Bamboo Charlie, Rest In Peace

September 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm in Events, News, Obituaries

http://youtu.be/SCUKzjBeBMA

I was seriously  saddened to read in today’s LA Times that Charles Ray Walker (aka Bamboo Charlie) was found dead August 26. I first learned of him and the wonderful Boyle Heights space he transformed a couple years ago:

From the LA Times story today by Hector Becerra:

What Walker did, over two decades, was turn something grim into a wonderland garden of edibles and toys. He grew fruits and vegetables on bare slopes. He took discarded toys and whimsical signs and decorated terraces and elaborate stairwells he carved out of the dirt. He built a shack, and under the cool shade of a tree, a home entertainment room with a television set and sofa.

I’d always meant to go there and say hello. Now it’s too late for that. Now, all I can do is go and pay my respects.


‘Tis The [Football] Season

September 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm in Pets, Seasonal, Sports

During the course of college football seasons I’m inevitably greeted with several variations on the WTF theme when it’s discovered that this Los Angeles native’s lifelong, rabid and deathless team allegiance isn’t to the Trojans of USC or the Bruins of UCLA, but rather the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama.

The short answer is that my mother’s an alum. The longer answer is that whilst I was growing up she pretty much worshiped Bama’s legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and thus by familial fanmosis, did I as well. So much so that my dream during high school was to attend Alabama and play for Bryant, but that all fell apart when he retired during my senior year and then died not more than a couple months later.

Since then, through thick and thin I’ve been content to be the Tide’s self-appointed West Coast representative, so to speak. It’s a lonely job. I was pretty much the only one in town cheering them on when they capped their undefeated 1992 season with the National Championship over Miami. I was in the stands at the Rose Bowl in 2000 when they came for a visit and UCLA spanked them but hard. And these last few years I’ve reveled in the glories they’ve achieved under Coach Nick Saban. If you don’t believe I take this shit too seriously just drive by my house during any televised Bama game on Saturdays and I guarantee you won’t have to linger too long until I rumble out an ultra-loud “Rooooolll Tiiiiiiide!” My wife’ll tell you. The neighbors, too.

You’ve probably been wondering  over the last couple paragraphs what does all that have to do with? And the bridge to that answer is after the jump.

The thing is, as a contributor to Blogging.la coming up on almost 10 years now, I’ve ended up on a variety of PR lists. One of the most recent pitches I found in my inbox was for the Dog-E-Glow (Facebook / Twitter) line of LED- embedded pet collars and leashes. More specifically, the email pointed out the company’s brand new licensed College Collection, one of which was — you guessed it: Alabama.

So of course I wrote back a lengthy reply that basically boiled down to “Gimme! Gimme! Roll Tide! Want!” And in exchange for them sending me a Bama collar and leash combo (pictured at right, biggable if clicked), I promised I’d pimp my beloved Ranger by making her game-day ready for the Tide’s season opener this evening (5 p.m., ABC) against Michigan, show her off here (like so below), and spread a little love about the company and the product in case you want one for your pooch.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla-based Dog-E-Glow was founded by dog and outdoors lovers who above all wanted to keep their pets and others’ safe while looking their very best. The collars and leashes come in 12 fashion designs and 48 (and growing) college brands, and feature a flexible LED tube sewn into each ballistic nylon product whose lights are bright, long-lasting and visible for up to 1,000 feet at night. The collars and leashes are weather resistant, fully adjustable, and have two settings: steady and blinking. At the Dog-E-Glow website, the collars sell for $25.99, the leashes $29.99.

Oh and: Roll Tide!


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Get your grub on at the L.A. County Fair

August 31, 2012 at 9:13 am in Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, LA

Chicken Charlies employee

Where to start…maybe the fact that this year Chicken Charlie out did himself, twice? First is a wonderfully spiced shrimp served up with pineapple and rice in a hollowed out pineapple. The second drop dead delicious treat isn’t as healthy as the first. ITS FRIED COOKIE DOUGH. The latter my kids absolutely went nuts over.  The first option, known as Pineapple Express, will only be available at the Chicken Charlie’s outlet at the far west end of Broadway in the park.

I got to go to the Fair’s food preview night the other day, to see all what else I sampled, including BOOZE options you need to make the jump. Read the rest of this entry →


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Comedian Phyllis Diller dies at age 95.

August 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm in News, Obituaries, People

Funny lady and long time Angeleno (Brentwood to be precise) passed away today.  There is a great article in the LA times about her HERE.  There is more on her life HERE in the wiki.

RIP and thanks for all the laughs over the years.

Do turn up the audio on the video as it isn’t that good of a sound quality.


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In case you missed it, the Culver City “Grass Station” art installation!

August 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm in culver city, Driving, Events, Technology, Transportation, West Side

It happened at night when no one was looking.  A gas station was turned into a “grass station”, an urban oasis of sorts.  It was part of CODA Automotive’s campaign to bring about awareness of their all electric car that is on sale now.  So far CODA has set up an “Experience Center” in the Century City Mall, as well as an indy dealer, Martin Coda of Los Angeles on West Olympic in L.A.  I have to give these guys credit for bringing something fun to a L.A. neighborhood and getting me to notice.


Urban Exploration: Inside The 7th Street Bridge

August 16, 2012 at 5:26 am in Biking in LA, History, LA

One of the oldest spans across the Los Angeles River, the 7th Street Bridge dates back to 1910 when the at-grade version included two-sets of trolley tracks. It quickly became one of the most congested ways across the river and by the late 1920s it was decided that rather than demolish the entire structure, a second level would be built on top giving it a double-decker appearance and allowing traffic to move freely without being impeded by any freight trains traveling  through.

Ever since I first noticed that open but inaccessible lower level of the 7th Street Bridge about eight years ago, I’ve wondered what it’s like inside, and my curiosity only increased a couple years ago when LA River advocate Joe Linton found a way in and wrote about it on his blog LA Creek Freak. It again was piqued a few months ago when the news hit that there are plans in the very early stages to convert the space to an open-air market.

During a visit paid to the bridge last summer while on one of my riverbed rides, I couldn’t figure out how Linton got up there, and I had pretty much reconciled that the space was to remain off limits to me — until a couple weeks ago, when an acquaintance of Linton’s contacted me out of the blue and said she knew how he got in and would I be game to try. Of course I would, I said.

Read the rest of this entry →


It Caught My Eye: Under The Bridge

August 12, 2012 at 8:40 am in Art, ICME

Certainly not THAT bridge. Nowhere near the one Anthony Keidis sings of drawing blood and giving his life away. But a bridge’s under nonetheless — in this case the one that carries Sunset Boulevard over Silver Lake Boulevard — that the majority of passers-through traverse safely installed within the confines of vehicles. Perhaps there’s a scant percentage of those commuters who know that it was designed by none other than Los Angeles bridge-building master (and unsung LA hero) Merrill Butler, constructed in 1932 and was declared Historic-Cultural Monument No. 236 in 1981.

Since it’s in my neighborhood, I travel beneath it on foot or by bike pretty regularly. It’s often more foreboding than friendly, but that’s precisely why I venture through… to keep a claim on it. That, and it’s got some nice Romanesque architectural details (groined vault arches, FTW) that go otherwise unnoticed.

Another thing that would otherwise go unseen is a recent addition from Caché (pronounced cat-chay), my favorite muralist, famed around these here parts of LA’s Upside for his prolific chickens. This one, painted simply on the inside of the column in the deepest darkest part of the bridge (shown at right, too dark to capture in the above panorama) is nothing less than a pleasant surprise, a bit of whimsy in a serious place, a ray of light in the shadows. A hidden caché, if you will.


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Food and Wine names In-n-Out as one of the best Burgers in the country.

August 9, 2012 at 7:36 am in Food & Drink, Media, Shopping

So some 18 million of us in the greater L.A. area can’t be wrong about the famed In-n-Out burger.  Food and Wine just named it one of the best burgers in the country. The only “chain” to make the list.

For my daughter and Son-in-law no trip “home” is complete without a trip to In-n-Out. There is much discussion on which version we prefer, I’m a purest and go for the regular cheese burger as does my daughter, the SIL likes it animal style. What’s your preference?


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L.A. Center for Digital Art presents Electron Salon

August 8, 2012 at 7:08 am in Art, Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Law Enforcement, Mass Transit, Photography

Electron Salon Postcard

One of my most favorite art gallery’s in L.A. has got to be the L.A. Center for Digital Art.  Maybe because I drift into that realm with my own art often, but the images shown there  are technically at the top of that genre and media.

The current show that will run this month is the Electron Salon bringing in art from 24 different artists.  Its opening reception will take place in conjunction with Thursdays Art Walk at L.A.C.D.A from 7-9PM.

If you are planning on attending this weeks Art Walk and the Artists Reception at L.A.C.D.A take a train to Pershing Square and walk the 3 blocks or so to Gallery Row. It beats the hassle of traffic and trying to find parking in the area of this well attended event.

As a sidebar the folks at Occupy LA have apologized for what happened at last months Art Walk.  This was reported HERE in blogdowntown.  (If you don’t follow blogdowntown add it to your reading list as it is a great hyper-local source of info on DTLA). Another Occupy L.A. event likely won’t happen again at this month’s art walk.

Details: Electron Salon, L.A.Center for Digital Art, 102 W 5th Street, Los Angeles CA 90013. August 9, 2012.  7-9PM  Map HERE 


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Sigh…parking tards never quit

August 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm in Driving, Parking Tards, San Gabriel Valley

parking tard

My phone sorta rang off the hook on this one.  I’m a neighborhood watch captain and everyone was in a tizzy over this one. Why?  Well my little neighborhood has ample street parking yet this tard opted to park in the red zone…for hours.

Will drivers ever learn to obey the parking zones or is it simply an issue of they are more important than the law?


Once Upon a Time in the West at Aero This Saturday

August 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm in Entertainment, Events, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Media, Movies, West Side

Don’t even argue with me: Sergio Leone‘s Once Upon a Time in the West is the best film ever made. Leone got together with fellow Italian filmmakers Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, studied some of the greatest Westerns (High Noon, The Searchers, etc.), including their locations and iconic shots, and came up with a film that is simultaneously a parody of and loving homage to the Western genre. You’ll see things that are subconsciously familiar, like dusters and Monument Valley, and things that are deliciously unfamiliar, like Henry Fonda as one of the meanest villains ever to grace the screen.

And hopefully you’ll see it all this Saturday, August 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, as part of the American Cinematheque film series. Of course, that part about Once Upon a Time being the greatest film ever made is subjective, but don’t seriously call yourself a movie lover or film buff until you’ve seen this classic.


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Can I call bullshit here? Chick-fil-a wants some love after encouraging hate.

August 1, 2012 at 6:08 am in Food & Drink, Politics, Rants, Social issues

chick-fil-a notice

I’m a first amendment kind of guy, but I’m smart enough to know that what you say (or do) has consequences and you need to live with them.  As a refresher Chick-fil-a has donated some $1M towards anti-LGBT causes and publicly has acknowledged doing so and said it saw nothing wrong with supporting those causes they believed in.  Now they are all butt hurt that people who disagree with them aren’t letting them open new businesses and promoting boycotts of them.

With a few very highly publicized refusals to allow them open new restaurants because of their political stance and voice the folks at “The Liberty and Freedom Foundation” are trying to rally people to attend the restaurants in protest. At least according to this face book meme (pic attached) there is an effort to get them some love.  Maybe its time again for folks to consider exercising their free speech and gather in a picket in front of Chick-fil-a’s restaurants to educate folks on the hate this place supports?  I for one have boycotted the place since learning of their politics and encourage others I know to do the same. Often.


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Community Policing, LAPD says this is why we are becoming one of the safest cities in the U.S.

July 29, 2012 at 10:46 am in Crime, News, Social issues, The Valley

When I was a Valley dweller back when we were first married in Valley Village our neighborhood started experiencing gang related activity and auto thefts.  We were in the LAPD’s North Hollywood divisions policing territory.  They worked with us to establish a Neighborhood Watch and worked with us on a variety of community issues.  We became friends with several of the officers that patrolled our area. Community Policing now as outlined in the video has grown and is helping to make the neighborhoods in North Hollywood safer.

On a sidebar if you haven’t subscribed to the LAPD’s YouTube channel yet you might want to consider as aside from the infomercials and PSA’s they also have regular crime tips and vids seeking info on crimes.  You can subscribe on their channel HERE.


Back To The Future: The Turtles @ Grand Park

July 27, 2012 at 7:16 am in Downtown, Entertainment, Events, Music

In retro-honor of Wednesday’s opening of the first segment of the long-awaited Grand Park, which will eventually span a 12-acre corridor between City Hall and the Music Center, let’s go back 47 years earlier to November 1965 with The Turtles singing “You Baby” at the west end then of what’s now this latest addition to downtown’s renaissance. Dick Clark, take it away:

(h/t LAObserved)


Taking Back Happy Hour

July 20, 2012 at 7:12 am in Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Music

As someone who would like to make it illegal to call a bartender a “mixologist,” the genius crew who embedded “It’s Gettin’ Real In The Whole Foods Parking Lot” into my own personal lexicon, have turned their laser sights on and taken dead aim to marvelous effect at the increasingly pretentious side of the cocktail biz. Drink it up!