Tag Archives: series

Sweet Charity:Blogging.LA’s Guide to Giving – The Foothill Unity Center

I wrote about Joan Whitenack a few weeks ago who heads the Foothill Unity Center for our nice list. Now on to the Foothill Unity Center itself.

The center takes care of folks in the foothill communities of the San Gabriel Valley. Aside from feeding and clothing those families in immediate distress, they also provide other service such as dentist check ups and free haircuts by working with other groups in the SGV.  Events such as the Thanksgiving and Holiday Distribution Parties as well as the Back to School reach into the thousands the number of families they help.

Aside from donations of food, cash and other emergency type supplies they are in need of labor to help in the Monrovia and Pasadena Centers.  That would include not only sorting donations as they arrive, but labor in the warehouses to package the stuff for distribution to those in need. Even those with social working talents are needed to help with preparing files to track what help is best needed for their clients to ensure they get it.

All year long they are in need of food donations, toiletries, packing material and stuff for distribution to their clients. They need cash too to help fund their activities such as transportation and clothing vouchers. This time of year they need help with their Holiday Distribution Event. This year it is to be held on December 19 and 20 at the Ayers Hall in the LA Arboretum with the preparations for the event taking place on the 18th. Volunteers are needed prior to the event to help with wrapping, sorting and decorating. On the days of the event they need adult volunteers to help with the distribution. Finally they need help with tear down on the 21st. For more information on the specifics of where they need help for this event visit their web site HERE.

Help them fulfill their mission statement however you can.

Foothill Unity Center, Inc. envisions a community where. . .

All have their basic needs met, including the need to give
All get the necessary support to become self-sufficient
All are treated with love and dignity … all the time

We provide critical support, in the form of food, clothing, motel vouchers, and referrals/advocacy to our neighbors in crisis. As the need for food brings people to us, we listen to their problems and help them find solutions. We work with other agencies to provide long-term shelter, counseling, medical, educational, employment and spiritual assistance depending on the person’s needs.

In this way, Foothill Unity Center helps people return self-sufficiency. All services are provided with love and dignity, regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, physical or emotional disabilities or veteran’s status.

If you have someone on your list that has everything, consider making a gift to the Foothill Unity Center in their name this Holiday Season.

For more complete information on the Foothill Unity Center visit their web site.

Monrovia Center: 415 W. Chestnut Ave., Monrovia 91016 Phone: (626) 358-3486 / Fax: (626) 358-8224 Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday.

Pasadena Center: 191 N. Oak Ave., Pasadena 91107 Phone: (626) 584-7420 / Fax: (626) 584-7422 Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday.

The 2010 Nice List: Help A Mother Out

Help A Mother Out is a non-profit organization started in Northern California by two moms, Lisa Truong and Rachel Fudge, in March of 2009. They had a desire to help after learning how the economic crisis was hurting families and how babies were going without clean diapers. With $100 and the power of social media, they did an initial diaper drive and raised over 15,000 diapers! Almost two years later, there are HAMO chapters in Arizona, Washington and an LA chapter to help create awareness of the problem and to raise money and diapers for those most in need. The LA chapter is run by Kim Tracy Prince who volunteers her time and energy to get the word out and to get diapers in the hands of families who desperately need them.

What puts HAMO on the Nice List for me is the grassroots nature of women helping women. Two moms saw a problem and took it upon themselves to try and do something about it. They then inspired other moms to volunteer and open chapters in other places. Even while worrying they are not doing enough, what they have achieved in such a short time is amazing! Since May 2009, HAMO has donated over 431,000 diapers. Huggies became a sponsor in 2010 and created the Every Little Bottom program. Huggies has now donated 11 million diapers and are halfway to their goal of 22 million. That is NICE!

If you ever feel the desire to help someone, to solve a problem, to DO something, HAMO is the perfect inspiration to show you that you CAN make a difference in people’s lives. If you can, spread some of that nice-ness and donate some diapers to babies who need them!

Check out the website at Help A Mother Out.

Today kicks off a two week diaper drive in Glendale. As I wrote last week, and you can make a difference to those in need, especially during the holidays, by donating diapers or money to the Glendale specific agencies that are sponsoring this drive. Click here to donate diapers online (via PATH Achieve Glendale). Click here to find a diaper drop off location in LA.

Menu Mining: Garlic Chicken at Versailles

I gave up most* fast food about ten years ago after reading “Fast Food Nation.” I loved my Mickey D’s french fries and quarter pounders, but it only took a very short time to adjust and I don’t miss them at all.

How could I when there is Versailles garlic chicken so nearby! I started calling it my new fast food as ordering and pick up are a snap. They have so much ready to go all day that it takes no more than five minutes from ordering to walking out the door. But unlike a bag of fries sitting in your passenger seat, you can’t start digging in until you get home. And it is torture to smell that garlicky garlicky chicken as you drive.

I started going to Versailles’ Venice Blvd. location in the early 90’s when I started working at Sony. Culver City was a backwater then (hard to believe these days) and so the options for a close lunch spot off the lot were Versailles, Bamboo and the Sagebrush Cantina. The chicken or pork lunch specials at Versailles were cheap (probably about $5.99 back then) and speedy. And I’ll be honest and say I’ve never, in all these years, tried anything other than the chicken and pork lunch specials. Ever. It’s crazy, I know. There is a two page menu and I’ve heard tell of delicious ox tail platters and squid ink rice but I’ve never strayed.

When I was single, the lunch was basically two meals in one. I mean look at all that food! You’d eat your incredibly satisfying meal at lunch, then take the rest home for either lunch the next day or dinner the next night. What a bargain. Today’s lunch special is $8.99 on week days only. I ordered this on Sunday and it was $12.99. However, for the $13 you get a half a chicken, rice, beans, plantains and grilled onions. The lunch special is usually just a quarter chicken, but still plenty of food for two meals.

And there is something in that garlic sauce. My husband swears he just doesn’t like it–too salty, too garlicky. And yet…I’ll come home, salivating at the thought of my leftover chicken for dinner and when I get to the fridge, it’s gone. GONE. I was planning three meals out of the above box of food this week. But I’ll only get two as the hubs asked politely if he could have some after all…it’s that good.

Versailles is in five locations around the southland. Check out all the details here.

*I still eat at In-N-Out occasionally as well as Poquito Mas…

L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks: It’s a Wrap! (For Now)

We’re coming to a close on our L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks series and having covered only twenty-three, we’ve just scratched the surface. There are many more such things that are unique to Los Angeles and help define the city.

You might be wondering how we chose the landmarks for the posts. In true blogging.la style, any author who wanted to participate could pick any they wanted to write about. A small group of us came up with a list during a brainstorm session, but those were simply suggestions. I definitely see a subsequent series or two in the future since there is so much more to explore. Stayed tuned for that.

We hope you’ve had as much fun reading our collection as we did writing it. We’re curious to know what you consider to be a great L.A. landmarks. Click on your favorites here and I’ll post the results sometime next week. You can also let us know what you think we missed on this round.

L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks: The Capitol Records Building

The list of artists who have recorded in the studios in the Capitol Records building reads like a who’s who of popular music of the past half-century or so: Nat King Cole. Brian Wilson. Phil Spector. The first musician to record in studio A was Frank Sinatra. The building’s subterranean echo chambers, designed by guitar wizard Les Paul, are legendary, and arguably made the sound of West Coast popular music starting in the 1960s. (Back in 2008, those very chambers were under threat from a nearby condo development, raising a huge outcry from the local music community – I haven’t found any information on how or if that situation was resolved, so if anyone can fill us in, please do!) The building’s outside wall is covered in a mural that artist Richard Wyatt painted in 1990 commemorating important jazz artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington. The mural has faded significantly in the intervening years, belying the way the music of the artsts pictured continues to resonate in our musical landscape today. The Capitol Records building is, for all intents and purposes, a temple to recorded sound.

Even with all of this historical and musical pedigree, though, it’s tough to say if the Capitol Records Building would be as universally recognized as an LA landmark without its distinctive architechture. The first circular office building in Los Angeles, it’s often been described as resembling a stack of records, although that was noted LA architect Welton Becket (also responsible for the Cinerama Dome, the LAX Theme Building, the Beverly Hilton, and countless other examples of awesome So-Cal midcentury architechture – really, we could do an entire series on landmarks that he’s designed!) had in mind. Personally, though, I am more than content to consider it a (slightly more subtle) example of the kind of mid-century programmatic building design that I am so enamored with.

As we’ve been doing this series, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means for a place to be considered a landmark, and what drives us to visit those places. The Capitol Records Building is an interesting one because, unlike, say, Graumann’s Chinese or Bob’s Big Boy or the Strip or most of the other landmarks we’ve profiled, there’s nothing you can actually DO at the Capitol Record Building: it’s not open to the public, aside from the front lobby. Basically, you can go and stare at it and take a picture. Despite this, it was one of the first places that I visited when I moved to LA: as someone who makes their living as a music historian, I felt like I had to go simply for the sake of going, more as an act of pilgrimage than anything else. And I’ve definitely told many of my out of town colleagues that it’s a must-visit site for any music nerd visiting Los Angeles.

And while we’ve had our own internal debates here at blogging.LA about what makes a place a place landmark or not, for me, what makes a landmark is that weird, ineffable quality that some places develop: a quality that makes us want to go out of our way to go somewhere or see a place or be at a place, either because something interesting or important once happened there or, sometimes, just for the sake of being there. Landmarks that have a storied past are physical markers that can act like time machines, bringing us closer to that past. The Capitol Records building was like that for me: a way to feel closer to musicians who passed through those doors in the past. Standing in front of those doors, it’s easy to imagine what it might have been like inside: as a studio musician or a backup singer working hard under a scary, svengali-like Phil Spector; as a pop star in control of the microphone and in command of the room; as a technician, able to play with the sounds that those rooms can produce. And because it’s still a working studio, it also made me feel like a closer part of the music being made in those walls now.

KPCC recently went inside studio A in the Capitol Records building – you should totally check out their awesome slide show here.

Capitol Records photo courtesy of Nananere.

This post is part of the L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks series – click here for the rest of the series!

L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks: A Series

Photo by Jodi

Every city has its landmarks. Some are well-known, others hidden. They can be awe-inspiring or, in some cases, a downright embarrassment to the residents. Los Angeles is no exception and is home to countless buildings, monuments, signs, parks, streets, etc. that define the landscape.

Starting next Monday, August 9th, the authors of blogging.la will begin exploring L.A.’s great, unique landmarks. As with our previous series Songs About Los Angeles and L.A. Plays Itself In The Movies, we will give a personal perspective on the meaning and greatness of the landmarks we’ve chosen.

You very well may disagree with something we include being deemed “great” or even a landmark. And yes, there are many, many, many fantastic and iconic L.A. landmarks that won’t be included in this round of posts. We encourage you to let us know what you think we missed and are looking forward to your input!

Links to posts in this series:

Sunset Boulevard (Tammara)

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (RobNoxious)

Griffith Observatory (Matt Mason)

The Rose Bowl (Frazgo)

Randy’s Donuts (Alexandra Apolloni)

Olvera Street (Kevin Ott)

Hollywood and Highland (Travis Koplow)

Bob’s Big Boy (Jodi Kurland)

Union Station (Julia Frey)

Walt Disney Concert Hall (Joz)

Venice Beach (Matt Mason)

The Hollywood Walk of Fame (Queequeg)

Angels Flight (Janna Smith)

Farmer’s Market (Kevin Ott)

The Capitol Records Building (Alexandra Apolloni)

The La Brea Tar Pits (RobNoxious)

Watts Towers (Travis Koplow)

Colorado Street Bridge (Frazgo)

Rodeo Drive (Janna Smith)

The Hollywood Bowl (Burns!)

Flashback Edition: Angelyne (Julia Frey)

Chateau Marmont (Tammara)

The Hollywood Sign (RobNoxious)