Classic Eats #13: The Polls Are Open!

Saturday, November 6 is Classic Eats #13 and our theme is: Post Election Comfort Eating. No matter who or what you voted for on November 2, let’s all get together and celebrate with or cry into some comforting classic LA eats.

The evening will begin at approximately 5-5:30pm (depending on where we go) to give you plenty of time to come and share in the history of LA eateries then move on to more modern Saturday endeavors. But then again, you may never leave as some Classic Eats Evenings have been known to hit midnight!

You have three candidates/propositions to choose from and they are:

Downtown Delights (Classic Eats Reprise): Traxx and Philippe’s
Off The Hook: Bahooka
LAX Adjacent: Pann’s and The Buggy Whip

Scroll down to read about them all in greater detail. When you have decided, please click here to vote!

No matter where we go, I look forward to seeing you there! Vote Vote Vote!

Downtown Delights

I’m pulling up a classic night from the Classic Eats archive: Classic Eats #2 from January 2009. This was such a great combo, I want to do it again! We will start at that awesome LA Landmark: Union Station and have a lovely cocktail at Traxx Bar while admiring the fab spanish/deco train station. Many of you ride the rails in LA so you have probably been to/through Union Station a few times. It’s like stepping back in time. And Phillipe’s is over 100 years old, which is OLD for LA, so let’s go dipping!

Union Station (Traxx)

Off The Hook: Bahooka

This might be a trek for some of you, but hey, it’s going to be so worth it! This place is INSANE! Born in 1967, full of fish tanks and fish of every color and type and size, wacky giant sized tikis and even crazier flaming drinks. I’d never heard about it until recently, but dang, it looks worth the trip! I can’t do it justice. Click that link!

4501 N. Rosemead Blvd.
Rosemead, CA 91770
(626) 285-1241 -or- (626) 285-7514

LAX Adjacent: Pann’s and The Buggy Whip

If you’ve raced to catch a plane, speeding along La Tijera from mid-city, you’ve seen both Pann’s and The Buggy Whip. Maybe you’ve promised yourself “One of these days I’ll leave enough time to stop in.” Now’s your chance! Pann’s has been a Googie landmark and family owned since 1958. They’ve got excellent, classic diner food, served in an excellent, classic diner. It’s so classic that movies shoot there often. You may recall Pulp Fiction’s diner scene…?? That was Pann’s. Just look at all that Googie Goodness! The Buggy Whip is a classic red velvet booth, live piano player, bar/lounge/restaurant/banquet room all in one. It’s been named one of the best steak places in LA and is a bit pricey to prove it. I thought it best to start at Pann’s then mosey over to the ‘Whip for a post dinner cocktail or dessert in the lounge. I’m hoping there is a giant brandy snifter on the piano for tips…

6710 La Tijera Blvd
LA 90045

The Buggy Whip
7420 La Tijera Blvd.
LA 90045
(310) 645-7131

The Creepy Beneath Our Feet: Lizard People and the Bigger Picture

So what’s the deal with the Lizard People, anyway? Are they good guys? Bad guys? Are they from Earth? Are they from space? Are they all dead? Do they still live under Los Angeles? And why did they choose LA to live underneath?

The answers to all these questions are pretty much whatever you want them to be. Stories about the origins of the LA’s subterranean population of lizards are as numerous as the lizards themselves aren’t. But there are a few things that most accounts of los lagartos clandestinos have in common.

Most paranormal enthusiasts seem to believe that LA’s Lizard population — whether it’s still buried under the Central Library or not — is part of a greater population of reptilian humanoids, called “reptoids.” Sometimes they’re called “Reptoids,” though it’s unclear whether this is simply because of poor copyediting or because that’s the official name of their species. If it is the actual name of their species, we can be fairly certain they don’t pose any threat to humanity, because, come on, the most badass name they could come up with is “Reptoids.” If we can’t hold our own against a race that uncreative, we deserve to be enslaved.

Anyway, it’s generally agreed that whether they hail from Earth or another planet (possible planet name: “Repto”), the (aw, what the hell) Reptoids are part of a multifarious array of intelligent beings that visit/kidnap/fornicate with humans on a regular basis. Again, stories on the origins of the various beings present in this rogues’ gallery of sentient biodiversity differ; in some stories they’re from other planets, in others they’re from dimensions beyond time and space. It’s also generally agreed that all of these races have Big Plans for the human race, usually involving something something 2012 something.

Often the Reptoids are described as being in cahoots with the Greys, which are those big grey aliens with almond-shaped eyes that abduct people and do (sometimes horrible, sometimes pleasant) things to them. Whether the Reptoids are in charge of the Grays, or the Grays are in charge of the Reptoids, or both races are in the employ of some larger and more sinister or perhaps benevolent force, depends largely on which crazy person you sit next to on the bus.

Of course, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Like: How stoned do I have to be before any of this makes sense?

Part of journalism is answering the hard questions. So I’m going to go and try to do just that.

It Caught My Eye: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Spotted on the 10 westbound yesterday as my wife Susan and I were returning from an awesome daytrip spent enjoying all things apple from among the various orchards of the Oak Glen Growers Association near Yucaipa. Even better, as we pulled alongside, the driver and passenger were in full Ghostbusters uniform — no doubt speeding toward their next encounter fantastic with the ectoplasmatic!

And yes, while a Mercury Sable wagon doesn’t pack the same punch as an old ’50s Caddy ambulance, kudos to these most excellent folks from Inland Empire Ghostbusters (from the I to the E to the G to the B — holla!) both for keeping us safe from being slimed and for getting my week before Halloween started in the right direction.

Saturday Morning Snapshot: La Ofrenda Restored

Years of tagging had completely obliterated the bottom half of this marvelous mural beneath the Beverly Boulevard Bridge over 2nd Street and Glendale Boulevard, until a couple months ago when a project restored “La Ofrenda” by artist Yreina Cervantes to its original 1989 glory. My first pass to snap it last month found it had already been bombed, but while biking home yesterday I turned fully expecting to see additional desecration, but instead was surprised to see it fully tag-free again. So of course I stopped and made this two-frame panorama (click for maximum panoramification).


This mural features Delores Huerta, a founder of the UFW, and is an homage to the strength of Latino women. It brings attention to the hardships of war and immigration, while highlighting the life and hope that endures through these struggles. The mural features a poem by Gloria Alvarez, and the bottom section, painted entirely with spray cans, was designed and executed by her youth apprentices recruited from the Belmont Tunnel, an active graffiti yard across the street. celebrates Halloween!!

Halloween is serious business in this town. It seems to be a sort of sub-industry: when I first moved to LA, I was completely taken aback by the sheer number of one stop Halloween shops that seem pop up around the city at this time of year. Who knew that there was such a huge market for plastic pumpkins, animatronic talking skeletons, and Sexy Donut costumes? Who knew indeed. And LA has its fair share of scary stories – from the Black Dahlia to Lizard People and everything in between – making it a particularly evocative place to be for the spookiest holiday of the year.

As the end of October approaches, we’re hotly anticipating that time when the heady aroma of smashed jackolanterns will once more waft through the air. So check in with us over the next week and a half as we bring you a variety of perspectives on navigating Halloween in Los Angeles – from LA’s spookiest places, to ghostly events, to more Lizard People coverage than you ever thought you’d need (and believe me, you do actually need it). Bookmark this post, because I’ll be keeping an archive of all our Halloween posts. And please comment below and let us know about your favorite scary sights, haunted houses and local Halloween festivities!

The Creepy Beneath Our Feet:  Kevin’s ongoing expose on the Secret Lives of Lizard People (and possibly the greatest run of posts this site has ever known)

LA’s Lizard People

The Patron Saint of the Lizard People

The City with Scaly Shoulders

Lizard People and the Bigger Picture

Passages to the Underworld

Lizards in Disguise

The Real (and Not Actually Creepy Thing

And because all good things must, sadly, end, the Wrap-Up.

