Monday, September 30, 2013


Saturday was the last of our Strummers in the Summer program, Ukulele at the Music Center.  The plaza was filled with ukulele artists, waiting to register for the morning's events!  The sun was shining through those sparkling windows at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion,  causing those gorgeous chandeliers to look like diamonds!
We registered for classes.  The Ukulele Ladies (Mary Jo, Brit and Natalie) and I took the Licks and Tricks class.  Very informative and entertaining.  

We learned bass licks to "Heard it Through the Grapevine" and intro licks to "Brown-Eyed Girl."  Imagine the uke sounding like that funky bass part in Marvin's "Grapevine" song....well, WE DID SOUND FUNKY, COOL and HIP (for the ukulele, anyway)!  Marilyn took the strumming class.  She learned some very syncopated, Hawaiian strums!
Natalie, Mary Jo, Brit
Marilyn and Ellen - Cousins!
After our classes, we reassembled on the second floor area of the Chandler to play all of the songs we'd learned.  It was a blast.  It was also great to see more than 200 ukulele players performing together.  The spirit of ohana and aloha were clearly present in the room.  Everyone was friendly and willing to help their neighbor.  I met so many wonderful new friends, in addition to  running into old friends too!  You can view more photos of the day, taken by the Active Arts Staff, by clicking on this LINK
Lisa and Kate

After the workshop I had lunch with the girls at nearby Taix French Restaurant.  We dined in the bar and had a grand time, along with the most delicious lunch! 
Classic, Iceberg Wedge with Bleu Cheese Dressing

Croque Monsieur

Quiche Lorraine
I neglected to snap a photo of Brit's Salade Nicoise.  Everything at Taix is oh so French!  I love the dishes at Taix.  I want my name on the rim of my dishes!   I also learned all about the Moscow Mule!  Thanks Ladies for a wonderful morning!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Vintage Photo Friday

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center

Tomorrow is our last meet-up of Strummers in the Summer, the ukulele strum-a-long and workshops hosted by Active Arts at the Music Center.  I have really enjoyed this series.  It's always an event, traveling downtown to play music.   I feel like a REAL musician when I'm walking around the Music Center carrying my ukulele case!
During the holiday season we had a workshop at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  We ended up performing Christmas and Chanukah songs in the area surrounding the auditorium, under those glorious chandeliers.
1965.  Photo from Water & Power Associates Website
1965. Water & Power Collection.  7,000 fans wait in line for tickets to see "Hello Dolly."

In August, the ukulele workshops moved to Little Tokyo during Nisei Week.  We had classes at the Japanese American Cultural Center and then participated in a ukulele flash mob in the courtyard near MOCA.  I'm glad to be returning to the Music Center this coming Saturday.
I soooo remember when the Music Center was built, between 1964 and 1967 on Bunker Hill (Welton Becket and Associates, architect).  It was a major deal for Los Angeles.  Thank you, Buffy Chandler.  The Philharmonic Auditorium on Olive St., that had been housing the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra since 1920, closed.  I do remember attending a performance of the L.A. Civic Light Opera presentation of "Oklahoma" at the Phil when I was a small girl.  It was such a hassle getting downtown, parking, etc.  Once the Music Center was built with ample parking, it was so much easier attending performances.  In the old days, everyone took the street car downtown.  Once the street car lines were taken out and the automobile ruled the L.A. roads, more parking was required.  The Music Center was modern, sleek and glamorous!  We visited often.
See you tomorrow, my Ukulele Ladies!!  Fancy lunch, after class, please!

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Proud Bird to Close Soon

Another one bites the dust.  Sigh.  The Proud Bird Restaurant near the Los Angeles International Airport is closing at the end of this year.  The restaurant opened in 1967, providing views of the airport and runways.  There are wonderful examples of vintage aircraft on the grounds as well as tons of memorabilia inside the restaurant.  

I've only been to the Proud Bird a handful of times, but always enjoyed my visit.  You can read more about it hereThere's still time to visit this cool place.  The restaurant will be open through November 21st and the banquet rooms through the end of 2013.
Click here to see some wonderful photos of the exterior and interior of The Proud Bird Restaurant.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Seen Around L.A.

Snapping, snapping.  I cannot stop snapping photos around my City!  
Philippe's, Downtown L.A.
This is a timely photo, above.  Taken just seconds after Larry lost his iPhone at this historic restaurant!
Fireplace Mural @ El Coyote
Capitol Records  building viewed from Yucca Street, Hollywood
Cool Mid-20th Century Apartments, No. LeDoux Rd., Beverly Hills

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Melancholy Day in Beverly Hills

Will Rogers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills

I hadn't been to this beautiful Beverly Hills park since one of my art classes met here to paint on site in the late 1980's.  It is one of the most lovely parks in the City, right across the street from the historic Beverly Hills HotelThe park, originally known as Sunset Park, opened in 1915 and was the city's first municipal park. A few years later in 1926, celebrity, Will Rogers was appointed the first "Honorary Mayor" of Beverly Hills.  As a tribute to Rogers' commitment to the city, Beverly Hills renamed the park, 'Will Rogers Memorial Park', in 1952. 
1937.  Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection

On Sunday we met with old friends at Will Rogers Memorial Park.  The event was called, "Sunday in the Park with Joel."  There are many photos and videos on this Facebook site of the event.  Long-time Beverly High music and choral director, Joel Pressman has been diagnosed with cancer.  He's been fighting the disease for a couple of years.  In June Joel retired from his teaching post of 38 years at Beverly.  Joel attended Beverly Hills schools and his family has been a fixture in the community for decades.  
Joel's sense of humor is intact

The gathering on Sunday was a way to say hello and goodbye to our friend.  The bonus was being able to re-connect with so many old friends from Beverly High and from Idyllwild.  Joel is a brave, upbeat guy, he was in rare form on Sunday, even conducting an impromptu song with decades of madrigals and minnesingers present.  He's planning a trip to Hawaii in the next few weeks!  Our best wishes to Joel and his family during this time.
Best friend, Buzz Holmes, hugs Joel
Buzz, interviewed by Phil Savenick and Lawrence Cohen for Beverly Hills Centennial Video Project
 above photos at BH Park by Larry Underhill, unless otherwise stated

It was great catching up with old friends at the Park, especially Julie and Buzz Holmes.  They live in Idyllwild, so we don't get to see them often.  Joel, Buzz, Julie and I, among others, were counselors at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts waaaaay back in the 60's and 70's.  We've had a few reunions, but they are few and far between.  Buzz is the music conductor and artistic director of the Idyllwild Master Chorale and Julie is an accomplished cellist who performs throughout the region. 
Since they don't get to the Westside of L.A. too often, we took this chance to introduce them to our preferred deli, The Nosh in Beverly Hills, after the park gathering. 
 There is no lox in Idyllwild!
Ridiculous Matzoh Ball Soup, The Nosh.
Julie and Buzz, Beverly Hills, 2013
Julie and Buzz in Idyllwild, 1971.
Joel in Idyllwild, 1972

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Surrounded by Inspiration

Laura's Crochet Motif Vest
I have too much yarn, too many things to crochet and/or knit, too many friends who make beautiful yarny things!!!
Saturday, I attended our monthly El Segundo Slipt Stitchers Knitting Guild meeting.  I'm always WOWED by the beautiful garments that the members are wearing.  I cannot stop clicking away!  One of my favorite things about this group is that the members are all ages and come from all walks of life.  Their yarny works exemplify this diversity!

Patricia's Knit Sweater
Ana's Multi-Shawl
Elle and Myra wearing their beautiful creations
Queen Ana's Crown
We had a silent auction of crochet and knitting instruction books and magazines on Saturday.  I came away with a few excellent ones!

To top off a perfect yarny morning, I spied this divine vanity license plate in the parking lot!

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Moon Cake Festival - Vintage Photo Friday

Chinese Moon Festival, 1954 in New Chinatown. LAPL Photo Archives

It's time for the annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown, L.A. on Saturday.  This is basically a harvest festival, more explanation here and a bit of the history here.   

Having Tea and Moon Cakes, 1962.  Photo by Gordon Dean, Valley Times Collection

It is traditional to eat moon cakes during this important festival.  Moon cakes are little bundles of firm pastry, filled with goodness.  There's a run on moon cakes in New Chinatown this week.  My friend, Lili found a bakery in Echo Park that offers all sorts of moon cakes for sale, the Kien Giang Bakery.  Thanks for the hot tip, Lili!
Moon Cake Selection, Kien Giang Bakery.  Photo by Lili Chin
Happy  Friday!  Time to get your moon cake on, Los Angeles!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Blu Elefant Café SnB

Jennifer, Dommy and Kim

Yes, there's yet another Stitch 'n Bitch group to hang out with.  Honestly, there are as many SnB meetings around town as there are AA meetings!  You could go to 2 or 3 a day.  This group is called the West Adams Knitters.  We had four people at our first meeting from Mid-City, Wilshire Vista,  KoreaTown and University Village.  This group will meet on the third Sunday of the month, between 1 and 3pm.
The Blue Elefant Café is on Washington Blvd., near Harvard Blvd., between Western and Normandie.  They serve all kinds of coffees, teas, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, sweets.  It was a hot day, so I had an iced Matcha Chai Green Tea and a little caramel pastry.  Dommy had a delicious looking salad.  There were a few other people in the café and a few more sitting at the outside tables.  I hear that the WiFi is really good.

No one seemed to mind our clacking knitting needles and conversation.  This is a very friendly place.  They have many other events during the, poetry and more. 
Join us on Sunday, October 20th, 1-3pm for a cup o' joe and some yarny pursuits!
The West Adams Knitters

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Whoa!  There's been a bonanza of vanity license plates to snap over the last week!  I never worry about running out of entertaining plates.  The vanity of Los Angeles residents keeps me busy!  Thank you.
The Volvo is for Sunday Driving!
Hahahaha!  Old Codger!  Von's Parking Lot, Mid-City
Both Licenses seen in Pann's Parking Lot, Ladera Hts.  Maybe they dined together?
Star Caterpillar?
Ooooo...kinda' scary!
The Mint, Pico Blvd. near Crescent Hts., LA.  Photo by Chuck Taggart

Above, seen by my friend, Chuck Taggart, just outside The Mint where Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Road Show  from New Orleans was performing.  It's a slang greeting in New Orleans. When you meet someone in the street they will say "where y'at?" Then you reply with the key phrase "what it is." If you respond wrong, the initiator will know you are not local.  Chuck wins for the best vanity license plate of the week!!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery