Main Street USA

IMG_12101.JPGThis past Monday was the 16th Annual Memorial Day Parade in little Canoga Park. Wandering up and down the main drag of the old town (Sherman Way at Topanga Canyon, basically), watching the parade pull together, the crowds fill in and the families and friends all together, having fun or yelling at each other or just chillin’–it was amazing. IMG_126521.JPG

Canoga Park is extraordinarily diverse. I think I probably saw individuals representing every corner of the planet here, and for the most part everyone was smiling at each other and opening doors for one another or shuffling aside to make space for each other.

Dads in Sikh garb stood next to dads in Harley t-shirts all video-ing their kids in the drill teams or the color guards. The girls on the drill teams eyed one another’s costumes jealously. The veterans and rednecks and homies alike all gawped at the lowered cars as they bumped their way up and down along the street. Everyone had dogs.

IMG_12711.JPGFor the briefest few hours, this misanthrope found she really, really liked other people, as messy and misled and fucked-up and difficult as they all are. You know? We’re all just doing our best here on this planet. Our best isn’t great, but hey, it sure could be worse. We’re trying.

Here’s the flickr set.

It’s an amazing look at diversity in contemporary America, and the contrast between young and old, idealistic nostalgia and urban grit, rednecks and homies (who really do come together over the car–and bike!–thing, which is cool), innocence and wartime. Lots of children right next to giant machines of death. It makes you wonder–stop and look around–look at everyone laughing and smiling on this sunny breezy day–can we just prioritize this? Can we stop killing each other now? I know it’s not that simple. But days like this make me wish it were.IMG_11831.JPG

Not exactly Wonderbread under our carefully wrapped crust

Check it out, no matter how any community tries to paint a picture as the perfect wonder bread city where all is just peachy, remove the crust and it gets pretty crumby.

Sadly the little victories for the little guy are too often buried and hid away.

We had a pretty terrific police officer in town, Michael Solarez. I met him under a variety of circumstances and always thought highly of him. He suddenly disappeared and no mention was made in the local paper. The only notice we had that something was amiss was an article in the Star News out of Pasadena that he was on medical leave and allegedly bringing claim against the city for discrimination for his sexual orientation.

What the hell, in this day and age AND with a growing gay and lesbian community in Monrovia I was surprised to see the allegations. Not surprised by the initial denial and attempt to besmurch his character as an ineffective police officer, but a little stunned to see it made against him.

Now I see that we have an additional officer bringing suit against the city for racial discrimination. What the hell…if true I hope he breaks the bank.
Continue reading Not exactly Wonderbread under our carefully wrapped crust

The Duke Spirit are playing Los Angeles

Picture2.jpgYep, that’s right… finally some good rock n’ roll to go see live in this town. The Duke Spirit are on this side of the ocean (they’re from that little island with the shitty food called United Kingdom) recording their new full length with Chris Goss out in the desert. The band recently just played an amazing show at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace that blew minds and have now decided to bring their rock back to the city. I’ve described this band before as… kinda like The Jesus & Mary Chain fronted by Nico if she could sing better, had more attitude and wasn’t retarded. Don’t miss this band @ Spaceland (yeah, I know… the only bummer is you gotta go to Silverlake) on June12th. Mark your calendars! Oh, and the Duke Spirit have the coolest website of any band out there as far as I’m concerned. Might as well hit their myspace for some tunes and videos… they’ve got plenty of em!

Ethnically Incorrect Yard Art liquidation sale

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(Yes….click it and make it bigger if you must)
Monrovia’s own Pottery Ranch, in business since the 1940’s and a featured stop for many years on old Route 66 is winding down and liquidating all their stock. At one point they were going to close this summer and sell the land to a developer but that deal fell apart so who know’s what’s going to happen next.
Currently it is 20% off the entire store and they were cheap to start so it just got better! They stock lots of new pottery and stuff. If you dig a little you will even find stuff going back into the 1940’s when the place opened. They also have a ton of fine china including hard to find Port Merion…which made my better half very happy over the years.
Continue reading Ethnically Incorrect Yard Art liquidation sale

I love my vet!

Somebody asked for a vet recommendation in the Gateway post, so here’s mine:

Parkview Pet Clinic.

