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Free stuff from Honda Black Friday until Christmas

November 27, 2013 at 9:37 am in coffee, Driving, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Seasonal, Shopping

I don’t know which tagline to use for this post.  “Happy Honda Days” and “Helpful Honda Man” both apply here.  In short starting Black Friday through Christmas the Honda Dealers are sponsoring a fun promotion.  They’ll have guys in blue Honda shirts working the malls handing out free hot cocoa and coffee.  They’ll be passing out mints too to kill the coffee breath.  Drive a Honda?  Really look for their big blue Honda gas truck…they’ll fill you for free!  They did it last year and worked the city from The Valley to the South Bay…probably the same range again this year so do be on the look out.


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Press Days of the LA Auto Show

November 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, environment, Events, Fashion, Food & Drink, Media, Technology

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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Is Comet Ison worth a road trip before the butt crack of dawn?

November 24, 2013 at 11:14 am in Entertainment, environment, Photography, Science, Technology, Which Side?

I absolutely think so.  Who’s in with me?

The next three weeks are going to be prime, PRIME viewing of comet Ison.  Its crossed earth orbit and is racing to the sun for its closest approach on Thanksgiving Day.  With proper eye protection it may even be possible to see it as it circles around the sun that day.

Ison is billed as the comet of the century by some.  It may or may not depending on whom you talk to,  survive the trip around the sun on the 28th.

Griffith Park Observatory still says that most spectacular viewing will be Nov 30-December 14 in the pre-dawn hours.  I read earlier today that the best time to view will be about 1/2 hour before dawn. Read the rest of this entry →


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2013 L.A. Auto Show – winners and losers

November 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm 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 at 2:00 pm in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, Transportation

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 →


Daytripping: Southwest Museum & Debs Park

November 18, 2013 at 10:36 am in Art, Entertainment, Events, LA

With the relatively unheralded news last month that the Autry National Center of the American West was opening up the Southwest Museum to the public for the first time in years to showcase an exhibition of Native American pottery, it was only a matter of time before my wife Susan and I paid a long-overdue inaugural visit to the treasure that is the oldest established museum in all of Los Angeles.

Inside the museum’s Sprague Auditorium was an incredible collection of clay vessels, some dating back more than 400 years — trouble was that was pretty much it. Beyond access to the down-on-its-roots garden, and a small display situated basically beneath the main staircase, our visit to the landmark establishment was way too brief because there was nothing else to see. Still, I’m glad we made the trip for the same reason you should: to show the folks at the Autry that the Southwest Museum and its unparalleled collection of Native American artifacts should be made more accessible, not less.

With time on our hands and some calories to burn in preparation for a visit to Oinkster in Eagle Rock, Susan and I ventured across the Arroyo Seco to the nearby Audubon Center in Ernest Debs Park — another first time visit. From there we ventured up trails to the serene and scenic pond atop the park, where even with Saturday’s unsettled weather conditions limiting the clarity we marveled at the extraordinary views afforded us of downtown and beyond.

If you’re like me and have never been to either place, both make for a great Saturday daytrip (Oinkster optional though also highly recommended). Pics from ours are viewable here on Flickr, and information about the exhibit is below:

Exhibit: Four Centuries of Pueblo Pottery
Where: Southwest Museum of the American Indian, 234 Museum Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90065
When: Saturdays only, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: Free


Sixty-Five More Los Angeles Placenames In Search Of Their Origins

November 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm in East Side, History, Hollywood, LA, Long Beach, San Gabriel Valley, SoCal, South Bay, The Valley, West Side

Inspired by Militant Angeleno’s awesome “88 Suburbs In Search Of Their Names” post from last week and equipped with the indispensable “1500 California Place Names” by William Bright, I decided to crack the latter open and see if I couldn’t add to the former’s impressive list of suburbs ‘n stuff. Turns out I could. Some are almost too obvious or well known to mention (Century City? Duh) and some are about as obscure as it gets (Lamanda Park?), but I mention them anyway — and there are a few that are pretty cool (check out the the 220-year-old typo that is Point Dume and the darkness that lurks behind the meaning of “Verdugo”).

So without further to-do, here’s my 65 supplemental places (64 in Los Angeles County and a 471-year-old one just up PCH in Ventura County). Enjoy!

Angeles National Forest: So named in 1908 because the larger part of the forest is within Los Angeles County.

Antelope Valley: Named not for a true antelope, but for the pronghorn (pictured) — the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere — which was once abundant in the state.

Ballona Creek: From the Ballona land grant of 1839; probably a misspelling of Bayona, the name of a town in Spain.

Bel-Air: Named for its developer, Alphonso Bell, in 1923, on the model of French bel air, meaning “fresh air.”

Bouquet Canyon: A misinterpretation of Spanish El Buque, “the ship,” the nickname of a French sailor who settled there.

Brentwood: Named after Brentwood in Essex, England, the ancestral home landowner John Marsh.

Cahuenga Pass: From the Gabrielino village name kawé’nga, probably meaning “at the mountain.”

Canoga Park: Named in the 1890s after Canoga, New York, which was originally a Cayuga (Iroquoian) village.

Castaic: From Ventureño Chumas kashtiq, “the eye, the face”.

Centinela Creek: From the Spanish word for “sentry, sentinel.”

Century City: Named for 20th Century Fox film studios, on the site of which it was built, starting in 1961.

Chatsworth: Named in 1887 after the estate of the Duke of Devonshire in England.

Chilao: Formerly Chileo or Chilleo, a nickname of the herder Jose Gonzales, famous for killing a grizzly bear near here with only a hunting knife. Chil- what? Yeah, me too. It’s primarily a campground area waaay up in the Angeles National Forest.
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American Sabor: Latin flavor in American Music and an LA focus

November 14, 2013 at 9:15 am in Art, East Side, Education, Entertainment, History, LA, Movies, Music, People, Social issues, Which Side?

American Sabor opens on Saturday Nov 16th at Cal State  University LA with a huge open house.  Its an exhibit on loan to CSULA until February 6 2014.  The Exhibit is here are part of a grant from Ford Motor Company.  The exhibit left me speechless.  Yes, I knew some of the famous names, but I never knew until touring this exhibit the depth that Latin Music, its flavor or sabor has influenced all of American Music.

More importantly this exhibit has a  portion dedicated solely to the contributions of Angelenos, specifically East LA in the 1990s.  That will be part of the permanent collection at CSULA when the Smithsonian moves on loan to its next city.  Famous Angelenos starting with Desi Arnaz and flash forward to  Black Eyed Peas I was amazed, outright blown away with the influence Latin music has had on pop music, hip hop, jazz and other genres.  Other artists of note that are showcased in the exhibit are Alice Bag, Los Lobos, Los Illegals, and Quetzal. Read the rest of this entry →


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Free diesel at Cloverfield and the 10???

November 13, 2013 at 12:44 pm in Driving, Shopping, West Side

audi clean diesel

Hat tip to my friend @Ruth666 who spotted this around 8AM today. I have no details other than its Audi plugging its clean diesels (which they really are) and may or may not be giving free diesel today.


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West Covina’s Rotary Field of Valor makes it to Bing’s home page

November 11, 2013 at 10:57 am in Entertainment, People, Photography, San Gabriel Valley

I got the tip off it would happen last week that Bing would feature the West Covina’s Rotary Field of Valor on their home page today. Its the work of photographer Bobby L Brett and its really a nice collection of images celebrating Veterans Day.  Even nicer that something and someone local got the front page of a search engine site.


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Monrovia French Market

November 10, 2013 at 3:55 pm in Entertainment, Events, Food & Drink, San Gabriel Valley, Shopping


This weekend was the first of what the promoters will be the first of many quarterly Monrovia French Markets.  Its held at the easy to find parking lot at St. Lukes at the corner of Foothill and California in Monrovia, pretty much equidistant between Myrtle and Mountain Avenues.

I went yesterday morning around 11AM.  The place wasn’t to packed with spectators but the vendors canopies were crammed solid with stuff.  In the spirit of a true Parisian market it was a lot of antique stuff, vintage and to its credit, little in the way of classic swap meet garbage.  More of a glorified garage sale than a true Parisian market.   I overheard a lot of vendors and they all said their big pieces and nicest pieces sold shortly after the 9AM opening so I can’t really say how good it was at opening.

Unlike a Parisian market this place didn’t have a lot of food or farmers market type merchandise and was missed. What was there was Cafe LuMar, a  local French restaurant selling stuff from a warming tray.  I would have expected at least cooked to order crepes, or am I asking too much?

Overall it wasn’t what I expected but then again I’ve done the real thing in the 15th Arrondissement a few years back so I did arrive with high expectations.  Would I give it another try next quarter?  Yes, as it holds promise and is just a short walk from my house.  When the next one is announced I’d post it here.


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A happy hour to make your wallet happy The Phoenix Bar

November 9, 2013 at 11:55 am in Entertainment, Food & Drink, Shopping, Social issues, Which Side?

I got a follow on twitter that got my attention instead of rapid fire delete just a bit ago.  It was from The Phoenix Bar promising no bottle happy hour.  I was intrigued and after a quick visit to their web site…wow the prices and hours for this “happy hour” are down right amazing for Beverly Hills.

Three Dollar, yes $3, beer wine and cocktails.  Plus what sounds to be classic steak frites to go with it if you are so inclined.

Anyone been?  Should I nab a DD and venture into the city for a sampling or just wait until I’m in the neighborhood?

The Phoenix Bar, 14 N La Cienga, Beverly Hills 310-289-5925.  Map HERE.  Happy Hour  Daily,5pm-9pm.


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Militant Angeleno explains how the ‘burbs got their names

November 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm in Blogging (in) LA, LA bloggers, People, Which Side?

I believe it was Raymond Chandler who described Los Angeles as “40 suburbs in search of a city” back in the 40’s.  He was wrong there were 88 in Los Angeles County alone and Militant Angeleno took the  time to catalog them and explain how they got their names.  His post “88 suburbs in search of their names” went live today.  Its an easy read that is both informative and entertaining.


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Really cool time lapse of L.A

November 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm in Entertainment, Filmmaking/Filmmakers, Photography, Which Side?

This showed up in my mailbox earlier today and its too good not to share.  Nearly 14K worth of images went into the making of this video.

The video is the work of RandyGM and RalphFX and you can follow their work and see more videos on their web site, TimeLAX


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Open Studio tour in Inglewood 11/9-10

November 2, 2013 at 10:36 am in Art, Entertainment, Holidays, People, Seasonal, Shopping


Its that time of year again. Get your art on in Inglewood with their open studio tour.  More than 50 artists will be showing their work at 8 locations within the city of Inglewood.  Of course my absolute must stop destination is for the art of Luke VanHook (painting) and Ginger VanHook (photography, and author).  They are stop #4 on the tour…just to make sure you don’t miss them.

All the details you could want can be found on their website HERE.  To make it even easier there is a FREE SHUTTLE times to the various studios courtesy the city of Inglewood.   Next week will be hopping in Inglewood, join the fun and be prepared for visual over stimulation!

The full press release after the jump Read the rest of this entry →