Monday, April 30, 2007

Bloom Family Celebration

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Cool 60's architecture at
Temple Beth Jacob, Redwood City, CA
Samantha Bloom (daughter of my cousin Barry and his wife, Alex) had her Bat Mitzvah this past weekend up in the Bay Area. Larry and I drove up to San Carlos with Mom and my step-dad for this occasion. We had a nice ride up to Northern California on Friday and had dinner with my step-brother in Menlo Park.
Saturday morning we arrived at Temple Beth Jacob for the 10 a.m. service. Samantha and all of her friends were hovering around the entrance to the Temple. I haven't seen Sammy in about 3 years. I must say, she looks all grown up at 13! She read her portion of the Torah and gave her Bat Mitzvah speech. She was so poised and professional.
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Sammy holding the Torah, with her family and the Rabbi
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Cousin Sasha, Mom and Hal
After the service we drove to downtown Redwood City to this billard parlour in an old bank building. It was quite charming. A catered buffet lunch was served, many speeches and toasts ensued and a great time was had by all. Later that evening we went over to Cousin Barry's and Alexandra's home in San Carlos for dinner and more celebrating. It's always great to see the whole extended family at a happy occasion.
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Uncle Hi and Aunt Betty,
Grandparents of the Bat Mitzvah Girl
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Samantha Mineko Bloom and her dad, Barry Bloom

On Sunday morning we all piled back into Mom's big car and drove down to the outlet stores at Gilroy for a little shopping, then to lunch at this great noodle house just outside of Gilroy on Highway 152. We listened to old radio shows on the way home and eventually stopped for dinner at the Woodside BBQ in Valencia for dinner. We got home at around 8pm. It was a tiring drive, but well worth the trip.
Mazel tov, Sammy!


Friday, April 27, 2007

Road Trip

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We are traveling up to Northern California for a family celebration today. I hope to have pix and info later in the weekend! Hope you all have a great one!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

We're All Going!

Make your reservations now!!! We're all going to "The United States of Charles Phoenix"...a comedy about mid-century Americana at the John Anson Ford Ampitheater near the Hollywood Bowl on Friday May 11th, 8:30 pm.
Larry and Stuart are going!

OMG! It's going to be faboo. Charles is a personal friend of mine and I must say I'm honored to be able to claim that. He's so inventive, entertaining and smart. This retro slide show performance should be really fun. Many special events and guests are scheduled along with Charles' witty narration of hysterical vintage travel slides from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Bring a's gonna be a blast!
The Amys are going!

Joan, Ellen and of course, Charles will be there!

Tickets to "The United States of Charles Phoenix" -, 323/461-3673


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Parrots on Larchmont

Parrots on Larchmont Blvd.

We were in Larchmont Village recently at Dawson's Books for a salon and booksigning by Gregory Paul Williams, highlighting his new book, "The Story of Hollywood, An Illustrated History."

Upon leaving the shop, we heard this screeching coming from high above in the palm trees. Looking up, we saw two green parrots perched on a palm frond. I'm a city girl....I've never seen wild parrots in the center of town before. Amazing.
There's a lot to do on Larchmont Blvd. There are tons of shops, restaurants, boutiques, etc. The small town flavor of this little area has been changing lately. A few chain stores have crept in over the years. We heard that many of the smaller, unique "Mom & Pop" shops have had their rents raised. One antique shop was paying $950 a month for a small space and recently had their rent raised to $5,000 per month! Soon, the small town atmosphere of Larchmont will be changed forever, with more chain stores that can afford the high rents. It's sad to see this happening to a charming little slice of L.A.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Use for Eyelash Yarn I know how to use up all that old, annoying eyelash yarn in my stash. We will make sea anenomes, coral reefs and sea urchins!

Also seen at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica on Saturday was a display by the Institute for Figuring of some of their latest creations. These sculptures were crocheted by artsits and scientists, Marianne Midelburg, Shari Porter and Sarah Simons. They are called "Coral Mounds." They are beautiful.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Headresses by Johanna Went

On Saturday, Larry and I went to the Track 16 Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica for an art show by our friend, Johanna Went. Included in the show are costumes that Johanna uses in her performance pieces, playbills and photos from her career as a performance artist during the punk rock era and other soft sculptures. The show was huge and all encompassing. There were celebrities in attendance (Cybil Shepherd, Lisa Loeb, Crispin Glover, Jack Black). Johanna is an amazing artist....her masks and costumes are so inventive.

Awhile back...maybe a year or two, Johanna came to our WeHo SnB to sit and stitch with us (see CAP photo above). She was working on one of her wilder masks. I wish she'd come back. Her creativity enlivened the group considerably!
Yarn Creation by Johanna
Close-Up of Yarn Ball Hat
Johanna Went in her Punk Rock Days
Cybil S., left behind hatted patron
crocheted potholder sleeves and hat

Map Costume

Here's what Ron Athey in the L.A. Weekly had to say about this event/show:

Johanna Went: Aggravated Resistentialism
A giant baby doll head screams, a wrecking ball papered in a world map crashes into a cheap paper set, goat heads are stabbed with a sharp knife and a wedding dress is lifted up to reveal ejaculating dildos. If the actionist art of Johanna Went were to be classified as a religious experience, it would be a close relative to the Holy Roller movement. Specializing in structured chaos, Went seems to channel characters from an alternate universe akin to — if sicker than — H.R. Pufnstuf. Her gibber-jabber vocals fluctuate between baby talk and Tourette’s syndrome; her physical movement is a constant, spastic spirit-dance; and she makes a beautiful mess, transforming ordinary objects into symbolist actions, brimming with a dark, whacked humor. The overall effect of sound, motion and imagery is catalytic. Went “trained” 30 years ago in Seattle with Tom “Alien Comic” Murrin, staging street actions there and elsewhere. In 1979, she made her entrée into L.A. punk history when she performed her first solo material at the Hong Kong Café. Her aggressive stage style conquered the toughest Germs or Black Flag audience, and eventually she became identified with the Industrial scene, which included Non’s Boyd Rice and Survival Research Laboratory founder Mark Pauline. In Aggravated Resistentialism, a 45-minute performance acted out in Track 16’s newly pumped up main gallery, Went is back with longtime musical collaborator Mark Wheaton, and reunited with percussion meister Z’ev. Tackling the prop heaps onstage with her are Theatre Carnivale’s Stephen Holman and performers Lauren Hartman, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario and Shelly Vial. Over the years Went’s prop/costume chest has been filled with slaughterhouse rejects, feminine hygiene products, Halloween masks, tubular bolts of fabric, Hollywood iconography, and fluid concoctions evoking blood, vomit, afterbirth. Junk that will, with a little help from the hands of Went and co., live up to the theme of the show: “the theory that inanimate objects demonstrate hostile behavior.” Track 16 Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., No. C1, Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., June 11-12, 8 p.m. (310) 264-4678.

Johanna will be performing in all these costumes and more on May 5, 12 and 19th at the Track 16 Gallery. You go, Girl!

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Basket? Hat?

Darcy in the Noro Granny Basket Hat

Well, I felted my Noro Basket twice. It felted and got fuzzy, but it really didn't shrink up or condense like I expected. I might just have to run it through the wash a few more times. I brought it to the WeHo SnB last night and Miss Darcy thought it made a better hat than a basket!
It's raining here in Los Angeles this weekend, which will make our driving all over town a pain in the neck! Oh well....tomorrow morning I have to zip down to Chinatown to pick up some secret potions. Then, I have a lunch date with Rhoda on Larchmont before we head over to Dawson's Bookstore to a book signing and salon on "The Story of Hollywood" by Gregory Paul Williams. Of course, I'll probably have some time between downtown and Larchmont. Since I'll be in the vicinity, I just might go one last time to Black Sheep Knittery. Did I mention that their 50%-off-everything-in-the-store-sale has been extended until the end of April?
Later, Saturday night, Larry and I will be attending an art opening at Track 16 Gallery at Bergamot Station. Our friend, Johanna Went, is having a show of her work.....always interesting!
Have a great weekend everyone!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Granny is HAWT!

Found this reference on the Granny-Along blog. Wow! Turkish grannies are hawt!!!!

Note to Miss Kendra: Find this pattern!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Obsession Continues

I saw this great felted basket on the Granny-Along blog. I love the idea of crocheting a granny square, then after a few rounds, eliminating the increases at the corners so it takes on a bowl shape. I bought some Noro Kureyon at Black Sheep Knittery last weekend to try this pattern. This is my granny bowl, before felting.
Before Felting
I'll let you know how the felting turns out. I'm thinking that the holes created by the granny pattern might leave holes in the basket. I suppose that's OK though, since it won't hold liquid anyway!

I used one skein of Noro Kureyon for a 7-inch basket, before felting.


Monday, April 16, 2007

NELA Gallery Night

5-Hour Baby Sweater knitted from re-cycled plastic bags
Cactus Gallery

Saturday, Larry and I drove up to Highland Park for the NELA Gallery Night. We try to go every month on the second Saturday. Our friends, Amy and Stuart are the owners of participating gallery, Future Studio. This month, one of our Farmers Market regulars, Rob Hasick was having a show of his drawings. There are many galleries participating in this monthly event. This past Saturday, we went to about four galleries.

Amy, Brit, Ellen, Joan, Nancy
@ Future Studio

Mosaic Skull @ Cactus Gallery

Shopping Carts w/ Orange Plastic form a circle
Mor York Gallery

When we arrived at Future Studio, there was a full house. One of Rob's good friends provided a sumptuous buffet. It was over and above the usual art show fare. There was Caesar salad, marinated asparagus, hummus, crudite', this incredible pizza bread, fruit, etc. Later, they served a beautiful carrot cake! Rob's drawings are continuous line, pen and ink...quite interesting. We met up with more of our regular Wednesday Farmers Market dinner group and piled into the Crochet-Car to tour a few of the other galleries.

We stopped at the Avenue 50 Gallery and Acorn Gallery for gourd art and horse paintings. Then, we zoomed up to the Cactus Gallery for some found-object art, along with some interesting mosaic sculptures. The highlight, of course was Mor York Gallery. The front room had these incredible shopping cart assemblage pieces made from actual shopping baskets and plastic....very colorful. Neither Joan nor Nancy had visited this gallery. Owner, In the back part of the building, owner/artist Clare Graham uses all sorts of collections of multiples to create furniture, hangings, screens, etc. This place is a must-see.
Shopping Cart Art @ Mor York

Clare Graham's Bottle Cap Piece

Painting on Plastic Bubble Wrap
Cactus Gallery

We headed back to Future Studio for some carrot cake and a last visit with friends. Next month, you must get over to Highland Park and Eagle Rock for this great Gallery Night!

Joan, Larry, Nancy and Brit with

Clare Graham Button Hanging Sculpture @ Mor York Gallery

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Saturday was FUN!

Buddha Cat by Gary Steinborn of Venice Clay

Met up with everyone at the WeHo Saturday group at the Original Farmers Market. To my great surprise and happiness, a few of the ladies I met at Stitches West in February showed up. Madge, Marie and Jillian drove ALL THE WAY from the San Gabriel Valley to join us and to tour the Farmers Market. You can see photos of the meeting on Madge's and Marie's site.

After the SnB, Mary Jo and I went back to my house. Mary Jo thinks that our yarn stash/collection is about even. Can't wait to view her stash! We had a lovely lunch at our local Bloom Cafe, then stopped at the Craft and Folk Art Museum on the Miracle Mile. Mary Jo bought this great looking Buddha Cat in a bronze color, sculpted by Gary Steinbom of Venice Clay.

We could not contain ourselves. We ended up going back to Hollywood for more of the Black Sheet Knittery sale. The sale is going on until the end of April. Kristal, the shop owner, keeps pulling out more yarn, needles, books, accessories for this incredible half-off everything in the store sale. I bought some more Koigu, some hand-painted yarn and a few skeins of Noro Kureyon. I'm not even going to take photos of the stuff. I'm waaayyyyy over-budget on yarn. I figure if I don't photograph it, then it really didn't happen.
Black Sheep Knittery is just around the
corner from the historic Capitol Records Building

When we walked into Black Sheep, who do we see but Madge, Marie and Jillian! They had also been to the shop last month, but couldn't stay away when they found themselves in the neighborhood on their way back to the eastside from the Farmers Market. We oooohhed and aahhhed over each other's purchases and tried to rationalize the huge amounts of money spent on immense amounts of yarn and supplies.
Madge and Marie @ Black Sheep Knittery, Hollywood

Jillian, Happily Knitting

More stories about my Saturday adventures tomorrow.....Northeast L.A. Art Gallery Night....what a blast!

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RIP - Don Ho

"Don Ho" by SHAG
Don Ho passed away this weekend. He was 76. I saw him perform in Hawaii during the late 1970's. His show was corny but fun. He was a charming and talented entertainer. All of Tiki-nation and Aloha-folks will miss him.
Above print from the collection of Ellen Bloom and Larry Underhill


Friday, April 13, 2007


It's Really Windy Here!
Los Angeles is having crazy weather! The winds are up...the temperatures are erratic...I'm waiting for the hoards of locusts to descend! Yesterday, the winds were up to 50 mph in the area. Trees, bushes, signs, lawn furniture, pets, etc. have been flying through the air. Power is out around town due to the high winds. One of my co-workers (livng in Palms) will not have power for two more days! Luckily, our power is OK....for now.

Saturday morning, I'll be at our once-a-month, second Saturday WeHo SnB at the Farmers Market, 10am to noon. After that, I'm taking Mary Jo for a belated b-day lunch at the Bloom Cafe in my neighborhood. Mary Jo and I have this ongoing contest about who's got a bigger yarn stash. Our mutual friend, Brit, thinks it's a draw. Tomorrow, MJ will be at my house so she can actually see and count the skeins of yarn in my studio, closet, dining room, car trunk, etc.

Part of my Yarn Storage

Later Saturday evening Mr. Larry and I will be heading out to Highland Park for the Second Saturday N.E.L.A. Art Crawl. Our friend, Rob Hasick is exhibiting his work at Future Studio. The Art Crawl encompasses many studios in the Highland Park, Eagle Rock area. It's always a great time....interesting people. I hope to see you there!

Artwork by Rob Hasick

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

20 Plus Years Ago

Today, I'm meeting a friend...younger than I am and still into nightclub life and all things vintage. I am giving her my prized petticoats. I used to wear all sorts of vintage skirts and dresses from the 50's and 60's for dancing. The petticoats added to the authenticity of my outfits. I would find them in thrift shops at flea markets and at Square Dance Land in Sierra Madre. Since the petticoats have been hanging in my closet for 15 years, gathering dust, I decided to wash 'em, fluff 'em up and give them to Lisa for her enjoyment. Rock on!

I've always been a music fan. However, during the 1980's and early 90's my fan appreciation was upped by attending many, many L.A. clubs to see live bands perform. I even booked a blues duo and an alternative country act into clubs around town for a few years. This led to me hosting a local blues radio show for about 8 years.

The centerpiece for my rock 'n roll years was Ronnie Mack's Barndance. From the hallowed stage of the beer-soaked Palomino Club in North Hollywood emanated some of the best roots music in the country. By "roots" music, I mean the roots of rock 'n roll, encompassing country, blues, rockabilly, etc. Ronnie's been hosting and organizing the Barndance in various locations around the City for almost 20 years. The Barndance used to be a weekly event. Now, it's held once a month at El Cid's on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

We followed most of the local roots musicians to gigs around town: James Intveld, Rosie Flores, Dave Alvin, John "Juke" Logan, Chuck E. Weiss, Eddie Baytos, Russell Scott, Flat-Top Tom, Eddie Nichols, King Cotton, The Lonesome Strangers, Billy Vera, The Zydeco Party Band, a host of blues bands and country locals. Many of the musicians would play in many of the bands. There was an easy crossover from blues, country, rockabilly, and zydeco.

It was a grand time. Most nights I'd be out at clubs until closing time - 2 am, and then be at work the next day by 9 am. How did I do it? I was young. Our favorite clubs: The Palomino, of course; the original King King at 6th and La Brea, the Music Machine on Pico near Centinela, Raji's in Hollywood, the Anti-Club near LACC, the Gaslight in Hollywood (formerly Bido Lido's), the Central on the Sunset Strip (now the VIper Room, formerly Filthy McNasty's), the Lighthouse in Manhattan Beach, the Alligator Lounge on Pico in Santa Monica (now a fancy restaurant), At My Place in Santa Monica (now the Temple Bar), Trancas in Malibu, The Mint on Pico near Crescent Hts., Highland Grounds (a coffee house on Highland) and various other bars, dives and clubs as far away as Bellflower, El Monte, Solana Beach, Santa Ana....we'd travel far and wide to see and hear our favorite bands.

Mr. Larry and I still go out to see some of our faves, but not as often as we used to. We need our beauty rest. I did hold back one last petticoat...the hot pink one, just in case.

ADDENDUM: Lisa sent me a photo of the petticoats' new home! Simply Faboo!

Lucky Lisa Kicks Up Some Fun


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Headrest Covers

I finished one headrest cover for my CROCHET car! I like the color combo...sedate and adult with a splash of hot red! Three more to go.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Nature Communicates

The palm tree near the corner of our backyard (but thankfully IN our neighbor's yard) has been growing and hitting the telephone and cable wires. Our next door neighbor and his family are flawlessly vigilant about keepiing up their home and garden. We are lucky to have nice, neat, quiet and helpful neighbors. The other day a fancy tree doctor appeared over our garage with his chainsaw and started buzzing away at the very old and picturesque palm tree.

We are sad to see the tree go. The palm had provided a lovely, vintage backdrop for many photos of parties in our yard. However, once the palm fronds start messing with our phone and cable connections, we are not happy people.

Forlorn Fronds

Now, if we could only get rid of the results of squirrel chew on the cable at the other corner of our yard! Who knew we could experience so much nature in the middle of the big City!


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery