Sunday, December 31, 2006

BEST OF 2006: Los Angeles Resumes Dotting Its "i"s on City Streets

Yup, I'm very proud of this one. It's possibly my nerdiest post ever. From Sept. 14.

(Click here to read "Los Angeles Resumes Dotting Its "i"s on City Streets.")

BEST OF 2006: Most Desperate Sign Yet That The Housing Market Has Tumbled

The housing market chilled out this year... the frenzy replaced by a virtual standstill. And signs like this. Soon after I posted this on Sept. 18, the sellers went even more desperate, and threw in a free car into the mix. It took several more months, but the house finally sold.

(Click here to read "Most Desperate Sign Yet That the Housing Market Has Tumbled.")

BEST OF 2006: Los Angeles, You're On Notice

It was the year of Colbert, wasn't it? From a Sept. 22 post:

(As created by the unauthorized Colbert Report "On Notice" random generator.)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

BEST OF 2006: KZLA Dumps Country

It was our biggest scoop of the year here at Franklin Avenue: We were the first to report anywhere that KZLA had switched formats, leaving the nation's No. 2 radio market without a country music station. (It also signaled the return of Rick Dees.) The news hit the country music industry hard: Even the New York Times weighed in. A pair of AM stations have stepped in to play country music, but L.A. still is without country on FM. Here's my August 17 post, which I managed to get up just an hour or so after KZLA surprised everyone with the swap:

(Click here to read "KZLA Dumps Country.")

BEST OF 2006: Catching a Movie Under the Stars -- and Next to a Few Buried Ones, Too

Maria, Blogger Baby and I headed to the Hollywood Forever cemetery last July to finally check out the Cinespia screening series. We met up with Santos and munched on a picnic dinner, while a DJ spun electronic and other grooves, as we waited for last week's classic movie (in this case, "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb"). Here's what we posted on July 7.

(Click here to read "Catching a Movie Under the Stars -- and Next to a Few Buried Ones, Too.")

BEST OF 2006: Secret of "Lost," Revealed!

I loves me the "Lost." And you loves it too... well, most of you. I know there are a few more hatahs this year, and yes, the show has some obvious problems. I've had issues with continuity -- for some reason the modern washing machines in the hatch bugged me, since everything else in the hole was circa late-70s. So when I finally cornered a "Lost" exec producer, I asked him about it. What resulted was a post I wrote on July 28.

(Click here to read "Secret of 'Lost,' Revealed!")

Friday, December 29, 2006

BEST OF 2006: Decade in L.A. -- Go East, Young Man

I hit my ten-year mark in Los Angeles this June, and in a bit of nostalgia, wrote up this brief homage to my ten years here. Posted on June 3, 2006.

(Click here to read "Decade in L.A. -- Go East, Young Man.")

BEST OF 2006: Summer of Shakes

Oh, it was quite a busy summer. Inspired by an L.A. Times feature, we set out to sample as many milkshakes as we could this summer. We didn't hit as many as we'd hoped, but we sure left Lucky Devil's happy. Here's our review of the Hollywood eatery, posted on June 28.

(Click here to read "Summer of Shakes.")

BEST OF 2006: An Afternoon at Cole's

To celebrate our 100th restaurant review, we decided to finally check out L.A.'s oldest surviving restaurant, P.E. Cole's. And we invited all of you to join in -- and several of you took us up on that offer. Posted on June 11, 2006.

(Click here to read "An Afternoon at Cole's.")

Press Release of the Day: Behind Every Godfather of Soul There's A Press-Hungry Lawyer

Uh... thanks for the head's up, I guess:


James Brown's longtime California attorney and friend Debra Opri will be attending the private family ceremony on Friday, December 29th at an un-disclosed location and the memorial service at The James Brown Arena in Augusta, GA on Saturday, December 30th at 1:00 PM.

In an unrelated note, I'll be sitting at home on Saturday, waiting for the DirecTV installer to show up. You'll be receiving a press release shortly.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ten Los Angeles Disappearing Acts of 2006

Tony Pierce at LAist asked us to contribute a top ten list for 2006. Any list on any topic. Considering how many local institutions (from buildings to people) closed up shop this year, I thought I'd mention all of L.A.'s dearly departed one more time. Here's my list, which Tony published on his site earlier today.

