Yup, its a big deal for your first venture. A Sunny Christmas is based on the art of Joseph R Davis and animated by him and Brian Gerson. They were invited to submit this to the 5th Annual ACRS Film Fest, they did and its been accepted. Nice to see new talent here in L.A get recognition beyond our borders.
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.
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.
This is the first of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart. Its not 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 its 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?
One of the charities that I help when I can is the Foothill Unity Center. This group is headquartered here in Monrovia with a satellite office in Pasadena. Year round they service the hungry, newly homeless, newly jobless or whatever other suddent tragedy that hits their home leaving them in need of help. They need volunteers for several upcoming events, money to support their programs, food donations, clothing…whatever you can help them with. Visit their web site linked in here for more information on what you can do to help them. After the jump you can learn more of their immediate needs. Read the rest of this entry →
Winter Art Camp has got to be one of the best things going in the SGV if you have school age kids and you lose your usual day care during the Holidays. I’ve witnessed the activities that Lisa Barrios and her crew at Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery here in Monrovia line up for the kids and its pretty amazing. Tons of ceramic crafts for the kids to do every day with expert instruction by the staff at Paint n Play is included in the price of your childs time at Winter Art Camp.
All you need to do is pick out a week and its M,T, F they provide Art Camp for either Christmas Week or New Years week. Monday and Tuesday be sure to pack your kids a sack lunch. Friday no worries, its Pizza Party day.
Space is limited and you do need to apply early. Click on this application to embiggen and print and bring it in to Lisa and gang at the store.
Deets. Week one 12/22, 12/23 NS 12/26,week two 12/29, 12/30, 1/2. 418 S Myrtle Street, Monrovia CA 91016 626-256-4848
It’s that time again! The LA 3-D Movie Festival is back this weekend! For the 11th year, this festival is showcasing the best independent stereoscopic 3-D filmmaking from around the world. This year’s event, taking place Friday, December 12th through Sunday, December 14th at the Downtown Independent features an eclectic variety of 3-D entertainment.
The festival opens Friday, December 12th at 8pm with An Evening of 3-D with OK Go. The popular rock band, and several of their creative collaborators, will screen their 3-D music videos and other special surprises.
Saturday, December 13th is 3-D Comic Book Day starting off at 4pm with a documentary called Cosplay Dreams 3-D , which features the fun lifestyle and incredible artistry behind the global phenomenon of “Costume Play.” The festival’s centerpiece event is a catered Holiday Reception at 6pm, followed by a live performance by Captured Aural Phantasy Theater, who combine the art, drama and comedy of a vintage radio program with the live entertainment of a variety show. This special show is built around performances of 3-D comic book stories. The night will wrap up with a late night screening of Hackin’ Jack vs. the Chainsaw Chick, the latest film by 3-D cult movie director Norm de Plume, at 10pm.
The festival wraps up on Sunday, December 14th with three blocks of short films, one by students, and two by international 3-D filmmakers in competition starting at 1pm. The shorts are followed by an Awards Ceremony and the closing night feature Above Us All, a film by Eugenie Jansen based on an idea by Kim Niekerk.
Full schedule, festival passes, and tickets to individual events can be found HERE.
The 11th Annual LA 3-D Movie Festival
December 12th through 14th, 2014
Downtown Independent Theater
251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles 90012
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you love Los Angeles native, See’s Candies! They are putting up pop-up holiday shops around town so you don’t have to brave the mall when you get invited somewhere last minute and don’t want to arrive with your hands hanging. They are selling only boxed chocolates, no candy counter full of individual yummies to mix and match. But when Aunt Gertrude is stopping by and you’ve accidentally left her off your list, you can race in for that two pound box of dark chocolate nuts and chews she loves so much.
Check locations here.
And there are two more days to enter into the See’s Candies For Life contest!
My personal favorite – Scotchmallows.
December 9, 2014 at 12:36 am in LA
Sunday was the final day to throw money at people at Unique LA. Their Winter show seemed more chock full of shoppers than the Summer event, much to my kid’s wide 3-wheeled stroller’s dismay. Navigating the aisles proved to be a practice in patience but there was so much eye candy, I was able to suck it up and toured the whole thing. I even managed to buy some goodies and run into an old acquaintaince.
My first stop was the booth of my friend Miriam Dema to pick up a hand dyed scarf – the last gift on my shopping list. She’s a screenprint goddess selling felt pennants, coasters, posters, and a few handmade leather goods. Next, I ran into Mark Brunner, an LA artist I first became acquainted with a few years ago through a mutual friend. The last time I saw him, he didn’t have a beard and I didn’t have a kid. Ah, how life changes things. I bought a very nice piece from his human robot series for my kid’s bedroom. It’s her first original art!
