Wednesday, September 30, 2015

EARLY Holiday Prep

Gifts from Suzette. Clockwise from upper left: Owlie, Donut, Slugzilla, Mr. and Mrs. Zombie

I may not actually crochet or knit any presents for the holidays YET, but I am thinking about it! Toys and little animals are always fun gifts. No matter how old the person is that your gifting, everyone likes a bit of whimsy! I love it when my friends make me animals, birds, monsters, etc. My friend, Suzette, is an expert at this. I've received many excellent creatures from her! Above are just a few!
I have a few fun toys or animals in mind that I'd like to crochet. Here are some patterns I found on Ravelry. Click on the captions to take you to the patterns.

Granny Square Kitty Cats

Little Chick Bean Bags

Scrap Soft Toy

Easy Crochet Owl

I'm not into making those small, fiddly animals or toys. I'm just not dexterous enough. Give me a chunky toy anytime. It always amazes me, when working on toys how they really start to delight when I add the details!  I made these little bears for Eve's twins. They were easy and fun!
Easy Peasy Teddy Bear

Years ago I crocheted Larry a 35 mm camera. I didn't have a pattern, I just simplified the shapes of the camera and sewed them all together.
Larry's Crocheted Camera
My ultimate toy crochet project was to make Ellen and Larry Dolls. I suppose I should update these dolls and make new ones with a few more wrinkles and gray hair!
Ellen and Larry Dolls

Have you started planning your holiday yarny gifts?  What are you creating?

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 the tire shop

Wall o' Fame at Davis Bros. Tires, Culver City

Whenever I have to wait at any business establishment in Los Angeles, whether it's a restaurant, hot dog stand, dry cleaners or the tire shop, I always peruse the wall of celebrity head shots. These are either endorsements by the stars of that particular business or a hope for casting opportunities. Everyone has to run errands, right? Might as well let the public know that you are out there and available! The photos are usually old and faded, just like the "celebrities."
Formosa Cafe, Hollywood, before the remodel!

Montrose Bowling Alley, Montrose

Caricatures at The Palm Restaurant, West Hollywood, demolished

Paty's Restaurant, Toluca Lake

Pink's Hot Dog Stand, Hollywood

Hey! If Jason Alexander loves Pink's Hot Dogs and so does Dolly Parton, who am I to argue?
Pink's Hot Dog Stand, Hollywood
This one always slays me. It's the owners of The Nosh in Beverly Hills with their families. Oy!

The Dresden Room, Los Feliz

Notice the little red dot on the photo at The Dresden Room, above. That's Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn from the movie, "Swingers." They filmed many scenes at The Dresden Room.
Barry Weiss of "Storage Wars" and Ellen Bloom of "L.A. Is My Beat" in front of Wall o' Photos, Dresden Room, Los Feliz

OK, this week, I'm I'm going to frame a few copies of my old head shot and drop them off at places of business I patronize.  I'd like everyone to know that I spend my star money at Davis Bros. Tires, Zankou Chicken, Norm's Coffee Shop and the big Ralph's Supermarket on Pico near Rimpau!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, September 28, 2015

L.A. International Ukulele Festival

Lots of Great Shirts at the Uke-Fest!

I met up with the Los Angeles ukulele community in Torrance on Saturday for the first L.A. International Ukulele Festival.   Considering this was the first effort by this group of organizers, I think they did a fairly good job. The Torrance Cultural Arts Center an excellent location for this event. It was easy to find and freeway close, there are several air-conditioned class areas and auditoriums, an outside plaza and plenty of free parking. I do believe that there were 500 tickets sold. There weren't that many people in attendance, thankfully.

Natalie and Cher

I arrived at the same time as my friends, Natalie and Cher. We registered and walked into the plaza to see our friend Diane playing a concert with the CC Strummers. This is a group from Culver City, led by musician Cali Rose. They played many peppy and recognizable songs! At the end of their set, those of us in the audience with our ukes joined the group sing-a-long with Cali and the CC Strummers.  It was a great start to our day.
CC Strummers and Cali Rose

For the attendance fee of $35, you could attend any classes that were available. There were many classes to choose from for all levels of ukulele players. They offered beginning classes to detailed classes on how to build and hear chord progressions, ukulele chord melodies, moving up the fret board and Hawaiian song basics to Hula dancing! During all of these classes, there were constant performances outside in the plaza. Many uke-stars were there. Just outside the plaza there were tables of vendors selling everything from tiki mugs and ukulele-shaped jewelry to actual ukuleles and accessories. There was so much to see and do! Inside one of the halls there was a kitchen where Hawaiian-style snacks and lunch were being served for very reasonable prices.

Tiki mugs and pottery for sale

Owners from TikiGuy Studio in Phoenix

If it hadn't been so hot and humid, this would have been the perfect festival. Mitch Chang and his group of organizers did a great job, under the circumstances.
I decided to take a class called "Ukulele Chord Melodies." There was music for this class that was made available for download, pre-festival. I was ready. I sat in the front row. I will not mention the name of the instructor, because he really didn't teach us anything. He stood on the stage and played the melodies that we were supposed to learn. He didn't address the class. We didn't go through the melodies line by line. This guy just did not know how to teach. I felt embarrassed for him as people got up to leave.  After awhile, I decided that this was a waste of my time, so I left too.  It's too bad, because I'd heard that so many of the other teachers held excellent group classes. Oh well, it was time to stand in the long lines for lunch anyway.
People leaving class!

Standing in line was fun. I met and talked to other local ukulele students. I always learn tips and tricks and valuable information from chatting with other uke-sters!
After lunch I sat with Cricket and Diane and we listened to some of the performers. It was really fun. The spirit of the crowd and the performers was filled with the Aloha big ohana!
Westside Ukulele Ensemble.  They were great!

My second class for the day was excellent! Diane and I took "Let's Arrange A Song on the Ukulele!" with Cali Rose. We learned the "Hawaiian War Chant" song. It was so much fun learning different strumming techniques, picking melody lines, rhythmic flourishes and chord embellishments all in one song!  Cali is a really good teacher. Her class was a pleasure. I wish I could take her class at the Culver City Senior Center. If only I didn't have this pesky job! Cali also teaches on Saturdays at Boulevard Music in Culver City. I may look into one of her workshops there. 

Excellent Headgear!

Diane and Ellen. Photo by Cricket

We cruised the vendor booths, talked with more friends and waved a fond Aloha in the late afternoon to everyone at the Torrance Cultural Center. I look forward to next year's festival.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, September 25, 2015

Vintage Photo Friday

The Old and New Clifton's Cafeteria

Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria, 1939

I was most impressed with the preservation and re-invention of the Clifton's Cafeteria building when we visited this past Monday. I only remember the 1960's version of the exterior.
In an effort to update and modernize the old building, originally the Boos Brothers Cafeteria (1913), owner, Clifford Clinton added this modern screen to the front of the building, along with modern signage.  I like this exterior. It's clean, the sign is legible and you can clearly see what this building is all about.

Clifton's Re-design, 1960s to 2011

When the current owner, Andrew Meieran bought the business, he wanted to return the building to it's 1939 design. It took over four years, but Clifton's has returned to it's 1940s glory.

Clifton's, during restoration
Clifton's September 2015
The interior of the building is just as impressive as the exterior. Meieran improved the forested lodge-look of the place by adding more realistic fake trees and foliage, along with forest animals. You really must visit so you can view the transformation!
The old cafeteria tray versus the new tray
Clifton's, 1940. Dick Whittington collection, USC Photo Archives

Here's a bit of history about the building from the Pacific Coast Architecture Database:
In 1935, Clifford and Nelda Clinton picked up the lease on the failed Boos Brothers Cafeteria on Olive Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The second Clifton's Cafeteria, this institution has occupied a retail space at 648 South Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, CA, since 1935. In 1939, after an extensive renovation, it was rechristened, "Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria." The name derived from a lodge building that Clinton had visited in the Northern California Santa Cruz Mountains in his youth. Like the original restaurant, Clifton's Brookdale also featured a lenient, "pay what you wish" business model. In 2007, Clifton's was one of the few remaining cafeterias left anywhere in Southern California, a restaurant type very popular during the 1920s-1960s.
I look forward to many more meals at the new and improved Clifton's Cafeteria.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Breaking the Fast

Main Dining Room @ Hillcrest Country Club. New chairs!

It's always nice getting together with my Aunt, Cousins and Mom on the holidays.  We traditionally break the fast together after Yom Kippur.  In the old days, my Grandfather would also celebrate his birthday on this day with our family. Grandpa and Grandma were very active members of Temple Beth Am. Grandpa made sure that we all attended services at least part of the Day of Atonement. When I was very young, I would go to youth services down the block from the main Temple at the Ionic Lodge Building. Most synagogues are jammed during the High Holidays. It's the one time of year that many Jews attend services.
My Aunt Mae invited us to Hillcrest Country Club for their legendary Yom Kippur buffet. The selection of food is staggering. We started out with various salads and smoked fish, roasted vegetables, soup, etc. Later, we moved on to the main event, including roast beef, turkey, chicken, fish, potato pancakes, kugel, blintzes, various vegetables, quiches and more. 

Ellen, Carolyn.  Photo by Janet

Vegies, Chicken, Kugel and Latke

The desserts are amazing at Hillcrest. There is always a wide array of traditional Jewish deserts as well as other delicacies. This year, there was even a Blum's Coffiesta Cake!
A Portion of  the Dessert Table

 The traditional desserts are very popular!

Since the end of the High Holidays fell on a Wednesday this year, our group was small...just our relatives living in Los Angeles. This is the core family, my first cousins, Mom and Aunt. It was nice having a small group. We really had a chance to visit with each other.
Roz, Mae, Phil

John, Carolyn

Lauren, Mike, Janet

Ellen, Marilyn

Mae, Carolyn, John

Thank you, Auntie Mae for hosting another wonderful family gathering!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Clifton's Brookdale Returns!

Click on photo to see larger

It has been over four years since Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria closed it's doors for remodeling and re-vitalization. The long wait was worth it! Clifton's looks better than ever. The owner retained the woodsy decor and added even more forest touches. I cannot begin to explain the extent of work that went into this building. It really is a Disneyland-like environment. Founder, Clifford Clinton would be proud. 
We were fortunate to be invited to a special fund-raiser for the Los Angeles Conservancy for the opening of this downtown L.A. landmark. The place was filled to capacity - 500 people! Needless to say, it was crowded and a bit frantic inside, exacerbated by the reverberating sounds of the excellent 1940s-style band, playing against all hard surfaces. The band generated excitement and the need to shout over it.
There were passed hors-d'oeuvres and champagne. We got in line for dinner right away before the mad rush. Naturally, the line was into the cafeteria area which has been updated, but preserved, including some of the original kitchen fixtures and the old tile flooring. There were many small plates to choose from including 4 types of salads, many vegetable offerings, sliders, pizza, soup and hand-carved turkey. The dessert area contained a beautiful array of baked goods including the one dessert that everyone asks for:  Jello!  This wasn't your old-fashioned dish of Jello however, these were parfaits, layered with custard, whipped cream and Jello.
I'm sure, when Clifton's opens officially in a few days, there will be more hot entree items available.  This was a special party menu for the occasion.  Everything was delicious!
New tray design

Larry anxiously waits in line

Fruit Cups and Tuna Salads

Carrot Salad and Waldorf Salad
We ran into many friends during the evening. The new and improved Clifton's takes advantage of all the floor space. There's a first floor, mezzanine and, I believe, 2 more floors of space. The bar on the second level is carved and very clubby There is a lounge area near the bar, surrounding the largest redwood tree trunk you've ever seen outside of Yosemite! There are private dining areas and a proposed tiki bar on the upper level.  I have heard that there are plans for yet another restaurant in the basement.

The bar on the second floor

Just like the former Brookdale Clifton's there are replicas of wild life and forest all around. It's like a fantasy hunting lodge.

 So many dioramas, I felt like I was visiting the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park.
It was rather crowded and the air-conditioning seemed to fail during this very hot evening. I'm sure that will be remedied in the near future. The bakery near the front of the building is really beautiful, much fancier than the old bakery. I'll be interested to see if the food prices are fancier too, once the Cafeteria is open to the public.
We had a wonderful time and will return after the hoopla dies down!
Chocolate Bear!

Click on link to see Larry posing with the same bear in 2011. 

This old terrazzo in front of Clifton's need a bit of refurbishing!

Clifton's is going to be a very popular addition to Broadway. It will be open late into the night for all of the new residents of downtown.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery