

May 9, 2012 in History, ICME

Last week I looked up in the sky at the super moon. This week, I looked down and found this undated though well-worn pleasant surprise from a once or perhaps would-be street king on an old piece of sidewalk during an early morning dog walk up near the top of Descanso south of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. All hail, Patrick.

Can LA Get a Do-Over?

April 25, 2012 in History, LA, News, Politics, Social issues

Will Campbell's Manzanar Photo

Sure, Angelenos are no strangers to the concept of a makeover. But when it comes to an egregious error on the part of elected officials—decades in the past—is it possible to get a do-over? County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas thinks that it might be possible, at least, for the LA County Board of Supervisors to try to facilitate some healing regarding one serious misstep taken by the board in 1942.

Specifically, when our country decided that certain broad swipes of our populace could not be trusted based solely on their ancestry, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted 70 years ago to pass a resolution urging the President of the US and Congress to proceed with internment as soon as possible. According to one of his aides, current LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will introduce a motion to repeal that resolution at the 5 June 2012 meeting of the board.

We’ve blogged about the internment at blogging.la before, here and here. (And by “we” I mean Will Campbell!) It is certainly a dark page in the past of our nation, and one that we would like to think is mostly behind us. Alas, in the post-9/11 attitude toward Middle-Eastern Americans and the ongoing atmosphere of racial profiling and harassment that thrives under Joe Arpaio, perhaps that page hasn’t fully been turned just yet.

Still, steps such as this move by Ridley-Thomas—which on its face may appear not to change much of anything—can help to push the dialogue of greater racial tolerance and perhaps prevent further injustice as we progress as Angelenos, as Americans, as humans. In fact, this move will help to highlight the progress Los Angeles has made in overcoming institutional racism, as current Chief Executive Officer of LA County, William Fujioka, and the LA County Board’s Executive Officer, Sachi Hamai, are both Japanese Americans.

That, and everyone’s favorite Japanese-American actor and celebrity, George Takei, will also attend the board meeting and offer testimony in support of Ridley-Thomas’ motion. Goodness knows he’s familiar with the challenges of being a second-class citizen.

In the gallery below, view the board’s resolution as it was passed in January 1942.

A Rocky Getaway in L.A.’s Backyard

April 5, 2012 in environment, History

Red Rock Canyon

Forget your troubles, come on get dizzy. That’s what I did last weekend on a hike from Topanga Canyon area through Red Rock Canyon to the top of Calabasas Peak. The hike was about 4.5 miles, pretty short as the crow flies, but there was a lot of climbing (up to 2,000+ feet) and zig-zagging, plus we took some rock scrambling side trips, so it was challenging. One highlight of the hike was the rocky terrain, consisting of numerous sandstone outcroppings. At times I thought I was in Zion National Park, not the Santa Monica Mountains just minutes from L.A. Many of these rocks are tilted at Titanic angles, and it’s mind-boggling to think that they were once under sea, and how it has taken them millions of years to get to this point. There were even seashell fossils in some of the rocks, as the picture after the jump indicates.

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