12 Days Of Giving: spcaLA — The Results Show

December 28, 2014 at 7:17 am in Holidays, LA, Seasonal

indexDuring the “12 Days of Giving” series here highlighting various awesome and local organizations that deserve your considerations and donations, I wrote about a 137-year-old institution near and dear to my heart (and my bank balance seeing as I work there): the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA).

FullSizeRenderIn that post, I talked about the ginormous difference between spcaLA and the ASPCA (whose heart-wrenching ads are all over the end-of-year airwaves), and at the end I threw in a twist by promising to donate to spcaLA the spare change my wife and I have collected in that half-gallon jug pictured at left (click to biggify) over the last five or so years, and also to donate it in honor of whoever came closest to the amount all that coinage added up to.

I was actually surprised I didn’t get a few more stabs at the amount, but I’m nevertheless thankful to have received the following guesses in the comments to that post:

  • Frazgo: $72.96
  • JozJozJoz: $89.27
  • LucindaMichele: $82.50
  • Jodi Kurland: $65.37
  • Alexandra Apollini: $89.23
  • BikingInLA: $97.13
  • DavidDavidDavidDavidDavid: $87.84

After the jump, find out what it took to get the coins counted, who the honoree is and how totally far off from the actual amount they all were…

Read the rest of this entry →


Profile photo of frazgo

by frazgo

Raymond Chandler did an operetta…make its production a reality

December 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm in Books, Entertainment, Events, Fictional LA, History, LA, News, People, Theatre/Stage, Vintage

ChandlerBy now most of you should know that I’m a complete and utter fool when it comes to Raymond Chandlers works. I’ve read so many of the books and loved how they incorporated Los Angeles history and places into their fictional story.

I caught wind of the operetta a few months ago at a LAVA meeting.  Its titled “The Princess and the Pedlar” and is co-authored with pianist Julian Pascal.  Sounds pretty cool and should be easy to bring to the stage, right?  Not so fast, the estate of Raymond Chandler say its insignificant and won’t grant release of the work.  It will have to wait until 2029 at the earliest when its released to the public domain.  Sad.

But all is not lost, Kim Cooper of Esotouric and author of the “The Kept Girl” isn’t taking that hard no as a final answer.  She has a petition on change.org asking the Estate to reconsider its position.  Please sign.  I have, its an important bit of the Los Angeles story by one of our own authors that deserves to be seen.


Feed The Pets!

December 27, 2014 at 9:41 am in LA, Pets

FEED ME

FEED ME

<On the heels of Will’s spcaLA post, I wanted to give a heads-up that these locations are short on pet food this holiday season. Please consider dropping off kibble, or wet food, or dry food, to the following locations:

12910 Yukon Avenue, Hawthorne: (310) 676-1149

7700 East Spring Street, Long Beach: (562) 570-7722

5026 West Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles: (323) 730-5300

Because we all know that hungry pets will devour you alive in your home, if you’re elderly. That adorbs Shiba Inu you adopted for gramma? Watch. Out.

I’m just sayin’, if we feed them now, while they’re in the SPCA facilities, they’re that much less likely to eat you or someone you love.


St. Nick’s Sleigh? No Santa Ana’s Winds… Merry Insomnimas.

December 25, 2014 at 6:36 am in Holidays, Seasonal

Silver Lake (3AM): Then up on the roof there arose such a clatter, that I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. But instead of the sleigh of Santa Claus alighting, ’twas instead the wind of Santa Ana beating a palm frond it had been fighting.

tree-550x975


Overexposed In Chinatown

December 24, 2014 at 9:00 pm 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.

ctown22

ctown21 ctown19 ctown18

ctown17

ctown16

ctown15

ctown14

ctown13

ctown12

ctown11

ctown10

ctown07

ctown03

ctown06

ctown04

ctown01

ctown02

ctown09

 


Profile photo of frazgo

by frazgo

Its a Wrap on 12 Days of Giving

December 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm in FEATURED, News, People, Seasonal, Social issues, Which Side?

wrapped GiftThis is one of my most favorite series that we do.  It outlines our diversity as a group and underscores our love of Los Angeles and the millions of souls that call it home.  During the course of the last several days you’ve read about the following non-profits and charities that we devote our time and energy too.  In the order they appeared:

Thanks for indulging us and stopping in to visit us and our favorite non-profits.  We’ll resume our regular programming again.  Soon.

 


Profile photo of frazgo

by frazgo

Must see exhibits at CA Science Center…and lunch

December 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm 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 →


Profile photo of frazgo

by frazgo

12 Days of Giving : Sierra Madre Playhouse

December 23, 2014 at 9:00 am in Blogging (in) LA, Entertainment, Holidays, News, People, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Shopping, Social issues, Theatre/Stage

The playhouse at night, click to embiggen

The playhouse at night, click to embiggen

By now those who know me know I don’t just jump in half assed when I decide to support a non-profit.  They have to have a hook that gets my attention.  Sierra Madre Playhouse is just that and they need help…volunteers and donations if they are to grow to the next level.

