Monday, November 08, 2021

Last week Larry and I attended an exhibition at the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA) entitled, "The Obama Portraits Tour." Two portraits, one of President Barack Obama by Keninda Wiley and the other of Michelle Obama by Amy Sherald are on loan from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.  Both paintings are massive and are displayed together on one large wall.  Both portraits are excellent and totally different in style. Read about them HERE and HERE.  

In addition to the Obama portraits, there are a few large galleries containing many wonderful portraits by black artists throughout the years. This exhibit is called "Black American Portraits, Remembering Two Centuries of Black American Art."  There are so many wonderful paintings included, along with sculpture, etchings, drawings, quilts, tapestries and more. I've wanted to see the Obama portraits, but this secondary exhibit is so worthwhile!

"Forever" by Bisa Butler (2020), Cotton, Silk, Wool, Quilted and Appliqu├ęd Velvet
"Madame C.J. Walker" by Chelle Barbour (2019). Mixed Media Collage on Paper

I was awed by this collection, so I really didn't photograph that many pieces. You must see the show for yourself! Go during the week if you can, when the Museum isn't quite as busy.

Of course, upon our departure from LACMA, we took the obligatory photo in front of Chris Burden's "Urban Light" (2008).

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Friday, September 10, 2021

The Stahl House

Six months ago, Larry asked me what I wanted for my birthday in July. I really didn't want anything. If I need something, I just buy it for myself. At this time in our lives, we're trying to get rid of STUFF!  I did ask Larry to take me on a tour of the Stahl House in the Hollywood Hills.  Larry has been there a few times, but every time he was there with the Modern Committee of the L.A. Conservancy, I could never make it across town in time from my office in Santa Monica to go on the tour. Larry tried to book a tour for my birthday month, but the tour gets booked up rather quickly. The first date available was in September.

The Stahl House, also known as Case Study House #22, is a modernist-styled house designed by architect Pierre Koenig. Koenig's clients were Buck and Carlotta Stahl. Stahl and Koenig collaborated on the design of the home. There is a book coming out in November all about the building of this house called, "The Stahl House, Case Study House #22, The Making of a Modernist Icon."  Two of the Stahl children have contributed considerably to this Chronicle Book.

The Stahl House was made even more famous by a Julius Shulman photograph showing two women leisurely sitting in a corner of the house with a panoramic view of the city through floor-to-ceiling glass walls.
Photo by Julius Shulman, 1960
In 1999 the house was declared a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument.  The Case Study House Program was started in 1945 to serve as a model for post-war living. All of the homes were built with affordability in mind, using easy to obtain materials and simple design.
The Stahl House is an excellent example of this simple design. It is an L-shaped structure, made from steel and glass construction. The new book goes into detail about the grading of the lot, the design and engineering process and other architectural feats.
The home has been used as a location in numerous movies and television shows. Even the Simpsons had a party at the Stahl House!
Scene from "The Simpsons" 2009 at The Stahl House
Larry booked the last tour of the day, beginning at 6:30 pm. This is the perfect time to go. You get to see the house in daylight and then stay for the sunset, into darkness. The City of Los Angeles lights up below the house, making it a magical experience. We stayed 90 minutes. We were allowed to roam throughout the home and take cellphone photos. 
Toward the end of the tour, we all gathered in the living room (furniture designed by Design Within Reach) and listened to the docent talk about the house. Because we were allowed to stay for such a long time, I really felt like I was a guest at a party. I could experience what it may have been like to live here. It was a wonderful time. Thank you, Larry!

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Saturday, September 04, 2021

Happy Labor Day


Happy Labor Day! Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century became a federal holiday in 1894.

I am thankful to all the workers who came before me, standing up for equal rights on the job.

I spent 47 years in the work force. Some of that time was spent as a union member, working at various movie studios throughout Los Angeles. Today, I am reaping the benefits of full-time, corporate employment thanks to the labor movement's accomplishments over the years for equal rights, better working conditions and equal pay. Thank you.

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Friday, August 13, 2021

Beverly Hills Monument

Photo Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library 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 BH Courier photo is long gone, but I still remember the day.
Beverly Vista Brown Troop, 1960 - L-R: Jeri, Denise, Alison, 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.
BH Sculpture in 2021. Photo by James Kraus

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Birthday 2021

Greeting me when I woke up on my b-day, from Larry!
Birthday Cards!

My 2021 birthday was decidedly more festive than my 2020 birthday. This year I could celebrate with friends and family IN PERSON. I like to start celebrating in mid-July. My cousin Amie's birthday is at the end of June, so we always take ourselves out to lunch sometime in-between our birthdays. This year we met at The Santa Monica Seafood Cafe for lunch. We each had the most divine Crab Louie Salad!

On the Saturday just before my birthday Joan, Larry and I went to a gallery opening IN PERSON at the new Thinkspace Projects space in Mid-City L.A.  After viewing the art we went to Brunello's Trattoria in Culver City for a delightful al fresco dinner! Thanks, Joan!

On the actual DAY of my birthday, Tuesday, July 20th I met up with my band, The Ladies of the Uke. Tuesday is usually our rehearsal day, but this time we met at the ever-favorite, Jackson Cafe on Jefferson Blvd. for lunch and some strumming. I was having so much fun, that I forgot to take photos of everyone! Thank you Mollie, Vicki, Ellie, Sherry, Cali and Nomi (in absentia...Nomi sent her son, Isaac with a greeting). Also, thanks to Sherry and Vicki for a few photos!
Mollie and Ellie
Vicki made us Minnie Mouse Facemasks!
Ellen, Isaac and Mollie
I rushed home from our lunch/rehearsal so that Larry and I could zoom over to the Landmark Theater to see "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain." This wasn't exactly an uplifting film to see on my birthday, but we both wanted to see it because we were huge Tony fans. In a way, it was nice to see all the clips from Tony's show, put together in a meaningful way.  After the movie we raced across town to Taylor's Steakhouse for martinis and dinner! The food is always delicious and the atmosphere is divine. This is one of those classic red-leather booth restaurants. My favorite!

Petite Filet, smothered in grilled onions with baked potato. Caesar Salad to start.
The next day I met my cousin Carolyn in Sherman Oaks for lunch. We always meet at Carnival Lebanese Restaurant on Woodman Ave. The food is really excellent. Sometimes, we talk about changing restaurants, but in the end we go to Carnival!
Felafel Appetizer plate, cabbage salad, Kafta Rolls, Pita!

Birthdays seem to revolve around meals. I met up with my besties, the Knit Grrlz for early dinner on at La Puglia, a new Italian restaurant in Santa Monica. Natalie, who has visited Puglia, Italy, said that the food was very authentic. It was excellent and we had such a fun time! Thank you Natalie, Darcy and Mary Jo. We missed you, Brit!
Movie stars, Natalie and Darcy
Darcy and Mary Jo

Thank you, all for such wonderful celebrations! I look forward to YOUR birthdays!
The BEST crocheted birthday cake photo from Yipsy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

21 Years Later, Back on the Radio

Mary Katherine Aldin's Master Control

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of being the guest host on KPFK's "Preaching the Blues." Regular host, Mary Katherine Aldin invited me. The show has been on the air for decades. When I was listening a lot in the late 1980s and early 1990s the host was Ed "The Geezer" Archer. He was always full of entertaining stories about blues performers. That's what makes a radio show interesting to me, hearing about the lives of the players and little tid-bits about their performances.  I tried to bring some of that to the show on Sunday night.

For 8 years I co-hosted the "Friday Night Blues Revue" on KPCC-FM with John "Juke" Logan (RIP). Juke was a very well-known harmonica and keyboard player. He knew everybody in the roots and blues music scene. Due to the fact that Juke knew so many musicians, we had great guests on our radio show. This resulted in a CD, produced by Jerry Hall, called "Friday Night Live" compiling so many of the live performances from our 8 years on the air. The CD is documentation of L.A. blues players from 1992-2000.  Sadly, KPCC went to an all-talk format in 2000 and cancelled all music shows, otherwise I'd probably still be there hosting the show! I played many tunes from this CD on Sunday's show.

I learned how to engineer, announce, etc. when I was the board operator for "Billy Vera's Rock 'n Roll Party" on KCRW-FM in the mid-1990s.  I also learned a lot about rhythm and blues, blues, swamp pop, zydeco, Cajun and straight-up jazz when I worked with Billy and Juke. I tried to bring their spirit and knowledge to KPFK on Sunday.
Some of our in-studio guest on the "Friday Night Blues Revue."  Clockwise, from top left, Ladies of the Blues, Billy Boy Arnold, the Blazers with Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, Ronnie Barron, Billy Vera, Rick Holmstrom & Johnny Dyer, Floyd Dixon
There's a LOT of preparation that goes into hosting a show, especially for two hours. Sometimes at KPCC, when Juke was on the road, I would host the show on my own. Usually, I'd just bring a bunch of blues compilations and decide on the spot which song I would play. On "Preaching the Blues" last Sunday, I was not the engineer. Mary Katherine was handling those duties. So, the CDs weren't in front of me for reference and back-announce. I had to prepare a spread-sheet of the songs and comments I wanted to play and talk about.
Also, when you're on the air live, you have to juggle the songs around to make room for station identification, commercials for other shows, etc. Luckily, Mary Katherine took care of this too. I used to be very nervous when I had to do this on my own. Many times there were equipment failures, the radio signal might get cut off or worse. There were and are so many things that can go wrong. We had a few minor CD player failures on Sunday, but Mary Katherine is a pro and knows how to yell at the machines so they behave!
Turntables are available for vinyl play

I tried to play lots of my Los Angeles musician friends' songs on the air. Naturally, I over-programmed so we ran out of time. It was fun though. If you'd like to hear the show, it's archived at Just go to the "Archive" section, look for the show, "Preaching the Blues" and click on the July 11, 2021 show. It should be up for a week or two. Thanks to Larry for coming along and photographing this event and organizing the CDs for us. Thanks also to Mary Katherine for her calm engineering and announcing. We would have taken photos with MK, but she is camera-shy.

Leaving KPFK, the back door is filled with bumper stickers. So colorful!

All in all, we had a great time! If you'd like to help keep these shows on the air and make a contribution to KPFK, 90.7 FM, Pacific Radio for Los Angeles, Southern California and the World, click HERE.  

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Hiren's BootCD
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