Monday, July 29, 2013

Bombing The System -- Style Wars at The Academy of Arts & Sciences with KCRW

So much freakin fun last night!

Mear 1 creating at the event. 
My husband convinced a group of us to go out on a Sunday night - a coveted stay-home evening - to see the famous early 80's counterculture documentary "Style Wars" which is about graffiti artists, bombers/writers, b-boy dancers and hip hop in NYC in the early 80's.

Photo by Henry Chalfont, on exhibit at the event.
Shown outside at night on the lawn of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, I was pretty much the only one watching who was new to this beloved documentary. Pretty much all in attendance owned it like the back of their tattooed hands. The guy next to me was shouting out lines as if he were watching "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." I get it and I loved it. LOVED LOVED LOVED.

"Style Wars," directed by the late Tony Silver and produced by Henry Chalfont, was just recently restored with fund-raising efforts lead by uber fan Catherine Keener. She was there before the film to discuss the film's meaning, history and impact along with a panel comprised of Chalfont and one of the film's star bombers, Skeme, moderated by Anthony Valdez.

Skeme and his Mom in their kitchen on screen
The movie was so good and personal, due in part to the intercutting throughout of Skeme and his mother. Just a two-shot in the kitchen, their dynamic, her personality, everything - it was FANTASTIC. Nothing short of priceless and classic. I could watch clips of them over and over and over again. Here's a little of the film featuring Skeme and his mom, along with other moments from the film:

It was also a major adrenaline rush due in part to the soundtrack. Check out the movie's playlist, as compiled by Repo136:

1. Siegfried’s Rhine Journey and Funeral Music
2. 8th Wonder - The Sugarhill Gang
3. The Wanderer - Dion
4. Jam Hot - Johnny Dynell
5. Pump Me Up - Trouble Funk
6. The Message - Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five
7. Beat Bop - Rammelzee vs. K-Rob
8. Sing, Sing - Gaz
9. Give It Up or Turnit a Loose - James Brown
10. Rockin’ It - The Fearless Four
11. Rocket In The Pocket - Cerrone
12. Feel The New Heartbeat - The Treacherous Three

And yes, now I'm going to download the whole damn thing. So good. Also prior to watching the film there were artists making art:

Photo by Terrence Dunlop
T shirts getting silk screened with famous sayings from the time period:

Photo by Terrence Dunlop
And they even had BBoy dancers from Long Beach. Before that performance, just while hanging out, we listened to some great music spun by Anthony Valdez, including of course:

My husband danced to this as did the many gathered on the lawn there, but I didn't get much of a shot of him dancing. Sorry Terry Fans.

KCRW did this in conjunction with Oscar Outdoors, which on its own shows movies all summer long right there on the lawn at The Academy of Motion Arts and Pictures. The entrance is on Homewood, between Cahuenga and Vine (just south of The Arclight) in Hollywood. There's SA-WEET parking right across from the lawn (It was very human!!!! - I got in and out no problem, no agita!). So if this sounds like your sort of thing, know that there are a bunch of films coming up. Good stuff, too. You can buy tickets online, though some of the really popular movies set for August are already sold out. And yet...

When there's a will, there's always a way.

If you're into it, you can go on standby. That's what we did for "Style Wars." We got there before 6pm, and had no problem getting in and setting up camp. Tickets are 5 bucks, free for kids under 10 (are you short?) and if you're an Academy Member (ahem) it's $3. This Friday, August 2nd, is "American Graffiti" and on August 24th it's "Grease." Grease is the word yo. For ticket information, rules about what you can bring in with you, etc. just go to Oscar Outdoors.

Meanwhile, I kind of bonded with these very nice people from KCRW last night and want to add there's a cool upcoming FREE event which they're hosting in August. This showing of "Style Wars" was a part of KCRW's Summer Nights Events. On August 17th as part of their Summer Nights schedule, they're throwing a big ole party in Chinatown. I'm definitely going. Sounds like mega fun. There's going to be dancing, food, DJ's, chefs cooking up Chinese cuisine -- food, food, food...

Photo courtesy of KCRW
And as for last night, it was a blast. And educational. The movie really effected me. I remember growing up in New York and being scared out of appreciating graffiti. I was young and had fallen for my paranoid parent's (and Mayor Ed Koch's) opinion that graffiti's only real meaning was to signify urban blight and the terrible depths our society had fallen to. As I've gotten older, I've fallen out of fear and into love with graffiti. I see such art and messaging, talent and creativity. I really felt that "Style Wars" gave me a lot of insight into the world of someone who wanted to see their name traveling all over NYC, from one place to another. They cared so much about the art of it and what it looked like. I understand much more now what it meant to them to see their name on those cars in terms of displaying their creations to likeminded individuals who could and would (minus Cap) fully appreciate what they had accomplished. And the subversive task of getting their art done in and of itself was of course a major part of the thrill and added to why the act was so truly empowering.

"Style Wars" made me want to be cool, which is one of the best outcomes of any film, if you ask me.

Leading me to say if you EVER hear that this film is being screened, do yourself a favor and go see it. You will not regret it. Also if you're interested in the topic, you may want to check out the producer's website: HENRY CHALFONT.

To sum up:



Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Corner Door - Dine LA Style

Last night I had such a good dinner. At such a good deal. DineLA, which runs in the summer from July 15th thru July 26th, gives us an opportunity to try a whole bunch of restaurants at a discounted rate. Good restaurants. So last night, a few friends and I met in Culver City at a place called The Corner Door on Washington Boulevard, but away from all the hullabaloo.

I LOVED the interior of this restaurant. It was so chic and mellow. And I know - it looks empty. But I was there very early as my friends and I had a class to get to afterwards. I mean like blueplate early - 5:45. Trust me, I'm okay to get some place early and be all old-person-ish when good food is involved.

My friends were all running a tad late. I on the other hand was (as I always am) on the dot if not a few minutes before. So while waiting, I sucked down this amazing mocktail they made for me.

A delicious Mojito Mocktail
I would have had twenty but it was 8 bucks, so I just stayed with this little guy. So freakin good though! Fresh mint, that tangy twangy taste -- this baby kicked ass.

When my friends arrived we could all choose two items from the DINELA MENU for $25 per person (plus 1 dessert choice) so we speedily made some tough choices. Some of my pictures really weren't good. Therefore, I'll have to describe the majority of our plates.

Oh, and by the way, while waiting for the food to arrive, we got an appetizer of FABULOUS crispy chick peas and almonds off the Happy Hour menu. It's a dish I highly recommend. I think it was unfair of me to ask my friends and I to split this one three ways because I think I ate the whole thing.

Anyway, for entrees we started with a salmon crudo which in truth was a tad bland and maybe the only perfectly-fine-but-nothing-to-write-home-about part of the meal. Next were brussel sprouts, both roasted and fried, mixed with feta. They were lush, succulent, rich and outrageously addictive. In came a golden brown grilled cheese made with pecorino, wasabi arugula and peaches -- the peaches were lovely and totally strange - in a good way. Their version of Burrata came pretty dressed up with lemon, warmed cherries, peas, and hints of tarragon. It was comfort food but light. Perfect for a summer night.

Burrata at The Corner Door
We had a bowl of meatballs - it was generous (as were all the portion sizes), mellow and tasty. You can see I'm not fully endorsing it. It's not because they weren't good. It's because I think I was having a mild food blackout at the time. I had sort of passed my limit and thought the meal was done. What I didn't realize is I wasn't doing the math. We had ordered one more thing.

Now if I was a skinny model-type, I wouldn't have even cared when they brought the last entree because I would've known I was just done and I couldn't have another bite. Not me! I'm so thin and exhausted from eating. So sorry.

Perfectly cooked steak at The Corner Door**
I'm not a skinny model-type. And suddenly in front of me was a thing of beauty. It was a perfectly cooked and seasoned grilled flank steak. That powdery stuff you see on the board? That's Toasted Pastrami Spice. What? Right. I don't know what the hell that is. I will tell you it's yummy; A flavorful dust you can coat your steak with, which I did. And even though it tasted good it wasn't necessary because the steak was so wonderful without it. And that stuff that looks like yellow Hershey kisses on the side? Corn Puree - MWAH. Loved that sweet, corn taste with the asparagus and the steak. Honestly, I would go back to this restaurant for that dish alone.

The desserts? A blur. I got a homemade coffee ice cream. It tasted good but not creamy enough. Still the flavor-- that hit the spot. I mean I felt grounds in there. Might sound unappetizing perhaps but if you're a coffee lover it also might sound great, authentic, real. One friend got the dish they called Milk & Cookies. That was a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies - again they were very generous with the amount -- and condensed milk ice cream, which was far creamier than mine. And kind of luscious. The last dessert - that was the fancy dancy foodie dessert. Check out this attractively plated situation below:

This is called Chocolate Paloma. What a lucky girl Paloma is. Dark chocolate, Tequila Sorbet (that white stuff around it is flaky sea salt, because you gotta have salt with Tequila, right?) and fizzy grapefruit. I wasn't able to try that. I was too busy unbuttoning my pants.

A lot of these dishes are on the regular MENU. And I also want to mention I loved the servers at Corner Door. They were really on it and professional. And something else. By the time us blue hairs left, the place was hoppin. It wasn't nearly like when I arrived:

But you can see just how pretty and warm the place is. So if you're in Culver City and have a hankering for some steak and pastrami dust, swing by. It's worth it.

Dine LA is just through July 26th. Go to their website to find restaurants participating in this summer's Restaurant Week: DINELA WEBSITE. If you can eat dinner early, your chances of getting into the more hoighty toighty places are better.

The Corner Door is located at 12477 West Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90066.  It's open Sundays through Wednesdays, 5pm - 12am. Thursdays through Saturdays, 5pm - 2am. And Happy Hour is every day from 5-7pm. On Sundays they have a special Burger Night where you can get their weekly burger, fries & beer for 15 bucks. Metered parking is available on Washington. There's also plenty of side-street parking.


**For DineLA, the steak has a supplemental charge of $9.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Huntington Beach - Where Dogs Ride The Waves

Gretchen Rossi & Tamra Barney of The Real Housewives of Orange County during a friendly phase
When I think of Orange County I think of Tamra Barney and Gretchen Rossi, and all the other blondes and color-treated gals who make up The Real Housewives of Orange County cast. As entertained as I am on Monday nights watching the cat scratching, gulp-drinking, awkward confrontations, and odd clothing and mate choices, I forget, Orange County isn't all that. It's also sort of The Surfing Capital of Southern California. Or one of them. And it has one of the best dog beaches IN THE COUNTRY. All of this exists a mere 40 minutes drive my house. So one morning, we got up a little early, put our bathing suits on our pale white bodies, loaded the pup and some sunscreen into the car and took off.

It was the first time my dog had ever been to the ocean. At least I think so. I got him when he was about 9 months old from the pound so you never know. All I can report is he acted like he'd never touched sand, saw seagulls or sniffed seaweed before. He absolutely loved it. Minus the sand that sometimes got in his eyes.

Harry looks even a little more attractive around surfers.
Below is Kenyon. Nancy and Brian, Kenyon's owners, really inspired this first foray. They've been going to Huntington for years, staying at dog-friendly hotels, and having a blast.

