Tag Archives: L.A.

Save our libraries, vote “Yes on Measure L” today!!

Oh, man, you don’t even wanna know how bummed Christine and I are that we can’t vote “Yes on Measure L” today. But, because we live in Burbank, which is its own city, we cannot. But what we can do is urge anyone of voting age in Los Angeles to get out there today and save our libraries!

Even before Christine starting working at The Library Store, we used the hell out of the libraries in Los Angeles and beyond, and now that Greta is here, well, forget about it. Books and libraries are a huge part of our lives and let me tell ya, the libraries in Los Angeles are in serious trouble.

Shortened hours, brutal staff and budget cuts and a philistine mayor and city hall who care more about pricey, unproven after-school gang prevention programs than they do about libraries have driven the already beleaguered LAPL system even further into the ground.

Well, guess what else keeps kids off the streets and out of gangs, Mayor Villaraigosa? You got it, libraries! Los Angeles ranks last in per capita spending on library materials in the eight largest U.S. library systems…LAST! We are a major metropolitan city, amigos, that is just plain shameful.

Great cities deserve great libraries, they are the cornerstone of learning and a real beacon of light in our community, especially in these troubled times, so, please, please vote “Yes on L” today.

To read more about the awesomeness that is Measure L, please click here.

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Unique L.A. starts today!

Longtime readers are probably sick of hearing us rave about how cool the Unique L.A. independent design show is, but for the rest of you, please trust me when I tell you that Unique L.A. rocks, yo! This weekend will mark our third trip to the show and if history holds true, we are sure to come home with loads of groovy stuff and tons of great ideas for projects of our own.

Most of Greta’s favorite outfits and toys — not to mention a good chunk of the super cool artwork in her nursery! — were purchased at the last two shows and though we came home with dozens of bags, the prices at Unique L.A. are beyond cheap. Seriously, there are deals to be had here, amigos. And best of all, you’re supporting local artists and designers instead of, you know, Target and shit.

So, if you’re looking for art, clothing, home goods, jewelry, hell, even just some rocking-good food, Unique L.A. is the place to be this weekend. We’ll be there all day Sunday, so, if you see us foraging through the sale bins at Misha Lulu, by all means, stop and help us. Seriously. The more hands, the better!

Unique L.A. is being held today and Sunday, December 5th & 6th, at the California Market Center in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. For directions, hours, parking, vendor and ticket information, please visit the Unique L.A. homesite here.

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“Project Runway” to air on Lifetime

You’ve probably already heard the news by now, but it sounds like crazy old Harvey Weinstein has finally worked out a deal with greedy old NBC Universal that will allow the long-delayed sixth season of “Project Runway” to finally see the light of day on Lifetime. Yay!

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed and both sides are trying to play it all cool, but you just know it killed NBC Universal to lose another landmark series right now. I mean, with “ER” signing off last night, “Kings” boring audiences to tears and nothing remotely new and exciting on the horizon — except for maybe five nights a week of prime time Jay Leno (yawn) — NBC is, as Heidi Klum would say, definitely “out”.

But Lifetime, on the other hand is so “in” it hurts! “Rita Rocks”, “The 2009 Nora Roberts Collection” and now “Project Runway”? Man, “television for women” never sounded so good!

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Not Chris Brown’s Bentley…

Not sure if this made news anywhere but here in televised-car-chase-happy Los Angeles, but the slow speed police pursuit of a mysterious white Bentley was all over our news tonight. The fact that every station we flipped to breathlessly suggested that the driver of the Bentley might be alleged Rihanna-beater Chris Brown made the story even more surreal.

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Seriously, you should have heard NBC4’s Colleen Williams and Paul Moyer getting all TMZ about the “alleged elebrity connection” to the chase. True, they never said the words “Chris” and “Brown”, but, man alive, did they try. It was kind of insane…

To make things even weirder, the chase ended a few blocks from our house in nearby Universal City. We could actually see and hear the news helicopters from our bedroom, so, like all good Angelenos we kept watching the news (even online) to see who was driving that freaking Bentley.

Of course, L.A. news being what it is, we never did find out who the driver was, some people are saying it was Miami rapper DJ Khaled, but his MySpace page seems to dispute that. And just now, I heard that the driver allegedly shot himself as the SWAT team moved in on him. Yikes!

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So, after all that dramatic news coverage, all we know for sure is that it was not Chris Brown who led what looked like the city’s entire police force on a slow speed chase through the highways and biways of Los Angeles. And that even by L.A. standards, last night’s news was just plain crazy…

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Griffith Park Festival of Lights

The giant Christmas trees at The Grove and The Americana at Brand aside, there are two things that make Los Angeles the coolest place to be at Christmas time. The first is the rocking, month-long Christmas-only playlist on KOST 103.5, and the second is the Griffith Park Festival of Lights.

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Sure, other towns might have festive tree lighting ceremonies in the town square or whole neighborhoods festooned with twinkling holiday cheer, but only L.A., the epicenter of car culture, has a drive-thru Festival of Lights. Yay!

Sponsored by the Department of Water and Power, the Festival of Lights has been an L.A. tradition for the past 13 years and I’m happy to report that Christine and I have yet to miss a Festival.

We’ve found that the best time to visit the Festival of Lights is in mid-December, right before closing time at like, 9:45 or so. The Thanksgiving crowds have died down by then and the Christmas rush hasn’t really peaked yet, so there is usually way less traffic. Emphasis on the word usually.

But, hey, what’s a little traffic when you’re winding through Griffith Park at night looking at pretty Christmas lights? Oh, and did I mention that the lights are timed to music? Yep, you guessed it, the folks at KOST 103.5 pipe in kick-ass Holiday jams from speakers in the trees and bushes all along the Festival route.

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And even though the cold and the exhaust fumes are a killer, we crank up the heat every year and roll down our windows to experience the Festival of Lights in all its glory. We call this tradition the “cold maker” as inevitably one or both of us will have the sniffles afterwards, but, wow, what a way to get sick!

This year, the Festival went green by including an entire week of Vehicle Free Nights (which we sadly missed!) but there is a walking lane at the Festival as well, so, not having a car is no excuse for missing the Fest!

As you can see from these pics from last year’s Festival, the light displays offer super cool depictions of L.A. landmarks and traditions, celebrating everything from the ships at “America’s Port” in San Pedro to the spanking-new Griffith Observatory just a short jog uphill.

And though all the light displays are awesome, I think my favorite is the LAX display with the miniature towering light pylons changing colors to the music behind the iconic Theme Building. So cool!

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So, if you happen to be in the L.A. area in the next couple of weeks, set your dial to 103.5, crank the volume way up and make your way towards Griffith Park at nightfall. You might freeze your ass off, and you might catch a wicked seasonal cold, but you won’t be disappointed!

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Clifton’s Cafeteria, Los Angeles

Located at 648 South Broadway, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Clifton’s Cafeteria is the last of a once thriving chain of depression-era cafeterias. And though I had never been there before, Christine, having worked downtown for so long, is something of a Clifton’s veteran.

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So, when our friend Ginger said she wanted to eat somewhere “a little different” on her last visit, we knew exactly where to take her!

Founded in 1935 by Clifford Clinton, the crazy cool Clifton’s is actually known as Clifton’s Brookdale and is designed to resemble a giant forest scene. Having spent several summers as a young man in the Santa Cruz Mountains — my home turf, right on! — Clinton wanted to recreate the magic of a beautiful redwood forest indoors. And, man did he ever!

Clifton’s Brookdale has a 20 ft. waterfall and stream, stuffed and mounted moose and deer heads, a log cabin and even a fishing grizzly bear. And as if that’s not enough, there is also a tiny cave-like chapel — yes, I said chapel! — where you can sit in front of a diorama of a forest and listen to a scratchy recording of “The Parable of the Redwoods”. So cool!

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And with a vast selection of cafeteria staples to chose from, the food is just as varied as the decor. Of course, like most cafeteria food, it was pretty bland, and the fried chicken I had was downright deadly. Really bad stuff!

Ginger and Christine both fared much better with the macaroni and cheese and a fairly tasty sliced roast beef with au jus. But I think all three of us agreed that if we had to do it over again, we would probably eat somewhere else first, then come to Clifton’s for coffee and dessert.

Yes, amigos, it’s true…despite my ice cold skirt steak, I would totally go to Clifton’s again. If not for the food, then surely for the atmosphere, which seriously kicks ass. And aside from being a kitsch-lovers paradise, Clifton’s is positively gigantic. I’m not kidding, you could explore it for days.

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To start with, Clifton’s is a whopping three stories tall. Yep, three stories of faded, backlit nature photos and fake trees! Awesome! And though the third level was closed to the public that day, the manager kindly let me sneak up there with my camera for some quick pics.

Much more refined than the lower two levels, the third floor has kind of a vintage ice cream parlor meets red-walled whorehouse thing going on that is really groovy. There are tons of cool mementos up there too, not just from Clifton’s Brookdale, but also from it’s far sexier cousin, the long lost Clifton’s Pacific Seas. Man, wish we could have seen that place in it’s prime!

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So, if you find yourself downtown with a couple of hours to kill, you gotta check this joint out. Seriously, there is no place in Los Angeles like it.

Clifton’s is open seven days a week from 6:30AM to 7:30PM, for directions, menu and parking information call: (213) 627-1673.

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Revenge of the Taco Trucks!

Woke up to some amazingly good news this morning. It seems that the ludicrous Taco Truck law we have mentioned more than a few times in these pages was overturned yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court by taco-loving Judge Dennis Aichroth. Olé!!

Actually, not sure if Judge Aichroth enjoys some spicy street taco action or not, but whatever he eats, he knows a stupid, deeply flawed ordinance when he sees one. And more importantly, Aichroth knows what we and our amigos at  SaveOurTacoTrucks.org have been saying for months now: “Carne Asada is not a crime”. Damn straight!

Aichroth declared in his ruling that the law effectively banning taco trucks was “arbitrary”, “too ambiguous to be enforced” and best of all, that “this attempt to restrict the operation of catering trucks…is a pretext for creating a ‘naked restraint of trade’ and, as such, must be declared invalid”.

So, while Supervisor Gloria Molina — the self-loathing Latina behind this inane law — stews over her appeal options, the rest of us will be celebrating in the streets tonight with a round or two of delicious street tacos!

Que viva la Superior Court!

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