Vintage Fashion Expo This Weekend

Vintage Fashion Expo PressThe only sentence I love more than “Half-Priced Penis Puppetry” is “Vintage Fashion Expo this weekend,” so can you imagine my absolute delight having the rare opportunity to utter both of these magical sentences in the same week?

If you are like me, then you have a swanky Mad Men themed party to attend in a couple of weeks, and if you know me, then you know with utmost certainty that I have been searching for the perfect outfit every day for the past two weeks, scanning etsy, modcloth and every vintage clothing shop within walking distance of my apartment. Sadly, nothing has caught my attention yet, but I am hoping that is all about to change when the Vintage Fashion Expo hits Santa Monica this weekend.

Taking temporary residence at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium February 6 and 7, the Vintage Fashion Expo will present more than 85 vintage dealers offering the best in vintage clothing and accessories for men and women. The expo will feature women’s hats, gloves, purses, dresses, shoes, costume and estate jewelry, men’s vintage shoes, ties, hats and suits and more. You will also find great vintage eyewear for men and women.

Early admission is $20 and begins Saturday from 9:00 – 10:30 am. Regular admission is $10 and begins Continue reading Vintage Fashion Expo This Weekend

“The Miracle” Bookmobile Is On the Streets…and at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

bookdwntlaBookmobiles are a venerated American tradition–and, like lots of venerated American traditions, are foundering on lack of funding.

The D.I.Y. spirit behind “The Miracle” bookmobile, which ranges between LA and Oakland, is propelling this little Jeep even when funding gets scarce. You’ll be able to catch up with it at the “Actions, Conversations and Intersections” show at the LA Municipal Art Gallery this Saturday at 2:30pm.

They’re also encouraging book donations. Anyone can take, read, and pass along a book–you never have to return them–so donations fuel their work. Keeping in the spirit of free exchange of information without censorship, they are particularly looking for LA local history, West Coast history, science fiction, graphic novels, zines, what they call “priceless porn,” biography/memoirs, arts & crafts, “everything queer,” books en Espanol, and “anything that can be xeroxed and prepared for mass distribution and more!”

I’m not sure what “priceless porn” is, but I’m intrigued. All the info on “Actions, Conversations and Intersections” is here; I’d particularly recommend checking out the SmartGals “Winter Picnic Performance,” on Sunday at 2pm, featuring “freshly baked bread from the Bicycle Bread Company, hot coffee from Cafécito Organico, savory music, and sweet bits of surprising theater unwittingly triggered by our guests.” Neat!

Thanks a Lot, Vista Theater. No, Really, I’m Not Being Sarcastic For Once. Thanks.

IMG_2054One of the things I love about living in Los Angeles is that people are generally pretty serious about going to the movies. I’m from the east coast, where moviegoers seem to perceive theaters as living rooms that happen not to be attached to their homes, and are thus happy to spend two hours texting, chatting on cell phones, changing diapers, making salads, and so on an so forth, instead of watching 13 Going on 30 or whatever. Here in LA, I can watch in peace, and I don’t have to spend any time wondering how long I should wait before telling the jackass  in the seat in front of me to stop playing Tetris on his phone.

Most of my contemporaries place the Arclight at the top of their list of favorite moviehouses — a respectable choice, to be sure — but I’ll take the Vista any day. Sitting on the hazy border of Los Feliz and Silverlake, the Vista only has one screen, but reserves that screen mostly for movies that demand to be seen in theaters — big popcorn movies and Oscar bait. Because every other row has been removed, the Vista has more legroom than any other theater. And of course the manager dresses up in full costume for every big opening. I’ve seen him as Wolverine and Jack Sparrow.

But this week the Vista went above and beyond the call of duty when my girlfriend and I stopped by for a 4:15 showing of Crazy Heart. Outside the theater was a small team of contractors and a large section of carpeting — the place was undergoing renovations, and we couldn’t get in. Crap.

But then a manager rushed — seriously, rushed — up to us with a book of free passes, signed one of them, and gave it to us with an apology. The renovations had gone past schedule, so the Vista had to cancel its 4:15 show. But in return, everyone who was turned away got free tickets, without having to ask or complain. By the time we got our passes, a small crowd had gathered, and the manager handed out passes to everyone; some could have simply been passersby who had no intention of going to the movies but who knew a good opportunity when they saw it. That’s a risk the Vista was willing to take. Oh, and the tickets were good for any showing of any movie, not just the next showing of Crazy Heart (which is the one we went to; Crazy Heart itself was good-not-great).

