Category Archives: FEATURED

L.A Auto Show opens today-what to look for

First up a must stop and see is the Nissan exhibits in the West Hall of the L.A Convention center.  Not only did they have the most outrageous press reveal in L.A Ever, they have a full size Tie fighter ala Star Wars to launch their limited edition Rouge One Star Wars Edition SUV on display.  The Rogue One is limited to 5,000 copies in the U.S and includes a full sized signed and numbered Death Trooper Helmet.  Details on how to get one can be had at the Nissan Answer Desk.

Tie Fighter welsomes you to Nissan. click to embiggen
Tie Fighter welsomes you to Nissan. click to embiggen

Continue reading L.A Auto Show opens today-what to look for

“The Odd Couple” opens Friday at Sierra Madre Playhouse


Odd Couple Contest poster, click to embiggen, image by Gina Long
Odd Couple Contest poster, click to embiggen, image by Gina Long

The Odd Couple celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and the Sierra Madre Playhouse production promises NOT to be your grandparents version of the play.  There are some interestsing twists.  This cast has character and chemistry.  The one rehearsal I sat in I was enthralled and had to keep my attention diverted so I didn’t get so wrapped up I spoiled opening night for myself.

Artistic Director Christian Lebano and Director Alan Brooks bring some fun to the table in their interpretation of “The Odd Couple” that won’t go unnnoticed.  To give it some local flavor the Pigeon Sisters are played by actors Kari Lee and Jane Lui.  The little bit I saw they bring a whole new range of interest and humor to the roles of the love interests of accidental bachelors Oscar and Felix.  Worth a see, trust me.

What is really fun is the contest.  Since this is the story of a mismatched roommate situation, the Sierra Madre Playhouse is running a contest for the worst roommate story.  The stories will be read prior to the play start each week and the winner will be announced at the Sunday matinee on June 12.  Story must be entered by midnight May 31, 2015. You can enter by submitting your story on the Sierra Madre Playhouse Facebook page, or emailing them at [email protected]  As noted in the headline…the best story gets dinner with the director and cast.

Christian Lebano, the Artistic Director at the Playhouse has his own roommate story to share here:

The Odd couple opens May 8 and runs through June 27.  You can order tickets HERE.  Here’s an added surprise and reason to attend opening night…you get to go to the opening night reception and mingle with the cast, directors and board of the Sierra Madre Playhouse.  Location of the reception is announced at the play…so no crashers.

Sierra Madre Playhouse 87 W Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre CA 91024  MAP HERE  Box Office 626/355-4318

Its a Wrap on 12 Days of Giving

wrapped GiftThis is one of my most favorite series that we do.  It outlines our diversity as a group and underscores our love of Los Angeles and the millions of souls that call it home.  During the course of the last several days you’ve read about the following non-profits and charities that we devote our time and energy too.  In the order they appeared:

Thanks for indulging us and stopping in to visit us and our favorite non-profits.  We’ll resume our regular programming again.  Soon.


12 Days of Giving: Donate Blood

This is the one of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart. It isn’t always about monetary donations for these groups. Tight on funds? They welcome your time and talents to help them as a volunteer as well. When it’s all said and done you feel closer and connected to your community when you help it out. And isn’t giving of yourself all that matters this time of year regardless if its Christmas, Hanukkah, or Pagan rituals?

Hot Blooded!
Hot Blooded!

Speaking of “giving of yourself” why not literally give of yourself? Blood banks always need blood, not just in times of crisis. If you meet the requirements, you can donate a pint of your blood in about an hour. Easey peasey, stress-ball squeezey! No matter your blood type, blood banks need it. Are you Type O, the Universal Donor? Great, that means more people in the city need your blood. Are you a rare type – AB? Great, they need you too.

l_gotbloodMy favorite donation place is the UCLA Blood and Platelets Center. The staff is friendly, the place is clean and bright and they do all they can to make it easy and fun to donate. They have assigned parking spots just for donors right by their door in Westwood. And even if those spots are taken, they give you free parking in the nearby lot. They always have raffles and free gifts. I got a beach towel and a UCLA T-shirt from my last two visits. And those bonus gifts were on top of the free movie tickets you get for donating. Oh and the great selection of juice and cookies after! From start to finish (checking in, paperwork, getting your vitals checked, donating blood, juice/cookies) it takes about an hour. The actual donation part? about 10 minutes.

There are many places to donate in LA, just google it. Children’s Hospital LA has a donation center. The Red Cross has many donation centers in SoCal and hey! They are giving away red, long sleeved t-shirts if you donate between 12/24 and January 4.

It is true what they say, the more you give, the more you get. Please donate blood. It might cost an hour of your time every three months and the benefits to your community and your heart are huge.


12 Days of Giving: Help A Mother Out

This is the one of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit causes near to our heart.  Its not always about monetary donations for these groups. Tight on funds?  They welcome your time and talents to help them as a volunteer as well.  When its all said and done you feel closer and connected to your community when you help it out.  And isn’t giving of yourself all that matters this time of year regardless if its Christmas, Hanukkah or Pagan rituals?

HAMOlogoNo matter their race, gender, or income level, all babies have one very basic thing in common: They Need Diapers. And lots of them. For YEARS. One in three families in the US struggle to afford diapers and 22% of children live in poverty. Diapers are not cheap and they are not covered in any public assistance programs – not even WIC (Women, Infants and Children). How much? Diapers can cost on average $75-$100/month. And most childcare facilities require parents to supply diapers every day for your child. If you are a poor working parent, childcare is critical for you to be able work. If you can’t afford diapers, you can’t use daycare and if you can’t use daycare, how can you work? Vicious cycle.

“Diapers are a must-have. You can’t skip them like you can breakfast. Getting donated diapers has helped me because I don’t have to have my child do without other things, such as food.” ~ Mom, Center for the Vulnerable Child

This is where Help A Mother Out comes in. Their sole mission is to provide diapers to families who need them. They do this by raising money, raising awareness and working to change laws specific to diaper needs in public assistance programs. And they need your help. Families and babies need your help. They are based in the Bay Area, but they have a small volunteer crew here in Los Angeles who run diaper drives and distribute diapers to various organizations in LA County.

Please click through to read more and to find out all the ways you can Help A Mother Out.

Who are these families in need? They can be anyone. Families hit hard by the recession. Families whose circumstances have changed unexpectedly due to a health crisis. A mom and her kids escaping domestic abuse with only the clothes on their backs. Homeless families trying to get on their feet. Working families barely getting by. It’s not just one type of family that needs help. And clean diapers mean much healthier and happy babies. Parents who can’t afford diapers often leave their kids in dirty diapers for ong periods of time. This can cause sever diaper rash and could even lead to infectious diarrhea, Hepatitis A and viral meningitis. Clean diapers help the whole family and the community.

“With the help of diapers, I am able to use the little money I have on food and other important necessities for my kids.” Mom of two, Women’s Daytime Drop in Center

How can you help? You can donate money online, you can host a Diaper Drive, you can also donate diapers, you can even buy diapers on Amazon to ship directly to a local organization. Do you have a child who has just potty-trained? Fist of all, congrats! Second – do you have a half opened pack of diapers in the closet? Help A Mother Out will take those too. You can find out how to help here. You can also make it really easy and contact me. I’ll come and get your leftover diapers personally to deliver to a local shelter or organization that needs them.

(You’ll notice these donated diapers are the disposable variety and many of you might have environmental concerns. Homeless and poor working families often have limited or even no access to laundry facilities on a regular basis and cloth diapers require much laundering as well as the soap to go with it. Just something to keep in mind.)

Click here to see specifically who Help A Mother Out serves in California.

Every baby deserves a clean diaper. Period.




12 Days of Giving : Foothill Unity Center

wrapped GiftThis is the first of several posts by us outlining charities and non-profit  causes near to our heart.  Its not always about monetary donations for these groups.  Tight on funds?  They welcome your time and talents to help them as a volunteer as well.  When its all said and done you feel closer and connected to your community when you help it out.  And isn’t giving of yourself all that matters this time of year regardless if its Christmas, Hanukkah or Pagan rituals?

One of the charities that I help when I can is the Foothill Unity Center.  This group is headquartered here in Monrovia with a satellite office in Pasadena.  Year round they service the hungry, newly homeless, newly jobless or whatever other suddent tragedy that hits their home leaving them in need of help.  They need volunteers for several upcoming events, money to support their programs, food donations, clothing…whatever you can help them with. Visit their web site linked in here for more information on what you can do to help them.  After the jump you can learn more of their immediate needs. Continue reading 12 Days of Giving : Foothill Unity Center 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

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.

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.

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.

The greatest hamburger in LA (maybe)

It is possible (I say this with much trepidation as I am sure this pronouncement will be met with much naysaying) that I have finally found LA’s greatest hamburger. It is possible that the greatest hamburger in Los Angeles can be found at Howard’s Famous Bacon and Avocado Burgers, at Venice and Sepulveda.

This is not a fancy burger. Apart from the eponymous bacon and avocado, this is a burger with absolutely no frills. But do you know what? Some days all I want is some ridiculous burger topped with three different varieties of artisinal smoked provolone, a balsamic reduction, pineapple-mango salsa, micro-greens and unicorn saliva. And some days I only have five dollars and I just want a burger, dammit.

And those are the days when Howard’s is it. The blinding, blinking sign is like a beacon in the smog; the orange and turquoise interior is decorated with faded, curling movie posters from the 1940s; and the burger is probably perfect. The bun is toasty and lovely, the patty is juicy and delicious, the bacon is crispy, the avocado is perfectly ripe, and the cheese, well, the cheese is orange.  And all is right with the world.  This is possibly the closest I’ve come to my ideal, platonic cheeseburger.

Ok, now tell me:  where’s your favorite burger in LA?

Howard’s Famous Bacon and Avocado Burgers
11127 Venice Blvd Ste 7
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 838-9111

Plane Spotting: October Edition

For those that are interested in such things, you’ll have another opportunity to catch a glimpse of Air Force One later this week. The President will be paying a visit to the City Of Angels on Friday.

As I’ve written here before, most people have seen a 747. Hell, you almost can’t miss them if you’re anywhere near Sepulveda and the 105. This is probably the most famous 747, though, and it is truly an impressive sight. Especially impressive when you consider all of the other aircraft, staff, and logistics that have to be coordinated every time it takes flight.

Air Force One is scheduled to land at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning at 11:20am. A good spot to watch it descend toward the runway is the lawn at In-N-Out on Sepulveda. That’s just a fly-over spot, though, so if you want to get a longer look, I’d recommend somewhere down near the other end of the runway. The last time I was there for an AFO arrival, I noticed quite a few people getting a bird’s eye view from West Imperial Avenue (above Imperial Highway; map here.) If you hit this spot, take binoculars. You’ll be at the closest viewing area to AFO’s parking space, but it’s still a fair distance away (see map.)

Something to keep in mind: Air Force One is scheduled to arrive at 11:20am. The last time this plane came to town, it actually landed 40 minutes ahead of schedule. If you’re going to watch it land, plan ahead and get there a little early.

Also, anyone remember the traffic nightmare caused by the President moving about the city in August? Ugh! Keep an eye/ear out for street closures on Friday afternoon and evening.

Rescue Train’s Race For The Rescues Event Sunday Oct. 24

Are you a Gleek and a pet lover? Then this event is for you!*

The Rescue Train is holding its 5th annual Race for the Rescues event this Sunday, October 24 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The day will include a 5k, 10k and kids fun run along with lots of entertainment along the way. The proceeds benefit 10 non-profit pet rescue organizations in LA. There will be a huge silent auction, face painting for the kids and lots of pet shopping to dress up your four legged friend in time for Halloween. And if you were looking to adopt a new four legged friend, there will be dog and cat adoptions all day through the LA Animal Services and Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA.

And  your celebrity hosts for the event? Jane Lynch from Glee along with Carrie Ann Inaba from “Dancing With The Stars” and Danielle Fishel from the Style Network’s “The Dish.” Get your Gleek on!

Registration starts at 7am with races starting at 8:30. All events will wind down around 1pm. For a full schedule of events and to sponsor racers or make general donations to The Rescue Train, click here.  For more general info on The Rescue Train, please click here.

*I’m looking at you, author Queequeg!

Photo of "Jetta Rose," one of many pets who need homes via Rescue Train