Sunday, October 15, 2017

Poll: Your Favorite Pop Culture "B"

Cardi B is just the latest from the "B" family to hit the charts, following artists like Eric B (with Rakim, of course), Stevie B. (and his postman!) and Melanie B of the Spice Girls. How do all these killer "B"s stack up? You be the judge!

There Will Be Ube, and More Scenes From the Festival of Philippine Art

The 26th annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (FPAC) took place on Saturday in Echo Park, and Maria and I brought along the Blogger Kid (the other one was at a party) to take in the sights, sounds... and of course, food.

First launched in 1992 as part of the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department’s Festivals Program, the FPAC continues to grow; this year's theme was Salin-Lahi, or "Bridging Generations," and featured headliners including of the Black Eyed Peas. The event is organized by the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture(FilAm ARTS).

Various pavilions showcased wellness, culinary, seniors, literary and youth programs. We, of course, headed straight for the food. Some pics from this year's event:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

'Lost LA' Host Nathan Masters on Season 2 of the KCET Series, and What's Driving Interest in Los Angeles History

KCET's popular "Lost LA" series returns for a second season tonight with more insight on the history of Los Angeles. A co-production of KCETLink and the USC Libraries, L.A. historian Nathan Masters returns as host. This season's episodes include "Borderlands," which chronicles three people who lived through California's transition to Spanish colony to Mexican province and then American state -- including Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California; "Wild West," which looks at L.A.'s violent history; and "Building the Metropolis," about L.A.'s nonstop growth.

I've long been a fan of the Lost LA section of KCET's website; the station reports that this story about L.A. freeways was even the highest trafficked story of 2015.

Franklin Avenue asked Masters to preview the season and also talk about the growth of interest in L.A. history:

FRANKLIN AVENUE: What's the most interesting thing you learned about while producing this season of LOST LA?
MASTERS: I think most viewers will be surprised to learn, as I was, just how complicit Los Angeles was in the destruction of Northern California’s coast redwood forests. Thankfully some old-growth redwood groves survive today within state and national parks, but they represent just 4 percent of what once seemed like an endless, inexhaustible forest. That other 96 percent? A lot of it went into the houses, commercial buildings, and other structures that enabled LA’s great population boom of the early 1900s. We went from a large town of 100,000 in 1900 to a metropolis of 1.2 million in 1930, and many of those new Angelenos moved into houses built from redwood timbers. We explore that story in depth in Episode 3.

What do people ask you about the most on LA history?
It must be about the old red cars.

Why do you think that is?
It’s fascinating to think that Los Angeles, a city popularly associated with freeways and the automobile, once boasted the nation’s largest fixed-rail transit system. And of course the conspiracy theories surrounding the red cars’ demise, which found their best expression in Disney's Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, add a sense of intrigue.

What's the truth?
We tell the real story of the death of Southern California’s old trolley system in Episode 3. It turns out that, instead of a grand criminal conspiracy, more mundane factors like finances and shifting consumer preferences explain why we tore out our rails. Angelenos preferred to drive.

Do you find there's more interest in LA history these days? What's fueling that?
It does seem that way. Nostalgia is always one element, of course, but I’ve noticed a surge of interest in the past among younger people. I think they're yearning for a deeper sense of place, and in part they find that by looking into the past. LA’s always evolving, but our built environment, our demographics seem to be changing faster than ever, and I suppose people are looking back to our shared history for a richer understanding of what it means to be an Angeleno.

LOST LA premieres on Tues., Oct. 10 at 8:30 p.m. following the season premiere of SOCAL CONNECTED at 8 p.m. on KCET in Southern California. Here's the trailer:

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rate-A-Restaurant #378: Tam O'Shanter (Atwater Village)

Restaurant: Tam O'Shanter

Location: 2980 Los Feliz Boulevard (Atwater Village)

Type of restaurant: Scottish/American pub

We stipulated: For my birthday, I wanted to try something special -- and after more than a decade of passing by the Tam O'Shanter (near our house!) via car, bike and foot, it was time to finally step inside. (I know, for shame, that it took us this long.)

They stipulated: A member of the Lawry's family of restaurants, "Delighting diners for over 90 years, the Tam O'Shanter is Los Angeles' oldest restaurant operated by the same family in the same location. Enjoy good cheer, warm hospitality and exceptional food in a cozy old world atmosphere. If you have some Scottish ancestry, you might even find your family tartan among the extensive collection decorating the walls!"

What we ordered: Maria: pan roasted filet mignon ($37); Mike: pan seared Scottish salmon (parsnip puree, tuscan kale, pomegranate seeds, and toasted walnuts, $31); Blogger Kid 1: kids' size prime rib; Blogger Kid 2: kids' chicken; dessert: C.C. Brown's hot fudge sundae (prepared tableside with double rainbow vanilla bean ice cream, toasted almonds, whipped cream & C.C. Brown's Hot Fudge, $8)

High point:  Great spot for a birthday, there's something extra special in the history of the Tam O'Shanter. But the food is surprisingly (for a place like this) good too. And the kids liked it, which is the biggest barometer of them all.

Low point:  Those prices are a bit high. If you want to go more casual, eat in the bar.

Overall impression: A great spot for special occasions or to bring friends and family visiting from out of town.

Will we return: We already have! Brought my parents here on a Saturday night, where live music added to the atmosphere.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The 12th Annual Great Los Angeles Walk Returns on November 18; Here's Where We're Walking

We're hitting Beverly, baby!

For the 12th Annual Great Los Angeles Walk, we're tackling Beverly Boulevard. From downtown, we'll start off on 1st Street in Little Tokyo (location to be determined soon), and pass by City Hall and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and continue heading west as 1st turns into Beverly. From there it's an interesting walk through Historic Filipinotown, East Hollywood, Hollywood and West Hollywood. We'll pass by the original Tommy's; CBS Television City (hey, maybe we'll run into James Corden performing in the crosswalk!); the perpetually under construction Beverly Center; Cedars-Sinai; and much more. Beverly ends when it hits Santa Monica Blvd.; from there, we'll hike down the familiar Santa Monica Blvd, to the ocean.

It made sense to finally walk Beverly, even though it doesn't make it all the way to the ocean; we did the same thing in years past with Melrose, Hollywood, Sunset and Santa Monica; it only makes sense to now hit the pavement on Beverly.
Stay tuned for more details! Always check for updates, and feel free to drop us a line at to let us know you're coming! Most importantly: The date for the walk is SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2017 at 9 am. (It's always the Saturday before Thanksgiving -- just remember that!) More details to come! But in the meantime, to get our Great Los Angeles Walk: Beverly Boulevard started, here's one video tour of part of the street.

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