As the bumper sticker says: Shit happens. Sometimes problems crop up and customers can’t get what they want. But the Vista management was right on top of damage control yesterday, and clearly cared more about retaining customer loyalty than anything else. I can’t imagine this happening at an AMC or Pacific theater. Kudos, Vista.

Welcome to the BrowHaus

I’m often reminded that many things in Los Angeles are specialized, but it took ducking down a side alley in Pasadena to make me realize just how specialized things had gotten.

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the BrowHaus.

I couldn’t help but wonder what was next. Perhaps a spa specializing in massages for your elbow. The right one.

Behold: The 8 Presidents Ride

8pres2I don’t really need reason or logic to get on my bike and go riding around town by myself, but seeing as I haven’t put together any organized group rides since last May, and one of my pocket resolutions is to be more goddam sosh’bull and shit, I figured seeing as Presidents Day Weekend is coming up that it wouldn’t be unreasonably illogical of me to plan a ride that will wander around town involving eight — count ’em: eight! — streets big and small named after past presidents, also of varying degrees of stature either physical and or mythical. You’ll get some Hoover, some Van Buren, some Jackson, some Madison, some Washington, some Lincoln, and some Jefferson. Who’d I forget? Oh yeah, some Adams, too. Sorry Johnny. No disrespect.

So if on the coming second Saturday in February you and your functioning bike find yourself in town and you’re mildly intrigued by this concept of biking for fun and stuff, then you are totally welcome to join me, and get a commemorative limited spokecard for your participation. Here be the particulars:

The What:  The 8 Presidents Ride
The When: Saturday, February 13; Gathers at 10 a.m., departs at 10:30.
The Where: Meet at Wilshire and Hoover by the tennis courts on the south side of Wilshire across from Lafayette Park.
The Where We Going: About 30 miles, pretty flat; the route is mapped here. Ride ends where it begins.
The How: This is a casually paced ride, probably averaging around 10-15 mph. There will be improvised snack/drink stops along the way and No Rider Left Behind. Helmets encouraged, so are functioning street-able bikes, along the gear needed to fix any flats that may occur.
The Why: The why not?

Oscar Nominations Turn Ugly; Zac Efron “Spiderman” Debate Rages

duplicity_battleIn case you didn’t watch this morning’s spectacle, here’s the breakdown: At approximately 5:30 a.m., Devil Wears Prada star Anne Hathaway and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak stood atop the U.S. Bank Tower, megaphones in hand, and announced the nominees for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Seventy-three floors below, the National Guard used teargas and rubber bullets to keep the angry mobs at bay.

Why was the assembled crowd so upset? Despite the Academy’s attempt to reach a wider audience by opening up the Best Picture category to ten nominations, many in the crowd, which police estimated at north of 50,000, felt their favorite actors weren’t represented. Many cited the absence of nominations such as Emily Blunt for The Young Victoria, Anthony Mackie for The Hurt Locker, Paul Giamatti (pictured above, with actor Tom Wilkinson) for Duplicity and, most suprising of all, Sam Rockwell for Moon.

Continue reading Oscar Nominations Turn Ugly; Zac Efron “Spiderman” Debate Rages

Half-Priced Penis Puppetry

Puppetry of the Penis at the Coast Playhouse. Photo courtesy of
Check out the soft launch of "Puppetry of the Penis" at the Coast Playhouse this month. Photo courtesy of

I’m no stranger to penis puppetry, having emceed an impromptu penis puppetry show in the desert a few years back. I also have a friend who is quite skilled at the art of genital origami. He even has names for each creation such as, “The Birth of a Nation” and “The Double Cheeseburger, Hold the Mayo.” OK, I made up that last one.

Whether you are a long time fan of the art, new to the scene, or just looking for something special to do for Valentine’s Day, Goldstar is offering a great opportunity to experience the international hit, “Puppetry of the Penis” at the Coast Playhouse in West Hollywood. The ticket discounter is offering half-priced tickets to the show February 17 – 21, check out for more information and to reserve your seat for this very special engagement.

The Coast Playhouse
8325 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood CA 90069

Pasadena Playhouse to Close

More bad news on the Arts front: The Pasadena Playhouse, an L.A. landmark and institution, California’s only State Theatre, will be closing its doors, possibly for good, due to financial woes.

With 2 million owed to creditors and no way to pay, the current production of Camelot looks to be its last. Thirty seven employees will be out of work after the final curtain February 7th.

Stephen Eich, executive director of the Pasadena Playhouse, has said he is looking for ways to fulfill his obligation to current subscribers amidst massive financial restructuring and possible bankruptcy.

Attempts to find a donor to name the main auditorium after have thus far proved fruitless, as corporate donations have dwindled.

The company was founded in 1917, and the building itself built in the twenties, this is a huge loss for the arts, and a huge loss for theatre. I truly hope they find a way to re-open their doors soon.

Funding for LA Dept of Cultural Affairs at risk to go away in Motion 56.

Garcetti and a few of his pals on the LA City Council have put together a motion that will adversely affect the growth of the arts in LA by eliminating dedicated funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs. Specifically Motion 56 will divert the funds currently going to them from the hotel tax back to the general fund.  There is no provision in the motion to reinstate the funding at a later date.

What can you do to help prevent this from happening? Attend a Letter-Writing Party tonight hosted by the Angels Gate Cultural Center and the Grand Vision Foundation in San Pedro. Everything you will need from pre-drafted letters to pens for your signature will be provided. If you care to write your own custom letter, or can’t attend tonight’s letter writing party, visit Marshall Astor’s blog here.

The impact of this move is far reaching. It isn’t entirely about robbing one source to pay another. Should it pass staffing (IE more direct unemployment) will result as well as end grants that support local artists and arts organizations. Rippling out will be the loss of art for the community and jobs that are related to promotion and sale of art.

Time is of the essence as it is to be presented and up for vote on February 3.  If you can’t write, plan on attending and stating your position and with supporting arguments if possible.

Hat tip to Marshall Astor at the Angels Gate Cultural Center for alerting me to all of this.  I’m working with him for additional information on why this is such a bad idea and will post additional information when it is available.

Details: Feb 1, 5:30-8PM, the Grand Annex 434 W. 6th St.San Pedro 90731

UPDATE 6PM.  I asked Marshall Astor 5 questions to better understand why Measure 56 is important and how it will affect the city and him.  I got answers to that and more.  There may be one additional letter writing campaign tomorrow night.  To read the 5 questions you need to make the jump.

Update 2/2 Phone bank information and numbers to call added by Marshall Astor in the comments.  Don’t miss you chance to be heard.

Continue reading Funding for LA Dept of Cultural Affairs at risk to go away in Motion 56.

Eric Greenspan Plates Up Grilled Cheese Restaurant

nic_eric_s3x4_alSo ever since I met chef Eric Greenspan (The Foundry on Melrose, Iron Chef) I’ve known he had a passion for grilled cheese. We met because he wanted to compete in the Grilled Cheese Invitational, and after we got him in touch with the right people he went on to sweep the awards in 2008, and then to act as celeb-chef judge in 2009. And now, the master of the cheesy gooey sammy is planning to launch…yes…a grilled cheese restaurant.

When Merill Schindler announced that restaurant as one of 2010’s most anticipated foodie happenings, I knew I had to ask Eric just what was up. Here’s the info, right from the grilling-master’s mouth. Of course, details of the resto haven’t been finalized yet, but here’s what he was able to report thus far.

LMK: What is this new restaurant going to be?

EG: A quick serve restaurant. Not fast food but a real casual concept: sandwiches, soups, salads, seltser drinks. Real quick, real affordable–out the door for ten to twelve bucks. Something fun and chef driven.

LMK: And where will it be?

EG: We haven’t locked it up but we’re in the process of negotiating next door to The Foundry [on Melrose].

LMK: What made you decide, “Grilled cheese”?

EG: Since [The Foundry] opened, our grilled cheese sandwich has been a real big hit, and when we won the Grilled Cheese Invitational it got even bigger, more talked about. So obviously it made sense ‘cause it’s our most popular item in the restaurant. Also a grilled cheese is comfortable, it’s familiar, it’s quick. It’s typically not…

Continue reading Eric Greenspan Plates Up Grilled Cheese Restaurant