Eishi Taraoka @ GR2

January 23, 2004 at 6:02 pm in Uncategorized

Another opening this Saturday is at GR2 (it’s the artier sister to Giant Robot…don’t pretend you don’t know). There really isn’t much written about Eishi Taraoka’s work or the show unless you count the website post saying it features about 100 sculptures. With a title like “a white dream that will be repeated” you know that there is more going on to the show than that but GR2 is a store so we’ll have to forgive. Here are the details…

Eishi Takaoka – a white dream that will be repeated
January 24 (opening from 6-9 pm) – March 6
GR2: 2062 Sawtelle Blvd / 310.445.9276


Authentic Persian Cuisine

January 23, 2004 at 2:07 pm in Uncategorized

If you’re lookin’ for some tasty yogurt-coated foodstuff, we were pretty impressed with Shamshiri on (not in) Westwood last night. You gotta try persian ice cream at some point in your life. It smells and tastes like a rose, I kid you not. Not as much fun as wasabi ice cream, but definitely tastier than avacado. I’ve had those, too – as well as garlic. Eating exotic-flavored ice cream is kinda like a hobby. I know I’d be better off taking up smoking, eh?


Got Blog?

January 23, 2004 at 10:31 am in Uncategorized

Dude! Blog’s are Happening!

Looks like the only thing more happening than blogs are LA Blogs. Or LA Group Blogs.

LA Voice is a new (or been around for a while but now active?) “community blog about the culture, media, neighborhoods and politics of Los Angeles for local writers and journalists”. Which sounds little familiar but cool enough. They point out another site just getting running LA.com which, surprise surprise has a blog called Lacomfidential. And still shocking, as LA Blogs points out, their content is mostly celeb sightings and “tributes” to us, if you will.

UPDATE: LA Observed chimes in too!

UPDATE 2: LA.com’s “The Blogger” bites back. More news soon.


Pho-king Alright

January 22, 2004 at 3:01 am in Uncategorized


Silverlake has recently welcomed a new restaurant into the fold, in walking distance from almost anybody who calls the eastside neighborhood their home. Located at the corner of Sunset and Silverlake Blvd, Pho Cafe (2841 W. Sunset Blvd.) opened up a few months ago with relatively little fanfare. But the noodle house has become an instant hit, its minimal and clean design glowing thru the restaurant window during the night with a noticeable orange glow thanks to the mod seating (and check out those keen fishbowl lamps!). And like the mosquitos pulled in by the entrancing glow of your bugzapper hanging from your trailer home, the folks (with an undeniably noticeable high indie hipster count) come out in droves to get themselves a bowl of pho, cha gio (vietnamese egg rolls), or goi cuon (spring rolls). Everything is freshly made, with a visibly genuine vietnamese cooking staff, with a simple to navigate menu for those making their maiden voyage on the high seas of vietnamese cooking. Highly recommended is the banh xeo. An appetizer which could easily be a light dinner in itself, this is a delicious pan fried crepe (the pancake is made of rice flour, turmeric, coconut juice and spring onion) filled with meat or tofu, mushrooms and beansprouts, served alongside paper thin sliced circular sheets of rice paper, translucent like damp tracing paper. Throw in some sliced cucumber, a piece of crepe, julieened carrots, and some vietnamese herbs, then dip into a tasty peanut sauce, and what you experience is a delicious combination of a crunchy and soft, clean and starchy. I could easily and happily eat two of these in a sitting…and likely will one day in the near future.

What is disappointing is the pho, mostly because the broth is a flat note in flavour. Where an excellent bowl of pho is initially a simple flavour, with each spoonful its nuanced character begins to become more evident, and next thing you know you’re pushing the bowl upward to get every last drop of the beef broth. The pho here seems to be missing something that’s holding it back from being memorable. The rare beef is served too well cooked and is perhaps too lean to offer that tantalizing first bite that I look forward to enjoying with a bowl of pho. Also the portions are smaller than what I’m accustomed to, and the noodles were clumped together too much to enjoy in the hurried noodle eating fashion I practice. Next time I’ll try the chicken stock version, which comes with a garlic-ginger seasoning that might add a bit more complexity in flavour.

