Yes, the ubiquitous tipping jar got bumped a bit with some humor injected by some bored soul at the Philly’s Best in Monrovia.
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).
To 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.
I have to tell you, the Pompeii exhibit at the CA Science Center through January 11 is quite the show to take in. Amazing artifacts, jewelry and such. But what really got me was the casts of the bodies found in the city as they excavated it.
In short August 24, 79 The city of Pompeii was struck by an eruption of Mt Vesuvius. The folks ran and hid, then were buried with ash. Flash forward some 1600 years and archeologist figured out the ash covered corpses were hollow and proceeded to fill them with plasters capturing this folks in the final moments of their life. Moving. Morbid. Incredible. Much more telling than all the artifcats and murals.
An added bonus, and I don’t know how we got it, but since we bought our tickets for Pompeii online a nice California Science Center employee gave the lovely Mrs and I passes to see the space shuttle Endeavour. Read the rest of this entry →
2014 has been a great year for my family. It wasn’t always like this. We’ve had some pretty lean years in the past but hard work, faith, and determination put us on a blessed path. There are plenty of places in the world where, no matter how hard citizens try, those qualities still don’t offer up a dream life. This year, I felt it was important to give back to the universe that has created joy and plenty in my life but still finds so many people suffering around the world. My husband and I both come from from traditions of charitable giving and volunteership. No matter how impoverished we’ve been, we could always put food on the table and our parents taught us that meant we were still fortunate and it was our duty to offer assistance to those without.
So our regular checks to charitable organizations weren’t good enough this year. A stellar year means we’d have to reach a little deeper. But I’m lazy and volunteering with an infant while my husband is working overseas is more difficult than I can manage. Instead, I found a great way to give while doing my regular weekly shopping at the Culver City Farmers Market. The Whole 9 Gallery had a booth I could not avoid. So many cute and cool things to buy! And what’s this?? The money spent helps to support their charity The Peace Project?? Perfect! Holiday shopping AND charitable giving, combined! I bought more gifts than I had people to give to just so I could throw more money at a worthy cause. And all of it was reasonably priced and very well made and unique.
The Peace Project is an effort by The Whole 9 online creative community to transform lives globally. Started in 2010 by the community’s founder, the project has distributed crutches to amputees and victims of civil war in Sierra Leone, sponsored educational grants for African school-age children, built houses for Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines, and been the benefactor for several artists on six continents. Through their works, they’ve used art to bridge the gap between necessary resources and the community members who desperately require them. The Whole 9 Gallery in Culver City sells the wares for several artists whose proceeds fund these works abroad.
To learn more about The Peace Project or to donate directly, visit http://thepeaceproject.com/donate.php. Just want some last minute gifts that will fund the future happiness of others in our world? Check out The Whole 9 Gallery at 3830 Main Street, Culver City, CA 90232.
I braved not one but TWO crowds today. First up… The Echo Park Holiday Parade!!! I had high hopes for this because I’d heard a bunch of Krampus revelers were going to be there and I was not disappointed. If you’re one of the uninitiated, “Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved… Krampus is said to capture particularly naughty children and drag them off into the black forest.” (wiki)
Krampus was made popular a couple years ago by a viral video of hairy-costumed nightmares rampaging through a northern Italian mountain community and beating the ever-loving crap out of passersby. I needed the little one to see this so she’d be on her best behavior for the next couple weeks. But unlike Italy where it is apparently legal to beat innocent tourists, it’s frowned upon here, especially for 6 month olds. That’s probably for the best.
There were other parade participants but I honestly can’t remember who they were after seeing the Krampus steam engine car built by Bay Area artist-engineer Kimeric Smythe. Also several members of the Salzburg-area Alt Gnigler Krampus and Perchten Troupe joined the parade of domestic brand Krampus… Krampuses? Krampen? Krampai? Whatever. It was a hoot.
As if seeing Krampus in Echo Park wasn’t enough, I dragged the kid downtown to Grand Park for the Renegade Craft Fair. It’s one of my favorites. Although I had nothing to buy this time (poor wallet…), I got to see some new friends like the ladies at Ave Dee. I bought a fanny pack from them at the Patchwork Show in Long Beach and it’s been my saving grace on short outings with the kid. Contrary to what movies tell you, you do not need to travel everywhere with a full diaper bag breaking your back. Sometimes you just need your wallet, cell phone, car keys, and an emergency pacifier. Maybe some chapstick. Ave Dee’s fanny packs are the perfect hands-free device for busy mommas like me. And they’re cool! Anyone who says fanny packs are lame are probably pretty lame themselves. And I guarantee you they’re carrying around way too much crap.
I also stopped in on good friends and former roommates extraordinare from Outlaw Soaps, Russ & Danielle Vincent. These amazing villians started their business in our house just a couple years ago and look at them now! Masters of saponification. Lauded by the mighty Oprah herself, even. I highly recommend you jump on their bandwagon, stat; they’re moving their productions from Oakland to a little parcel of land just southeast of Lake Tahoe and they’ve quit soap making until the new digs are up and running in January. When I saw them today, they had very little stock left. That’s what happens when your goods are being bought for wholesale by the likes of national retailers like Urban Outfitters and ThinkGeek! I’m so proud of them, I could scream.
Winter Art Camp has got to be one of the best things going in the SGV if you have school age kids and you lose your usual day care during the Holidays. I’ve witnessed the activities that Lisa Barrios and her crew at Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery here in Monrovia line up for the kids and its pretty amazing. Tons of ceramic crafts for the kids to do every day with expert instruction by the staff at Paint n Play is included in the price of your childs time at Winter Art Camp.
All you need to do is pick out a week and its M,T, F they provide Art Camp for either Christmas Week or New Years week. Monday and Tuesday be sure to pack your kids a sack lunch. Friday no worries, its Pizza Party day.
Space is limited and you do need to apply early. Click on this application to embiggen and print and bring it in to Lisa and gang at the store.
Deets. Week one 12/22, 12/23 NS 12/26,week two 12/29, 12/30, 1/2. 418 S Myrtle Street, Monrovia CA 91016 626-256-4848
I had no intention of going to Artisanal LA‘s holiday market in Pasadena but I found myself there anyway on Saturday. It was ok. Most of the vendors didn’t really speak to my holiday shopping needs but I did manage to get some high falutin’ chocolates from Marco Paolo and a jar of Indian spiced tomato sauce from Mee’s Kut. The chocolates will be given as a gift but the tomato sauce is mine, all mine! I will probably eat it all in one sitting with a very large serving spoon. Possibly a bib. Also, a shout out to the ladies at Bond Bar… Thanks for the 5lbs you’ve added to my hips in samples. I appreciate your efforts but I was serious when I said I’m avoiding you. My fu is stronger than your tasty treats!
The highlight of the event and the whole reason for the spontaneous visit was seeing Santa! My little one had never met the big guy and I was nervous about her reaction so I went with a friend as a precursor to our real Santa excursion next week. My darling daughter is a huge flirt though, so it was an instant love fest. After a short wait to get him sprung from jail (he was stuck in a parking lot), she took up her seat of honor on his knee and stared longingly into his twinkling eyes while tangling her fingers in his beard. Sadly, the pictures include a crummy tent tarp background in a lackluster general environment. We’ll still visit a higher end Santa next week but for 5 bucks, Artisanal’s Santa experience wasn’t awful.
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!
Saturday November 29 is Small Business Saturday, the day the small retailer hopes will make their Holiday Season instead of the chain stores at the Mall. Its been going on a few years now, tomorrow is the day. Make it happen for the Home Grown Retailers that support the community they live in. Here is a run down of some of the things I know are going on in and around my corner of L.A.
First up my friend Lisa Barrios owner of the Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery in Old Town Monrovia is offering up 20% Saturday only for customers who come in and tell her you saw the post here. The 20% off is on any Holiday Gift item, pottery or ceramics that you chose to do. The Legacy Hand Prints she does are really special momentos you will treasure for a lifetime. 418 S Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016. They are on Facebook too…remember to tell them fraz sent you!
Hoopla! in Altadena is closed for the day getting ready for Small Business Saturday. This is a wonderful store full of really unique, often locally sourced artists and writers, gifts. Hoopla will be donating 15% of their proceeds Saturday to both Light Bringer Project and Room 13 associated with Pasadena’s John Muir High School.
Sierra Madre is rolling out the Red Carpet as a community and will be hosting a “SmART Walk” of local artists within established businesses in town. Do stop by Sierra Madre Playhouse and get your tickets for the family to attend their production of A Little House Christmas. Added bonus is photographer Geoffrey Wade will be exhibiting a few of his backstage images. Read the rest of this entry →
Although I can’t help with a freebie…this promocode AUTOTRADER2014 good through 11/15 will get you discounted tickets good for admission 11/24-27.
I’ll try not to throw too many superlatives at the event, but this year I think they are going to be able to outdo what they’ve done the last several years.
On tap are 60 reveals for this show, 30 of which will be Global Reveals…or reveals for the first time anywhere for the global market. Those are always pretty spectacular as the manufacturers really want to get our attention.
In addition to the Green Car of the Year, Green Truck of the Year and Green Fleet of the Year awards are going to be awarded at this years Los Angeles Auto Show. Smell us…we’re really a big deal.
As always I’ll be there for press days and blogging what happens along with the oddities of the day that regular show goers don’t get to see. I’m even going to a few of the Manufacturer private after parties which are always fun. Last year Hyundai had Ziggy Marley as the entertainment and the wait staff was all dressed as zombies. Too. Much. Fun..
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.