Posts Tagged ‘Local Business’

RIP Crazy Gideon’s – Gideon is Retiring After 35 Years

His yelling may stop, but he will probably still be surrounded by nurses.

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gideonVery soon, we won’t have self-proclaimed playboy Gideon Kotzer to scream his bargains in our faces anymore… Crazy Gideon’s has announced its final sale and will be going out of business after 35 years. He’s crazy, but he’s not stupid… no doubt he’s hurrying to shut the doors before he CHANGES HIS MIIIIIIIND!!!!!! 

A man clearly filled with entrepreneurial spirit, most Angelenos recognize Tel Aviv-born Gideon as “that guy” on late night television, often straight-jacketed and surrounded by women in nurse outfits as he screams about craaaazy deals in a thick Israeli accent. Gideon’s acting chops can *also* be seen at 6:00 in this short film made by “career homeless” neighbor, BumDog… in which he portrays a member of the Jewish Mafia. My personal favorite line in his monologue is: “If you don’t give me my money back I’ll teach you how the fish make pee pee!!!” Nice touch, Gideon!

Your unique style will indeed be missed, Sir. Godspeed to you.

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FLASHBACK – De-Best of Ed Debevic’s

“If you’re really a good customer… you’d order more.”

debevicsBehold the magic of the internet… one click of the mouse and Ed Debevic’s Restaurant (which sat on the heart of La Cienega Restaurant Row from the mid-1980s up until the revolving doors were put out of motion in 2003) still exists. The clip after the jump features sights and sounds that will make you smile with recognition if Ed’s was ever a part of your life… from the little details in decor down to the steady merriment of lip-synced dance numbers, it’s the same ol’ Ed’s.

Ed Debevic’s was a fun place to bring visiting guests of all ages and group sizes (my dad *loved* it), gather for a birthday, or just hang out when you were feeling down. For a long time, it was the location of choice to commiserate when my friends and I broke up with boyfriends… we found it difficult to wallow in self pity after experiencing a few hours of girl talk, abject silliness (with dashes of pure stupidity) and comfort food (a huge bowl of mac and cheese works wonders). We each had our favorite waitstaff, and they knew us. Ed’s felt like (a very dysfunctional but fun) home somehow.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7180881846253184198
Note: I think my favorite performance in the video is the Vicki Carr tribute at 32:35

The folks at Ed’s *always* had something wacky going on. My friend Adri and I ate there on Election Day in 1988 and were surprised to see a makeshift boxing ring set up in the middle of the room. About a half hour later, two guys wearing Bush/Dukakis masks and boxing gear suddenly ran into the room and proceeded to beat each other up while diners were encouraged to cheer. Good times. Speaking for myself, I thought the food was pretty good, too… I loved the chili cheese fries, burgers and pie. I found their coffee strangely salty though, I must admit, which always confused me… how does one even make salty coffee?

A Japanese restaurant called Gonpachi now stands where the streamliner once was. Salty coffee aside, I miss the craziness of Ed’s, though… trends change, but I’m sorry it’s gone. There are more than enough Japanese restaurants in Los Angeles. We need more choreographed dance numbers.

P.S. – If you would like a memento of Ed’s, you can still buy one of their famous pickle pens online.

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COVET THIS – Junk For Joy

*Click on the thumbnail image below to launch photo gallery*

HERE’S THE CONCEPT OF “COVET THIS”:

1. We walk into a store spontaneously.
2. We pick out a handful of random things that catch our eye/s.
3. We take covert photos.
4. We post the images with silly captions for you to see.
5. YOU are overwhelmed by an urge to rush to said establishment and possess said items (silly as they may be at times), thereby helping very small businesses to stay afloat during our troubled economy. :)

The Chosen Store: Purveyors of “fun and funky clothing, collectibles and other goodies,” Junk For Joy
The Location: 3314 West Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank (818) 569-4903
Our Previous Customer Experience: I first wandered into Junk For Joy back in the 80s during a lunch break when I was working at a record company nearby. Although I hadn’t been back in over a decade, I was surprised to find that it hasn’t changed at all. Literally! I think it even has some of the same inventory. It was like visiting the 80s again, only this time I wasn’t wearing blue eyeshadow and moon boots.


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FLASHBACK – Philnjims. Philnjims. Philnjims.

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Phil & Jim’s TV & Appliance unexpectedly went kaput in 1994.

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RESOURCE – Specialty Book Stores

book cat It’s an understatement to say that by nature I’m a bit of a book addict. While many people may think it’s fun to joke that the residents of Los Angeles don’t even know *how* to read, you and I both know that there are a gazillion absolutely incredible places for bibliophiles to get their book fix in this town. After the jump is a listing of some of the most unique *specialty* book stores to be found in Los Angeles. Whether you’re looking for the latest in Armenian fiction or a manual on how to meet code when building a home, if these vendors don’t have the topic you’re looking for in stock, they can probably point you towards someone who might.

*If you notice any errors or would like to suggest a beloved shop that we’ve missed, please e-mail us.*

TRAVEL
Geographica – Travel, Toluca Lake (818) 848-1414
Distant Lands – Travel, Pasadena (626) 449-3220
Traveler’s Bookcase
– Travel, 3rd Street (323) 655-0114

HOBBIES
Autobooks-Aerobooks – Aviation and Automobiles, Burbank (818) 845-0707
Janet Jarvits Bookseller – Cooking, Pasadena (626) 296-1638
The Cook’s Library (it’s still open!) – Cooking, West LA (323) 655-3141
Hollywood Magic Inc – Magic, Hollywood (323) 464-5610

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BEST OF LA – Dwell’s List

figueroa-hotel-squaresmall-world-bookstore-square heath-ceramics-squarefathers-office-square Dwell Magazine‘s fancy shmancy LA design event ended last month, but they left something very cool behind for us to enjoy. Behold Dwell’s GUIDE TO LOS ANGELES, a handy little compendium of coolness compiled for their event attendees. (I love alliteration, don’t you?) The Dwellsters clearly have good taste. Me likey this list. Me likey this list long time.

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EVENTS – The Close Up 7/6-12

Note: Event listings are updated during the week as we see fit.

Now through 8/31/09 – Photography: The Billboard Show
7/9/09 – Downtown LA Artwalk
7/10-12/09 – Echo Park Community Festival
7/11/09 – Historic North Hollywood Walking Tour, 80′s Prom
Party
7/12/09
– Bastille Day Los Angeles; Art and Poetry with Exene Cervenka

billboard showONGOING THROUGH AUGUST 31st
What: THE BILLBOARD SHOW
Selling the California Lifestyle – Photographic Landscapes of the 1950s & 1960s
Where:
Take My Picture Gary Leonard 860 South Broadway, Downtown (213) 622-2256
When:
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am–2pm & 3–6pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am–2pm; Saturdays 12–6pm; Sundays 12–3pm
Price: FREEEEE!

Details: “Ever since taking a photograph of the Dodgers as a little boy in 1959, Gary Leonard has documented the mercurial landscape of Los Angeles, from the political to the cultural and economic. A former employee of billboard advertising company Pacific Outdoor recently gave Leonard thousands of billboard slides, a hundred of which are now on view at Leonard’s gallery, Take My Picture (named after his column in various regional publications). Advertising everything from funeral services and early fax machines to civic defense and entertainment, the images provide a rare historical survey of mid-century American commercial design, proving that, much like one of his influences, Weegee, Gary Leonard has an excellent sense of timing.” (SOURCE)

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IMAGERY – The Pinata Delivery

Pinata delivery on Victory Boulevard in Valley Glen, Sunday afternoon. See full-sized image after the jump. (more…)

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COVET THIS – Wacko / Soap Plant

*Click on the thumbnail image below to launch a fun photo gallery of things we covet at Wacko!*

HERE’S THE CONCEPT OF “COVET THIS”:

1. We walk into a store spontaneously.
2. We pick out a handful of random things that catch our eye/s.
3. We take covert photos.
4. We post the images with silly captions for you to see.
5. YOU are possessed by an overwhelming urge to rush to said establishment and purchase said items (or shop for others), thereby helping small businesses to stay afloat during our troubled economy. :)

The Chosen Store: The beloved novelty emporium, Wacko/Soap Plant
The Location: 4633 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood/Los Feliz (323) 663-0122
Our Previous Customer Experience: My college friends and I used to excitedly drive all the way from San Diego to experience the glory of their Melrose store way back when. It’s a long-time sentimental fun favorite of mine for silly gift shopping. Wacko is an iconic shop of Los Angeles and I’m thrilled it’s survived when so many other stores haven’t. :)

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3 FAVES – Beth Lapides

THE UNKNOWN ANGELENO column features three local tips and/or insights from random nice folks we meet during our daily travels. But today we don’t need no stinkin’ anonymity! Stand up and be proud, Los Angeles!

Name: Beth Lapides
Where we first met her: When she was hosting Uncabaret at the old Luna Park a million years ago. Ahhh, good times. (Although my eyeballs are still burning from some of those vintage Andy Dick appearances.) More currently, she’ll be performing her show 100% Happy 88% of the Time show at Writers Boot Camp on July 19.
Occupation:Author, yogi, teacher, and alternative comedy guru”
Why we chose her: She admits she has a big mouth, and we have that in common. So we like that! Okay, now let’s see what she has to say… (after the jump)

Beth Lapides (more…)

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TIP – *ACTUALLY* party like it’s 1999

JUNE 22-28, 2009 – WEEK-LONG DRINK DISCOUNTS
Bigfoot Lodge – TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

Place: 3172 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90039
(323) 662-9227
Time: Opens at 5 p.m. daily, Closes at 2:00 a.m. with happy hour from 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Details: Calling all lushes! Longtime Los Feliz hipster hang the Bigfoot Lodge has officially been around for a decade, and in honor of the bar’s 10th anniversary, drinks will be slashed to 1999 prices through Sunday night. WOO HOO! Plus, if you’re in the mood for a little spa treatment as you get your party cocktail on, just check out Bigfoot’s Happy Hour Friday with dtox Spa. (RSVP required)

“Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Bigfoot Lodge brings us a week of special events, reintroducing live bands on Sunday afternoons, “Sasquatch sightings,” vintage drink prices and the opening of a sister-bar in Culver City, Bigfoot West. Bigfoot Lodge’s weeklong 10-year anniversary party takes place June 22nd-28th. Drinks will be priced as they were way back in 1999! Plus, they’re bringing back Sunday Sessions of live bands to entertain the masses as we down their Bloody Sunday crafty cocktails, which we can only imagine will be spicy as hell. On Tuesday, June 23rd, check out the fourth monthly Knotty Pine Derby—and enter your own pint-sized car for the heated races across the bartop. Take home a trophy! For those who reside on the west side, Bigfoot’s coming to you with a new venue called Bigfoot West, taking the place of the old Rae’s Tavern on Venice Blvd. The flaming Toasted Marshmallow cocktail, of course, is always waiting for a new victim.” SOURCE

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EVENTS – The Close Up 6/21

UPCOMING EVENTS:
6/21/09 – Opening of the Eagle Rock Rock’N Roll Farmers’ Market
6/22/09 – The Song Stylings of Jackie Chan and Friends – Free Concert in Chinatown; Elvis Costello – Free Show at Amoeba

SUNDAY, JUNE 21st
Eagle Rock’N Roll Farmers’ Market – GRAND OPENING / REOCCURING WEEKLY

Place: 2700 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041 (Located on the upper parking level next to Macy’s)
Time: Every Sunday from 10am to 2pm
Details: Eagle Rock’s groovy new Farmers Market opens up this Fathers’ Day… and if it’s anything like PD Markets’ other locations (I try to attend the Woodman Avenue Market when I can), it’s definitely worth checking out. According to founder Philip Dane, “For those of you that are not familiar with our markets, we are not your ordinary farmers’ market. PD Markets has a unique feel and brings together farmers with artisans and live music. (This Sunday) we have The Bar Band playing 2 sets and of course it’s all Free. Plus we have a Rock Climbing wall and obstacle course for the kids or the kid in you.”

YouTube Preview ImageMONDAY, JUNE 22nd
Jackie Chan and Friends – FREE CONCERT IN CHINATOWN
Also featured will be Xu Dong Mei, Xu Nin, Jack Tu, Jerry Liao, Yang Zheng, and Ji Tao of the New Lucky Seven, Korean singer Yoo Suengjun, and America’s Sharon Jiao.
Place:
Central Plaza, 943-951 N. Broadway, Los Angeles Chinatown
Time:
Monday, June 22, 2009 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Details: The always adorable Jackie Chan will reunite friends and pop singers from China in a free performance in Los Angeles Chinatown. The concert will be performed in Mandarin and English. Martial arts performances by both the New Lucky Seven and the Shaolin Warriors of Chinatown will be a part of the evening. According to the press release, Jackie is taking time out from rehearsing for the remake of ‘Karate Kid’ to perform his inspirational music in L.A.’s Chinatown, where his very first U.S. feature film, ‘Rush Hour,’ was shot.

Elvis Costello – FREE IN-STORE CONCERT
Place: Amoeba Records, 6400 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood
Time: June 22, 2009, 8pm
Details: I *really* don’t need to tell you who Elvis Costello (aka Declan McManus, International Art Thief) is, or why you should see him. You already know. And if you don’t? Seriously? Ummm. Well I… I… oh, I just don’t think I can see you anymore. I’m sorry. I really do care about you, but this relationship just isn’t going to work out for me. Yup… that’s a dealbreaker, ladies.

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TV – Man Versus LA Food

The Food Network’s travel show Man Versus Food follows actor and food enthusiast Adam Richman as he explores the “big food” of different American cities and enters a long-standing eating challenge at a local restaurant.

In February, Adam brought the show to Los Angeles. If you’d like to try his local menu for yourself, here it is:

Where: El Tepeyac Café
Where: 812 N Evergreen Ave, East LA (323) 267-8668
What to order: The five-pound Manuel’s Special, designed to feed two to four people. He also ordered a machaca burrito, which is shredded beef with egg. Having grown up in San Diego, I just prefer to call this “breakfast.”

Where: Phillipe’s French Dip
Where: 1001 N Alameda Street, Downtown (213) 628-3781
What to order: He tried all of the French dips and rated them in order of his favor: 1. Beef; 2. Lamb; 3. Pork; 4. Turkey. (I concur with his results.)
Tip: Eating aside, I would also recommend walking around the corner to the back dining room and checking out the walls. Philippes used to have a strong tie to the local union of circus performers and there’s still some vintage circus memorabilia gracing the walls if you look to your left. Model trains, too!

THE FOOD CHALLENGE
Where: Orochon Ramen
Where: 123 Onizuka Street Little Tokyo (213) 617-1766‎
What to order: The “Spicy Ramen Challenge”… basically, any person who can finish the serving of Special No. 2, a spicy soup featuring 10 kinds of chiles, is awarded a place on the Wall of Bravery. He finished. Will you?

Full episode of “Man Versus Food” is viewable after the jump. (more…)

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TRENDS – Tweeted Treats

Although a bunch of enterprising UCLA law students recently helped to overturn that stupid ban on taco trucks in Los Angeles (THANK YOU!), there are some things that will never be the same again. It’s now the dawning of the age of Twittered food in Los Angeles. It all began when word leaked out that Kogi was twittering the locations of their Korean taco trucks to keep one step ahead of the kerfluffle with authorities. Public reaction was unprecedented… soon thanks to word of mouth, the excitement built up until people began lining up curbside for two hours just to get the chance to try a Kogi spicy pork slider. (Which, let me say from first hand experience, are definitely tasty. Perhaps not two hours standing on a curb worth of tasty, but tasty.)

Since Los Angeles is so big, we’re behind the food cart culture of cities like Portland. And we’re always a little bit behind New York, where twitter will lead you to Belgian waffles, red currant ice cream and a brazen guerilla coffee truck that parks outside of Starbucks (NICE!). But with the success of Kogi, we knew it had to be the beginning of a trend. So below is a listing of the current food vendors that are riding the twitter train, as well as tips on how to get Kogi without waiting in line forever. It makes perfect sense to me that with the economy the way it is and the overhead of a mobile restaurant being so low, this list will probably multiply soon. So keep your eyes and ears open and let us know if you discover any great ones we should know about. (more…)

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FOCUS – See Cal Profit

Cal Worthington and his dogg SnoopCalvin Coolidge “Cal” Worthington was a bad ass. I mean, we’re talking about a man who braved Southern California heatwaves wearing a polyester cowboy leisure suit. For decades, he stood on top of biplanes in midair, rode charging hippos and wrassled bears and tigers. Just to get you to go see him. And it all paid off… a profile in the Sacramento Bee (published in 1990) stated that ol’ Cal grossed $316.8 million in 1988. Okay, now add inflation. That’s a lot of Fords, my friend.

Cal was one of the very first car dealers to appear in their own TV ads as a wacky character, promising if he couldn’t give you the best price that he would stand on his head or eat a bug. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any youtube videos of Cal eating bugs so I’m unsure if he ever actually ate any. But he did an awful lot of other stunts for rolling cameras, as evidenced below. (Turn your speakers down if you don’t want to be humming his theme song all day.)

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From the first link:

Mr. Worthington came to Southern California in 1948 after a much-decorated military career piloting B-17 Flying Fortresses on 29 combat missions over Germany. He made enough selling used cars to start trading in war surplus. That’s what brought him to California, where it took him nearly two years to sell a ship full of corroded welding equipment he’d bought. He cleared $13,000, which was enough to buy a Muntz dealership.

Mr. Worthington became an early believer in the power of television advertising. Rather than buy ad spots, he produced entire programs. Every Saturday and Sunday night, he was host of a three-hour variety show broadcast live on a Los Angeles station from Cal’s Corral at his dealership. The show featured a who’s who of country music stars, including Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and Roger Miller. The rising cost of television time eventually forced Mr. Worthington to focus on shorter ads in which he praised specific cars on his lot while wearing a 10-gallon hat and a garish western suit from Nudie Cohn, the rodeo tailor.

One day a rival dealer appeared in commercials with his dog, named Storm. As a joke, Mr. Worthington started countering with ads featuring “my dog Spot.”

“Only Spot was never a dog,” he said with an infectious, off-kilter grin. “It was always a chicken, or a possum, or a duck or something. But it was never a dog.”

Over the years it became a signature gimmick. Mr. Worthington appeared with a zoo’s worth of creatures, including a lion, an elephant, a water buffalo, a gorilla, a tiger, a rhinoceros, assorted snakes and even a killer whale (which he rode) at Sea World.

Mr. Worthington, whose formal education ended with the ninth grade, said he had only one occasion to rue his lack of schooling. “I wanted to be an airline pilot after World War II, but the airlines wouldn’t take you unless you had a college degree,” he said.

Cal is 88 years old now and his son voices most of his current commercials. In addition to automobile dealerships, it’s said that the Worthington family owns ten ranches as well as three shopping centers and one office tower, grossing $600 million a year.

So really… there’s a big life lesson in this, people. Especially during hard economic times like these, if you really want to succeed in life sometimes you’ve just gotta just quit whining, take a deep breath, get up some courage and do something crazy to get yourself noticed. It might just pay off. Bug eating and bear wrestling (or trying out for a reality show, for that matter) isn’t original anymore so you may need to get a little more creative, though. Be a bad ass.

When the going gets tough, just think to yourself… WWCWD?

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