Wednesday, October 16, 2019

My Little Corner of the World

Photo Courtesy of LAPL Archives
The caption for the photo above that appeared in the L.A. Herald Examiner in 1960 reads, "Commemorating the work of eight film pioneers who led the fight against Beverly Hills' annexation by Los Angeles in 1922, a 30-foot marble monument was dedicated at Beverly Dr. and Olympic Blvd. on March 9, 1960. A spiraling bronze replica of a strip of motion picture film is topped by a 14-karat gold star. Among filmland personalities taking part in the fete are, left to right, Conrad NagelCorinne GriffithMary Pickford and Harold Lloyd."
I was at this dedication. Sooky Goldman, photographer and reporter for the Beverly Hills Courier, recruited our Brownie Troop from Beverly Vista Elementary School to participate in the dedication ceremony for the statue. There was a photo of our troop, saluting in front of the statue in the BH Courier. My copy of the photo is long gone, but I still remember the day.
Beverly Vista Brown Troop, 1960 - L-R: Jeri, Denise, Allison, Erica, Jody, Ellen, Nancy, Leslie, Sharon, Eva, Ria, Mandy, Dana, Sandy, Karin, Gayle - Back row: Troop Leaders, Mrs. Milner, Mrs. Martin
Our neighbor, Sooky Goldman, later became active in the preservation of Franklin Canyon Park
The statue is still on Olympic Blvd. at Beverly Drive, right near Von's Pavillions Market. It's in the middle of this traffic triangle. I must go over there again and photograph the statue! I feel proud to have participated in this small piece of Beverly Hills history.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Exotic, Fun and Delicious

Saturday night was girls' night out! We met at the newly renovated Formosa Cafe on the edge of West Hollywood. I used to stop here with friends after work when I worked in Hollywood, 35 years ago. We NEVER ate dinner there, just had drinks and appetizers. The food was dreadful, but the drinks were fab and the ambiance was VERY old Hollywood. You can read a bit of the history HERE

The 1933 Group spent loads of money on refurbishing the Cafe, trying to replicate the glamor of the place. The Group also bought many of the elements of the shuttered Yee Mee Loo Bar, originally in DTLA, and incorporated them into the design. Leading to the back room, you can see the most beautiful, carved booth, along with the spectacular carved bar.
Carved decorative booth from Yee Lee Low

Of course, we ordered exotic drinks before dinner. 
Alyson, Darcy and Joan 
Ellen and MaryJo

A few of us had been here before, so we ordered some of our favorite dishes and some new ones. There were more, but I neglected to get photos. Everything was really delicious.
Marinated Cucumbers
Walnut Shrimp
Braised Pork Belly 
Chile Won Tons
General Tso's Cauliflower
We had a really nice time, lots of fun conversation, excellent food and drinks.  You must check out the new and improved Formosa Cafe!

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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

California Heights Home & Garden Tour - 2019

Lemon Avenue Home, built in 1929. Original cost, $4,500

On Sunday we drove down to Long Beach for the California Heights Home & Garden Tour. Our friends (and probably relatives), Ellen and Tom Underhill live there and are active in the community. 
There were many Craftsman style homes
From Wikipedia:  California Heights is a historic area of Long Beach nestled just south of North Long Beach and the neighborhood of Bixby Knolls and north of Signal Hill. Until the early 1920s California Heights was part of the Bixby Ranch and was used primarily as grazing land.  It was the discovery of oil on Signal Hill and the ensuing land boom in the 1921 that caused the Jotham Bixby Company to subdivide and sell of lots in the California Heights tract.  In 1927, California Heights included Chateau Therry (the subdivision on the west side of California Avenue) and petitioned the City of Long Beach for paved streets, sidewalks, curbs and ornamental lighting. The California Heights-Chateau Thierry area grew rapidly with approximately 250 families moving into the neighborhood between 1925 and 1927. The area continued to attract new families and by 1939 most of the building was complete.
Tudor Revival Style Home
The City of Long Beach has 18 historic districts. California Heights is one of them. I do love that many of the homes had Historic District signs posted. Most of the homes are of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. You can also see a few examples of Craftsman bungalows and Tudor Revival and Neo-Traditional homes of the late 30s and 40s. Some older homes were relocated to California Heights from downtown Long Beach.

It was extremely hot on Sunday, but we managed to trudge through the neighborhood and see most of the featured homes. It was helpful that the San Pedro Trolley made a loop through the area so we could catch a ride to some of the farthest homes.  We were not allowed to take photos inside the homes, but many had been remodeled for today's life-styles, most retaining many of the historical details of their original plans.
Tour Docent, Ellen Rooney Underhill in front of the Gundry Home, built in 1930 at a cost of $4,000
Our tour consisted of primarily Spanish Revival homes. I was surprised to see so many different types of architecture in one neighborhood though. We even ran into some modern ranch-style homes, labeled Cinderella or Swiss Miss homes!