Other, less lizard-oriented Halloween posts:

Navigating street closures at the West Hollywood Costume Carnival

Seriously Corny

Hide Your Silly String Tonight

Halloween Wardrobe Mal-Function

Sunshine Gothic

LA Archives Bazaar at USC, Saturday!

Here’s a one for us nerdy history buffs who like to spend time in libraries: tomorrow, USC’s LA as Subject research group is hosting the fifth annual Archives Bazaar, which brings the area’s local archives together in to one place. Over 70 archives will be there, including local organizations like the Culver City Historical Society, the Boyle Heights Historical Society, and the Glendale Public Library; as well as bigger institutions like the Getty Archives, the Academy Film Archive, and archives from USC, UCLA, and the Cal State Universities. They’re offering how-to sessions on researching LA’s history, and panel discussions on topics like Southern California newspapers, the legacy of Tom Bradley, and blogging in LA. And I’m pretty excited for the session on local contributions to space flight!

I’m excited for this event because I think it brings a lot of exciting work that’s been going on in archives back to the community. And I think it’s a great reminder that archives and libraries are far from stodgy and boring – they play a really important part in telling the many different stories that make up the cityscape.

Archives Bazaar

Saturday, October 23, 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Doheny Memorial Library, USC

Check out the program here!

GTD This Weekend: Bikes, Food, Cemetery

Three words: Tour de Fat.


  • Miss out on the free-spirited roaming biking parade at cicLAvia?  Compensate, then, at Saturday’s Tour de Fat, “the biggest, most enjoyable traveling bike festival” sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company.  The brewing company, if you didn’t notice, has a bicycle in its logo; they believe in biking as much as they believe in proper beer.  You bring the bikes and the costumes; New Belgium will bring the booze.  Free; donations accepted to support your friendly neighborhood bike advocates, CICLE, The Bicycle Kitchen, and LACBC.  The ride starts at 11am at the LA Historic Park.  Full details here.
  • A two-day event, Artisanal LA brings a bit of the Ferry Building to downtown Los Angeles.  There will be local artisan vendors with delicious wares you won’t be able to resist, as well as demos and workshops.  I wrote up the event here.  $10 in advance; $15 at the door.  The event spans Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm at the Cooper Building downtown.
  • For all you MAD hatters, prolific MAD artist Sergio Aragones will be at Book Soup to sign his book, Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of His Finest Works.  His oeuvre spotlights his most insightful, most illustrative work for the magazine from 1963 to the present.  The event starts at 5pm at Book Soup.  It’s free, but you probably should buy the book if you want him to sign it.  That’s just common courtesy.
  • Downtown art gallery Crewest is home to the Faces on Skid Row” exhibit which features various artists chronicling their experience of homelessness in downtown LA.  On Saturday night, the gallery will host a fundraiser benefiting The Midnight Mission, a great organization dedicated to providing those on Skid Row with housing, educational services, and job counseling.  The fundraising starts at 6pm and goes until 9; there is a $10 donation at the door.  More details here; if you decide to go, don’t forget to RSVP to skidrow at crewest dot com.


  • Fancy a cemetery tour?  Of course you do; it’s almost Halloween.  Start your Sunday with a guided tour of one of the city’s oldest cemeteries, Evergreen.  Built in 1877, the cemetery has been carefully plotted (heh heh) to house over 300,000 grave sites.  The Studio for Southern California History will guide you to the spots where the Van Nuys and the Workmans, among other city founders, are buried and/or currently haunting.  The only downside is that the tour does not take place at midnight.  The tour is from 10am to 12pm at the Evergreen Cemetery on Evergreen Avenue between 1st and Cesar Chavez.  It’s free, but you must reserve your spot by calling (213) 229-8890 or emailing thesocalstudio at gmail dot com.
  • Pretty soon, each neighborhood in LA will be defined partly by its food, and that’s a good thing.  Case in point: the second annual Taste of Abbot Kinney festival in Venice, which highlights over 50 neighborhood eateries and drink-eries.  Of course, food trucks will be there, as many of the trucks make a weekly pit stop at The Brig’s parking lot.  Proceeds benefit Inside Out Community Arts.  The festival runs from 3 to 7pm on Abbot Kinney.  You can wander the block party for free, but to eat, you’ll have to buy tickets here.

Photo by Jory via the Blogging.LA Flickr pool.

The Creepy Beneath Your Feet: The City With Scaly Shoulders

If you look closely, the Lizard City is shaped sort of like this guy. Of course it's impossible to look closely at something that doesn't, from a strictly technical standpoint, exist.

So, one of the more intriguing things about LA’s legendary population of Lizard People is that they once lived (and possibly still live) in an underground city shaped like a lizard. Or at least, people say it’s shaped like a lizard. In actuality, it looks about as much like a lizard as any other city. Look at an aerial view of St. Louis or San Jose or Altoona. They’re all pretty much equally lizard-shaped. The underground Lizard City is much the same. In all likelihood people have been agreeing that it’s shaped like a lizard primarily out of politeness.

But it does raise some questions about how the Lizards work. If the city is herpetologically planned, that shows a pretty impressive degree of industriousness. Imagine the logistics of building a city shaped like a lizard above ground. Now imagine doing it at subterranean depths that would make a Chilean miner gasp.

So, they’re reptiles, right? How did they make a city underground, hidden from the sun? Aren’t they exothermic? How did the Lizard construction workers not keep falling into torpor from lack of warmth? And what do Lizard construction workers shout at attractive female passersby? I assume something like “Hey, baby! Lemme see that cloaca!” or “Oh, Honey! You got my hyoid bone goin’ crazy over here!”

Why build the city underground at all? Apparently they built the city long before human feet trod North American soil. Why not just build it right on the prehistoric surface of the Earth, where there are palm trees and palisades and dragonflies the size of Chinook helicopters? Were they hiding from someone? And if so, who?

We’ll explore that next time.

The Creepy Beneath Your Feet: The Patron Saint of the Lizard People

Not Warren Shufelt. But you never know. Photo by Cy.

I could write for days about G. Warren Shufelt.

Imagine if you crossed Doc Brown from Back to the Future with the gadget guy from Wild Wild West and threw in a little Joseph Smith and Edgar Cayce for good measure. You’d get G. Warren Shufelt.

Shufelt was the guy who, along with his colleages Rex McCreery and Ray Martin, first brought America’s attention to the Lizard People in the 1930s. A mining engineer from Arizona, Shufelt was approached by McCreery and Martin to excavate a portion of Fort Moore Hill (just to the north of the Chinatown dragons on Broadway). City Hall allowed them to do this, because — and this is where you might want to warn your desk that it’s about to get smacked by your forehead — the three men claimed that the Lizard People had a huge stash of gold, and they would split whatever they found with the city.

Here’s how they did it: McCreery and Martin had an ancient and yellowed map of the Great Lizard City that lies beneath Los Angeles. They didn’t say where they got it. The ancient underground city of the Lizard People, they claimed, was shaped like a lizard, much like Seattle is shaped like a pretentious hipster. (But wait: This is only one version of the story. In another version, Shufelt got the map from a guy named “Little Chief Greenleaf,” whose authority no doubt derived from his cool rhyming name. But we’ll talk about him in another post.) For his part, Shufelt had invented a device that, when exposed to a given material, like gold, could detect deposits of that material underground. Armed with these flawless and well-calibrated scientific tools, the trio approached City Hall in March of 1933 with an ironclad argument for digging up a substantial portion of the landscape.

“We have a specialized device that can find caves full of Lizard treasure,” Shufelt told City Hall. “And a map. It’s all very scientific. You just have to attune the apparatus to the specific vibrational frequency of the Lizard gold. We’ll give the city half of everything we find!”

“Sure, whatever,” said City Hall. “Just clean up after.”

For days, Shufelt dug into the side of Fort Moore hill in search of delicious reptilian gold. Of course, they found nothing; somehow, the Lizard People were too crafty to be found by a trio of crackpots and their pseudoscientific machine. By September, the crew had given up hope of ever finding anything.

More tomorrow on the Lizard City itself.

Do This for America: Rally to Restore Sanity

Back in August, Glenn Beck had a little rally in Washington, D.C. called “Restoring Honor.” It had something to do with trying to regain our country’s footing after years of being horrifically led astray by President Obama and his socialism (or was it Communism?  It doesn’t matter, they’re both bad!  Very bad!).  There was a whole lot of speech-ifying about bringing this nation back to the heaving bosom of Lady Liberty and her god, God.  You see, they were mad as hell (or heaven?) and not going to take it anymore.  There also was a very bad video comparing Glenn Beck to Martin Luther King, Jr., followed by a very bad history-in-the-making moment in which Dr. King’s niece, Alveda King, gave a speech yearning for the days before Roe v. Wade and the time when prayer in schools went hand in hand with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Doing what the Left does best (react), Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart will answer with a joint rally of their own.  Colbert’s March to Keep Fear Alive Rally and Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity will be held on October 30 in the nation’s God-fearing capital, meaning those attending will essentially be participating in the Coachella of political rallies.   For those of us back home, there is an option: the LA edition of the Rally to Restore Sanity will be held at MacArthur Park on October 30 from 9am to 3pm-ish.  RSVP to keep fear alive/restore sanity here, and may the force be with you.  Always.

London Calling

Rodger Jacobs is a friend of mine. Up until several years ago he lived in Los Angeles blogging at 8763 Wonderland and commenting pretty regularly here at Then he moved up to San Francisco. After that, Vegas baby where his bloggings can now be found at Bat Country.

It’s been a trip — and mostly not a pleasant one to understate things. A couple months ago he climbed into the Las Vegas Sun and showed everyone how bad things had gotten, and in having that remarkable courage to do so inadvertently proved beyond a troll-stuffed shadow of a doubt that Tennessee Williams’ Blanche Dubois was full of shit. Kindness of strangers, my ass. Fuck ’em — especially those who commented so vindictively and judgmentally. Line every single self-important hating motherfucking one of ’em up with me wearing the latest in the Gorton’s Fisherman Fall Line of slickers and a baseball bat. Sa-wing batta!

But I both digress and now can never run for public office without that psycho quote coming back to haunt me. Ohgeedarn.

Behaving far more proactively and nonfeloniously, I did what I could to help keep him in cigarettes for a few days. Beyond that I’ve been sending a shitload of positive-affirming vibes in the direction of Sin City.

So what? Well, bear with me. I prefaced this post with all that because in the midst of all the crap he’s endured and enduring, there’s an incredible new book out that Rodger wrote the preface to called Jack London — San Francisco Stories, edited by Matthew Asprey from Sydney Samizdat Press. Since Rodger gets a little sumpin’ sumpin’ with every copy sold, I bought two. And since I don’t read in stereo I’m giving my spare copy away. I thought about auctioning it off on eBay with the proceeds going to Rodger, or just donating it to my local library branch and encouraging you good people to buy a copy, but in the end I went in between those two options and added it to my Neighborgoods inventory. So if one of you good people want it, be the first to request it. We can either arrange a hand-off or I’ll put it in the mail to you. Simple dimple.

The Creepy Beneath Your Feet: LA’s Lizard People

The first thing you need to know about the Lizard People is that they live under Los Angeles. Or, they did, at one time. Or maybe they live in space. I don’t really know. Actually, the second thing you need to know about the Lizard People is that, like most other paranormal New Age ephemera, every single scrap of information about them seems to contradict every other scrap of information about them. And whenever you try to read about them, your head starts to swim, like when you’re listening to the crazy guy on the bus, or the IT guy in your office who still wears his GOOGLE RON PAUL shirt.

Let’s back up a bit.

You may have heard about it, you may not have: There’s an old urban legend about humanoid reptiles living in caverns beneath Los Angeles. They do all the things that humans do — walk upright, use written language, change the station during NPR fund drives — but they’re lizards. Depending on which version you’re hearing, they either lived here long ago or they still live here now.

But the difference between this urban legend and most other urban legend is that there are still a whole bunch of people who think the Lizard People are real. Seriously; the web is lousy with them. While there’s nobody who fervently believes there’s a prison escapee out there whose prosthetic hook still dangles sadly from the car door handle belonging to some hapless, cockblocked varsity cornerback, the Lizard People have legions of devotees. Seriously. The internet is lousy with them. Look it up.

Of course, very little of the information on the Lizard People makes any sense. Some people believe they lived on Earth long before humans, in a lizard-shaped city in a cave under Los Angeles. Others believe they live in space and are waiting for the right moment to take over our planet and turn us all into livestock. Some believe they’re basically good guys; others believe they’re evil. Many people believe all of these things, simultaneously.

So I’m going to try to clear it up for everyone. In celebration of Halloween, I’ll be posting a little bit of Lizard Lore every day from now until the end of the month. There’s no shortage of information out there; the hardest part will be for me to choose what to write about. But by the end of October, I promise you, we’ll all be a little wiser.

Or, more likely, a little stupider.

Are you ready for 10:21 on 10/21 for the Great Shake Out?

Across LA businesses, schools and even those at home are planning to “drop, cover and hold on” in the biggest Earthquake Drill yet planned for CA.  Just in case you are unsure what to do here are a few video’s on what  to do should the big one hit.  There’s even a good video talking with those that remember the Northridge Quake and what not to do when a big quake starts with a little redundancy of the message “Drop, cover and hold on”.

There is still time to register as a participant at The Great California Shake Out, do so HERE.

Hat tip to commenter “bentien” over at USC for the most current videos on the topic.





Cartographical Fantastication

In any of my many urban explorations and travels over my native city I’m that guy: the one who always stops and marvels upon discovery of a broken patch of asphalt that reveals a strata of brick roadway beneath it. The one who sees a bit of exposed trolley car track and sighs. I ride Angel’s Flight with my eyes closed. I stand at Los Angeles Plaza looking across the street and back through time when instead of a parking lot and freeway onramp stood a literal den of inequity and ill repute in the form of an alleyway called Calle de los Negros.

As a reveler in what lies beneath and a craver of historical context, all I had to do was see the cover and read the title of the new book by Glen Creason — the map librarian for the LA Public Library — and my response was Pavlovian. Seriously: one moment last month I was flipping through the current issue of Los Angeles magazine and there it was. Next thing I knew I was on Amazon pre-ordering it. I may or may not have been drooling.

Los Angeles in Maps, published by Rizzoli, arrived yesterday — all glorious 192 maptastic pages of it beginning with what’s believed to be the first published rendering of the area (1853) all the way up to a 2010 LA Times neighborhoods map.

I’ll spare you the OMG as you’ve either already clicked off to go get your own, or such awesomeness is just not as awesome to you as, say, free tix to Mudjunkeez at Spaceland or That Is Not Them That Is Us at Echoplex. But if you’re still here and need more input, allow me to direct you to LA Creek Freak, CicLAvia co-organizer and all-around incredible dude Joe Linton (a contributor to the book), who wrote about it here.

As an aside, the Library Foundation is hosting “Los Angeles in Maps: A Multimedia Journey” at the Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium October 28, featuring Creason and author D.J. Waldie. It’s probably standing room only and they’re not accepting any additional reservations online, but I’ll be damned if that’s going to stop me from trying to get in.