In the last few years with the arrival of Managing Director and Estelle Campbell and Artistic Director Christian Lebano, they have brought a vision to change this once sleepy community theater into something else.  Its a very special place well on its way to being the regional destination theater they have envisioned.

There has been a lot of dialogue lately about the state of theater in Los Angeles. It is so often overlooked and under-appreciated, and there are constant wails over how theater is dying. But the magic of that combustion, the ephemeral now, is what I think will keep theater alive. If you haven’t experienced that, I invite you to see a show at the Playhouse. Once you feel that magic you will be seduced.” – Christian Lebano, Artistic Director

Like so many non-profits they are starved of man hours and money to carry out their mission to bring quality plays written by Americans about Americans.  This last year has seen them shake the joint up and brought in uniquely American plays like 6RMS RIV VU, 4,000 Miles and A Little House Christmas.  On tap next is “A Walk in the Woods” which continues the trend of stellar productions.  But they need helpif they are to carry out their plans.  If you got a few hours to donate, they’ll take it.  If you have some spare change to donate to the cause (Its tax deductible as they are a 503.c non-profit organization) they gladly accept that too.

You can easily pay via credit card through PayPal.  An even more painless way is bring the attached PDF Coupon to Ralphs when you go grocery shopping and they donate a percentage of your sale to Sierra Madre Playhouse.

Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre CA 91024


12 Days of Giving: Red Star Riders

December 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm in Biking in LA, Blogging (in) LA, LA, Seasonal

This is the one of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart.

Do you remember your first tricycle or bicycle? I remember several from my childhood and have fond memories of receiving one of them for Christmas one year. I was in my early teens and there was an elaborate scavenger hunt of clues that ultimately led to the new wheels in the garage. While I rarely ride now, as a child I loved having a bike. It was a means of some freedom and independence long before being able to drive a car.

I know I’m not alone in my nostalgia, which is why I wanted to bring some awareness to an awesome organization called Red Star Riders. Red Star Riders is a non-profit group started by Los Angeles area pediatric physical therapists. Their mission is to raise funds for families of children with special needs to purchase AmTryke®  therapeutic tricycles. Not only do these dedicated professionals hold fundraising events, but they also donate their time to assist the children in being properly fit for each customized bike*.

Photo used by permission from Red Star Riders

Photo used by permission from Red Star Riders

 

Through some targeted fundraising, Red Star Riders has been able to assist several families in getting bikes for their kids this holiday season. However, letters like the one below keep coming in. Jocelyn is a 6-year-old girl with Rett Syndrome. She cannot walk, cannot talk and has little function of her hands. Jocelyn’s mother sent the flollowing:

My typical daughter, Rylee, is 4 years old and Santa is bringing her a big girl bike for Christmas. I know I have to give her a typical childhood, but my heart is breaking with sympathetic envy for my 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, who has Rett Syndrome and cannot ride a typical bike. I have been searching for a modified bike for her to have under the tree Christmas morning right next to her sister’s. What a Christmas morning that would be for her! However, special bikes are over $1000 and, embarrassingly and regrettably, that is not something we can afford for Jocelyn. Christmas is always bitter sweet for us. She is a happy girl, regardless of her daily struggles and limitations. She loves being outside and a family bike ride seems like a fantasy, but I have hope that one day, we will be able to have one.

Jocelyn’s bike will cost $815. Jocelyn’s story is similar to many of the families waiting for bikes for their kids. Your donation can help joy, self confidence, independence, improved quality of life, physical activity, and so much to the children on the waiting list. Please click HERE to make your tax deductible donation.

Used by permission from Red Star Riders

Used by permission from Red Star Riders

 

*Yes, the term “bike” is used loosely here. Kids “ride bikes.” So what if they have three wheels, a seat belt, trunk supports, or other adaptations. It’s a bike.

All photos and the contents of the letter used with permission by Red Star Riders. 


Profile photo of frazgo

by frazgo

Even the L.A. Auto Show is in the Happy Holidays mode

December 22, 2014 at 7:46 am in Driving, Entertainment, LA, Seasonal

Fun little video recapping some of the more spectacluar reveals at this years L.A. Auto Show.  I can tell you from experience we’re getting better stuff shown here than Detroit for the most part.

In just 3 weeks I’ll be at NAIAS in Detroit. Its a fun show, but ours is way bigger physically and has the best reveals.  They still get North American Truck and Car of the year, so we need to figure out how to wrangle that out of their meat hooks.


On rainy afternoons in Los Angeles

December 21, 2014 at 7:03 pm in LA, Weather

The forecast looks pretty rain-free for the next little while, at least, but our recent rainy days have had me navel-gazing.

I used to like it when it rained in LA because it reminded me of home.

I grew up somewhere significantly cooler and damper than Southern California. It was a world of sharply differentiated seasons: hot muggy summers gave way to brisk, breezy autumns; the winters could be punishing and dangerous, and springs were when the snow and sky turned gray and everything melted away. While the rumors that we don’t have weather and seasons here in LA are completely untrue, when I first moved here, I missed the gradual shifts and changes. I had to figure out a different way of marking time. And sometimes, still, I still feel a little disoriented when I look out the window in November and see what would have passed for summer sun back home. But on one of those rare, rainy LA days, I could pretend that it was fall or spring near the Great Lakes. I clung to LA’s rainy days, I relished them, because they reminded me of where I had come from. But because of that, they also reminded me that I wasn’t from here, and that home was really and truly some place else.

I used to like it when it rained in LA because it reminded me of London.

I got to spend an autumn doing research there while I was in grad school. That fall, when it wasn’t raining, there was a constant mist in the air, and everything felt damp and gray. It was perfect weather for wandering. The hours that I didn’t spend in the British Library’s reading room I spent bundled into my scarf and coat, roaming around the city. I walked so much that my boots had holes in the soles by the time I left. The gray sky and the chill in the air were so much more inviting on long walks than the summer sun. And when I got back to LA, rainy days reminded me of that sense of freedom and adventure. I could pull my coat out of the back of my closet, and go for a walk in the rain, and suddenly the vast expanses of this city felt smaller, like I could own them as I navigated them on foot.

Now I’m learning to love it when it rains in LA because it is raining in LA.

For a long time, being in Los Angeles was a weird, temporary, in-between state for me. I came here to go to school, I thought I would leave when I was done, but I ended up sticking around a while longer. For the past few years, I thought for sure I’d be leaving: I was chasing an academic career, a path with notoriously dismal prospects, and I was interviewing for jobs all over the place. But I’m changing my mind about what I want to do and be. More and more, being in Los Angeles doesn’t feel like a liminal state anymore, and more and more I’m realizing that I don’t want it to be a temporary condition. So I’ve spent the past few months adjusting and shifting, changing the way that I see this city. LA has stopped being a place that happens to be where I am for now, at the moment, and has started being the place where I am. As I figure out what I’m doing next, I need to feel like I am actually present here, and not just in an in-between state.

LA rain is undeniable in its presence: when it rains, it rains unrelentingly, like it’s making up for lost time. I love the sound of it on the roof of my tiny house, the sound of an endless percussive refrain. I love the sight of the clouds rolling in over the hills and ocean. I love how many rainbows I see here, as the sun and the rain duke it out. And love the day after it rains, when the sky seems even bluer by comparison; when everything seems washed clean, and I can see the mountains crystal clear as we drive up the 405 to work in the morning.

I used to like it when it rained in LA because it reminded me of places that felt like home. Now I love it when it rains in LA because LA is finally feeling like home.


12 Days of Giving: Donate Blood

December 20, 2014 at 7:48 am in FEATURED, Holidays, LA

This is the one of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart. It isn’t always about monetary donations for these groups. Tight on funds? They welcome your time and talents to help them as a volunteer as well. When it’s all said and done you feel closer and connected to your community when you help it out. And isn’t giving of yourself all that matters this time of year regardless if its Christmas, Hanukkah, or Pagan rituals?

Hot Blooded!

Hot Blooded!

Speaking of “giving of yourself” why not literally give of yourself? Blood banks always need blood, not just in times of crisis. If you meet the requirements, you can donate a pint of your blood in about an hour. Easey peasey, stress-ball squeezey! No matter your blood type, blood banks need it. Are you Type O, the Universal Donor? Great, that means more people in the city need your blood. Are you a rare type – AB? Great, they need you too.

l_gotbloodMy favorite donation place is the UCLA Blood and Platelets Center. The staff is friendly, the place is clean and bright and they do all they can to make it easy and fun to donate. They have assigned parking spots just for donors right by their door in Westwood. And even if those spots are taken, they give you free parking in the nearby lot. They always have raffles and free gifts. I got a beach towel and a UCLA T-shirt from my last two visits. And those bonus gifts were on top of the free movie tickets you get for donating. Oh and the great selection of juice and cookies after! From start to finish (checking in, paperwork, getting your vitals checked, donating blood, juice/cookies) it takes about an hour. The actual donation part? about 10 minutes.

There are many places to donate in LA, just google it. Children’s Hospital LA has a donation center. The Red Cross has many donation centers in SoCal and hey! They are giving away red, long sleeved t-shirts if you donate between 12/24 and January 4.

It is true what they say, the more you give, the more you get. Please donate blood. It might cost an hour of your time every three months and the benefits to your community and your heart are huge.

 


Profile photo of frazgo

by frazgo

12 Days of Giving : Monrovia Association of Fine Arts

December 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm in Art, Education, Events, Holidays, People, Photography, San Gabriel Valley, Seasonal, Social issues

LogoThis is a group that I have devoted tons of energy and time to over the last 10 years.  Their mission statement sums it all up:
“Enhance the lives of those within our community through interaction with the arts. Increase the opportunities of our children through art education.”

Its something I completely believe in, live and breath it.  I got involved 10 years ago as a way to help promote my art, but after a few meetings I found its something that benefits the entire community in ways I never knew.

My kids were in the MUSD system and I was disappointed to learn that Art Education wasn’t part of the curriculum as a separate class at the elementary level.  Monrovia Association of Fine Arts, MAFA for short, was just getting ready to make its first donation to the schools the year I joined to help fund art educatoin at the elementary level.  Over the course of the next few years our cash donations totalled over $75.000.  But it didn’t stop there. Read the rest of this entry →


12 Days of Giving: Back on My Feet

December 18, 2014 at 9:30 am in LA

This is the one of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart. It isn’t always about monetary donations for these groups. Tight on funds? They welcome your time and talents to help them as a volunteer as well. When it’s all said and done you feel closer and connected to your community when you help it out. And isn’t giving of yourself all that matters this time of year regardless if its Christmas, Hanukkah, or Pagan rituals?

bomf

As someone whose life has been transformed through running – becoming active and participating in races and so on – I feel a special sense of kinship with others who have used fitness as a way to break out of a rut. Back on My Feet is a program aimed at helping homeless people overcome their circumstances, using running as a catalyst.

Back on My Feet uses running to empower individuals experiencing homelessness and guide them on the path to self-sufficiency. Members and volunteers gather together as a community for early morning runs, and side by side take steps towards restoring value.
Through dedication to our program, members begin to feel appreciated, valued, and develop an enhanced sense of self-worth. The positive changes enable them to make strides towards leading healthier, more successful lives and earning their way to independent housing and employment.
Please take a moment to view the story below which confirms how the simple act of running can fuel self-worth.

Find out more about how to donate, volunteer, or “fundrace” by visiting Back on My Feet LA’s website.


12 Days Of Giving: spcaLA

December 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm in Blogging (in) LA, Holidays, LA, Pets, Seasonal

spcaLA logoPreamble/Disclosure: There’s a subset of the fine folks who know I’ve been a scrivener for Blogging.la going way back to March 2004, who also know that back in 2011, despite all appearances of sanity, sensibility and advanced middle age, I committed to making a rather drastic career change in leaving behind a 20-odd year (emphasis on the word “odd’) career in journalism to become a humane law enforcement officer, more commonly known as an “animal cop.” Soon after that decision, I undertook what would become a lengthy, arduous and challenging process of training and preparation and hiring — I call it a “journey of a thousand hurdles” — that culminated this past summer when I was sworn in as a Level 1 Humane Officer working for, you guessed it: the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA).

But enough about me. More importantly, I need to clear up an important misconception. You know those heart-wrenching ads that inundate your TV screens around this time of year, soundtracked by Sarah McG’s “Angel” and featuring some celeb (last year it was the guy from “Will & Grace”) guilting the hell out of you to donate NOWRIGHTNOW while a slideshow of horribly mistreated animals scrolls by? Yeah: that’s soooooo not spcaLA. That’s a whole different animal: That’s ASPCA, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

But Will, you ask, isn’t ASPCA the “parent” of spcaLA? Great question! Answer: Not in any way, shape or form. They are entirely individual and separate entities. It’s a common mistake people make believing that ASPCA is some sort of national umbrella under which all SPCAs in the country operate. But they don’t. Each and every SPCA is its own independent organization. The same goes with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). They have absolutely nothing to do with, say, the Pasadena Humane Society.

But Will, you ask, why should that matter to me? Another valid query! As an Angeleno it should matter to you because at the end of one of those above-mentioned ASPCA ads that will be dominating the local year-end airwaves, when you rush to your computer or telephone, whip out your credit card and ship some money to their headquarters across the country in New York City, not a penny of it will benefit any of the animals in your own neighborhoods. Think of it like donating blood to your local hospital versus the American Red Cross. In both worthy cases, the precious resource will almost certainly go to someone who needs it, but the chances are exponentially greater that the blood you gave at, say, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will go to a child at that hospital. Donate locally, I say… which rhymes with spcaLA!

After the jump, a bit of history before we get to the fun part.

Read the rest of this entry →