Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Carnival Restaurant

Today, we were on a deadline project, and one of my work pals went on a food run to Carnival Restaurant on Woodman (just north of Ventura) in Sherman Oaks. I'm usually not fond of the to-go option, but the only alternative was vending machine fare. Mentally settling for blah styrofoamed food, I was incredibly surprised by the get-away delivered to my desk.

Here you see the lamb chops plate with four deliciously tender grilled choppies, with lentil soup as the warm-up and pita, grilled tomatoes and fries to boot. Delish! It's in an unfestive strip mall (I drive by often but never noticed), and I can't wait to go for another feast!

Click here to go to Carnival's Web site.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Street Cred

It may seem strange, but one of the things I wanted to see on my first trip to NYC was some real subway graffiti. It was spring of 1987, and Keith Haring's simple - yet powerful - outline-ish drawings were popping up everywhere. His art, and graffiti in general, was atop the list with finding a job, shopping at Tower Records, and pondering if I could make it there on that initial visit.

Flash forward 24 years, 21 of those spent in LA, and I'm again seeking out graffiti at the Pasadena Museum of California Art and their Street Cred exhibit. The "from Concrete to Canvas" subtitle hints to the displays of an artist's graffiti next to his gallery-ready painting, drawing or sculpture inspired by and connected to the rougher "street" art. Cool concept!

You'll also walk away with a good 101 understanding of the artform, such as tags versus bombs, legality issues, evolving styles, and where you can see graffiti in LA.

This photo is from PMCA's parking lot, with graffiti-ed walls, just for the show, I'm assuming.

Click here to go to PMCA's Web site.

Click here to go to Keith Haring's Web site.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tim Burton at LACMA

Tim Burton and I go back to at least 1985, when he directed the life-changing "Pee-wee's Big Adventure." For you regular readers, you know that the movie has inspired a couple of my roadtrips and spurred me to many interesting places. I don't instantly think about his spooky stuff, but I was quickly reminded of his work in that genre in this awesome new show.

Through Halloween (how appropriate!), Tim Burton at LACMA showcases about 700 fantastical works of art, including drawings, paintings, costumes, puppets, models and sculptures, plus lots of videos and film clips. A few of my faves: his "History of Humor" report from high school written on blue-lined binder paper (I joked with my Mom that should I get a retrospective exhibition, my archive has been tossed!), a hand-drawn forest scene from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" with details that blew my mind, and multiple sketches, drawings and notes on the old-school animation paper the peg-board holes. The evolution of his genius through these early pieces was amazing!

You need a timed-ticket to enter, but you can stay until closing once inside. My bud and I spent maybe two hours and felt we didn't get to really "see" it all. My advice: enter on the tail-end of your entry time so that most people with your same ticket are already inside ahead of you. Then, you'll have a cushion before the next timeslot crowds around you and all the pieces. Trust me, you'll want to view each and every one!

On the slate for Tim is producing the film of my fave book of 2010, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." You read about it here back in December. Thanks, Tim; I'm looking forward to an inspiring third decade together!

Click here for Tim Burton at LACMA's Web site.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wicked Lit: A Ghost Story

Yes, I went out on a school night to see a scary play at the Biltmore! If you don't know Wicked Lit, they take classic horror stories and turn them into plays in unique locations. I heard about them from two unconnected friends who saw last year's Halloween production at the Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery in Altadena. (My friends ROCK!!) By the time I heard their raves, the shows were sold out. However, I got on Wicked Lit's mailing list, and to my surprise, I got an invite to tonight's reinterpretation of Mark Twain's "A Ghost Story" at the Biltmore Hotel.

If I haven't shared, I did some training with the LA Conservancy to lead Biltmore docent tours. It ended up not working out for various reasons, but I was exposed to a ghost story or two in my training. This only added to the fun of an onsite horror play!

In this installment, a traveler's car breaks down, and his only refuge from a storm is an un-GPS-able hotel. Get out of my head if you're also thinking Brad sans Janet and Rocky Horror! Actually, our Brad encounters the Cardiff Giant, plus Ghost and Shadow, who are all sadly out of touch with reality. I won't spill the beans in case you get a chance to see the play for yourself, and check out the real story behind the Cardiff Giant hoax if you need some edutainment.

And, yes, I'm standing by for this Halloween's performance. You know you'll see it here when it happens!

Click here to go to Wicked Lit's Web site.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hoosierland Influence: White Castle

I've written about lots of burgers here. But the burger that started it all for me? White Castle. They were the sliders before sliders were cool!

I totally grew up on these babies. Many fond memories, with both family and friends, have been formed around their steamed patties, onions and buns. My little bro and I each stuffing a whole burger inside our mouths and trying to chew it up. Leah and I picking up bags before going to the drive-in, or cruising around the Frisch's loop (see last July's Bob's Big Boy post) and stopping for a burger or two (or ten!). Or how about after midnight viewings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the Vogue Theater in Louisville with Cheryl and Jay? During my NYC years, I schlepped to Queens to get my fix (noting that their regional variation included ketchup!), and my Mom and sister brought bags to me when I lived on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. All good times!

Whities is my first stop when I return to the homeland. Since they are located only in the midwest and northwest regions (don't bother with the frozen if you've had the real thing!), I've often made detours on roadtrips upon seeing the signs. Most recently, I shared a Crave Case with my family during our Relay for Life, after picking up a bag coming from the airport two days before. Yum! I guess that will have to do for now. Although, if you have one of their burger-scented candles, give me a shout!

Click here to go to White Castle's Web site.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hoosierland Influence: Falls of the Ohio

This is going to be a rare double-picture post, only because I couldn't decide between two of my favorite things in Indiana that happen to be at the same location. The Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville has 390 million-year-old fossils (our good friend T. rex is a youthful 65 mil for comparison) AND was the launch site for the Lewis and Clark expedition! This is one of the places I visit each time I hit the homeland.

Here you see the representation of William Clark and Meriwether Lewis meeting up at the Falls in preparation for their ultimate big adventure. I was there October 26, 2003 when this statue was dedicated as part of the L & C bicentennial celebration. Conveniently, I needed to make a roadtrip to the homeland to pickup some furniture. As if I needed an excuse to gas up the Jeep and head east for this!

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Will's big brother George Rogers Clark, not only a local hero - hello, CLARKsville - but a General in the Revolutionary War. Now, I'm inspired by William (honestly, not so much by Lewis!) as I pack the chow box and big white shirt for another exploration into the unknown. (Well, I do have a smartphone, so nothing is that unknown.) And, this blog could be seen as my travel journal!

Next up are the fossils, and the perfect limestone foundation to capture the impressions. These trilobites are from the Devonian Coral Period, and those are yellow and white dandelion heads miniaturized at the top of the photo. When I was in geology class at Santa Monica College, I took pictures of this and other fossils for a project, using a film canister for perspective. I've long given up on film, so I'll use nature for sizing these extinct creatures.

There are about 200 acres of these fossils, and an incredible Interpretative Center - it wasn't there when I was a kid or who knows where I would've ended up professionally - to intrigue visitors and put history in its place.

Click here to go to the Falls of the Ohio's Web site.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hoosierland Influence: Butt Drugs

Yes, I am this immature! I'm back in Indiana for a family get-together, so I'm sharing some of the things that made me what I am today. Butt Drugs has been a fixture on the historic Corydon square (the original state capital) for almost 60 years as a pharmacy and soda fountain. It's been a source of my chuckles for a good chunk of that time.

Butt Drugs is a place I continue to drag my teenaged nephews when I'm in town. They humor me by coming along (they're either more mature than I am, or over the jokes, probably both!), and this time we bellied up to the soda fountain for some old-school treats. If you recall my Fair Oaks Pharmacy post from the summer of 2009, you'll know I really enjoy a soda fountain, maybe BECAUSE of the early influence of Butt Drugs. I had an awesome Cherry Capsule, sort of like a chocolate-covered cherry milkshake! Do I have to tell you how yummy that was?!

Butt Drugs makes lemonade with their family name, with t-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs and other promotional items. It's definitely memorable! Click here for their commercial if you have any doubts.

Can you beat Butt Drugs with a better family business name? Feel free to share!

Click here for Butt Drug's Web site.