Ten Los Angeles Disappearing Acts in 2006

1. The Ambassador Hotel: My heart still sinks every time I pass by the mostly-empty site on Wilshire. To add insult to injury, it now appears that the LAUSD’s one token nod to preservation – incorporating the shell of the Cocoanut Grove into the new high school being built there – won’t be happening either.

2. Aron’s Records and Rhino Records: Both independent record stores announced their shutdowns within a month of each other. My CD collection is stocked with countless gems I managed to find at Aron’s and Rhino’s parking lot sales through the years. Big box retail stores, the Internet and indie powerhouse Amoeba were too much for both institutions, and after decades serving music lovers, both called it quits.

3. Robinsons-May: Once upon a time, L.A. boasted several home-grown department stores: J.W. Robinson’s, Bullock’s and The Broadway, just to name a few. Gradually, Macy’s took them all over. With Macy's parent Federated's acquisition of May Co., Robinson’s-May – the result of a 1993 merger of the J.W. Robinson and May Co. brands – officially ceased to exist in September. And so ended the last of the L.A.-born department store nameplates.

4. 76 balls: ConocoPhillips continues its campaign to rid all 76 gas stations of their iconic meatball-shaped signs. The 1947project’s Kim and Nathan have been fighting to save the balls… but so far ConocoPhillips is choosing to ignore the uproar. You can still regularly find 76 balls… but not for much longer.

5. KZLA 93.9 FM: Country music fans are still fuming over owner Emmis Communications’ sudden decision to flip its longtime L.A. country music outpost, KZLA, to a rhythmic adult contemporary format (complete with Rick Dees). KZLA claimed to be “America’s most listened-to country radio station,” but that wasn’t enough to save it.

6. Phil Hendrie: Speaking of radio, the longtime local AM personality – lauded for his theatre-of-the-mind use of voices and characters – threw in the towel to focus on his acting career.

7. The sellers’ housing market: The bubble didn’t burst… but that was about the only good news coming out of the housing market this year. The astronomical build-up in local home prices had to stop at some point… and sellers lost the advantage they’d held over buyers for the past several years.

8. L.A. Alternative: The scrappy independent weekly, originally known as the Silver Lake Press (and later, the L.A. Alternative Press) decided it could no longer compete for ad dollars against the powerful L.A. Weekly (and the smaller L.A. City Beat). It folded in October.

9. Dutton’s North Hollywood: Owner Davis Dutton decided to close the shop – which Los Angeles mag called the finest in Southern California -- after 45 years in the business. Dutton and his wife moved to Washington state.

10. Authentic Café and Daddy’s: The stand-bys were just two of the restaurants and bars that shut down in 2006.

BEST OF 2006: View from Wilshire and La Brea

We were out of town during the original Gran Marcha mass demonstration in downtown last March... but I got a front row seat of the second, massive immigration rally on May 1 (which ended just down the street from my office). It was quite an amazing sight. Below, my post from May 1, after taking some pics.

(Click here to read "View from Wilshire and La Brea.")>

BEST OF 2006: Where's the Party?

Los Angeles just doesn't know how to party. We figured this out when the city's Millennium celebration went kaput, and we saw it again this year when L.A. failed to do much to commemorate its 225th birthday. At least the post below, dated April 14, triggered the the L.A. City Nerd to compile a list of 225 things to do to celebrate L.A.

(Click here to read "Where's the Party?!")

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

BEST OF 2006: UPN in Tha Hood

This is one of my favorite posts of the year, because I'm still baffled. Who went around tagging the old UPN logo around town? And more importantly, why? Now that we know who's behind those birds hanging on power lines, let's get to work solving the UPN tagging mystery! Here's my post from Feb. 15.

(Click here to read more of "UPN in tha Hood,")

BEST OF 2006: Mr. T's Be Somebody, Or Be Somebody's Fool

Undoubtedly, this was the year video on the Internet exploded -- led, of course, by the popularity of YouTube. For a brief moment, you could find virtually everything uploaded on the service. Due to copyright restrictions, much of that stuff is now gone. But plenty of gems remain... including clips from "Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool." As I wrote in this post from Feb. 13, "This is why God invented the Internet."

(Click to read more of "Mr. T's Be Somebody, Or Be Somebody's Fool.")

BEST OF 2006: The Building Formerly Known As the Library Tower

I've written several rants about the U.S. Bank Tower -- and how no one knows that it's called the "U.S. Bank Tower." That includes our president, as I noted in this Feb. 10 post.

(Click here to continue reading "The Building Formerly Known as the Library Tower.")

BEST OF 2006: The Ambassador Wake -- The Aftermath

Originally, I had planned to throw my own wake in honor of the Ambassador Hotel at the H.M.S. Bounty across the street. The L.A. Conservancy caught wind... and not wanting my event to knock the sails out of theirs a week later, asked if I would merge with theirs. Seeing how their event was offering free booze... and would attract several important figures in the history of the hotel, I agreed. It was a nice event, but filled with melancholy, as the party faced the mostly empty Ambassador pit. I wrote about it on Feb. 3.

(Click here to read more "The Ambassador Wake -- The Aftermath.")

BEST OF 2006: Rodney King 2006?

It sure seemed that way in early February, when this video first came out. But the furor died down... and several more law enforcement-related scandals have hit Southern California since then. Posted Feb. 1.

(Click here to read more about "Rodney King 2006?")

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

BEST OF 2006: The Ambassador Is Gone

The death of the Ambassador Hotel was long and brutal. As most of you know, I set out to document its demise, capturing photos of the destruction nearly every day for our companion The Ambassador's Last Stand blog. A chunk of the classic hotel held on through the holidays... but on Jan. 16 I passed by the hotel site and saw the inevitable: It was gone. Franklin Avenue became the first site to report on the hotel's final disappearance. Originally posted Jan. 16, 2006.

The Cocoanut Grove is all that remains of the Ambassador Hotel. Jan. 16, 2005 -- 1:30 p.m.

(Click here to read more from "The Ambassador is Gone.")

BEST OF 2006: Rhi-no No More

2006 was the year that the record store officially died. We said goodbye to longtime L.A. indies Aron's Records and Rhino Records, as well as big chain Tower. Below, I eulogize Rhino in a post from Jan. 7, 2006.

Click here for more of "Rhi-No More."

Franklin Avenue's Best of 2006

As we wind down 2006 this week, we'll be sharing some of our biggest posts from the past year.

It was a busy one. After documenting the death of the Ambassador Hotel, we helped throw a wake in the historic building's honor. In November, we convinced 30 fellow Angelenos to hike the entire 16-mile span of Wilshire Blvd., hopefully starting an annual tradition.

In between, we also met several of you at L.A.'s oldest surviving eatery, Cole's, to celebrate our 100th restaurant review.

Also, we reviewed 37 restaurants this year. Blogger Toddler correctly called the Oscar and World Series winners. And Maria scored a Grammy nomination.

That's just some of what happened in 2006. Keep checking back this week for one final look back at the year.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas from Franklin Avenue

KCAL will once again air the Yule Log this morning, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., simulcasted with Christmas music from KOST 103.5 FM.

It's just the third consecutive year of KCAL's Yule Log, but in New York, WPIX is marking the 40th anniversary of the Christmas tradition. WPIX first aired the Yule Log in 1966.

If you can't get to a TV, just keep clicking "repeat" on the YouTube video above of the WPIX log. Ho ho ho!

R.I.P., James Brown

The Godfather of Soul died in Atlanta early this morning; he'd been sent to the hospital on Christmas Eve because of pneumonia. He was 73.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Evan Turns 2

Our little guy isn't so little any more! Blogger Toddler celebrates his 2nd birthday today. Yes, he was definitely the most expensive Christmas gift we've ever received. But also by far the best. Happy birthday, little guy!

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Hawaiian Christmas -- Listen Now

I know you're sick of the Clay Aiken/Mannheim Steamroller/Mariah Carey Christmas crap on KOST 103.5 FM, and you told me earlier this month how much you're hatin' the new, softer Christmas mix on oldies KRTH (K-Earth) 101 FM (although I hear they've restored some of the listener faves).

That's why you oughta pop on the computer and stream Hawaiian Eye this weekend. My annual holiday edition means non-stop holiday music from the islands -- Brothers Cazimero, Keola Beamer, Willie K, Na Leo... yes, even a track from Don Friggin' Ho.

Listen right now -- just go to the Hawaiian Eye blog.

Oh, and Mele Kalikimaka, brah.

UPDATE: OK, just in case you're too tired to head over there, I'm making it even easier for ya. Just stream right here:

powered by ODEO

Press Release of the Day: Rose Parade Edition

Wow. This pitch would be bad enough if Bayer had actually managed to snag Bing Crosby, Queen Elizabeth, Della Reese, George Burns, John F. Kennedy, Michelangelo, Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan for their Rose Parade float.

But nope. The float's flowers are named after these celebs and politicians -- actually, a regular practice for the parade. Zzzz.

What do Amy Grant, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton all have in common? Well, aside from being great singers, they're riding the Bayer Advanced Rose Parade float on January 1, 2007--at least the roses that are named after them that is.

That's right, there are actually roses that are named after celebrities. And thousands of roses, representing 18 different celebrities will be used to decorate the Bayer Advanced Red Carpet of Roses float. (Note: The roses are named by the American Rose Society and All America Rose Selections.)

Here are the basics for the Bayer Advanced float:

A record 50 varieties of roses--the most in Rose Parade history.

Roses named after such celebrities as Betty Boop, Bing Crosby, Queen Elizabeth, Amy Grant, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Cary Grant, Chris Evert, Della Reese, Dolly Parton, George Burns, John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Michelangelo, Pope John Paul II, Princess Diana, Ronald Reagan and even Santa Claus.

The Bayer Advanced float will also debut the All-America Rose Selections’ 2007 winners for best roses of the year — Rainbow Knock Out®, Moondance™ and Strike it Rich™.

I've attached some details for your review. This could make a great advancer piece for you. We can provide you with more details about the flowers as well as digital images of the celebrity-named roses and what the float looks like now (before decoration.)

I know what you're thinking: Della Reese?!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Beware the DWP's Griffith Park Lights Festival

Driving down the 5 on Sunday night, as we approached the 134 one of the Caltrans signs warned of bad traffic to come: "LIGHTS FESTIVAL 2 HOUR WAIT."

We quickly hopped on the 134. But it continues to astound me that people are willing to wait -- in their slow-moving cars! -- for two hours to catch the light festival in Griffith Park.

It ain't worth it. It's cool, and your kids will dig it (especially if they're under 6), but 2 hours won't make up for the 10 minutes it takes to drive through the display.

There are two ways to properly check out the lights festival and avoid the wait: Either go on a Tuesday at 6 p.m., when the line is still short... or park at the Zoo and walk it.

Once the weather begins to warm up again, I'd go with choice B. Not only do you avoid the wait, but walking the lights festival lets you really take it all in.

Meanwhile, whatever you do, avoid Los Feliz Blvd. around the 5 freeway between 7 and 10 p.m.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

San Antonio Winery: 90 Years and Counting

Wine barrels in the San Antonio storage facility

Steve Riboli has been doing some research, but so far has come up empty. How many L.A.-based mom-and-pop businesses, he wonders, have operated continuously under the same family for 90 years?

So far, Riboli knows of only one -- his own, downtown's San Antonio Winery. Founded in 1917 by Riboli's great-uncle, Santo Cambianica, the San Antonio (named after Cambianica's patron saint) will celebrate its 90th anniversary next year.

It's a distinction the Riboli family wears as a badge of honor. The San Antonio Winery managed to weather prohibition (keeping busy by supplying sacramental wine to the Catholic Church) and survive the changing make up of Los Angeles -- where vineyards eventually disappeared, taking the city's once bustling wineries along with it.

San Antonio's wine tasting room

As many as 50 wineries once operated in Los Angeles, but San Antonio is the last remaining one. It's one of my favorite Los Angeles points of interest -- so much so that I included the winery as a stop on my 2003 Mike's Birthday Race. (Racers stopped at the San Antonio tasting room, above, and were required to complete a tasting before receiving their next clue.)

Mmmm... vats of wine!

I remember hearing from several race participants later, shocked to learn that Los Angeles is actually home to a working, vibrant winery. (The grapes are now grown up north, including Paso Robles, Napa and Monterey.) Even now, it's one of L.A.'s best kept secrets. But Steve and family are looking to change that -- which is how we ended up with an invite a few weeks ago to check out the place.

Sign pointing to San Antonio Winery

Located east of Downtown, the San Antonio Winery is a sprawling complex featuring a wine tasting room, the bustling Maddalena Restaurant and its wine production and distribution outfit. It's also a popular spot for parties, wedding receptions and meetings... and the Riboli family continues to expand those areas to grab even more business, particularly during the holiday season.

Inside the Maddalena Restaurant, with Steve Riboli and mother Maddalena

It's truly a family enterprise: They're both in their 80s, but Steve's father, Stefano, is still an active part of the enterprise, while his mother, Maddalena, can be found on most days at the restaurant (named after her) that she launched in the mid-70s. (Above, that's Steve, with Maddalena, at the restaurant.) The fourth generation of Ribolis are now involved, as Steve's nephew, Anthony, is a winemaker as well (one of the winery's four).

The bottle conveyor belt

San Antonio has moved beyond its traditional table wines and has won countless recognition for its upscale labels, including Riboli Family Vineyard, San Simeon and Maddalena.

In honor of its 90th anniversary, the winery has also created the "San Antonio Heritage" label, which "celebrates the traditional 'field blends' of Santo Cambianica and Stefano Riboli." According to the Ribolis, field blends -- in which many grape varieties were planted in the same vineyard -- were popular up through the first half of the 20th century. The San Antonio blend includes Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Grenache and others.

Winemaker Arnaud Debons offers up a taste from one of the wine barrels

While there, Steve gave us a tour of the San Antonio facilities, giving us a peak behind the scenes at where the wine is stored and aged.

Inside the Maddalena Restaurant

While dining at the Maddalena Restaurant, Steve also discussed the unusual harvest season this year. Because of the unusually warm weather, the grape harvest was delayed by a month. (When we met in late November, the winery was just finishing the year's harvest.) While he hesitated to blame global warning, he did warn that a few more years of such unusual weather could really impact the process.

Food at the Maddalena

San Antonio Winery will hold its next "Wine 101" wine tasting seminar on Jan. 20 and 21. Wines to be sampled include Turnbull Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Napa Valley, Grgich Hills Fume Blanc 2005 Napa Valley, San Simeon Chardonnay 2003 Monterey County, San Felice Il Grigio Chianti Classico Riserva 2001 Tuscany, Sterling Vineyards Merlot 2002 Napa Valley, San Simeon Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Paso Robles, Opolo Vineyards Mountain Zinfandel 2005 Paso Robles, and Maddalena Vineyard Muscat Canelli 2005 Paso Robles. Food will also be served; cost is $60.00 per person.

San Antonio Winery, 737 Lamar St., Los Angeles (323.223.1401)

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Pinkberry Revolution Hits Silver Lake

It took us a long time to finally check out frozen yogurt phenomenon Pinkberry, partly because the first few locations were too far west of us. But that's changing: We just passed by a "Pinkberry coming soon" sign in the strip mall at the corner of Hyperion and Rowena in Silver Lake (in what used to be a fast-food Chinese spot, down the street from Trader Joe's).

For now, we had to make a special run a few weeks ago to Koreatown to finally see what the hype was all about. As most of you know, Pinkberry has developed a cult following because of its hip, cartoony stores and its all-natural frozen yogurt. Pinkberry comes in just two flavors, regular and green tea, and isn't as sweet as your customary frozen treat. It's an acquired taste -- and for a large chunk of Pinkberry fans, it has an addictive quality.

Maria and I kept it simple on our first visit: We ordered smalls, with just one topping each: I got strawberries, while Maria chose mango.

The Pinkberry experience goes something like this:

First spoonful: Huh. That's what the hype was all about? I don't get it.
Second spoonful: Actually, it's not bad.
Third spoonful: Yeah, that's pretty decent.
Fourth spoonful: How do they make this? It's got an intriguing flavor...
Fifth spoonful:... and I'm fascinated by this aftertaste.
Sixth spoonful: OK, I kinda get it.

And so on. Of course, part of the Pinkberry mystique also rested on the fact that you had to work to get your frozen yogurt. Pinkberry's first location, in West Hollywood, sported lines around the block (angering local residents, who complained loudly about parking issues). But Pinkberrys are beginning to pop up everywhere. Too much too soon?

Here's what the L.A. Times wrote back in August.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Remembering "77 Sunset Strip"

(Pic by Betsy Malloy.)

LA Observed's post on hip 60s TV show "77 Sunset Strip" (pointing out its Monday night airings on the AmericanLife TV cable channel, now available on Time Warner Cable) reminded me of the plaque (above) in the sidewalk near 8524 Sunset Blvd., close to the fictional office of the private eyes played by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Roger Smith.

LA Observed quotes an commenter: "77 SUNSET STRIP was so cool that the breeze from the show could air condition your living room every Friday night from 1958--1964. This series had it all: two cool private detectives, gumshoe intrigue against the backdrop of Hollywood environs, a bee-bop-speaking parking lot attendant who became an overnight teen sensation, and not to be forgotten---one of the sexiest musical scores ever."

If There's A Better Taco Truck Mural Than This, I Don't Want to Know About It

Thank you, thank you, LAist, for pointing us to the Rambo Taco Truck. We frequently pass by Eagle Rock and York Blvds. (in Glassell Park), which is why I'm bummed that we somehow have missed it. No more. I'll be keeping an eye peeled.

Baby Boom

Every other day I receive word that other friend has given birth. There must have been something in the air nine months ago, because babies appear to be popping up everywhere.

Congrats to Jess and Jeff on the birth Dec. 13 of Miles Elliot; Su and Fred welcomed Madelyn into the world on Nov. 28; Todd and Susanna brought Willa Hope into the world on Nov. 19; and my colleague Laura gave birth to Caroline Elizabeth on Dec. 4.

Of course, Evan scored another cousin in October, when Jason and Sherry brought home Christian Antonio. And Turk and Carla just gave birth on "Scrubs." (Hey, they're kinda like friends.) Two publicist friends also just gave birth or are about to.

And more are still to come!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tae Bo No More?

Remember the late 90s exercise craze Tae Bo? It appears to have gone the way of the thighmaster and Jazzercise, as Tae Bo originator Billy Blanks quietly closed his Tae Bo World Training Center on Ventura Blvd. last month.

I say "quietly" because I can't find any news article on it while searching Google; the only thing I did find was this post from a sad Tae Bo fan on the Daily News' ValleyNews website.

The fan gets misty-eyed as she writes about the final day of tae-bo-ing (is that a verb) at the Tae Bo headquarters Nov. 19:

Lots of sweat. Lots of tears. Lots of cheering and laughing and hugging through the sweat and tears. That was the scene on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the closing of the Billy Blanks TaeBo® World Training Center. When I showed up for the last 10:30 a.m. class on Sunday, a line of more than 100 people snaked around the cars in the over crowded parking lot. Another hundred or so people were already inside on the floor waiting for Billy to begin his last class.

I tried calling the Tae Bo center, but a message only said that "this line will remain open for future information."

I suppose people (beyond those Tae Bo die-hards) moved on to the next thing, such as spinning. Farewell, tae bo. I'm not sure exactly what you were, but I'm sure you made Billy Blanks lots of money.

It's Not Easy Surfing Green

Wow! Check out the waves that hit Southern California yester --- wait a sec, didn't anyone at the L.A. Times (which posted this) notice anything odd about this photo?

Specifically, that the ocean water is a murky GREEN? Yuck! The pic's caption doesn't say specifically where this was shot... but honestly, I'm not sure I'd go anywhere near this beach.

(Or maybe, as a Hawaii boy, I'm just snobby about my ocean water. It should be warm. And blue.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Magic Stays in the Mountain

Contrary to popular belief from a few months ago, local amusement park Magic Mountain isn't shutting its doors. The Daily News writes:

With attendance at the thrill park down 25 percent since the potential sale was announced in June, company CEO Mark Shapiro made it a point Tuesday during a conference call with investors to emphasize that the park will not be paved over.

"We had inquiries and bids for parties to come in and close down Magic Mountain and operate it as a real estate venture," Shapiro said in an interview after the conference call.

"But we are dismissing those and solidly staying on a track that has this park open for 2007 and beyond," he said.

Six Flags Inc. looked to sell Magic Mountain and adjacent Hurricane Harbor, and seven other theme parks across the country, to reduce some $2 billion in debt.

The New York-based corporation had hoped to sell all the theme parks together as a package. But Shapiro told investors that approach could change, with Six Flags keeping some parks and selling others.

The company dismissed bids for Magic Mountain because it's worth more as a theme park than what was offered to redevelop it, Shapiro said.

Earlier this summer, word circulated that Six Flags was looking to dump Magic Mountain -- figuring that the land beneath it was more valuable for real estate developers, Turns out, no quite.

KZLA: Dead for Good

When Emmis Broadcasting pulled the plug on country KZLA-FM (93.9) back in August, the company hung out a consolation prize: The station's country music format would continue to be streamed on

Fast-forward four months. That didn't last long. has dumped the country music streaming, and is more or less dead. Emmis left this message on the site:

Thank you for visiting We appreciate your passion for country music, which is why we offered the streaming of KZLA Country Music through the website while our station transitioned to the all-new

We have now made a strategic decision to focus our energy on our new Movin 93.9 format. There are no plans to re-establish the KZLA stream or keep the website up and running. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Meanwhile, in other local radio news, KKBT-FM (100.3) has dumped morning man Tom Joyner, whose syndicated morning show was a bust here. Also, the station -- which dropped hip-hop for R&B earlier this year -- appears to be shedding is longtime "The Beat" moniker (which has been with the station since at least 1989). Instead, spots over the air have been touting 100.3 as "Magic" (or as the station spells it, "Majic").

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Franklin Avenue: Now More Dot-Commy

It has forever bugged me that we couldn't register a dot com address for Franklin Avenue. (That's why we settled for a "dot net.") Someone has been sitting on the "" address forever; it's been empty (other than place-holding search items) for as long as I remember -- at least before 2003. I even emailed the owner of the domain, to no respose.

It only recently dawned on me to add a hyphen to Franklin Avenue's address. I checked... and holy crap, it was still available!

You'll still be able to access us at and But now you can also hit this very blog by going to Don't forget the hyphen!

Menu for Hope III

Erin from Erin's Kitchen reminded us about this year's Menu for Hope III, a food blogging event to raise money for the UN World Food Program.

Food blogger extraordinaire Chez Pim spearheads the charity event. Bloggers from around the world have donated all sorts of food-related gifts; for a $10 donation, you will be given a raffle ticket toward the prize of your choice.

Pim explains it more:
This year, Menu for Hope III raises funds to support the UN World Food Programme, which provides hunger relief for needy people worldwide. To us Food Bloggers, food is a joy. On our blogs, we celebrate food as a delight or even an indulgence. Unfortunately, for many others who share our world do not share that privilege. For them, food is a matter of survival. This "Menu for Hope" is our small way to help.

We have plenty of great prizes, including a chance at a meal of your life at the renown Tetsuya's in Sydney, the 2-Michelin Starred Manresa in California, Iggy's in Singapore, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in London, and more. We offer unique experiences, such as a chance to have coffee with Thomas Keller, or even a cup of tea with Harold McGee. There are also lots and lots of cookbooks, including signed and hard to find items. Also on offer are plenty of goodies from all corners of the world, scrumptious tours, and many other delicious experiences.

The online event continues through 6 p.m. on Dec. 22. As for Erin, she is giving away a copy of the Middle Eastern cookbook "Arabesque," as well as a $25 gift certificate to Penzey's Spices.
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