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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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Tower Records, the documentary 3/25/2015

March 18, 2015 in Downtown, Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Music

Flyer for the Movie

Flyer for the Movie

I knew about Tower Records long before I moved here.  Sunset and Horn. My bestest buddy from college lived just up the hill on Horn from there.  Every trip to visit Los Angeles included at trip to Tower Records to soak up the vibe and pick up the lastest and greatest tunes.  And star sightings.  Lots of them back in the 80s. Even after I moved here and was living in Canoga Park I still made it there often.  As I look at my collection of tapes and CD’s and odd bits of vinyl each brings back a memory of a trip there.

The Grammy Museum at L.A  Live has a documentary on the rise and fall of Tower Records that will show March 25, 2015.  Tickets are on sale now .  Reel to Reel: All Things Must Pass promises to be a joyous trip down memory lane.  The old store may have been killed by the MP3 pirates, but its memories will live on.

Deets: The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live. Olympic and Figueroa, Los Angeles MAP HERE  Tickets: $15

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.


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Must see exhibits at CA Science Center…and lunch

December 23, 2014 in Art, Classic Eats, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, History, LA, Shopping, Vintage

Pompeii corpse cast - click to embiggen

Pompeii corpse cast – click to embiggen

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 →

‘Tis the Season for Crowds: Krampus on Parade & Renegade Craft Fair

December 13, 2014 in Art, Crafts, Downtown, East Side, Entertainment, Events, Fashion, Holidays, LA, Seasonal, Shopping

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.

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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.

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Just another reason I love L.A

November 26, 2014 in Downtown, Photography, Weather

Staple Center at sunset

Today was Public Days of the L.A. Auto Show. I brought my son and a neighborhood kid I’ve known since he could barely walk.  Its our annual tradition.

We left to grab a bite to eat at L.A. Live, Yard House to be precise, and exited to find this vista.  The sun bouncing off the Marriot/Ritz Carlton illuminating the ultimate L.A. icon, the Palm Tree.  It was otherworldly.

Add in it was 80+ degrees outside in November and it couldn’t be a better reminder of why I love Los Angeles. Click the pic to see it full-size.

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Mercedes Benz does an Art Car

November 24, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events

MBartcarfront I missed the Benz press conference and reveal…busy shooting elsewhere so I missed the point behind the Art Car. I have no idea why or who did it but its different.  Quality work event.

I’ve got a few detail pics after the jump.  Pretty nifty stuff.

Sound off in the comments on why you think they did it and the meaning of it all.

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L.A. Auto Show…press days round up

November 22, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Events, News, Seasonal, Transportation

I have to tell you the cacophony of the Auto Show during press days is very different than that of public days. Its not thousands of people meandering about, but a herd mentality of media types running from one press conference and reveal to the next. Its usually a couple in a row in one hall where you shuffle a few feet at time vying for the best seat to hear/see and be the first on stage for photos when its over. Its 15 minutes of manufacture hype with 5 minutes of photo op, then 5 minutes to get to the next show. Insanity.

Also different is that the manufacturers have stuff that is available for press days only. The reps I talked with didn’t think the live demo of the iRoad in this video would take place for public days…so thats my lede. Read the rest of this entry →

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#RockingRewind the Hyundai after party

November 21, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, Music, News, People

What is L.A. Auto Show press days without a manufacturer party or two? My absolute favorite is the Hyundai party. Again this year at the Hotel Figueroa a few blocks from the show itself.

Circus performers.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Yes, they were our live entertainment. Nearly shat myself when they were announced to be our entertainment for the evening. Tons of fun, she hasn’t lost her edge. Totally fun night.

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There is one wtf in every crowd

November 20, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Seasonal, Transportation

Day 1 of L.A. Auto Show Press Days did not disappoint


Toyota’s Sponge Bob Tribute minivan

Of all the truly amazing things at this years L.A. Auto Show this one stopped me in my tracks and I thought wtf. Prolly the best use of a minican ever. If you want to see what Toyota is really capable of check out their FT1 concept.  Vette…they have your number and are gonna kick you square in the crotch.

More pics in my flickr album.

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L.A. Auto Show press days this week then the grand opening to the public

November 16, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, LA, Transportation

Are you ready? I know I am. Press Pass in hand I’ll be doing nothing but press events and shooting hundreds of amazing concept and production autos coming our way Press Days 11/19-20/2014.

Thursday evening 11/20/2014 is the Preview Party.  It does cost you, but the proceeds go to benefit the Grammy Museum’s music education programs.  I did this event a few years ago and its simply amazing.  Great food and booze all over the place.  Meander through the event, meet the Manufacturers reps that are there for Press Days and really get to know about the cars.  If you’ve got $275 per person to spare its worth it and its for a great cause.  Of course since this is a non-profit organization a portion of your ticket is tax deductible.

Friday 11/21/2014 the Show will open to the public.  You can buy your tickets direct HERE.

Starting on Wednesday I’ll be posting pics from my cell phone through the day. That evening the entire days worth of images will be uploaded to flickr.  Thursday I repeat the process with the addition of driving “green cars” and that days shoot will be posted up for consumption  late in the day and Friday.  By Friday I’ll be posting stories here and on SoCalAutoBlog.

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Call for entries at Los Angeles Center for Digital Art

November 6, 2014 in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, News, Photography, Technology

LACDA “Snap to Grid”- every entry shown

Snap to Grid show from the to embiggen

Snap to Grid show from the archives…click to embiggen

Yes, you read that right. Rex Bruce the owner of the LACDA prints and shows every single piece of digital art and digital photography that is submitted for this show. This is like close to its 10th year he is doing this. There is no jury you simply submit your work. There is no limit to subject matter or how many images you show. Just put your best foot forward as LACDA culls future artists for its big shows from these submissions.

I love this show as its a wonderful snap shot of the world as seen by digital artists and photographers at this moment in history.  There is no curation, but as a whole it tells a wonderful story of where we are artistically.

To enter there is a fee, up to $35 per image. Each image must be submitted with a registration form.  Once the registration form is complete and fee is paid you can upload your image HERE

Entry Deadline is December 1, 2014.  The opening of the show will be tied with the Downtown Los Angles Art Walk on December 11,2014.

DEETS:L.A. Center for Digital Art | 104 East Fourth Street | Los Angeles | CA | 90013  MAP HERE

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L.A. Auto Show teasers and maybe a spoiler

October 30, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Events, News, Transportation

The L.A. Auto Show has one thing unique to others.  Its the Design Challenge issued every year to the manufacturers.  It has a theme that they must respond to.  The Design Challenge is now in its 11th year.

This years Design Challenge is “Sensing the Future: How Will Cars Interact With Us In 2029?”  I’ve previewed Connected Cars that know what everyone is doing and can avoid accidents, even autonomous cars.  This challenge asks them to take it to the next level of human auto connectivity.  I can’t wait to see what all they have in store us as this years L.A. Auto Show.

Also, I have a bit of a spoiler.  Yesterday I was at a Ford event at their Los Angeles Regional HQ.  They confirmed that we will get the Premiere of the next generation Explorer at our show on November 19.  I’ve heard a few bits and pieces on other blogs that the next generation will use a lot of aluminum to reduce weight and better its performance and fuel economy.  They were tight lipped on specifics of the global reveal so I’ll just have to sit tight until then.

Also…the promo code AUTOTRADER2014 is still good for discounted tickets to the show 11/24-27.

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L.A. Auto Show starts in 5 weeks….I’ve got a promo code

October 14, 2014 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, environment, Events, News, Shopping, Transportation

L A Auto Show logo...

L A Auto Show logo…

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..

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Pizza Rev opening in K-Town October 9 donates proceeds to LA Animal Shelter

October 1, 2014 in Downtown, Food & Drink, Shopping, Social issues, Which Side?

Pizza Rev logo Pizza Rev is coming to K-town and its grand opening all proceeds go to helping the Los Angeles Animal Shelter, North Central Animal Shelter.  The LA Animal Shelter serves local homeless and abandoned pets.  The pizza deal is pretty sweet, you get a personal sized pizza and you pay what you want a the end for it (Suggested donation is $8).  I absolutely love a local business that branches out and gives back to the community with each new location.

Adding to the fun is Social Media Sunday on October 12.  All you have to do is “like” or “follow” them on facebook, instagram or twitter and show them your phone with the info and they will give you a free pizza!  Such a deal. (Sorry they aren’t on ello).

I’ve written about Pizza Rev a few times already.  Love the stuff…thin crispy Roman style pie you build yourself along an assembly line of friendly helpful Pizza Rev staff.  They even have gluten free and vegan options!  Do yourself a favor and pay them a visit if you are in the K-town area, you will be hard pressed to vind a better pizza for the money.  Anywhere.

Deets: Pizza Rev grand opening 109/14, 11AM-10PM, 3150 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90010

Press release if you are interested is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry →