“Many scenes in the Hal Roach comedies were shot on the streets of Culver City. The brilliant designer and pop culture historian Piet Schreuders creates a computer model of Culver City as it looked in the 20′s – and matches-in scenes from Laurel and Hardy comedies that were shot on site.”
I saw this a few years ago and it just blew me away. The amount of loving and precise effort this one man put into matching up the scenery is so impressive. Unfortunately, some of it isn’t subtitled, but it doesn’t really matter.
For a 13-page PDF of background about this clip, click here.
If you aren’t an old school Southern Californian, the next sentence will mean nothing to you, but here goes. Fred Rated and I once celebrated our shared birthday together. I was working my night job at the time and he just happened to show up so we birthday bonded with each other for a few magical moments. Basically, he partied with his friends while I pretended not to be geeking out. If current tv commercials were half as creative as those old drug trip Federated spots, I wouldn’t fast forward through everything on my DVR.
He now stays behind the scenes as the voice of the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, but decades ago our local airwaves were under attack by actor/radio dj Shadoe Stevens (Terry Ingstad) and his frenetic alter ego, a hyperactive electronics pitchman in a Miami Vice suit. From Stevens’ web site:
“In the 1980′s, Shadoe Stevens was retained to devise an advertising strategy and branding campaign for a 14 store electronics chain known as the Federated Group. He created and played a character named Fred Rated in a series of commercials that were a mix of Saturday Night Live and Monty Python. Over a period of six years, he and a small team of artists created over 1,200 different commercials.”
Now let’s read that again… IN SIX YEARS, SIX PEOPLE CREATED 1,200 FRED RATED COMMERCIALS. Chew on that for a second. (more…)
**SUPPORT SMALL, LOCAL BUSINESSES!!!**
WHAT: Galco’s Old World Grocery
WHERE: 5702 York Blvd, Highland Park (323) 255-7115
DETAILS: Galco’s purveyance of vintage sodas and candies is clearly a labor of love for owner John Nese. He took over the business from his father, who originally ran the Highland Park market as a grocery store. With 174 rave reviews on Yelp, John’s enthusiasm is definitely contagious… so go there and drink up the fun! Literally. :)
“If you’re really a good customer… you’d order more.”
Behold 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.
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.
*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.
There are few things we can truly count on in life,
but we can always count on Marty & Elayne to be…
Marty & Elayne.
‘Cuz they’ve got us… under their dermis.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 2nd
What: 4th ANNUAL PUBLIC FRUIT JAM
Where: Machine Project, 1200 N Alvarado Street
Details: “Yesiree, it’s that ripe time of year again! Making jam and getting into sticky situations with Fallen Fruit collective is one of our favorite summertime traditions! Bring along your home-grown or public fruit and any clean, empty glass jars you have. At the end everyone will leave with a jar of communal jam. If enough people bring surplus, even the empty handed will leave with jam. Vats of fun for all!
The kinds of jam we make will improvise on the fruit that people provide. The fruit can be fresh or frozen. Fallen Fruit will bring public fruit. We are looking for radical and experimental jams as well, like basil guava or lemon pepper jelly. We’ll discuss the basics of jam and jelly making, pectin and bindings, as well as the communal power of shared fruit and the liberation of public fruit… Thanks very much to Slow Food LA for their help in funding this event!”
Chicano artist Leo Limón has been painting the drains of the Los Angeles River for twenty years. In this interview from 2005, he explains what he calls “me-tagging.”
“Leo Limón‘s activities date back to the very formative years of the Chicano Art Movement and his work reflects the vision, aspirations and images of his surroundings and roots. For 30 plus years he has being painting the Los Angeles River Cat faces on the storm-drain covers and is involved with groups whose efforts are to revive the river as a historic region, cultural arts enclave and tourist destination.”
*To launch a captioned photo gallery of crazy stuff, click on the little image below labeled LOT #4030*
Sigh. After over 40 years in business, Harvey Schwartz, owner of Twentieth Century Props, will be closing shop and putting 113,000 square feet of tangible movie history up for auction from July 28 to August 1.
This closing is incredibly sad to see on many many levels, but you *know* you want to sit in Dr. Evil’s pod (aka LOT #504) while you’re watching television. So because I’m nice, I took a moment to go through the online catalog and pull out a few things you might not even realize you need, BUT DO. You’re welcome. Just click on the beer keg at left.
You can also inspect the merchandise in person at 11651 Hart Street in North Hollywood through Monday (9am-4pm) and after 8am on the mornings of the sale.
What: The Doo Dah Surf Parade, hosted by the totally rad Charles Phoenix
Where: Sunset Beach, Pacific Palisades
When: Saturday July 25, 2009, EARRRRLY in the a.m. SCHEDULE HERE
Details: “Meet at the bluff for a group paddle out to say goodbye to the aggro attitude and to bring back the stoke that keeps us surfing!” Let’s put it this way: the Doo Dah Surf Parade is to the U.S. Open of Surfing as The Doo Dah Parade is to the Rose Parade. The main guideline is this: if you don’t have a sense of humor, don’t do the Doo.
“Back in the Spring of 2002, after a day of frustration at local breaks known for aggro-vibes and hostility, four local Surfers decided the best way to get surfing back to it’s pure and fun origins was to go the extreme of laughing at ourselves. Three short months later in June of 2002, over 30 Surfers showed up in costumes rangings from nuns, to business men, to bumblebees. Ever since Doo Dah Surf 2002, each ensuing year has seen attendance double as well as increased recognition from media to documentaries. All proving that the surf community is ready for a day of fun and celebration.”
***Echo Park Paddleboat Regatta deadline is MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!***
What: 826LA’s Echo Park Lake Paddle Boat Regatta
When: Sunday, July 26, 2009, 4pm
Where: Echo Park Lake. Duh.
Who: You! Sponsor a team! Donate prizes! Just show up to gawk and cheer or JOIN IN AND RACE – bring friends or join a pre-existing team.
Why: Because it’s great Sunday fun to mow down swamp turtles with a paddle boat! Oh, and it’s also cool to raise money for the kids of 826LA. *PLUS* there are PRIZES and goodie bags involved! Wheeeee!
Details: “On Sunday, July 26, 90 paddle-boaters (45 teams) will meet for the second annual 826LA Echo Park Lake Paddle Boat Regatta. These fearless navigators will brave the elements, the geese, and each other as they race through (the possibly monster-infested) Echo Park Lake to earn the title of World’s Best Paddle Boat Racers and to raise funds for 826LA. Teams pre-register online, then solicit donations from friends, family, significant others, passers-by on the street, and large corporations—all to secure a better starting position.” Registration and fundraising for the Regatta closes midnight on July 24th.
Details: Born near the Naples, Italy, Simon Rodia emigrated to Pennsylvania at 15. When his brother was killed in a mining accident, Simon moved to the West Coast and eventually settled in Watts in the early 1920s. He began creating the towers in 1921 and finished in 1948. Seven years later, frustrated by vandalism and disputes with his neighbors, he suddenly gave the property to neighbor Luis Sauceda and walked away. He was 75 years of age.
Simon Rodia lived in Martinez, California until his death in 1965. He never viewed his Towers again. (more…)
Please click the little image below that says “DINER” to launch fun images of the festive little toy neighborhoods to be found at Stats. And please don’t miss my witty captions… I worked hard on ‘em, people!
I was in Pasadena for a meeting yesterday and decided to walk into STATS FLORAL SUPPLY for old time’s sake… although I have always found them a bit pricey, Stats has been a guilty pleasure of mine for decades. Honestly, it’s kinda like a gory car accident I can’t tear my eyes away from. Yesterday was no exception… not only did I find that after all these years I’m *still* hypnotized by their rooms of animated, overly-decorated, holiday-themed model buildings, but THE STORE WAS DECORATING FOR HALLOWEEN ALREADY!!! In July. I kid you not. Please click on the little image at left to open a photo gallery of some of the crazy goodness I found.
Ever dream of going straight from work to your favorite local fishing hole to unwind… your loyal dog by your side? Unfortunately, although Andy and Opie Taylor’s fishing hole is right around the corner, fishing isn’t legal there. But if you feel like dropping your hook in the water tonight you can try skipping right down La Cienega to Kenneth Hahn Park. There’s a small, fully-stocked man-made pond right there — fully planted with catfish just three weeks ago. The catch limit is five fish per person per day and leashed dogs are welcomed. Quien es mas macho than taking home some fresh dinner you caught yourself? CATFISH. YUM.
