Category Archives: culver city

Vintage Expo + Pop Up Shop this Saturday

Michael Stahl's Helms photo used through Creative Commons license

Get dad a sharkskin suit or a vintage tie for Father’s Day–head to the Helms Bakery building for what sounds like a damned cool event. Billed as “part ‘Pop-Up Shop,’ part vintage expo, part art opening,” this one day event should be good shopping and people watching. If you’ve ever been to the clothing and textile show in Burbank, you know that there promise to be plenty of Rockabilly and Bettys at the Helms Saturday.  I met the event organizer, Dave from Clever Vintage Clothing, at a Hidden LA meet-up and then I saw him at the Burbank show, and I can tell you the man will find you what you’re looking for. If you’ve got a vintage itch, he’ll help you scratch it. For this event, he’s gathered 12 of his favorite dealers.

The details:
Saturday, June 19, 2010
10:00am – 4:00pm
At the LightSpace Studio at the Historic Helm’s Bakery Building
8755 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA

To Paraphrase Jack Nicholson, Chego! Makes Me Want to be a Better (Wo)Man

Chego is the Korean equivalent of umami; I think the rough English translation of both words is bomb ass.  Because that is what Korean rice bowl joint Chego! is, from the food prepared with heart to the service sprinkled with TLC to the décor filled with kitsch.  We will take each of those high points in order.

Heart in a Bowl.

Roy Choi is known as Papi to some, better known as the Kogi guy to all.  Chef Roy is the guy whose food started the food truck revolution in this city with the pretty damned awesome Kogi BBQ truck.  From there, a food truck explosion.  Yet, I bet that after the smoggy dust is settled in a few years, Kogi will be the only one of a very few with gas left in its tank.  Why?  Simple: the food is delicious, you can’t really get what they’re selling anywhere else, and Roy’s not trying to rip you off.   A fat short rib burrito is $5; some of the best sliders in this city are paired and offered at $5.  Affordable sophistication for masses – that’s how the Kogi truck rolls.

I mention all this to say that Chego is at once the same and very different from Kogi.  The same because Chef Roy is still aiming towards affordable sophistication – Chego’s tagline, after all, is “Chillax peasant food for the soul.”  And yet, different, because where Kogi mashes Korean staples with Mexican street cuisine, Chef Roy focuses on Korean comfort food, period.  These are rice bowls, pure and (somewhat) simple.  The flavors are unabashedly bold, multilayered, and, where appropriate, hot.  The menu amusingly states that dishes are rated “PG13” for spiciness.  Don’t say they didn’t warn you.

On to the food, after the jump.

Continue reading To Paraphrase Jack Nicholson, Chego! Makes Me Want to be a Better (Wo)Man

What do Howard Hughes, James Ellroy, and James Cameron Have in Common?

Apparently,  a lot.  I was making my way through James Ellroy‘s “The Big Nowhere,” and, not too far in, Howard Hughes appears, along with his head of security, a crooked retired cop named Turner “Buzz” Meeks.  Meeks works at Hughes Aircraft, and it takes him an hour to drive to Studio City for some dirty work in pre-405 1950.  Trying to do the math, I recalled the giant Playa Vista residential development just a few miles from my house.

A couple of years ago, I took some dogs walking down the Westchester Bluffs on the South side of the Playa Vista property.  There were a couple of long drab buildings at the base of the bluffs, as well as a narrow service road.  Someone told me the buildings were film studios.  Another person told me they were part of Hughes Aircraft.

So I did some research and found this amazing website.  The gist of it is, this property was not only the headquarters for Hughes Aircraft, it was also Howard Hughes’ private airport. Howard Hughes buys our backyard, after the jump

Two things to do this week

If you are currently sitting at your office behind your desk contemplating suicide by stapler because you are so bored and have nothing to do in the evenings this week, feel free to consider Metblogs your own personal saviour because we have your plan.

Wednesday! Johannes Grenzfurthner from the Austrian artist/prankster collective monochrom will be speaking at Crash Space, a hackerspace in Culver City (of which I’m a member). His talk, “Of Drunken Machines and Horny Relays” will be something of a workshop about building DIY hedonistic machines. Starts at 8pm, free for members $10 suggested donation for the general public. More info can be found on and you can RSVP on this Facebook event page. Crash Space is located at 10526 Venice Blvd, Culver City.

Thursday! Laugh Night: A Benefit for Art Share Los Angeles! We’re told this will be immensely funny. Half a dozen headlining comics (including Greg Behrendt, Donald Glover, Karen Kilgariff, etc) will be taping standup sets for The Sound of Young America, and 100% of ticket proceeds benefit Art Share LA, which provides free arts instruction to Los Angeles students. Tickets are $8 or $6 if you can prove you live downtown somehow. More info on Maximum Fun Dot Org. Art Share is located at 801 E. 4th Place, Downtown.

Fox Hills mall Undergoes Major Expansion

IMG_1739The old Fox Hills mall in Culver City, where I have been many times, was a somewhat sleepy place.  Not any more.  In time for this past Christmas, the expanded and renamed Westfield Culver City shopping center unveiled itself to huge crowds.  The mall appears to be doubled in size, and now includes Target, Best Buy, H&M, Coach, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Manna Korean Barbeque, and a completely redone food court, er, “dining terrace.”  And it now has room for key elements of any good shopping mall: a giant Christmas tree, and new cars on display.

take a tour, after the jump

Housing Market WTF

IMG_1498A friend of mine was all psyched a couple of weeks ago when she signed a contract for a condo in the Culver City area.  She had been shopping at or near the “low end” of the Los Angeles area housing market — $300k or less.   I have heard from more than one prospective buyer that, at this price level, there has been a bit of a buying frenzy.  Sellers are listing the homes for lowball prices in order to attract interest, and then buyers are bidding up the prices, offering cash, avoiding contingencies in their contracts, etc.  And the federal $8k tax credit is bringing in a lot of first time home buyers, such as my friend, at this level.

But my friend’s excitement turned to frustration and heartache as her lender’s appraisal came in many thousands below her contract price. Continue reading Housing Market WTF

8th Annual L.A. Storytelling Festival November 14

IMG_1724There are four million stories in the City of Angels (ten million in the County), and a bunch of them will be told at the 8th Annual L.A. Storytelling Festival. The Festival, which takes place on Saturday, November 14 at the Culver-Palms UMC Complex in Culver City, will feature stories, tales, concerts, workshops, and more.  Information about the Storytelling Festival, including the lineup of workshops, registration instructions, ticket prices, and directions, can be found at the event’s website here.

What’s the difference between a story and a tale?  Head to the Festival and find out!

Fire Threatens Mt. Wilson Observatory, but Legacy Remains in No One May Ever Have The Same Knowledge Again

Courtesy Museum of Jurassic Technology
From Museum of Jurassic Technology

Mount Wilson Road closed today at 6 a.m. after U.S. Forest Service authorities determined that the roaring fires could reach the mountain’s peak. Several radio towers for local broadcast outlets, as well as the historic Mt. Wilson Observatory, sit atop the 5,710-foot peak. The fate of the over-a-century-old facility is uncertain, but the importance of the observatory is undeniable. Designed by turn of the 19th century astronomer George Hale, who coined the term “astrophysics,” the Observatory realigned the way people viewed mankind as it related to the universe. Like the heliocentric model of Copernicus, which obliterated the concept of an Earth-centered universe, Hale’s experiments opened up the aperture on a more complex existence, where humans were perhaps as insignificant as tiny stars adrift in night sky. For some, astronomy struck at the heart of religion, while for others, gazing starward offered an ultimate advance in the search for God. The Museum of Jurassic Technology displays the epistemological questions, theories of God’s location, and Martian dreams sent on hotel stationery, postcards, and sloppily typed letters to Hale and the astronomers of the Observatory in the exhibit, No One May Ever Have The Same Knowledge Again: Letters to Mount Wilson Observatory.

Continue reading Fire Threatens Mt. Wilson Observatory, but Legacy Remains in No One May Ever Have The Same Knowledge Again

A Tale of Two (Circuit) Cities

IMG_1663It was the Best Buy of times, ….  Last week, I went to the Fox Hills Mall in Culver City, which is undergoing a huge expansion.  As part of the expansion, Best Buy is installing a new store there.  Just inside the mall’s main entrance, Best Buy has set up a “hiring center.” Applicants are greeted with optimistic signs proclaiming “Your Opportunity” and “Your Enthusiasm,” complete with Best Buy’s bright blue and yellow color scheme.

But if you turn 180 degrees and look just across W. Slauson Avenue, you can see a drab grey building with maroon trim.  If you look at the series of dots across the top of the building, you can make out where the large “CIRCUIT CITY” sign was taken down when this and its other stores closed earlier this year.  Circuit City’s loss has obviously become Best Buy’s gain.
More of the tale, after the jump

LaRocco’s Pizzeria In Culver City – Real New York Pizza

paul_s-portrait-copy_gprtFull disclosure: I love pizza.

More disclosure: I’m not from nor have I ever lived in New York.

So how do I know LaRocco’s Pizzeria is real New York Pizza? Because Paul and Sue LaRocco would not settle for anything less. Transplanted to LA from the Big Apple decades ago, they never lost their love for a good slice and opened their first pizzeria in the OC a few years back. Last year they got a hot tip about Culver City being a great place to be so they settled on Main Street about eight months ago and business has been very good. (It didn’t hurt that they have kids and grandkids in nearby Westchester!)

Okay, I can hear you saying, “Yeah yeah, that’s a touching story, Miss Non-New Yorker, but how would you know if it’s really authentic, really?” How about this: They import their water from New York to make their dough. Or this: When you ask about toppings Paul says, “Don’t even think about asking for pineapple or chicken, ’cause that ain’t pizza.”  They refer to them as “pies.” They only have one size: 18″. They open at 11 am and “when they run out of dough, they close…That’s it!”

And the dough is heaven in a cardboard box (or paper plate). Thin, but thick enough to support the toppings with a well practiced fold. Crispy with just enough chewiness so you can taste the flavor of the dough. The toppings are classic, with different options to keep you coming back for more. And the meats they use are the best quality pepperoni, sausage and meatballs made in traditional Italian style at Marisa Foods in Long Beach.

My friend Jenny who lives in Culver City had this to say: “We took a LaRocco’s pie to the home of one of the biggest NY pizza snobs we know- and he loved it. Loved.”

Still don’t believe me? Just go to LaRocco’s and taste for yourself.

LaRocco’s Pizzeria
3819 Main Street, Culver City

Yes, they deliver!

Click past the jump for more mouthwatering photos.

Continue reading LaRocco’s Pizzeria In Culver City – Real New York Pizza

Dear Culver City, This can’t be safe.

Fire Safety FAIL

If you happen to park in one of the Culver City parking structures near Main Street and Culver Blvd and leave your car on one of the five floors of parking, you’ll be relieved to know that in the event of a fire there is one fire extinguisher down in the ticket booth on the ground floor.


Seriously. Every other parking structure I’ve been in in my life like hundreds of these things all over the place, at least one in every corner on ever floor. When I ran a retail business in LA that was basically one large open room the fire inspector made sure I had two. How in the world does Culver City think it’s safe for this place to only have one? If there is a fire on the 5th floor, someone has to run down 5 flights of stairs then back up to even think about putting it out. Really???

One week from tonight: Coop show opens at Corey Helford

coop upcoming evite(DISCLAIMER: Shameless Self Promotion coming at you in 3, 2, 1)

No secret my affiliation with COOP – so here’s news of the opening of Coop’s first show of paintings in three years.

It’s at the stupendously awesome Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, and PLEASE come!

Party is Friday the 29th from 7-10pm and Coop and I will both be on hand so please step up and say hey!




Party – open to the public –


7 – 10 pm

Ballona Creek Mural Restoration Underway

Back in 1997 when artists Francois Bardol, Lucy Blake-Elahi, and Lori Escalera (together with Culver City Middle School students) painted the mural “Postcards from Ballona” just west of Overland Avenue along the entrance of the Ballona Creek Bikeway behind the Julian Dixon County Library branch, the wonderful work of art was intended as a beautification project that featured a film strip and postcards depicting images of Culver City’s landscape, film studio history, Ballona Creek wildlife, and local vegetation. An unintended consequence was the magnetic draw it had on taggers who defaced it practically to oblivion over the years.


Biking by this morning I was at first saddened to see the entire eyesore painted out, only to be pleasantly surprised to see the scene above: a start-from-scratch project undertaken by Escalera together with community volunteers working to return the magnificent mural back to its original pristine state.

Work, which began yesterday, is scheduled to be completed Wednesday, with one of the goals being to increase public awareness in hopes of better protecting the mural from future damage.