I managed to sneak by the remaining vendors without opening my sad, depleated wallet. All except one. I lost the business card so I can’t rave about her but she made cute felt stuffies and there was a dinosaur named Coco that demanded I take him home. Of all the edible delights, designer fashions, and trendy housewares on sale, hers was my favorite find. Coco now lives in the kid’s crib and has been lovingly chewed and soaked with saliva. I’m looking forward to the next Unique LA so I can buy a friend or two for him.
I had no intention of going to Artisanal LA‘s holiday market in Pasadena but I found myself there anyway on Saturday. It was ok. Most of the vendors didn’t really speak to my holiday shopping needs but I did manage to get some high falutin’ chocolates from Marco Paolo and a jar of Indian spiced tomato sauce from Mee’s Kut. The chocolates will be given as a gift but the tomato sauce is mine, all mine! I will probably eat it all in one sitting with a very large serving spoon. Possibly a bib. Also, a shout out to the ladies at Bond Bar… Thanks for the 5lbs you’ve added to my hips in samples. I appreciate your efforts but I was serious when I said I’m avoiding you. My fu is stronger than your tasty treats!
The highlight of the event and the whole reason for the spontaneous visit was seeing Santa! My little one had never met the big guy and I was nervous about her reaction so I went with a friend as a precursor to our real Santa excursion next week. My darling daughter is a huge flirt though, so it was an instant love fest. After a short wait to get him sprung from jail (he was stuck in a parking lot), she took up her seat of honor on his knee and stared longingly into his twinkling eyes while tangling her fingers in his beard. Sadly, the pictures include a crummy tent tarp background in a lackluster general environment. We’ll still visit a higher end Santa next week but for 5 bucks, Artisanal’s Santa experience wasn’t awful.
December 6, 2014 at 9:08 am in Seasonal
Pictured above (appropriately snapped without care for composition or focus), is without question in my mind: The Worst Christmas Decoration In The City — and The Best. Sure, they’re everywhere, but this particular installation in the Pico-Union district of town is a shining and glorious example of what I affectionately call “vomit lights” because, well, look upon them. It’s as if someone straight-on upchucked ’em (that or maybe this is how taggers do it during the Christmas season, with a spray of lights instead of paint).
Not only is this anarchic sub-style of seasonal illumination an affront to holiday decorating perfectionists everywhere, but I’m sure this silly string of twinklies goes against some sectional statute buried deep in the freakin’ Code Of Nature, itself — which are two reasons this display that I abhor also happens to be my favorite holiday lighting in the city. I hold them in the highest disregard. I love them unconditionally.
Full disclosure: Those perfection-minded decorators I mentioned above? Oh yeah, I’m soooo one of that legion. Every year when I climb up on the roof to risk serious bodily injury hanging up the lights at my house (always during the weekend after Thanksgiving — always!), I’m faced with a design dilemma. See, the three strands of icicle lights that go along my 30-foot rain gutter measure 27 feet. Inevitably during my initial placement they end up off-center and I kid you not, I will literally take the ridiculous amount of time and further risk of falling off the roof required to physically move the lights one way and the other until there’s an almost equal 1.5 feet of unlighted rain gutter at either end. It’s called idiocy, I know. It’s also called symmetry, people. And I’m a slave to it.
After the jump you can see what I mean. Seriously, even the reindeer are mirroring each other. To some that’s a cry for help. To me, a call of duty. But I digress…
The first is closed, the second is overgrown, but the third, in a metaphorical bear sense, is just right.
John W. Robinson, in his book “Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels,” calls it “the most storied gold prospect in the front range.”
But that’s not saying much.
Because no one has made their fortune from gold in the mountains overlooking the San Gabriel Valley, that doesn’t mean that a bunch of people haven’t tried.
The prospectors started to scratch the surface of Millard Canyon in 1895, and one of those prospectors, Bradford Peck, named the area near the top of the canyon after a friend’s daughter, Dawn Ehrenfeld.
It wasn’t until 1902 that the real mining began. Michael T. Ryan, an Australian, began the first tunneling into the cliffs on one side of the tiny stream, creating the tunnel that we can still enter.
But he came across one problem. How to carry the tons of ore, that needed to be crushed to extract the gold? Hiking the two and a half miles down boulder strewn Millard Canyon was difficult and time consuming. So he forged a trail up the side of the mountain to the Mt. Lowe Railway. Once there he loaded the ore onto the Mt. Lowe train and it headed down, via the funicular, to extract that beautiful gold.
After Mr. Ryan gave up, realizing that he, like the others, was not going to make his fortune, the mine changed hands many times. In the 1950’s the area became derelict, littered with mining equipment and abandoned shacks.
Over the years they became covered with graffiti and run down. Eventually all were removed except an old engine, which still sits as a marker to the mine entrance.
To hike Dawn Mine, drive up the road called Chaney Trail (which is “closed” sunset to sunrise). Chaney Trail tees off West Alta Loma Drive, between Lincoln Ave and Fair Oaks Ave in Altadena.
Chaney Trail is a small winding road that leads up into the San Gabriels. At the end of this road is a car park — don’t park here, because this is the entrance to the closed section of the trail. Park instead at the highest point of Chaney Trail. It’s where the fire road leads up into the mountains. Parking is a problem, because there are so few spaces. It is usually full on weekends, so if you can, go on a weekday, or pray to the parking fairies.
The turn is the sign posted for The Sunset Ridge Trail. This trail leads down into Millard Canyon.
Note: There is a fork on this trail, but keep left, down toward the canyon floor. At 1.05 miles from the car park, the path reaches the gently flowing stream at the bottom of the canyon, which was, in this October 2014 drought, really just a trickle. The mine is near the top of Millard Canyon, so head upstream, north, away from civilization.
Note: Downstream from here the trail is closed, which leads to the car park you are not supposed to park in, as the forestry service is attempting to rehabilitate it after the Station fire in 2009.
My first attempt to find Dawn Mine was a failure, because I went the wrongway. Although on the plus side, I did come across a stunningly beautiful three tiered 40-foot waterfall.
Where is went wrong was not making a right turn, although it is probably worth it just to see the waterfalls.bIf you do want to see Dawn Mine make a right 1.25 miles from the parking lot. Or to put it another way, make a right 0.2 miles after reaching the tream; Once making this turn, follow the river another 1.6 miles upstream, or 2.85 miles from the parking lot to the mine itself.Note: Downstream from here the trail is closed, which leads to the car park you are not supposed to park in, as the forestry service is attempting to rehabilitate it after the Station fire in 2009.
My first attempt to find Dawn Mine was a failure, because I went the wrong way. Although on the plus side, I did come across a stunningly beautiful three tired
40-foot waterfall. Where is went wrong was not making a right turn, although it is probably worthnit just to see the waterfalls.
If you do want to see Dawn Mine make a right 1.25 miles from the parking lot. Or to put it another way, make a right 0.2 miles after reaching the stream. Once making this turn, follow the river another 1.6 miles upstream, or 2.85 miles from the parking lot to the mine itself.nAlmost all of this 1.6 miles is hopping over rocks, clambering over boulders, or ducking under fallen trees.
Note: While doing all this hopping, clambering, and ducking, pause for a momentnand enjoy the peaceful miles-away-from-the-city burbling stream, squirrel and bird sounds.
From here on out it is practically impossible to get lost, just follow the stream.nThere are spray-painted arrows along the way, but they are not really necessary; just follow the stream.
Because this is not a well traveled path a number of the stones are loose so be careful of twisting an ankle, but that is not the only danger. When the cliffs were towering on one side of the valley, there was a huge cracking noise 50 feet ahead. A stone the size of my head had fallen from the cliff face and I just saw it bounce and settle with the other stones in the stream bed. Sitting on a tree limb, near where the stone fell, were two squirrels staring at me.
Because I can speak to the animals, here is a translation of what one of them was saying: “Damn it Bob, you pushed it too early, I told you to wait, I get to push it next time, then we get to have hiker for dinner.”
Because of all the clambering the trail seems longer than it is, but keep going, and then eventually there is an abandoned piece of machinery up to your left. It’s an old engine, with a flywheel attached to each side. The entrance to the mine is hidden just the other side of the engine. On hands and knees, the first view into the mine is what everyone expects when looking into a mine, the classic wooden posts holding up a crosspiece. Althoughnlater, thinking about it, I think this is part of a door to keep people out, and just thenjamb is left. But I could be wrong.
Barring entrance to the cave is a small body of water, people had helpfully thrown in pieces of wood and tree branches to create a slippery unstable walking surface. But I was told by another hiker I met that day, when he had visited the mine the
previous year and had decided to not enter as the water was too deep. I don’t know if this was because of the drought, but like those signs at amusement park water rides, You Might Get Wet.
Thirty feet into the tunnel, just past the pond, is a dry area splitting off into two tunnels, with a huge open gallery above. The light grey rock is splattered with yellow, which reflects in the second pond. There are holes drilled for dynamite still visible in the rock.nYou will need a flashlight, as the mine is pitch black even so short a distance inside. I didn’t go any further than this, as mines and underground scare the hell out of me, but just this short distance inside it was cool and peaceful, in a I-might-die-from-a-cave-in, sort of way.
But remember kids, abandoned mines are dangerous, and while I went alone, anfriend knew where I was going, and was waiting for my back-to-civilization text.
Now the facts: Starting elevation: 2000 ft. Ending elevation: 3135 ft. The total time of my hike, from car to car was three and a half hours, with a total of 5.7 miles,
all according to my phone. When hiking up Millard Canyon to Dawn Mine, it feels like sprawling Los Angeles is hundreds of miles away, with the silent trees and the burbling stream and the imposing canyon walls and the murderous chattering squirrels it’s a moment of quiet in a noisy city.
P.S. I mentioned that there were three ways to reach Dawn Mine, and just for balance sake, I will mention the abandoned trail, although I don’t recommend it, unless you like long hikes in the sun and wielding a machete. It is the trail that the Australian forged from the mine up to the Mt. Lowe Railway. Start at the same place, but follow the tarmacked fire road up the ridge of the mountain for three miles. Unlike down in the shaded valley, it is in the harsh sun all the way, but the road is smooth underfoot,neven if it is steep uphill most of the way. After the three miles there is a historical marker pointing out that this was a stop of the Mt. Lowe Railway and passengers used to disembark and hike down to Dawn Mine.
I attempted hiking down the trail, but after 50 feet it was almost completely overgrown and difficult to discern, so I left it for someone else, with an adventurous spirit, and a machete.
I will be the first to tell you I love my little corner of L.A. Its big enough to get lost if you want to, but small enough to be able to keep tabs on all that is important. Plus I can be anywhere in L.A or behind the Orange Curtain in about an hour. But thats not the real news, tonight is the traditional…been doing it as long as I can remember…the Lighting of the Christmas Tree followed by the Annual Christmas Parade.
- 6 PM Tree lighting in Libarary Park
- 7 PM Christmas Parade, Myrtle Avenue starting at Chestnut and ending at Palm (Library Park)
Hot on the heels of that is the Annual touring of Santa Claus escorted by MPD and MFD through the city. It takes 5 nights to cover every nook, cranny and alley in town. This year it starts on the 15th and the last night is the 19th. Details here.
I had every intention of going to the Patchwork Show in Santa Ana today but a series of events kept me from it. First church (hi hippie Unitarians!) which got canceled due to the kid oversleeping her morning nap, then I spent too much time researching ways to use my remaining root vegetables from the Culver City Farmers Market to make leftover turkey chili, Skyped with the in laws, and then I happened to look at a map and discovered Santa Ana is hella far down in the OC. By that time, this wet stuff had started falling from the sky. Too bad… lots of great vendors were at the Long Beach show and I was looking forward to shoving some cash at them. Next up… Unique LA!
Surviving Christmas with a toddler can be a challenge. A nice looking tree with a toddler around is easy if you take a few simple steps. I remember all the steps and criteria for a well dressed tree from my days at Bullock’s, one fatally so as a Christmas Shop Manager, so I know how to do it. A toddler simple requires a little revision. All that bright shiny twinkly stuff is a huge temptation. Let them at it but with some safeguards.
- Put the tree in a playpen to keep them yanking it apart when done.
- Buy shiny unbreakable ornaments they can put on the tree. Do the lower half of those onrmaments within their reach
- Keep the fragile Radko and similar above their reach
- Use LED bulbs which burn cool compared to the old minatures and c7 bulbs…just in case they get through the barricades they still cant get injured
My grand is 2 1/2 and we found this was a much easier solution than yelling “no” all day. Also they feel quite proud of helping put it all together so its a win on many levels.
I may get brave and try him on Christmas cookie making this year. What harm can come of giving a toddler colored sugar and sprinkles?
They started showing up in recent weeks. A stick you attach your phone to for big picture selfies.
At the Auto Show this week they were all over. They’re obnoxious. The users are screaming and yelling at folks behind them and in front of them to move. I got whacked on the shoulder with one trying to get a better picture. Really? Is this not the most obnoxious invention for the self absorbed yet?
Pic by me and it embiggens with a click