Here are some tips on how to catch them. See pretty photos of your local catfish pond after the jump!
If you prefer natural stream fishing, there are plenty of places for that as well… they’re just a bit more of a drive.
Never been fishing before, but still dream of channeling Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It (sans near-drowning)? Doc’s Ski Haus in Santa Monica offers up far more than snowboards, they also hold introductory classes designed for the beginner to intermediate fly fisherperson. No fly-fishing experience is necessary. The cost is $60 dollars and it includes two one-hour classes:
First class (Wednesdays 6:30pm): You’ll learn knots that will last you a lifetime and the basics on flies;
Second class (Saturdays 9am): A casting lesson at Douglas park in Santa Monica.
As a promotion, Doc’s issues a $30 dollar credit from your tuition to spend on new equipment for your fishing trips.
OTHER CURRENT FISH-STOCKED WATERS IN LOS ANGELES – Trout: Bouquet Canyon Creek, Castaic Lagoon and Pyramid Lake; Catfish: Alondra Park Lake, Belvedere Lake, Hansen Lake, Hollenbeck Lake, Lincoln Park Lake and Magic Johnson Lake. FISHING LICENSE INFO.
What: Opaque Restaurant
Where: Please note: the restaurant is no longer at the location shown in the video. V Lounge 2020 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica (310) 546-7619
Price: Not cheap. You might need to sell a filling or two, but nobody there will be able to see that they’re missing.
Details: If you’re looking for a unique place to take your favorite person on a particularly special evening (or perhaps you just don’t want to see someone’s face when you break up with them), consider a blind date at Opaque. Their menu isn’t cheap, but you’re really not just paying for the food (according to one Yelp reviewer: “Expect to pay $99 each before drinks and tip. The food is not $99 a plate great, but it is not bad. The experience makes up for it!”). The restaurant’s main concept (an idea which began in Germany in 2001) is to serve up fare that is intended to be consumed in pure pitch blackness. Yes, it’s exactly as it sounds. The dining room is kept completely light-free, so helping your food find its way from the plate to your stomach will become a bit more of a challenge than you’re used to. Quite logically, the waiters are all blind so the lack of visibility doesn’t bother them one bit. I must confess, I’m not exactly sure why there’s a dress code, however…
I’ve been noticing lately that people seem a bit weary right now. Just kind of… holding on and trying to keep their heads up until the tide turns. Los Angeles is a city with a bit of a manic depressive personality, so when times are hard (riots, earthquakes, fires, floods, unemployment, bad breakup, whatever) usually it’s easy to just look up at the sun and think, “Yeah, my life kinda sucks right now… but look at this weather! Tomorrow will be better!” Lately even the best of us seem to be struggling and feeling a bit down for an extended time, though. We’re all a little bummed that Obama hasn’t filled our lives with rainbows and butterflies yet.
Now I’m one of those annoying people who likes to focus on the good, but sometimes that’s a lot of work during times like these. What to do, what to do. (more…)
True story: Dame Edna once gave me a black eye. With a gladiola. No joke, I had a shiner for a week. But I’ll get to that story in a minute. First things first.
Not *all* great things in LA are hidden… but they all need your support!
What: Dame Edna Everage’s FIRST LAST TOUR
Where: Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., Downtown
When: Until June 21
TIP: Subject to availability, $20 Hot Tix may be purchased on the day of performance at the box office (cash only). Exact seat locations are not given over the phone. Tickets limited to two per household. To learn more about Hot Tix, call Audience Services at (213) 628-2772.
If you have had the pleasure of attending any of her previous shows, you have probably already bought tickets for this. If you have never seen Dame Edna live, LISTEN TO ME… get off your rear and make an effort to see her right now because not only may this be your last chance, but your world will instantly become far more fabulous once you do. Trust me on this. I would not steer you wrong. While a Dame Edna show may seem like silly camp, it’s much more. It’s non-stop laughter and who doesn’t need that?!? In truth, Barry Humphries may easily be the quickest witted performer alive. Nobody else holds a candle. Edna is an absolute treasure to watch, so go… and laugh your gladiolus off!
Curious about how she gave me a shiner? Well, that and more Dame Edna info after the jump.
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…)
Calvin 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.)
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?