Cinderella and Swiss Miss live in California Heights too!
I'm particularly fond of this modified Spanish Revival home. It's severe and almost modern!
The most modern home on the tour, Gardenia Avenue home built in 1939, original cost $2,200

All in all, we had a lovely afternoon exploring a new neighborhood in beautiful Southern California!
Our hosts, Tom and Ellen

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Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Robert Reed, "Mike Brady," the Dad in "The Brady Bunch Series
We've been watching "A Very Brady Renovation" on HGTV for the past few weeks. A group of designers from HGTV has been totally remodeling the house that was used for the exterior location of the house on TV's "The Brady Bunch."  The split-level Studio City home used for exterior shots in "The Brady Bunch" was built by Harry M. Londelius in 1959. The interior of this house in North Hollywood, California does not resemble the set of the interiors used for filming at the studio at all. This was an effort to completely make over the existing interior to resemble those sets from long ago. The team at HGTV, along with the six remaining cast members of the show (the children) did a good job in re-creating the interiors. They had to add an entire new wing to the house, taking away most of the existing backyard. Even though the house looks good on TV, the way they remodeled and added rooms makes the floor plan rather confusing. It will be interesting to see if this house ever sells on the open market.
After watching a few episodes, I was reminded that "Mike Brady's" office exterior was the 1960's Beverly Hills Library.
Beverly Hills Library (1963), Martin Stern, Architect
When I was very small, the BH Library used to be housed in one of the top floors of the BH City Hall. I remember taking the old-fashioned, glass and wrought iron-door elevator with my brother. The view from the windows at the top of City Hall in those days was spectacular.
I guess the Library needed more room, so in the early 60's renowned architect Martin Stern was hired and built a beautiful building, finished in 1963. The mosaic on the sides of the building depicted an abstraction of book spines. Sadly, this building was demolished in the 80's so a bigger library and more offices could be built in the Spanish/Moorish Revival style of the City Hall.
Originally, the building looked like it was floating over this water feature. Eventually, the "moat" was filling in with landscaping
More about architect, Martin Stern. I had no idea that Martin Stern was the architect for my beloved Library building!! After a bit of research (love you, innernets!), I found out that Mr. Stern was responsible for this gorgeous building. Martin Stern was the designer of Encino Village homes, many Las Vegas Strip hotels and restaurants and all three Ship's Coffee Shops in the L.A. area!
There were probably 3 or 4 different shots in "The Brady Bunch" of Robert Reed walking into this building. Supposedly, this was the office of a hip, modern architect. I loved this building! It was definitely hip and modern. 
I salute you, Martin Stern, for beautifying Beverly Hills Civic Center (at least for a little while) and for your contributions to modern architecture in the SouthWest! I also salute Sherwood Schwartz, producer of "The Brady Bunch" who chose his locations well. 

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Rosh Hashanah

Click to Enlarge
Sunday at sundown, we celebrate Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year. It is customary during Rosh Hashonah to start fresh and cast your sins into the water.  This is called the tradition of Tashlikh.
Monday, Larry and I will travel to the closest body of water to our house, The Ballona Creek flood channel, and cast our sins off! I hope there's some water in the Creek!
Ballona Creek at La Cienega
One of the many traditions during this holiday is to eat something sweet to make sure that you will have a sweet and happy new year.  We dip apples in honey and have some delicious honey cake. 
Apples, honey cake and honey to symbolize a sweet New Year
The rest of our New Year's dinner will consist of roast chicken, candied carrots in the shape of coins to insure wealth in the New Year, and Great Aunt Luba's Noodle Kugel! I might throw in some steamed asparagus this year.
Kugel, Candied Carrots, Roast Chicken
On Rosh Hashanah it is written… On Yom Kippur it is sealed. May it be written and may it be sealed that you have a New Year that brings fulfillment and happiness, peace, sweetness and prosperity – all of life’s very best things. Have a Happy, Healthy New Year to all of my friends and family!

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Alpine Village

Field Trip Friday! Larry and I drove south to Torrance, to visit the Alpine Village. I had never been there, but had passed it on the freeway for decades. We wanted to visit just before the big Oktoberfest celebration to avoid the crowds. Alpine Village, a German-style compound with specialty shops, a restaurant and market, has been there since 1968. 

All of the compound's buildings are decorated in the quaint Bavarian, Gingerbread style. We walked around the shops. A few were open.

I am assuming that the shops and surrounding grounds would be busier on the weekends. Many of the shops were closed. The buildings could use a bit of paint and sprucing up. There are rumors that Alpine Village is slated for demolition and future development. This is another reason we wanted to visit, before it's all gone.
The German Market and Cafe were bustling. I LOVED the market! It was full of European delicacies that you cannot readily purchase in the standard grocery store. Many of the displays were painted with colorful folk themes. Charming!
Notice the painted flowers at the end of the aisle display

So many different varieties of delicious mustard!
Polish, Ukranian products

We decided to have lunch in the sit-down restaurant instead of the little cafe next to the market. The restaurant is where Oktoberfest is held. There is a huge dance floor and stage, surrounded by tables, booths and a big bar area. This place is set up for concerts. It's a wonderful venue. In addition to European bands for German festivals, the venue has held rock 'n roll, punk and other concerts. It would be perfect for a wedding!

The Stage and Dance Floor
Lunch was good. I had a chef salad with Black Forest ham and more. Larry had a bratwurst sandwich.

We wandered around the grounds a bit more after lunch, noticing the architectural details of the Village buildings.

This is a lovely respite from the big City. Visiting Alpine Village is like a little vacation. To help preserve this bit of Bavaria in the Southland, join the Facebook group, Friends of Alpine Village and sign the petition to save it from being demolished and developed into yet another boring apartment and mini-mall complex.

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery