Thursday, August 29, 2019

Fiesta La Ballona

We performed under the big tent in the center of Verteran's Park, Culver City
Last  Sunday I performed with the CC Strummers at Culver City's Fiesta La Ballona. Cali Rose, our fearless leader, worked up a half-hour set for us. This year's theme of ukulele music was called "Flashback Sunday."  We played songs from various decades and asked the audience to guess the years. Our oldest song went way back to the 1880s. The most recent, 1972. We all had a great time and the audience had fun too!
The CC Strummers
Here we are, singin' out little hearts out!

It's difficult to hear our beautiful harmonies during the various recordings. Since Cali is the only voice and ukulele on microphone, you only hear her, especially when recorded on an iPhone. Next year, I'm going to lobby the Culver City Recreation Department for more microphones set up within our group. 

"Hawaiian War Chant" Video by Lore O.

We all had a great time. The audience sang along and was most receptive. All of our weeks of practicing was worth the reward! Thank you, Cali for making us sound so great!
Cali Rose
Photos by Larry Underhill
My Happy Place, playing with the CC Strummers
Next up, practice for the Xmas show!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Louis Vuitton Exhibit

Louis Vuitton pop-up shop, formerly Brooks Brothers,  468 No. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills
Last Friday, Rhoda and I visited the Louis Vuitton special exhibit in Beverly Hills. WOW! Even if you don't know who Louis Vuitton was or never bought any of his products, this is an amazing display. The care that was taken to provide visitors with a total experience is spectacular! It's FREE. Opens at 10am, go early to avoid the crowds. Easy parking in the BH lots at Little Santa Monica and Rodeo.
"Keepall Bag," canvas, dating from 1930
The show is an examination of the 160 year history of the company and its creative collaborations. From the 1980s on, many artists were asked to incorporate their designs into Louis Vuitton products. There are pieces by Karl Lagerfeld, Cindy Sherman, Frank Gehry, Yayoi Kusama and more!
Traveling Art Studio 
The "Cocoon Chair," fiberglass and leather
Founder, Louis Vuitton
Each new room of the exhibit was a total experience. Some of the rooms reminded me of the old "America the Beautiful" Circarama at Disneyland in 1960, where you stand in the center of a room and screens surround you with moving images! The images at the LV pop-up shop are, of course, images of Louis Vuitton products and artwork and their inspiration. It's dizzying! Watch the video on the web page for an idea.
There are rooms of gorgeous designer fashions, handbags and more lovely items to inspire you!


Red Carpet Fashion

Scenic, Knitted Intarsia Sweaters
On the very top floor is the pop-up gift shop! High-end and lower-end items available for sale.
Exit Through The Gift Shop
The pop-up exhibit at Louis Vuitton ends on September 15th. You still have time to view this amazing show! Remember, admission is FREE! 

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Indoor Luau

Grandview Terrace Apartments, Mar Vista, Los Angeles
On Wednesday I joined a small, off-shoot group of the CC Strummers (my ukulele group) for a gig at Grandview Terrace in Mar Vista. Our fearless leader, Cali Rose has been performing at Grandview for years. She decided to take us along this year. 
This is a HUD development, offering rental assistance to seniors. Most of the residents at the luau spoke Russian. Music is the universal language, so we all had a great time!
The recreation room was decorated and set up for a Hawaiian lunch.  

While we performed, the residents ate lunch. Many of them got up and danced during our performance. I must say, we were rockin'!
Vickie (left) is our Cruise Director. She really got the crowd dancing!
Cali Rose is an amazing ukulele player, singer and performer. At one point in the show, Cali was playing, dancing, singing and flirting!
The talented Cali Rose
We performed a whole slew of Hawaiian songs with some added Hawaiian-ish numbers in the mix. After the performance our group was served a lovely catered lunch of salad, grilled pineapple chicken, fried rice, veggies and yummy  bread pudding for dessert. Thanks for your hospitality, Grandview Terrace!
Click on photo to see larger version. Front row, L-R: Tom on U-Bass, Michael, Mike, Ellen, Sherry. Middle Row, L-R: Ed, Lillian, Dianne, Lou, Marilyn on percussion. Back Row, L-R: Vickie, Beverly Nancy and Cali

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Le Petite Chateau

Le Petite Chateau, a little castle in the middle of the Valley
We wanted an old school, classic dining experience on Saturday night. One place that we've driven past for years and years and never been to was Le Petite Chateau in North Hollywood. I was reminded of this place when I read that our friend, Chris Nichols had visited recently.

The Chateau is a sweet little "castle" on Lankershim Boulevard in the French Normandy architectural style. Inside there are vaulted, beamed ceilings, antiques and other European decoration, white table cloths and upholstered booths. It's very serene and elegant. It has been run by the same family for 30 of it's over 50 year history.

The cuisine is country French. Yes, all the heavy sauces, butter and sugar are incorporated into the menu. However, they have modernized a bit with some healthier choices. Everything we ordered was delicious and served beautifully.
Martinis to begin our dining experience

Avocado and Mango Salad

Grilled Shrimp Salad
Pasta with Seafood (served on a Franciscan/Desert Rose plate)

Chicken Breast Picatta
Le Petite Chateau is a very friendly place. We ended up talking to the couple next to us toward the end of our meal. We compared dishes. I must say, the Beef Wellington looked delicious! Talk about old-school!
The Chateau's version of bread pudding, which was really a sort of bread and chocolate pie
After our large and rich meal, we walked around the restaurant a bit to explore the decor. The place is chock full of antiques, medallions, oil paintings, porcelain knick-knacks and more!

We had a satisfying evening in "Provence NoHo." I would recommend Le Petite Chateau the next time you require a pleasant evening out in a non-trendy, country French mini-castle!

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Fiesta La Ballona

I've been practicing with the CC (Culver City) Strummers twice a week. We will be performing at Culver City's Fiesta La Ballona! Our fearless leader, Cali Rose, has been rehearsing us twice a week for the show. Cali is calling this ukulele concert, "Flashback Sunday." We are performing songs from various decades, from the 1920s to the 1970s. It's going to be really fun with plenty of chance for audience participation. I hope you'll join us for this 30 minute concert!
Cali Rose and the CC Strummers at Fiesta La Ballona, Veterans Park, Culver City, a few years ago

I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to play music with people 3 times a week. Twice a week with the CC Strummers and on Saturdays with Cali's Ongoing Ukulele Workshop at Boulevard Music. In-between, I knit and crochet. Yes, retirement is GREAT!

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Thursday, August 08, 2019

Downey Days

Even though it was over 90 degrees, we ventured out to Downey, California! It's only about 15 miles from the center of Los Angeles, a short trip at 10 am. We are friends with Sven Kirsten, Mr. Tiki, and he posted about Exotical Hawaiian Apparel on Facebook the other day. His photos and description made this shop sound very enticing, so we drove down to Downey!

The shop is fairly large with plenty of parking in back. One room has mostly men's clothes, the other side, ladies' attire. The selection is enormous. You have to go there just to see it. All of the clothes are imported directly from Hawaii.

In addition to clothing, Exotical stocks beads, Hawaiian decorations, grass skirts and everything you'd need for a luau except the pig and poi!  Needless to say, we managed to find a few items to our liking!
Columbia Memorial Space Center
Downey is famous for many things besides the oldest operating McDonald's Burgers, home of the singing Carpenters AND the Blasters. Downey's population soared during World War II with the growth of the aerospace industry. It was the home of North American Rockwell / Boeing Aircraft. This site, on Lakewood Boulevard, transitioned from aircraft to missile technology during the 1950s.  The former Boeing site is very large and it houses many newer businesses today. Also at this site is the Columbia Memorial Space Center. It's an interactive museum and exhibit space for all things related to the Apollo and Space Shuttle craft. This being the 50th Anniversary of man walking on the moon (July 20, 1969), we decided to visit. Unbeknownst to us, our L.A. Conservancy Modern Committee acquaintance, Ben Dickow, is the President and Executive Director at the Space Center!
Ben was there to greet us when we walked into the Museum! We had a great hour touring the museum and all of it's exhibits detailing the history of the Apollo mission.

Larry Likes Space Suits

We were quite famished after our busy morning, so we decided to visit an excellent example of PRESERVATION in Downey! Bob's Broiler for lunch! Originally, Harvey's then Johnie's Broiler, read about the history and preservation efforts HERE.  I do love this place. The terrazzo floor, the big neon signs, the rocky mountain stone, avocado and gold interior and more. The burgers and fries are pretty good too!

Downey is an interesting place. Visit!

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