Kenyon, the sweetest dog on the planet aside from my dog.
I had no idea how easy all of this was. To get there, most people go from Hollywood and take the 5 South forever. And it's only "forever" because of the traffic. I can say this because that's what we did and it was a big doggie downer. But on our way home we found ourselves on the 60 and that was a far better, more human choice. Next time, that's my plan. On the way I'll hop on the 5 South for a little bit, get onto the 60 East - I'm sure I'll be happy to see it, get on the 605 South for about 10 minutes and drop down to the 405 towards the PCH. It sounds complex but it actually works quite well and you get there without all that 5 mishegoss which, like I said, if you've experienced The 5, you know of what I speak.

You think I've watched The Californians on Saturday Night Live? 

Dude, I live it. 

Tasty Waves
I'm happy to be made fun of for my love of freeway shortcuts when the ocean is involved.

Happy fellas at the beach
Just some small but helpful tidbits of information: Dog Beach is located in Huntington Beach between Seapoint Ave. and 21st Street, along the PCH. It's open between 5AM and 10PM. There are two parking lots specifically for the dog beach area. They're between Seapoint and Goldenwest. Meters there cost $1.50 per hour and they take Visa/MC. There are other lots as well, and I'm not sure all of them take cards. As for even more specific information regarding exactly where the dog portion of the beach is, rules of the beach regarding food and conduct, events taking place, etc. here's a DOG BEACH LINK that will answer many of your questions. As for accommodations, my friends recommend The Hilton. They say, "It's clean and luxurious, especially for a place that takes dogs." 

So put on that sunscreen and...

Aloha Mr. Hand!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One Truly Fantastic Historical Tour of Hollywood That Appeals to Your Intelligence!!!

This past weekend my sweet, lovely friend Else...

That's Else on the right. Hi Else!
Treated my husband and I to an amazing historical tour of Hollywood.

Here's the deal: If you're looking for the typical tour of star's homes or a studio lot tour, this is not for you. And if that is you, totally fine. I used to give tours of NBC at Rockefeller Plaza. I know! That being said, this is like the indie Hollywood tour because it is born from a passion and love for all of this town's rich history and glamor. The creator of the tour, Philip, cared so much about all this stuff,  he felt it needed to be shared, so the truth and legacy live on in this 90 minute journey through one of Hollywood's most historical areas. But that sounds really heavy and serious. Trust me, Philip's a character. He's funny, smart and doesn't talk down to you. At all. Hooray for People Who Trust That I Have A Brain and an Imagination! (Sorry for the outburst but my husband and I have gone on some pretty lame tours. One night tour in Prague was particularly offensive.)

It's all pretty simple. Philip meets you on the corner of Sunset and Vine, in front of the Chase Bank at the fountain there, and basically takes you on a 1 mile walking and talking tour - that's it. And if you know ANYTHING about this area, I'm not going to lie, visually -- not the most thrilling thing you're ever going to see. BUT THAT'S OKAY. Because a) Philip knows how to tell you where you really are and what hallowed ground you're truly walking on and b) he's got a swanky book!

That also doesn't sound like much does it? But the photos tell a lot. They help you to understand that what you're looking at, isn't remotely what this area once was. 

In fact, every time you pass a building, driveway or parking lot - Philip will show and tell you what used to be there, how it got there, who put it there, who slept there, who slept there with whom, who sold it to so-in-so or what-and-what or Warner Brothers, and what it's like now.

IT IS AMAZING. And fun. And I want to go again.

For locals it might even be more exciting.

We drive by, walk by, see these places every day and most of us really don't have a clue just how much has gone down here. Kind of makes you want to kiss the ground. Euphemistically. Let's not get carried away...

It did all really blow my mind.

Major stories with this place

Major stories with this place

Even major stories with this place that has nothing to do with pancakes. Though I'm sure there are some good pancake stories, too. Feel free to let me know.
I especially loved all the stuff about Harry Cohn and Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison, right? Who knew? Philip, apparently.

Tours are every Monday through Thursday at 1:30 pm. Friday through Sunday at 1 and 4pm and all tours last about 90 minutes. It's $40 per person and open to anyone over the age of 15. Tickets are arranged for in advance and to do so, check out the website:  felixinhollywoodtours. He will try to accommodate same-day purchasers, just check out how on the site. As for what you're in store for, this isn't going to remotely wear you out. Like I said, it's really a small amount of walking you're going to be doing. And there are kind of a million places to eat in the area: Tender Greens, Go Burger! Umami is near by on Cahuenga. Also, you can park at the parking structure at Sunset and Vine (where Borders used to be and is now a Walgreens and if you ask Philip, he'll tell you a lot more about all of that, too). You can also park on the street. Where I did. And so when on our home stretch we encountered the following, I momentarily panicked.

But back to the tour, if you go, let me know how you like it. I certainly hope you do.

The Palladium on Sunset, back in the day

***Fred Astaire & Rita Hayworth on the top of a Columbia Studios Soundstage.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Appreciating Life Today: Laura Mvula - Green Garden

I post once in awhile about music that's good for the car; something empowering, fun, contemplative and/or sweet to listen to while you're driving around LA (or wherever you may be). This song is good for the soul. It's good for healing. It's beautiful, life-affirming, joyous, resplendent. It steps out of the confines of what we think is reality into the beauty of the world, imagination and humanity which despite this news, still is very much alive and exists. That's why this horrific verdict is a travesty of justice. Travesty means a false, distorted or absurd representation of something. It's an outright mockery of what is right, just and good. I'd like to believe this decision is an aberration. I'm not sure I'm so right about that one but oh my God I hope so. No matter, I do believe there are many on the right side of this argument. Many. We just weren't in that jury box. We don't live in that community. We aren't in that state. But we know what's right. And man, I just encountered someone -- online of course -- who I am beyond shocked by. And he's a father which is even more shocking. Fighting with this man, this war of words, totally futile. And it's pointless. It's not who I am nor how I wish to spend my time. It's not worth my time. Some people are just goners.

You have to fight very hard to step away from the ridiculous dialogue and ridiculous people to appreciate the moment you are in, being alive and all that is good and beautiful. There is something powerful about doing that. And being alive is good and beautiful. And how we behave towards one another can reflect that. One very wrong verdict, which may be telling and deserves great attention, is not the whole picture. Many of us do not feel such ugliness towards others and how we conduct ourselves today and every day can make a difference.

My heart goes out to a loving family that has lost someone unfairly and has not seen justice in the courts. But they must know they are very supported by many of us in the world. How you and I treat each other, wherever we are, wherever we go, is surely a sign this is true.

I go wherever you go... 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Downtown LA Art Walk is Tonight.

NOTE: The downtown Art Walk takes place the 2nd Thursday of every month.

The last time I went to The Downtown Art Walk I discovered I was alive, LA is electric, there are cool, amazing people who are doing risky, moving and lush art in Los Angeles and parking is not a bitch. All to say if you haven't gone, you really should. It's easy, it's fun and it costs you to park and that's it. That is IT. AND if you're really smart (and cheap) you can take the metro. Then it's like boom. Wow. Culture for practically nothing. I love it!

One thing I'd be sure to check out is the exhibit over at the Carol Cirrillo Gallery on 9th. It's all fine art photography by Carol herself, and the subject of her lens is the Paris Metro.

Paris is one of the only places you feel downright cool and even maybe more attractive just for taking the subway. The art walk - I'm going to admit it - the art walk is a little like that. Walking around, popping in and out of different galleries, seeing what's happening with paint and photography and sculpture - it makes you feel like you got it going on. I can't explain it but it does. Especially if you go sleeveless. Which tonight might be necessary. This weather is BIZARRE.

Last time I went - and yes, I felt sort of swank strolling around in my dress and my lipstick - I found two artists both of whom displayed pieces which had a real effect on me. In fact, due to that outing I am now following Stephen Rowe...

And I just did an interview with Olivia Barratier...

I'm preparing that now and can't wait to post. She is AMAZING.

But back to tonight. Here are some helpful tips if you plan to go.


•There's an app for the gallery map you can put right on your phone. Just download: ART WALK MAP APP

•The art walk starts at noon but goes til about 10pm and know that different galleries may have different hours (ie.: I think Carol Cirillo's is supposed to only be open from 6-8pm). Also, some may not be open at all. Nevertheless, there's a whole bunch to see, always.

•Though obviously there are many galleries to visit, and it is spread out, it seems much of of the center hovers around Spring & Main, between 7th & 3rd.

•It's easy enough to take the metro into downtown but if you are driving, there a number of lots the organizers recommend. For more information, click here: PARKING LOT SUGGESTIONS

If you can, take the Metro. You save on gas and parking. Click her for: METRO INFO

•Regarding food, there are so many restaurants and bars around,  it won't be hard for you to find something delicious to eat and drink. Though last time I went I didn't eat food-food but took home two cupcakes from BIG MAN BAKES on Main and HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend them. HIGHLY. 

•For even more info go to or check out my posts from June 13th & 14th. 

That's it. You've got everything you need. Your armed and ready. So throw on some Chanel and get to it! 

Beauty calls.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Directions to The Hollywood Sign - The Fast Version

Check out my longer post from July 1st for a detailed version of Hollywood Sign directions including hidden gems along the way, to and fro. That being said, these are the fast and dirty directions to The Hollywood Sign if you don't like all those pictures and words:

•Go NORTH on BEACHWOOD CANYON DRIVE. You'll drive up several blocks, passing Scenic, Graciosa, Cheremoya.

•When you get to Beachwood Village, in order TO FOLLOW ALONG BEACHWOOD take a SOFT LEFT.

•At LEDGEWOOD, go LEFT. Follow Ledgewood up.

•At Rodgerton you can go in a few directions but you want to STAY ON LEDGEWOOD. THEREFORE, TAKE A SOFT LEFT. At the top of the hill YOU WILL BE ON MULHOLLAND DRIVE.

•If you TAKE A SHARP RIGHT and drive up the road, you will ARRIVE AT A TURNAROUND that will give you good photo opportunities for THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN. It's not legal to park here so do this at your own risk. When finished turn around and get back onto Mulholland.

•To get to the vista, CONTINUE GOING FORWARD ON MULHOLLAND DRIVE. Follow it until you ARRIVE AT CANYON. Behind you is THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN. ACROSS the street is a VISTA from which you can take photos of the reservoir, Hollywood and Hollywood Signage, surrounding areas and on a clear day, you can even see all the way out to Catalina.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Stumbling Upon a Classic Car Show. How LA.

I'm just going to show the pictures. This was so bizarre. We were driving from Ralph's, the only place in SoCal by the way that ALWAYS seems to have Egg Matzo. Who knew. And we were on Green Street, just cruising by the Ambassador Mansions & Gardens. Now this is a special place because it's where we got married...

No, I did not wear this to Ralph's. We're talking about 2 different days here.
...and we just sort of stumbled upon a classic car show. It was like a flash flood. We got there at 2 something and it was over by 3. Of course I like to tell you about things ahead of time so you can go and enjoy. This was just impossible for that goal. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share the photos. Cars are so freakin cool!
Photo by Terrence Dunlop

This car was called Peachy
These cars were called I Wish They Were Mine

I had a lot of favorites but this is the one I wanted to drive. First.
I'm looking up the Eagle Rock Trompers as we speak.

I had a friend who drove one of these old Broncos. Not a smooth ride, but fun!

I like a person who puts a dog in the back seat with the windows open.

There's something weird and cool about this. Is this a thing?
I loved this picture TD took. I think we should frame it!
That's all I got for you today. Oh, Eagle Rock Trompers or The Trompers of Eagle Rock. It's a car club started in 1945. Well, there you go! Have a great Sunday evening and ENJOY!