Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Collections - Chickens

Chicken Lamp from Robbie's Collection
This will be one in a series of posts about my friends and their collections of stuff. We are all collectors in our own way. I collect yarn, vintage knitting and crochet books and magazines, ceramic poodles, pixies, pottery including piece by: Sasha Brastoff, Roseville, Hull, Weller, Bauer, costume jewelry, vintage scarves and hankies and more. My husband, Larry collects old records, books on UFOs, vintage posters, postcards, photos, Kodachrome slides, fast food collectible toys, ventriloquist dummies, mannequin parts, guitars and more and more. Last week I wrote about ephemera. Most of our friends collect some sort of vintage stuff. Our get-togethers are usually centered around our collections of stuff, talking about our collections, photographing our collections, trading our collections, etc. We are consumed by our stuff. I'm not complaining about this, but I wish I could own some sort of museum with a staff that would catalog and take care of our collectibles.
Chickens are a popular collectible. My friend, Amy has the ultimate chicken, Chicken Boy. She also collects ceramic chickens, plush chickens, chicken ephemera, etc.
Another one of my friends, Robbie Helta (Matheson) has an incredible chicken collection in a small area....her kitchen. We were at her house (that she shares with her husband, Brandon) on New Years Eve. I was obsessed with photographing all of Robbie's chicken stuff. Her kitchen contains most of her collection. She put all of her dishes, cups, saucers, etc. in another place just so she could display her chicken collection on her kitchen shelves. Robbie is a wonderful cook and she is always inviting over tons of friends for marvelous meals (including chicken). We often eat right off her chicken plates! All of Robbie's friends (me, included) have fed her chicken obsession by gifting her with ceramic chickens, chicken paintings, chicken books, chicken plates, cups, saucers, bowls, etc., chicken aprons, lamps and more. I like to call Robbie's kitchen The Chick-a-bilia Shrine.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Oaxaca in Palms

Oaxacan Clown Lollipops
On Friday we double-dated with Joe....Trader Joe, that is. A branch of the fine Oaxacan restaurant, Guelaguetza, occupies the same parking lot as the Palms Trader Joe's, on the corner of Palms Blvd. and Sepulveda (11127 Palms Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034). There are other branches of this restaurant in Korea Town: 3337 1/2 W 8TH St. and 3014 W Olympic Blvd. We've been to all three restaurants. The one on Olympic (near Normandie) is huge. It used to be a Japanese place and the exterior is still white with an upturned blue tile roof. The place on 8th St. is really small, but cozy.
The food here is wonderful the mole' sauces are exquisite. The minute you sit down they serve you hot tortilla chips (kept warm in an old industrial popcorn maker) with sweet red mole' sauce and queso fresco (cheese) sprinkled on top.
Larry ordered the chicken chile relleno with beans and rice. I ordered the caldo...chicken soup served with rice on the side, along with cilantro, onions, peppers and lime....very traditional.
There are all sorts of things to buy at Guelaguetza besides food. They have sugar skulls all year long for your Dia de Los Muertos needs, delicacies and pastries to go, little statues and figurines from Oaxaca, etc. It's usually busy here and the service is kinda' slow, but the food is well worth the wait. Oh yeah....it's reasonable too!


Friday, January 27, 2006

Year of the Dog

Thrift Shop & Estate Sale Finds
Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year (Sunday, January 29, 2006) and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade. This year, Los Angeles' Chinatown is having their Golden Dragon Parade and celebration on Saturday, February 4th.
According to the internets, the rotating cycle of twelve animal signs was a folk method for naming the years in traditional China. The animal signs have an established order and are repeated every twelve years. This is the Year of the Dog. So, if you were born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, the internets say that you possess the best traits of human nature. You have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people’s confidence because you know how to keep secrets. HOWEVER, the internets also states that Dog People are somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric. They care little for wealth, yet somehow always seem to have money. They can be cold emotionally and sometimes distant at parties. They can find fault with many things and are noted for their sharp tongues. Dog people make good leaders. They are compatible with those born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit.
I don't know if I agree with all of the above. Maybe Auntie Purl can help in the Horoscope Department. I do know that I like dogs (even though I don't own one). I have an extensive poodle collection. My poodles are ceramic, metal, pins, dishes, etc. They're very easy to take care for and I never have any vet bills.
I also know that I love going to Chinatown in downtown L.A. The area has experienced a resurgence in recent years. The Phoenix Bakery makes the yummiest cakes ever. The Metro Gold Rail runs right into Chinatown and provides an overhead flight into the area through an impressive Chinese style station. One of my most fave restaurants is Hop Woo...they have the BEST wonton soup ever...plus they have a free parking lot which is a plus in this crowded and vibrant area. Wing Hop Fung Ginseng and China Products Center on Broadway has tons of wonderful items for sale...incense, tea, knick-knacks, etc. There are a slew of art galleries on Chung King Road. The Happy Lion , L2Kontemporary and Black Dragon Society are a few of my faves. I'll see you in Chinatown on 2/4 for the big celebration!
Back to dogs. I recently read a blurb in the L.A. Weekly about designer dogs. People have been cross-breeding and coming up with some interesting combinations, per Jon Alain Guzik, here are some of the new combos: Boxerdoodle (Boxer/Poodle), Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel/Poodle), Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever/Poodle), Peek-A-Pom (Peekingese/Poodle), Puggle (Pug/Beagle), Pugapoo (Pug/Poodle), Saint Berdoodle (Saint Bernard/Poodle)....somehow, I just can't imagine this last one!
Decorative Plate by Sasha Brastoff (1960's)
Happy weekend to all....enjoy the many celebrations in The Year Of The Dog!


Thursday, January 26, 2006


Mr. Brown? I've got your White Front Card.
From Wikipedia:
Ephemera are documents published with a short intended lifetime. Common types of ephemera include letters, advertising trade cards, cigarette cards, posters, postcards, baseball cards, tickets, greeting cards, stock certificates and photographs. The term ephemera is also used to describe the class of published single-sheet or single page documents which are meant to be thrown away after one use. This classification then excludes simple letters and photographs with no printing on them, which are considered as manuscripts or typescripts. It includes: postcards, event-oriented posters, transportation and show tickets, baggage stickers, stock certificates, motor vehicle licensing forms, business cards, printed wedding invitations, trade cards, and other similar printed materials.
Last night at the Original Farmers Market, during our regular Wednesday night gathering (see photos), Charles Phoenix showed up with a few of his friends. Charles is a major collector of ephemera. You can see books of his collections, he offers slides shows of found 50's and 60's Kodachrome slides and he is a walking encyclopedia of all things ephemeric (is that a word?). Many of our friends in the Modern Committee of the L.A. Conservancy collect ephemera relating to historic or lost buildings in Los Angeles....old menus, matchbooks, brochures, etc. are popular items to collect. I collect vintage knitting and crochet booklets. I find that you have to focus your collection otherwise you'll go nuts with all the paper flying around your house!
One of Charles' friends (sorry to say his name escapes me, but he was a lovely fellow) brought an item of ephemera for us to see. It was a White Front credit card from the 60's, emblazoned with an artist's rendering of the original 'big box' store. White Front was the store before FedCo, Gemco, Target and other such all-encompassing discount department stores. I vaguely remember traveling thru the Sepulveda Pass during a huge rainstorm, as a child (pre- 405 Fwy) to a White Front in the San Fernando Valley where my folks wanted to purchase a new washing machine. It must have been a huge discount for my Dad to drive thru rain, sleet and hail instead of just driving over to one of the Sears' stores in Santa Monica or on Pico in Mid-City.
Anyway, those of us at the Farmers Market last night were very impressed with the credit card. Do you collect ephemera? If so, what kind?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Art in L.A.

Jim Morrison. Photo by Jim McCrary for A&M Records
This past weekend was a bonanza weekend for art openings. We only attended three openings, amid the myriad of happenings. Friday night we went to "Grievous Angel: An Intimate View of Gram Parsons" at the Harmony Gallery on Franklin Ave. near Bronson in Hollywood. There were tons 'o photos of the rock/country icon, many by one of Larry's former professors at Art Center, Jim McCrary. We saw a few rock celebs, including Miss Pamela Des Barres, Lisa Loeb and various other roots musicians from yesterday and today.
Saturday we headed over to the burgeoning art gallery scene in East Culver City and stopped at Billy Shire Fine Arts on Washington, just west of Fairfax for the Miriam Wosk opening. Miriam is a collage artist. Her work is stunning and mind-blowing...a must-see!
Sunday, Otis Art Institute was featured at "Otis: Nine Decades of Los Angeles Art" at Barnsdall Park. It was so interesting to see work from students of the 1930's thru the 1990's. Many of our friends and acquaintances were there, so it was really a very fun time. My friend, Keiko had some of her re-constructed plates in the show...they are amazing. Keiko was wearing this hand-painted kimono...faboo. One of the best use of thrift shop items in a construction was this mosaic-like piece made from wooden serving dishes by Annetta Kapon. I could definitely live with this piece.
Outside the gallery, close to the Aline Barnsdall home, Hollyhock, built by Frank Lloyd Wright., there were groupings of artists selling their work. One man crocheted these marvelous looking idols/dolls. There was jewelry, sculpture, etc. for sale too. I spotted Rhonda from the Dirt Gallery wearing this vibrant newsboy hat, backwards....excellent colors.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Purse Power

Crocheted Tote - Smile Yarn and Aunt Lydia's
I bought this used book over the weekend "Handbags: The Power of the Purse" by Anna Johnson (2002). It's one of those little books about the history of the handbag, with tons of excellent photographs. There are sections on classic bags by Fendi, Gucci, Hermes, etc., a section on novelty handbags, American classics, ornamental and decorated bags, sculptural bags, etc. It contains a wealth of information on one of my alltime obsessions.....purses!
Over the years I've crocheted and knitted tons of handbags, including granny square bags, felted bags, soutache clutches, totes, etc. There is something very satisfying about creating something so useful.
My latest foray into bag making is a crocheted tote made from Smile Yarn and Aunt Lydia's Rug Yarn with a little acrylic from my stash thrown in. I cut some plastic canvas for the bottom of the bag and then took a tip from Lady Linoleum and crocheted a lining for the bag instead of sewing in a fabric lining. The handles are some that I'd purchased at the Knit Cafe years ago....finally put to use! I added an inner pocket for my cellphone, a loop at the top with a plain button for closure. This project probably took about 4 or 5 hours to complete...love that!


Friday, January 20, 2006

Sonia? Heidi?

Is it really Ellen? Sonia? Heidi?
I finished the vintage crocheted, flowered headband (pattern provided by Regina). I can't decide if I look more like Sonia Henie of Norway or Heidi of Switzerland. I think I attached two flowers too many to this band. Three flowers would have been perfect. Those extra two flowers on the side bug out like strange alien earmuffs. They did, however, keep my ears warm at last night's WeHo SnB at the Farmers Market. It has been cold and windy in Los Angeles this week. 100% virigin acrylic can really keep your ears nice and toasty.
Watch for me darting around town this weekend in my Scandinavian gear!
Speaking of this weekend, Larry and I are attending an art show tonight of photos of Gram Parsons. Here's what the article in the "L.A. Times" said about the show:
"Grievous Angel: An Intimate View of Gram Parsons" will display about 30 works, mostly of the late singer by the likes of rock photographer Jim McCrary, Parsons documentarian Tom Wilkes, entertainment photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker and friend Andee Cohen Nathanson. They are rounded out by Jeaneen Lund's photos of the desert and the Joshua Tree motel room in which Parsons died of a morphine-tequila overdose in 1973 at age 26.
"Grievous Angel: An Intimate View of Gram Parsons," Harmony Gallery, 5911 1/2 Franklin Ave., L.A. Opening night, 8 to 10 p.m. Friday. Regular hours: noon to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Ends Feb. 20. (323) 957-7965, www.counterpointrecordsandbooks.com
After the art show, we may catch one of Evie Sands' sets at Taix's restaurant on Sunset. I've known Evie for a few years. I first became aquainted with her music when I was the engineer on Billy Vera's Rock 'n Roll Party radio show on KCRW radio in the late '80's. Evie later appeared on my radio show, "The Friday Night Blues Revue" that I co-hosted with John "Juke" Logan on KPCC Radio from 1992 to 2000. That was before KPCC went to an all-talk format. Juke and I invited all sorts of wonderful blues, R & B, jazz and roots artists on the show to perform, and Evie was one of our favorite guests.
Saturday, the Billy Shire Fine Arts on Washington near Fairfax is having an art opening of Miriam Wosk's work. She's one of my collage idols. It's going to be a busy weekend!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Just Call Me Sonia

Norwegian Skater, Sonia Henie and Partner
I've been working on my Crochet-A-Long for the vintage headband and muff set. I must say, the headband is coming out nicely. I only have one more flower to crochet and attach to the band.
After I tried on the headband, I immediately thought about Sonia Henie, the Norwegian ice-skating star of the 1930's and '40's. I used to watch her movies on TV when I was a kid. Movies like "Sun Valley Serenade," "Iceland" and "Wintertime." Most of these movies had impossibly silly plots where Sonia played some sort of international ice princess, smitten with an American guy. The stories were bad, but the costumes and ice-skating were always magnificent!
Sonia usually wore some sort of head gear to keep her blonde locks from getting into her face while twirling on the ice. This was way before Dorothy Hamill wore her skate-wedge hairdo. In each movie, Sonia's headgear was more and more elaborate. She wasn't much of an actor, but she had a very sweet face and dimpled smile and was a mesmerizing skate performer! A tip of the headband to you, Sonia Henie!


Wednesday, January 18, 2006


McCall's Needlework Magazine 1963-64
Last week at the WeHo SnB, Regina brought this spectacular vintage McCall's Needlework magazine (1963-64) to share. WELL! Some of the patterns were incredible. We were especially enthralled with this flowered headband and matching muff (on the right, above). So, Regina , Sara and I decided to start a Crochet-A-Long. Regina will eventually have the pattern available on her blog if want to join in.
I started making the headband last night. I read the pattern, but figured out a better way to work the band so that it was stretchy. I knitted a ribbing for the bottom of the band and then crocheted in a rib pattern for the top part of the band to make it more stable.
The crocheted flowers are adorable and very similar to flowers I always crochet for baby hats. I need 3 more flowers for the band, then I'll sew them on in a fetching manner. Maybe I'll finish by Thursday so I can model the headband at our WeHo SnB tomorrow night.
I'm not sure about making the muff. We don't have much use for a flowered muff here in SoCal. Maybe I'll make a little handbag to go with the headband?


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Palms Thai Restaurant

Last Friday we went to the Palms Thai Restaurant in Hollywood for ANOTHER Larry B-Day dinner! This is the Palms' new location. We loved the old restaurant on Hollywood Blvd. at Oxford Street in a crowded Thai mini-mall, but this new building at Hollywood and Bronson is spectacular! It's a huge building that houses the restaurant, a fancy looking nail salon and upstairs, a storage facility. There's reasonable valet parking in the back if you can't find street parking. The building is huge, the neon signs are great, the food is faboo and the place is hoppin'!
Thai Elvis at The Palms
Of course, besides the excellent food, the main attraction here is Thai Elvis. Kavee Thongprecha, also known as T.Elvis, actually has a fairly good voice. He uses a pre-recorded backing track of Elvis' songs. As mentioned, the restaurant is huge, lots of hard surfaces....bamboo, so the sound echos quite a bit. If you have rock 'n roll ears like I do (hearing loss created by standing in front of speakers in rock clubs during the 70's and 80's), you won't be able to hear your friends speaking while Thai Elvis is singing. But, that's OK. It's a wonderful experience to hum along to the songs and happily munch on the delicious food.
I researched preferred menu items on the L.A. Chowhound message board before we went to the Palms. We ordered many suggested dishes: Pineapple Fried Rice with Shrimp, Pork & Baby Chinese Broccoli, Fried Whitefish with Mango Sauce and the Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing. Everything was incredibly good. The prices are very reasonable too. Definitely check out their website for other innovative menu items.
Because we were there on a Friday night, we detected many groups of pre-club goers chowing down before they hit the Boulevard. It was really festive and fun. There's this huge aquarium toward the bar area, lots of interesting Thai carvings, headresses and sculpture displayed too. It's kind of Vegas and I love it!We walked outside after dinner and saw that the storage portion of the building has this really good neon sign of a guy moving boxes. We love neon. Who knows? I may even drive all the way over to Hollywood just to get my manicure and pedicure at the salon!
Extremely Cool Neon Next Door


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery