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Press Days of the LA Auto Show

November 24, 2013 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, environment, Events, Fashion, Food & Drink, Media, Technology

Beer truck dispensing Stone Brewing brews at the Nissan display

I can’t begin to tell you the fun I have at Press Days for the L.A. Auto Show.  Yes, its a lot of work but a lot of fun is interspersed during it too.  You get to meet some really interesting people from all over the world, both media and manufacturer types.  The reveals are 20 minutes long and 5 minutes apart.  You have two choices…hustle to each or pick and chose the ones you want to stake out and really see.  I always take the latter approach and have time to photo the exhibits with minimal people in the way.

Most of the manufacturers have some sort of refreshment set up.  Audi and Porsche each set up pop-up restaurants with free wifi.  Jaguar did a nice cafe this year too.  However, hands down my favorite was the food trucks AND beer truck at the Nissan stand.  Yes.   A beer truck dispensing ice cold beer, ipa and ale from Stone Brewing.  I had a nice cold glass of Arrogant Bastard thank you very much.

There are tons of other things going on during Press Days as well.  There are receptions and happy hours.  Notable ones were for the Design LA and Aftermarket Halls at the show. There is also the opportunity to get in and drive cars, mostly green cars on the last day (Thursday).   Read the rest of this entry →

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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 →

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2013 LA Auto Show opens Friday

November 18, 2013 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, Transportation

L A Auto Show logo...

Its that time of year. I lose my mind and go car crazy all over the web, its time for the L.A Auto Show!

It opens this Friday, November 22 and runs through Sunday December 1st.  Its really a big deal show and its been fun watching it morph into one of the big deal shows on the international circuit.  I dare say, I think its even nicer than Detroit which was the biggest in the country for decades. “Was” as the past tense simply because they don’t have hall dedicated to aftermarket and tuners like we do here in L.A.

The show this year is being changed up a bit in terms of layout.  Bentley moves to the south hall, GM spreads its brands more in the center of the South Hall.  For a complete list of the brands and where to find them check this MAP.  Conspicuous by their absence is the exotics (Ferrari, Lambo) or high zoot (Rolls and Bugatti).  But then again we are billed as the “Green Car” show and do award the “Green Car” of the year here so I guess I can’t complain too much. 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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Peddler’s Creamery a gem in DTLA

October 7, 2013 in Downtown, Food & Drink, Shopping


This was a total stumble upon on a recent walk about in DTLA. What makes them really unique is that their ice creams are all handmade, and churned through this magical bicycle and a set of gears that run the ice cream maker.  Yes, its a human powered ice cream making operation, easier than a hand crank and way more entertaining.  Imagine the calories you burn for the half hour or so you need to churn, why you can have the extra scoop!  FYI…there is a sign up and waiting list to get your chance to peddle churn a batch.

This place is more than a Rube Goldberg gimmick, its actually good ice cream.   Peddler’s Creamery is  REALLY good ice cream and it won’t break the bank either.  At $3.50 a single scoop, $6.00 for the double, it won’t break the bank and we thought how could we go wrong.  Narrowing down the choices was difficult, but at that price we could splurge for the double scoop.

I went for the coffee and the chocolate mint cookie combo.  I wasn’t disappointed, rich cream, decadent chocolate  and mint cookies one and rich coffee in the other. My pal Ruth had the vegan options which are all organic and built around coconut cream and said they were pretty terrific too.

Peddler’s Creamery 458 S Main Street Los Angeles CA 90013 213-537-0257  MAP HERE

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First ever Snapcious iPhone safari in DTLA 9/28/2013

September 18, 2013 in Downtown, Entertainment, LA, News, People, Photography, Shopping, Technology

snapcious logo

I wrote about Snapcious when it launched earlier this year.  Its a fun game you play on your cell phone taking pictures then posting it to Snapcious for the other players to rate and comment on.  Snapcious even lets you cross post to FB, twitter, flickr, pinterest and a host of other social media.  You can download the app here for your iphone.   Enough of the nuts and bolts…the meet up details.

Snapcious is hosting a meet up Saturday 9/28/2013.  Any Snapcious player is welcome to attend.  It will be fun to meet with other like minded folks and geek out with the app documenting downtown L.A.  After the event is over a bunch of us will likely end up lunching somewhere in the area.  To attend the event you just need to sign up for it at  Meetup.  Wear your comfy shoes.

NOTE we are meeting at the Hill Street entrance to the Grand Central Market.

DEETS:Saturday, September 28, 2013 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM Grand Central Market, 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA  MAP HERE

for the press release you need to make the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

Re Creo Underground Supper

May 21, 2013 in Downtown, Food & Drink, LA

Lately, most of my adventures have been in food.  A great deal of it has centered around my proximity to Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet of Mo-Chica, Picca and now Paiche fame.  They are my bosses.  (Amazing bosses, by the way.)  So, I’ve had the chance to eat some of the best food being created in LA.

Part of what happens when you are in the nexus of awesome energy is you meet a vast array of amazing people.  DTLA people are quickly becoming my favorite sorts.  They are artsy, creative, edgy, a little dangerous and full of life.  One of those people is Jean Francoise Valcarcel.

Read the rest of this entry →

Elisa Lam: Body of Missing Canadian Tourist Discovered in Downtown Hotel Water Tank

February 21, 2013 in Downtown, LA, News, Obituaries, People


The body of missing Canadian tourist, Elisa Lam of Vancouver, British Columbia, was found in the water tank of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Lam had traveled to California by herself on January 27, en route to Santa Cruz, and was last seen by workers at the hotel on January 31.

Although Lam was scheduled to check out of the hotel on February 1, she had disappeared, despite being in daily contact with her family up until this point. By February 6, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) had released details about the suspicious disappearance of Lam and on February 7, a press conference was held about the case.

A week later, on February 14, the LAPD released a disturbing surveillance video of the 21 year old University of British Columbia (UBC) student darting in and out of the hotel’s elevators.

Earlier this week, on February 19, guests at the Cecil Hotel complain about low water pressure and a worker checks the hotel’s water tanks and discovers Lam’s body. Guests staying at the hotel had likely been bathing, brushing their teeth and drinking water from a tank in which Lam’s body had been likely decomposing for more than two weeks.

Photo courtesy: LAPD

George Tetsuo Aratani, Nisei Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Passes Away at Age 95

February 20, 2013 in Downtown, LA, Obituaries, People

George Aratani, a survivor of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and later successful businessman and philanthropist who founded Mikasa and Kenwood, passed away Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at the age of 95.

His legacy in philanthropy through The Aratani Foundation has supported many Japanese American organizations, but especially in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. One literally cannot walk a block in Little Tokyo without passing by a space endowed by George and Sakaye Aratani: Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s Aratani Japan America Theatre; the Japanese American National Museum’s George and Sakaye Central Hall; and the Union Center for the Arts’s Aratani Courtyard.

From The Nisei Week Foundation Facebook page:

The Nisei Week Foundation mourns the passing of George Aratani who passed away peacefully today [Tuesday, February 19, 2013].

Aratani successfully launched post-World War II international trade enterprises. His first was Mikasa, a tableware company which was doing $400 million in annual sales when it was sold in 2000.

Influenced by his late father and motivated by the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, Aratani and his wife Sakaye have donated a sizable amount of their wealth to Japanese American organizations and causes.

For More Information:
Hirahara, Naomi. An American Son: The Story of George Aratani, Founder of Mikasa and Kenwood. Los Angeles, CA: Japanese American National Museum, 2001.

Photo credit: CalPoly Pomona, The George and Sakaye Aratani Japanese Garden

9th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival This Weekend

December 12, 2012 in Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, LA, Movies

This weekend, the LA 3-D Club is hosting the 9th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival at the Downtown Independent Theater. The festival opens Friday, December 14th at 8pm with Robin Hood: Ghosts of Sherwood 3D, a 2012 feature from Germany, directed by Oliver Krekel and starring Martin Thon, Tom Savini, and Kane Hodder.

Short films in competition will screen at 1pm and 3pm on Saturday, December 15th, followed at 5pm by a special presentation of 20th Century Fox’s Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare,  a 2012 3-D animated short film starring the youngest family member of  The Simpsons. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with members of the creative team behind the film, including director David Silverman.

The festival’s Closing Night will showcase the feature U2 3D, the 2008 concert film that was shot in South America during the band’s Vertigo tour.  U2 3D will screen for FREE at 8pm on Saturday,  December 15th and will be introduced by 3D Producer and 3ality Technica CEO Steve Schklair.

Sunday, December 16th will be dedicated to remembering and celebrating the life of Ray Zone, LA 3-D Club Vice President and 9th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival C0-Chair in a free public memorial at the theater. Ray was an author, 3-D film producer, speaker, and award-winning 3-D artist who passed away on November 13, 2012. A reception, hosted by the International 3D Society, begins at 5pm, followed by family and friends speaking in memorial to Ray in the theater. The evening will include displays of Ray’s art, writing, and film work.

