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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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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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I got my ears neener neener neener

October 30, 2015 in Entertainment, LA bloggers, Shopping

I to embiggen

I won…click to embiggen

Childish yes, but Disney’s proper names only in a world full of unusual spelling and foreign words that were tried to be Anglofied for govt consumption, the dudes and dudettes at Disneyland held fast to the no nicknames rule for like FOREVER.  Rob here at, aka robnoxious tried for years getting his ears and finally won a while back.  I tried as well over the years and was turned down wanting ID to prove my name.  Tuesday was my lucky day, the “cast member” bored to tears gave it to me…couldn’t do lower case “f” due to machine programming, but I’ll still take it.  I doubt the fake Russian/slavic accent I used worked but who cares.  A Win.  Blogger 1, Disney rules 0.

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Fresh & Easy doors closing everything up to 30% off

October 24, 2015 in Food & Drink, Shopping, Social issues

Fresh and Easy, Duarte

Fresh and Easy, Duarte

Well, I suppose its fitting I write the obit for Fresh &Easy  since I announced its arrival here back in May ’07 before they even opened their doors.  I’m going to miss these guys.  They fit the fickle attitudes of my picky eaters as well as my schedule and budget like no other store ever has in the past.  I could always count on them for a good selection of fresh, even organic items at best possible prices.

They weren’t without their growing pains.  Cheeky “hybrid parking only” signs meant well but drew the ire of a few.  Unions tried to bust them and unionize the workers…who were paid more and had benefits directly from Fresh and Easy at the get go.  Some larger grocers didn’t like the self check out and lobbied to have it such that booze had to be checked out by an employee which did put a slow down on the checking out process.  In the end it came down to a concept us ‘mericans for the most part didn’t get…food shopped fresh daily, quality preservative free prepared meals, sammy’s and salads to go when you don’t have time to cook in a neighborhood market that killed them.  Sad.

I certainly feel for all the employees who suddenly got notice and are now out of a job…at the worst possible time of the year to find a new job.

Today I went through the Duarte store.  The up to 30% off wasn’t on many items.  Everything is off its sale price and listed as full price.  Booze and beer was only 10% not enough to get me into frenzy stock up mode.  Most canned goods were only 10%, Rice/Beans and Jelly were 20% off.  Frozen foods were 30% off and yes, I cleaned them out of every last molten lava cake they had in stock.  Ditto their bulgogi Korean BBQ marinade.


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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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626 Night Market this weekend for the close of summer

September 3, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, LA, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

For the final edition of 626 Night Market there as a few new tricks to keep it fun and fresh.  First up is Saturday Nights open Mike with the kids from ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and then there is the dancing competiton.  Full details HERE  Even if the new stuff doesn’t entice, the old standbys…incredible food, street vendors and music should keep you entertained and satiated.

Having been a few times, its easy access just a few blocks south of the 210 in Arcadia.  You can enter from the gates on Baldwin, but traffic is bad there with the mall.  The other and better option is to exit Santa Anita, head south to Hungtington Dr and turn right (west) on to Huntington and enter in the massive gates there.

Deets Friday 9/4, Saturday 9/5 and Sunday 9/6 4PM to 1AM.  Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia CA  MAP HERE

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626 Night Market this weekend August 7,8,9

August 6, 2015 in Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Food & Drink, Music, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping

Last year was awesome fun.  This year promises more of the same at the 626 Night Market held at the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.  Its one of the biggest events of the year in the SGV…second to maybe the Rose Parade thingy, but that has no food, bands or stuff.  This, the 626  Night Market has tons, TONS of food, live bands and all sorts of stuff you didn’t know you needed for sale.  Cheap.

Friday August 7,4PM-1AM, Saturday August 8, 4PM-1AM, Sunday August 9, 4PM-11PM

Santa Anita Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia.  MAP HERE.