Overall, I give Pho Cafe a thumbs up for introducing a good alternative for late night dining within the borders of Silverlake/Los Feliz/Echo Park. There are a few better pho houses and vietnamese restaurants, but you won’t find a cleaner more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than this joint. Despite the overabundance of Converse All-Stars and Death Cab crowd attire, I’ll be back to give it another go next time I get a hunkering for some Vietnamese eats, especially since its vegetarian friendly for my Emily. And best of all, in walking distance of our flat!


1-800-DENTIST

January 21, 2004 at 7:32 pm in Uncategorized

After all the times I poked fun at 1-800-Dentist it figures that I should wake up this morning with one side of my jaw swollen to the point I could hardly sip coffee let alone talk. While I’m sure my co workers enjoyed my unusual silence, I must find a dentist and remedy this situation immediately.

Oh yeah, did I mention I’m in pain?

My gentle dentist is way back on the east coast, taking care of teeth related issues when I visit Mom and Dad sounded like a good idea until now.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions, I don’t have Dental insurance so cheap is good.


Risen at sixspace

January 21, 2004 at 1:44 pm in Uncategorized

feature.jpg Though I am still battling with the food poisoning, (because of which please excuse my non-snazzy post) I am very excited about our first show of 2004. Featuring two of our represented artists, Martin Ontiveros and Donovan Crosby, “Risen” opens this Saturday, January 24th, from 7-10 pm. In this exhibition, both artists deal with differing folklore…Ontiveros explores the story of the Jewish folklore Golem through painting his signature-style robots and Crosby depicts haunting voodoo tales such as zombies and spells. It’s amazing work and the first Los Angeles showing for both emerging artists. I hope to see you there!


Miss Derringer

January 20, 2004 at 3:29 pm in Uncategorized

The first time I met Liz McGrath she was at Mr. T’s Bowl, singing so hard with the band Tongue her throat was livid, and bulged like a bullfrog’s. She and her new band, MISS DERRINGER, have just released “King James, Crown Royal and a Colt 45,” described as “a montage of musical styles from rootsy country to folk pop to prom punk… [that] plays like a musical diary of a haunted and hell-bent ’30′s starlet gone wrong.” The label, Sympathy for the Record Industry, is new, too.


Big Trouble in Little India

January 20, 2004 at 3:51 am in Uncategorized


About half an hour away from Downtown Los Angeles, right off the Imperial Freeway in Artesia is an enclave of eateries, markets, and stores known as Little India. Pioneer Blvd. starts off the freeway as a street dominated by korean businesses, then just two blocks later it morphs into a predominately chinese/vietnamese locale where the allure of fried fish from 99 Ranch Market beckons and Sam Woo’s roast duck almost pulled me off course from coming to my intended destination. Before your eyes realize it, it will be your nose that will inform you that you’ve crossed into Little India. And from the smell of it, the community promises a good meal.

Jay Bharat Restaurant(18701 Pioneer Blvd., Artesia, CA 90701) is an Indian sweets and farsans shop, that also serves meals representing a southern Indian palate. The menu was nearly overwhelming, everything reading like a promise for a good time like that found on a high school bathroom wall. Fortunately there are two combinations platters, one offered only on weekends, that seem to include a good array of what their menu has to offer. The Gujarati Thali combo comes with basmati rice, dal (soup), pickled ginger in red pepper paste (which remarkably resembles a kimchee in both taste and appearance), two vegetable curries, kathor, two farsans, a plate of papdam (crisp breads), puri (fried bread), and raita. Emily got the Kathiyawadi Thali combination, which shared many of the same dishes as mine, but instead of the puri, it comes with eat-every-grain-good basmati rice and a couple pieces of unleavened whole wheat bread that has been slathered with the gastronomic glee maker, ghee (clarified butter). At $8.99 for a healthy portion of food, its a reasonably priced meal with an unreasonably delicious effect on your palate. If it wasn’t for the seducing allure of trying out a nearby dive specializing in spiced mutton next time (I could only liken the effect of the odours wafting outside the doors of this restaurant as how blood my smell like to a shark), I’d go back to Jay Bharat on my return visit.

But the eating didn’t stop there. Oh no…we just unbuckled our belts a few notches further and continued on down the boulevard to Bombay Sweets and Snacks where a colourful selection of indian sweets and fried pastries greeted us. Listening to the advice of a sweet, old gentleman who was in there grabbing lunch, we narrowed down our choices to five sweets. In a very froggy, deep accented voice, he recommended a couple of barfi (dense and dry cakes), a very rich and delicious pastry called habshi halwa (reputed to be good for a “man’s performance”), a saffron tart, and a tangle of fried dough coated in honey-sugar that was like a churro gone wild. We were only disappointed we could not stuff ourselves further, since there were milk-dough desserts amusingly called chum chum and gulab jamuns dipped in sweetened rose water that seemed to beg some porntastic mouth on dough action. Next time.

I am pleased to say that I did not have one unwelcome flavour touch my tongue that afternoon. Thanks Little India!


I Went to SF and All I Got Was This Lousy Food Poisoning

January 19, 2004 at 11:49 pm in Uncategorized

I am taking a momentary pause from vomiting up anything I’ve eaten in the past few days (which hasn’t been much) to just say…oh my god does having food poisoning stink the big one. My friend Tim had it on Saturday while in SF and I thought it was from some shrimp he had and that I was in the clear. Nope! It hit me today like a ton of bricks. Sean did a little internet research and apparently food poisoning can take up to a week to show up…a week! Now I feel REALLY bad that my friend had to go through this. Hopefully I’m on the upswing…


Default Dads

January 19, 2004 at 8:12 pm in Uncategorized

Amy Alkon points out a piece called Default Dads that Matt Welch just wrote for Reason magazine about some of the paternity / child support laws we have here in California. Unfortunately the article isn’t online yet, but you can pick up the Feb issue at most newsstands and check it out. When I first moved to LA I heard Tom Leykis talking about this issue and sort of assumed he was blowing it out of proportion, turns out he wasn’t.

If you haven’t heard about this before, the way the system is set up here in CA basically works like this — a mother can put any name down on the birth certificate as the father with out any proof or consent. Then, if she decides to claim child support from the father, he’s notified, has 30 days to contest it, and if he doesn’t the state takes that as him saying “OK” and he starts owing money. Obviously this is set up with the best intentions but anyone can see where that’s a little sketchy to begin with. The big problem comes in during the notification process. Sometimes they mail out a letter (to an address provided by the mother), sometimes they just print a notice in the paper. If the man listed as the father moved or never lived at that address in the first place, the letter gets lost in the mail (it’s sent regular, not certified), or didn’t happen to see the paper that day, chances are he won’t be able to contest it within 30 days and after that the states decision is final. The man might not hear about this for years, and when he does, even if he’s never met the mother, and can medically proove he’s not the father of the child, the state doesn’t care and he still has to pay up, and his credit — and life — have probably been wrecked already.

Amy posted this quote:

…Family cases typically hew to the “finality of judgment” principle to prevent disruptions in children’s lives. Or, in the words of former California legistlator Rod Wright, “It ain’t your kid, you can prove it ain’t your kid, and they say, ‘So what?’”

That’s how a man like Taron James could be slapped with a support bill for thousands of dollars from Los Angeles County in 2002, and continue to be barred from using his notary public license, even after producing convincing DNA evidence and notarized testimony from the mother that her 11-year-old son, whom he’s seen exactly once and looks nothing like, is not his child and that she no longer seeks his support. James says his name was placed on the child’s birth certificate without his consent while he was on a Navy tour of duty; then the mother refused to take blood tests for eight years, and he became aware of a default order against him only when the Department Of Motor Vehicles refused to issue him a driver’s license in October 1996. By that time, James had missed all the relvant deadlines, the court was unimpressed with his tale of woe, and he has since coughed up $14,000 in child support via liens and garnishments.

Coming from a family where is was a nightmare every single month to get child support from my actual father, I know how important this money can be sometimes. But the only reason he should have been paying was because he was really my father. If the guy isn’t the dad, he shouldn’t owe $0.01. And worse, is that there’s basically nothing set up to discourage putting down an incorrect name as the father. Child support is a good thing, this system is definitely not. Of course there’s a billion issues that go along with this, but this has to be one of the most messed up things I’ve heard about in a long time. It makes absolutely no sense that this could actually happen, but it does. Right here in LA.