If you buy a pass to the festival, you could be the lucky winner of a FujiFilm FinePix REAL 3D W3 digital camera. A Festival Pass is $30 and gets you into all screenings and events during the weekend  and enters you into a drawing to be held at the awards ceremony on Saturday evening at 7pm.

Come out and support a great local organization, a fantastic independent theater and see some amazing indie 3-D films and music videos from all over the world.

The 9th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival
December 14th through 16th, 2012
Downtown Independent Theater
251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles 90012

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L.A. Auto Show opens today and what to expect.

November 30, 2012 in Blogging (in) LA, Downtown, Driving, Events, Transportation

Ford World 2012 LA Auto Show

Ford World 2012 LA Auto Show, click to embiggen

So much to talk about so will try to bring it down to a Reader’s Digest condensed version.  I will also try to bring you up to date as well as what you missed during Press Days which were this Wednesday and Thursday.

First of all, if you are looking for exotics fuhgetaboutit, there are none.  The entire class is represented by Galpin’s stock of Aston Martins.  Very nice cars, but not the boat load of Ferraris, Lambos and Rolls of years past.  That’s what happens when the L.A. show grows so big with a focus on green cars it alienated that fun bunch of fantasy cars. Read the rest of this entry →

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L.A. Auto Show opens Friday

November 27, 2012 in Downtown, Driving, Events, Transportation

It is one of my most favorite times of the year, but then again I’m a car guy so it may not rank as high for you.  Since the L.A. Auto Show moved out from under the shadows of the Detroit show a few years back to right around Thanksgiving the show has taken off in terms of international importance.  Even Detroit has begrudgingly noted our importance as an international show.  Actually our show kicks Detroit’s butt, been to Detroit and they have nothing on us, especially when you roll in all the tuners, customizers and other goodies found in Kenetia Hall.  That is something that Detroit completely lacks.

It starts Friday November 30 and runs through December 9 in the entire Convention Center in DTLA.  All the information you could want about the L.A. Auto Show can be found on their web site HERE.  That includes the ability to order tickets online and save yourself some line time waiting to get into the show.

I’ll be there for Press Days as well as a regular paying member with the fam this weekend.  Yes, for me its that big of a deal.

PS as of 8:30AM yet another article out of Detroit goes live about how important the L.A. Auto Show is and sets the bar for others in the US Auto Show circuit.

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Lexus Lanes coming to Los Angeles’ Harbor Freeway

November 9, 2012 in Downtown, Driving, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, Transportation

transponder

lexus lane aka HOT transponder

It was bound to happen here eventually, another money grab that gives privilege to the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.  The Harbor Freeway is converting from traditional carpool HOV lanes to HOT (toll lanes) both directions from Adams to the 91 Freeway on Saturday.   The toll paid will depend the time of day and congestion costing from 25 cents a mile to as much as $1.40 mile.

Motorcycles and legit carpoolers can still use the lane for free.  You must  have a transponder to use the newly christened HOT Lanes even if you are exempt from the tolls.  Transponders can be purchased from the MTA and select Albertson and Costco stores.  The MTA also charges a $3.00 fee per month for the privilege of having a transponder.

All the info you could want can be found via CHP Nixle and Metro Express Lanes web sites.

Have no fear SGV…you too will have Lexus Lanes coming after the first of the year for the 10 Freeway, both directions,  from Downtown LA to the 605.

 

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Desert Noir 3-D Double Feature: INFERNO and DARK COUNTRY, Sunday 10/28

October 24, 2012 in Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Movies

Event Poster Desert Noir

Desert Noir, click to embiggen

If you love classic film noir and like it even better in 3D this could be do not miss this Sunday. The LA 3-D Club is sponsoring the screenings that will take place at the Downtown Independent Theater on Sunday October 28 at 7pm.  All the information you could want on the event as well as purchasing tickets online can be done HERE.

Deets:  Sunday 10/28, 7PM.  Admission $6 for current LA3DClub members, $12 for non-members, (admission is waived with USC Student ID). Downtown Independent Theater, 251 S Main, Los Angeles CA 90012. MAP HERE

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Space Shuttle Endeavour makes its final cross of L.A

October 12, 2012 in Downtown, Photography, South Side, Transportation

Its happening now, the space shuttle is slowly making the drive to its new home at the California Science Center.

Just my luck I blew out my knee and can’t stalk it as it makes its way to the CSC.  If you had a chance to see it in transit today please feel free to share links to your stuff in the comment section.