I love Dr Martin – he’s a great guy who knows his stuff and doesn’t talk down to you like you’re a moron (like some other doctors do). Plus his prices are amazingly low, which always helps.

He recently quit having Saturday hours, which is kind of a bummer, but it was such a madhouse in there on Saturdays that I avoided it at all cost anyway.

If you go, tell them Ruth sent you!

Parkview Pet Clinic
William Martin, DVM
1534 Canada Blvd
Glendale CA 91208
Tel: (818) 244-7268

“On the Rocks” goes live in NoHo this weekend

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Ruth666 blogged the Happy Hour Theater Group’s fund raiser event a few weeks back here http://blogging.la/archives/2007/04/part_fundraiser_part_party.phtml
It was a raging success and they got the cash needed to purchase 4 one act plays and props. The props are a riot and take this in a direction that may well earn its “NC17 rating” given some of the props come from the Pleasure Chest on the Boulevard in good old Studio City. We’re leaving the kidlets home and venturing down into the Valley to see it ourselves the last weekend it runs. The important details:
Continue reading “On the Rocks” goes live in NoHo this weekend

Glassel Park Community Council violates citizen’s rights

Glassel-Park-NC-Logo.gifAny person attending an open and public meeting of a legislative body of a local agency shall have the right to record the proceedings with an audio or video tape recorder or a still or motion picture camera in the absence of a reasonable finding by the legislative body of the local agency that the recording cannot continue without noise, illumination, or obstruction of view that constitutes, or would constitute, a persistent disruption of the proceedings.

At the May 15th meeting of the Glassel Park Community Council, a videographer taping the meeting was told by assorted members of the Council that she had to gain permission from each of them before they could be taped, that she needed to provide them with copies of her video, and finally, after she questioned that she had to do either of these, was told she wasn’t allowed to tape anymore.

Perhaps worst of all, as the Friends of Atwater Village blog points out, is that the Glassel Park NC Chairman, apparently known only as “Bradley”, claims he spoke with the City Attorney’s office who confirmed that the videographer was obligated to provide them with a copy of whatever she taped.

While I believe the distinction is beyond common sense, the Brown Act does require that copies of video tapes made at similar government meetings be made available only to the public, this is only if and when the local government agency (in this case, the NC itself) is responsible for the taping. (see Brown Act, 54953.5. (b))

Atwater Village Newbie is now calling for “all videographers” to the next meeting of the Glassel Park Neighborhood Council, scheduled for June 5th at the Glassel Park Community Center.

YouTube video here… belated h/t to Curbed LA, who had this story first but I somehow overlooked…

Now I’ll never get one…

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In last Friday’s VARIETY, I caught the following headline and lead:

Silver Surfer U.S. quarter minted

Limited edition coin put into circulation

Hollywood really does mint money.

In an unprecedented marketing move, 20th Century Fox and the Franklin Mint have created a Silver Surfer U.S. quarter that has been put into limited circulation in advance of the release of “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.”

And it turns out they’re illegal. Even if they have to pay a fine, for Fox, this is great because it’s all kinds of free advertising. And people will go nuts for these hard-to-come-by coins.

They released about 40,000 quarters into general circulation, approximately 800 per state over Memorial Day weekend. Chances of any of these things landing L.A. aren’t too great, I’m guessing. If anyone does come upon one, I’d love to know how they got it.

I wanted one myself, but I’m not willing to fork over A HUNDRED + DOLLARS on eBay for something legally worth 25 cents.

UPDATE: I was looking for the follow-up article from VARIETY on this topic (the first article did not mention the illegality of the coins as that had not become apparent at that point). I haven’t seen it yet, however, I did notice that they removed a paragraph from the online story which was previously in the print version:

The U.S. Mint isn’t the only government agent getting into the movie marketing biz. Post offices across the country have begun displaying some 300 mailboxes made to look like “Star Wars” character R2-D2 as part of the 30th anniversary of the film franchise.

Of course this paragraph is inaccurate because as we know now, the U.S. Mint did not sanction the Silver Surfer promotion. And, as previously discussed on blogging.la regarding the Star Wars mailboxes, the USPS is “an independent establishment of the Executive Branch of the United States Government” (in other words, it’s not exactly a government agent).

Photo via AP Photo/20th Century Fox

RIDE-Arc Takes It To The Valley

This time around for RIDE-Arc the first Friday of the month falls on the first day of the month… coincidence? I think not! Anyway, just a heads-up that tomorrow night’s edition of the monthly ride promises a grand tour of the vastness and rich socio-cultural flatness of the San Fernando Valley, but more intriguingly will feature a revisit to the key Kafka-esque komponent of RIDE-Arc’s notorious and unforgettable November “Stormwatch” ride. I will say no more than it was like totally and titularly tubular then, and it’ll be even moreso again.

The ride will gather at 9 p.m. at the North Hollywood Red Line station, departing at 9:30 on a mostly level route that is slated for 25 miles. If you’re on this side of the hill and interested you’re welcome to join certain representatives from your humble and magnanious IAAL‚Ä¢MAF who will be reconnoitering at Scoops Ice Cream on Heliotrope north of Melrose at 8 p.m. for some pre-ride treats before hopping the subway north from the Santa Monica/Vermont station.

I’ll have a large blogdowntown pizza

What the hell is on a blogdowntown pizza? Well that’s not quite decided yet, but you can help out. The super awesome folks at The Los Angeles Pizza Company are going to going to name a pizza after my favorite downtown blog. No really. This came about after they totally owned the tastebuds of last weekend’s picnic attendees. Eric writes:

“There seemed to be a consensus among those who attended on Sunday: the “Chavez Ravine” is a pizza to be reckoned with. Even the list of ingredients makes me hungry: red sauce, minced garlic, mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, goat cheese and pesto.

Here’s where we get to the crazy part. Oscar’s agreed to name a pizza after blogdowntown. Ed jokingly asked about the idea and Oscar took us up on it. So here’s the question: What should we put on the blogdowntown pizza?

You can find the list of available ingredients on the menu. Dave, Ed and I will get together next week to take your suggestions and make a final decision. “

So, take a look, and let them know. I wonder if they can put (comment) spam on it?

Jacaranda Anniversary

jacaranda_flickr.jpgSpring has always equaled purple flowers. For a long time, those were lilacs, but any lilac lover knows it’s a rare lilac bush that grows in Los Angeles. But then, I discovered Jacaranda trees – gorgeous purple Jacaranda trees.

And since my first memories of Jacarandas are the first month in LA three years ago. The streets are filled with purple flowers again, so it’s time to celebrate another year in this grand city.

Photo by jubilo

Local movie-goers using remotes to complain about loud talkers, projection problems

Regal Cinemas is now enlisting the help of its audiences to monitor its movie theatres for disturbances by alerting staff with a “remote control”. One member of the chain’s “Regal Crown Club Loyalty Program” will be given the device on the way into a movie, where they can press a button if they witness loud talkers, sound and projection problems, pirates, or anything else that is ruining the movie going experience.

Ten Los Angeles area theatres are employing the device, called the Regal Guest Response System, including the Long Beach Stadium 26 and the Ontario Palace Stadium 22.

While the remote control handlers aren’t paid, like the usher who’s job they’re replacing, they are compensated with bonus credits on their loyalty member card.

Hmmm… “loyalty” + “rat out your peers” = free popcorn. For some reason, I’m actually not creeped out in this instance.

I’d love to hear if any of our readers has seen this device in action. Additional local theatres using the Regal Guest Response System after the jump.

…h/t WCBS TV New York, via Drudge Report… more from Regal’s press release
Continue reading Local movie-goers using remotes to complain about loud talkers, projection problems

Watch Michele Merkin tonight on The Next Big Thing

1035702480_l.jpgMy friend Michele Merkin (who also happens to be the 56th hottest girl according to Maxim) is hosting a new show that’s debuting tonight on ABC called “The Next Best Thing” which is basically like American Idol if they were picking the best celebrity impersonator instead of “the best” clueless shitbox singer. I mean, let’s get real… who doesn’t wanna see “Almost Toby Keith”, “Paris Hilton Lookalike”, “The Best Austin Powers Impersonator In The world” & “Larry AKA Freddy Kruger” battle it out?