Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sunday Birthday Dinner

On Sunday, Larry and I zoomed down to my Uncle Mort's house in Playa del Rey to celebrate our cousins' birthdays.  Happy Birthday to my second cousin, Jo-Ellen and to my cousin Amie's husband, Rob.  Cousin Carol was in L.A. from the Bay Area.  She and Amie planned a perfect Sunday night dinner.
Mort and Jo, checking the pasta recipe

Carol Conducts the Symphony

Amie and Carol, the original Kitchen Sisters
We had fantabulous pasta with chicken sausage, steamed spinach, Italian green salad, fresh from the farm tomoatoes and burrata cheese.  Everything was supremely delicious! 

I brought a lemon bundt cake for dessert. 

JoEllen and Rob blow out the birthday candles
We had a grand evening!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Uke Group

For months I've been wanting to attend the Pluckin' Strummers Ukulele group at the Christ Church of Griffith Park in Atwater Village. 

My friends, Natalie, Mary Jo and Brit play with the group.  They meet on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at 10 a.m.  On the second Saturday of each month, I have my Stitch 'n Bitch Group at the Original Farmers Market, so the fourth Saturday is the only time I have free for this group.
I finally attended my first meeting this past Saturday.  Brit was there too.  Natalie was busy and Mary Jo was in Italy.

Brit Rocks those Uke Tunes

The Pluckin' Strummers is a casual group of friendly uke players at all different skill levels.  The leader, Brett "Tooch" Santucci, is a very skilled player.  The group plays songs from "The Daily Ukulele" which is a huge book with many popular songs....kind of a fake book for ukesters.  Sometimes Tooch gives basic theory lessons.  Last week's lesson went a bit over my head.  Even though I play AT guitar and banjo, I'm not a serious musician.  I'm a campfire musician.....OK on singing while I plunk out the basic chords.  We played some fun songs on Saturday.  I definitely need to practice my quick chord changes!  Tooch passed out some other tunes, not included in the big book.  There are links on the website to this sheet music.
At the beginning of the morning, we warmed up with some easy songs.  There was a break after an hour.  Snacks!  The second hour we played some more difficult pieces and had our theory lesson.  At the end of the session, there was a performance segment.  About 3 people played their songs, solo.  The highlight was when two members performed a lively version of the appropos for Halloween, "Monster Mash." 
"Monster Mash" Performers

It seems that after you've been in the group for awhile, you must perform solo or duo at the end of the meeting.  Yikes!  My best number is "Jingle Bell Rock."  Maybe the group can squeeze me in for the December performance!  If you play the uke or want to learn, do join!

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Ace Gallery

Ace Gallery, formerly Desmond's, Tower Building, Miracle Mile, L.A.

On Friday night Larry and I were at the Ace Gallery on the Miracle Mile for the opening reception of Charles Fine's 30 Year Retrospective.  I was not familiar with Charles' work, but Larry has known the Artist since childhood.  They grew up together and attended the same schools.  Larry remembers going to one of Charles' art shows about 20 years ago, also at Ace Gallery.
I like Charles' work very much.  He paints, sculpts, does assemblage and works in various other mediums.  It was an impressive show.

Bronze & Stone Sculptures by Charles Fine
Untitled Painting.  Oil & Asphalt on Canvas, by Charles Fine
Mixed Media on Wood, by Charles Fine
Room Installation, Ace Gallery
"Table of Contents,"  Assemblage by Charles Fine
Famous artist, Ed Moses confers with art patrons

We saw a few friends at the reception too....always a plus!  The Ace Gallery is located in the historic, Art Deco Wilshire Tower Building that was originally Desmond's Men Store.  It is a beautiful building, built in 1929 (Gilbert Stanley Underwood, architect).

Wilshire Tower, 1929.  Security Pacific National Bank Collection, L.A. Public Library Archives
Staircase, Ace Gallery

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday - Halloween

Costumed Children, Anaheim, October, 1948. 
L.A. Daily News, courtesy of UCLA Photo Archive

Since Halloween is next week, many people are celebrating early with costume parties this weekend. 

I went to a costume party last night at the WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch.  Our group of knitters and crocheters had a grand time!  This year's theme was "Haunting Britain," just in case we didn’t get enough of the British Jubilee, the Olympics, the Royal Wedding, Downton Abbey or Prince Harry’s full Monty. There was a special "Haunting Britain" costume category where anything British was considered, so many of us wore costumes from Britain’s rich history or pop culture. The other categories were "The Most Original Costume" and "The Best Use of Yarn" Costume.  We had fabulous prizes, treats and tons o' fun. Click this link to see our photos.
Many thanks to Natalie for organizing the fun, decorating and knitting the cutest bat prizes!  Thanks also to Brenda B., Lynne and ME for prize donations.  Most of all, thanks to Mr. Larry for photographing the event!

Hope you have a grand Halloween celebration this weekend!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seen Around L.A.

I like to snap pix as we drive around town.  Once in awhile, I come upon some cool stuff!

Tiled Tiki Wall,  Coffee Shop, No. Roxbury Dr., Beverly Hills

Papel Picado, Chabelita's, Western Ave., Los Angeles
Mr. Red Jeans, Art Gallery, Venice Blvd., Mar Vista
Signage, Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills
Mural, Pico Blvd., Mid-City L.A.
Have you snapped any unusual sights around town lately?

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Festival

Decorated Farm Tractor

Fall?  Isn't the weather supposed to be chilly during Fall?  We had a few breezy, cool days last week.  This week though, the temperatures are back up to 80 degrees.  Yes, the evil Santa Ana winds are invading Los Angeles, giving everyone the sneezies and eye itchies.  Also, those hot winds sweep into our canyons full of dry leaves and brush and start fires.  So, beware!  Don't drop any matches around town please.

OMG!  This potato is humongous!
Last weekend the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax (my second home) celebrated Fall with a kitschy festival.  There was a petting zoo of animals for the kids, the obligatory face-painting booth, carnival games, lots of hay, pumpkins and scarecrows strewn about the Market and more.  This was the first time that the humongous Idaho Baked Potato visited Los Angeles on a flatbed truck.  Whoa!  It's REALLY huge!

Meanwhile, back at the Market, the San Fernando Valley Banjo Band was serenading the patrons on the East Patio.  Yessiree, it was a good ol' country hoe-down  in the middle of the big City at the Vortex of Los Angeles!

San Fernando Valley Banjo Band

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The El Segundo Slipt Stitchers @ Trendsetter Yarns Warehouse

On gloomy, rainy Saturday morning I zipped out to Van Nuys.  Our El Segundo Slipt Stitchers Knitting Guild met at Trendsetter Yarns for our regular monthly meeting.  Trendsetter is NOT open to the public, so this was a very special field trip for my yarny friends!

ESSS President Peggy w/Trendsetter New Pattern Samples

After our brief business meeting, Barry Klein, owner and designer, gave us a preview of Trendsetter's new yarns along with new patterns.  Barry, along with the other designers at Trendsetter are very clever with their designs.  They put together the most interesting combination of yarns and stitches to highlight the different properties of each pattern.  

Trendsetter Owner & Designer, Barry Klein

After Barry showed us the Spring 2013 collection, we were let loose in the warehouse with a price list.  It was a bit overwhelming.  There were sample garments next to each yarn type on the shelves, so we could see how the yarn looks in knitted form.  Believe me, I wanted to steal a few of those sample garments!  I especially liked seeing the Mitred Cross Coat/Kimono!  This pattern was originally written for use in an afghan.  I love the idea of making a coat out of these squares! 
Brandi goes over her notes

Suji, checking out the samples
Trying on Samples

It was a very fun morning!  I bought an entire bag (10 skeins) of Trendsetter's Merino 8 Shadow which is a worsted weight yarn in beautiful, soft brown tones.  Not sure what I'll make with it, but I love it's squooshiness!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Sweet Hollywaiians

Sweet Hollywaiians

On Friday, Larry and I were at Boulevard Music in Culver City for a performance by the Sweet Hollywaiians.  They are a group of four musicians from Osaka, Japan who perform American music from the 1920's and 1930's.  They are all very talented!  The guys kept switching instruments.  They sang a bit, but not too much.  Their English is not good, but this group definitely connects with the audience through their stellar musicianship.  Here's the group performing "Hula Girl."  You could swear that this is a recording from the early 1930's!  They're very authentic!
Sweet Hollywaiians

During the second set, local songbird, Janet Klein sang a few tunes with the Hollywaiians, also accompanied by her guitarist, Tom Marion.  Janet let the audience know how she met the Hollywaiians in Japan and little info about their group.
Janet Klein

Members of the Westside Ukulele Ensemble were present.  Thanks, Marielle, for introducing me to your fellow ukesters!  
Westside Ukulele Ensemble Members

We ran into a few other friends at this excellent venue for live, acoustic music.  It was a great evening.

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