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Monrovia Art Walk Saturday 7/25 7-10PM

July 23, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, Events, People, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping

Santiago Heredia will be among the artists doing live demonstrations at this Saturday’s Art Walk in Monrovia sponsored by the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts. Santiago works in acrylic and cranks out paintings full of character and fun live before his audience.

Also demonstrating at the Art Walk will be Elizabeth Butterfield who will show her torn paper collage techniques.  Monrovia High School Ceramics under the direction of Saul Perez will be demonstrating on the potters wheel.

All told there will be 10 (possibly more in the works still) artists on the 400 and 500 block of South Myrtle Avenue.  These artists will include photographers, painters, jewelry sculptures at the Art Walk.  Last. and not least, the Empty Bowls Monrovia project led by Meaghan McCarthy will be there selling the last of the bowls with 100% of the proceeds going to help the Foothill Unity Center feed the homeless and needy here in the SGV.

Lastly, adding to the festive atmosphere there will be live music.

Might I suggest…make a night of it.  Visit one of the many restaurants in Old Town Monrovia, or take in a movie then hit the Art Walk to round out your night.

Deets.  MAFA ART WALK, Saturday 7//25/2015, 7PM-10PM. 400/500 Block S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016 MAP HERE


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Lotus Festival at Echo Park

July 12, 2015 in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, Seasonal, Shopping

Echo Park Lake and the lotus in bloom looking at DTLA, Click to embiggen

Echo Park Lake and the lotus in bloom looking at DTLA, Click to embiggen

Well today I ventured to Echo Park for this years Lotus Festival.  Yes, they were in bloom and they were knock me over gorgeous.  The rest of the festival, meh.  My last time there was 2007 when I was a rower with the team metblogs Dragon Boat, but I digress.

This years show had very few artisans.  There was some nifty stuff.  Lots of Day of the Dead skulls painted on stuff you wouldn’t expect.  Great food trucks…gotta give the food vendors the nod as they make this festival.  The rest, sadly was swap meet crap.  Its a common theme in outdoor events too many times of late, they let vendors in reselling cheap import crap forcing out the artisans with quality work who can’t compete at a price point.  grrrr.

The music was fun and lively.  and varied.  Something for everyone and that alone makes its worth the drip to Echo Park and fight for parking.

Today is the last day.  More details on the show in the Lotus Festival FB page.

Pic by Me, more on my Flickr album

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Call to Artists – Opportunity to share and sell your work

July 10, 2015 in Art, Entertainment, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping

Art Walk Post Card. Click to embiggen

Art Walk Post Card. Click to embiggen

Monrovia Association has two opportunities to show and sell your art work.  The fees are nominal and often you far exceed in sales what your display fee was.  Its a cost effective way to promote your work to potential collectors and start a following.  Covering costs is always a good thing.

ART WALK This annual event was condensed to one night of showing and selling excitement on July 25.  The artists are lined up on the 400 block of South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia.  This is the same block as the theatre and you capture that crowd as well as those from the local restaurant scene.  (Monrovia has quite the large sidewalk cafe scene going which in itself can be a reason to visit).

If interested in the Art Walk please contact the coordinator Bill Hyatt at [email protected] for all the details on this fun event.

CELEBRATE THE ARTS This year marks the 52nd year of this annual event. IT will be held the weekend of September 26-27 in Library Park in historic Old Town Monrovia. Celebrate the Arts is a Juried Fine Art event that doesn’t permit bead stringers and folk arts.  This annual event is well supported  and attended by the community and surrounding area.  There are numerous artists and community organizations that in this show each year.  Adding to the traffic this year is the first ever ChalkFest featuring several chalk street artists competing for prizes.

Celebrate the Arts Poster, click to embiggen

Celebrate the Arts Poster, click to embiggen

For more information on Celebrate the Arts contact the coordinator Christine Geltz at [email protected] for all the details and an application.

Please follow us on twitter and facebook for all the most current news and updates on events.

*disclosure, I’m on the Board of Directors of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts and serve as Jury Coordinator.


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What do with the kidlets in the SGV this summer?

