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 KPFK.org. 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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Friday, July 02, 2021

Home Town in Postcards

This is a repeat of my blog from 2017. During July, I always feel nostalgic about my home town, Beverly Hills. This is the way it used to be when I was growing up. Sigh.

Wilshire Boulevard and Beverly Drive, 1962
Many childhood and teen expeditions were spent here on Beverly Drive. Hot dogs at Newberry's lunch counter, shopping at Lerner's, movies at the Beverly Theater and more.

The old / new Beverly Hills Library, 1965

This Library was replaced by a huge new complex, including the library, offices and a parking structure. Before the structure, above was built, the BH Library was in the City Hall building, across the street. I just LOVED the mosaics on the side of the building, representing books on shelves. I wish the mosaic had been saved.  Double sigh.

Memorial Park, across from the Beverly Hills Hotel

The Memorial Park is still here. maintained beautifully. It's a nice place to sketch, knit or read.

The Brown Derby, Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

I only ate at this particular Brown Derby once. This corner is now part of the One Rodeo shopping complex.
The Electric Fountain at Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, BH

The Electric Fountain was a REALLY BIG DEAL when I was a child. My Dad used to drive out of his way at night just so we could see the lights change. It was refurbished a few years ago and is still spectacular!
I'm coming up on my birthday this month. I'm trying to look ahead into the future, however thoughts and images from the past flood my memory.

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