MINI ROAD TRIP

January 19, 2004 at 4:11 am in Uncategorized

Dear La Jolla, California:

Hi, my name is Jessica and I would just like to make a few friendly suggestions.

LEARN TO DRIVE, YOU PIECE OF CRAP. Please don’t slow to 1.2 mph when making right turns. It’s green. That means you can go. It really throws off us motorists awaiting the chance to make unprotected left turns across from you. Don’t dodge into the front of my car at the last minute without signaling because you forgot to get in the proper lane. Not that signaling would excuse you from making me brake like a maniac while swerving to avoid being hit, but you know, it’d be nice.

Well, I guess that was really just one suggestion, but your Thai food also made me kinda sick. I don’t hate you because I got to see sea lions up close on your beach, but your residents are ridiculously preppie-pop-punk so that makes me want to vomit on your metaphorical face. I will be returning in two weeks, so I hope that you will take these suggestions into consideration and make it snappy. I appreciate your time, thank you.

Until next time,
Jessica Gao


Leaving Los Angeles

January 18, 2004 at 7:41 pm in Uncategorized

Haven’t posted in a few days because I drove my sorry ass up to San Francisco to see the San Francisco Art International Fair and hang out with my friends Tim and Danielle. I’ll be posting ALL about that on my own site soon and will be sure to let keep you posted…some things I was keeping track of were striped paintings, wire art, facelifts, and bad art (although I lost track of that).

Glad to be back in LA though…it’s a lot warmer here!


Quake 2

January 17, 2004 at 11:34 am in Uncategorized

Anyone else keep hearing about the predicted big-ass quake in our back yard in the next few months actually starting to take it seriously? What are you doing to prepare, if anything? The thing I’m worrying most about is my big fish tank. BTW, I ripped a bunch of muscles in my arm the other day so typing has been rough, sorry for the slack over here.


DMV

January 17, 2004 at 8:31 am in Uncategorized

It’s Tuesday, 10:30 AM. I turn into the DMV near USC and drive 3 feet. There’s a dude parked in the middle of the lane. Oh good, there are cars just like his sitting around the whole lot, all waiting for a space. No way I’m dealing with that so I back up, get honked at 3 times for doing it, and try the other lot. Same deal. Why does everyone want the DMV today? Street parking it is, but the only space is a quarter mile away, and there’s a one hour time limit. Do I a) park here and hope my appointment means something and that I’ll be back in less than an hour, or b) brave the terror that is hell-lot, wait my turn, and assume I’ll be in for a full day of anger but not have to pay $40 for an expired meter. Hmm. That lot sucked. I park on the street. T minus one hour. It’s 10:41. It takes seven minutes to get to hell-lot. I MUST leave this place by 11:34 to avoid a ticket. I look at my note as I approach the entrance: “Report to second floor.” The doors automatically open, but the hall is blocked by one thousand people. It smells like ass. I weave through, trying to find the stairs. Maybe the second floor is a beautiful oasis with comfortable seats and English television for while you wait. Nope. There is one room on the second floor that could hold 100 people but instead there are 300. I wait in the one line to check in with the one guy. “I have an appointment.” Dude hands me a ticket. F-047. There are two queues…G and F. F are appointments, G are “Gee, I wish I had an appointment.” It’s 10:51. I stand there and wait for my turn to pay $24 and have a mandatory thumb print because I couldn’t send in my renewal letter. 11:04. For every F called there are six or seven G’s. 11:18. I start to think I’m not going to make it. How could the rest of this process only take 14 minutes? Finally I’m called. While I’m at the window, a dude asks my teller if he can pay her to skip the line. She does a sort of grunt/laugh and the man walks off. I get my renewal thing and the stupid thumb print which makes me think I’ll ultimately lose some civil liberty, and I’m out by 11:30. Nice. The moral of the story is that you MUST use the automatic mail renewal thing.


Avatar of la_xeni

by la_xeni

I’m an actor who wants to be a director who blogs

January 14, 2004 at 12:03 pm in Uncategorized

Recent L.A. transplant Jason Calacanis launches yet another new new thing: www.bloggingsundance.com, sponsored by Sundance. Possibly the largest professional blog sponsorship to date? Site features interviews with directors, live buzz from Park City, and, if I know Jason, inevitable party reports.