Better Late Than Never! (Another Introduction)

I might be a bit of a latecomer to the newbie party happening here at L.A. Metblogs, but I’m really excited to join the crew! I’m usually running a little behind anyway, so it’s fitting. My name is Jodi and while not a native, I have called Los Angeles home for the past 14 years, which is longer than anywhere else I’ve lived. I took to L.A. right away and never found that I needed to ‘get used to’ it.

Having resided mostly in small towns and cities on the East Coast and in Texas, the move here was a big change for me. Not only is L.A. the most expansive place I’ve lived, but it is by far the most diverse. The people, geography, lifestyles, and cultures fascinate and energize me. Sometimes I feel like I’ve learned more from my time here than in most of my years of formal education.

A health care professional by day, I pursue crafting, writing, and photography in my spare time. Nature and my pets are often an inspiration for my creativity. I also attempt to take advantage of all that Los Angeles has to offer from music to art to hiking to film to geek-centric gatherings and beyond. There is always something to do, which is one of the reasons why I don’t get enough sleep.

I appreciate the opportunity to write for Metblogs and am looking forward to sharing my love for and my unique perspective of life in L.A. My musings can be found elsewhere online and yes, they often reflect my unhealthy obsessions with tote bags and rodents.

HI From Another Newbie




I’m yet another newbie in this influx of new writers.  You very likely don’t know me from that annoying 2009 Hummer with license plate MRY XMAS hogging the road next to you (or me, this morning, as Yaris and I barely escaped being eaten by that silver monstrosity of a car) but I run a foodie blog over on What You See is What You Eat.  I know, another one of those. Oh well. Other random things: I have a dog that everyone thinks is a fox, but really, is just a shiba inu. I say this at least 5 times a day, so if you’re in Santa Monica and there’s a girl explaining that No I did not steal this “fox” from Runyon Canyon, and, anyway, who would steal a fox and domesticate it? That makes no sense., that is me. My day-and-often-night-time job is to be a lawyer; having to write pleadings that are variations on a you-owe-me-money theme, I am eternally grateful to Lucinda and the rest of the LA Metblogs team for entrusting me with the space to write in English a few times a week.

So, this is my hi post.  The substantive post will be forthcoming.

Hi From Another New Guy

Hello LA MetBlogs readers and authors. My name is Mykal Burns, but most of the time I just go by “Burns!” (No relation to Jason Burns, but it is true that we’ve never been seen in the same place at the same time. Hmm…) I’m one of the other new writers here, and I’m pretty darned excited about it. While Mark/panasonicyouth may be unknown to 98% of you, I would guess that I may actually go a point or two higher than that on the unknown scale, so a brief introduction is in order.

I am also a Los Angeles native, having grown up in the far east corner of the San Gabriel Valley, and I’ve slowly been migrating west ever since. Although I’m new to writing here, you may have seen me dropping in to the comments from time to time. I’ve been a reader since back in the day when this was just a little blog affectionately known as “b.LA.” (I wasn’t the only who called it that, was I?) In fact, even when I moved out of town for two years, I still came back to LA MetBlogs everyday. Los Angeles has always been my home, so even when I lived thousands of miles away I was able to stay in touch through the magic of the interwebs. I will forever be grateful to the LA MetBlogs authors who kept me grounded in my true home, and I’m very happy to be a part of that team now.

I usually like to be the one holding the camera, but occasionally I’ll turn it around and hold it at arm’s length. Here’s a rare image of Burns! in the wild: Continue reading “Hi From Another New Guy”

5 Questions with an Artist and victim of art theft.

Just before Christmas local gallery owner, Lisa Barrios let me know that a piece had been stolen from her gallery in the heart of Old Town Monrovia (yes, folks the city with “no crime” had someone in doing their Christmas shoplifting).  She was heart broken, beside herself fearing the reaction of the artist, Paul K. Merwin,  who had created the piece.  

Lisa said she was completely gobsmacked by his response.  Not only did the artist handle it well, but took it in stride.  His comment “I guess I should be flattered that someone thought enough of my art to go to jail for it”.    

“Petra” is the name of the piece and is pictured here.  It is a mixed media sculpture of aluminum and bone.  It has a retail value of $2,400.   As you might guess, Monrovia police are involved as both the gallery owner and the artist would like to have it back. 

It took a bit of emails and the Holidays for me to get all the information I needed to do this post.  I have to admit I admire the graciousness Paul exhibited in his initial reaction, and for indulging me with a 5 questions regarding his art and the theft.  To get the full 5 questions and Paul’s responses you need to make the jump.

Continue reading “5 Questions with an Artist and victim of art theft.”

Michael Jackson is back in town hoo haa (insert snark here).

There’s a hundred-and-one snarks I can toss in on why we don’t need another celebretard in town, but Jackooo is back in town. Hide your (insert snark here). The AP story for ran just moments ago: he has signed off on a 1 year lease (not purchase but with his foreclosure record who’d make a mortgage for him now) in Bel Air.