June 17, 2015 in Art, Education, LA, People, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping


Summer Art Lessons to embiggen

Summer Art Lessons flyer…click to embiggen

Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Monrovia has just the thing to keep kids entertained and busy this summer.  Art classes.  Several to choose from and all expert taught by Lisa Barrios and her loving staff.  Real working pros sharing their talents with kids.  Does it get better than that?

From basic ceramics to Parent and Tot classes its a learning experience and freeing little minds to create.  I really love this stuff.  Most is ages 6 and up, though some are as young as 4, and others you need to be at least 8.  Hard core elementary ages that need some structure and learning activities in the summer…that are fun.

Click the flyer to embiggen and get the full deets on the classes they offer.  Call Lisa Barrios the owner of Paint n Play for the details and to get your kidlet signed up.  You won’t regret it and you’ll be a hero to your kid for doing so.

Deets: Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery, 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia 91016  626-256-4648

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Monrovia Rock Hounds Show this weekend

March 4, 2015 in Entertainment, Events, Shopping

President Janie Duncan mans the Monrovia Rock Hounds booth at a recent event.

President Janie Duncan mans the Monrovia Rock Hounds booth at a recent event.

Its here again.  The ever popular Monrovia Rock Hounds gem and mineral show at the Los Angeles Arboretum.

There will be over 15 vendors selling Gems, Jewelry, Minerals, Fossils, Beads, Findings. Monrovia Rockhounds members will crack Geodes, identify rocks in our famous Grab Bags and man Treasure Wheel where everybody wins, let you pick out fossils at our Dino Dig and Fossil Find. On Sunday there will be a drawing for the great items in the Grand Prize Raffle.  A complete list of activities and vendors on the MoRocks Web Site.

Deets: March 7,8 2015. 9-4 9-4:30,  Los Angeles Arboretum. 301 N Baldwin Ave, Arcadia CA   Admission $9, Seniors-students, $7, kids 5-12 $5.  MAP HERE

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The begging gets better…enough to entice me at a fast food joint

January 25, 2015 in Food & Drink, ICME, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping, Social issues

Click to embiggen and get the full picture

Click to embiggen and get the full picture

Yes, the ubiquitous tipping jar got bumped a bit with some humor injected by some bored soul at the Philly’s Best in Monrovia.


Overexposed In Chinatown

December 24, 2014 in Downtown, Immigration, LA, Photography, Shopping

ctown5 ctown20It’s not what it sounds like, although what it sounds like sounds fun…

Nope, I was downtown the other day with a camera set to too high an exposure, on a mission to acquire a parasol.

Almost every store in Chinatown around the rectangle created by Broadway and Hill / Cottage Home and Cesar Chavez sells parasols. But there’s only one I’ve ever encountered with a wide selection of diverse and lovely paper–not polyester, same-painting-on-every-pink-and-blue-version, parasols. After three years away, I wasn’t sure the parasol store would still be in the square at the intersection on Gin Ling and Mei Lin Way (yep, all those little pedestrian streets have names…check out the map here…helps when you’re looking for a specific gallery).

ctown08To my relief, Andy’s Gift Shop was still there, across from the lucky coin-toss fountain (a miniature landscape with different mountain-hermit homes sculpted into the waterfall rock, a different pagoda or edifice you can toss a coin into for prosperity and good luck in any area of life). After meandering past the weirdly cordoned-off statue of Bruce Lee and the skatepunk dudes trying to nail the (presently turned-off) waterfall’s house of Good Luck in Love with pennies, I made it into the gift shop and accessioned what was needed. Thanks Chinatown! It’s nice to know a few things haven’t changed.

I have a really crappy phone with an even crappier camera in it. The settings on the phone randomly re-set them depending on the phone’s own perverse mood swings. That day, it had set the exposure to what us photography-illiterate folks call “way too damn bright.” Oddly, the photos came out pretty, with a washed-out sort of lighting that perfectly showcased the lurid colors of the neighborhood.


ctown21 ctown19 ctown18