His dentist in Weho should be happy to have his patient and entourage back in his office. (Not quite 6 degrees of separation – the dentist is a friends’ ex-significant other so I do know the guy).

Now can’t we all sleep better knowing he is back?

The photo is from the news brief done by AP.

Santa Monica City Council Member and Former Mayor Herb Katz Dead

Sad news is rippling through Santa Monica today, as residents hear that City Council member, former Mayor, architect, and popular local figure Herb Katz has died after a long illness.   Herb was involved in public service in Santa Monica for decades, serving twice as Mayor Pro Tempore, once as Mayor, and twice as a member of the Santa Monica City Council, a post he held until his death.  He was also the president of RTK Architects, which was responsible for numerous projects around the Los Angeles area, including Playa Vista Studios, Granada Hills Elementary School, and various office buildings, car dealerships, and retail establishments.  He never let illness slow him down.

Herb could just as likely be seen at Santa Monica’s Joslyn Park with his dogs as at a public event.  I have fond memories of spending the day with him in June 2007 at the Eames Case Study House in Pacific Palisades, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Charles Eames.

I don’t know any details yet about a memorial service, but I know the outpouring will be huge for this beloved man.  Condolences to his wife Brenda and to his family.

“Stamp Series” Premier at LA Art Walk Thurdsay 1/8/09

The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art is premiering artist Leslie Tucker’s “The Stamp Series” 1/8-1/31/09.  The opening reception will take place in conjunction with Thursdays Downtown LA Art walk.

I have to admit when I saw the opening images on my invitation I got a big grin and thought “this is absolutely brilliant”.  Reading more into it I have to admit this artist has some wit to her.   Documenting the change in pop culture by honoring the demise of white bread on a commemorative stamp.  Brilliant (at the risk of repeating myself).

Details: January 8-31, 2009 Reception: Thursday January 8, 7-9pm, Los Angeles Center For Digital Art, 107 West Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Image courtesy of LACDA and used with their permission.  For their full press release you need to make the jump. Continue reading ““Stamp Series” Premier at LA Art Walk Thurdsay 1/8/09″

Shamwow! Surprising details about pitchman Vince

Warning! This man is an SP!
Warning! This man is an SP!

Long before inviting a TV audience to slap his nuts, Vince Offer took on the Church of Scientology.

Admit it: somewhere between the 10th and 18th time you’ve seen the commercial for Sham-Wow, you’ve been tempted to throw down $19.99 plus shipping and handling just so you can deliberately spill some Kool-Aid on your throw rug to test if the German made rag can actually suck it back up.

No, just me?

Well, then at least admit that, after you’ve wondered why in the hell he has to wear a headset microphone for a commercial (did the boomguy get sucked up by the Shamwow ultra absorption power?), you’ve wondered a little about pitchman Vince, before he began hawking micro-fiber towels and inviting TV viewers to slap his nuts

Fortunately, a little light Googling finds some surprising answers… Continue reading “Shamwow! Surprising details about pitchman Vince”

Pedro Pete does Huell Howser

Its a parody, get your mind outta the gutter and enjoy.

Pedro Pete is an LA area blogger whose blogs and youtube I follow.  Pete does a a sports blog and a video blog.  Here is what he has to say about the Huell Howser video.

I’m actually a huge fan of his work. I love man-on-the-street interviewers, and he features so many fascinating personalities and local treasures here in California. His enthusiasm and personality while improvising make the show hilarious at times, so I decided to do a parody about a fictional park. The footage was actually shot in Baldwin Hills at Village Green, a National Historical Landmark.

Highland Park cyclist Ryan Bowen bikes to Obama’s inauguration!

This story caught my eye first because I was impressed by Ryan’s indisputable bad-assedness, but then I noticed something else on the “About” page of his website. First, the gist: 22-year-old Oxy grad & HIghland Park resident Ryan Bowen left LA on Dec. 2 with the goal of touching down in DC by January 20. It’s ambitious, crazy, cool and not without its dangers, but a recent LA Times story catches up with him at the Continental Divide on Dec 18, where he was in good spirits, carb-loading at a roadside cafe.

Here‘s the story.

So why, then, would anyone launch “brazen personal attacks aimed at denouncing Ryan’s character and integrity”…? That quote is from the About page on Ryan’s website (read it in full here), written by the webmaster in defense of Ryan and his ride. Can anyone tell me why someone would have a problem with what Ryan is doing? Am I missing something?

Meet “Queen Skittles” new queen of the Doo Dah Parade

Here we go, and could well be a first.  Absent a lot of research Queen Skittles aka Julie Klima, an OC native no less has been crowned the new “32nd Queen of the Occasional Doo Dah Parade”.  You know, that sorta regular random irreverent parade they have over in Pasadena.

Queen Skittles is actually quite an accomplished photographer and you can see her work over at her own web site.  My personal favorites are those found in the “still” folder on her site.  Julie is a grad of the Art Center College of Design in good old Pas and now resides in Glendale.   

To get more insight into Queen Skittles I posed her *5 Questions to which she indulged me with answers that you can read after the leap. Continue reading “Meet “Queen Skittles” new queen of the Doo Dah Parade”

In Memoriam: Rikki Madrigal’s Story, by Brian Bentley

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!'”Jack Kerouac

I agonized over how to write this, primarily because I knew the subject; she meant many things to me. Other folks around town have written it up already, but I really wanted to “do it justice”–not to mention the whole subject really threw me for an emotional loop–and so I lagged. But my personal baggage should not come between this post and whomever out there who may need to read it, so I’ve tossed my half-completed Notepad drafts into the recycle bin and have just come here, to the wordpress page, to compose this on the fly.

Los Angeles is full of a special breed of amazing women, inspired women, women who wear their damage like red dresses and with whom you fall impossibly in love. These women blaze a trail through the city, equally torn between their dreams and their demons. They’re artists, and in turn they inspire art; despite their sadness, they shine. You’d think with all the beauty that ripples out from them, they could see some sort of way through, but their lives accelerate too fast, and close in on them, and the beauty happens less and the desperation happens more.

I wish I could seize every one of these women by the shoulders and force her to grab onto peace, onto serenity, like a buoy in a sea. To hang on, and to slow down, and to change; to stop burning out so fast like a flare shot off into the night sky, falling fast and guttering, the sparkle turning, too fast, to ashes.

This is the story of Rikki Madrigal, whom I knew towards the end of her life. I did not know her well. When I knew her, I was pretty lost & sad as well.

If I knew her today I would never let her walk away from me the way I did the last time I saw her.

Continue reading “In Memoriam: Rikki Madrigal’s Story, by Brian Bentley”

Staying afloat with Arlene Battishill and ScooterGirls

A local entrepreneur rolls with the punches coming from a worsening economy.

Arlene Battishill is a woman with vision and a squadron of scooters. She works for a housing construction company, but the plummeting economy, as well as the downward spiral of the housing market, has her looking at all possible contingencies.

In what some have been calling the worst economy since the 1930s, she has jump-started a business in Los Angeles  that eschews a high technology approach and goes for good old-fashioned spectacle when to comes to advertising.

Battishill started ScooterGirls, a mobile advertising company that sends flotillas of attractive, young women dressed in stylish clothing sporting company logos and streaming in formation on scooters through the streets of Los Angeles. In her tongue-in-cheek words, it’s “Hooters on scooters.” Continue reading “Staying afloat with Arlene Battishill and ScooterGirls”

Huell Howser on Life, Death and Celebrity as told to a blogger

Being a blogger in LA opens up doors that a blogger in say, Bakersfield will never have.  First is we get access to some really interesting people.  At a bloggers picnic you get to meet other bloggers in the area and share ideas on how to be more than a gabacho on a keyboard.  I met Aaron Proctor at an LA Bloggers picnic a while back.  AP has managed to parlay his blogging into some tradtional writing and published with ink not electrons.

I wrote a while back about his interview with Huell Howser for the Pasadena Weekly.  The interview went well and the actual article was on the stands late last week.  You can read it online “Lunch with Huell”.  It is actually a fun read, the most entertaining part was Huell’s wishes for his own death.

“I heard somewhere that you want to die on the air …

I want it to happen at the end of a show. I’m saying my goodbyes to everyone and then suddenly I clutch my heart and fall over. The credits roll as the dust covers me and everyone at home says, ‘Well, Huell had a good run but I think that’s his last episode.’ … I want to be cremated. I’ve made a list of my favorite 20 places in California, and it’s going to be a two-week vacation where [my sister and her husband] come to California and get my urn full of ashes and go to these 20 places, staying in the best hotels, eating at the finest restaurants, and at each place they leave a piece of Huell.”

Up for discussion is what locations in LA will be home to some of his ashes.  My guess for at least one is the Aztec Hotel here in outer Monrovia as he spent a lot of time there once exploring the hotel with the owner Kathie Reece. He even showed up for the party there on night the episode aired.  Your guess where he’ll leave a little ash in LA?

(ps…I have the permission of the blogger author to borrow the quote).

Hot Off The Presses

The lastest edition of Good magazine is out and features an article on The Sean Bonner Experience with sidebars on his bike and his blogging empire and another sidebar on his bike. Check out him all bad ass walking his bike across Sunset Boulevard. Note the “Invader” installation above him on the laundrowall, and be sure to check out the IAAL•MAF spokecard in his front wheel. Those are not coincidences people:

Available at newsstands and bookstores now!